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Image of a Mayor of Tampa

Born: January 22, 1815

Died: September 10, 1867

Term: February 10, 1858 - February 12, 1859

Born in New Jersey, Post moved to Tampa in 1849 less than a year after the great hurricane of 1848 had destroyed much of Tampa. At first, he worked as the manager of the Tampa Hotel but later Post purchased a general store on Lafayette Street (now Kennedy Boulevard). Politically active, Madison Post was an early member of the American Party ("Know-Nothings") who strongly supported a pro-slavery, anti-immigration and anti-Catholic platform. In 1854, Post was appointed as Receiver of Public Moneys for Hillsborough County. Post joined Dr. Darwin Branch and Edward Clarke as delegates to the American Party's Presidential Convention which nominated former President Millard Fillmore as their candidate. After Fillmore lost the presidential election to James Buchanan in November 1856, the American Party quickly disintegrated.

Madison Post focused on local politics and on February 10, 1858 was elected for a one-year term as Mayor of Tampa. Confronted with a practically empty treasury, Post and the City Council substantially increased license fees and established new ordinances which soon re-established Tampa's financial resources. Post had also attempted to make some capital improvements to the City but his short term of office impeded his plans for Tampa. Although Post was not directly involved, a State Board of Health was established in early 1859 to better control the spread of yellow fever. Post had attempted to work with port physician and former mayor, Darwin Branch to establish standards that would improve the thoroughness and efficiency of inspections and maintain an effective means to quarantine those infected with yellow fever. In 1859, an epidemic of yellow fever swept through Tampa leaving a huge death toll including Darwin Branch and his family as well as many others.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, Post enlisted as a private in the Confederate Infantry, served as a Confederate Deputy Marshall in Florida and as a tax assessor for Florida's Confederate government. After the Civil War, radical republican administrators established the political machinery to practically ensure the election of Republican candidates in municipal, county and state governments. As a staunch Democrat, Madison Post along with other Floridians, despised the presence of the republican administrators and their systematic destruction of traditional Southern institutions.

Madison Post passed away in Tampa on September 10, 1867.

 


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