Thomas Brown (October 24, 1785 – August 24, 1867) was an American politician who served as Florida's second Governor from 1849 to 1853. He is buried at the Old City Cemetery in Tallahassee.
Thomas Brown was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, USA, home to George Washington, James Monroe and others. Brown served in the War of 1812, and subsequently became chief clerk of the post office at Richmond. While in that position, he invented the post office letter box. In 1828, Brown moved with his family to Florida.
Brown, a Whig, became auditor of the Florida Territory in 1834, president of the legislative council in 1838, a member of the constitutional convention in 1839, and a member of the first Florida House of Representatives under statehood in 1845.
Governor of Florida
As governor, Brown tried to improve Florida's transportation system. Also, he complained that Florida was making slow progress on education. On January 6, 1853, he signed the bill that provided public support to higher education. East Florida Seminary in Ocala is one of the first schools to use this funding, but it soon closed due the Civil War. In 1866, EFS reopens in Gainesville later to become the University of Florida.
Brown was inspired by the discovery of the rich muck lands of the Lake Okeechobee area and encouraged cattlemen and farmers, protected by the Florida militia, to enter the region. Brown also made an effort to determine whether the Everglades should be drained. During this period, Ft. Myers was developed into a full sized village. In December 1855, Lt. George Hardstuff, on a "survey" of Seminole facilities, ram survey lines across Billy Bowlegs prize banana garden and the Seminole Indians returned to war.
Brown was an active Mason for more than 60 years, serving a long term as secretary in the Tallahassee lodge and compiling a book on Masonry. Governor Brown died in Tallahassee on August 24, 1867.
In 1834, Brown built a hotel in Tallahassee called Brown's Inn located on the west side of Adams St. between Pensacola and Lafayette streets. In 1839 it was known as The City Hotel, The Adelphi in 1840, and later the Morgan Hotel. It was destroyed by fire in 1886.