John McClannahan Crockett, second mayor of Dallas, state representative, and lieutenant governor of Texas, son of Robert McClannahan and Elizabeth (White) Crockett, was born in Lancaster, South Carolina, on December 26, 1816. His father was a South Carolina state representative, and his grandfather, Robert Crockett, was a Revolutionary War soldier. He attended Franklin Academy in Lancaster, entered the mercantile business in Camden, South Carolina, moved to Obion County, Tennessee, in 1836 as a partner in a general store, and there married Catherine W. Polk on March 17, 1837. He began reading law in 1841 and received a license to practice in 1844.
In 1847 he traveled with his wife to Paris, Texas, where they stayed for several months while Crockett worked as a bookkeeper and played his violin at village and country parties. They moved the next year to Dallas, where John's brother-in-law, William H. Hord, was county judge. Crockett opened a law practice and served as deputy county clerk his first year in Dallas. In 1850 he was appointed commissioner of the Mercer colony. He was elected state representative from the Dallas area in 1851. In 1852 he joined John H. Reagan and another man in investigating Peters colony troubles. He participated in many court trials and was a law partner of John Jay Good in Dallas in the early 1850s. He was first master of Tannehill Masonic Lodge in Dallas, chartered on June 24, 1850. He was elected mayor of Dallas in 1857 and served three terms. He was meteorological observer in Dallas for the Smithsonian Institution in 1859. In 1861 he was elected lieutenant governor of Texas. In 1863 he decided not to stand for reelection and declined to enter the race for governor, although he had a supportive constituency. Instead, he returned to the Dallas area to become superintendent of the Confederate arms factory at Lancaster (see LANCASTER, TEXAS). Crockett was an incorporator of Dallas Grain, Elevator, and Flouring Company in 1872 and a charter member of the executive committee of the Dallas Pioneers Association in 1875. He and his wife had no children. He died at their farm near Dallas on August 4, 1887, and he and Catherine are buried in the Old Masonic Cemetery in Dallas.
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Dallas Morning News, January 25, 1928. George Jackson, Sixty Years in Texas (Dallas: Wilkinson Printing, 1908; rpt., Quanah, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County (Chicago: Lewis, 1892; rpt., Dallas: Walsworth, 1976). William S. Speer and John H. Brown, eds., Encyclopedia of the New West (Marshall, Texas: United States Biographical Publishing, 1881; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).
Dallas/Fort Worth Region
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
John Alan Hord,
“Crockett, John McClannahan,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: