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    Banner: Portrait Gallery

    Justice Benjamin D. Wright

    1851-1853

    Benjamin Wright read law and was admitted to the bar in his native state of Pennsylvania at age 20.  By age 24, he had moved to Pensacola, Florida, where he began a law practice and struck up a friendship with Andrew Jackson’s protégé, Richard Keith Call, as well as Territorial Governor William P. DuVal.  He was appointed to the Territorial Legislative Council in 1824 and soon also became U.S. district attorney for middle Florida.  In 1826, he transferred his appointment to become U.S. district attorney for west Florida.  Wright came into conflict with Judge Henry Brackenridge in Pensacola which led to Wright losing his appointment in 1830.  His law practice remained lucrative and his political support of Richard K. Call led him to run successfully for the Territorial Legislative Council in 1831, 1833, and 1837. 

    Voters also elected him to represent them at the 1838 Constitutional Convention. His interest in politics continued into statehood, when he was elected to the state senate in 1845.  He also became a newspaper editor for the Pensacola Gazette, where his editorials criticized both Whig (his own party) and Democratic policies.  This led, eventually, to his appointment, in 1853, by Democratic Governor James Broome to fill the unexpired term of Supreme Court Chief Justice Walker Anderson, who had resigned.  Voters later that year, however, elected Thomas Baltzell as the first popularly elected Chief Justice, ending Wright’s judicial career.  He continued his legal practice and expanded his business interests to railroad development.  He remained involved in politics but never succeeded in gaining another elected office.

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