The McKay Family of Tampa

State Archives of Florida
James Sr. didn't have a son with H.C. initials.  None of his sons had an "H" initial, and there was only one  son with a "C" initial--Charles M. McKay.

Captain James McKay, Jr., 1902
Mayor of Tampa
Sketched by Philip Ayers Sawyer in 1938.
State Archives of Florida
Florida Memory


The portrait to the left is from the State Archives of Florida  and is described as "Captain James McKay, Sr., sketched by Philip Ayers Sawyer in 1938 from an old enlargement in the home of son, H. C. McKay"

James Sr. didn't have a son with H.C. initials. None of his sons had an initial of "H" and the only son of James McKay, Sr. with an initial of "C" was a named Charles M. McKay.  


Instead, the above portrait could be another one of James McKay, Jr.  Notice the resemblance to the portrait at left.  James McKay, Jr. had a son named Harold McKay. Currently, it is not known if Harold had a middle initial.  But if the original portrait was found in Harold's home, then it would be of James McKay JR.  (James Jr. was often called "Jim" but James Sr. was usually referred to as James, so it seems.

James McKay Sr's son, Donald S. McKay, had a son named Hayden McKay.  If the portrait was found in his home, then it would be of Donald S. McKay.  It is not known if Hayden had a middle name.

Descendants of James McKay, Sr. and Matilda Alexander Cail McKay
Obtained from
Genealogical records of the pioneers of Tampa and of some who came after them
by Charles E. Harrison, pub. 1915
at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Library digital collection
Tampa, A History of the City and Tampa Bay Region of Florida, by Karl H. Grismer, edited by D. B. McKay, 1950.

at the USF digital collections

James McKay (Sr.)  b. Mar 17, 1808, Thurso, Caithness Co., Scotland, d. Nov. 11, 1876 Tampa
  Married 1837, in St. Louis, Mo. to Matilda Alexander Cail b. 1816 Edinburgh, Scotland, d. 1894 Tampa, FL,
dau. of Mr. Alexander and wife Sarah Alexander.  (Sarah remarried in St. Louis to a Mr. Cail and so Sarah and her daughter Matilda's surname changed to Cail.)
  9 children:
George McKay,  b. c1839, Mobile, Ala., unmarried, d. young man, no children
Sarah I. McKay, b. 1840, Mobile, Ala. d. 1877, Tampa, Fla.
Marr. to Col. Robert B. Thomas of Ky, an officer in the U.S. Army.  No children

James McKay, Jr.  b. Nov. 27, 1842, Mobile, Ala. d. Sept. 1924 Tampa

James McKay, Jr attended Tampa's first public school and enlisted in the 4th Florida Regiment at the start of the Civil War and served throughout the war on the Confederate side.  Early on he became a very prominent and distinguished citizen of Tampa, taking a leading part in all of the lines of activity; industrial, social and political, of the community, of this section and of the entire state.  His life was a stirring one, full of service both afloat and ashore.  Entering his father's business a the close of the war, his father's fleet of vessels afforded him his first means of employment,  he spent much of his time at sea and became a master mariner, rapidly rising to the position that entitled him the the title of "Captain" along with his father.


Following his father's death in 1876, he had charge of the McKay fleet commanding many of his father's vessels.  After they were sold he passed to the command of ships of other owners.  He was employed by the Mallory Line, serving as captain of the steamer Alicia A Washburn which carried the mail on the Gulf Coast. 


Always active politically, he was elected in 1880 to represent the 11th senatorial district, comprising Hillsborough County, in the state senate.  He held this position for 2 terms. 


In 1886 Capt. McKay went with the Plant Steamship Co., becoming captain of the Mascotte.  Early in 1887 he was in charge of the construction of the Olivette at Cramp's Shipyard in Philadelphia. These were steamers of the Plant line between Tampa and Havana and in the summer on the New England coast. He brought the Olivette into Tampa and commanded her until Sept 1, 1894, when he resigned to become US marshal for the southern district of Florida.


During the Spanish-American War he had charge of the fleet of transports that carried the army of General Shafter to Santiago, Cuba, superintending the loading of transports at Port Tampa and the unloading on the coast of Cuba, earning many encomiums from high authorities for the skill and ability exhibited by him in the handling of the ships composing the large fleet.


In 1902 he was elected mayor of Tampa and served two terms.  He also became marine superintendent of the US Transports, inspecting all transports chartered by the government on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, with headquarters in New York City.  He resigned in 1914 to become postmaster in Tampa.


      Marr1. to Mary E. Crichton, dau. of Dr. John T. Crichton,
       9 children:

James Crichton McKay b. Feb. 2, 1868. d. Nov. 23, 1961

James received his education in Tampa schools and at Emory College in Oxford, Geo.  After leaving college he entered the railway mail service in which he engaged for 16 years.  During that period he came into Tampa on the first train run by the Florida Central & Peninsular Railroad over its newly completed line, on Monday, May 5, 1890.

