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Lumpkin, John H. (John Henry), 1812-1860



John Henry Lumpkin was born 1812 June 13 in Lexington, Georgia to Reverend John George Lumpkin and Sarah Pope Lumpkin. He attended Franklin College, a predecessor of the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia and then attended Yale College in Connecticut in 1831 and 1832.

Returning to Georgia, Lumpkin served as the private secretary for his uncle, Wilson Lumpkin, during his term as Governor of Georgia (1831-1835). In 1834, Lumpkin passed the state bar and resigned from his position with the governor to practice law in the newly-formed Floyd County, an area in northwest Georgia that belonged to and was occupied by the Cherokee Nation. Beginning in 1805, the state of Georgia conducted several land lotteries to dispense land belonging to the Muscogee Creek and Cherokee Nations to white settlers. In 1831, Georgia passed a law claiming jurisdiction over a large area of the Cherokee Nation in northwest Georgia, and in 1832, divided this land into ten counties, including Floyd County, to be disturbed by lottery.

Lumpkin joined Col. Daniel R. Mitchell, Col. Zacharia Hargrove, Maj. Philip Hemphill, and Col. William Smith as some of the early white settlers to acquire land and establish the town of Rome, Georgia in Floyd County in 1834. The town was established in a populated area known as Head of Coosa, which was then home to approximately nine hundred Cherokee, including two prominent leaders in the Cherokee Nation, Chief John Ross and Major John Ridge. As still-occupied Cherokee land and homes were dispensed by lottery to white settlers, in August 1834, Chief John Ross unsuccessfully brought suit against Rome founders Lumpkin, Smith, Mitchell, and Hemphill, seeking an injunction to protect his property from sale at public auction. Between the ratification of the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 and the forced removal of Cherokee in 1838, Lumpkin participated in Floyd County efforts to arm and militarize white settlers against a perceived threat of violence from the Cherokee, distributing weapons among Rome’s militia companies and serving as captain to one.

Lumpkin married twice, first to Martha Antoinette McComb in Baldwin, Georgia in 1836. After Martha died in 1838, Lumpkin remarried in 1840, this time to Mary Jane Crutchfield, daughter of Thomas Crutchfield Sr., in McMinn County, Tennessee. After the death of his father-in-law Thomas Crutchfield, Sr. in 1850, Lumpkin went into business with his brother-in-law, Thomas Jr., as part owner of Crutchfield House, at the time the largest and best known hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Throughout his life, Lumpkin and his family members were enslavers, using enslaved people for labor in their households and at Crutchfield House.

As Lumpkin helped establish Floyd County’s court system and practiced law in Rome, he also pursued a career in politics at the state and national level. Lumpkin was elected to the Georgia State House of Representatives, where he served from 1835-1837. In 1838, Lumpkin served as the solicitor general (district attorney) for the Georgia’s Cherokee County circuit. In 1840, Lumpkin made an unsuccessful run for the United States House of Representatives; however, he tried again in 1842 and won. He served three consecutive terms as a Democrat in the United States Congress from 1843 to 1849, and then again for a final term from 1855 to 1857. In 1857, Lumpkin ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Georgia. He served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina in 1860.

John H. Lumpkin died on 1860 July 10, in Rome, Georgia and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Rome, Georgia.

Battey, George Magruder Jr. A History of Rome and Floyd County. Atlanta, GA: Webb and Vary Company, 1922.
Entry for John Henry Lumpkin and Martha Antinette McCombs, 1836 February 4. “Baldwin County Georgia Courthouse Records, Marriage Book B, 1835-1852 with Index,” in Abstract to Marriages, 1806-1874 Index, Baldwin County, Georgia Superior Court. Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah and the State of Georgia Department of Archives and History, 1965. Microfilm. Accessed January 10, 2024.
Entry for John H. Lumpkin and Mary Jane Crutchfield, 1840 May 5. McMinn County Court Clerk Marriages, Vol. C, February 1838-March 1848. Nashville, TN: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Microfilm, Roll 68. Accessed January 10, 2024.
Gigantino, Jim. "Land Lottery System." New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Sep 28, 2020.
Hill, Sarah H. “All Roads Led from Rome: Facing the History of Cherokee Expulsion.” Southern Spaces, February 20, 2017,
“Lumpkin, John Henry, 1812-1860.” Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed December 4, 2023.
“Rev George Lumpkin.” Accessed December 4, 2023.
“The Crutchfield House at Chattanooga Tennessee For Sale.” The Athens Post (Athens, TN), October 19, 1860.
Williamson, N. Michelle. “Floyd County.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Jun 30, 2022.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Crutchfield Family papers

Identifier: CHC-2011-036
Scope and Contents This collection contains correspondence, financial records, receipts, legal agreements, and other personal papers created by or received by members of the Crutchfield family and extended family living in East Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. Materials in the collection date from 1815 to 1957, with the majority of materials created between 1840 and 1849, and primarily document the family’s business enterprises in brickmaking, construction, and milling, as well as their discussions of national...
Dates: 1815-1970; Majority of material found within 1840-1849