Some Early Residents

This page was last revised on Sept. 28, 2021.

EARLY AUGUSTUS ALLEN (1830-1872) moved to Marion County from Pike County, Ala., in the 1840s with his family. He married Janett Gillis in 1850. She died after giving birth to a daughter, Lucy Ann. He remarried in 1854, to Mary Morrison (1836-1916) in Ocala. They settled in Crystal River in 1855. War Department records showed that Early A. Allen, private, Company C, 9th Florida Infantry, Confederate States Army, enlisted June 21, 1862. The last record found showed him absent sick in a hospital at Richmond. He was discharged in October 1864. The 1870 Hernando County census shows him age 38, wife Mary age 32. Others in the household were Lucy A., 17; Florida, 15; John, 13; William, 9; Charles, 7; Walter, 3; illegible, 1. Early Allen died on July 14, 1872, at his home in Hernando County. According to great grandson Zack C. Waters, “He was shot in the chest at Cold Harbor. He lived three years but the wound never healed – so I always say he may have been the last Cold Harbor casualty. I think there were several of those Allen boys in Capt. Hope’s Co.” A 2010 newspaper article reported that he died of malaria-related causes. Early’s father, John Earl Allen, was appointed the second postmaster of Crystal River in 1857.

WILLIAM J. BARNETT (ca. 1842 – 1909) was born in Kentucky about 1842. In 1861, many young men of the border state chose to serve the South in the Civil War. Barnett volunteered in Helm’s Brigade, Second Kentucky Cavalry. In 1862, Barnett was captured, confined at Camp Chase, Ohio, became quite ill and later was included in a prisoner exchange. Making his way to Florida and volunteering in the Florida “Cow Cavalry,” he served in the Hernando region. After the close of the war on July 4, 1865, he married his longtime sweetheart, Virginia Hope, the daughter of William Hope, a prominent planter. Barnett was active locally, and in August 1869, a prisoner on the way to jail wounded Barnett and Deputy David L. Sellers. Barnett and his new wife remained in the Brooksville area. He “read law” with a local attorney and was admitted to the bar in late 1869. Barnett served in many positions of trust for the county. He was assistant state attorney for the 6th District, justice of the peace and a notary public. A Tampa newspaper reported: “(Brooksville) has but one lawyer in full practice, Col. W.J. Barnett, who is a wise counselor of sterling integrity, unblemished character and a Christian gentleman.” Barnett became the first mayor of Brooksville in 1880. In the late 1890s, he moved his family to Port Tampa. However, the family returned to Brooksville just after the turn of the century. He died of cancer Jan. 24, 1909, and was buried in the Hope family cemetery. [From a 2007 St. Petersburg Times article by Roger Landers.]

JAMES A. BOYET (born, 1812) is one of the signers of a petition dated Chuccochattee, Dec. 1, 1842, asking the President and Congress to grant a continuance of subsistence promised by the Armed Occupation Act. He was a candidate for Clerk of the County Clerk in the Hernando County election of Nov. 6, 1843, but lost to Richard R. Crum. He is shown as a 38-year-old farmer in the 1850 census of Benton County. In 1858 and 1860 he was the Tax Collector for Hernando County. His children were: Andrew A. (1837- ? ), Mary Jane, q.v., Martha Ann (1843- ? ), Sarah R. (1846- ? ).

MARY JANE BOYET (1842-1908) was the second white person born in Hernando County, according to the recollections of Cyprian T. Jenkins. She was born on Aug. 7, 1842, at the Chocochatta Settlement and died September 13, 1908, of typhoid fever in Dade City. On December 23, 1858, at the Chocochatta Settlement she married Charles William Malachi Lang (b. March 10, 1837; d. Nov. 25, 1908, of typhoid fever in Dade City).

They had twelve children.

[Some information was provided by Jim Lang.]

ROBERT DUKE BRADLEY (abt. 1803-1857) was born in South Carolina and arrived in Florida during December 1827. He was an AOA settler in Hernando County, and served as a state senator for the Eighteenth District in 1846 and as a Benton County state representative in 1850. His family, including his wife Nancy Wiggens Bradley, suffered an Indian attack in 1856 which resulted in the deaths of two of his children. More on the attack is here. Bradley died in Hernando County on Dec. 14, 1857. [Information from Cracker Times and Pioneer Lives: The Florida Reminiscences of George Gillett.]

Col. JOHN PROBERT COBB (1834-1923) was born in Wayne County, N. C. He fought in the Civil War, enlisting as a lieutenant. He was paroled as a colonel. He lost his left knee in battle at Winchester, Va., on Sept. 19, 1864. In December 1865 he married Sarah [Sallie] Elizabeth Whitfield. In 1883 the family moved to Florida, living first near Floral City in Citrus County, and afterwards in Brooksville. While living in Hernando County, Cobb served as tax assessor and later was postmaster of Brooksville. He served as assistant secretary of the State Senate in 1889, and in 1901 was appointed one of a committee to audit the State officers, at which he came to Tallahassee to reside. He afterwards filled a position in the office of the State Comptroller. He died in Tallahassee on March 13, 1923. Children, with ages in the 1880 census in Indian Springs, Wayne Co., N. C.:

  • William Donnell, 12. In 1900 he was a deputy sheriff of Hernando County.
  • Lucy W., 10 (Mrs. J. C. Burwell). Apparently, Lucy’s daughter was Grace Burwell, b. Sept. 1898, who became the Florida Supt. of Home Economics and married J. Franklin Williams in Dec. of 1928.
  • Ann S., 8
  • Mary S., 8
  • Winnifred E., 4
  • Grace P., 1

The list of his survivors is: William D. Cobb, of Brooksville; Mrs. George T. Marshall of Greenwood, S. C.; Mrs. A. S. Nelson, of Dunedin; Mrs. J. C. Burwell of Tallahassee; Miss Winifred Cobb of Tallahassee; Miss Grace Cobb of Tallahassee.

[Information from Bill Cobb and Confederate Veteran, provided by Charles Blankenship.]

COL. T. F. COOPER (d., 1909) came to Florida in 1868. He was a lawyer and a confederate veteran. His obituary reported that he was 72 years old, a native of South Carolina, and one of the oldest and most respected citizens of Brooksville.

RICHARD R. CRUM settled at Chuccochattie under the Armed Occupation Act of 1842. He was a son of Abraham Crum. In 1838 he married Charlotte Winn (Wynn) Piles. [She was a widow, having previously married Col. Samuel R. Piles (Pyles) in Savannah, Ga., in 1809.]

On Sept. 12, 1842, Charlotte was attacked and killed by Seminoles near Chuckachattee while riding between today’s Brooksville and Dade City. She was buried on the land of R. R. Crum (now Brooksville City Cemetery). A State Historical Marker was erected in May of 2003 on the site of her grave.

More on this incident is on the timeline page.

On Nov. 6, 1843, Richard R. Crum was elected surveyor of Hernando County, defeating Michael Garrason, by 63 votes to 16 votes. He enlisted in the Civil War on July 19, 1861, with the Hernando County Wildcats, Third Florida Infantry Co. C. He was discharged September 26, 1861, by Col. Dilsworth.

After Charlotte was killed, Richard R. Crum remarried and had two children:

  • John Washington Crum (ca. 1852-1896), m. Ann Pyles Hope (b. June 20, 1854; d. 1935) in Hernando County. A picture which may show the couple is here. A newly-obtained photo of a birthday celebration for Ann Pyles Hope Crum is here. Another picture of her is here. John Washington Crum was murdered in 1896, probably in connection with the Whitehurst-Whitten-Stevenson feud. Children:

    • Frances (b. Nov. 28, 1875, Hernando County; d. Nov. 14, 1878, Hernando County)
    • David Maxie (b. Feb. 24, 1879, Hernando County; d. Apr. 12, 1964, Hernando County), m. Alice Eiland
    • Mary Jane (b. Feb. 13, 1881, Hernando county; d. Apr. 13, 1949, Hernando County), m. Wesley Rodenberry
    • Jessie Lee (b. June 9, 1883), m. Neila May Eiland
    • Fred Franklin (b. Nov. 5, 1885), m. Agnes Bridges
    • Charlotte Mattie (b. Jan. 9, 1887), m. Charles Hilliard
    • John II (b. Jan. 18, 1891), m. Mary Mainor, m. Lillian Baxley
    • Tillie May (b. June 1, 1893), m. Nathan Bryan
    • Annie Julia Eliza (b. Dec. 24, 1895), m. Mancil C. Lynch, m. Benjamin Saxon
  • Jane Crum, b. 1850, m. James M. Shearer, q.v.

The 1850 census of Benton County shows Richard R. Crum, age 49, living with Christian M. Crum (female, age 38), Jane Crum, age 3 months, and William Brown, age 13, in the Chocochatta Settlement. A sister of Richard R. Crum was Ann Tobitha Crum, who married Henry Harn, q.v.

Charlotte Wynn Pyles Crum’s Orphans

When Mrs. Charlotte Crum was killed on 12 September 1842, she left two children orphans. All her 12 children were with her first husband, Colonel Samuel R. Pyles from their 1809 marriage in Savannah, Georgia. Three of her daughters (Rebecca, Jane and Frances Sophia), married to William S. Harn, William W. Tucker and David Hope, were living in what became Hernando County from their AOA Land Permits in 1842.

The day she was killed, she was traveling between the Tucker home near present day Brooksville to the Harn homestead with her daughter and granddaughter.

