NAPOLEAN BONAPARTE BROWARD, Florida’s 19th governor, was born in Duval County, Florida, on April 19, 1857. At the age of 12, he became an orphan and had to support himself. He held various odd jobs, such as a farm hand, a steamboat deckhand and pilot, and a logger. Prior to the Spanish-American War of 1898, Broward became known for using his steam tug, the Three Friends, to smuggle arms to Cuban revolutionaries. He entered politics in 1889 as sheriff of Duval County, an office he was reelected to in 1892 and 1896. He also served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives in 1900, and was a member of the Florida Board of Health from 1900 to 1904. On November 8, 1904, he won election to the governor’s office, and on January 3, 1905, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, the draining and development of the Everglades had started, and the Choctawhatchee National Forest was founded. Also, the state’s institutions of higher learning were incorporated into three colleges – the University of Florida, the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes, and the Florida State College for Women. After leaving office on January 5, 1909, Broward was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1910, however he passed away before taking his seat. Governor Napoleon B. Broward died on October 1, 1910 at the age of 53. He is buried at the Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida.
Florida State Archives holds the official papers of Governor Broward.
Museum of Florida History: Florida Governors’ Portraits
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.
Ruthanne Vogel, University of Miami. “William Sherman Jennings, 1863-1920.” Everglades Biographies. Everglades Information Network & Digital Library Florida International University Libraries.