Justices of the Florida Supreme Court

Address:
Supreme Court of Florida
500 South Duval Street
Tallahassee Florida
32399-1925

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Justice Walker Anderson

Served 1851 – 1853 as Chief Justice
b. Petersburg, Virginia – July 18, 1801                    d. January 18, 1857 – Pensacola, Florida

After a comfortable childhood in Virginia, Walker Anderson moved toRaleigh, North Carolina, studied law and married.  He struck out for the Florida frontier in 1835, just as the Second Seminole War started.  Unsuccessful in business, he returned to the practice of law by 1838 and achieved widespread recognition in West Florida.  Voters elected him a delegate to the 1838 Constitutional Convention.  He was later elected to the 1840 territorial legislative council.  His connections to influential Democratic Party officials earned him appointment as U.S. attorney for West Florida, where, in 1844, he prosecuted the case of Jonathan Walker for attempting to help slaves escape.  The case became nationally know for the punishment that resulted:  Walker’s hand was burned with a branding iron with the letters “S S” for “slave stealer.”  The case of “The Branded Hand” remained controversial as the nation moved toward secession and civil war.  Walker also played a role in diminishing the acceptability of dueling in Florida.  He remained active in local and regional affairs and was elected to the state House of Representatives in 1850, where he sponsored legislation to create an independent state Supreme Court.  The measure passed into law and Anderson was voted by the legislature into the position of Chief Justice.  He served a two-year term, then resigned when the legislature voted to have Supreme Court justices selected by popular election.  Now suffering from declining health, Anderson returned to his Pensacola law practice.  He died four years later.


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