Millard Fillmore Caldwell was a Florida politician who wore many hats throughout his storied career. He was born on February 6, 1897 in Beverly, Tennessee, and attended the University of Mississippi and the University of Virginia. After serving in the U.S. Army, Caldwell Married Mary Rebecca Harwood, and moved to Milton, Florida to practice law. The Caldwells went on to have three children, Susan, Millard and Sally.
In 1926, Caldwell began serving as prosecutor and county attorney of Santa Rosa County, and in 1929 was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. He was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives in 1932, and served four terms representing Florida's 3rd congressional district. In 1944 Caldwell was elected Governor of Florida. After leaving that office in 1949, he was appointed by President Truman as administrator of the Federal Civil Defense Administration. Caldwell became a Florida Supreme Court Justice in 1962, and its Chief Justice in 1967.
Governor Caldwell died in 1984. Mrs. Caldwell continued to live at Harwood Plantation until her death in 1986. They are buried on the property in what has been named the Black-Harwood Plantations Cemetery.
The Caldwell House had the longest and most difficult journey to the Village Green, taking four days, and costing over $150,000.
The land upon which this house originated was developed as Blackwood Plantation, 800 acres which were purchased in 1828 by Charles Black (1808-1830). Black's widow Janet Reid Black was the daughter of Florida Governor Robert Raymond Reid, and the family occupied the property until the 1840's. Sources describe a house on the property to have been built in 1826 by Col. Robert Butler (1786-1860), Florida's first Surveyor General and friend of Andrew Jackson. Was it this house? A 1962 report relying on historical information provided by Millard Caldwell suggests it was, naming it "The Robert Butler House." However, the "Statement of Significance" in the 1978 application to include the house on the National Register of Historic Places suggests not, and mentions another house nearby as being owned by Col. Robert Butler, Sr. In confirmation of this, Clifton Paisley, in his book "The Red Hills of Florida, 1528-1865" mentions the plantation home of Col. Butler, and then "just west of Butler's place" the 320 acres of Rev. George C. S. Johnson (p. 132-133.)
The present Johnson-Caldwell House was built before 1852 by George C. Johnson, and later owned by his son Miles Johnson. In 1867, the house was purchased by Dr. Robert Butler, son of Col. Butler. Dr. Butler sold the property 16 months later. A photograph from 1904 shows members of the Johnson family again in possession of the house. Richard Johnson rented out the property as a dairy farm, then sold it to The Florida-Carolina Company in 1907. The property was developed as a pecan orchard owned by the Tallahassee Pecan Endowment.
When the pecan company's lands were sold in parcels in 1941, the house and acreage were purchased by Millard Fillmore Caldwell, at the time a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives. Caldwell re-named his home Harwood Plantation in honor of his wife Mary Rebecca Harwood. Millard Caldwell became Governor of Florida in 1945, a Florida Supreme Court Justice in 1962, and Chief Justice in 1967. He died in 1984 and Mrs. Caldwell in 1986. The Governor and Mrs. Caldwell are buried on the property in the Black-Harwood Plantations Cemetery. The house was donated to Florida State University by the Caldwells' daughter, Sally Caldwell McCord, and moved to the Village Green in July, 1986.
Student Bar Association
The Florida State Law Student Bar Association is located in the Caldwell House.
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