Eldon Jacob Crull

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Eldon Jacob Crull (1859–May 5, 1917) was an American politician. Crull was the chief Republican primary rival to Jeannette Rankin, who became the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Crull committed suicide shortly after the election.

Education and life[edit]

Crull came from an affluent Midwestern family and was sent to Virginia's Staunton Military Academy for high school. He briefly attended Ohio's Marietta College and the University of Cincinnati. Thereafter, he attended Indiana University. For health reasons, he first went to the Arizona Territory, then Colorado, and finally Montana.

He first served as a colonel on Montana Governor Edwin L. Norris's staff. Although Crull was a Republican, Norris was a Democrat. In 1912, Crull was the alternate delegate from Montana to the Republican National Convention held in Chicago, Illinois.[1][better source needed] Subsequently, he served one term in the Montana legislature as a representative.[2] His political base was Musselshell County with its seat being Roundup, Montana. Crull left the legislature to return to the governor's staff. This time serving under Sam V. Stewart who was a Democrat.

In 1915, Crull was one of two representatives who appeared before the Montana Public Service Commission on behalf of the citizens of Roundup and Klein, Montana, and the committee appointed by Local Union No. 915 of the United Mine Workers of America successfully alleging that the electricity rates charged by the Roundup Coal Mining Company were unreasonable and discriminatory. A fixed rate regimen resulted.[3]

In August 1916, he was Jeannette Rankin's major rival in the Republican primary and was defeated by her. On May 5, 1917, he committed suicide on the steps of an "undertaking establishment" by swallowing "muriatic acid" because, as The New York Times reported, he was "despondent over increasing illness and sorrowing over his defeat "at the primaries last August by Miss Jeannette Rankin, Montana Congresswoman".[4][5]


  1. ^ http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/crowninshield-crystal.html (Scroll down to Crull)
  2. ^ Ellis L. Waldron Montana Politics Since 1864 Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University Press,1958. p. 142
  3. ^ Ellsworth Nichols Public Utilities Report, Inc. 1916. p.395. Also Annual Report of the Board of Railroad Commission...of the State... Montana Board of Railroad Commissioners, Vol 9, 1916. p. 281
  4. ^ "special to The New York Times". Miss Rankin's Rival at Polls A Suicide: Jacob Crull, Whom She Defeated at Montana Primary, Ends life in Indiana Town The New York Times, Sunday, May 6, 1917. Obituaries
  5. ^ Much of the information on Crull is archival (especially contained in newspapers of that era). Besides the New York Times reporting Crull's death, it was also reported nationwide, especially in small town newspapers which used it as "filler" for the news of the day or when there was no editorial comment column, e.g., Editorial Comment: E. Jacob Crull, Roundup, Mont., who was defeated for the Republican nomination for Congress Hopkinsville Kentuckian (Hopkinsville, Kentucky), Tuesday, May 8, 1917 Vol. 39-No. 55. Page 1