Image From the Florida State Archives
FLORIDA. --- THE NOVEMBER ELECTION --- UNITED STATES TROOPS ENCAMPED NEAR THE STATE HOUSE AT TALLAHASSEE, NOVEMBER 24th. --- FROM SKETCHES BY OUR SPECIAL ARTISTS --- SEE PAGE 251.

CANVASSING PRESIDENTIAL VOTES AT TALLAHASSEE, FLA.

The city of Tallahassee, capitol of Florida, is built on an elevated plateau, and is laid out in rectangular blocks.  The adjacent country is the most productive and valuable in the state, and the warmth and humidity of the climate compensate in a great measure for the inferior character of the soil, and gives it a vegetation of great variety and luxuriance.

When it became evident that Florida was a "doubtful" State, a force of United States troops were sent there under command of General Ruger.  An encampment was made in the open space seen in the engraving, between the State House and the railroad.  The commandant remained there until serious trouble was apprehended at Columbia, when he was ordered to the South Carolina State House, where he arrived on the 27th ult.

This city was partially occupied by United States troops in 1868, at the time of the first election of General Grant to the Presidency.

Throughout last week the Board of State Canvassers held daily sessions, General Brannon commanding at this point, in the absence of General Ruger, sitting within the bar at the State House.  The only marked excitement of the week occurred on the 27th, when the returns from Baker County, giving the Republicans a majority of forty-one, were read.

The reading of the counties was suspended after Washington, with the announcement that the returns from Dade had not been received.  Notice of contest had been given by one side or the other in every county except one.

It was announced in a few minutes that Hayes was anywhere from thirty-five to forty-eight ahead.  The result was finally settled with forty-two for the highest Hayes elector and thirty-six for the lowest.

As soon as the evening session opened Mr. Pasco arose and inquired of the Secretary of State, the Chairman of the Board, if he had not received another return from Baker County besides the one he had read.  The chairman objected to the question, and would not reply.  Mr. Pasco then charged openly and positively that such a return had been sent to the Board.  He described the return... a certified copy of which he had in his hand... as being older in date than the one read by the Secretary; as having been legally attested, and as having been signed by the Clerk and Justice of the Peace, as the law requires.  He then demanded to know why it had been suppressed, and insisted on it being produced at once.  The chairman, though much confused, still refused to say whether he had received any such return or not.

Mr. Pasco then charged that, in utter violation of these plain rules, the Secretary of State, having received two returns from one county, had decided the question between them himself by suppressing one and presenting the other.  He renewed his demand for the presentation of the suppressed return.  The chairman then confessed that he had received another return, and, going to his desk, produced it.  It was a return dated three days before the other, signed, as described by Mr. Pasco, and gave the Democrats 95 majority.

If this return is admitted Mr. Tilden's majority is over 100.  With both returns before the Board under contest, Mr. Tilden has three electors and Mr. Hayes one.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, December 16, 1876, page 251.

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This page was created on 30 January 2000
Most recent revision 17 December 2000.