Baptists and the American Civil War: January 10, 1861

Florida becomes the third state to secede from the Union, as state delegates vote 62-7 for disunion.

Among the state’s delegates who have speaking parts in the secession debate is James Byeram Owens, a 44-year old Baptist minister and planter who owns 89 slaves, has nine children, and also practices medicine. He represents Marion County, and speaks and votes for secession.

The secession ordinance reads as follows:


We, the People of the State of Florida in Convention assembled, do solemnly ordain, publish and declare: That the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself from the Confederacy of States existing under the name of the United States of America, and from the existing Government of said States: and that all political connection between her and the Government of said States ought to be and the same is hereby totally annulled, and said union of States dissolved: and the State of Florida is hereby declared a Sovereign and Independent Nation: and that all ordinances heretofore adopted in so far as they create or recognize said Union, are rescinded: and all laws or parts of laws in force in this State, in so far as they recognize or assent to said Union be and they are hereby repealed.

Done in open Convention, January 10th, A.D. 1861.

The Florida Baptist state convention, meeting in Monticello, voices its “cordial sympathy with, and hearty approbation of, those who are determined to maintain the integrity of the Southern states, even by a disruption of all existing political ties.

Source: Florida Ordinance of Secession (link), Florida BaptistĀ  Convention statement (link)

Illustration: Currier and Ives. “The ‘secession movement’,” ca.1861. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.