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Call, Richard Keith

A History of Florida


With Jackson in the Creek War. General Richard Keith Call was appointed governor of Florida in 1835. He was a native of Virginia, where his father, Major William Call, had served in the Revolutionary War, but while still a child had removed with his widowed mother to Kentucky. When seventeen years old, he volunteered in a company, of which he was elected lieutenant, to go under Jackson against the Creeks. It was a very hard campaign.

Repeat Coacoochee's submissive, farewell plea. How was the war closed? How long had it lasted? How many American lives had it cost? How many men had been engaged at one time? How many warriors? Tell of the two celebrated generals of this war.

A day's march was a day's fight with a fierce and determined foe. The soldiers became discontented, saying that they were marching to certain death, for if they escaped the rifle and scalping knife, starvation awaited them. Things grew worse instead of better, and when their short term of enlistment was ended, every officer and man in the company except Lieutenant Call himself, returned home. The young lieutenant saw the last one go, then put away his sword and presented himself to General Jackson for duty in the ranks. The general was much moved. Clasping his hand he said, "My son, I knew you would be here." Then, turning to his officers, he exclaimed, "If I had only a regiment of such boys, I would drive the last Indian out of the country."

Outline General Call's early personal history. What act specially endeared him to General Jackson?

Later Experience. The young soldier served in the ranks for the rest of the campaign, but at the end of it received a letter of praise from his general that he valued more than any honor or commission of after years. He was with Jackson through the rest of his military career, with one exception being with him in every battle. Before the opening of the next campaign he was made lieutenant. With the gallant General Butler he was Jackson's aid at the battle of New Orleans and was advanced in rank for gallant conduct.

Practices Law. He came to Florida with Jackson, and when Jackson returned to Tennessee, he remained in the new Territory. Giving up his commission, he studied law and practiced for a while in Pensacola, but was among the first to move to Tallahassee—his home from that time. Both he and General Butler had plantations on the beautiful lake a few miles north of Tallahassee, which they named for their former commander, Jackson.

What were Call's occupations in Florida?

Congressional Delegate. He was sent to Cuba to secure important papers, was a member of the Florida Council, and was the second delegate from Florida to Congress. While in Congress he secured he making of important roads through the Territory, especially the road from Pensacola to St. Augustine. He tried hard to get the government to cut a canal to unite the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, but did not succeed in those efforts.

Indian Fighting. In 1835 he was appointed governor, and during the greater part of his term of office was in the field against the Indians. He not only went himself against the enemy but when money was needed to raise and equip forces to protect the people, he advanced what was necessary from his own purse, at one time keeping up at his own expense a line of posts from the Suwanee to the Eucheeanna.

Removal and Reappointment. He did not feel that the government was protecting the people of Florida as they should be protected, and he believed many mistakes had been made in carrying on the war. He wrote letter after letter to President Van Buren on the subject of the war. These frequent letters displeased the President. Governor Call had for the sake of the people of Florida met trial, danger, and privation, and risked both fortune and life, but he was removed from office, and Judge Robert Raymond Reid was appointed in his place.

What important public trusts were conferred upon him? What public improvements did he champion, and with what success? When did he become governor? How long did he serve? Tell of the interruption in his administration. How was he largely occupied during his governorship?

Governor Reid held the office of governor only a year. When Harrison became President, he reappointed Call, who remained governor until 1844, serving in all, eight years.

Cotton Bales
Cotton Bales

Built St. Marks Railroad. Governor Call took interest in all that concerned the welfare of Florida. He built the first railroad in the State from Tallahassee to St. Marks. St. Marks was then an important port. All the cotton raised in middle Florida and that part of Georgia and Alabama oil the north was carried to port over the little St. Marks railroad.

Who was governor in the year between his two administrations? What important industrial achievement did he accomplish?


  1. Treaty with the Indians for their removal.
  2. Efforts to remove the Tallahassees.
  3. The cases and events loading to the Seminole War.
  4. Write a sketch of Governor Eaton.
  5. Tell of Osceola, his parentage, life, and character. "Osceola's Treaty."
  6. Osceola and General Thompson.
  7. What date is memorable in this war, and for what two events?
  8. Tell the stories of the Dade Massacre, the battle of the Withlacoochee, and the blockhouse siege and rescue.
  9. Tell of the several successive commanders in this war and what of importance was done by each.
  10. Relate the story of the celebrated Indian captives and their escape from Fort Marion.
  11. Tell of the deceptions practiced by the whites and by the Indians.
  12. Describe Taylor's operations against the Indians.
  13. Tell of the successive deportations to the West, and of the several supposed endings of the war.
  14. Coacoochee, his deportation and his negotiations with his followers.
  15. Summary of the war.
  16. Write a sketch of Governor Call's career.
  17. What were the important public improvements for which he labored?
  18. Describe his public services.


  1. Governor Duval's official letters and reports of his travels, among the Indians, as superintendent of Indian affairs, give information of great interest and value.
  2. What is indicated in these chapters as to his character, force, his knowledge of the Indians and his influence over them?
  3. Locate the South Florida reservations assigned to the Indians.
  4. What fame did General Winfield Scott win outside his operations in Florida?
  5. For what was General Taylor most famous?
  6. How were the services of General Jessup in Georgia honored?
  7. How has the memory of each of the following been perpetuated in Florida, Duval, Osceola, Dade, Taylor, Worth?
  8. What seemed the general source of trouble between the whites and Indians
  9. Were the whites also responsible for the trouble?

Excerpt from Part Two, Chapter Ten, "Governor Call" A History in Florida, 1904. Next Section; Table of Contents.


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