The two orphans on that day included daughter, Charlotte Louise and Lewis G. Pyles. Both continued to live among their sibling’s households. Three years later, Charlotte Louise was married to George N. Helvenston in 1845. She lived in Alachua Co. and Cedar Key and finally Archer. During her lifetime, she was reported to have purchased as a female the largest purchaser of right-of-way land for the eventual Yulee Railway from Nassau Co., FL to Cedar Key.

Lewis G. Pyles lived with his sister, Frances Sophia Pyles Hope household, until her oldest brother, Samuel R. Pyles, Jr. became the Guardian of his brother to raise. Among the Ancient Records of Alachua Co., FL Clerk of Court online material is a record of payment to David Hope on behalf of Lewis.

As a minor child, Lewis with the help of Major John Parsons the Registrar of the Newnansville Land Office that had provided the AOA land Permits to all those moving south, was sent to Rye, NH for schooling. There, a relative of his ran a school. Lewis did not like the northern climate and became homesick, returning to Newnansville. In the 1850s, Lewis was sent to Thomasville, Thomas Co., GA for schooling. While there, he met and married Mary S. Remington, daughter of Edward Remington of RI in 1854.

They moved back to Newnansville and had three children. The oldest, Samuel R. Pyles (1856-1919) lived, himself becoming an orphan in 1866 when his father died in Archer. Mary died in 1859 along with her infant and is buried in the Newnansville Cemetery with a tombstone honoring her and her husband. In 1860, Lewis and son, Samuel, are in the same household where Lewis had the job of Regisrar at the Newnansville Land Office formerly held by Parsons. In 1861 after the Civil War started, Lewis was elected Major in the 2nd Infantry Regiment as a Staff Officer. They were sent to Virginia as part of the ANV under Lee. At the Battle of Seven Pines, Lewis was severally injured after being promoted to Light Colonel and finally Colonel. Returning home after being placed on the Invalid Corps, he was involved with a rag tag bunch of soldiers but missed the Battle of Gainesville.

Over the next years leading up to his death, he was involved with the Administration of the Estate of his brother, James W. Pyles of Marion Co., FL. Records in Marion Co. reveal that he sent several of James’ children to Thomasville to be educated. In February of 1866, he died in Archer, presumably at his sister, Charlotte’s house. At that time, only two of Charlotte’s children (Charlotte Louise and Frances Sophia) were alive with Frances being the last to die in 1875 in Brooksville.

In the 1940s when the WPA conducted a cemetery survey throughout Florida, the only two graves in the Newnansville were for Lewis brother and father for the Civil War and the War of 1812. Weber’s 1880s book on Alachua Co. Eden of the South has a report of a visual sighting of Lewis’ gravestone beside his wife. Mary Lois Forester, author of Lest We Forget a Town Called Newnansville said several people in Alachua Co. had seen his stone.

Most important, a sister-in-law of his wife, Martha Remington Davies Bowers writing to her granddaughter in July 1892, stating that Col. Lewis G. Pyles was “also buried in Newnansville.” Thus the orphan of Charlotte Wynn Pyles Crum has indeed a final resting place.

[Information provided by Charles Blankenship, Ron Harn, and Jeff Cannon]

FRANCIS H. EDERINGTON (1824-1866) arrived in Hernando County from Fairfield County, S. C., in 1851. According to information from Jeff Cannon, on July 30, 1851, he purchased from Col. Bird M. Pearson land north of present-day Brooksville on Chinsegut Hill, then known as Mount Airy. He enlarged the home, making it one of the finest and largest plantations in Brooksville. By 1853 Ederington purchased additional tracts of property from the State of Florida, adding to his Mount Airy plantation. The 1860 tax roll shows that he was the owner of 32 slaves valued at $20,000, making him one of the largest slaves owners in Hernando County during the time. He married Precious Ann E. Nevitt (1823-1869) in 1844. Their children were:

  • Mallory, died at college
  • Francis Jr., continued to live in Hernando County, died at age 94
  • Dorothy, married John J. Hale
  • Eugenia, married W. S. Hancock
  • Frances, married John T. McKeown
  • Precious Ann, married Joseph Baisden Wall
  • Charlotte, married Dr. J. R. Snow
  • Burilla, married a Billingsley
  • Mary, married a Smith
  • Caroline, died young

MARY ANNA EVERS (1775 – c. 1850), known as Mary Ann, Mary Anne, or Mary Anna, was born in North Carolina. In 1792 she married Darius Garrason/Garrison. They moved to Florida in 1832 or 1833. Her husband died in 1838. Mary Ann Garrison received AOA #86, about 3 miles southwest of present-day Brooksville. Her children were Isaac Garrison and Michael Garrison. In January 1850 she deeded her AOA land to her grandson Isaac Nathan Jewett Garrison, son of Isaac and his third wife Laura. However, when her late husband’s claim for forage provided at Ft. Walker was filed in Washington, it was settled to son Isaac in 1848 acting as administrator of Darius’ estate. [Information from Charles Blankenship]

FRANCES FAIR (c1817 – 1864) married James R. Nicks (q.v.). Frances was born in downtown Charleston, S. C. to Elizabeth Harrison and Richard Fair. Both of her parents had immigrated to America before 1800 from Cavan County, Ireland. They had met and married in 1804. Richard was a boot and shoemaker at 170 (later renumbered 337) King St. until his death in 1817. Frances’ siblings included: Elizabeth Jane, Mary Ann, Sophia, Joseph and Robert Fair. Mrs. Elizabeth Fair remarried in December 1818 and continued to live in Charleston until after 1830. The families migrated to Thomasville, Ga., and then down to Leon County, Fla., by 1834. By then, Frances had met and married James R. Nicks. She and several members of her family were enumerated on the 1840 U. S. Census. By 1850, all others, except her sister Elizabeth had moved to Columbus, Ga., and then to Opelika, Ala. As a young teenager in 1831, Frances Fair Nicks was given a Day Book. Several poems, letters, and remedies appear in her book, as well as drafts by her sons probably after her death. One of the poems is here. The book passed down to Francis R. Nicks and then to Robert H. R. Nicks, who was his guardian after their mother’s death in 1864. Francis’ drafted Civil War letter written in July 1864 describes his mother’s failing health. Her condition was probably worsened because of both Francis and Benjamin home from the Civil War, neither in good health either. [Information from Charles Blankenship]

ISAAC NATHAN GARRASON (GARRISON) (1795-1865), son of Darius Garrison and Mary Ann Evers (q.v.), was born in Effingham County, Georgia. He and his brother Michael moved to Alachua County between 1833 and 1834 and lived in the Spring Grove Settlement (near present day Gainesville) until 1842. Isaac returned to Savannah many times to bring back goods for the merchants of Alachua. In the 1830s he was Clerk of the County Court in Alachua County. In 1838-39, he attended the Florida Statehood Convention in Northwest Florida (St. Josephs) as a delegate. While there, he married the former Mrs. Laura M. Johnson. [Isaac was married at least three times.] He was also a Major in the Florida Militia. His was among the first families to settle near what is today Brooksville. He was granted property in S10-T23-R19. In 1842 a son born to Isaac and Laura, named Isaac Nathan Jewett Garrason, was the first white child born in Hernando County. In 1842-1843, Isaac carried about 100 Armed Occupation Act Land Permits to the Newnansville East Florida Land Office to be processed and returned to the settlers. On Nov. 6, 1843, Isaac was elected Clerk of the County Court. The state legislature required that court be held at Garrason’s home at Chocochatee in 1844. In 1845 Isaac was appointed the first postmaster of Chocochattee. He served as a county judge in 1845. He was a state representative in 1847. In the 1850 census of Benton County, he is shown as a farmer in the Melendez settlement. Eventually, Isaac moved to Bayport, where he died on January 10, 1865. He was buried in the Bayport Cemetery. His headstone was among several that were vandalized but later recovered and are now displayed at the museum in Brooksville. [Some information provided by Charles Blankenship.]

MICHAEL GARRISON (1793-1856) was born in Duplin County, N. C. His father was a surveyor and his grandfather a chain carrier. While living in Effingham County, Ga., he married Mary Zetrouer in about 1815. Most of the Garrison family moved to the Territory of Florida in 1833 and settled near the Spring Grove Settlement. Between 1835 and 1842 he served in Florida Militia Companies in Alachua County, as Captain and Major of his outfit. He received AOA Permit #445 to settle what was described as near Henry Harn’s plantation and the Harn’s Prairie in what is now Hernando County. This was near Spring Lake, about 5 to 7 miles southeast of Brooksville, inside R 20 E extending to just inside what is now the Pasco County line and R 21 E. When his deed was patented, his surveyed land was in S 21 T 23S, R 20 S, containing over 160 acres. Under the Military Bounty Land Act of 1850, he received 9 and 11/100 additional acres described as Lot No. 1 and a portion of land in S4, T 23S, R 20E. That land is close to Spring Lake, just off Florida County Road 41, southeast of Brooksville. Michael voted in the 1845 statehood election at the Bates precinct. On June 2, 1845, he was elected as a representative to the first General Assembly of the

State of Florida. He was also elected surveyor of Hernando County, although he lost an election for that office to Richard Crum in 1843. His land was sold and conveyed to his son-in-law Henry Hope and his heirs in 1854. An indenture conveying the AOA land to Henry Hope, refiled by William Michael Garrison in 1884, stated that Michael was living in Hillsborough County in 1854. Michael died on April 11, 1856, and his wife Mary died in 1858. They are buried in Tampa. Their children are believed to be as follows:

