Richard K. Call
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|Richard K. Call|
|Territorial Governor of Florida|
March 16, 1836 – December 2, 1839
|Appointed by||Andrew Jackson|
|Preceded by||John Eaton|
|Succeeded by||Robert R. Reid|
March 19, 1841 – August 11, 1844
|Appointed by||William Henry Harrison
|Preceded by||Robert R. Reid|
|Succeeded by||John Branch|
|Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives from the Florida Territory|
March 4, 1823 – March 3, 1825
|Preceded by||Joseph M. Hernandez|
|Succeeded by||Joseph M. White|
October 24, 1792|
Pittsfield, Prince George County, Virginia
|Died||September 14, 1862
The Grove Plantation
|Spouse(s)||Mary Letitia Kirkman Call|
|Children||Ellen Call Long
Mary Call Brevard
|Occupation||lawyer, land speculator, railroad owner|
Richard Keith Call (October 24, 1792 – September 14, 1862) was an American attorney and politician, the third and fifth territorial governor of Florida. Before that, he was elected to the Florida Territorial Council and as a Delegate to the U.S. Congress from the Florida Territory. In the mid-1830s, he developed two plantations in Leon County, Florida, one of several thousand acres. In 1860 he held more than 120 slaves and was the third-largest slaveholder in the county.
Early life and education
He was born to William and Helen Meade Walker Call and was the nephew of Richard Call, a Revolutionary War hero. Call was born in Pittsfield, Prince George County, Virginia. Shortly after 1800, his widowed mother brought her children and six slaves across the Appalachian Mountains into Kentucky. She eventually settled on land owned by her brother Senator David Walker in Russellville, Kentucky, where Call spent most of his remaining childhood. Following the death of his mother in 1810, Call settled nearby another uncle in Tennessee in order to receive a formal education. In 1813 he left college to take part in the Creek War, which occurred during the period of the War of 1812 with Great Britain. Call was the uncle of Wilkinson Call, who much later became a US Senator.
War and politics
Richard Call came favorably to the attention of General Andrew Jackson, a leader during the war. In 1814, Call was commissioned as a first lieutenant and went to Florida to serve as Jackson's personal aide. He returned with General Jackson in 1821 to establish the territorial government after the United States acquired Florida from Spain by the Adams-Onís Treaty. After resigning from the Army in 1822, Call decided to make Florida his home and opened a legal practice.
Marriage and family
In 1824 Call married Mary Letitia Kirkman of Nashville. Her parents were enemies of Jackson and opposed the marriage. The young couple was married at General Jackson's home, the Hermitage. Of their several children born, two daughters: Ellen Call Long and Mary Call Brevard, survived to adulthood.
Call made the rest of his life in Florida. He was appointed as receiver in the land office, giving him insight into developing areas. He was elected to the Legislative Council of the territory and served as a Delegate to the U.S. Congress. In the 1830s, he bought and developed two plantations in Leon County. One had nearly 9,000 acres and the other, The Grove Plantation, was a square mile in northern Tallahassee.
On March 16, 1836, he was appointed by President Andrew Jackson as the governor of the territory. During his first term, as brigadier general of the territorial militia, he led forces in fighting the Seminole Indians, winning victories at the second and third Battles of Wahoo Swamp in the Seminole War. He was replaced as governor by President Martin Van Buren on December 2, 1839 following a dispute with Federal authorities over their assistance during the war.
In the next presidential campaign, Call crossed party lines to assist Whig William Henry Harrison, who won and appointed him again as governor of Florida. During this second term, which began on March 19, 1841, Call moved the territory closer to statehood. He worked to minimize the financial problems that Florida suffered due to bank failures and a national business depression. He left office on August 11, 1844.
In 1845 Florida became a State, and Call sought election as governor. His role in supporting the election of President Harrison caused him to lose.
Planter and slaveholder
During the 1830s, he had developed two plantations on land that he purchased in Leon County. Orchard Pond Plantation had more than 8,000 acres and was located north of Tallahassee. The Grove Plantation was located on Tallahassee's northern outskirts, where the Governor's Mansion was later constructed. By 1860, Call had more than 100 slaves at Orchard Pond Plantation and was the third-largest slaveholder in the county. He died at The Grove on September 14, 1862.
The Grove Plantation was purchased in 1942 by future Florida governor LeRoy Collins, and his wife Mary Call Darby Collins, a great-granddaughter of Richard Call. Collins later was elected for two terms as governor. Today the Call-Collins Mansion at the Grove is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Collinses sold the house and property to the state for use as a historic house museum.
- Thomas Blake, "Largest Slaveholders from 1863 Slave Census Schedules", Free pages, Rootsweb
- "Call and Brevard Family Papers", Florida Memory, State Library and Archives of Florida
- Morris, Allen and Joan Perry Morris, compilers. The Florida Handbook 2007-2008 31st Biennial Edition. Page 304. Peninsula Publishing. Tallahassee. 2007. ISBN 978-0-9765846-1-2 Softcover ISBN 978-0-9765846-2-9 Hardcover
- Biographical Directory of the US Congress
- Official Governor's portrait and biography from the State of Florida
- Call Family and Brevard Family Papers, Florida Memory, State Library and Archives of Florida. This collection contains correspondence, writings, and other papers of Richard Keith Call and his family from 1788 to 1916.
- Richard K. Call at Find a Grave
|United States House of Representatives|
Joseph Marion Hernández
|Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida Territory's at-large congressional district
Joseph M. White
|Territorial Governor of Florida
Robert R. Reid
Robert R. Reid
|Territorial Governor of Florida