Sixty-five years ago, a venerable man in Skaneateles, New York, set himself to the task of recording the events of his life. What William Marvin wrote between the pages of a lined composition notebook was more than an autobiography. It was a chapter in American history. What is even more significant is that much of what Marvin recounted pertained to the history of Florida during the critical years 1835-1866, a period which found the nation challenged with the issues of union, disunion, and reunion. The story which follows, then, is the story of a man who served Florida during the territorial period and in its first years as a fledgling state. From his vantage point, as United States district attorney and judge of the Southern District of Florida at Key West from 1835 to 1863; as a representative of Monroe County in the territorial council; as a delegate to the first constitutional convention at Saint Joseph in 1838-9; as provisional governor of Florida in 1865; and as Florida’s senator-elect in 1866, Marvin was able to view at first hand the panorama of a period of Florida’s history as it unfolded before him. The student of Florida history can be grateful that he recorded what he saw. New York may claim him as her native son, but Florida can honor him by preserving the autobiography of one of her distinguished leaders.
Kearney, Kevin E.
"Autobiography of William Marvin,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 36:
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol36/iss3/3