William Dunn Moseley, date unknown

According to a Cultural Resource Survey conducted by Historic Property Associates in 1981, this home located in the city of Palatka was built in 1875 by Dr. Andrew Wood, at least that is what an article in The Eastern Herald claimed back then. The most widely claimed notion is that the home was actually built in 1845 and was owned by the State of Florida’s first elected governor, William Dunn Moseley.

William Dunn Moseley was born on February 1, 1795, at his family’s home “Moseley Hall” in Lenoir County, North Carolina. He was of entirely English ancestry, all of which had been in America since the days of the original thirteen colonies and was a distant relative of William Moseley, the immigrant who came in 1649 and built Greenwich near Norfolk, Virginia.

Moseley graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1821 and pursued a career in law, opening a practice in Wilmington. From 1829 to 1837, he represented Lenoir County in the North Carolina Senate, serving as speaker for four terms between 1832 and 1835.

After losing a heated election campaign for governor of North Carolina, Moseley moved his family to Lake Miccosukee in Jefferson County, Florida, after purchasing a plantation there. In 1840, he was elected to the territorial House of Representatives. In 1844, he won a seat in the territorial Senate.

On March 3, 1845, Florida was admitted as the twenty-seventh state of the Union. In the first statewide election, Moseley won the election for governor of Florida, beating the well-known former governor of Florida Territory, Richard Keith Call, becoming the first governor of the state of Florida.

As governor, Moseley encouraged agriculture in the state by supporting new citrus, avocado, tobacco, and cotton industries, was a strong supporter of states’ rights and favored the establishment of state-funded public schools. His term coincided with the start of the Mexican War and skirmishes with the Seminoles. The State Capitol was also completed and fully occupied in the first year of his administration.

Constitutionally limited to a single term, Moseley returned to his plantation after his term ended on October 1, 1849. Two years later, he settled in Palatka where he operated a citrus grove. Moseley died on January 4, 1863, and was buried at the West View Cemetery in Palatka.

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