Derrell Roberts


Florida means various things to many people. For some it means restored health and for others it has built fortunes, but for Joseph E. Brown it revived a sagging political career. By 1876, Brown had served as Georgia’s Governor for an unprecedented eight year period which included the Civil War era. He had been Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court for nearly two years and earlier had served terms as Superior Court Judge and State Senator. In 1876, Brown was ready to rejoin the Democratic party which he had bolted in 1868 to vote for U.S. Grant for President, an action which almost ruined his career. He joined the Liberal Republican movement in 1872 and this made a reunion with the Democratic party easier. His service in Florida in 1876 made him a full-fledged Democrat again and helped carry him to Washington as one of Georgia’s United States Senators from 1880 to 1890.