  • Selene Garrison, b. ca. 1816, m. Britton Dixon
  • Daughter Garrison, b. ca. 1818, d. before 1830
  • William Michael Garrison, q.v.
  • Alatha Frances Garrison, q.v.
  • Mary Ann Garrison, q.v. See also The Robles Family
  • Daughter Garrison, b. ca. 1827, d. before 1840
  • Hannah Melinda Garrison, b. Oct. 3, 1828, m. Elijah A. Tucker, d. May 26, 1903
  • Green R. or A. Garrison, b. ca. 1830. His Civil War muster card is annotated: “absent–wounded in the battle of Gettysburg, July 2/63, now in hands of the enemy.” His fate is unknown.
  • Julia Garrison, b. May 18, 1832, m. Ramon Bolesta, d. 1902

[Information from Charles Blankenship]

WILLIAM MICHAEL GARRISON (1820-1883), a son of Michael Garrison and Mary Zetrouer, served as county court clerk in Hernando County and re-recorded many deeds after the 1877 fire. He married Indiana Hope (d. 1887), daughter of William Hope Jr. and his second wife Jane Crum. He is buried in Brooksville City Cemetery near Henry Hope. William and Indiana’s children:

  • Anna Eliza Jane (1866-1943) m. E. D. Goethe
  • Lydia Rebecca (1868- ) m. Christopher C. Harrison
  • Virginia (1871-1871)
  • William Edward (1873-1879)
  • Susan (1876- )
  • Joseph (1878- )
  • Willie (1880- )
  • Emily Indiana (1882-1973) m. Robert Anton Townsend. A photo is here. After her mother’s death, Emily Indiana was raised in Tampa by her mother’s sister, Virginia Hope Barnett. [Information from Chuck Townsend, grandson of Emily]

MARY ANN GARRISON (1827-1886) was born in Effingham County, Ga., on Feb. 15, 1827. She was the daughter of Michael Garrison and was a sister of Alatha Frances Garrison, q.v. On Dec. 12, 1840, she married Joseph Robles, q.v., in Georgia. She died in Florida on Apr. 19, 1886. [Source: The Story of Southwestern Florida: Family and Personal History by James Covington.] See also The Robles Family.

RICHARD LEROY GARRISON (c. 1818-1865), a son of Isaac Garrison and one of the men in John Curry’s party that traveled to Chocochattee in 1842, is considered the first settler in what would become Dunedin. Garrison and his wife, Emily Sutton, are listed in church records of Dunedin in 1848, according to information provided by Mrs. Vivien S. Grant. He received the first land grant in Dunedin in 1852, provided under the Bounty Lands Act of 1850 for service in the Florida Indian Wars. According to Profiles of Early Settlers on the Pinellas Peninsula by Evelyn C. Bash, his 300-acre grant encompassed both sides of Curlew Creek and he settled there in 1852. Garrison-Jones Elementary School in Dunedin is named for him and another early Pinellas County settler, Russell Jones. A son of Richard and Emily Garrison was John W. Garrison (1851-1935). According to his obituary, he was born in Brooksville on Sept. 9, 1851, and moved to the Curlew section the following year and lived there until his death.

ALATHA FRANCES GARRISON married Henry Hope Sr. prior to 1840. She was born in Effingham, Ga., about 1818. She moved first to Alachua Co., Fla., between 1832 and 1833. She was living near what became Hague, Fla., in 1846 before selling her land and moving to Spring Lake. She donated some of her Spring Lake land for the Methodist Church and Cemetery. She died about 1888 [some family say 1892], but has no headstone in the Brooksville City Cemetery near her husband. [Information from Charles Blankenship].

JAMES GIBBONS moved to Benton County shortly after his marriage to Mary Townsend and in 1844 was elected to the Florida House of Representatives. A deed dated Dec. 1, 1849, conveyed 160 acres in S 27, T 24, R21 to his heirs, and indicated that a permit for the land had been issued to Gibbons on Dec. 20, 1842. In January 1845 Gibbons was appointed postmaster for Fort Dade. He kept the post office in his home. In 1845 he was re-elected to the legislature but he died while en route to Tallahassee to take his seat.

JOSEPH OBIDA FRAZIER HALE (1805-1857) was born in Vermont. He married Eliza Townsend (1817-1890), who was born in Georgia. He came to Hernando County from Leon County by boat in 1841, according to a 1991 St. Petersburg Times article. The Florida Genealogical Journal (summer, 1972) has:

Mr. Hale moved his family to Hernando Co., Fla., in 1842, and settled at Homosassa. His occupation being that of a millwright, an important one in pioneer days, he was engaged by Senator David Yulee to construct the old Yulee Sugar Mill, the ruins of which are located there and are today one of the interesting historical landmarks of Florida. In 1845 he moved to Brooksville and there erected a saw mill which he operated until his death.

He is shown as a 45-year-old millwright in Hernando County in the 1850 census. According to Jenkins, the first steam mill in Hernando County was erected by Joseph Hale in 1852.

Stanback has:

It was also around 1852, that Joseph Hale moved to the vicinity of Melendez (recently renamed Pierceville, in honor of President Franklin A. Pierce), where he purchased some land from Nancy Campbell.

The problem [of locating a court house] was solved when two prominent residents of Pierceville donated fifteen acres each for a county seat site. The land was located on a hilltop northeast of Pierceville. On October 15, 1856, the gifts of John L. May and Joseph Hale were transferred to the county by May and William Hope, executor of the Hale estate. A county seat was then laid out by surveyor Joseph M. Taylor with boundaries extending out a mile from the center in each direction. …

When Joseph Hale died in 1855, he left a one acre plot of land to the church which was included in a larger one donated to the county for the development of a county seat. In 1857, the Union Baptist Church moved into a wooden structure built on that land on North Main Street across from today’s Hernando State Bank.

However, according to most rerrferences, Hale died on June 4, 1857, in Hernando County. Eliza Townsend died in Brooksville in 1890. Their children were:

  • Horace Harvey (1839-1894), married Ida Lipscomb (1849-1932)
  • Caroline Elizabeth (1842-1939), married Dr. J. S. Brunner
  • John Joseph (1844-1914), q.v.
  • Francis Edward (1847-1910)
  • William Henry (1850-1890)
  • Albert Lewis (1855-1856)

JOHN JOSEPH HALE (1844-1914), a son of Joseph Obida Hale, married Dorothy Ederington. Their daughter Mary Alice (1885-1972) married William McLaurin McKethan (1876-1936), who was a banker. A son of William McLaurin McKethan was Alfred August McKethan (1908-2002), a prominent banker and citrus grower.

[The following Harns listed in bold print were all brothers. Information on the Harn family was provided by Ed Harn and Charles Blankenship. Some Harn Civil War letters and other documents provided by Ed Harn are here.]

WILLIAM SAMUEL HARN SR. (1796-1864) was born in Bryan County, Georgia. He moved with his brothers and uncle to the Territory of Florida around 1824 and settled near what became Spring Grove. His service in the Second Seminole War earned him 160 acres of land (S31, T23 S, R21 E) under the AOA. His AOA#13 dated Aug. 29, 1842, described the land as “on a hammock in Spring Grove Settlement about five miles west of the Withlacoochee bridge…about twelve miles South East of Chucuchattee.” According to Permit 13, William worked his land from 1842 to 1847, but became sick in Hernando County and wanted to return to Newnansville but his doctor told him he had to go south for his health. Also if he had moved north of the line specified in the Act of 1842 he would have lost the land he had worked. He voted in the statehood election of 1845 at the Bates Precinct in Benton County. William moved to the Tampa area in 1847 or between August 1849 and the date of the 1850 census, but he did not abandon the land at Toachatka Hammock. His patent was approved on Aug 1, 1849. William slowly got better and moved to Newnansville by 1852. William had 19 slaves in the 1850 slave schedule that would have kept him working his land at Toachatka.

Sometime around 1833 Harn married Rebecca Pyles (b. about 1815, d. April 1862), who was a daughter of Samuel R. Piles/Pyles and Charlotte Winn/Wynn. The children of William S. Harn Sr.:

  • William S. Jr. (ca. 1837 – 1862)
  • Mary Catherine (b. ca. 1834), who was the granddaughter riding with Charlotte Wynn Piles Crum on Sept. 12, 1842, when attacked by renegade Indians. She was saved by her mother “taking her daughter up on the horse” to escape.

JAMES HARN (1798-1860) came to Florida with his brothers in early 1825. He was a planter and fought in the Indian wars and in the War Between the States. He appears frequently in the Territorial Papers of Florida. He received an AOA permit for S36, TS23S, R20E, one mile west of William’s land. He voted in the statehood election of 1845 at the Bates Precinct in Benton County. James mustered in at Tampa October 27, 1861, – Feb. 28, 1862, in Capt. Turner’s Independent Cavalry Troop, Florida Volunteers. He received a horse worth $90 and equipment worth $5. He was discharged by order of General Trapies and had received no pay. Ref. National Archives Military Service Record recd by Ed Harn.

James married first Miss Crum. They had 3 children:

  • Henry James (1830-1862), died in the War Between the States.
  • Alonzo (1832-1862), died in the War Between the States.
  • James Jr. (1834-1909), m1. Beneator ____. Fought in the War Between the States.

James married second Mary Ann Stafford Tyner “Aunt Polly” in 1854. They had one son, William Hardee “Sonny” Harn (1852-1928) They moved to Keysville and are buried there in Beulah Baptist Cemetery. Sonny moved south and populated much of south Florida with his descendants.

