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Encyclopedia > William Moseley

William Dunn Moseley (February 1, 1795January 4, 1863) was an American politician. A Democrat and North Carolina native, Moseley became the first governor of the state of Florida, serving from 1845 and 1849.

Moseley was born at Moseley Hall in Lenoir County, North Carolina. The son of Matthew and Elizabeth Herring Dunn Moseley and a descendant of colonial official Edward Moseley, he graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1818, receiving his master's degree in 1821. In 1817, Moseley became a tutor at the university. After studying law, he was admmitted to the bar and began practice in Wilmington. Like many lawyers of the time, law was not his only profession; Moseley also farmed and was a schoolteacher. In 1822, Moseley married Susan Hill; the couple had six children.

From 1829 to 1837, Moseley represented his native county in the North Carolina state senate, serving as speaker for four terms between 1832 and 1835. He lost the Democratic nomination for governor in North Carolina by three votes. In 1835, Moseley moved to Lake Miccosukee in Jefferson County, Florida, after purchasing a plantation there.

In 1840, Moseley was elected to the territorial House of Representatives. In 1844, he won a seat in the territorial Senate. On March 3, 1845, Florida became the twenty-seventh state of the Union. Later that year, in the first statewide election, Moseley won the election for governor. He beat the well-known former governor Richard Keith Call, becoming the first governor of the state of Florida.

Moseley was sworn in on June 25, 1845. During his term, the new state government was established, with the state Capitol building being completed during his first year in office. Moseley oversaw the state's role in the Mexican-American War, and resolved conflicts between white settlers and Seminole Indians. He also encouraged agriculture, supporting new citrus, avocado, tobacco, and cotton industries. During his administration, the federal government built Fort Jefferson on one of the coral keys off the southern coast of his state and Fort Clinch on Amelia Island near modern day Fernandina Beach, Florida.

He was a strong supporter of states' rights and favored the establishment of state-funded public schools.

Constitutionally limited to a single term, Moseley returned to his plantation after ending his term on October 1, 1849. Two years later, he settled in the town of Palatka in Putnam County, where he operated a citrus grove. Moseley died on January 4, 1863, and was buried at the West View Cemetery in Palatka.

After his death, a daguerreotype was used to paint a portrait of him. It was presented by two of his daughters to be hung in a state portrait gallery at the Florida capitol.

External links

Official Governor's portrait and biography from the State of Florida (http://dhr.dos.state.fl.us/museum/collections/governors/about.cfm?id=8)

Preceded by:
John Branch
Governors of Florida Succeeded by:
Thomas Brown

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