John Perry Wall - 16th Mayor Of Tampa

Image of a Mayor of Tampa

Born: September 17,1836, Jasper, Florida

Died: April 18, 1895, Gainesville, Florida

Term: August 14, 1878 - August 14, 1880

John Perry Wall was born in Florida on September 17, 1836. He studied medicine and received his M.D. degree from the Medical College of South Carolina in 1858.  Shortly afterward he moved to Fernandina, Florida, where he set up a medical practice. When the Civil War began, Dr. Wall enlisted in the Confederate Army as a surgeon. After the war, he moved to Brooksville, and then came to Tampa. In 1871, he caught yellow fever, but was nursed back to health by his wife, Pressie. She then caught yellow fever and succumbed to it, along with the couple's young daughter.  Determined to learn more about the cause of the disease, Dr. Wall eventually discovered that mosquitoes were the carriers of yellow fever.

In 1876, Dr. Wall was elected to Tampa’s Town Council where he focused on public health issues.  After he was elected Mayor of Tampa in 1878, he took an active role in drafting an ordinance that established quarantine guidelines for incoming ships, as well as standards for the port inspector. Mayor Wall served as President of the Board of Health during his term, and he distributed information to the public about sanitation and controlling mosquitos. After his term as mayor, Dr. Wall returned to the City Council where he served for four more terms, most of them non-consecutive, between 1881 and 1895.

One of Tampa's most prominent civic leaders, Dr. Wall was a one of the founders of the Florida Medical Association. He was a founder of the Tampa Board of Trade and served as its first president. He was also one of the first editors of the Sunland Tribune, one of Tampa’s earliest newspapers. Dr. John Perry Wall died in Gainesville on April 18, 1895, while presenting a lecture to the Florida Medical Association.


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