Madison S. Perry

Madison Starke Perry
4th Governor of Florida
In office
October 5, 1857  October 7, 1861
Preceded by James E. Broome
Succeeded by John Milton
Member of the Florida Senate
In office
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born 1814
Lancaster County, South Carolina
Died March 1865 (aged 5051)
Rochelle, Florida
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Martha Peay Starke
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States of America
Service/branch  Confederate States Army
Years of service 186163
Rank Colonel
Unit 7th Florida Infantry Regiment

Madison Starke Perry (1814 – March 1865) was the fourth Governor of Florida.

Early life

Madison Starke Perry was born in Lancaster County, South Carolina, the youngest child of Benjamin Perry and his wife Mary Starke. He came to Florida in 1845 and helped found the village of Rochelle, Florida in Alachua County. He became a leader among the plantation owners in Alachua County and was elected to represent the county in the Florida House of Representatives in 1849. The following year he was elected to the Florida Senate.

Perry as governor

Perry ran for and was elected governor in 1856, assuming office on October 5, 1857. As Florida's fourth governor, Perry helped bring about the settlement of a long-standing boundary dispute with Georgia and encouraged the building of railways in the state. During the years before the Civil War, Governor Perry foresaw the possibility that Florida might secede from the Union, and in 1858 he urged the reestablishment of the state’s militia. Florida did secede three years later, on January 10, 1861. Perry then called for the evacuation of all federal troops from Florida, intending to replace them with the militia.

Last years

After his term as governor ended on October 7, 1861, Perry served as colonel of the 7th Florida Infantry Regiment until illness forced his resignation on April 30, 1863. He retired to his plantation in Rochelle, where he died in March 1865, shortly before the end of the American Civil War. Survived by his wife and two children, he was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Rochelle.

The city of Perry, Florida is named in his honor.[1] The city of Starke, Florida may have been named in his honor.[2]


  1. The official web site of the City of Perry, Florida states: Perry, Florida was first called Rosehead and information was unavailable as to how this name was chosen. In 1875 it was changed to Perrytown, after Governor Stark Perry. Later the “town” was dropped and the name became Perry."
  2. The official web site of the City of Starke, Florida states: "George W. Cole, a land speculator and developer, attracted here by the prospects of growth following arrival of the railroad, obtained title to a 40-acre tract on both sides of the railroad for a reputed $100. This section of land is still known in legal description as 'The Original Town of Starke.'...One legend has it that the post office was given the name of Starke in honor of Mr. Cole's Fiancée, whose family name was Starke. Another account has it that the town was named in honor of Madison Starke Perry, Governor of Florida from 1857 to 1861. No one actually knows which version of the naming is correct." The Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources adds that the city may have been named after "Thomas Starke, a slaveholder who once owned much land around the area."
Political offices
Preceded by
James E. Broome
Governor of Florida
October 5, 1857 – October 7, 1861
Succeeded by
John Milton
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