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Duncan U. Fletcher

Duncan Upshaw Fletcher
United States Senator
from Florida
In office
March 4, 1909 – June 17, 1936
Preceded by William Hall Milton
Succeeded by William Luther Hill
21st Mayor of Jacksonville
In office
Preceded by Henry Robinson
Succeeded by William M. Bostwick
25th Mayor of Jacksonville
In office
Preceded by J. E. T. Bowden
Succeeded by George M. Nolan
Personal details
Born January 6, 1859
Americus, Georgia
Died June 17, 1936 (aged 77)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Anna Louis Paine
Alma mater Vanderbilt University
Profession Lawyer
Religion Unitarian Universalism

Duncan Upshaw Fletcher (January 6, 1859 – June 17, 1936) was an American lawyer and politician of the Democratic Party. Senator Fletcher was the longest serving U.S. Senator in Florida's history.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Political career 2
  • Senate career 3
  • Honors 4
  • United States Senate Elections 5
  • Notes 6
  • External links 7

Early life and career

Born near Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated in 1880 and was admitted to the bar the following year. He set up a law practice in the city of Jacksonville, Florida. He was a founding member of the Jacksonville Bar Association and its first president. He was an early investor in 1,300 acres (5.3 km2) in the area now called Fort Lauderdale, more specifically Wilton Manors, to start the company known then as Florida Fiber, a sisal hemp farming operation. He was general consul for several railroads, including the Florida East Coast Railroad, which was operated by Henry Flagler, formerly president of Standard Oil. In 1896, Fletcher was one of three attorneys appointed to administer the bar examination to James Weldon Johnson, who in addition to his many other accomplishments was the first black admitted to the Florida Bar by examination. It was Senator Fletcher who moved that Johnson be admitted to the bar over the objection of another examiner.

Political career

Fletcher became active in municipal politics and was elected to city council in 1887 and served as mayor from 1893 to 1895 and from 1901 to 1903. He rebuilt Jacksonville after the devastating Great Fire of 1901. In 1893, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. From 1900 to 1907, Fletcher chaired the Board of Public Instruction of Duval County. In 1908, he served as president of the Gulf Coast Inland Waterways Association and later, the Mississippi to Atlantic Waterway Association.

Senate career

In 1909, the Florida Legislature elected Fletcher, a Democrat, to the United States Senate, where he served and was re-elected for four consecutive terms. In 1913, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him chairman of the United States commission to investigate European land-mortgage banks, cooperative rural credit unions, and the betterment of rural conditions in Europe. President Wilson also appointed Fletcher as a delegate to the International High Commission. Senator Fletcher served on a number of government committees, including the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, where he was chairman from 1916 to 1919, the Committee on Commerce subcommittee investigating the Titanic disaster, the high profile chairmanship of the United States Senate Senate Banking and Currency Committee in 1932, with a mandate to examine the causes of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. His committee, generally known as the Pecora Commission, began a major process of reform of the American financial system and resulted in the passage of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that instituted disclosure laws for corporations seeking public financing plus the 1935 formation of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a mechanism to enforce the provisions of the new Acts. In 1928, Senator Fletcher introduced legislation to create the Everglades National Park, which was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934.

Fletcher died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C. and was interred in the Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville.

Senator Fletcher was a trustee of John B. Stetson University and of St. Luke's Hospital Association at Jacksonville. He was vice president of the Children’s Home Society of Florida and honorary president of the Southern Commercial Congress. He also was a member of the American Bar Association and the Florida State Bar Association and president of the Florida Society. In 1907, Senator Fletcher founded the First Unitarian Church in Jacksonville, Florida.


United States Senate Elections

Florida United States Senate election, 1908

  • Duncan U. Fletcher (D) was nominated for the United States Senate a in primary election on June 16, 1908, and elected by the legislature in its next convening.

Florida United States Senate election, 1914:[1]

  • Duncan U. Fletcher (D) (inc.) – (99.5%)

Florida United States Senate election, 1920

  • Duncan U. Fletcher (D) (inc.) – (69.5%)
  • John M. Cheney (R) – (26.0%)
  • M.J. Martin (Soc.) – (2.5%)
  • G. A. Klock (R-White) – (2.0%)

Florida United States Senate election, 1926

  • Duncan U. Fletcher (D) (inc.) – (77.9%)
  • John M. Lindsay (I) – (12.8%)

Florida United States Senate election, 1932

  • Duncan U. Fletcher (D) (inc.) – (99.8%)



External links

United States Senate
Preceded by
William Hall Milton
United States Senator (Class 3) from Florida
Succeeded by
William Luther Hill
Political offices
Preceded by
Henry Robinson
Mayor of Jacksonville
Succeeded by
William M. Bostwick
Preceded by
J. E. T. Bowden
Mayor of Jacksonville
Succeeded by
George M. Nolan
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