Henry Clarke Ferris - 17th Mayor Of Tampa

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Born: May 21, 1848

Died: December 27, 1902

Term: August 14, 1880 - February 19, 1881

Born in Tampa, Florida, Henry was the son of William and Elizabeth Ferris. The family moved to Tampa in 1843 where William established a general store. As a young man, Henry worked as a clerk in his father's store and, after William's death, Henry became owner and manager of the store. Shortly afterward, he expanded his business activities to include an interest in the cattle business. Henry's brother, Josiah also served as mayor from 1867 to 1869. Ferris was married to Julia Bartholomew.

Involved in civic affairs and local politics for several years, Henry Ferris campaigned for mayor in the August 1880 municipal election. Ferris won the election and, at the age of 32, was one of Tampa's youngest mayors. He was also the second Tampa native to hold this office. Ferris served only six months as mayor before he was compelled to resign on February 19, 1881 because he moved outside the city limits. At the time, Tampa's Charter required that the mayor and other city officials must be residents of the city while in office. After his departure, city council president, Matthew E. Haynsworth, served as acting mayor until a special election was held on March 22, 1881 in which George B. Sparkman was elected mayor.

Ferris died in Tampa on December 27, 1902.

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