Robert W. Easley - 29th Mayor Of Tampa

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Born: 1848 , Pontotoc, Mississippi

Died: August 14, 1896, Mississippi 

Term: March 9, 1894 - March 8, 1895

Born on a plantation in Pontotoc, Mississippi, Robert W.  Easley was an attorney by profession.  Shortly after his arrival in Tampa in 1891,  he became business manager and co-owner of the Tampa Tribune. Easley's business skills and legal experience led to Easley to become President of the Tampa and Palmetto Beach Railroad. He later established the Florida Loan and Investment Company. Easley was also a developer of East Tampa. 

Robert W. Easley became involved in local politics and, in 1893, became a member of Tampa's City Council.  The following year, he was elected as Tampa's 29th Mayor on March 9, 1894. During his term as mayor, the winter freeze of 1894-1895 destroyed about 70 percent of the citrus crop in Florida. Most of the citrus groves in Hillsborough County and surrounding areas were ruined and the city's revenues from property taxes declined in response. While Mayor Easley and the City Council attempted to provide some economic relief to citrus growers, there was little that could be done due to a substantially reduced City Treasury.

In poor health, Easley declined to campaign for reelection as mayor.  In April of 1895, he returned to  Mississippi where he died from tuberculosis on August 14, 1896.

Sources for this Biographical Sketch:

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

October 19, 1891 - December 28, 1899 Roll # 2