HENRY HARN (b. 19 May 1801, Bryan Co., Ga.; d. 25 Dec. 1875) moved to Florida January 1825 near Hogtown and was at Spring Grove by 1830. Henry appears frequently in the Territorial papers of Florida. The 1840 census shows him near Ft. Clarke, Alachua county. However, in 1843 he voted in Chocochatta. Henry’s first wife and child were murdered by Indians in the second Indian War. On May 24, 1838, Henry married secondly Ann Tolitha Crum (b., Effingham Co. Ga, 15 Jun 1812; d. 6 Mar 1885; buried, Clearwater, Rousseau Cemetery with Henry) According to Land permit #218 (S8, TS23S, R20E), Henry got sick on the land he was farming after three years, like his brother William. He started in 1843, so in 1846 he moved about 2 miles away and then moved to Tampa for about 3 months and then returned to Toachatka. Henry begin paying taxes in what is now Pinellas county in 1847; this coincides with the information in permit 218. Henry moved to what is now Pinellas County in the mid-1850’s and remained there.

Children of Henry and Ann:

  • Florida (1839-1910), m. William N. Campbell. Lived in Clearwater.
  • Richard C. (1841-1863), died in war between states. Never married
  • Henry Butler (1843-1863), died in war between states. Never married.
  • Georgia Ann (1844-1913), m. John S. Taylor (Senator). Lived in Largo.
  • William John (1846-1919), m. E. Campbell,. m2. Georgia A. Bell Grey. Grandfather of Ed Harn.
  • Jane (1848-1907), m. James M. McMullen. Lived near Largo.
  • James Yulee (1852-1924), m. Ida Viola Rousseau. Lived in Clearwater.
  • Ellen (1855-1919), m. John Frank Blanton. Moved to Miami

THOMAS HARN (1794-1866) came to Florida with his brothers in 1825. Married Miss Crum of Effingham Ga. Returned to Georgia for a period after his wife died in Cedar Key and became Sheriff of Bryan Co. Then returned to Cedar Key to become city Alderman. He is buried in Cedar Key’s old Graveyard with two daughters and his wife.

BENJAMIN HARN (1804-ca. 1861) came to Florida with his brothers in 1825. He appears frequently in the Territorial Papers of Florida. Never married. He moved east from Alachua to Enterprise, Florida. He was a boat captain on the St. Johns.

Rev. JEREMIAH MADISON HAYMAN (1822-1902). Under terms of the Armed Occupation Act Jeremiah M. Hayman and his father, James Hayman, in January 1843 received permits, respectively, 216 & 222 for land near Lake Lindsey in (now) Hernando County where they settled and farmed. On July 7, 1844, Jeremiah was baptized at Lake Lindsey by the Rev. John Tucker, a Missionary Baptist preacher. About September 1845, a Baptist church was constituted at Lake Lindsey, and J. M. was chosen as its first clerk, and, afterward, was ordained a deacon. About 1850, Hayman sold his farm and moved to a place on the Alafia River in Hillsborough County. This information was taken from a webpage HERE, which has more information on Hayman.

WILLIAM HOPE (1808-1898) was a son of William Hope (1769-1850) of Georgia. He was born in Liberty County, Ga., on Feb. 10, 1808, and died in Brooksville on Aug. 28, 1898. On April 15, 1832, he married Susan Mitchell Harville, b. 1809, d. July 12, 1836. On June 14, 1838, he married Jane E. Crum, b. July 10, 1814, d. March 14, 1845. Hers is the earliest marked grave in the Brooksville Cemetery. On April 16, 1846, he married Anna J. Wiggins, b. Jan. 18, 1826. In an 1891 interview he claimed to be the first white inhabitant of what is now Hernando County. A post office was established at Melendez on Oct. 4, 1850, with William Hope as Postmaster. An 1867 Freedmen’s Bureau report refers to a “William David Hope,” who could be this person.
Mr. Hope’s children included:

  • Samuel Edward, b. 1833, q.v.
  • Robert Hodges, b. Feb. 19, 1836
  • William B., b. Mar. 25, 1839, may have died young
  • Virginia, b. May 12, 1841, m. W. J. Barnett (1841-1909), d. 1928
  • Indiana or Indianna, b. June 24, 1843, m. William M. Garrison (1820-1883)
  • Infant, b. Mar. 14, 1845
  • Idella or Adala, b. Aug. 14, 1847, m. William Allen (1871-1891)
  • Christian Ann, b. Nov. 13, 1849, m. William R. Bell
  • Susan Jane, b. Jan. 30, 1852, d. Nov. 21, 1855
  • William Eston, b. 1854 or b. June 21, 1841, m. Julia Reeves (b. 1857 in Wisconsin), d. 1932
  • Mary Frances, b. about 1856, d. Feb. 5, 1909, m1. James Rhodes (d., Jan. 1879), m2. Angus Patterson Nott (b. 1848; d. 1909) photo
  • Tululu Victoria or Talula Victoria, m. Frank E. Saxon photo
  • Jesse David or Jessy David, b. Mar. 26, 1861, m. Eliza Sharpe, d. Feb. 2, 1948
  • Lidia Lee, b. Dec. 20, 1864, m. John Steele
  • Lewis or Louis, b. July 30, 1868, m. Hattie A. Steele

DAVID HOPE (b. Aug. 10, 1819; d. Nov. 1879) was a son of William Hope (1769-1850) of Georgia. He was born in Liberty County, Georgia. He arrived in Hernando county in 1842. He and his brother Henry Hope Sr. voted in Hernando County in the 1845 election. David Hope’s original AOA grant was on the southeast side of Brooksville, but his residence during the Civil War was west of Brooksville towards Bayport. His plantation was set on fire in July 1864 when the Union troops landed at Bayport and marched and burned towards Brooksville. David Hope was appointed Postmaster of Fort Taylor on March 16, 1854. David Hope married Frances Sophia Pyles (b. March 4, 1828; d. Dec. 27, 1875) in 1842. An image of the invitation to the funeral of Frances Sophia Pyles Hope is here. Their children were:

  • Charlotte Cecelia (b. July 20, 1843; d. May 26 or 28, 1919) picture; m1. Zachariah Seward (b. Apr. 5, 1839) and after his death m2. John Augustine Washington (1848-1931) picture and moved to Louisiana. Her children by Z. Seward:

    • William Henry (1867-1927), m. Sarah Petner Green
    • Frances Louise (1868-1958)
    • Zachariah II (ca. 1872-ca. 1958)
    • Lewis Pyles (ca. 1875-ca. 1958)
    • Mary Rebecca (1877-1964), m. John F. Gillette in 1899
  • Rebecca Jane (b., Dec. 10, 1844, married Hill W. Howse (see his entry here for children)
  • William Maxie (b. Aug. 9, 1846, m1. Sophia Willie Alexander. She is listed in the 1870 census as age 26 in his household in the Cedar Tree area of Hernando County); m2. in November 1879 in what would become Port Richey: Anna Olivia Sowers (b. Jan. 29, 1856, Atlanta; d. after Sept. 9, 1909, Tarpon Springs) [Documents show various dates in November.] William died on Apr. 3, 1900, in Tampa. Children of William Maxie Hope and Anna Olivia Sowers:

    • Jacob Louis
    • Charity Sophia, known as “Fide” (b. Aug. 1, 1880, m. Antonio Gil). Her picture is here.
    • Anna Cecilia (b. Feb. 24, 1883, m. Carl Munson, d. about 1961)
    • Samuel David (b. Mar. 15, 1885, died young)
    • Jenness (b. about 1886, m. George Callas)
    • William Maxie II (b. 1888, m. Anna Kight, d. 1967). A son was Rev. Claude Stanley Hope.
    • David (b. 1891, m. Mattie Causey). A daughter of David and Mattie was Frances Hope Voges (ca. 1921 – 1978), who was well-known as Baby Frances. Because of a severe malformation of her pituitary gland, she weighed over 800 pounds.
    • James Pyles (b. 1895 or 1896, m. Laura)
  • David B. (1848-1849)
  • Marianna Jane (1850-1850)
  • Frances Louise (1851-1915), married James Washington Clark. A photo of both is here. For children, see his entry here.
  • Ann Pyles (1854-1935), married John Washington Crum. See his entry above, under R. R. Crum, for children and pictures.)
  • Samuel R. (1856- ? )
  • Martha (Mattie) (b. Jan. 15, 1858, Hernando County; d. May 10, 1934), about 1875 married James Jay Pyles (b. Dec. 24, 1845, Marion County; d. June 12, 1903, Ocala; see his obituary below)
  • Matilda (Tilly) May (1860-1883), married William Edmond Hancock (1862-1897), in 1885. Tilly died of burns. A picture of Hancock’s gravemarker is here.Children:

    • James Pyles Hancock (b. Dec. 1883, Brooksville), was raised in Louisiana, m. Ethel Rebecca Underwood (b. 1885). A picture of both is here. Children: Ethel, Elma, Walter, Victor
    • Lewis Henry Hancock (b., Feb. 10, 1882, San Antonio, Fla.; d. Jan. 8, 1937, Tampa). On Jan. 10, 1916, he married in Pasco County Mary Ethel “Marie” Govreau (b. Aug. 17, Aug 1891, San Antonio, Fla.; d. April 17, 1968, Mango) Children: Lewis Henry Jr 1917, William J 1920, Mary Elizabeth 1921, Blanche Mildred 1923, Ethel Louise 1926, Mathilda “Tilly”

    William Edmond Hancock (later William Henry Hancock) married Amy Nicks in 1885. Children: William “Andy,” Jack, Julia.

