Monday, May 01, 2006

Gov. Harrison Reed

Took oath on June 8, 1868; recognized by the federal commander on July 4, 1868; served until January 7, 1873
July 4, 1868 to January 7, 1873
Harrison Reed was born at Littleton, Mass., on August 26, 1813. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1861 as an employee of the Treasury Department and was sent to Florida by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as a tax commissioner to deal with seized Confederate property. Reed gained a reputation for honesty in this office and was appointed Florida’s postal agent by President Andrew Johnson in 1865. He held this position until he was elected governor under the new 1868 Constitution.
Harrison Reed’s administration was a stormy one because he had to cope with a number of factions within his political party, the Republicans. Two serious attempts to impeach him originated with leaders of his own party. At the end of his term, Reed settled down on his farm along the St. Johns River. In 1875, he became editor of the Semi-Tropical, a monthly magazine devoted to southern agricultural and economic development. He died in Jacksonville on May 25, 1899.

A leader of the Florida "moderate" Republicans together with T.W. Osborn, Reed received the party's nomination for Governor after the close of the Constitutional Convention in Feb. 1868. Soon after Reed assumed office, Reed and Osborn split over patronage issues and financial schemes. Reed survived several impeachment attempts engineered by his nemesis. Hamilton signaled his rejection of the Osborn Ring when he allied himself with the Governor in late 1869. The endorsement of the embattled and isolated Governor proved to be of no value to Hamilton at the August 1870 Republican nominating convention.

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