Judge Benjamin Alexander Putnam
(1801 - January 25, 1869)

Other immigrants to St. Augustine included lawyer, legislator, and solider Benjamin A. Putnam. A native of Georgia,
Putnam was born at Putnam Plantation near Savannah, Georgia, and later moved to Florida where he rose to distinction
as a lawyer, soldier, judge, and first president of the Florida Historical Society.

He attended Harvard  and studied law privately in St. Augustine. Putnam opened a law practice in St. Augustine as a
partner of
Judge Joseph L Smith. (He would marry Smith's sister-in-law, Helen Kirby. There only child Kate Putnam
married successively the two sons of John C. Calhoun. Her son with Edward Noble Calhoun was Benjamin P. Calhoun a
Florida politican and attorney and lived in
Jacksonville and Palatka. Their three-story, wood-frame house was located
wher the Lyon Building is today on King Street

Putnam participated in the Second Seminole War,  where he was a major, colonel and adjutant general. While trying to
protect plantations to the south of St. Augustine he was fired on by John J. Bulow when he attempted to move his
headquarters to his plantation Bulow Ville. In 1838 he was the guardian of Joe Richo, Boxer Wicks and Betsey Wicks
free blacks in St. Augustine.

Putnam served as surveyor-general of Florida after being appointed to that postion by Zachary Taylor from 1845 to
1854. During the interval, Putnam signed his name on dozens of township plats issued by the government land office. In
1854 he kept a law office on Picolata street in St. Augustine.

Citizens elected Putnam to Florida’s Legislative Council in 1835, 1840, and 1845, and then as speaker of the
Florida House from St. Johns County in 1848

By 1860 resided in St. Augustine where he claimed a personal estate in excess of $5,500, part of which consisted
of nineteen slaves. During the Civil War his wife was exiled from St. Augustine. He served as a judge for the

After the Civil War, Putnam relocated to
Palatka, the seat of government of Putnam County, where he died in January
Judge Benjamin Alexander Putnam
President Zachary Taylor
Custom Search
Return to St. Augustine Statehood
Like us on Facebook