Aerial of Riverfont Park

Thomas Edward Jackson - 15th And 24th Mayor Of Tampa

Thomas Jackson Mayor of Tampa

Born: July 9, 1852, Tampa, Florida

Died: July 22, 1935, Tampa, Florida

First Term: August 14, 1877 - August 14, 1878

Second Term: March 6, 1889 - March 5, 1890

The first Tampa native to become Mayor of Tampa, Thomas Edward Jackson was born on July 9, 1852. His father, John Jackson, was Tampa's 9th Mayor. He attended Hillsborough County schools and Fordham University in New York. Upon graduation, he worked at Tampa's custom house, and also in his father's store. Jackson's political career began with his election to Tampa's Town Council in 1875. He served as President of the council from 1876-1877, and as such, he frequently filled in for Mayor Lovering while he was away on business.

Thomas Edward Jackson was elected Mayor of Tampa on August 14, 1877. He was twenty-five years old at the time of his election. During his term, he worked with the council to raise real estate taxes to improve Tampa's infrastructure and services. He also addressed complaints about the sawdust pollution in the Hillsborough River by banning saw mills from discarding their sawdust into the river.  Working with the council, Mayor Jackson imposed fines for the illegal dumping of sawdust. An ordinance was passed in 1877, which required that sawdust be deposited at least a mile away from Tampa.

On November 3, 1877, Jackson married Kate Warner, whose family had come to Tampa from Omaha, Nebraska. Tampa's Nebraska Avenue was named in honor of the settlers from that state. The couple had four children: Mary Ellen, Bernier, Lulu, and John Edward. When he was not occupied by politics, Jackson worked as a real estate investor and he owned a substantial amount of properties.

Jackson returned to the council in 1881, where he went on to serve three more terms. He was a founding member of Tampa's Board of Trade, which was established in May of 1885. On March 6, 1889, he was elected as Tampa's Twenty-Fourth Mayor. During his term, Mayor Jackson focused on capital improvements, commercial development, and infrastructure. He worked to improve sewers and to pave streets. He later served as Treasurer for Hillsborough County, and well as a Hillsborough County Commissioner. At the time of his death on July 22, 1935, Thomas Edward Jackson was one of Tampa's oldest and most prominent citizens.

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