Bloxham, William D.

1873 ALS from leading Florida Democratic politician in Reconstruction Era, 13th & 17th governor, precipitated state land boom

Price: $15.00

Description:
(1835-1911) Florida politician, served as 13th & 17th Governor of Florida in 2 non-consecutive terms, the 2nd governor born in the state. He was admitted to the Florida Bar but chose the life of a planter. In 1861, he was elected to the Florida legislature and, in 1862, organized a Leon County company of infantry which he led throughout the war. After the war, he staunchly opposed Reconstruction and was a leading voice among Florida Democrats. In 1870, he was at the center of a political firestorm during one of Florida's most violent periods. Republican carpetbaggers were resisted in Florida, often violently, by groups like the Ku Klux Klan. On Election Day of 1870, the most violent counties were inundated with federal troops at the request of Governor Reed. When it appeared that Bloxham had won the Lieutenant Governor race, Republicans used the chaos of the day to reject votes of 9 largely Democratic counties, but Bloxham won an injunction to prevent tainted results from being announced. A federal grand jury indicted the judge. With the circuit judge in jail, the Republican-led board of canvassers overturned Bloxham's victory in favor of Republican Samuel. Day. Bloxham sent the election dispute to the Florida Supreme Court which forced a recount. Republican legislators repealed the law which created the board of canvassers and the Supreme Court was unable to compel a recount when the it effectively did not exist. Bloxham applied to the Supreme Court on Feb. 20, 1871 to challenge Day's victory, but the case did not begin until Nov. 15. On June 1, 1872, the court ruled that Bloxham had won the 1870 election, by which time he had missed every state senate session in the term, the term effectively concluded. Although he took the oath of office on June 3, he couldn't perform his only duty, preside over the Senate, thus he is not named in lists of Florida's lieutenant governors. In the summer of 1872, Bloxham was nominated for Governor with CSA General Robert Bullock as his running mate. A severe storm reduced the vote count and Bloxham was defeated by Republican Ossian B. Hart, who died barely a year into his term. Bloxham aided the successful gubernatorial campaign of George Drew, promising protection to African Americans who voted for him. Bloxham was named Secretary of State. He was elected governor, inaugurated Jan. 4, 1881. Bloxham inherited a state debt of $1M and a lawsuit that placed a lien on millions of acres of Florida land. Before his 1st month as governor was over, Bloxham and Florida signed an agreement with Philadelphia manufacturing heir Hamilton Disston, whereby Disston would attempt to drain the Everglades and receive half of the land reclaimed. Bloxham went to Philadelphia and on June 14, 1881, Disston signed a contract to purchase 4M acres, larger than the state of Connecticut, for $1M. When Disston and a 2nd buyer paid in full, the state was out of debt and the first land boom soon followed. Supporters of Bloxham's predecessor, George Drew, criticized Bloxham for the Disston Land Purchase as well as his apparent commitment to Florida Panhandle development at the expense of the rest of the state. He lost the 1884 Democratic nomination to CSA General Edward A Perry. On May 1, 1890, Governor Fleming appointed him state comptroller. Bloxham won the 1890 election, and was re-elected in 1892. He was reelected governor in 1896. Despite his conservative reputation, Bloxham reinstated and expanded the powers of a railroad commission, restricting monopolies and creating a state-wide auditor to eliminate government fraud and waste. Fire insurance company regulation was initiated and women served as public notaries for the 1st time during his 2nd stint as governor. April 24 1873 Reconstruction Era ALS on 8 x 5 lined paper, Tallahassee, is pleased to send his autograph.

Condition: Very good, few slight mount remants verso
Type:Letter






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