Tallahassee Established as Territorial Capital (March 4, 1824)

On March 4, 1824, Governor William P. Duval designated Tallahassee as the capital of the Florida territory.

Bird’s-eye view of Tallahassee, 1885.

The map above, published by Norris, Wellge & Company in 1885, provides a bird’s-eye view of the city fifty years after its designation as capital of the Florida territory. According to a census taken in 1825, 996 peopled lived in Leon County. The city’s population at that time probably did not exceed 200.

By 1890, Leon County’s population reached nearly 18,000, while the city limits contained about 2,200 residents. Like many other communities in the late 19th century South, the majority of Tallahassee’s population lived in the rural areas surrounding the city.

In 2017, the city of Tallahassee is home to roughly 190,000 people, with a metropolitan area population of about 378,000.


6 thoughts on “Tallahassee Established as Territorial Capital (March 4, 1824)

  1. Settlers came to Sopchoppy Florida in 1843. I would like to have any information regarding land grants to this area and any other information (and pictures) from 1843-to early 1930s-1940s.

  2. In my opinion, itwould be helpful if this post displayed an image of the actual proclamation. Also, the background story of how the Legislative Council, the previous year, charged two Commisioners to find a new location for the Capital between the Oklocknee and Suwanee rivers and how they chose Tallahassee in the fall of 1823 would add helpful context to Governor Duval’s proclamation. Thank you for your consideration.

      • Thank you for sharing the link to the post from last year, the wording of the proclamation is very interesting. It seems to me that the proclamation just announces the findings of the two commissioners and where the next legistive session will be held. However, I assume the Legislative Council actually codified the location of Tallahassee as the capital at its Session later that year?
        Also, are there any images or transcript available of the Commioner’s report on site location?
        Thank you in advance.

        • Casey – On the commissioners and their work/impressions of the land, see John Lee Williams, The Territory of Florida… (New York: A.T. Goodrich, 1837) and William H. Simmons, Notices of East Florida (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1973 [1822]).

          The State Library (500 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee, 32399) has copies of both books and a published version of William’s “Journal of an Expedition to the Interior of West Florida, October – November, 1823” (Originally published in the Pensacola Gazette and West Florida Advertiser, March 27, April 3, 10, May 29, and June 5, 1824).

          Williams and Simmons were the commissioners appointed by Governor Duval. It would also be worth a trip to the State Archives, located at the same address as the State Library, to look through our collections relating to property records in the territorial and early statehood periods. Descriptions for some of those collections are linked here: http://floridamemory.com/collections/spanishlandgrants/related.php.

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