Skip to main content

Fleming Family Papers

Identifier: 2002.003

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the personal correspondence of Fleming Family members and other correspondents circa 1879-1930.

Most of the letters are incoming correspondence from relatives and friends to the Francis Philip Fleming family members. The core of the collection are condolence letters sent to Mrs. Francis P. Fleming, wife of the Governor, after his death on December 20, 1908.

There are only two letters in the collection from the Governor, sent to his vacationing wife in 1881. These letters are included in Mrs. Fleming's correspondence. Other Fleming family members represented in the collection are daughter Elizabeth, son Seton, and son-in-law Frank P. Hamilton.

One letter written by Frank Hamilton in 1908 is of special interest for it's glimpse of life in Jacksonville in the early twentieth century. As a newcomer to Florida and recently hired associate of the Fleming law firm, Hamilton relates his personal observations of the Fleming Family and eyewitness accounts of the bustling activity and renewed vitality of the city, only seven years after the Great Jacksonville Fire of 1901. Hamilton later married Elizabeth Fleming, daughter of the Governor.

All items are originals. Most letters are legible, with the letters from the late 1800's partially fading. Typed transcriptions of selected letters available.


  • Created: 1879 - 1930

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research by appointment only. Please contact to schedule an appointment.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in the collection may be subject to copyright and are to be used for private study, scholarship, or research in accordance with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code). Use of reproductions of copyrighted works in excess of " fair use," may result in the user’s liability for copyright infringement and be subject to the civil and criminal penalties of federal law. Visit the United States Copyright Office's website at for further information

Biographical or Historical Information

The Fleming family were early Northeast Florida settlers. George Fleming came to Florida, via Charleston, South Carolina, from Ireland ca. 1785 and became a large landowner after receiving a number of grants of land from the Spanish government.

In 1791, he married Sophia Fatio, daughter of a St. Johns River planter, Francis Fatio. The Fleming family grew to one daughter, Mary, and two sons, Lewis and George, Jr. They resided in St. Augustine and at their St. Johns River plantation, Hibernia, on Fleming Island.

Francis Philip Fleming, son of Lewis and his second wife Margaret Seton, was born in 1841 in Panama Park, Duval County. In 1861, he joined the Second Florida infantry and served in the Civil War armies of Gens. Magruder, Johnston, Hood, and Lee. After the war, he studied law, was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1868, and became a partner in the Jacksonville law firm, Fleming and Daniel (later Fleming and Fleming)

In 1871, Francis Fleming married Floride Lydia Pearson, daughter of Bird M. Pearson, justice of the Florida Supreme Court. They had two sons, Francis P. Jr. and Charles Seton Fleming, and one daughter, Elizabeth.

With law and politics as his primary interests, Fleming became a noted civic leader in Jacksonville, with increasing activities in state politics as a member of the Democratic executive committee. In 1888, after an arduous gubernatorial campaign during the Yellow Fever epidemic, he defeated the Republican candidate V. J. Shipman. Fleming served as Governor of Florida from 1889 until 1893, the single term then allowed by law.

Notable issues and developments during his gubernatorial tenure included the creation of a State Board of Health in 1889, the repeal of the Florida Railroad Commission, attempts at higher education reorganization, adjustment of state revenues, the Farmers' Alliance movement, and the 1891 re-election controversy regarding U.S. Senator Wilkinson Call.

After retiring from politics in 1893, Fleming continued to practice law in Jacksonville and developed a strong interest in Floridiana and local history. He edited a two volume work by Rowland Rerick, Memoirs of Florida, helped to incorporate the Florida Historical Society in 1905, contributed several articles to the Society's Quarterly, and became the Society's President in 1907.

After a long illness, Francis Philip Fleming died on December 20, 1908.

After their father's death, his sons, Francis P. Jr. and Charles Seton, continued the family's law practice.

Charles and Elizabeth Fleming also became active in the Florida Historical Society. Charles Fleming contributed articles and served as the Society's Director and Vice-President in 1924-25.


1.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The materials were acquired by UNF Library Special Collections and University Archives in 2002

Related Materials

Electronic versions of some collection materials are available on the World Wide Web as part of the Florida Heritage Collection:

In Memoriam: Francis Philip Fleming. Florida Historical Society Quarterly, v. 2 no. 1 (April 1909). (Extensive biography, with photograph) Rerick, Rowland, Memoirs of Florida. Atlanta, Ga.: Southern Historical Association, 1902.(Information on the administration of Governor Fleming) Brinton, Daniel. A guide-book of Florida and the South, for tourists, invalids, and emigrants. Philadelphia : Geo. Maclean ; Jacksonville, Fla. : C. Drew, 1869. (Description of post-Civil War life at the Fleming family plantation, Hibernia) Articles by Florida Historical Society President Fleming: Report of President Fleming to the Florida Historical Society annual meeting, November 19, 1907. Florida Historical Society Quarterly, v.1 no. 1 (April 1908). Major George Rainsford Fairbanks, Florida Historical Society Quarterly, v. 1 no. 1 (April 1908). George West Wilson, Florida Historical Society Quarterly, v. 1 no. 2 (July 1908). The State Archives of Florida holds the Manuscript Collections, Francis P. Fleming, Correspondence / Florida Confederate Veterans Papers. Archival materials include public relations and advertising records, oral histories, photographs, and corporate records from 1950-2001. Serious researchers will want to search their Online Catalog and/or view their Visitor Information page. ( The Florida Historical Society holds the Francis P. Fleming Papers, 1694-1912 (bulk 1810-1912). Archival materials include his correspondence, Seton and Fleming letters and documents, including some from the Spanish period in Florida, and an original land grant from England in 1694. ( Monographic publications: Fleming, Francis P. Memoir of Capt. C. Seton Fleming of the Second Florida Infantry, C.S.A.... Jacksonville, Fla. : Times-Union Pub. House, 1884. (Fleming describes, through personal letters and text, the last three years of his brother's life during the Civil War) Biddle, Margaret Seton Fleming. Hibernia, the unreturning tide. New York ; Washington, D.C. : Vantage Press, c1974. Price, Eugenia. Margaret's story : a novel. New York : Lippincott and Crowell, c1980. (Fictionalized account of life of Margaret Seton Fleming (1813-1878)) Spencer, Donald D. Historic Plantations of Northeast Florida : a Pictorial Encyclopedia. Ormond Beach, Fla. : Camelot Pub. Co., c2003.

Fleming Family Papers
Eileen D. Brady.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the UNF Library Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1 UNF Drive
Jacksonville FL 32224 US