George Walton Jr. - A Flash in Florida’s History
George Walton Jr. (1789-1863), twice acting Governor and Secretary of State for Territory of Florida, was a bright flame in Florida’s history hidden by time and oversight and brilliant flashes from his daughter, Madame Octavia Walton Le Vert, and his father, Declaration of Independence signer and governor of Georgia, George Walton. His mother, Dorothy Camber Walton, was buried in Pensacola’s St. Michael’s Cemetery in 1832. They were of British heritage. His wife, Sarah, was also politically connected. Now, nearly 150 years after George Walton, Jr.’s death at Petersburg, Virginia, and buried in a lost grave, glimpses into his dashing life are resurrected by local Walton County, Florida native and historian Brenda Rees. In 2006, no one in Walton County knew what he looked like or heard of Octavia!
George Walton Jr.’s wife, Sarah Minge Walker Walton, his mother, and father, were keystones to his success. Sarah’s influential Georgia family of U.S. senators, politicians, and judges, along with the added legacy of his father, helped gain his secretary appointment to Florida’s new territory from President Monroe. When he left, Governor Andrew Jackson also appointed George Walton Jr. acting governor, as did Duval when he left for a short time.
Princeton educated Walton’s highlights include the story that Tallahassee was named by Octavia. Walton’s acts are noted in U.S. congressional documents and linked to names like President James Monroe and John Quincy Adams. While in Pensacola, Octavia,who spoke five languages, translated many of her father’s official letters including Neamathla’s.
Other traces of his flamboyant lifestyle, playing pool with the Spanish, are noted in Leora Sutton’s The Walton House. Lee’s friend and Brenda’s great uncle, T.T. Wentworth Jr. of Pensacola, owned house and later deeded to Pensacola for $1. Walton and/or his family lived in Pensacola from 1821 until 1835. Walton moved to Mobile and was mayor 1837-1839. Tax and slave sale transactions are recorded there. Walton County, Florida, founded December 29, 1824, is named for him. Portrait painted by William E. West in 1820 now in Historic Mobile Preservation Society’s Oakleigh Museum. Discovery and Photograph by Brenda Anderson Rees –end- Photo of Brenda with picture framed for gift to Walton County Heritage Museum. Signature of George Walton, Jr. also discovered by Brenda Rees in Mobile archives.
By: Brenda Anderson Rees
September 29, 2006 : update 2015
Walton County Florida's namesake
George Walton, Sr signed the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Georgia