  • Leila (1863-1863)
  • Louis G. Pyles (1864-1930), b. June 2, 1864, in Hernando County. She married Winfield Scott Sowers on June 25, 1882, in Fulton County, Georgia. They lived all their married life on Marietta Street in Atlanta and had 11 children. All but three of the children were raised to adulthood. Louis died February 15, 1930, and is buried at the old Hollywood Cemetery in Atlanta. Photos are here, here, here, and here. A letter she wrote in 1894 is here. [Information from Laura Sowers Ford.]
  • David Wynn (1866-1940). See below.
  • Henryeta Charity “Chattie,” (b. June 1, 1871, Brooksville; d. May 1949, Tampa), married Henry Jacob (Jake) Van Petten (b. Mar. 22, 1868; d. Nov. 22, 1935) in Brooksville on June 1, 1891. Photos of Charity are here, here, and here.

[Most information for this entry was provided by Charles Blankenship. Ruth Conners provided information on Lewis Henry Hancock and Shelly Strobel provided information on James Pyles Hancock]

HOPE, DAVID WYNN (ca. 1866-1940). The twelfth child of David Hope and Frances Sophia Pyles was David Wynn Hope. He was born c. 1866 in Hernando Co., Florida. His mother died in 1875 and father in 1879, leaving the four minor children (Leila Louis G. P., David, and Henry Charity) as orphans. Their older siblings took the four in. Ann Pyles Crum took Matilda (Tilly) and Louis G. P., while William Maxie took both David and Charity (Chattie). They appear in their respective households on the 1880 U. S. Census.

Reaching manhood, David married Gertrude Luella Cooper (1867-1964) on 1 June 1890 and they lived in Floral City, Citrus Co., Florida. Reports are that David was a major citrus grover owner. Their son, William David, b. ca. 1892, m. Elsie B. Allen. Benjamin Aumond, b. ca. 1900, m. Della Whidden.

Eventually the family moved to the Ft. Myers area, settling in the Hawthorne community. A descendant, David Hope, recently told me that Gertrude stayed with Wallace Alderman while David Wynn went gator hunting and fishing in the Everglades. Later, David Wynn Hope owned a fish market in Ft. Myers. Wallace Alderman was the father of Nancy Alderman, a Hope cousin through David Wynn’s oldest sister, Charlotte Cecilia Hoope Seward.

David Wynn Hope and wife, Gertrude Luella Cooper, daughter of William B. Cooper and Ann Griffin Robarts of North Florida. [Picture from Palmetto Trails Quarterly Complimentary Issue, 1991, page 13.]
Contributed by Charles Blankenship, Jan. 23, 2020.

HENRY HOPE (1819-1869) was a son of William Hope (1769-1850) of Georgia. He was born in Liberty County, Ga. His family moved to Alachua County around 1835. Henry served as a lieutenant in the first organization of the Spring Grove Guards and later as private. The 1840 census shows him living at Newnansville with his wife Alatha Frances Garrison. After the Seminole War ended in 1842, he applied for a permit to settle south of TS’s 9 and 10 in what would become Hernando County. He was assigned AOA permit #411, but it was not used. He purchased his father-in-law’s AOA #441 which covered 160 acres in the Spring Lake area. He probably arrived in Benton County in 1846. He and his wife and brother David are listed on the 1850 census of Benton County. When the Civil War broke out, Henry and other older men enlisted in a company of Old Rangers. The company lasted abut three months before they were mustered out. At the end of the war Henry was required to sign an Oath of Amnesty to the U. S. In 1867 he registered to vote in the 1868 election. He is buried with a C. S. A. Civil War headstone next to his gravestone in the Brooksville City Cemetery. His daughter is close by. There is no marker for his wife. On Feb. 23, 1870, a newspaper reported that William M. Garrison was named administrator of his estate. Their children were:

  • William Michael (1846-1864) was a son of Henry Hope and Alatha Frances Garrison. An article about him, which includes a Civil War letter, is here.
  • Alatha Frances, married H. R. Nicks (for more information, see his entry here)
  • Green A. (his descendants still own some of the Hernando County land and use the Spring Lake Cemetery for family burials)

An artifact belonging to Henry Hope, a small safe made in New York in the 1850s, is here, and here, and here. Information from Charles Blankenship; photo courtesy of H. V. Hope.]

Capt. SAMUEL EDWARD HOPE (1833-1919) was born in Georgia to William Hope (1808-1898) and his first wife Susan Mitchell Harville. In 1856 Samuel first served in the Indian War as a First Lieutenant. He began his career as a surveyor in 1858. In 1860, he married Mary Henrietta Hooker, the daughter of prominent Florida pioneer William Brinton Hooker. In 1860, he also entered an unsuccessful race against experienced local politician James T. Magbee for the state senate. Hope served in the Civil War beginning in 1862. In 1864, he was elected to the Florida Legislature. In 1865, he was elected to represent Hernando County in the Constitutional Convention. In 1872 and 1879 he again served in the legislature from Hernando County. In August 1878, Samuel Hope moved his family to Anclote. In 1885 Hope was a member of the Constitutional Convention from Hillsborough County. Samuel Hope remained at Anclote until 1905 when he moved to Tarpon Springs, acquiring a home built in 1884 by Nathaniel Stone Patten. He died on June 5, 1919, at Tarpon Springs. A son was Samuel Edward Hope, Jr., who was born in Hernando County on Sept. 30, 1865, and who died in Anclote on March 24, 1899. Another son was James J. Hope, who according to his obituary was born on Nov. 22, 1871, in Brooksville. He died in Feb. 1936. A letter written by Samuel Hope in 1863 is here.

MARY E. M. HOWELL (c. 1845-1902) was brought to Brooksville from South Carolina in the early 1850s. Her father had died in 1852, when she was 7. Her widowed mother came on alone, bringing Mary, her older sister, two brothers, 11 slaves and the county’s first carriage. The Howell Plantation straddled what was then called Monroe Ferry Road, now Howell Avenue. It extended from Fort Dade Avenue north through Black’s Addition; west to the Hammock Road; and east to Bell’s grove, according to a 1952 column in the Brooksville Sun. On Feb. 14, 1869, she married Thomas B. Law, q.v. The 1870 census shows child, Thomas, age 5 months; he died young. Mary’s husband died later in 1870. In 1874 she married Robert James Mickler. She died on Sept. 22, 1902. Mary had three children by Mr. Mickler: Howell T., Anna Bell (b. July 19, 1877; died young), Mary (also called Marie and Mamie). [Information from a 2007 St. Petersburg Times article]

CYPRIAN T. JENKINS (1811-1893). The following is taken from an article in the St. Petersburg Times by Roger Landers on Sept. 4, 2006:

At the centennial of the United States’ birth, July 4, 1876, Jenkins sent a manuscript to the Library of Congress to celebrate the early history of our nation, as did other counties and towns. In the “Settlement and Latter History of Hernando County,” he chronicled what little is known of our earliest history. As one of the first settlers of the county, he reported that of the original 77 white families that settled the county, only nine of the men and five of their wives were still alive.

Jenkins was a man of the time, serving his adopted Florida in public office – local and state. He also was a timber and land inspector for the state and federal governments, a soldier, an Indian fighter, a surveyor and postmaster.

Born July 27, 1811, in Maryland, he moved to Georgia in the early 1830s, where he joined a party of Georgian settlers moving to the interior of Florida’s Madison County. While there, he became a timber inspector and traveled extensively through Central Florida. By necessity, he became versed in the ways and language of the American Indians. He served as a deputy U.S. marshal and organized a troop of volunteer soldiers to aid Maj. Francis Dade and his command in 1837.

Jenkins, writing about his Indian contacts, refers to “skirmishes and combats with the roving bands of Seminoles.”

They “were frequent occurrences – though small in number,” he wrote.

“It was only when the Seminoles under the noted war chief Alligator, in his destructive raids, that severe fighting had to be done.”

As settlers moved into what would become Hernando County, Jenkins purchased land in January 1845. By 1850, he was at Bayport and worked as the overseer for Nancy Harrell, whose family was one of four in the county that had large land and slave holdings.

About 1857, he met and married Eliza Colburn of Vermont, who was staying at Bayport with her mother. They had a son and two daughters.

With the outbreak of Civil War hostilities in 1861, Jenkins volunteered for service and became an officer with the Florida state troops. He also was elected state representative of Hernando County and served in the Florida Legislature in 1862 and 1863.

During the Civil War, Jenkins was twice captured by federal troops. In the first instance, the federal blockade ship was commanded by his second cousin. He was released after convincing his cousin that he was not a threat. Captured again in 1863, he was convicted as a traitor and sent to prison in Maryland, where he was to be hanged. Through the intervention of a family friend, he was transferred to the Fort Warren prison in Boston, where he spent the rest of the war.

Back in Hernando, Jenkins again became active as both a private timber man and a state timber agent. He crossed paths with H.T. Lykes, a local timber man and powerful legislator. A disagreement over timber rights led to lawsuits being filed by both men. Ultimately, the state Supreme Court settled the suits. Jenkins prevailed and retained his job as timber agent, much to the consternation of Lykes.

By the late 1880s, Jenkins was farming near Homosassa, serving as the postmaster and a real estate agent.

On New Year’s Day 1889, the residents of the newly created Citrus County gathered at Jenkins’ home for speechmaking and a feast. After regaling the crowd with stories of Indians and the Civil War, he was encouraged to seek a seat again in the Legislature. He replied: “I am of age unfit and unable to do justice to my state, and I have already a surfeit of Legislature obligations.”

C. T. Jenkins married Lucy Colburn (b. Dec. 9, 1831) on Dec. 9, 1858, in Fair Haven, Vermont. Jenkins had traveled from Florida, via Baltimore, during the winter of 1858 to marry Miss Colburn. [Information from Emily Hill.]

A photo of Cyprian Jenkins is here and a history of Hernando County written by him is here.

