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Henry L. Mitchell

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The "famously foreboding face" in the official portrait of Henry Mitchell, the 16th Governor of Florida.

Henry Laurens Mitchell (September 3, 1831October 14, 1903) was an American politician who was the sixteenth Governor of Florida from 1893 to 1897.

Mitchell was born near Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama. When Mitchell was 15 years old, he and his family moved to Tampa, where he later studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1849 at the age of 18. When the American Civil War began, Mitchell resigned from his post as state attorney general and enlisted in the Confederate army. (In fact, Mitchell was such a strong supporter of Southern nationalism that in 1865 he had two members of his Masonic Lodge expelled for fighting in the Union Army).

In July 1863, Mitchell left the Confederate army to take a seat in the Florida House of Representatives, to which he had been elected while serving. He was reelected in 1873 and 1875.

His brother, Charles Mitchell, later became the Commissioner of Land and Immigration in Florida, the modern equivalent of the Commissioner of Agriculture.

In 1888, Mitchell was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court, serving as an associate justice until 1891, when he resigned to start campaigning for governor. He won the election. During his term as governor, Mitchell was paid $3500 per year.

After he left office, Mitchell returned to Hillsborough County, being elected as clerk of the circuit court and subsequently county treasurer there. He died in Tampa on October 14, 1903 and was buried at Oaklawn Cemetery.

In 1915, Henry Mitchell Elementary School opened and was named after him.

Preceded by:
Francis P. Fleming
Governors of Florida Succeeded by:
William D. Bloxham
second term
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