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Record Group Number: 000101
Series/Collection Number: .S 581
Creator: Florida. Governor (1893-1897 : Mitchell)
Title, Dates: Correspondence 1893-1896.
Amount: 11.75 cubic ft.
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Organization/Arrangement: Alphabetical.
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Biographical/Historical:     Henry Laurens Mitchell was born in Jefferson County, Alabama on September 3, 1831.  He was educated in the common schools of Alabama and moved to Tampa, Florida in 1846.  Mitchell studied law under Judge James A. Gettis and was admitted to the bar in 1849. He entered the Confederate Army in 1861 and rose to the rank of Captain in the Fourth Florida Infantry.
      After the Vicksburg campaign he resigned his commission to accept a seat in the State Legislature, where he was twice reelected. Interspersed with his service in the legislature, he was employed as editor of the Tampa Florida Peninsular newspaper.  He served as Judge of the Sixth Circuit Court from 1877 to 1888, spent the next two and one-half years as a Justice of the State Supreme Court, and then returned to his former position.  His reputation for strict honesty, as well as his support from conservative farmers who split from the Farmer's Alliance, enabled him to defeat in 1892 the Florida People's Party candidate, Alonzo P. Baskin.
    As governor, Mitchell had a non-activist philosophy of the governor's office and initiated few policies.  The depression of 1893 further curtailed his effectiveness.  In addition to the financial crisis, Mitchell was forced to deal with two great natural disasters. The "Great Freeze" of 1894-95 killed citrus trees in all but the most southern portions of the state and caused a great loss and a major hurricane in 1896 added even more property damage, as well as the loss of many lives.  Mitchell is probably best remembered for his stand against prize fighting, when he unsuccessfully attempted to prevent an 1894 contest between James J. Corbett and the Englishman Charles Mitchell.
    After leaving Tallahassee, Mitchell was elected Clerk of the Hillsborough County Circuit Court, a position which he held for four years until January, 1901.  In May, 1902, he was elected County Treasurer, his last elective post before his death in 1903.

Summary:     Official correspondence of Henry L. Mitchell, sixteenth governor, from 1893-1897.  The records reflect the official, constitutional, and political duties of the Office of the Governor.  The series consists mainly of incoming and outgoing correspondence filed by general subject area, agency or organizational name, or county name.
Finding Aids: Folder listing available.
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Added Entries Mitchell, Henry Laurens, 1831-1903