WILLIAM SHERMAN JENNINGS (1863-1920) came to Florida in 1885 to complete his legal studies and began his practice in Brooksville. He was appointed circuit court commissioner in 1887 and became county judge of Hernando County in 1888. He resigned in 1893 to serve in the House of Representatives, becoming speaker in 1895. He served as Governor of Florida from 1901 to 1905. He was born in Illinois.

ISHAM JOHNSON. The following is from Nor Is It Over: Florida in the Era of Reconstruction 1863-1877 by Jerrell H. Shofner:

During the war Isham Johnson, a white Unionist of Hernando County who had once served in the territorial legislature, joined the United States Army and served along the Gulf Coast of Florida. After he participated in the destruction of salt stills belonging to Confederate citizens, his wife was driven out of the area and his property sequestered by the Confederate government. Penniless on his return after the war, Johnson had difficulty sustaining his family. Neighbors would not sell him corn at any price. Many unbranded cattle roamed the county at the time and Johnson killed and butchered what he believed to be one of them. But, finding an obscured brand on the carcass, he followed accepted practice in this range cattle country and called some neighbors to assess a just value which they set at six dollars. He then tendered that amount to F. Crichton of Bayport, owner of the animal. Crichton said no payment would suffice and that Johnson must be prosecuted. Realizing the bitter feeling against him, Johnson left the county and his wife appealed to the bureau agent. Crichton, contacted by the commanding officer at Tampa, agreed to drop the case, but when Johnson returned home county solicitor S. Y. Finley brought him to trial. Johnson was fined $50 and assessed $150 court costs. Without funds, he was working off the fine at $3 a day repairing the county courthouse. Governor Walker took no action on General Foster’s request that the fine be remitted, but Finley was indicted for trial by the United States court under the civil rights law.

An 1866 Freedmen’s Bureau report, which can be read here, shows that an official of that agency took an interest in the charge filed against Johnson.

HENRY MADISON JOHNS married Abigail Evans in Pike County, Ala., in 1839 according to a genealogy web page. He came to Marion County in 1847 and then moved to Hernando County perhaps about 1855, according to an Internet posting. He is 55 years old in the 1870 Hernando County census.

JOHN P. JOHNS (b. 1830), a brother of Henry Madison Johns, is shown in the 1870 Hernando county census as a farmer, age 40, living with Elsie (24), John (15), and Julia (3). According to information posted by Robert W. Croft, Johns was born in Georgia, moved to Pike County, Ala., and then to Hernando County in the mid 1850’s. The Johns family originally settled near Red Level near the Withlacoochee River. John P. Johns was supposedly married to prior to the Civil War, then later married Elsie Peterson, whose father Peter Peterson served in the Crystal River Coast Guards in the Civil War. John P. Johns supposedly served as a blockade runner off the Florida coast near Crystal River. A naval report dated July 1, 1863, shows that John P. Johns and four other privates in the Confederate Army were captured by the boats of the Fort Henry while lightering cotton down the Waccasassa River. He returned to Hernando County after the war and died sometime soon after 1885. He is shown as “Jehu P. Johns” in a list of Captain James L. Miller’s Company of Coast Guards, at Crystal River from May to August 1861.

WILLIAM HARNEY KENDRICK (c1816-1901) married Mary Townsend Gibbons in 1847 and subsequently made his home at his wife’s residence near the Buddy’s Lake Settlement in Benton County. He was born in St. Mary’s, Ga. He commanded a company of Mounted Volunteers from 1855-58 in the last Seminole War and was a Captain in the Confederate service, Company E, 10th Florida Regiment. In 1868-1872 he was a State Senator from Sumter and Polk Counties. He died in Jacksonville in 1901 at age 78.

PETER WILLIAM LAW (1801-1852) married Martha Cooper Baisden (1813-1882) in 1831 in Hamilton, Florida. They both died in Brooksville. Among their children was Thomas B. Law, q.v.

THOMAS BRADWELL LAW (1835-1870), one of the children of Peter William Law and Martha Cooper Baisden, was elected sheriff of Hernando County in 1860, filling the unexpired term of Charles J. McMinn, who had died from pneumonia. According to a 2007 St. Petersburg Times article, he mustered into the 3rd Regiment of Florida’s infantry on Aug. 11, 1861. He was elected captain of the cavalry and transferred. He married Mary Howell, q.v. He was born Jan. 3, 1835, and died in December 1870. He is buried at the Olive Street Cemetery in Brooksville. More information on the Law family is at http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~dwb1/pwlaw.htm.

FREDERICK EUGENE LYKES (1806-1876), believing that his wife Margaret H. had tuberculosis, moved his family to Hernando County in 1851 from Congaree Township, S. C. They settled four miles west of present-day Brooksville and named the area Spring Hill. They bought a 500-acre plantation with a house, then enlarged the house and surrounded it with trees. He had brought with him orange seeds imported from China and planted the early seedling orange groves in the area. Lykes built the first school in the county.

HOWELL TYSON LYKES (1846-1906) was the third of four children of Frederick Eugene Lykes. At age 15 he joined a Civil War unit commanded by his brother-in-law, Judge Wall. He was captured by Union forces and released at Bayport in 1865. After the Civil War, he studied medicine at Charleston Medical College in South Carolina. He returned to Hernando County and started his own practice. After two years, Tyson turned his practice over to Dr. Sheldon Stringer Sr., who had married Howell Tyson’s sister, Margaret Elizabeth Lykes, and turned his interest to the cedar logging business. In 1874, Tyson married Almeria Bell McKay, daughter of a Tampa ship builder and exporter. Two years later, after the death of his father, he inherited Spring Hill and other property. Beginning in 1874 he served two terms in the Florida legislature. Howell Tyson and Almeria had eight children: a daughter, Matilda McKay, and seven sons, Frederick Eugene, Howell Tyson Jr., James McKay, Lipscomb Goodwin, Thompson Mayo, John Wall, and Joseph Taliaferro, all born at Spring Hill. Lykes turned his interest to cattle and developed one of the largest herds in South Florida. Profits from the sale of cattle to Cuba in the 1880s gave him income to expand, and he became the owner of a 350,000-acre ranch in South Florida. Shortly after the freezes of 1894 and 1895, which destroyed the citrus groves in Spring Hill, Lykes moved his family to Tampa. He died May 14, 1906. [Information from an article by Virginia Jackson.]

Judge ANDERSON MAYO (1812-1885) was born in Chester County, S. C., and moved to Florida in 1851, according to his obituary. His family purchased land one mile north of Lake Lindsey called Tiger Tail Hill and renamed in Mayo Hill, according to an article by Virginia Jackson. He died at his home there on July 15, 1885. He was survived by his wife and a daughter. He served as a County Commissioner in 1855 and again the 1870s and 1880s.

JAMES R. NICKS (c1808 – 1861) James was born in Screven County, Georgia. His parents were William Nicks and the widow, Mrs. Eleanor (?) Greene (former wife of Rev. War Soldier, Benjamin Greene). James was an early Georgia Land Lottery winner for 1828 and the Cherokee 1832 grant. In 1828, his mother purchased land in Leon Co. FL and deeded the same to his wife, Frances Fair (q.v.). They moved there by 1833 and were enumerated on the 1840 and 1850 Census. During the 1840’s James was a Notary Public and Election Supervisor for the 1845 Statehood Election. In the 1850’s he was a delegate to the Democratic Convention. The 1850 Census enumeration noted the family as: James R., Frances, William R. (q.v.), Frances R. (actually Francis), Benjamin R. Susan A., and James R. Nicks. Two years later, their last son, Robert H. R. Nicks was born. An 1852 Leon Co. Chancery Court record indicated that the family wanted to leave Leon County because of sickness of their children, the land was worn out, and because of the lack of educational facilities for the children. The Nicks family moved to Hernando County in 1853 or 1854. James was elected Representative from Hernando to serve in the Florida House for the years 1856, 1858 and part of 1859. Sometime during his last term, the family must have gone to visit in Opelika, Alabama, with his wife’s siblings because her youngest son believed his family moved to Hernando in 1859. A March 1867 Hernando Chancery Court Petition for Partition of the land of James R. Nicks and Frances Nicks stated only the five brothers and Susan was missing from that document. [Information from Charles Blankenship]

WILLIAM R. NICKS (b., March 15, 1833; d., Jan. 2, 1903) was born in Thomasville, Thomas Co., GA to Frances Fair and James Rinaldo Nicks. His first 17 years (see 1850 census) were in northern Leon Co. on the north side of Lake Iamonia within 2 miles of the GA-FL state line. In 1853, his family moved to Hernando Co., FL and he was married to Sophronia Mitchell and appears on the 1870-1880 census, including the 1885 FL State Census with his family. He served in the Indian Wars to be exact, the Third Seminole Indian War of 1856. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he served in C Co., 9th FL Inf, Regt. under Capt. Samuel E. Hope. Apparently, later, he became a member of the Home Guard, being the eldest son and also provided cattle for the Confederacy. After his wife died, he remarried Jane Mizell on 29 April 1891 and they appear on the 1900 U. S. Census. He was buried in the Townsend House Cemetery in today’s Pasco County. His Civil War Widow’s Pension file is A00031 (online) for Jane Mizell and William R(ichard) Nicks. His obituary in the Jacksonville Times-Union of Jan. 5, 1903:

W. R. Nicks, Sr., one of Hernando County’s most respected and honored citizens, died yesterday after a lingering illness. Mr. Nicks was well advanced in age, and for the last few years had been slowly, but gradually, failing. While the death of Mr. Nicks was expected, his many friends throughout the entire county will be pained to learn of his demise. Mr. Nicks served with distinction in the Indian War, which occurred in the southern part of the State. He was also a member of the Home Guards during the Civil War. The deceased was an upright Christian, an industrious farmer, and by his death the county loses a valuable citizen. The body was interred in the cemetery at Spring Lake this afternoon.

