Ion Farris

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Ion Lowndes Farris
Ion Farris.jpg
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 18th district
In office
Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
1909; 1913
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 18th district
In office
1907–1909; 1913
Preceded byHenry Holland Buckman
Succeeded byJ. Turner Butler; Frank L. Dancy
Personal details
BornSeptember 14, 1878
Savannah, Georgia
DiedNovember 10, 1934(1934-11-10) (aged 56)
Neptune Beach, Florida
Political partyDemocratic

Ion Lowndes Farris (September 14, 1878 – November 10, 1934) was an American politician and attorney from the state of Florida. He served as both a member of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate. He served twice as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives at a time when the legislature meet only once every two years, in both 1909 and 1913 and President of the Florida Senate in 1913. He was an ardent supporter of former Governor of Florida Napoleon Broward, and led the effort to get Broward County, Florida named after him. He also led efforts to reduce the amount of Committees in the Senate. In 1916, he made a run for Governor, but lost the Democrat primary. However, he led efforts to drain the Everglades, and forced the other candidates to take a position on the issue.


Farris was born in 1878 in Savannah, Georgia. While he was still a child, he moved to Marion County, Florida with his family.[1] Farris dropped out of high school to enter the workplace; he first went to work with his father as a boilermaker. He studied stenography and later began an apprenticeship with a law firm.[2]

He moved to Jacksonville, Florida at 21, and lived there the rest of his life.[2][3] He married Allie Liddell in January 1901, and had three children with her; his youngest child was named for William Jennings Bryan, with whom he had a close friendship.[2] His nephew, C. Farris Bryant, became the 34th Governor of Florida.[4]

Legal career[edit]

Farris began his legal education studying at the law offices of Herbert Anderson and W.K. Zewadski.[1] After his studies, he passed the bar exam and became an attorney.[1] He specialized as a criminal defense lawyer.[5]

Political career[edit]

Florida House[edit]

Farris was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1907, taking over the seat previously held by Henry Holland Buckman.[6] He served until 1909, when Frank E. Butler took over for the 1911 term. He returned to the House in 1913.[6] He served as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives twice, in both 1909 and 1913, at a time when the Florida legislature met only once every two years.[6][7] At the time, he was the youngest person to ever hold the position.[2] In the 1913 bid for the position, he ran with no opposition.[8] As Speaker, he amended the bill that formed Broward County, Florida to honor former Governor Broward, changing it from its original intended name of Everglades County.[9]

Florida Senate[edit]

After leaving the House in 1913, Farris successfully ran for the Florida Senate that same year. Once there, he sponsored efforts to remove a number of committees and re-organize the law making the process into what he saw as a more streamlined effort.[10] He sat on multiple committees, including the Judiciary B, Temperance, and Municipality Committees.[11]

Gubernatorial run[edit]

Farris ran for Governor of Florida in 1916. His campaign slogan was "Back to Broward", referring to the policies of former Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward,[12] and his platform included draining the Everglades so that the land could be commercially developed. Farris lost the Democratic primary, but forced the other candidates in the race to address the drainage, successfully making it an election issue.[13]

Political views[edit]

Farris identified as a progressive.[14] He advocated for home rule and sponsored legislation that gave local governments' greater control over their own organization.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Jackson, Stephen (2007). "A Guide to the Ion L. Farris Campaign Scrapbook". George A. Smathers Libraries. Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d "Senator Ion Lowdes Farris" (PDF). Legislative Blue Book of Florida. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Legislature. 3: 56. 1915. Retrieved 14 September 2010.
  3. ^ Morris, Allen (25 November 1956). "Cracker Politics". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota, Florida. The New York Times Company. p. 3. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
  4. ^ Colbert, Haines (26 May 1960). "Bryant's 4-Year Fight Ends". The Miami News. Miami, Florida. Cox Enterprises. p. 9A. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Convicts' Trial Nearing Close". Sarasota Herald. Sarasota, Florida. The New York Times Company. 17 March 1930. p. 4. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  6. ^ a b c Ward, Robert (21 July 2010). "Members of the Florida House of Representatives by County 1845-2010" (PDF). Tallahassee, Florida: Office of the Clerk of the Florida House of Representatives. p. 69. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  7. ^ Morris, Allen (18 July 1948). "Simple House Rules Will Benefit to People of the State: Short Savings". St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Florida. Times Publishing Company. p. 48. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  8. ^ "Ask Bryan to Address Legislature on New Law". The Weekly Miami Metropolis. Miami, Florida. 11 April 1913. p. 8. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  9. ^ Reese, J. H (16 May 1913). "Carved from Dade County". The Weekly Miami Metropolis. Miami, Florida. p. 7. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  10. ^ "Useless Committees be Abolished to Save Time of Legislators: Senator Farris of Jacksonville Plans Reorganization of Legislature to Promote Efficiency". The Weekly Miami Metropolis. Miami, Florida. 26 March 1915. p. 5. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  11. ^ "Records of the Florida Senate" (PDF). Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Senate. 1913. pp. 89–92. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  12. ^ "'Glade Drainage is the Issue Says Farris". The Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Florida. Cox Enterprises. 14 February 1916. p. 1. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  13. ^ Vogel, Ruthanne (2010). "Everglades Biographies: Ion L. Farris". Reclaiming the Everglades. Miami, Florida: Florida International University. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
  14. ^ "Progressives Control Florida Legislature by a Large Majority". The Weekly Miami Metropolis. Miami, Florida. 11 April 1913. p. 6. Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  15. ^ National Civic Review. 4. National Civic League. 1915. p. 653. Retrieved 9 September 2010.

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