Tampa from the Porch at the University of Tampa

Dr. John Pritchard Crichton - 7th Mayor Of Tampa

Born: September 7, 1821, Saint Marys, Camden County, Georgia

Died: November 18, 1898, Atlanta, Georgia 

Term: February 1, 1860 - February 2, 1861

Dr. John Pritchard Crichton was born in Georgia and attended New York Medical College. After graduation, John Crichton moved to Tampa where he became one of the town's most notable physicians and civic leaders. Dr. Crichton married Margaret Townsend in Tampa, and one of the couple's children, Mary, went on to marry James McKay, Jr., who served as the seventh Mayor of Tampa. After Margaret succumbed to yellow fever in 1857, Dr. Crichton married Adelaide Christie Kennedy, the widow of Thomas Pugh Kennedy, an early pioneer, and co-owner of the mercantile store Kennedy and Darling. Kennedy had served on Tampa's first City Council in 1849.

Dr. Crichton worked with his colleagues in the medical field to establish a price schedule for medical services. He became a member of the Board of Health and also became involved in local politics. On February 1, 1860, he was elected Mayor of Tampa. 

The State of Florida passed an Ordinance of Secession on January 10, 1861, and soon became part of the Confederate States of America. In September of 1861, the Sunny South Guards, a local company commanded by Captain John T. Lesley, was mustered into service. As mayor, John Crichton and the City Council also established a City Watch to patrol the streets of the town at night. Organized and supervised by the City Marshal, all of the men in Tampa in excellent physical condition were required to participate. Each group had a captain and worked in shifts. The City Watch was also responsible for alerting residents in the event of fires and could arrest residents for drunk and disorderly conduct. Later, a report of the previous night's activities was sent directly to the mayor.

After the war, Dr. John Pritchard Crichton returned to Georgia with his wife and other family members. He died near Atlanta on November 18, 1898.  

Sources for this Biographical Sketch:

Covington, Dr. James W., and Wavering, Debbie Lee, "The Mayors of Tampa: A Brief Administrative History," Tampa, FL: University of Tampa, 1987.

Grismer, Karl H., Tampa: A History of the City and the Tampa Bay Region of Florida, St. Petersburg Printing Company, FL, 1950.

Robinson, Ernest L., History of Hillsborough County, Florida: Narrative and Biographical, The Record Company, St. Augustine, FL, 1928.

Tampa Council Minutes, City of Tampa Archives, Tampa, FL

January 1, 1857 - October 2, 1891, Microfilm Roll # 1