Albert Gilchrist, governor of Florida

Indian Spring Cemetery

Albert Gilchrist, governor of Florida

Punta Gorda, Florida 33950, United States

Created By: SW Florida Walking Tours


Originally from Greenwood, South Carolina, Albert Gilchrist arrived in Punta Gorda in 1885 as a surveyor for the Florida Southern Railway. He lived in Punta Gorda many years and was involved in real estate, ice factories, cigar manufacturing, orange groves, and most notably, politics.

An interesting side note is that he was born Albert Waller Kilkrease. After his father's death when Albert was 10-years-old, his mother, Rhoda, changed the spelling of their surname to Gilchrist which she said was the correct spelling.

Albert never married. According to the family legend, his one true love died while he was in college at West Point, and that's the reason he didn't graduate. He was too heartbroken and grief-stricken to study. And, they claim, that's why he never fell in love again.

Gilchrist was elected to the office of governor of Florida in 1908, and he left office in 1913. He was particularly focused on prison reform. Afterwards he relocated to New York City where he died on May 15, 1926.

Notes of interest:

  • His personal trademark was the three monkeys - see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.
  • He was the first person on the scene when Marshal Bowman was assassinated in 1903.
  • Upon taking office as governor, he commuted the death sentence of the man convicted of Marshal Bowman's murder.
  • In his will, he left substantial funds to the Florida Masonic Children's Home of St. Petersburg for orphans.
  • He planted Royal Palms along the main streets of Punta Gorda and left money for more plantings.
  • He established an endowment to provide free ice cream cones to the children of Punta Gorda on Halloween.

Albert Gilchrist appears in the story The Spiritualists in the book Ghost Stories of Punta Gorda. Available locally at Sandman Book Company, Copperfish Books and online at

This point of interest is part of the tour: Indian Spring Cemetery


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