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A Guide to the Francis P. Fleming Papers

Finding aid created by Katrina Fields

Digitization funded with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
April 2008

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Fleming, Francis P. (Francis Philip), 1841-1908
Title: Francis P. Fleming Papers
Dates: 1863-1901
Abstract: Correspondence of the Francis P. Fleming and the Fleming family, and the manuscript for A Memoir of Captain C. Seton Fleming written by Francis P. Fleming.
Extent: 0.2 Linear feet. 1 box.
Identification: MS 243
Language(s): English
Online ContentItems from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the UF Digital Collections. For more information please see the note below.

Biographical/Historical Note

Francis Phillip Fleming was born September 28, 1861 in Panama Park, Florida to Lewis Fleming and Margaret Seton Fleming. The Flemings were a prominent Florida family in the 19th century and early 20th century, starting when George Fleming immigrated from Ireland in 1785. George Fleming established the plantation Hibernia on an island in the St. John's River. The island was later named Fleming Island. George Fleming's son, Lewis Fleming, was father to Francis P. Fleming and Charles Seton Fleming.

In 1861, Francis P. Fleming and his brother, Charles Seton, left Hibernia to join the Second Florida Infantry of the Confederate Army. Charles was killed on June 3, 1864 near Gaines Farm. After the Confederate defeat, Francis returned to Hibernia. He was admitted to the bar in 1868, and he started a law practice in Jacksonville, Florida, with his half-brother Louis I. Fleming and Col. J. J. Daniel, a former captain of the Second Florida Infantry.

Francis Fleming married Florida Lydia Pearson on May 23, 1871. They had five children: Francis P. Fleming, Jr., Charles Seton Fleming (named for Francis Fleming's brother killed during the war), Margaret, Florida L., and Elizabeth. Around 1877, Fleming began work on a memoir for his brother Charles Seton, which was published in 1884.

In 1889 Fleming was elected as the fifteenth governor of Florida. One of his first acts was to establish a State Board of Health in response to a serious outbreak of yellow fever that had spread in Jacksonville and around the state, particularly in 1888. Fleming served as governor until 1893. He spent the last years of his life practicing law and helped to reestablish the Florida Historical Society, becoming its president in 1906. He died in Jacksonville on December 20, 1908.

Scope and Content

The majority of the documents in the Fleming Papers are correspondence to and from various members of the family. Most of the letters date around 1888, before Francis P. Fleming was elected governor. There are no gubernatorial papers included in the collection. The correspondence primarily covers day-to-day family concerns. Subjects include marriages, health, traveling, property, birthdays, and causal greetings between family members. A few of the correspondents and names mentioned frequently in the collection are Francis P. Fleming, Lydia Pearson Fleming, Francis P. Fleming, Jr., Charles Seton Fleming, Louis Fleming, Tilly (Francis P. Fleming's aunt), Matilda (F.P. Fleming's sister), James J. Daniel (partner in the law firm Fleming and Daniel).

Of particular interest are those letters that pertain to the yellow-fever epidemic of 1888. There are many references throughout the year to family and friends who are sick with fever, and the letters also described the quarantines. Included are thirteen letters from Fleming to his sons Seton and Frank, written from various Florida locations during the 1888 gubernatorial campaign. The sons were in South Carolina during a yellow fever epidemic in Florida. Additional letters to Mrs. Lydia Fleming describe the yellow fever epidemic in Jacksonville.

In addition to the family correspondence, the collection also includes the original manuscript for A Memoir of Captain C. Seton Fleming, Francis P. Fleming's account of his brother who died during the Civil War. It is very similar to the final, published version of the memoir. Three other miscellaneous items in the collection include: a deed for ten dollars worth of land, a brochure of famous Confederate men, and a typed copy of a letter of Perry's Brigade for May 9, 1863. The letter is not directly related to the family.

Access or Use Restrictions


The collection is open for research. Each of the three folders of correspondence have a duplicate folder containing photocopies of the contents. Please only use the photocopies to prevent additional damage to the original documents.

Related or Separated Material

The Florida Historical Society has a collection of Francis P. Fleming papers. A printed copy of A Memoir of Captain C. Seton Fleming is also available in UF Special Collections.

Administrative Information

Alternate Form of Material

Items in this collection have been digitized and are available via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) as part of the Pioneer Days in Florida project, which is generously supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Francis P. Fleming Papers, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Contents List

Box Folder
11 Letters, Various. Copies. 1870-1901 [bulk 1888]
12 Letters to Francis P. Fleming, Jr. Copies. 1888
13 Letters to Mrs. Francis P. Fleming. Copies. 1888
14 Letters, Various. Originals. 1888
15 Letters to Francis P. Fleming, Jr. Originals. 1888
16 Letters to Mrs. Francis P. Fleming. Originals. 1888
17 Brochure "Southern Confederacy." May 9, 1863
18 Manuscript: Memoir of Capt. C. S. Fleming. circa 1877

Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Armed Forces -- Officers -- Biography
Confederate States of America Army -- Military life
Confederate States of America Army Florida Infantry Regiment, 2nd
Fleming, Charles Seton 1875-1937 -- Correspondence
Fleming, Francis P. (Francis Philip) 1841-1908 -- Correspondence
Fleming, Francis P. Jr -- Correspondence
Fleming, Lydia -- Correspondence
Florida -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Florida -- Politics and government -- 1865-1950
Governors -- Florida -- Correspondence
Governors -- Florida -- Election
Lawyers -- Florida -- Jacksonville -- Correspondence
Political campaigns -- Florida
Soldiers -- Florida
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Casualties
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives, Confederate
Virginia -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Yellow fever -- Florida -- Jacksonville

For further information, please contact: Special Collections Access Services.

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