In 1889 while in the mail service, he became interested in the insurance business and began selling policies for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company.  He has represented the company ever since and has the distinction of having served under 7 of its presidents.

James C. McKay was so successful as a part-time insurance salesman that he gave up his job with the mail service around 1900 to devote his full attention to the business.  He has engaged in it ever since and was (in 1950) Tampa's oldest insurance man in length of service.  Still an agent of the Penn Mutual, he was also state agent of the American Equitable Insurance Co. and general agent for the Safeguard Insurance Co. and the U.S. Fidelity & Guarantee Co., which he represented for 43 years (by 1950).  Banquets held in his honor have been attended by many of the leading insurance salesmen of the nation.

Mr. McKay was a charter member of the Egypt Temple Shrine and member of vrarious other organizations and clubs.  He was also a steward in the Hyde Park Methodist Church. was the head of a prominent insurance firm in Tampa; McKay & Son.

         Marr. Sept. 18, 1891 to Lillian MacDonnell of Fernandina, 3 children:
      James A. McKay
      Allen C. McKay
      Richard S. McKay
    2. Harold McKay - Harold was for sometime city salesman for the Cudahy Packing Co. for the City of Tampa, then was placed in charge of the branch of that company in Key West.
    3. John Crichton McKay
    4. Frederick McKay - Unmarried as of 1915, worked as a sanitary inspector for the City of Tampa.
    5. Sarah Matilda McKay
          Marr. James D. Clarke d. 1906, 3 children:

James D. Clarke, Jr. - Marr. Carolina M. Sharpe of Atlanta, Geo.

Webb Clarke -Employee of the insurance firm of McKay & Son

Porter J. Clarke

Gladys A. Clarke -Marr. Kenneth A. White of Indianapolis
    6. Blanche McKay
           Marr. Thomas L. Morton of St. Petersburg, Va. (Residents of Wilmington, NC.) 2 children:

Blanche Morton

Julia Morton
    7. Julia McKay - d. unmarried as a young woman
    8. Madge Isabel McKay
           Marr. Manuel Venancio Lastra, 1 child:

Blanche Lastra
    9. Mary McKay
           Marr. John O. Kirkpatrick, Jr. of Nashville, Tenn.
    Marr2. to Helene Turton of Mass., no children
    Marr3. to Lillian Nimms Warren of Atlantic Highlands, NJ, no children
  IV. John Angus McKay  b. 1845, Mobile, Ala.  d. Nov. 19, 1907

John A. McKay followed the sea several years, acquiring a master mariner's license. He obtained the title of Captain by commanding several of his father's ships and those of others.  He was deputy collector of customs at the Port of Tampa for several years and afterward engaged in the contracting business, handling a number of projects for the Plant System. Later he was also the proprietor of the well-known Orange Grove Hotel, a popular hostelry of the olden time.  Captain John A. McKay served throughout the Civil War in the Confederate army

      Marr. 1867 Mary Jane McCarty d. 1913, dau. of Mitchell McCarty & Elizabeth Ayless Simmons
       6 children:

Donald Brenham "D.B." McKay b. July 29, 1868, Tampa

D.B. McKay is one of the most remarkable men that Tampa has produced.  Growing up at a time when there were fewer advantages of education presented to the youth of the community than now, he overcame this handicap by energetic application and assiduous study in private, gaining thus an education superior to that of many men who are college-bred.  He is largely self-made, and had no cause to feel ashamed of his work as the architect of his own fortunes.

He went to school in Tampa and when 14 years old started working as a printer for the old Tampa Tribune.  With the exception of one year spent as a railroad contractor, building a branch of the South Florida Railroad from Bartow to Fort Meade, he continued in newspaper work for more than half a century thereafter.

When the Tampa Daily Times was established in 1893, Mr. McKay became foreman of the mechanical plant.  Shortly afterward he moved to the editorial dept. and became city editor, and later editor-in-chief.  The Times became the leading afternoon paper of the state of Florida.  Late in 1898 the paper got into financial difficulties and Mr. McKay borrowed enough money to buy controlling interest.  In 1922 he bought all the remaining outstanding stock.   He served the paper as editor and publisher from 1898 to 1933 when it was acquired by David E. Smiley and Ralph Nicholson. The success achieved by this paper is largely due to the energy and ability displayed by D.B. McKay.

