Crisp, Charles

Crisp, Charles (Frederick)

(1845–96) U.S. representative; born in Sheffield, England. Although his actor parents were visiting England at his birth, they raised their son in Georgia which he left at age 16 to join the 10th Virginia Infantry. After three years of service and one year in Morris Island prison, he returned to Georgia in 1865 to study law. Appointed solicitor general of the southwestern superior court region from Americus, Ga., in 1872, he also served as judge there for five years. Elected to Congress (Dem., Ga.; 1883–96), he mastered parliamentary procedure and became Democratic leader and Speaker of the House (1891–95). He championed the Interstate Commerce Act (1887) and supported the introduction of silver currency, running for the Senate against Hoke Smith, President Cleveland's secretary of the interior, who advocated maintaining the gold standard. Although Georgia voters supported Crisp, he died before the election.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.