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John Critcher
Member of the United States House of Representatives
In office
March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1873
Preceded by Richard S. Ayer
Succeeded by James B. Sener
Member of the Virginia Senate from King George, Westmoreland, Richmond, Northumberland and Lancaster Counties

In office
Preceded by Meriwether Lewis
Succeeded by Edwin Betts
Member of the Virginia Senate from Westmoreland, Lancaster, Richmond and Northumberland Counties

In office
Preceded by Richard L. T. Beale
Succeeded by George Lewis
Personal details
Born (1820-03-11)March 11, 1820
Oak Grove, Virginia
Died September 27, 1901(1901-09-27) (aged 81)
Alexandria, Virginia
Resting place Ivy Hill Cemetery, Alexandria, Virginia
Political party Democratic
Other political
Know Nothing (1850s)
Alma mater University of Virginia
Occupation Attorney
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Rank Confederate States of America Lieutenant Colonel.png Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars American Civil War

John Critcher (March 11, 1820 – September 27, 1901) was a U.S. Representative from Virginia.

Early and family life

Born at Oak Grove, Westmoreland County, Virginia on March 11, 1820 to John Critcher (1799–1854) and his wife, the former Sally Winter Covington 1797–1828), Critcher had a younger brother, Henry Payson Critcher (1826–1904), but his mother died shortly after the birth of her daughter Sarah, who died as an infant. John Critcher attended Brent's Preparatory School. He then went to Charlottesville, Virginia and attended the University of Virginia, graduating in 1839, and later pursued higher studies in France for three years.

About three years after his father's death at the family's plantation, "Waterview", on November 10, 1857, in Hampton, Virginia, John Critcher married Elizabeth Thomasia Kennon Whiting (1829–1903). Their first daughter, Elizabeth Whiting Critcher (1858–1863) did not survive to adulthood. However, their son John Critcher (1861–1939), born at the plantation "Audley" in Oak Grove and three daughters did survive their parents: Anne Wythe Mallory Critcher Gatewood (1860–1924), Louisa Kennon Critcher (1866–1939) and the painter Catharine Carter Critcher (1868–1964).[1]


Critcher was admitted to the bar in 1842 and commenced practice in Westmoreland County, Virginia.

American Civil War

He served in the Virginia State Senate 1861 and as a member of the State secession convention in 1861. During the Civil War, Critcher enlisted as a major and later served as lieutenant colonel of the 15th Virginia Cavalry in the Confederate States Army.

Shortly after the war's end, the Virginia General Assembly appointed him judge of the eighth judicial circuit, but he was removed under Congressional Reconstruction, specifically the resolution dated February 18, 1869, which provided that anyone who had borne arms against the United States should be dismissed from office within thirty days, although Critcher later became a judge in Alexandria, Virginia after Reconstruction ended.

Grave marker of John Critcher

Postwar career

When former Union officer Richard S. Ayer declined to run for re-election, Critcher was elected as a Democrat to the Forty-second Congress (March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1873). Northern Neck voters then elected Critcher again to the Virginia Senate (still a part-time position), where he served another four-year term (1873–1877), and was succeeded by William Mayo.[2]

Critcher still operated a Westmoreland County farm during the 1880 census, but moved to Alexandria, Virginia, where he was a judge by 1894.

Death and legacy

Critcher died in Alexandria, Virginia, September 27, 1901. He was interred in Ivy Hill Cemetery.


  • 1857; Critcher ran on the American Party ticket for the U.S. House of Representatives and lost to Democrat Muscoe R.H. Garnett.
  • 1870; Critcher was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives unopposed.


  1. findagrave
  2. Cynthia Miller Leonard, The General Assembly of Virginia, 1619–1978 (Richmond, Virginia State Library, 1978) pp. 520, 524

  • John Critcher at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Richard S. Ayer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 1st congressional district

Succeeded by
James B. Sener

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website

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