Friday, February 27, 2009

Hiram Hampton, Pistol Packing Doctor

(Florida State Archives)

Dr. Hiram J. Hampton owned and operated the Tampa Heights Sanitarium in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, advertising his services "for the cure of CANCER, RUPTURE, SCROFULA and Kindred DISEASES, and all cases requiring SURGICAL ATTENTION. No Mercury Used In This Institution. Tape Worm Positively Removed." His wife Emma at times assisted as his nurse. The 1903 Transactions of the National Eclectic Medical Association of the United States recognize Dr. Hampton as member of the Eclectic Medical Examiming Board for Florida.

In Tampa today, Dr. Hampton is most widely known for the unique character of his and Emma's grave sites in Woodlawn Cemetery. The crypts are topped with at least life size seated statues of the couple, and local lore oft repeats the story that the Hamptons' backs are turned deliberately to the city.


  1. Anonymous8:18 AM

    I've always loved graveyards, if only for all the history they house. When I lived in Michigan, I'd often take photos of graves in and around Detroit, many with large statues, tombs or crypts to honor the dead. Some where beautiful, and obviously expensive, pushing you to learn more about the deceased.

  2. Anonymous7:21 PM

    I've read about Hiram before. I would have loved to have met him. He sounds as if he was quite a character!

  3. I've never seen anything like it. That's a landmark I would like to visit, especially given the back story.

  4. Anonymous1:59 PM

    very nice tribute. would like to here the story of the statues. c w. best.

  5. Anonymous9:36 PM

    I take care of Woodlawn and find it amusing that people don't realize that they aren't posed the correct way for their backs to be towards downtown Tampa. If you get out and look you'll discover that they face their children, which are buried in the same place and they in turn are facing their parents. The mounuments themselves are magnificent, perfect likenesses in Italian marble.


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