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by Donald J. Ivey

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Madison Starke Perry (18141865). Oil portrait over photograph by Claribel Jett, ca. 1960. Florida State Capitol, Tallahassee.

PREFACE The information contained in this chronology has been researched as accurately and as thoroughly as possible. Whenever there has occurred a discrepancy between sources regarding dates and circumstances of events, I have opted to use the most probable and consistently reliable of all of the sources. At times, however, I have had no choice but to deduce or hypothecate the various possibilities involving events described in this chronology, in which case I have added the words "possibly" or "probably" to my narrative. This chronology is the product of nearly two years of research in archives and libraries across the State of Florida. It is, I believe, one of the most thorough and complete biographical accounts of any local community leader in Florida during the Civil War era. It has been my privilege to bring this narrative to you, the readerand most importantlyit has also been a true labor of love for myself.

D.J. Ivey December 20, 1984


Chapter I.



The Early Years (1814-1847 CE) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Florida Planter & Politician (1847-1856) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5


Governor: The Ante-Bellum Years (1857-1860) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8


Governor: Secession & War (1861) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Confederate Soldier (1862-1863) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13


Retirement & Death (1863-1864) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15


1814 Born in Lancaster County, Old Camden District, the State of South Carolina, the youngest of six children of Benjamin Perry, Jr. and Mary Starke Perry. He is believed to have been born after his father's death in 1813.

c.1825-1829 Attends the Franklin Academy in Lancaster, where he is known as "Stark" by his classmates. One of these classmates, Dr. J. Marion Sims, would later go on to establish both the Women's Hospital of New York City and an early forerunner of the SloanKettering Cancer Institute.

1831 Student Rolls show Perry as a sophomore at South Carolina College in Columbia, South Carolina. January 8 Elected a regular member of the Euphradian Society of South Carolina College, a student organization promoting public speaking, debating and literature. While Perry would distinguish himself as an orator in this society, he would nonetheless be censored for improprieties on many occasions. April 2 Participates in a Society debate entitled, "Is Civil Law Binding on the Conscience?" Perry's position on the subject is not recorded. May 28 Summer graduating. c.1840 cousin. 1845 Elected Recorder of the Society. Probably about this time Perry leaves South Carolina College without

Marries Miss Mary Peay Starke of South Carolina. She was probably a distant

Madison Starke Perry, Jr., Perry's first child, born in South Carolina.

Chapter II: Florida Planter & Politician (1847-1856)

1847 Perry and his family move to the new State of Florida, where they establish a large plantation at Rochelle near Micanopy in Alachua County. Perry also begins to practice law in the state, and he soon becomes well known throughout Florida as an orator and debater.

1847 or 1848 Sarah J. Perry, Perry's second and youngest child, born in Florida.

1849 October 1 Elected to the Florida State Senate from the 15th Senatorial District (Alachua County) as a Democrat.

Candidates Madison S. Perry L.G. Gaines

1850 October 26 United States Census records for Alachua County, Florida list Perry as a Farmer with holdings in real estate valued at $1,500.00. He also is the owner of 17 slaves. November 25 Perry takes his seat in the Senate of the General Assembly of the State of Florida at its 5th session, held in the State Capitol Building in Tallahassee. November 26 Appointed to the following Standing Committees of the Senate: the Committee on the State of the Commonwealth, the Committee on Taxation and Revenue (as chairman), the Committee on Corporations, the Committee on the Militia, the Committee on Claims & Accounts and the Committee on Agriculture. The size and prestige of these appointments attests to the considerable influence and support which Perry held within the body.

December 31 The Senate session is adjourned, sine die. In this session, Perry established himself as a strong advocate of states' rights and internal improvements.

1852 December 28 Plays a major part in persuading the State Legislature to authorize the move of the Alachua County seat from Newnansville to a new location, subsequently named Gainesville after General Edmund P. Gaines, a hero of the Seminole Wars.

1855 November 5 Re-elected to the Florida State Senate from the 15th Senatorial District (Alachua County) as a Democrat:

Candidates Madison S. Perry Andrew J. Priess

November 26 Perry takes his seat in the Senate of the General Assembly of the State of Florida at its adjourned session, held at the capitol in Tallahassee. November 28 Appointed to the following Senate Standing Committees: the Committee on the Judiciary, the Committee on the State of the Commonwealth (as Chairman), the Committee on Federal Relations, the Committee on Corporation, (as Chairman) and the Committee on Taxation & Revenue. November 30 Appointed to a joint Select Committee of the House and Senate to act "upon the subject of census and apportionment" of the State. December 15 The Senate session is adjourned sine die.