A daughter, Mary Ann Nicks, married Daniel O’Berry. [Information provided by Charles Blankenship.]

FRANCIS R. NICKS (born, 1837), the second son of James Rinaldo Nicks and Frances Fair Nicks, is the writer of two Civil War letters which survive and can be read here.

HENRY J. O’BERRY (1859-1942) had lived in Hernando County for more than 67 years, moving here from Blackshear, Ga., according to his obituary. He is shown as living in Spring Lake in the 1900 census. On Feb. 18, 1884, he married Sarah Harville, who was born at Spring Lake on July 29, 1854, the daughter of Edward M. and Eliza Harville. She died on June 7, 1931, and was buried in Spring Lake Cemetery. Children included:

  • Eliza R., b. Dec. 1884, taught at Spring Lake School, died June 3, 1912
  • Henry Edward, b. Oct. 16, 1888, or Oct. 16, 1886, at Trilby, d., Aug. 13, 1976
  • Susan McVain, b. Apr. 1889
  • Andrew Jackson, died in infancy
  • John Melvin, d. Mar. 20, 1919.

Henry J. O’Berry died at his home at Spring Lake. His obituary listed survivors as Mrs. Evelyn O’Berry of Spring Lake and a number of grandchildren.

MAJOR JOHN PARSONS (1816-1888), son of Dr. John Wilkes and Abigail Garland, was born in New Hampshire. Arriving in Alachua County, Florida, his primary business was mercantile. When the Armed Occupation Act was approved, John Parsons worked in the Receiver of the Land Office in Newnansville. As such, he co-signed each AOA Land Permit, allowing the pioneeer settlers to move south to what became Hernando County in 1842. In 1855, he married Susan Decatur and moved to Cedar Key and took advantage of the Florida Railroad. Later he relocated to Bayport, acquiring large amounts of property, including down to what became Port Richey, setting aside land deeded to Aaron Richey by 1883. During the Civil War, he raised a company of men at Bayport in 1861. He remained in Bayport during the Civil War. Two children born of the marriage were John Decatur in 1862 and Susan in 1864. Ironically, John Parsons had a hand in the future of the son of Charlotte Wynn Pyles Crum, named Lewis G. Pyles; Lewis was orphaned on 12 Sept. 1842, when Charlotte was killed south of Chocochatti. In 1847, John Parsons took an interest in Lewis going to Rye, New Hampshire, and being schooled in a school being run by his brother, Thomas J. Parsons. By 1857, Lewis became the Register of the Land Office at Newnansville. [Contributed by Charles Blankenship]

JAMES J. PYLES (1848-1903). His obituary:

Mr. James J. Pyles, after a two weeks’ illness, died at 12:40 p.m. today, at the residence in the southern part of the city. Mr. Pyles was fifty-two years of age. He was born in Marion county and resided here and in Citrus and Hernando counties all of his life. He was married in 1874 to Miss Mattie Hope, of Hernando county, and she survives him. Mr. Pyles leaves five children—Mrs. S. M. Lummus, Misses Tillie and Mattie Pyles, Mr. James and Master Sammie. He was an upright Christian gentleman, a member of the Baptist church, a valued citizen and a loving husband and father. Mr. Pyles was a wealthy man when the freeze came. He had an orange grove at Cove Bend, in Citrus county, of 140 acres, worth more than as many thousand dollars, but it was all wiped out, and he moved again to Ocala. He was a brother of Capt. S. R. Pyles and Mrs. F. D. Pooser.

ROBERT DANIEL REWIS (1809-1856) was born in 1809 to John Sr. and Mary Rewis, pioneer residents of Tatnall, Georgia. On December 31, 1828, Robert Rewis and Bethany Anderson applied for a marriage license in Tatnall County, Georgia. On the following day, January 1, 1829, they were married by Joseph Collins, J.P. After marriage Robert and Bethany settled in Ware County Georgia before moving to Lake City [Alligator] Columbia County Florida sometime in between 1854 and 1855. On June 30, 1856, while living in Lake City, Robert and his first son, Obadiah Rewis, were mustered into service to fight in the Second Seminole Indian War. Both were mustered in and served as privates in Capt. A.J.G. Wright’s Company. After being mustered into service both men were detached to Bayport, Florida. Shortly after, Robert Rewis contracted brain fever and on August 9, 1856, he died at the Cowart House in Bayport, while still in active service. The Cowarts were related to the Rewis family back to Georgia. It is believed that Robert Rewis was laid to rest in the small Bayport Cemetery. After Robert’s death, his wife, Bethany, did not remarry and continued to raise their several children on her own. Their first son, Obadiah, who had served along side his father in the Seminole Wars, went on to fight in the Civil War, serving under the 3rd FL infantry Company I along with his brother Andrew Jackson Rewis. Both Obadiah and Andrews Jackson Rewis were mustered into service in 1861 in Lake City. Obadiah was eventually killed during his service while his brother Andrew survived. Bethany Rewis eventually moved to Sumter County with her son Andrew Jackson. It is believed that Bethany Rewis passed away sometime after 1880 in Sumter County; her burial location is unknown at this time. Robert and Bethany had 12 children in the following order: (1) Obadiah, (2) Mary, (3) Georgana (Rewis) (Anderson) Williams, (4) Eliza Rewis Keen, (5) Lucretia (Rewis) (Riggs) Raulerson, (6) John, (7) Winifred Rewis Anderson, (8) Andrew Jackson Rewis, (9) Randall Daniel Rewis, (10) Irene Rewis Smith, (11) Robert Daniel Jr., (12) Sarah Rewis Hogan. The last two children were born in Lake City, Columbia County, FL. [Information provided by Jeff Cannon.]

JOSEPH ROBLES (1817-1907) was born in Spain and came to the U. S. in 1832, landing at St. Mary’s, Ga. He moved to Columbia County, Fla., in 1840, and to Hernando County in 1845. He stayed here for six years. The location of their AOA was one mile southwest of present day Spring Lake and “about one hundred and fifty yards East of an Indian trail leading from Toachatka settlement to Henry Harn … & on the East End of…Prairie called Harn Prairie….” In 1851 he moved to Tampa and was an important figure there. He married Mary Anne Garrison, q.v., on Dec. 12, 1840. They had ten children. [Source: The Story of Southwestern Florida: Family and Personal History by James Covington.] A web page about the Robles family is here.

JOHN GODIF ROBLES (1844-1936), son of Mary Ann Garrison and Joseph Robles, was born in Benton County (now known as Hernando County). He served in the CSA under Capt. Samuel E. Hope in the 9th Florida Regiment. He later served under Capt. James McKay’s cattle detail and was discharged at Brooksville in May 1865. He drew a Civil War Pension. His obituary in the Tampa Morning Tribune of Sept. 17, 1936, reads:

John G. Robles, 91, member of a pioneer Hillsborough county family, died last night at his home, 102 East Slight avenue, after an illness of a few days. Born in Hernando county, Dec. 16, 1844, Mr. Robles moved to Hillsborough county when a young man and resided there the rest of his life. He was in the cattle and real estate business for many years. Mr. Robles was a Confederate veteran and was active in veterans’ organizations here. He attended most of the national reunions. Survivors are a son, W. M. Robles; an adopted daughter, Mrs. John G. Dossell; two sisters, Mrs. Arthur Cuscaden and Mrs. Julia Harris; two brothers, Joseph P. Robles and Seaborn L. Robles; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements had not been completed last night.

An article in the next day’s newspaper reports he was born “near Brooksville.”

JOSEPH PAUL ROBLES (1847-1951) was listed among the “Last 100” Civil War veterans by Blue and Gray Magazine. He was born in Benton County on Feb. 14, 1847, and died in Tampa on Feb. 28, 1951, at age 104. On Feb. 5, 1870, he married Martha Ann Boyett (1853-1932). They had 12 children. At the time of his death in 1951, a Tampa Tribune article quoted him as saying of the South’s surrender in 1865: “In Brooksville there was a stir that day. People were running up and down the streets with dismay and disbelief on their faces. After entering town, I asked someone: ‘What’s the matter?’ The answer was: ‘We’ve stopped fighting.’ Next day we were discharged and we scattered for home.” A larger picture of Robles and his wife is here and a picture of him and his children is here. Robles is buried at the Robles-Bourquardez Cemetery; a web site about the cemetery is at whittenfl.tripod.com. A web page about the Robles family is here. [Information from Charles Blankenship.]

JUNIUS MARVIN ROGERS (1880-1968) was born Sept. 20, 1880. He attended business school in Lexington, Ky. He married Alice Spencer Mudd in August 1903 and for several years was in business in Greensburg, Ky. In 1910, the family moved to Brooksville. Mrs. Rogers had lived for a time in Brooksville as a child and fell in love with the home of William S. Jennings on Olive Street. She persuaded her husband to purchase the home, and there the three Rogers children – George, Mary Belle and Margaret “Weenie” – grew up. “Uncle June,” as the extended family called Rogers, worked in Brooksville. He purchased the New York Racket Store in 1912. Soon the store became a full-line department store at the corner of Fort Dave Avenue and Main Street. Rogers served on the School Board for 24 years. At one time, when Hernando High School was about to lose its accreditation, he subsidized the teachers’ pay with contributions from local merchants. Active in local affairs and a steward of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Rogers was a driving force in the business district of the county. When he died in May 1968, Alfred McKethan said of him: “I had a high regard for Mr. Rogers; he ran a tight ship.” The impact of the Rogers family is still evident in the 21st century. Many will recall Lingles 5 & 10 and the Christmas House with Weenie and Mary Belle. The Christmas House remains open today under new ownership. [From a 2007 St. Petersburg Times article by Roger Landers.]

