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William Pope Duval

William Pope Duval
1st Territorial Governor of Florida
In office
April 17, 1822 – April 24, 1834
Appointed by James Monroe
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
Preceded by Andrew Jackson
as Military Governor
Succeeded by John Eaton
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1813 – March 3, 1815
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Benjamin Hardin
Personal details
Born (1784-09-04)September 4, 1784
(near present-day Richmond, Virginia)
Died March 19, 1854(1854-03-19) (aged 69)
Washington, D.C.
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Nancy Hynes Duval

William Pope Duval (September 4, 1784 – March 19, 1854) was the first civilian governor of Florida Territory, succeeding Andrew Jackson who had been military governor. In his twelve-year governorship, from 1822 to 1834, he divided Florida into four territories, established the local court system, and chose Tallahassee as the territory's capital because of its central location. Duval County, where Jacksonville is located, Duval Street in Key West, and Duval Street in Tallahassee, Florida are named for him.


  • Early life 1
  • Congressional service 2
  • Florida Territory 3
  • Post-governorship 4
  • Legacy 5
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7

Early life

William Duval was born to Major William Duval and Ann Pope in "Mansfield," Henrico County, 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 10th Congressional District of Kentucky 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 named the small Indian village of Tallahassee as the site of the territory's capital, on account of its central location. 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.


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 whom began families in Texas.

All three of his sons were distinguished Texans: Burr Harrison Duval, Thomas Howard DuVal, and John Crittenden Duval.

William Pope Duval died in Washington, D.C, and is interred at the Congressional Cemetery.


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


  1. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 111. 

External links

  • Official Governor's portrait and biography from the State of Florida
  • Territorial Governor Duval's Message to Legislative Council, 1822 The message is in Duval's own handwriting; from the State Library and Archives of Florida.
  • Allen, William B. (1872). A History of Kentucky: Embracing Gleanings, Reminiscences, Antiquities, Natural Curiosities, Statistics, and Biographical Sketches of Pioneers, Soldiers, Jurists, Lawyers, Statesmen, Divines, Mechanics, Farmers, Merchants, and Other Leading Men, of All Occupations and Pursuits. Bradley & Gilbert. pp. 272–273. Retrieved 2008-11-10. 
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
District created
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
Benjamin Hardin
Political offices
Preceded by
Andrew Jackson
as Military Governor of Florida
Territorial Governor of Florida
Succeeded by
John Eaton
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