1856 April 16 Nominated unanimously as the Democratic candidate for Governor of the State of Florida at the Democratic State convention held at Madison Courthouse; after several ballots Perry received all 122 votes of the Convention. c.July In this year also, Perry serves as one of the founding resident members of the Florida Historical Society.

October 6

Elected Governor of the State of Florida.

TABLE 3: OFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA 1856 GENERAL ELECTION Total Votes Cast 6,214 5,894 Percentage of Total Votes Cast 51.3 48.7

Candidates Madison S. Perry (Democratic Party) David S. Walker (American Party)

Chapter III: Governor (The Ante-Bellum Years) (1857-1860)

1857 October 5 Takes the oath of office as the 4th Governor of the State of Florida on the East Front of the Capitol in Tallahassee. F.L. Villepique continues in office as Secretary of State, as do Mariano D. Papy as Attorney General, Theodore W. Brevard as Comptroller of Public Accounts, Charles H. Austin as Treasurer and Hugh A. Corley as Registrar of Public Lands and Superintendent of Public Instruction. Also during this year, the second public seminary opens in Tallahassee as The Seminary West of the Suwannee. This school was the early forerunner of The Florida State University.

1858 May 8 Colonel Gustavus Loomis, United States Commandant of the Department of Florida, issues a proclamation declaring the close of the Third Seminole War. Most of the remaining Florida Indians are subsequently removed to Indian Territory (which later becomes the State of Oklahoma). November 22 In his first annual message to the State Legislature, Perry warns against the encroaching powers of corporations in the state, calling upon the citizens of Florida to give serious consideration to the growing power of corporate influence or else "bow the willing neck of the yoke of unscrupulous monopolists." December 21 New River and Suwannee Counties established. New River Florida's 35th County, was later renamed Bradford, in honor of Captain Richard Bradford, the first Florida Confederate officer killed in action. Suwannee, the 35th County, was Creek Indian word for "echo." December 31 Clay County established; Florida's 37th County, it is named in honor of Henry Clay, "the Great Compromiser."

1859 January By joint resolution of the Senate and House of Representatives, the State Legislature authorizes a general vote upon the subject of cession of part of Florida west of the Apalachicola River to Alabama, thereby attempting to resolve an issue of long standing in that portion of the State. However, due to the growing sectional conflict between North and South, the issue was eventually forgotten and the referendum was never held.

April Acting through the agency of Colonel John W. Pearson, Perry successfully negotiates a loan for the state totaling $241,300.00, payable in 12 months from banks in Charleston and Savannah. The loan, from which the state realized a total of $222,015.00, was used to pay the veterans of the Third Seminole War of 1856-1859. November 28 In his second annual message to the State Legislature, Perry foresees the possibility of the secession of Florida from the Union, declaring that "There are good grounds for the hope that most of the Southern States .will not consent to see the General Government pass into hands avowedly hostile to the South. If such is their purpose, it is not unlikely that they will prepare for the emergency of the approaching Presidential election." In addition, he also strongly advocates the reorganization of the State Militia so that it "should be thoroughly organized, armed and officered to be able to render efficient service in cases of sudden and sufficient emergency." November-December Benjamin F. Whitner, Jr. of Florida and Gustavus J. Orr of Georgia mark a boundary line (the Whitner-Orr line) which eventually results in the settlement of a long standing boundary dispute between the two states.

1860 The Eighth United States Census lists the total population of Florida at 140,424 inhabitants with a white population of 77,747, a non-white population of 62,677 and a total value on holdings of real and personal property of $73,000,000.00. June The Florida Railroad, Florida's first cross state railroad line, opens. The railroad runs from Fernandina on the east coast to Cedar Keys on the west coast. June 21 United States Census records for Alachua County, Florida list Perry as Governor of Florida with holdings in real estate valued at $30,000 and a personal estate valued at $36,000. He is also the owner of 33 slaves. November 7 Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th President of the United States; not a single vote is cast for him in Florida, where his name does not even appear on the ballot. November 26 In his third and last annual message to the Legislature, Perry issues a stirring call to action "The crisis, long expected by men of observation and reflection, has at length come. A series of aggressions and insults, commencing forty years ago, by the Northern States against the South, and increasing in audacity as time rolled on and the South forbore, has been pushed to a point at which further forbearance of the South would justify the allegation that we

are afraid to resist . . . The proper action is secession from our faithless, perjured confederates." He recommends that a convention of the people be called to "protect and preserve the rights, honor and safety of the people of Florida." November 30 Perry signs a bill of the Legislature calling a convention of the people of the State of Florida "for the purpose of taking into consideration the dangers incident to the position of this State in the Federal union, and the measures which may be necessary to provide against the same." December 14 Appoints Robert C. Williams as Comptroller of Public Accounts, replacing Theodore W. Brevard. December 20 South Carolina secedes from the Union. December 22 Elections are held for delegates to the Florida Secession Convention; by an overwhelming margin, radical secessionists are elected.