D.B. McKay was a man of wonderful grasp of mind, tremendous energy and tenacity of purpose as well as possessing the administrative faculties in superlative degree.  This is evidenced by the wonderful success that has attended his conduct of the office of mayor of the city of Tampa.  Mr. McKay served the City of Tampa as mayor for 14 years and as mayor-commissioner for 3 months.  He was elected in 1910 for the first time as mayor for a 2-year term, re-elected in 1912 for a 4-year term and and re-elected again for the same length term in 1916.  In 1928 he was elected to serve as mayor-commissioner and continued in office 3 months until a new city charter became effective, abolishing the city manager form of government which he had long opposed.  In the meantime, he was elected again to serve for a 4-year term.  Mr. McKay also served 3 terms as jury commissioner for the county. Greater and more numerous public improvements were carried either to completion or to an advanced stage of progress under his administration, and the city grew more rapidly and attained a higher stage of greatness than in any other period of twice the length.

In his later years he spent much of his time compiling historical data about Hillsborough County and Flroida and has used much of his material in his "Pioneer Florida" series which had long been a feature of the Tampa Sunday Tribune.  He was named county historian in late 1949 by the newly-created Hillsborough County Historical Commission.

Mr. McKay was awarded the honorary degree of doctor of humanities by Rollins College and was decorated by the late King Alfonso of Spain with the Order of Isabel la Catalico.  In 1944 he was awarded the Cervantes Medal by the Hispanic Institute of Florida.  Because of his interest in the Seminole Indians, he was made one of their honorary chiefs, and named Chief White Heron.

During World War I he was appointed by Pres. Wilson to serve as chairman of the President's Advisory Committee for Southwest Florida to furnish confidential information regarding individuals being considered for responsible positions in various phases of the war effort.

Mr. McKay was a director of the First National Bank and past president of the Tampa Board of Trade, predecessor to the Chamber of Commerce.  He was one of the founders and trustee of of the University of Tampa, was past exalted ruler of the Elks, and an honorary member of Bay Lodge, Knights of Pythias, and L'Unione Italiano.

(Grismer note: Due to the fact that Mr. McKay kindly edited the manuscript for this book, I have refrained from mentioning many more of his achievements which otherwise would have been included in his biography. --K.H.G.)

      Marr. Oct. 7, 1900 to Aurora P.F. Gutierrez, dau. of Gavino Gutierrez, a pioneer of Tampa's Spanish colony, who took a leading part in the establishment of the cigar industry in Tampa.

10 children:

      Mary Helen McKay - Marr. John K. Martin
      Ada Marion McKay
      Aurora McKay
      Celestina McKay - Marr. G.E. Burnett
      Mary Jane McKay - Marr. J.L. Ott
      John Angus McKay
      Robert Angus McKay
      Donald B. McKay, Jr. d. before 1950
      Margaret Almeria McKay d. before 1950 - Marr. Charles M. Guyton
      Petronila McKay, d. before 1950 - Marr. Fernando Gallardo

Charles Angus McKay b. 1873

Charles A. McKay attained eminence in mercantile life, occupying the position of vice-president of Maas Brothers, Inc.,  He was president of the Tampa Merchants Association for the second term, , the Elks and of various other leading social organizations.


After attending public schools, he worked a short time as an apprentice printer and then became a clerk for the South Florida Dry Goods Company, then one of Tampa's leading stores.  In 1893 he went north and for 4 years worked for the Joliet Dry Goods Co. in Joliet, Ill. 


Becoming homesick for Florida, he returned to Tampa in 1897 and went with the Maas Brothers department store, the largest dry goods establishment in the South.   He continued with the company in various positions and was VP for many years until 1929 when he resigned and became general manager of Bentley-Gray Dry Goods Co.  He continued as an officer of Maas Realty Co. and became its president after the deaths of Abe and Isaac Maas, his life-long associates.


He was widely recognized as one of Tampa's leading citizens, having been active in community affairs for more than a half century.  He was one of the organizers and the first president of the Tampa Retail Merchants Association which in 1912 formed the Tampa Carnival Association to develop Tampa as a trading center by staging parades, street dances and Farmers Day.


With J. Edgar Wall, C.R. McFarland, J.A. Griffin and A.L. Allen, Mr. McKay organized the South Florida Fair in 1915.  In 1933 the fair was reorganized and named the South Florida Fair and Gasparilla Association.  Mr. McKay served as VP of the association and was a lifelong member of the Gasparilla Krewe and grand marshal of the parade for many years.


He was co-chairman of the Better Business Association of Florida, established in 1935, and retained the post until his death.  He was an active civic leader of the Interbay area, and as president of the board of supervisors of Interbay Drainage District had an important part in refinancing district debts at a saving of millions of dollars to property owners.


