|David Levy Yulee|
January 21, 1861
The secession of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi took on stark meaning to the rest of the United States on this date in 1861.
Unofficially led by Senator Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, a group of U.S. Senators and Representatives from the seceded states resigned from their posts in the U.S. Congress. Among the men in the group were Senators David Levy Yulee and Stephen R. Mallory and Representative George S. Hawkins, all of Florida. It was reported that Mallory had tears in his eyes as he delivered his farewell address from the floor of the Senate Chamber.
The three men were among the most distinguished Floridians ever to serve the state in Washington D.C.
David Levy Yulee, for example, was a leading Florida planter, businessman and industrialist. He built the first railroad to link the Atlantic Coast of the state with the Gulf. Cars had just begun rolling the full length of the railroad from Fernandina on the Atlantic to Cedar Key on the Gulf when the secession crisis erupted. Before the war ended he would see one of his houses burned to the ground and great damage done to his commercial interests. His name is memorialized today by Levy County.
|Stephen R. Mallory|
|George S. Hawkins|