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John Jordan Crittenden

Kentucky's Seventeenth Governor

Serving from 1848 - July 31, 1850

Born in Woodford County, Kentucky on September 10, 1786, John Jordan Crittenden was very educated for his time in Kentucky politics.  After attending Pisgah Academy in Woodford County and Washington and Lee in Virginia, he later graduated from William and Mary College.  John studied law with Judge George M. Bibb and later opened his practice in Russellville.

John served six consecutive terms in the House of Representatives, serving as Speaker in 1815, 1816 and 1817.  In 1819, he resigned and moved to Frankfort to pursue his law practice. He served the House again in 1829 to 1832. During the next sixteen years, John served as Kentucky Secretary of State, U. S. Senator and U. S. Attorney General. In 1848, Crittenden again resigned from the Senate to run for the position of Kentucky Governor. He defeated Lazarus W. Powell and served as Governor until July 31, 1850, when he resigned to become U. S. Attorney General under President Fillmore. As Governor, John J. Crittenden, was a supporter of education and gave strong support to Superintendent Breckinridge. He was very interested in Kentucky's penal system and proposed need to rebuild the penitentiary.

John was married three times and the father of nine children.  He married his first wife, Sarah O. Lee, daughter of  John and Elizabeth Bell Lee, in 1811.  Six children were born to John and Sarah.  In Franklin County on November 14, 1826, John J. Crittenden married second, the widow Maria Knox Todd.  After Maria's death in 1851,  John married for the third time, the widow ELizabeth Ashley.  John Jordan Crittenden died on July 26, 1863 and was buried beside his second wife, Maria, in section N of the Frankfort Cemetery.



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