The Biography of John Wayne Mixson: Florida’s 39th Governor

The Biography of John Wayne Mixson: Florida’s 39th Governor

2022 Samuel Proctor Award Winner

John Wayne Mixson served as a Florida state representative, Florida lieutenant governor, and briefly as the 39th governor of Florida. The results of his work while filling these roles continue to positively impact the state of Florida and its citizens.

Author Sid Riley was a political columnist, managing editor, and part owner of The Jackson County Times newspaper. For this book, Riley conducted extensive oral history interviews with John Wayne Mixson, and his wife Margie Mixson.



Birth of John Wellborn Martin

1884 – John Wellborn Martin, the 24th Governor of Florida (1925-1929) was born in Plainfield in Marion County on this date. Martin passed the bar in 1914 and began practicing law in Jacksonville soon after. He was elected Mayor of Jacksonville in 1917 and served until 1923. He was sworn in as Governor on January 6, 1925 and focused much of his work on building new roads and infrastructure in the growing state, as well as expanding state-funded public schools. After leaving office he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the U.S. Senate and died in Jacksonville in 1958.

David Shelby Walker, Florida's 8th governor

1815 – David Shelby Walker, Florida’s 8th governor was born on this date in Russelville Kentucky. He moved to Leon County in 1837 and was elected to the first State Legislature in 1845 as a Senator, serving again in 1848 in the House. Later, Walker served as the mayor of Tallahassee and also the Register of Public Lands. He was a Florida Supreme Court Justice before being elected Governor in 1865. Walker was a circuit court judge until his death in 1891. He is buried in the Saint John’s Episcopal Church Cemetery in Tallahassee.    

Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was born

1857 – Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Florida’s 19th governor was born on this date in Duval County. Broward had an interesting career prior to being governor, first working on steamboats in and around Jacksonville eventually becoming one of the best captains in the region. He was appointed sheriff of Duval County and gained influen...ce among the city’s politicians and other powerful individuals. Broward was elected to the State Legislature in 1900 and ran for governor in 1904.

William Pope Duval became the first territorial Governor of Florida

1822 – April 17: William Pope Duval became the first territorial Governor of Florida. In 1821, Florida became a U.S. Territory. Duval was named United States Judge for the East Florida district on May 18, 1821. On April 17, 1822, President James Monroe appointed him as the first non-military governor of the territory, succeeding General Andrew Jackson. He was reappointed by President John Quincy Adams and President Andrew Jackson.

Marcellus Lovejoy Stearns assumed the office of Governor of Florida

1874 - Marcellus Lovejoy Stearns, who was only 34 years of age, assumed the office of Governor of Florida (acting) on this date, following the death of Governor Ossian B. Hart. Stearns became the 11th governor (1874-1877) of the state. He was born in Lovell, Maine, and came to Florida as a member of the Freedman’s Bureau after having lost an arm while on duty with the Union Army. Stationed in Quincy, Stearns remained in Gadsden County following his release from military service.

Florida’s first governor native to the state was born

1821 – Ossian B. Hart, Florida’s first governor native to the state was born in Jacksonville on this date. His father Isaiah Hart was one of the founders of the city of Jacksonville and they lived on a plantation on the banks of St. Johns River. He served in the Florida House of Representatives and held a seat on the Florida Supreme Court before being elected the state’s 10th governor on January 7th, 1873. Shortly after being elected however, Hart fell ill and died in Jacksonville on March 18th, 1874.

Subscribe to RSS - Governor