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Died: August 14, 1896
Term: March 9, 1894 - March 8, 1895
Born on a plantation in Pototoc, Mississippi, Robert Easley was an attorney by profession but 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 lead to his becoming President of the Tampa and Palmetto Beach Railroad. He later established the Florida Loan and Investment Company.
Robert Easley became involved in local politics and, in 1893, became a member of the City Council and, the following year, was elected mayor. During his term as mayor, the winter freeze of 1894-95 destroyed about 70 percent of the citrus crop in Florida. Most of the citrus growers in Tampa-Hillsborough and surrounding areas were ruined and the city's revenues from property taxes declined in response. While 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 re-election as mayor and, in April 1895, returned to his native Mississippi where he died 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