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John Angel James Creswell
John Creswell

23rd United States Postmaster General
In office
March 5, 1869 – June 22, 1874
Preceded by Alexander Randall
Succeeded by James William Marshall

Born November 18, 1828(1828-11-18)
Creswells Ferry (now Port Deposit), Maryland, U.S.
Died December 23, 1891 (aged 63)
Elkton, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Whig, Republican
Alma mater Dickinson College
Profession Politician, Lawyer, Banker

John Angel James Creswell (November 18, 1828 – December 23, 1891) was an American politician from Maryland. He served as Postmaster General of the United States during the Grant administration.


Born in Creswells Ferry in what is today known as Port Deposit, Maryland, Creswell attended a local academy before moving on to Dickinson College where he graduated in 1848. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in Baltimore in 1850, commencing practice in Elkton, Maryland. He was an unsuccessful Whig candidate to the Reform State Convention in 1850 and was elected a member of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1861 after becoming affiliated with the Republican Party. Creswell served as adjutant general of Maryland from 1862 to 1863.


Creswell was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1862, serving from 1863 to 1865. A staunch supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, Creswell was the first man in Congress to propose a constitutional amendment banning slavery. After losing reelection to the House in 1864, he was elected to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Thomas H. Hicks, serving from 1865 until the end of that term in 1867. During his time in the Senate, he served as chairman of the Committee on the Library in the 39th Congress. At the Republican National Convention in 1868, Creswell's name was put forward for either the presidential or vice presidential nominations.

Postmaster General[]

After Ulysses S. Grant was elected, he appointed Creswell Postmaster General. As Postmaster General, he reorganized the Post Office Department, introduced penny postcards and postal telegraphs, proposed a postal savings system. Creswell proved to be one of the ablest organizers ever to head the Post Office. He cut costs while greatly expanding the number of mail routes, postal clerks and letter carriers. He introduced the penny post card and worked with Fish to revise postal treaties. A Radical, he used the vast patronage of the post office to support Grant's coalition. He asked for the total abolition of the franking privilege since it reduced the revenue receipts by five percent. The franking privilege allowed members of Congress to send mail at the government’s expense.[1]

Because of the scandals that plagued the Grant administration, Creswell resigned, but accepted the appointment of a United States counsel before the Alabama Claims Commission which he served as from 1874 to 1876. Afterwards, he resumed practicing law and served as the president of two banks. He died near Elkton, Maryland on December 23, 1891 and was interred in Elkton Presbyterian Cemetery.


  1. Allan Nevins, Hamilton Fish (1937) 139

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | United States House of Representatives Template:USRepSuccessionBox |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #cccccc" | United States Senate Template:U.S. Senator box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #bebebe; color: #000000" | Government offices

|- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Alexander W. Randall |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|United States Postmaster General
March 5, 1869 – June, 1874 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
James W. Marshall |- |} Template:USSenMD Template:USPostGen

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