Florida Governors

Florida Governors
Photos and text Courtesy, Florida State Library and Archives.


General Andrew Jackson

United States Commissioner and Governor of the Territories of East and West Florida

(March 10, 1821)

The ceremonies of transfer from Spain to the United States took place on July 17, 1821 in Pensacola.

Previously, on March 10, 1821, General Andrew Jackson was named by President Monroe as "Commissioner of the United States with full power and authority to take possession of and to occupy the territories ceded by Spain to the United States..."

On the same day, he was also appointed by President Monroe to use in the territories of East and West Florida "all the powers and authorities heretofore exercised by the Governor and Captain General and Intendant of Cuba, and by the Governors of East and West Florida."

Three months later Jackson left Florida, never to return.

Richard Keith Call met General Andrew Jackson in 1813 in the Creek War and subsequently served as Jackson's aide de camp, beginning a lifelong friendship.


William Pope Duval

First Territorial Governor

(April 17, 1822)

President Monroe appointed William DuVal to succeed Andrew Jackson as Governor of Florida, ignoring Jackson's recommendation of Colonel William King for the job.

Born in Virginia, William DuVal left home at the age of 14 for the Kentucky frontier, settling in Bardstown to study law. He was admitted to the bar at 19.

He came to Florida as a Territorial Judge. He was appointed Governor of the Florida territory in 1822 and reappointed by Presidents Adams and Jackson.


John Henry Eaton

Second Territorial Governor

(April 24, 1834)

Alleging intimacy between Major Eaton and Peggy O'Neale before their marriage, wives of the members of President Andrew Jackson's cabinet refused to accept her into society.

Whether it was because of questions about her marriage, or because Peggy O'Neale Eaton refused to follow many of the restrictive customs of the time, a scandal erupted.

Before it was over, allegations were made, duels were threatened, and Andrew Jackson's entire cabinet resigned.

After John Eaton resigned his position as Secretary of War, Andrew Jackson appointed him Governor of Florida.


Richard Keith Call

Third Territorial Governor (March 16, 1836)
Fifth Territorial Governor (March 19,1841)

In 1839, President Van Buren removed Territorial Governor Richard Keith Call from office on the grounds of "disagreement on military policy". Van Buren then appointed Robert Reid Governor to take Call's place.

During his governorship, Call had repeatedly petitioned the Federal government for more military assistance in the removal of the Seminole and Creek Indians from Florida. Frustrated by what he considered to be a continued inadequate response, Call proposed to organize and lead an independent force.

While this was the official reason given for his removal, Call suspected that Van Buren was looking for an excuse to appoint someone who would more rigidly follow the Democratic party line. Call participated in the establishment and operations of banks and insurance companies. These actions were at odds with the reigning Democratic Party beliefs about the relationship that should exist between government debt and private enterprise.

During the next presidential election, Call canvassed in the North for the Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison. Harrison defeated Van Buren and became President of the United States.

Harrison then appointed Call to his old place as Governor of Florida


Robert Raymond Reid

Fourth Territorial Governor

(December 2, 1839)

Robert Reid presided at the Convention to draft Florida's Constitution in 1838. In 1839, he was appointed Governor of Florida by President Van Buren, replacing Governor Call.

Reid advocated as vigorous a prosecution of the Seminole War as his predecessor but his relations with the Federal authorities were more amicable.

He died in Leon County on July 1, 1841, less than two years after becoming Governor.


John Branch

Sixth Territorial Governor

(August 11, 1844)

When John Branch's wife, along with the other wives of cabinet members, refused to recognize John Eaton's wife Peggy O'Neale socially, it caused a scandal that resulted in the resignation of President Andrew Jackson's entire cabinet.

Later, in 1844 Branch was appointed Governor of Florida by President John Tyler.

Before serving as Secretary of the Navy, Branch served in North Carolina as a State Senator, Governor, and United States Senator.


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