Territorial Legislative Council Records, 1822-1845

About These Records

Florida became a United States territory in 1821, but it did not become a state until 1845. During the territorial years, Florida's government derived its authority from the federal government rather than from a state constitution, and many of its key officers were appointed rather than elected.

The legislature initially consisted of only 13 members in one chamber, all chosen by the President of the United States. Florida voters began choosing their own legislators in 1826, and in 1838 Congress established a second legislative chamber, the Florida Senate. By the time Florida became a state in 1845, the territory's two-house legislature had grown to almost 50 elected representatives.

This collection contains more than 3,000 records documenting the work of Florida's territorial legislators from their first meeting in Pensacola in 1822 to their final meeting in Tallahassee in 1845, after which a new state government took control of Florida's affairs.

The records include drafts of bills and resolutions, committee reports, petitions from citizens and correspondence with officials from the executive branch.

Florida was a young territory whose citizens were eager to build up infrastructure, grow the population and support profitable industries. These records discuss roads, ferries, bridges, banking, the creation of new counties, relations with local Native Americans and requests to incorporate businesses and institutions are some of the most prominent subjects.

Research Hints

Use the search box to find records involving specific individuals, communities or topics. You may also use the index to browse the records by topic, county or year.

When searching for specific people, bear in mind that some names may be spelled differently in these records. Rodgers could be Rogers, for example, or O'Neal could be O'Neill. Try multiple spellings of names to get the best results.

Also, remember that Florida's county boundaries have changed many times over the years as new counties were created. This map documents those changes over time and can help you choose the right county for your search.