Mr. McKay was a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church and senior warden for 17 years.  He was a director of the YMCA for many years; a charter member of Tampa Rotary Club, and a member of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Hillsborough Masonic Lodge, Egypt Temple of the Shrine, Tampa Elks Lodge, prominent and zealous member of the Knights of Pythias, Tampa Yacht and Country Club, and Palma Ceia Golf Club, and was active in the Old Timers Association.

Mr. McKay was stricken while at the annual Old-Timers Reunion in Plant City on Oct. 20, 1949 and died 8 days later.

           Marr. 1912 to Irene May McKeague, 3 children:
      Mary Irene McKay - Marr. David A. Falk, son of Offin Falk
      Eleanor May McKay - Marr. Jack Peters
      Charlotte Anne McKay - Marr: Victor DeBree
    3. Mitchell F. McKay
Mitchell was active politically in Hillsborough County for many years and held a number of political positions. 
           Marr. Jane Givens, dau. of Thomas Wilkes Givens and Angie McNeill, 3 children:
      Angie McKay
      John Wilkes McKay
      Winifred McKay
    4. Kenneth Ivor McKay b. 1881 d. 1945.
Kenneth graduated from Washington and Lee University in 1904 with an LL.D. degree and began practicing law at once in Tampa.  He became one of the city's leading attorneys and at the time of his death was senior partner in the firm of McKay, Macfarlane, Jackson and Ferguson.  He was VP and director of the Tampa-Clearwater Bridge Co., and a director of Lykes Bros., inc., Lykes Bros. Steamship Co., Tampa Interocean Steamship Co., J.W. Roberts & Co., and Berriman Bros., Inc. 
           Marr. Nov. 21, 1917 to Olive Perry d.1912, 4 children:
      Kenneth Ivor McKay, Jr.
      Shirley Louise McKay
      Herbert Gifford McKay
      Howell Angus McKay
    5. Margaret McKay
           Marr. Charles C. Woodward, 4 children:
      Bonillia Woodward
      Margaret Woodward
      Ada Woodward
      Charles C. Woodward, Jr.
    6. Ada McKay
           Marr. Lawson Magruder, 1 child:
      Charles Lawson Magruder
Donald S. McKay b. Aug. 8, 1846 Chassahowitzka Bay, Hernando Co., Fla.
While with his father on a blockade running trip early in the Civil War, he was captured by the Federals and imprisoned at Fort Lafayette, New York Harbor.  When released, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and served until the end of the conflict.  (See "Capture of the SS Salvor" here at TampaPix.)  He then studied navigation and followed the sea for many years.  During the mid-1880s he purchased eight acres of land on the west side of the river directly opposite the tract later purchased by Henry B. Plant as the site of the Tampa Bay Hotel.  He built his home on a portion of the tract and subdivided the remainder.
      Marr1. Mary M. Collier, dau. of Rev. W.E. & Sara E Collier.  No children
    Marr2. Jan. 10, 1872 Martha A. Hayden, dau. of Jesse J. and Susan D. (Crockett) Hayden, pioneer west side settlers.
    6 children:
    1. Hayden McKay - Marr. Maude Harris
    2. Marion A. McKay
Martha A. McKay - Marr. John A. Porter
William George McKay - Marr. Annie McDermott
    5. Susan May McKay d. unmarried
    6. Donald S. McKay, Jr. - Marr. Nellie Staley
Marion E. McKay
      Marr. William Randolph of Tallahassee
    1 child:


Sarah Randolph  - Marr. William A. Carter of Tampa
Matilda McKay  d. Sept 1893
      Marr. Dr. John P. Wall (his 2nd marriage), son of Judge Perry Green Wall & Nancy Hunter
    1 child:


Charles "Charlie" McKay Wall
Almeria Bell McKay, d. Oct 1926
      Marr. 1874 Dr. Howell Tyson Lykes of Brooksville, son of Frederick C. Lykes and Margaret Howell Tyson.
    8 children: (The seven "Lykes brothers")
    1. Matilda (Tillie) Lykes
      Marr1. 1897 Solon Brinton Turman d.1911, son of Simon Turman, Jr. publisher of the Florida Peninsular newspaper (son of Probate judge Simon Turman, Sr.) & Meroba Hooker (dau. of Wm. Brinton Hooker & Amanda Hare.)
           2 children:
             ● Almeria Turman b.1898, Marr. Henry C. Holmes
             ● Solon Brinton Turman, Jr. b.1900

Marr2. Aft. 1911 D. Collins Gillett, first mayor of Temple Terrace and President of Temple Terrace Inc.

    2. Frederick E. Lykes
    3. Howell T. Lykes, Jr.
    4. James M. Lykes
    5. Lipscomb G. Lykes
    6. Thomas M. Lykes
    7. John W. Lykes Marr. Matilda M. Nabors
    8. Joseph T. Lykes
Charles M. McKay  b. Jan 3, 1857 d. Sep 15, 1877