Tampa from the Porch at the University of Tampa

Thomas N. Henderson - 43rd Mayor Of Tampa

Image of a Mayor of Tampa

Born: February 27,1870

Died: October 13, 1944

Term: October 27, 1931 - November 3, 1931 (Acting Mayor)


Born in Maysville, Georgia, Thomas N. Henderson moved to Tampa in 1891 where he opened a meat market, laundry and lumber mill. He also established the Tampa Harness and Wagon Company. In 1897, he married Nellie Hazon with whom he had three children. Henderson, along with George and Alfred Warren, purchased the Tampa Coca-Cola Bottling Works in 1906. Soon afterward, Henderson became president of the company. A strong believer in civic duty, he served as Tampa's Chief of Police, on the Board of Public Works and as a member and, later, President of City Council. When D.B. McKay resigned on October 27, 1931, Henderson became mayor to complete the seven days remaining in D.B. McKay's term.

Thomas Henderson campaigned for mayor against Robert Chancey but lost by a narrow margin during the primary.  After the election, D.B. McKay, Perry Wall II and others accused Chancey of voter fraud and other illegal campaign activities. While they were able to substantiate some of their accusations, the evidence was not sufficient to remove Chancey from office. Thomas Henderson later served as Hillsborough County Commissioner from 1935 until his death on October 13, 1944 in Tampa.

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.

Kerstein, Robert., Politics and Growth in Twentieth-Century Tampa.  Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001.

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

Mayors' Papers, City of Tampa Archives, Tampa, FL.