Duncan Upshaw Fletcher
Duncan Upshaw Fletcher was born near Americus, Georgia, on January 6,
1859. Fletcher grew up in Monroe County, Georgia and graduated from
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, in 1880. He also studied law
Fletcher started practicing law in Jacksonville, Florida, where he
quickly began his lifelong political career. He served as a member of the
city council in 1887. A few years later, the promising lawman was elected
to the State house of representatives. Fletcher also served as mayor of
Jacksonville from 1893-1895, and 1901-1903; as chairman of the board of
public instruction of Duval County from 1900-1907; as president of the
Gulf Coast Inland Waterways Association in 1908, and, later, of the
Mississippi to Atlantic Waterway Association.
Fletcher was appointed and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the
United States Senate for the term commencing March 4, 1909. He was
reelected in 1914, 1920, 1926 and 1932 and served from March 4, 1909,
until his death on June 17, 1936. In Congress Senator Fletcher
distinguished himself as chairman of the Committee on Printing; the
Committee on Commerce; the Committee on Transportation Routes to the
Seaboard; the Committee on Banking and Currency and various other posts.
He was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 as chairman of the
United States commission to investigate European land-mortgage banks,
cooperative rural credit unions, and the betterment of rural conditions in
Europe. In 1916 the Senator was a delegate to the International High
Commission at Buenos Aires, Argentina.
South Floridians may best remember Senator Fletcher for his support of
the Everglades National Park movement. In December of 1928 he introduced
legislation to create the Park. In spite of opposition from others in
Congress and local landowners at home, this legislation was approved May
25, 1934 and was signed into law by President Roosevelt on May 30,
Senator Fletcher died in office 1936 in Washington, D.C. He was buried
in Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville, Florida.
Biography prepared by Gail Clement, Florida
Excerpt from Senator
Duncan Fletcher's letter to Minnie
Moore-Willson, September 6, 1913. From Minnie Moore-Willson Papers,
University of Miami.
"My interest in the Seminoles dates
back a number of years, -- in fact even before I was a member of the
Florida Legislature. The character and habits of these people form an
invaluable and integral part of Florida history. I formed a resolution
long ago to do what I could in their behalf--at least, that is to say, to
see that this great Government should mete to them simple justice if
Photograph of Senator Fletcher and two constituents, John and
Lena Cypress, 1931.
Photo courtesy of Florida
Bureau of Archives & Records Management, Florida Photographic