Staff, Metro Jacksonville, November 26, 2017

Harrison Reed is an important political figure in Jacksonville’s (Florida’s?) history that we don’t hear much about today. Born in Littleton, Massachusetts in 1813, Reed was appointed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 to be the Tax Commissioner in Florida to deal with sales and disposition of confiscated Confederate property. In 1868, following the Civil War, Reed was elected governor of Florida, despite the election results being disputed by Southern Democrats. During Reed’s tumultuous tenure, Florida was readmitted to the Union, Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs was appointed as the state’s first African-American Secretary of State, and Reed defended two impeachment resolutions against him.

After his term as governor ended in 1873, Reed relocated to a farm he acquired south of Jacksonville, along the St. Johns River. In Jacksonville, Reed became an editor for the Semi-Tropical magazine. Along with his wife, Chloe Merrick Reed of Fernandina Beach, the couple remained active in civic affairs especially around issues dealing with education and alleviating povert.

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