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UNF Library Special Collections and University Archives
Collection ID: M02-3

Fleming Family Letters, 1879-1930

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Location of this collection:
1 UNF Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA
904-507-4122
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
Preferred citation:
Fleming Family Letters, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

Collection description

Summary

Abstract:
The collection consists of the personal correspondence of Fleming Family members and other correspondents circa 1879-1930. Most of the letters are incoming correspondence from relatives and friends to the Francis Philip Fleming family members. The core of the collection are condolence letters sent to Mrs. Francis P. Fleming, wife of the Governor, after his death on December 20, 1908.
Extent:
113.00 items
Language:
English
Preferred citation:
Fleming Family Letters, Thomas G. Carpenter Library, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida

Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is open for research.

Background

Scope and Content:

The collection consists of the personal correspondence of Fleming Family members and other correspondents circa 1879-1930. Most of the letters are incoming correspondence from relatives and friends to the Francis Philip Fleming family members. The core of the collection are condolence letters sent to Mrs. Francis P. Fleming, wife of the Governor, after his death on December 20, 1908. There are only two letters in the collection from the Governor, sent to his vacationing wife in 1881. These letters are included in Mrs. Fleming's correspondence. Other Fleming family members represented in the collection are daughter Elizabeth, son Seton, and son-in-law Franklin P. Hamilton. One letter written by Franklin Hamilton in 1908 is of special interest for it's glimpse of life in Jacksonville in the early twentieth century. As a newcomer to Florida and recently hired associate of the Fleming law firm, Hamilton relates his personal observations of the Fleming Family and eyewitness accounts of the bustling activity and renewed vitality of the city, only seven years after the Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901. Hamilton later married Elizabeth Fleming, daughter of the Governor. All items are originals. Most letters are legible, with the letters from the late 1800's partially fading. Typed transcriptions of selected letters available.

Biographical / Historical:

The Fleming family were early Northeast Florida settlers. George Fleming came to Florida, via Charleston, South Carolina, from Ireland ca. 1785 and became a large landowner after receiving a number of grants of land from the Spanish government. In 1791, he married Sophia Fatio, daughter of a St. Johns River planter, Francis Fatio. The Fleming family grew to one daughter, Mary, and two sons, Lewis and George, Jr. They resided in St. Augustine and at their St. Johns River plantation, Hibernia, on Fleming Island. Francis Philip Fleming, son of Lewis and his second wife Margaret Seton, was born in 1841 in Panama Park, Duval County. In 1861, he joined the Second Florida infantry and served in the Civil War armies of Gens. Magruder, Johnston, Hood, and Lee. After the war, he studied law, was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1868, and became a partner in the Jacksonville law firm, Fleming & Daniel (later Fleming & Fleming) In 1871, Francis Fleming married Florida Lydia Pearson, daughter of Bird M. Pearson, justice of the Florida Supreme Court. They had two sons, Francis P. Jr. and Charles Seton Fleming, and one daughter, Elizabeth. With law and politics as his primary interests, Fleming became a noted civic leader in Jacksonville, with increasing activities in state politics as a member of the Democratic executive committee. In 1888, after an arduous gubernatorial campaign during the Yellow Fever epidemic, he defeated the Republican candidate V. J. Shipman. Fleming served as Governor of Florida from 1889 until 1893, the single term then allowed by law. Notable issues and developments during his gubernatorial tenure included the creation of a State Board of Health in 1889, the repeal of the Florida Railroad Commission, attempts at higher education reorganization, adjustment of state revenues, the Farmers' Alliance movement, and the 1891 re-election controversy regarding U.S. Senator Wilkinson Call. After retiring from politics in 1893, Fleming continued to practice law in Jacksonville and developed a strong interest in Floridiana and local history. He edited a two volume work by Rowland Rerick, Memoirs of Florida, helped to incorporate the Florida Historical Society in 1905, contributed several articles to the Society's Quarterly, and became the Society's President in 1907. After a long illness, Francis Philip Fleming died on December 20, 1908. After their father's death, his sons, Francis P. Jr. and Charles Seton, continued the family's law practice. Charles and Elizabeth Fleming also became active in the Florida Historical Society. Charles Fleming contributed articles and served as the Society's Director and Vice-President in 1924-25.

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Acquisition information:

The collection was purchased in 2002

The materials were acquired by UNF Library Special Collections and University Archives on 00/00/2002.

Collection inventory