William Pope Duval, 1st Gov. of Florida Territory

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William Pope Duval, Gov. of Florida

Birthplace: Richmond City Virginia
Death: March 19, 1854 (69)
Washington City District of Columbia
Place of Burial: Congressional Cemetery Washington District of Columbia
Immediate Family:

Son of Maj. William DuVal and Nancy Anne DuVal
Husband of Nancy Duval
Father of Captain Burr H. Duval; Thomas Howard Duval; Marcia Pope Paschal; John Crittenden Duval; Florida G Everett and 1 other
Brother of Lucy Pope Price; Captain John Pope Duval; George Howard Duval and Nathaniel Pope Duval
Half brother of Susan Elizabeth Adams

Managed by: Private User
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About William Pope Duval, 1st Gov. of Florida Territory


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.

sketched by Washington Irving under the name of "Ralph Ringwood"

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

September 4, 1784
Richmond City Virginia
Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky, United States
September 15, 1820
Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky, United States
October 1826
Leon USA, Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, United States
March 19, 1854
Age 69
Washington City District of Columbia
Congressional Cemetery Washington District of Columbia