Thomas J Appleyard, Bio

Biography of Col. Thomas Jefferson Appleyard


Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present
The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.III
Page 175, 1923.

APPLEYARD, Col. T. J., state printer since 1909, is a veteran of his craft, and one of the most widely known and influential old time journalists and newspaper men in Florida. Colonel APPLEYARD is still hale and hearty at the age of seventy-two, and is able to give his personal management to the responsible office and extensive business he holds.

The Appleyard printing plant, near the capital in Tallahassee, is a large industry in itself, one of the best organized printing and binding plants in the state, equipped not only for the special service of the state government, but also for general commercial printing. The plant handles all the general and special printing for the offices of the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, comptroller, commissioner of agriculture, attorney-general, superintendent of public instruction, state chemist, the Supreme Court, the Railroad Commission, Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, Board of Education, Board of State Institutions, the state auditor, the chief drainage engineer, the Road Department, Fish Commissioners and other minor divisions.

THOMAS JEFFERSON APPLEYARD learned the fundamentals to the printing industry and business when a boy. He was born at Richmond, Virginia, August 19, 1850, and is of old English stock. His father, JOHN APPLEYARD, came to this country in 1832. The APPLEYARD ancestry is traced back in a straight line since the year 1162, and the family in different generations became noted in English diplomacy. The mother of Colonel APPLEYARD was SARAH WADSWORTH, a native of Yorkshire, England, and her father subsequently was a manufacturer at Poughkeepsie, New York. Colonel APPLEYARD attended school in Richmond, and at the age of ten was awarded the first prize for general excellence in his studies. This prize was a Bible, which he carried through the Civil war and still later it was carried through the World war in France by one of his sons. About the beginning of the war between the states, Colonel APPLEYARD was apprenticed to GEORGE W. GARY, then proprietor of the largest printing house in Richmond. He soon resigned and early in 1862 entered the Confederate service on the school ship Patrick Henry and later of the Virginia No. 2. He was with the Confederate naval forces throughout the war, and finally surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina, where he was under the command of Admiral RAPHAEL SEMMES. He was paroled May 1, 1865. After the war he finished his apprenticeship in the office of the Southern Opinion at Richmond, the editor of which was HENRY RIVES POLLARD. He spent probably more time in the office of the editor than in the mechanical department, and thus derived an invaluable experience for his future career as a newspaper man.

After leaving the Southern Opinion he was assistant foreman of the Republic at Richmond, but in 1871 became night editor on the Columbus Enquirer-Sun in Georgia, and while there, in January, 1873, he married Miss SARAH E. KENNEDY. He was next associated with Capt. DICK ENGLISH on the Selma Times in Alabama, and came to Florida as mechanical superintendent of the Jacksonville Times in October, 1882. While he was at Jacksonville the firm was consolidated with The Union, and in the spring of 1883, Mr. APPLEYARD was instrumental in establishing the first newspaper post office in the South. Since that time the newspaper post office has become a necessity in every daily office. On leaving Jacksonville Colonel APPLEYARD acquired an interest in the Southern Sun Publishing Company at Palatka, but this venture proved unprofitable on account of the heavy freeze that killed the citrus crops in that section. He then established a paper at Oakland for the purpose of giving publicity to the country through which the Orange Belt Railroad was being constructed. In 1891 he established the Chronicle at Sanford, and eight years later bought the three daily papers of Key West, consolidating them as the Inter-Ocean. Colonel APPLEYARD was proprietor of the Lake City Index from 1901 until he accepted his first contract as state printer at Tallahassee in April, 1909. After filling out an unexpired contract he was awarded the regular contract, and has since developed a plant of such capacity and efficiency for the general printing business that his assignment as state printer has been more or less a matter of course.

While in the newspaper business Colonel APPLEYARD made his papers the source of distinct benefit to the communities which they served, and he became widely known and admired for his unique skill as a paragraphed. Many of his editorials were copied by other papers throughout the state.

Colonel APPLEYARD has represented Florida in seven National Conventions of the democratic party. In 1896 he was a member of the committee on permanent organization at Chicago, and in the 1904 convention was a member of the committee on credentials. In the San Francisco Convention of 1920 he was a member of the committee on platform and resolutions.

Colonel APPLEYARD for thirty-two years was secretary of the Florida Press Association, and for two years, 1921-22, has been historical secretary of the association. Many have regarded him, as the most competent man of the state to write a political history of Florida. He is executive officer of the Navy Division of the Confederate Veterans, with the rank of commodore. He has been affiliated with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks for twenty-six years. He is a member of the Episcopal Church.

Colonel APPLEYARD lost the wife and companion of over forty years on October 15, 1916. He is the father of eight children, six living, and also has eight grandchildren. Two of his sons were soldiers on the side of the allies in the great war. One was with the artillery around Metz, and the other, who gave up his life for the cause, had charge of a tank in training with the Tank Corps at Gettysburg. This son was WILLIAM T.; the other deceased son was FLEMING MITCHELL. Both of them were active in the Masonic order.

The living children are: THOMAS J., Jr., secretary of the Chamber of Commerce of Lakeland, Florida; Mrs. EDWARD FITZGERALD, Tallahassee; ALICE, wife of J. P. CLARKSON of Jacksonville; SARAH E., wife of GEORGE A. MARION, of Rochester, New York; CHARLOTTE EMELIE, Mrs. W. V. CULLEY, of Tallahassee; and PAUL S., who spent seven months with the Sixty-first Artillery Corps in France, and is now associated with his father in business, is a Mason and Shriner, and married ELLEN MAY THAGARD.

Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn and used with permission.


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