Robert Crittenden was appointed the first secretary and acting governor of Arkansas Territory in 1819 by President Monroe. The territorial capitol was located at Arkansas Post at the time. Crittenden convened the first territorial legislature, a one house assembly composed of four people: Crittenden, Charles Jouett, Robert P. Letcher, and Andrew Scott. In seven days this first legislature adopted all of the laws of the Missouri Territory. The first legislature created two circuit courts for the Arkansas Territory, an office of auditor and one for treasury. In 1820 the territorial legislature moved to Little Rock. Crittenden retired as territorial secretary in 1829.
Crittenden was a War of 1812 veteran. His father had served in the Revolutionary War.
Crittenden was also publisher of The Arkansas Advocate, the first serious rival newspaper to the Arkansas Gazette. The Advocate was established in March 1830. In 1831 the Advocate won from the Gazette the printing contract offered by Little Rock public offices.
Crittenden died in 1834 while arguing a case in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
- John Hugh Reynolds, Makers of Arkansas History (Silver, Burdett and Company, 1905), 80-86.