Born near Grove Hill, Alabama, Cranford attended the common and high schools in Alabama and later finished preparatory studies under a private tutor. He moved to Texas about 1880 and settled at Sulphur Springs, Texas. He studied law. He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Texas. He served as member of the State senate 1888-1896.
Cranford was elected president pro tempore of the twenty-second senate.
Cranford was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-fifth Congress and served from March 4, 1897, until his death in Washington, D.C., March 3, 1899. He was interred in the City Cemetery, Sulphur Springs, Texas.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.