HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
A Widow’s Tenacity
By J. W. HUNNICUTT
My great grandmother, Lula Tobitha Brown Morgan Gideons, was born in Lacoochee, FL, August 17, 1878. Her parents, Green Martin Brown and Tobitha Goff Brown Alexander, had come to Lacoochee in 1872 from south Georgia.
In the early 1920’s, when Cummer Sons Cypress Company began construction of their mill and company housing, there were no hotels in the area so the construction workers boarded with people in the community.
My great grandmother recognized a good thing when she saw it. She had a large house on the dirt road that ran north from SR575 in front of the Post Office. She moved her children into one bedroom and divided the other bedrooms and dining room into cubicles with sheets hung from the ceiling.
She provided breakfast, a bag lunch and hot supper for her boarders. She also did laundry for the boarders. My mother, who was probably seven or eight at the time, lived with her grandmother and her job was to keep the fire going under the wash pot.
When construction of the Cummer Hotel was completed, many boarders moved to the hotel. My mother said that most of her grandmother’s boarders remained with her because the food and amenities were much better.
Shortly after the mill opened my great grandmother traded her large house for a smaller one behind the school. That’s the house I was born in. That is also another story for another time.
Afterthoughts. . . .
My mother told me this story many times throughout my life. I heard and believed it but never asked questions. Now that she is gone I have many questions. Her grandmother’s house had neither indoor plumbing nor electricity. All the food was prepared on a wood burning stove and an outhouse served other needs. For the first several years of my life in Lacoochee we also did not have indoor plumbing and electricity. I understand the logistics for bathing, cooking and laundry for a family of four. I marvel at my great-grandmother’s skill to manage all of this for for herself, four children, a grandchild and several boarders.