Date Original



This collection contains a partnership agreement between Robert Crittenden and Chester Ashley dated November 1, 1820 to establish a law practice.

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert Crittenden (1797-1834) was born on January 1, 1797, in Woodford County, Kentucky, to John Crittenden a Revolutionary War hero. Crittenden studied law and later entered the United States Army in 1814 and served as a commander of volunteers in the first Seminole War during 1817 and 1818. President James Monroe appointed Crittenden first secretary of Arkansas Territory in 1819.Crittenden served as acting governor from his appointment on March 3, 1819 as Arkansas Territorial Governor James Miller was delayed in arriving. As acting governor, Crittenden appointed every official the governor could appoint and declared Arkansas a second class territory allowing for the establishment of a legislature and judiciary. His actions gained Crittenden a loyal political following in Arkansas. Although Crittenden enjoyed a large political following, he was never able to attain a higher office in Arkansas. He collapsed and died on December 18, 1834, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, while arguing a case. Chester Ashley (1791-1848) was born at Amherst, Massachusetts, on June 1, 1791. He graduated from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts. Later, he graduated from Litchfield Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1817. Chester Ashley practiced law in Hudson, New York, Edwardsville, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri before settling in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1820. In July of 1821, Chester Ashley married Mary W.W. Elliott in St. Genevieve, Missouri. In 1844, he was elected to the United States Senate where he became chairman of the Committee on Judiciary. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1846. Senator Ashley died at Washington, District of Columbia, on April 29, 1848. In November 1820 Robert Crittenden and Chester Ashley formed a law partnership in Little Rock, Arkansas. Ashley and Crittenden dissolved their partnership in 1832.The Rose Law Firm of Little Rock, Arkansas traces their firm's origin to this partnership.

Physical Description

Document, 8.5" x 11"

Geographical Area






Resource Type



Crittenden-Ashley record, SMC.051.005


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Crittenden-Ashley record, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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United States History