Duncan Upshaw Fletcher
(January 6, 1859 June 17, 1936) was an American lawyer and politician of the Democratic Party
. Senator Fletcher was the longest serving U.S. Senator
in Florida's history.
Early life and career
Born near Americus
, Georgia, he was still an infant when his family moved to Florida. Fletcher studied law at Vanderbilt University
in Nashville, Tennessee
. He graduated in 1880 and was admitted to the bar the following year. He set up a law practice in the city of Jacksonville, Florida
. He was a founding member of the Jacksonville Bar Association and its first president. He was an early investor in in the area now called Fort Lauderdale, more specifically Wilton Manors, to start the company known then as Florida Fiber, a sisal hemp farming operation. He was general consul for several railroads, including the Florida East Coast Railroad, which was operated by Henry Flagler, formerly president of Standard Oil. In 1896, Fletcher was one of three attorneys appointed to administer the bar examination to James Weldon Johnson
, who in addition to his many other accomplishments was the first black admitted to the Florida Bar by examination. It was Senator Fletcher who moved that Johnson be admitted to the bar over the objection of another examiner.
Fletcher became active in municipal politics and was elected to city council in 1887 and served as mayor
from 1893 to 1895 and from 1901 to 1903. He rebuilt Jacksonville after the devastating Great Fire......