MADISON STARKE PERRY, Florida’s fourth Governor, was born in Lancaster County, South Carolina, in 1814. The exact date is unknown. He was educated at the Franklin Academy in Lancaster, and in 1845 moved to Florida where he operated a plantation and became known as a gifted orator. Perry entered politics in 1849 as a member of the Florida House of Representatives. He also served in the Florida State Senate in 1850. On October 6, 1856, he was elected governor of Florida, and on October 5, 1857, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, the Florida railroad was finished, several new counties in the state were founded, and a lengthy boundary disagreement with Georgia was finally resolved. Perry anticipated the likelihood of the secession movement occurring, and in 1858 advocated for restoring the state militia. On January 10, 1861, Florida seceded from the Union and Perry’s administration supplied resources and men for service with the Confederate Army. After leaving office on October 7, 1861, Perry retired from public service. In 1862 he was commissioned a colonel of the 7th Regiment of the Florida Infantry Volunteers, serving until April 30, 1863, when he resigned due to poor health. Governor Madison S. Perry died in March 1865 (exact date unknown) at his home in Rochelle, Florida.
Florida State Archives holds the official papers of Governor Madison Starke 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.
University of Florida holds some papers of Governor Perry