On this site, after the devasting hurricane of 1848, McKay, a native of Scotland, built his first permanent home of finished lumber from Mobile, Ala. Here, with his wife Matilda,they raised their children.
McKay was a dominant factor in the upbuilding of Tampa in pioneer times. His shipping lines established the first commercial connection with the outside world. In 1848, he built a courthouse; in 1858, opened the first cattle trade with Cuba, and in 1859, was elected Mayor.
During the Civil War, with his sidewheeler, the Scottish Chief, he became one of Florida's most active blockade-runners; also formed the "Cowboy Cavalry" to protect cattle drives headed for the war-front.