Name: Britton, James H.
Category: Politics and Government (Number 23)
Term as Mayor: 1875-1876
Born/Started: Jul. 11, 1817
Died/Ended: Jan. 27, 1900
Description: James Britton was the 23rd mayor of St. Louis, from 1875 to 1876. His term in office was cut short after only nine months after his opponent successfully contested the election results. Nevertheless, Mayor Britton’s administration did create several special sewer districts, spelled out the Fire Department´s inspection of buildings in greater detail, and put in place stronger regulations governing applications for building permits.
Born in Shenandoah County, VA, Mayor Britton came west to Troy, MO in 1840,where he opened a general merchandising business. In 1857 he came to St. Louis as cashier of the Southern Bank. Seven years later, he was made president of this bank. Later he was named president of the National Bank of the State of Missouri.
Mayor Britton entered public life in 1848 as secretary of the Senate of the Missouri State Legislature. From 1852 to 1856 he served in the State Legislature from Lincoln County. He was chief clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives in 1856 and 1857. He also served as County Treasurer and Postmaster in Lincoln County.
Britton was nominated by the Democrats to replace Mayor Barrett following his untimely death. He was declared mayor by the election judges, but the election was contested by his opponent, Henry Overstolz. The election council reviewed the ballots and declared Overstolz the winner by 77 votes out of more than 29,000 cast. Overstolz was seated as Mayor on February 9, 1876, after Mayor Britton had served almost nine months of the two-year term.
Mayor Britton lived until January 27, 1900. He died at Ardsley in New York State and was buried in St. Louis’ Calvary Cemetery.
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