Chapter IV: Governor (Secession & War) (1861)

1861 January 3 The Convention of the People of the State of Florida assembles in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the Capitol in Tallahassee. January 6-7 Florida troops, facing no opposition, occupy the Federal arsenals at Apalachicola and Chattahoochee and capture Fort Marion in St. Augustine. January 9 Mississippi votes to secede from the Union.

January 10 The Florida Secession Convention adopts the Ordinance of Secession withdrawing the State of Florida from the Union by a vote of 62 to 7. January 11 The Ordinance of Secession is ratified; John C. McGehee, President of the convention, declares Florida "a free and independent nation." Perry is too ill from an attack of neuralgia to attend the ratification ceremony; John Milton, the Governor-elect, attends in his stead. January 12 Florida and Alabama troops occupy Fort Barrancas, Fort McRee and the Navy Yard at Pensacola. Fort Pickens on nearby Santa Rosa Island, however, refuse to surrender. January 14-18 Federal troops garrison Fort Taylor at Key West, making it a strategic Union coastal base, and Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas, west of Key West. January 21 In Washington, Florida's U.S. Congressmen, Senators Stephen R. Mallory and David Levy Yulee and Representative-at-Large George S. Hawkins, withdraw from office. February 8 Baker and Polk Counties established Baker, the 38th county, named in honor of James M. Baker, Judge of the Suwannee Circuit and later Associate Justice of the State Supreme Court; Polk, the 39th county, is named in honor of President James K. Polk. February 28 Florida joins the Confederacy and ratifies the provisional constitution of the Confederate States of America. March 2 Appoints John B. Galbraith as Attorney General, replacing Mariano D. Papy.

March 4 Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States in Washington, D.C.


March 12 Perry receives Florida's first formal troop requisition, receiving 10 volunteer companies which are later reorganized as the First Florida Infantry Regiment. April 12 Union reinforcements land at Fort Pickens, Pensacola in order to maintain Federal control of the strategically located fort. April 12-13 Confederate artillery units under the command of General P.G.T. Beauregard fire upon Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The next day the Fort surrenders - an action which marks the beginning of the American Civil War. April 15 President Lincoln proclaims that a state of insurrection exists and calls for 75,000 militia volunteers to serve for a term of 3 months. April 19 Lincoln proclaims a naval blockade of the Confederate States. The blockade begins off the coast of Florida in June. October 7 Perry's term as Governor expires; he is succeeded by John Milton of Jackson County, a political adversary and fellow Democrat. Perry subsequently retires to his plantation in Alachua County upon leaving office.


Chapter: Confederate Soldier (1862-1863)

1862 January 14-28 Serves as delegate from Alachua County to the 2nd (Called) Session of the Convention of the People of Florida in Tallahassee. April 26 Elected Colonel of the 7th Regiment Florida Infantry Volunteers in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States; the 7th Florida is mustered into service at Gainesville. June 11 The 7th Florida is ordered to proceed from Camp Finegan near Jacksonville to Chattanooga, Tennessee for service in the Army of the Tennessee. July December The 7th Florida is employed in skirmishing and picket duty at Loudon and Knoxville, Tennessee. The regiment later serves in the Kentucky campaign under Major General Edmund Kirby-Smith. July 3 -October 31 Regimental records show the 7th Florida to be stationed at Cumberland Gap, near the Tennessee-Kentucky boundary line. October December Perry is granted a 60-day leave of absence by General Smith due to impaired health caused by the strain of the recent campaigns; he subsequently returns to his Florida plantation. November 14 Regimental records show the 7th Florida's new station as Knoxville, where the regiment is engaged in guarding bridges on the East Tennessee & Virginia Railroad.

1862-1863 Winter Perry's health deteriorates further when he becomes afflicted with a deepseated cold that soon turns into a bronchial infection.

1863 January 19 Perry is detailed as a member of the Court Martial at the Headquarters of the Department of East Tennessee at Knoxville.


Chapter VI: Retirement and Death (1863-1865) April 30 Tenders resignation as Colonel of the 7th Florida to Major General Samuel Cooper, Confederate Adjutant General in Richmond, Virginia. Perry explains that he is forced to resign due to "the enfeebled condition of my health." May 1 Perry sends a supplemental letter explaining his resignation to General Cooper. He explains that he is resigning due to "physical disability to discharge the duties of the office;" he recalls "I have been a humble but earnest co-laborer with those who advocated Equality in the Union or Independence out of it;" he goes on to note that "Ex-Governors & Ex-Congressmen make better politicians than soldiers." May 5 Surgeon's certificate states that Perry is "unfit for the duties of the field because of Chronic Diarrhea, and a bronchial infection of several months continuance." May 6 Relieved of duty as a member of the Court Martial for the Department of East Tennessee. June 2 Resignation is accepted by the Confederate War Department in Richmond.

