John P. Wall - 16th Mayor Of Tampa

Image of a Mayor of Tampa

Born: September 17,1836

Died: April 18, 1895

Term: August 14, 1878 - August 14, 1880

Born in Jasper, Florida, John Wall was the son of noted pioneer, Perry G. Wall and his wife Nancy Hunter Wall. John Wall left Florida in the early 1850s to study medicine and received a M.D. degree in 1858. Shortly afterward, Wall returned to Florida and set up a medical practice in Fernandina. With the onset of the Civil War in April 1861, Wall enlisted in the Confederate Army as a surgeon. During a furlough, he visited Hernando County in 1862 where he married Pressie Eubanks.

After the war, Wall moved his family to Brooksville, Florida where he remained for the next four years, before relocating to Tampa in 1869. On his arrival, Wall established a successful practice in the city. During the yellow fever epidemics of 1871 and 1873, he was one of the few physicians that remained in Tampa to treat people stricken by the disease. Wall contracted the disease during the 1871 epidemic but with his wife's care he eventually recovered. Determined to learn more about the disease, he eventually discovered that mosquitoes were the carriers of yellow fever.

One of Tampa's most prominent civic leaders, he founded the Tampa Board of Trade and was one of the founders of the Florida Medical Association. Wall also served as Tampa's health officer. After the city's quarantine station was moved from Ballast Point to Big Grassy Island, Wall successfully lobbied for the construction of a hospital to care for the people stricken with yellow fever. He also established a system of rigid controls for the city's quarantine station. In addition, Wall distributed information to the public and employed preventative measures to control the mosquito population.

During his term as mayor, Wall focused on improving the city's infrastructure. In particular, he focused on sanitation and other health-related issues.

John 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