Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mansfield Livingston Plympton (1867-1934)

Portrait from the 1915 Florida State Blue Book.

  A businessman and prominent citizen of Lake City, Florida, Mansfield Livingston Plympton was elected to four terms in the Florida State Senate between 1914 and 1921. While little biographical material has come to light on Mr. Plympton, the above picture of him (located via the 1915 Florida State Blue Book) has come as a welcome surprise. This particular blue book also yielded another oddly named Florida state legislator, Link Field Forehand (1877-1916), who was profiled here back in May of 2013.
   Born in Columbia County, Florida in December 1867, Mansfield L. Plympton was the son of Joseph Ruggles and Cassa Osteen Plympton. His early life was centered in Lake City, Florida where he attended school and was a graduate of the University of Florida, then located at Lake City. Described as being a "successful merchant" in Lake City by the Florida Blue Book, Plympton is mentioned as being the operator of a mercantile establishment/general store in that city for sixteen years. Information has been located that also notes that he was the manager of the "Plympton Opera House" in Lake City, with a holding capacity of 500 people on both floor and balcony.
  Aside from his business interests in his native city, Mansfield Plympton was a member of the Lake City city council for a decade, serving as board president for eight of those years. A past secretary of the Columbia County Democratic Executive Committee, Plympton was elected to represent that county (and other area's in the 17th district) in the Florida State Senate in November 1914. Taking his seat in January of the new year, Plympton's first term in the senate saw him sit on the committees on Game and Fisheries, Mining and Minerals, Municipalities, Organized Labor, Public Health. He also served as chairman of the committee on Insurance, and was recognized by the Bluebook for being:
"Sincere in his efforts to obtain clean and just legislation for his district and the state of Florida."
   Following a successful first term as a freshman senator, Plympton was returned to the senate by the voters of Florida's 17th district in the elections of 1916, 1918 and 1920. Upon the completion of his final term in 1923, he returned to Lake City, and in the following year took an active part in forming a campaign committee for U.S. Senator Oscar Wilder Underwood of Alabama, who was then contemplating a run for President. A lifelong bachelor, Plympton died in Lake City on December 15, 1934 at age 64, later being interred at the Oak Lawn Cemetery in Lake City, the same resting place of that of his father Joseph. 

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