CALL, Richard Keith (1792-1862)

CALL, RICHARD KEITH, (uncle of Wilkinson Call), a Delegate from the Territory of Florida; born near Petersburg, Va., October 24, 1792; attended the common schools and Mount Pleasant Academy; in 1814 entered the United States Army as first lieutenant in the Forty-fourth Infantry; special aide to Major General Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans; promoted to captain in July 1818 and resigned May 1, 1822; settled in the Territory of Florida; studied law; was admitted to the bar and practiced in Pensacola; member of the Territorial council in 1822; brigadier general of the West Florida Militia in 1823; elected to the Eighteenth Congress (March 4, 1823-March 3, 1825); receiver of the land office of the Territory of Florida; Governor of the Territory 1835-1840 and 1841-1844; unsuccessful candidate of the Whig Party for Governor of the new State in 1845; died in Tallahassee, Fla., September 14, 1862; interment in a private cemetery on his estate.

Florida State Archives
Tallahassee, FL
Papers: ca. 1791-1845, 0.25 cubic foot.
This collection contains correspondence, 1825-1849, of Richard Keith Call. The letters discuss the determination of land ownership; disposition of the territorial archives; the First and Second Seminole Wars, including the Battles of Withlacoochee, Fort Drane, and Wahoo Swamp; and political matters. Call's correspondents include: Secretary of State Martin Van Buren; Attorney General William Wirt; Jacob Houseman and Charles Home of Indian Key; Colonel William Bailey; William Pope DuVal; R.C. Allen; and William Reynolds. Other correspondence includes: translated copies of letters, 1791-1794, to the Captain General of Cuba, Don Luis de las Casas, from the governor of East Florida, Juan Quesada; a partial letter, 1831, probably to President Andrew Jackson; a letter from Duncan L. Clinch to R. Jones; a letter from B.K. Pierce to J.P. Crane; and the deposition of John Whitehead before the United States consul at Havana in 1830. It includes duplicate letters sent by Call and Thomas Brown to Thomas Ewing discussing political parties in 1849. Finally, it includes Call's acceptance in 1845 of the nomination as candidate for governor of Florida.

Papers: 1820-1860, 3 items.
The collection contains letters written to or relating to General Call. Included is a January 20, 1820 letter from General Edmund P. Gaines to Edmund Doyle, an Indian trader on the Apalachicola River. Gaines asks Doyle to communicate to the chiefs of the "Seminoles" and the Red Stick Creeks the desire of the United States Government to negotiate a treaty. Also included is a December 1826 letter from Andrew Jackson to Richard Keith Call dealing primarily with Call's disagreement with Colonel Joseph White and the settlement of Call's father-in-law's will. Jackson notes his feelings toward Call. The third letter is from Edward Everett to Richard Keith Call, dated December 31, 1860. Everett, a noted Massachusetts orator, thanks the General for sending him copies of Call's recent pro-union, anti-secession pamphlet, "An Address to the People of Florida from General Richard Keith Call." Everett comments on the secession crisis and his belief that General Winfield Scott should be given temporary dictatorial powers to prevent civil war.

Papers: 1861, 0.25 cubic foot.
The collection is made up of a typescript copy of R.K. Call's reminiscences, which he recorded for his grandson at the behest of his daughter, Ellen Call Long. Call biographer, Herbert J. Doherty, Jr., said the journal was "a valuable source for the early years of Call's life, giving information not to be found elsewhere." Doherty stated also that the journal was actually finished by Ellen Call Long. The journal begins with a depiction of Call's early life before coming to Florida. Much of the account deals with his military career during the Creek War and the First and Second Seminole Wars. He details his relationship with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Withlocoohee, as well as his leadership role as territorial governor and commander of American troops fighting the Seminoles. Call includes some information on his term as Florida's territorial governor. The journal ends with Call's service in the Second Seminole War.

Papers: In the Territorial Governors Correspondence, 1820-1845, 1.75 cubic feet.
Persons represented include Richard Keith Call. A folder listing is available in the repository.

Papers: In the Territorial and State Governors Letterbooks, 1836-1909, 83 volumes.
Correspondents include Richard Keith Call.


Florida State University
Special Collections, Robert Manning Strozier Library
Tallahassee, FL
Papers: 1834, 1 item.
This letter, signed by R.K. Call is as follows: "Dear Sir. I have received your kind letter and have but a minute to say I am much obliged to you and that John W. Smith of Quincy Florida should be appointed keeper of the light house at Appalachicola"


Library of Congress
Manuscript Division
Washington, DC
Papers: ca. 1828-1836, 2 items.
Letters of R. K. Call, 1828-1836.

Papers: 1861, 1 item.
A letter from John S. Littell to R.K. Call written on March 26, 1861. In the letter, John Littell writes concerning the condition of slaves in the South.

Papers: In the Lewis Eller Asher Autograph Collection, 1757-1925, 93 items.
Correspondents include Richard K. Call.

Papers: In the Andrew Jackson Donelson Papers, ca. 1779-1943, 4000 items.
Persons represented include Richard K. Call. A finding aid is available in the library.

Papers: In the Andrew Jackson Papers, ca. 1775-1860, approximately 26,000 items.
Correspondents include R.K. Call. A finding aid is available in the library.


Newberry Library
Chicago, IL
Papers: In the Zachary Taylor Letters, 1839-1842, 2 items.
One letter (Mar. 11, 1839) from Zachary Taylor to the governor of the Florida Territory, R.K. Call, regarding plans to use militia and regular army troops to drive the Seminoles from middle Florida in response to recent deadly raids near the territorial capital.


University of Florida
Gainesville, FL
Papers: 1814-1862, 40 items
This collection of R.K. Call contains scattered correspondence, dating from 1814 to 1862 including letters to future Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren. Also of interest are letters concerning a near duel with political opponent Joseph M. White and a letter sent from Havana while on a mission to Cuba on behalf of the U.S. government to secure copies or original documents concerning land claims in Florida.


University of North Carolina
Southern Historical Collection
Chapel Hill, NC
Papers: ca. 1804-1905, 2.5 linear feet.
Political and personal correspondence, chiefly 1821-1849, of R.K. Call, including letters from Andrew Jackson; and correspondence, chiefly 1873-1901, of Call's daughter, Ellen Call Long, author, of Tallahassee, Fla. Also included are writings, speeches, manuscripts of histories of Florida, and miscellaneous other papers.

  • Call, R. K. (Richard Keith). Argument of the counsel for the United States in the Supreme Court, in the cases of the United States vs. George I.F. Clark, John and Antonio Huertes, Joseph M. Hernandez, et al. [Washington, D.C.?: N.p., 1834].
  • ___. Explanation of the picture of Andrew Jackson before Judge Hall, at New Orleans, 1815 : sustaining the laws of his country, as he had defended her liberties in the field, painted by C. Schussele, of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: C.J. Hedenberg, [1860?]
  • ___. To the public. [Washington, D.C.?: R.K. Call, between 1823 and 1825].
  • ___. Union.--Slavery.--Secession. Letter from Governor R. K. Call, of Florida, to John S. Littell, of Germantown, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: C. Sherman & Son, printers, 1861.
  • Doherty, Herbert J. Richard Keith Call, Southern Unionist. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1961.
  • ___. "Richard K. Call vs. The Federal Government on the Seminole War." Florida Historical Quarterly 31 (January 1953): 163-80.
  • Halsell, Willie D. " Early Letters From R.K. Call." Florida Historical Quarterly 39 (January 1961): 266-69.
  • Martin, Sidney Walter. "Richard Keith Call, Florida Territorial Leader." Florida Historical Quarterly 21 (April 1943): 332-51.