John Wallace

Lawyer, Deceased Person

1842 – 1908


Who was John Wallace?

John Wallace was a freedman, writer, teacher and Florida Republican politician who served in the Florida Legislature. Freed during the Civil War, he served in the Union Army. As a lawyer he argued cases before the Florida Supreme Court. He putatively wrote Carpetbag Rule in Florida: The Inside Workings of Civil Government in Florida After the Close of the Civil War. At the time of his death, he had held public office longer than any other Black elected official.

Wallace was born in Gates County, North Carolina in 1842. His early life was spent in slavery. In February 1862, he was freed by Federal troops passing through the area. He enlisted in the Second Colored Infantry regiment on August 15, 1863.

He trained at Camp Casey . In December 1863, his unit was assigned to Ship Island, Mississippi. On February 13, 1864, Wallace travelled with his regiment to Key West, Florida. The following week, an exploding cannonball threw dirt into his eyes in a battle near Fort Meyers, causing injuries that would plague him throughout his life. Wallace's outfit joined the Union force blockading Apalachee Bay. They landed near St. Marks on March 4, 1865 and marched on Tallahassee, in time to take part in the debacle at the Battle of Natural Bridge. Walker and the regiment would not reach Tallahassee until August 9, 1865.

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Nov 25, 1908

on July 23, 2013


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