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Record Group Number: 000101
Series/Collection Number: .S 161
Creator: Florida. Governor.
Title, Dates: United States Direct Tax refund records, 1891-1901.
Amount: 1.75 cubic ft.
Medium Included:
Organization/Arrangement: Subdivided into (1) Administrative correspondence, arranged chronologically; (2) Individual claims, arranged alphabetically by the name of the original property owner; (3) Miscellaneous records, arranged alphabetically; and (4) Vouchers, arranged numerically.
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Biographical/Historical:     During the Civil War, the U.S. Federal government attempted to raise financial support in Florida's northeast section which was occupied by Union troops.  The areas affected were St. Johns County and the city of St. Augustine, Nassau County and the city of Fernandina, Duval County and the city of Jacksonville, and Monroe County and the city of Key West.  An Act of Congress approved August 5, 1861 authorized agents of the U.S. Treasury Department to collect a direct tax in the state.  Property of citizens in the occupied areas was subject to seizure in payment of the $77,000 levied on Florida.  In some instances, property abandoned in places like Fernandina and St. Augustine was sold to the tax agent or his associates.
    The U.S. direct tax was eventually ruled unconstitutional and thirty years after its passage, an Act of Congress approved March 2, 1891 stated that the U.S. government would reimburse all affected states and territories.  The money appropriated for reimbursement was to be paid to the governor, but not until the state legislature authorized acceptance of the amount appropriated in full satisfaction of claims against the U.S.  In Florida, Joint Resolution No. 6 of the Laws of Florida, 1891, accepted the appropriated amount.
    Claims of individuals for direct tax reimbursement were to be filed with the governor within six years after the passage of the Act (March 2, 1897).  The applicant for reimbursement was required to prove that he or she was the legal owner or heir to the legal owner of the property.  Once the claim was validated, the governor issued a state voucher drawn upon the Merchants National Bank of Jacksonville.
Summary:     The types of records include administrative correspondence, claims of individuals for tax refunds, and state vouchers issued for refund of direct taxes.  The administrative correspondence, 1891-1900, is both incoming and outgoing.  Governor Francis P. Fleming, Governor Henry L. Mitchell, and Mitchell's private secretary David Lang corresponded with the direct tax claimants, their attorneys, Florida's Congressional delegation, and U.S. Treasury Department agents concerning the direct tax refund procedure.  The claims, 1891-1901, contain a variety of documentation certifying their validity and ownership, including applications for refunds, receipts for checks issued, statements vesting powers of attorney, and letters of administration of estates.  In addition, the series contains records specific to the City of Fernandina and Nassau County claims, Merchants National Bank of Jacksonville monthly statements and balances from 1894-1897, and a copy of the transactions of the United States Direct Tax Commission for Florida from 1862-1865.
Finding Aids: Folder listing available, including index to claimants.
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Subject Access Fields: United States Direct Tax Commission for Florida.
Taxation United States
Saint Johns County (Fla.)
Monroe County (Fla.)
Duval County (Fla.)
Nassau County (Fla.)
Added Entries Florida Governor (1889-1893 : Fleming)
Florida Governor (1893-1897 : Mitchell)