Crutchfield, Thomas, Jr., 1830-1886
Thomas (Tom) Crutchfield Jr. was born May 17, 1830 to Sarah Cleage and Thomas Crutchfield Sr. in Greene County, Tennessee. He moved with his family to Chattanooga, Tennessee in the late 1830s. His father, Thomas Sr., ran a brickmaking and contracting business and was an enslaver, using enslaved people to manufacture bricks and build numerous brick municipal buildings and private homes across East Tennessee and parts of northern Alabama.
When his father Thomas Crutchfield Sr. died in 1850, Tom inherited Crutchfield House, to which he became the proprietor. His brother-in-law, John H. Lumpkin became his business partner in jointly owning the hotel. The hotel had been built by his father Thomas Crutchfield Sr. in 1847, and was at the time Chattanooga’s largest and best known hotel. Tom married Amanda E. King on February 4,1852 in Monroe, Tennessee.
In 1858, Tom was elected Mayor of Chattanooga for a one year term in 1859. During his short time in city politics, Chattanooga faced a shortfall of funds following the city’s investment in numerous railroad projects. As city officials refused to make up the difference in funds by levying taxes against Chattanooga citizens, as mayor Tom had to secure a $50,000 loan for the city from a New York bank. In 1860, in the months following the death of his brother-in-law and business partner, John H. Lumpkin, Tom placed Crutchfield House up for sale, including the enslaved people who worked there, though it did not sell until the following year.
In the onset of the Civil War, Tom supported Tennessee’s secession from the United States. In the spring of 1861, after the state’s referendum to secede passed, Tom sold Crutchfield House and moved his family to his farm estate on the Tennessee River upstream of the city, which he named Amnicola. Crutchfield House survived the war, acting at different times as a military hospital for both the Confederacy and the Federal Army, but it burned to the ground in 1867. The land is now the site of another hotel, The Read House.
In 1860, before the war, Tom and his mother Sarah M. Crutchfield, who lived with him at Amnicola, enslaved a combined thirty-four people. It is unknown exactly when the people enslaved by Thomas Crutchfield Jr. were emancipated or escaped to freedom. Tennessee was exempt from President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, under a provision that the state was under Federal control at the time. Tennessee’s Military Governor Andrew Johnson issued his own proclamation on October 24, 1864 freeing all enslaved people in the state. Slavery was officially abolished in Tennessee when voters ratified an amendment to the State’s constitution on 1865 February 22.
After the war, Tom went into business with his brother-in-law, John King, running a general merchandise store. Tom also became well known for raising livestock, in particular raising sheep for wool. He remained active in local and state politics, and served for a time on the state’s Agricultural Bureau. Thomas Crutchfield Jr. died 1886 March 29 in Nashville, Tennessee and was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee.