THOMAS BROWN, Florida’s only Whig governor, was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on October 24, 1785. He served during the War of 1812 as an aide to General John P. Hungerford. After his military duty, Brown became chief clerk of the post office in Richmond, Virginia. He also invented the post office letterbox while serving as chief clerk. Brown entered politics as a member of the Virginia Legislature, a position he held from 1817 until 1828. In 1828 he moved his family to Florida and continued his career in public service. He served as president of the legislative council in 1838, was a member of the 1839 constitutional convention, and served in the Florida House of Representatives in 1845. On October 2, 1848, Brown was elected Florida’s second governor, and on October 1, 1849, he was sworn into office. During his tenure, the legislature endorsed the building of a plank toll road from Jacksonville to Lake City, and a steamship line was initiated on the St. Johns River. Also, a public seminary in Ocala was authorized, and the state’s transportation system was advanced. After leaving office on October 3, 1853, Brown retired from public service and returned to his home in Tallahassee. Governor Thomas Brown died on August 24, 1867, and is buried at the Old Cemetery in Tallahassee.
Florida State Archives holds the official papers of Governor Brown
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.