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John T. Crisp's obit

This was among Margaret Hays' keepsakes.

The Kansas City Star, Wednesday, April 21, 1903, VOL. 3, NO. 216

Died suddenly at his home in Independence this morning – His career as a Confederate Soldier,
Legislator and Pisciculturist.
Colonel John T. Crisp, one of the best known men in the state of Missouri, died suddenly this morning at his home, 204 West Short street, at Independence. The end came at 3 o’clock. The cause was fatty degeneration of the heart. Mrs. Crisp was at her husband’s bedside when he died and although Dr. O. C. Sheley, whose home is nearby, was summoned immediately, Colonel Crisp had been dead for several minutes when he arrived.

Colonel Crisp was seen about the streets of Independence yesterday morning and early last night and appeared to be in his usual health and spirits. At about 8 o’clock he went home. He had intended to come to Kansas City to attend the Jackson County Democratic banquet and take the 10:45 o’clock train for St. Louis last night, where he had a business appointment this morning. He told his wife, however, that he was not feeling very well and retired early.

At about 2 o’clock this morning Colonel Crisp told his wife he was ill and said that he thought his indisposition arose from a disordered stomach. Mrs. Crisp prepared a solution of soda and warm water. This appeared to relieve him temporarily. In a few minutes Mrs. Crisp thought she saw indications that her husband’s’ mind was wandering. He complained of his night robe because of its pink color and demanded a white one. He also complained as he expressed it of “a hurting across the chest.”

Mrs. Crisp lay down upon a couch in the same room but she did not go to sleep. Just before 3 o’clock she heard the Colonel turn sharply in bed. She started up and he turned just as suddenly the other way. Mrs. Crisp called to her son, Napoleon, who slept above, telling him to go for Dr. Sheley. This he did, but Colonel Crisp had been dead for some time when the doctor arrived. It is thought that his life went out when he turned that second time in bed. No arrangements have been made for the funeral.

Colonel Crisp left a wife and five children: Napoleon Bonaparte Crisp, Mrs. Clarence Haverstick of Philadelphia, Mrs. Walter Gavenne of New York, Miss Ruth Crisp, now in Chicago, and Greenville Crisp.

Colonel Crisp was 65 years old at the time of his death He was born on his father’s farm near Chapel Hill, Mo., just east of Lone Jack. The farm of 640 acres is now owned by the McCarty brothers. He attended the country school and later attended the Missouri state university. At the outbreak of the war he enlisted with the Confederate army and was with General Jo Shelby’s brigade. He served through the entire war. And at its close went to Independence, which has been his home ever since. In 1864 he married Anna B. Stone, who survives him.

Colonel Crisp had been in politics since before the beginning of the Civil War. He was a senate clerk in the legislative assembly of 1856. In 1860 he was assistant secretary of the state in the legislature which split in two over the subject of secession. Crisp went with the Confederate end of the legislature and became secretary of senate that met at Neosho and declared Missouri a part of the Confederacy.

In his later years Crisp loved to talk of his connection with the Confederacy. It was the bright particular past of his career that he felt proud of. He told the story over and over again in his recent speeches. In the late assembly of which he was a member he never tired of telling his war record and of the men he know in war times. He had been a candidate for Congress, and for honors, but is habit of using invective on all occasions was the cause of the failure of more than one campaign.

But the legislature has his service on many occasions. Years ago it was taken for granted that the country portion of Jackson county would send Crisp to the legislature. He was elected to the lower house of the assemblies of 1895, 1898 and 1903. Four years ago he was defeated for the nomination by George H. Noel. Two years ago he would have been nominated but for the fact that the convention split in two. If the convention had not divided he would have been nominated. He was nominated and elected a member of the last assembly and was by all odds its most picturesque member. His health was not good and at times he was unable to walk from the statehouse to his room.
Nominated for Congress but was defeated - State Fish Commissioner

The bitterest regret of Colonel Crisp’s life was his defeat for Congress in 1878. He never forgave some of the men who were instrumental in bringing about that result. He was nominated by the regular Democratic congressional convention which in those days was considered an absolute guarantee to an election. However, a part of the Democracy was not satisfied with Crisp’s nomination so they held an independent convention and nominated Judge Samuel L. Sawyer who had been circuit judge and afterwards was one of the founders of the Christman-Sawyer bank. The Independents also induced the Republicans to refrain from nominating a congressional ticket and to indorse Sawyer. In the election that followed Crisp carried Clay county by an almost unanimous vote but lost Jackson, Platte, and Cass. He was beaten by about 800 votes. He always declared in almost every public speech he made either before the legislature or out of it that he had been robbed of his seat in Congress although there was no particular indication of fraud.

When W. J. Stone was governor of Missouri, he appointed Colonel Crisp chairman of the board of fish commissioners. In the later years of his life fish culture became one of his hobbies. On his home place at Benton park he had three lakes which he kept well stocked with bass, cripple, and other native fish. He loved nothing better than to talk fish and their habits.

One time Colonel was a men of considerable financial resources. He was for several years associated with Stilson Hutchins as a part owner of the St. Louis Times. He was, however, over lavish with his means and about a year ago a trust company foreclosed a mortgage on his Benton park home. He has since been living on Short street.

Colonel Crisp was a unique character and considered by some a genius. In speaking of him this morning O. P. Bryant of Independence said: “We are what we are born to. Mohammedan or a Christian, it is by the accident of birth. John T. Crisp was not cast in the ordinary mold. Mo man of genius ever was. Byron, Burns and Goethe, Caesar and Napoleon were never tried or acquitted under the Decalogue or the Sermon of the Mount. Crisp was a man of like nature. You could not lay your square and rule on him and say ‘I have taken his full measure.’ He frequently said things that would have established his reputation for brilliancy of any other man. They became the food of the men of plodding intellects and carried them to success. When Colonel Crisp had means he sowed it for others with a generous hand. But gratitude is the shortest lived of all the virtues God has planted in the human soul. Crisp knew this, but he did not look to the morrow and sometimes must have been in want. He had troubles, but he fought them bravely and they go to the grave with him.”

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John T. Crisp's obit