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CHAVOUS, William P.
Author: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., 1923, Vol. III pg.270
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
CHAVOUS, WILLIAM P., of Cross City, Florida, is one of the distinguished
men of the state, whose prestige has been earned through hard work and
untiring effort. He was born at Oliver, Georgia, October 4, 1888. He is the
son of PRESTON B. and ELLA (LAZAR) CHAVOUS, the former of whom was born at
Allendale, South Carolina, in 1860. In 1888 he moved to Oliver, Georgia, and
in 1889 he moved to Oldtown, Florida, where he has since resided. They have
had a family of ten children born to them, WILLIAM P. CHAVOUS being the oldest
child. Mr. CHAVOUS, a frontier farmer of limited means, could give his
children but few advantages, so WILLIAM P. CHAVOUS in his early life had but
few advantages, and was fourteen years old before he ever saw a railroad. But
he had a towering ambition to make something of himself. He walked four miles
to a little frontier country school, and there reached the sixth grade. He
left home at the age of eighteen years, without a cent of money, and has never
since that time received a penny of financial aid from his people. After
leaving home Mr. CHAVOUS, by working morning and nights and Saturdays and
during vacations, managed to attend two terms of high-school at Williston,
Florida, where he reached the tenth grade, making two grades each term. After
leaving school he worked as a farm hand; cut, hauled and rifted cedar; clerked
in a grocery store; worked as a freight hand for a railroad company and as a
laborer on railroad section, and while working on a railroad section for $1.10
per day he took up a correspondence course in law, and while working during
the day and studying law at night he was admitted in 1913, upon an examination
before the Florida Supreme Court, to practice law in all the courts of
Florida, and in 1918 he was admitted to practice law in the United States
Courts. In January, 1915, he moved to Mayo, Florida, and established himself
in the practice of law, and since has carried on a general practice, being now
recognized throughout the state as one of the ablest lawyers in Florida, and
has a large practice. He is not only engaged in the practice of law, but is
also interested in the banking business, newspaper business, real estate
business, garage business and farming.
Mr. CHAVOUS is one of the most active democrats in this part of the
state. He has served as justice of the peace, treasurer of Mayo, tax assessor
of Mayo, councilman of Mayo, mayor of Mayo, county prosecuting attorney,
member of the House of Representatives in the Florida Legislature, and as
state democratic executive committeeman. When Mr. CHAVOUS went to the Florida
Legislature he had the distinction of being the youngest member there, and
although the youngest member he obtained the most important committee
assignments. He was one of the two members that introduced bills in the
Florida Legislature to abolish the convict lease system in Florida, which was
done and the state convicts placed on the public roads He was appointed as
one of the committee of five to prepare the road laws and system of Florida,
which was adopted. As a legislator he assisted in saving the people of
Florida over $300,000; as prosecuting attorney he saved to his county $27,000;
as councilman of his city he saved to the taxpayers $1,000, and in all of his
official positions he has made good for his people.
During the late war he was a member of the Local Legal Advisory Board,
and participated in all of the various drives.
In December, 1922, Mr. CHAVOUS moved from Mayo, Florida, to Cross City,
Florida, so that he may be located in the center of his business.
On December 27, 1914, at Worthington Springs, Florida, Mr. CHAVOUS
married Miss ROSE O. ESTEP, the daughter of SIMON R. and MEDORA B. ESTEP. Mr.
and Mrs. CHAVOUS have no children.
This page created August 22, 2010
© 2010 Fran Smith