Distinguished Lecture Series
James M. Denham
Florida Founder William P. Duval: Frontier Bon Vivant
William P. DuVal (1784-1854) hailed originally from Virginia but matured on the Kentucky frontier before being appointed territorial governor of Florida in 1822. He founded the territorial capital of Tallahassee, presided at the first meetings of the legislative council, and oversaw relations with the Seminoles. DuVal was part frontiersman and part sophisticate, at home in the wilds of Kentucky, Florida, Texas, and Washington City. He delighted in telling tall tales, jests, and anecdotes that epitomized America’s expansive, democratic vistas, captivating among others Washington Irving and James Kirke Paulding, who used DuVal’s tall tales as inspiration for their fiction. Denham, professor of history at Florida Southern College and director of the Lawton M. Chiles Center for Florida History, will share DuVal’s life and times, and sign copies of his book during a reception following the lecture.