DAVID LEVY YULEE Biography - Polititians


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Name: David Levy Yulee                                                                     
Born: 12 June 1810 Charlotte Amalie, Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands                         
Died: 10 October 1886 New York City, New York, U.S.                                       
David Levy Yulee (June 12, 1810 – October 10, 1886) was an American politician           
and the first member of the United States Senate to have been, at one time, a             
practicing Jew.                                                                           
Yulee was born David Levy in Charlotte Amalie, on the island of St. Thomas,               
during the British occupation of the Danish West Indies, now the United States             
Virgin Islands.                                                                           
After studying and practicing law in St. Augustine, Levy was the delegate to               
United States Congress for the Florida Territory and was elected as a Democrat             
to the United States Senate when Florida was admitted to the Union in 1845. In             
1846, he officially changed his name to David Levy Yulee (adding his father's             
original Moroccan surname) and was married to Nannie C. Wickliffe, the daughter           
of Charles A. Wickliffe, former governor of Kentucky and Postmaster General               
under President John Tyler. After serving one term, Yulee was defeated for re-election     
in 1850.                                                                                   
After his defeat he began to follow his dream to build a railroad across Florida.         
He had originally planned to build a state owned system as far back as 1837, but           
in 1851 decided to build with federal and state land grants and public stock.             
The terminals would be the deep water ports, Fernandina on Amelia Island on the           
Atlantic side and Cedar Key on the Gulf. The Yulee Railroad was chartered in               
1853. Construction began in 1855 and on March 1, 1861, the first train arrived             
in Cedar Key, just weeks before the beginning of the Civil War.                           
Elected to the Senate again in 1855, he served until January 21, 1861, when he             
withdrew from the Senate after Florida seceded to join the Confederacy. In 1865           
he was imprisoned in Fort Pulaski due to his support for the Confederacy.                 
After the Civil War, Yulee held a number of executive positions in Florida                 
railroads. He died in New York on October 10, 1886, and was buried in Oak Hill             
Cemetery in Washington, D.C.                                                               
Both the town of Yulee, Florida and Levy County, Florida are named for him.