Perry retires, feeble and in ill health, to his plantation.

1865 March Dies at the Perry plantation at Rochelle near Micanopy in Alachua County, Florida. He was 50 or 51 years of age. Buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery near Micanopy.



A Journal of the Proceedings of the Senate of the General Assembly of the State of Florida, Fifth Session, 1850; Adjourned Session, 1855; Ninth Session, 1858; Adjourned Session of the Ninth Session, 1859; Tenth Session, 1860, Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Sentinel Office, 1850, 1855, 1858, 1859, and 1860 respectively. Alachua County Election Returns, 1849-1850 and 1855, Florida State Archives, Tallahassee, Florida. "Captions and Records of Events," Field and Staff, 9 Florida Infantry (Confederate), National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C. Cash, W.T., The Story of Florida, Volume II, New York, The American Historical Society, Inc., 1938. Catalogue of the Euphradian Society of the South Carolina College, Columbia, South Carolina: Steam Power Press, 1859. Dickison, Mary Elizabeth, Dickison and His Men: Reminiscences of the War In Florida, Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press, 1962. Edwards, Lucy Ames, compiler, Grave Markers of Duval County, Florida 1808-1916, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Chapter D.A.R., 1955. Eighth United States Census, 1860, Free and Slave Population Schedules, Alachua County, Florida. Euphradian Society Debate Book, South Carolina College, 1831, McKissick Museums, Columbia, South Carolina. Evans, Clement A., editor, Confederate Military History, Vol. XI, Atlanta, Georgia: Confederate Publishing Co., 1899. Frech, Mary L., editor, Chronological and Documentary Handbook of the State of Florida, Dobbs Ferry, New York: Oceana Publishers, Inc.7-1973. Floridian and Journal, April 25, 18 56, Tallahassee, Florida. Microfilm copy, Florida State Archives, Tallahassee. Gammon, William Lammar, "Governor John Milton of Florida, Confederate States of America," Master's thesis, University of Florida, P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, Gainesville, Florida, September, 1948.


Linton, Calvin D., editor, The Bicentennial Almanac, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1975. Marchman, Watt, "The Florida Historical Society 1856-1861, 1879, 1902-1940," Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. XIX, no. 1, July 1940, pgs. 3-65. Marks, Henry S., Who Was Who in Florida, Huntsville, Alabama: The Strode Publishers, 1973. Morris, Allen, The Florida Handbook, 1983-1984, Tallahassee, Florida: The Peninsular Publishing Co., 1984. Miller, Mrs. Albert H. and Mary Gesham, Alachua County Cemetery Records, Volume I, Gainesville Chapter D.A.R., c. 1968. Perry, John Ben, Jr., "The Perry Families of Lancaster & Kershaw (Old Camden Dist.) S.C. and Yalabousha & Grenada Counties, Mississippi," unpublished manuscript, Lancaster County Public Library, Lancaster, South Carolina. "Perry, Madison S.," military service records as Colonel, 7th Fla. Inf. (Confederate); National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C. Proctor, Samuel, editor, Florida A Hundred Years Ago, Coral Gables, Florida: Civil War Centennial Commission, 1963. Rerick, Roland H. Memoirs of Florida, Volume I, Atlanta, Georgia: The Southern Historical Association, 1902. Roll of Students of South Carolina College, 1805-1905, Columbia, South Carolina: The State Company Printers, 1905. Roster of State and County Officers Commissioned by the Governor of the State of Florida, 1845-1868, Books G,H,J,K, and M, Florida State Archives, Tallahassee, Florida. Seventh U.S. Census, 1850, Free and Slave Population Schedules, Alachua County, Florida, microfilm copy. Sims, J. Marion, The Story of My Life, Lancaster County Public Library, Lancaster, south Carolina. Sobel, Robert and John Raimo, Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States 1789-1978, Volume I, Westport, Connecticut: Meckler Books, 1978. Robertson, F.L., Soldiers of Florida in the Seminole Indian, Civil, and Spanish-American Wars, Live Oak, Florida: Democratic Book and Job Print, 1903.


The People of Lawmaking in Florida 1822/1983, Office of the Clerk, Florida House of Representatives, Tallahassee, Florida. Tuttle, Steven, D., Assistant Archivist, McKissick Museums. Reply to letter requesting information regarding Madison S. Perry's attendance at South Carolina College, Columbia, South Carolina, January 10, 1984.