FRANCIS PHILIP FLEMING, Florida’s 15th governor, was born in Panama Park, Florida, on September 28, 1841. He was educated by private tutors on his family’s plantation on St. Johns River. He enlisted in the Confederate army and served with the 2nd Florida Regiment. He also fought in numerous battles in Virginia, and was promoted to the rank of first lieutenant. After his military service, Fleming studied law, became a partner in a Jacksonville law firm, and earned a statewide reputation for his legal expertise. Fleming entered politics as a member of the State Democratic Executive Committee, a position he held for a number of years. In 1888 he won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected Governor of Florida. During his tenure, the State Board of Health was founded due to the Yellow Fever crisis that enveloped most of the state. The Florida Railroad Commission was abolished, state revenues were regulated, educational programs were restructured, and a commission was created to supervise state land grants for an Indian reservation. After leaving office, Fleming retired from public service, but continued to stay active in his law practice. He also served as president of the Florida Historical Society in 1907. After a long illness, Governor Francis P. Fleming passed away on December 20, 1908.
The Florida Historical Society library has a collection of personal papers of Francis P. Fleming.
Florida State Archives holds the official papers of Governor Fleming as well as papers dealing with his work on behalf of Confederate Veterans.
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.