William Pope Duval (1784 - 1854)

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Birthplace: Richmond City Virginia
Death: Died in Washington City District of Columbia
Managed by: Doug Robinson
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About William Pope Duval


William Pope Duval (September 4, 1784 – March 19, 1854) was the first civilian governor of Florida Territory, serving from April 17, 1822 until April 24, 1834.

Early life

William Duval was born to Major William Duval and Ann Pope in "Mansfield," Henrico Co., Virginia (near present-day Richmond). At the age of 14, he left home and struck out on his own, settling in Bardstown, Kentucky. He began to study law and was admitted to the bar at 19 in 1804. On October 3, 1804, he married Nancy Hynes in Bardstown

Congressional service

During an outbreak of Indian hostilities in 1812, Duval was given command of a company of mounted Volunteers. This service and his law experience helped to win him election to the 13th Congress of the United States in 1812. He served as a representative from the Democratic-Republican Party in the new Kentucky's 10th congressional district until 1815 when he did not seek re-election. He returned to Kentucky and continued to practice law.

Florida Territory

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. During his twelve year administration, he established the territory’s capital at Tallahassee. He was also known for his peaceful dealings with the Native Americans living in the state. He signed the first act of legislation in Florida as a U.S. Territory, dividing it into four territories and establishing the local court system.

Post governorship

Duval continued to live in Florida for a number of years, practicing law. He moved to Texas in 1848. He and his wife had eight children, many of which began families in Texas, most notably Burr Harrison Duval. He died in Washington, D.C. He is interred at the Congressional Cemetery.


Duval County, Florida is named for him.
Duval County, Texas is named for his son, Capt. Burr Harrison Duval

There are many roads across Florida named after him, the most well known being Duval Street in Key West, Florida.

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William Pope Duval, 1st Gov. of Florida Territory's Timeline

Richmond City Virginia
Age 25
Age 29
Age 32
Age 70
Washington City District of Columbia
Congressional Cemetery Washington District of Columbia