John Alexander Henderson - Mayor Of Tampa (Non-Chartered Years)
Born: December 21, 1841, Jackson County, Georgia
Died: August 10, 1904, Tallahassee, Florida
Term: July 6, 1870 - August 11, 1873 (Dates are approximate and cannot be verified.)
John Alexander Henderson was born on December 21, 1841, in Georgia. He was the son of Andrew and Flora Henderson, who relocated their family to Tampa in 1845. Henderson studied law under Judge James Gettis, a member of another important pioneer family in Tampa. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Henderson enlisted in the Confederate Army and was commissioned a lieutenant. He served four years in the army and was mustered out in May 1865. After his release, he returned to Tampa.
After the City's charter was revoked on October 4, 1869, Hillsborough County assumed responsibility for providing educational and other principal services. However it became obvious that Tampa needed some form of municipal government to administer the services being provided by the county. In response, John Henderson acted as Mayor, though this position was unofficial and was not recognized by the state and county. While Henderson and other city officials were not legally recognized, they administered county and state funds and provided basic municipal services.
Henderson served in the Florida Senate, and he relocated permanently to Tallahassee in 1876. He continued his law practice there and served as general consul for the Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad Company, which later became the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. John Alexander Henderson passed away in Tallahassee on August 10, 1904.
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.
Florida Peninsula, Indexes (1870 - 1871), Florida Heritage Project