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Hillsborough Biographies

Transcribed from:  The History of Florida:  Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol. 
II, page 226, 1923.

BURNETT, JAMES M. After a long and successful career as one of the representative merchants
of Tampa, JAMES M. BURNETT is now rendering a valued service to Hillsborough County in the
office of county tax collector. His life has been spent within the confines of the county,
and his is one of the pioneer families in this part of the state. So long has he been a
resident of Tampa that he can recall when there were but four stores here, and when a mere
handful of people constituted all of the citizens of what is now one of the most flourishing
municipalities of the state.

The birth of JAMES M. BURNETT took place in Hillsborough County, October 26, 1870, and he
is a son of BRITTON J. and MACY A. (KICKLEGHLER) BURNETT, the former of whom was also born
in Hillsborough County, in February, 1849, and spent his entire life here, all of his active
years being engaged in farming and stock raising. He is deceased, but his widow survives
and is living at Tampa. The paternal grandfather, LABON BURNETT, was born in Virginia, but
became one of the pioneers of Hillsborough County, locating in this region prior to the war
with the Seminoles, which resulted in their being driven from this part of the state. The
BURNETT family is of English origin, but has long been established in this country. On his
mother's side JAMES M. BURNETT is also of English extraction. He is the second of the ten
children of his parents, all of whom were born in Florida, seven of whom are still living
and residents of Florida.

Growing up in his native county, JAMES M. BURNETT attended its schools and the State Normal
School, and prepared himself for the profession of teaching, but in 1897 entered, instead,
the mercantile field, and his subsequent success in it proved the wisdom of his choice. In
his long career as a merchant Mr. BURNETT formed many connections and made countless friends,
and when he came before the public in 1920 as the candidate of his party for county tax
collector he received a very strong support, and was elected by a gratifying majority.
Taking hold of the affairs of his office, he has proven fully equal to its responsibilities
and exactions, and this in spite of the trying period of the reconstruction epoch.

In 1897 Mr. BURNETT married LUCY BRICE, of Brooks County, Georgia, and they have four
children living, and one who is deceased, namely: BRICE B., LUCILE, SYMMES, JAMES M.
(deceased) and DOROTHY. The family all belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, in
which Mr. BURNETT is exceptionally active, serving as member and chairman of the Board
of Trustees. Fraternally he is a thirty-second degree A. A. S. R. Mason and Shriner
and belongs to the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen of the World. It is a source of
pride to Mr. BURNETT that he has been able to develop with his home city, giving to it
the best of his ability, forwarding many projects for its development, and watching over
its welfare with an interest no outsider could experience.
Presented by  Nancy Rayburn
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