Ossian Bingley Hart (1821-1874) was the son of Isaiah Hart and Nancy Nelson Hart. The Hart family was originally from Virginia but settled in Florida in 1801. Isaiah laid out the first plan of Jacksonville and is considered the founder of that city. Ossian was the second of the couple's eight children.
Ossian Hart went to Washington D.C. to be educated at the age of 16 and later returned to Jacksonville where he studied law for two years and began a career as a lawyer. In 1843 Ossian married Catherine Campbell of Newark, New Jersey. The couple resided in various places in Florida, including Jacksonville, Fort Pierce, Key West, and Tampa.
Ossian is best known in Florida history for opposing secession during the Civil War and for serving as a justice for the Florida Supreme Court (1868-1873). In 1873 he became the first Republican governor of Florida and served until his death one year later.
For more information see Ossian Bingley Hart: Florida's Loyalist Reconstruction Governor by Canter Brown Jr. (Baton Rouge and London, Louisiana State University Press: 1997).
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