EDWARD ALYSWORTH PERRY, Florida’s 14th governor, was born in Richmond, Massachusetts, on March 15, 1831. He attended Yale University, but left before earning his degree. Perry settled in Greenville, Alabama, where he taught school and continued to study law. After receiving his law degree, he moved to Pensacola, Florida, and established a private practice. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Perry joined forces with the Confederate army, even though his family back in Massachusetts were loyal Unionists. He served as captain of the Pensacola Rifle Rangers, was commissioned a colonel of the 2nd Florida Regiment, and was promoted to brigadier general in August 1862. He fought in numerous battles, and was seriously wounded at the battle of Frazier Farm and at the Wilderness battle. After the war, Perry returned to his law practice and entered into politics. He won the 1884 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected Governor of Florida. During his tenure, a new state constitution was sanctioned in 1886, six new counties were founded, and a pension for veterans was established. Also, Perry was a strong proponent of public education, establishing several schools during his term, among them Rollins College, Stetson University, an agricultural school in Lake City and two training schools. The State Board of Education and the State Railroad Commission were established. Perry was not eligible to succeed himself under the conditions of the new constitution, and retired from public service. Governor Edward A. Perry died on October 15, 1889, and is buried at the St. John’s Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida.
Florida State Archives holds the official papers of Governor Edward A. Perry
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.