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Francis P. Fleming Papers

Identifier: MS 243

Scope and Content

The majority of the documents in the Fleming Papers are correspondence to and from various members of the family. Most of the letters date around 1888, before Francis P. Fleming was elected governor. There are no gubernatorial papers included in the collection. The correspondence primarily covers day-to-day family concerns. Subjects include marriages, health, traveling, property, birthdays, and causal greetings between family members. A few of the correspondents and names mentioned frequently in the collection are Francis P. Fleming, Lydia Pearson Fleming, Francis P. Fleming, Jr., Charles Seton Fleming, Louis Fleming, Tilly (Francis P. Fleming's aunt), Matilda (F.P. Fleming's sister), James J. Daniel (partner in the law firm Fleming and Daniel).

Of particular interest are those letters that pertain to the yellow-fever epidemic of 1888. There are many references throughout the year to family and friends who are sick with fever, and the letters also described the quarantines. Included are thirteen letters from Fleming to his sons Seton and Frank, written from various Florida locations during the 1888 gubernatorial campaign. The sons were in South Carolina during a yellow fever epidemic in Florida. Additional letters to Mrs. Lydia Fleming describe the yellow fever epidemic in Jacksonville.

In addition to the family correspondence, the collection also includes the original manuscript for A Memoir of Captain C. Seton Fleming, Francis P. Fleming's account of his brother who died during the Civil War. It is very similar to the final, published version of the memoir. Three other miscellaneous items in the collection include: a deed for ten dollars worth of land, a brochure of famous Confederate men, and a typed copy of a letter of Perry's Brigade for May 9, 1863. The letter is not directly related to the family.


  • Creation: 1863-1901



The collection is open for research. Each of the three folders of correspondence have a duplicate folder containing photocopies of the contents. Please only use the photocopies to prevent additional damage to the original documents.

Biographical/Historical Note

Francis Phillip Fleming was born September 28, 1861 in Panama Park, Florida to Lewis Fleming and Margaret Seton Fleming. The Flemings were a prominent Florida family in the 19th century and early 20th century, starting when George Fleming immigrated from Ireland in 1785. George Fleming established the plantation Hibernia on an island in the St. John's River. The island was later named Fleming Island. George Fleming's son, Lewis Fleming, was father to Francis P. Fleming and Charles Seton Fleming.

In 1861, Francis P. Fleming and his brother, Charles Seton, left Hibernia to join the Second Florida Infantry of the Confederate Army. Charles was killed on June 3, 1864 near Gaines Farm. After the Confederate defeat, Francis returned to Hibernia. He was admitted to the bar in 1868, and he started a law practice in Jacksonville, Florida, with his half-brother Louis I. Fleming and Col. J. J. Daniel, a former captain of the Second Florida Infantry.

Francis Fleming married Florida Lydia Pearson on May 23, 1871. They had five children: Francis P. Fleming, Jr., Charles Seton Fleming (named for Francis Fleming's brother killed during the war), Margaret, Florida L., and Elizabeth. Around 1877, Fleming began work on a memoir for his brother Charles Seton, which was published in 1884.

In 1889 Fleming was elected as the fifteenth governor of Florida. One of his first acts was to establish a State Board of Health in response to a serious outbreak of yellow fever that had spread in Jacksonville and around the state, particularly in 1888. Fleming served as governor until 1893. He spent the last years of his life practicing law and helped to reestablish the Florida Historical Society, becoming its president in 1906. He died in Jacksonville on December 20, 1908.


0.2 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Correspondence of the Francis P. Fleming and the Fleming family, and the manuscript for A Memoir of Captain C. Seton Fleming written by Francis P. Fleming.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Alternate Form of Material

Items in this collection have been digitized and are available via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) as part of the Pioneer Days in Florida project, which is generously supported by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

The Florida Historical Society has a collection of Francis P. Fleming papers. A printed copy of A Memoir of Captain C. Seton Fleming is also available in UF Special Collections.

A Guide to the Francis P. Fleming Papers
Finding aid created by Katrina Fields
April 2008
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.
Digitization funded with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America