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James Edgar Lipscomb - 13th Mayor Of Tampa

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Born: July 23, 1850, Alabama

Died: April 8, 1882, Tampa, Florida

Term: August 11, 1873 - August 13, 1876

Born in Alabama on July 23, 1850, James Edgar Lipscomb moved to Tampa around 1870, and worked as a clerk in William W. Wall's general store. He married Mary Friebele, and went into business with her father, former City Council member Christopher L. Friebele, who owned a store in downtown Tampa. Lipscomb became involved in local politics, and at age twenty-three, he became the youngest person to serve as mayor in Tampa's history.                               

On August 11, 1873, citizens held a public meeting at the Hillsborough County Courthouse and voted to reincorporate as the Town of Tampa, which existed until Tampa was granted its second City Charter by the Florida State Legislature in 1887. At the same meeting, the voters held an impromptu election for mayor.  When the votes were counted, James Edgar Lipscomb received the majority of votes. At the time of his election, Mayor Lipscomb was well known in Tampa for his feuds with Judge T. Magbee, an supporter of the Republican Party and their reconstruction efforts. Judge Magbee was know for his public intoxication and after Mayor Lipscomb took office, he had him arrested for disorderly conduct.

During his time in office, there were demands for better transportation. New boat lines began to serve the port, and a stagecoach line was established between Tampa and Gainesville. To increase funding, Mayor Lipscomb introduced fines for firing guns, starting a riot, and disturbing the peace.

After leaving office, James Edgar Lipscomb returned to his business as a merchant, and was elected to Tampa's Town Council in 1878. He served there for two years, and Council President from 1879 until 1880. He died in Tampa on April 8, 1882.


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


Updated: 12/01/2020