Florida Governor, US Senator. A native of Alabama, Park Monroe Trammell and his parents, John Washington Trammell and Ida E. Park, moved to a citrus farm near Lakeland in Polk County, Florida when he was a young child. He was the oldest of ten children. Later, his father ventured in politics and was elected to county treasurer, state representative, and then he accepted an 8-year-long appointment of Superintendent of the Florida State Insane Asylum in Chattahoochee. Park attended public schools but went to Tennessee to further his education. First, he studied law at Vanderbilt University then graduated in less than three years in 1899 from Cumberland University. He was accepted to the Florida Bar the same year and started his law practice in Lakeland. Besides being a lawyer, he ventured into his family's citrus industry along with owning and editing a newspaper from 1899-1903. He took a bride, Virginia Darby of Alabama, in a small private ceremony on November 21, 1900. He was a member of the Baptist Church along with being a member of the Free Masons, Knights of Pythias, and Woodmen of the World. His military experience consisted of serving in the Spanish-American War as a quartermaster in Tampa. In 1900 his political career began as a three-term mayor of Lakeland. He was elected to the State House of Representatives 1902, State Senate 1904-1908, serving as president 1905, and then the Attorney General of Florida 1909-1913. He became a leading advocate of Governor Napoleon Broward's progressive reform program. All of these were stepping stones in his political career. Bypassing controversy or conflict, he had many political allies and very popular with the voters. He was elected as the 21st Governor of Florida serving from 1913-1917. As with any governor, he had his good points and bad ones. During his tenure, he advocated a state tax commission to standardize property assessments between counties; he endorsed legislation that would manage money used in election campaigns; he supported creating a labor commission; and he sponsored stricter statutes on all railroad charges. As for the bad points, he endorsed racial segregation, overlooking the lynching of blacks, and more atrocious acts throughout the state. While Trammell was state attorney general, none of the 29 lynchings of black men during his term were prosecuted, nor were the 21 that occurred while he was governor. In 1916, he was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate. He firmly disagreed with President Woodrow Wilson's need for the World War I military draft. During the heated re-election campaign of 1922, his beloved Virginia suddenly died from complications of an emergency surgery on March 14th. The entire state mourned the loss of a gracious past Florida First Lady. The loss of his life-partner was agonizing as he was now very much alone as they had no children. He was re-elected to the US Senate again in 1922, 1928 and 1934. After the 1934 election, he married Mrs. Beatrice Padgett Mesmer, a divorced woman with a young son. While serving as Senator, he was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Treasury Department (Sixty-fifth Congress), and on the Committee of Naval Affairs (Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth Congresses). From March 1917 to May 1936, Trammell missed 642 of 3,168 roll call votes, hence making his 20.3% higher than the average missed at15%. He served from March 4, 1917, until his death in Washington D. C. in 1936. His career was not known for many achievements but for his popularity with the Florida voters. Trammell's widow donated the Senator's papers to the Lakeland Public Library (microfilm) and the University of Florida (originals). His gubernatorial papers reside in the Florida State Archives. In1955, the Lakeland Public Library building was named the Park Trammell Building, which is now the Greater Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. Built in 1955, the Park Trammell Building is a nine-story low-rise building in Tampa, which houses the Great Tampa Chamber of Commerce. Expanding to a $1.5 million project, the Park Trammell Building at the Florida State Hospital (mental) in Chattahoochee is used to house the geriatric population.
Bio by: Linda Davis
THIS IS THE CHERISHED RESTING PLACE OF PARK TRAMMELL, BELOVED HUSBAND OF BEATRICE TRAMMELL. AFTER SERVING HIS STATE WITH HIGHEST HONOR AND DISTINCTION AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, GOVERNOR, AND UNITED STATES SENATOR, HE PASSED FROM THIS LIFE MAY 8, 1936, TRUSTED AND LOVED BY ALL WHO KNEW HIM. HE WAS GOOD, KIND AND GENEROUS ALL THE DAYS OF HIS LIFE. HIS SOUL NOW RESTS WITH GOD IN WHOM HE BELIEVED." "'LET HIM WHO HAS WON BEAR THE PALM.'"