Capt. WALTER TERRY SAXON (1836-1924) was born on Apr. 23, 1836, in Autauga, Ala. He married Susan Burns Simmons, daughter of Holman Freeman Simmons and Sarah Eliza H. Burns. She was born 1840 in Alabama and died 1918 in Hamilton, Texas. Children:

  • Holmes S. Saxon, b. 1868
  • Troupe E. Saxon, b. May 1874, m. Pearl Montgomery on Jan. 15, 1897
  • Elizabeth Saxon, b. April 1878, m. Charles H. Camp, 1900

Saxon enlisted at Brooksville on July 19, 1861. According to his obituary in Confederate Veteran:

A native of Alabama, born at Autoga, Falls County, just across the Alabama River from Montgomery, April 23, 1836, young Saxon completed his education at the Alabama Military Institute, and entered upon his life work as a surveyor. As a young man of twenty-five, he was located in Brooksville County, Fla., in 1860-61, and his most important work in that State was in surveying the Everglades. For that he received $20,000, which money he used in advancing the cause of the Confederacy. He organized the Hernando Guards, in July, 1861, which he commanded as Company C, of the 3rd Florida Regiment, serving with the Army of Tennessee under Generals Bragg, Johnston, and Hood. He was wounded at Perryville, but led his company at Murfreesboro, and was in many other memorable engagements of the war. On July 12, 1863, his company captured four hundred Federal troops. After the war Captain Saxon returned to Florida, and was his county’s representative in the State legislature for two terms, 1866 and 1867. In 1868 he organized a den of the original Ku-Klux-Klan in Southern Florida.

Recent research by Dr. Joe Knetsch indicates that Saxon did not do any surveying in Florida. Saxon later moved to Texas where he was a surveyor, taught school, and edited a newspaper. He died on Dec. 23, 1924, in Hamilton, Texas. [Information provided by Charles Blankenship]

FRANKLIN ELMORE SAXON (1840-1922) was born in Alabama. He first married Marena H. May on Dec. 25, 1866. She died on Feb. 10, 1869. He married second Tulula Victoria Hope on Feb. 10, 1876. Franklin Saxon died on Feb. 25, 1922, in Brooksville.

Children – Saxon, by Marena H. May

  • Franklin Schmidt Saxon, b. 1867, d. in infancy
  • Jessie May Saxon, b. 1869, d. in infancy

Children – Saxon, by Tulula V. Hope

  • James Rhodes Saxon
  • Jessie M. Saxon
  • Franklin Elmore Saxon
  • Walter Terry Saxon
  • William Wadsworth Saxon
  • Benjamin Randolph Saxon
  • Eston Lewis Saxon

[Information from Charles Blankenship]

THOMAS MITCHELL SHACKLEFORD (born, 1859) practiced law in Brooksville from 1883 to 1893 before moving to Tampa. He edited the Register and Crescent in Brooksville. He was later an associate justice of the Florida Supreme Court, city attorney for Tampa, and a correspondent for the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Nashville American. He was born in Fayetteville, Tenn., on Nov. 14, 1859.

JAMES M. SHEARER (1846-1915) of Brooksville married Jane Crum about 1875. James was born July 29, 1846. Jane was born in Brooksville on Feb. 2, 1850, a daughter of Richard Crum, q.v. On July 13, 1878, James and Jane became members of the Enterprise United Methodist Church near Dade City. Hernando County school board records show that he was one of the trustees of Pine Grove School during the 1883-84 school term. In April 1890 James and Jane received a deed for 80 acres they had homesteaded near the Hernando-Pasco county line in S17-T23-R19. A picture of Jane Crum Shearer is here. According to the 1910 Federal Census James and Jane had 6 children. Only four are known at this time. James died April 14, 1915, and Jane died Sept. 7, 1937, at the age of 87; both are buried in McGeachy Cemetery in Hernando County. Children:

  • James M. Jr. b. 1884, m. Wana Brittle in 1909
  • Maude A., b. 1888, m. Elijah N. Rewis (more on Rewis is here)
  • Frances E., b. 1887, m. unknown
  • James R., b. 1895, m. unknown

[This entry contributed by Jeff Cannon]

WILLIAM H. SMITH was born in SC moved to Hernando Co. and was married to Mary (Allen). They had two daughters, Fannie and Julia E. On July 19, 1861, William enlisted at Brooksville in Capt. W. T. Saxon’s C Company of the 3rd Florida Infantry Regiment. According to the book Soldiers of Florida, they were first deployed to northeast Florida around Amelia Island. In 1862 they were to go to Corinth, MS, but the Battle of Shiloh was taking place, so they were reassigned to Mobile, AL. Later on, they went into KY for the Battle of Perryville and afterwards retreating into TN for the Battle of Stones River. Three separate sources give different versions as to the demise of William. SOF says he was killed in a battle, whereas the Muster Rolls in the State Archives states he died on February 25, 1862. Biographical Rosters by Hartman stated he died in camp April 11, 1863. His widowed wife remarried a neighbor and fellow CSA soldier from CO. C, 3rd FL Inf. Regt., Francis R. Nicks. Francis died from his diseases contracted during the Civil War. The 1870 U. S. Census shows Mary, Fannie, and Julia in the Mary Nicks household as well as Francis’ youngest brother, H. R. Nicks. Sometime after 1870, Mary married William D. Valentine, but he too died in 1876. Julia married Henry F. Valentine, son of William D. Descendants of these two continued to live in the Spring Lake area of Hernando Co. [This entry was contributed by Charles Blankenship.]

NATHANIEL K. SPARKMAN (b. 1813) is among those named in the May 26, 1845, Benton County voter list. A son, Stephen Milancthon Sparkman (1849-1929), who was born on a farm in Hernando County on July 29, 1849, served as a member of Congress from Tampa.

JOSEPH MAY TAYLOR (1826-1892) was born in May 1826 in Jefferson County, Ky., and graduated from the University of Louisville in 1848 with a degree in law. He came to Florida about 1849, and by 1853 had purchased 40 acres in Hernando. In 1854, he was chairman of the Board of County Commissioners and county judge. Two years later he platted the new town of Brooksville. That same year he married Sarah Jane Frierson, daughter of Aaron T. and Hester Ann Mills Frierson. When Dr. Benjamin W. Saxon, the delegate to the session convention of 1860, died in Tallahassee, Taylor replaced him. Having been active in the state militia, he served on the staff of governors with Madison S. Perry and John Milton. Perry promoted him to the rank of general and sent him to Fort Brook in Tampa to take command of the post. The volunteer forces were feuding among themselves, and within a short time Taylor resolved the issue. At the end of the war, Taylor requested a special pardon for his service to the Confederacy. He sent a lengthy letter to fellow Kentuckian Joshua Speed, the attorney general to President Lincoln. In the letter, he stated, “I regard the slavery question as settled by our defeat, and as it was the only question which gave rise to others that divided the North and South, I see no reason why I could not become a good and loyal citizen of the United States.” Soon after sending the letter, Taylor moved with his family to Texas and later to Oklahoma. He died in Cleveland County, Okla., in January 1892. His tombstone reads General J.M. Taylor. [From a 2007 St. Petersburg Times article by Roger Landers.]

JAMES R. TEMPLE (1839-1909) was born in Bowling Green, Ky., in 1839, and his parents died when he was young. Orphaned, he moved to Mississippi and was educated to become a teacher. He taught in Mississippi and later in Kentucky. When the Civil War broke out, Temple volunteered with the Union and served as lieutenant in the 59th Ohio Infantry. His unit was engaged in the battles of Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga and Atlanta. After the war, he went to Indiana and began teaching. He entered the University of Kentucky Medical School and graduated in 1870. Temple opened his medical practice in Spencer County, Ind. His interest in and support of education continued as he served as school superintendent and also taught. While in Indiana, he met and married Mary McCoy, daughter of Henry J. McCoy. When the McCoys and Temples moved to Hernando County in 1882, they lived at Istachatta and later moved to Brooksville. Temple had an active medical practice and drugstore. He remained active in education, teaching chemistry at Hernando High School and serving as school superintendent from 1887 to 1893. Temple, along with several other local veterans, organized the Blue and Gray Association. This organization sought to promote love of country and mutual respect. He was active in the Methodist church and served as captain of the local volunteer militia company. The Temple family moved to Hall County, Texas, in 1897. There, Temple practiced medicine until his death about 1909. [From a 2007 St. Petersburg Times article by Roger Landers.]

DAVID HUGHEY THRASHER (1832-1890) was born May 11, 1832, in Morgan County, Ga. Major Thrasher was an original officer in the 38th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. He served as tax assessor of Hernando County in 1876 and schools superintendent of Hernando County in 1881-82. He died on June 11, 1890, in Dade City.

A. D. TOMPKINS (1833-1919) founded the community of Tompkinsville, which later became Inverness. The following is taken from Back Home: A History of Citrus County, Florida:

A pioneer who showed up in this area in 1868 was A. D. Tompkins. He was called “Uncle Alf” in later years. He started a little community which became known as Tompkinsville. Some years later the name was changed to Inverness.

Uncle Alf was born in 1833 in Nassau County and during the Indian Wars moved with his family to Lochloosa Lake in Alachua County. As a boy, he played with the Indians. When the Third Seminole War broke out, Tompkins was 22 years old and enlisted as a volunteer in the State militia, serving in Col. L. J. Lesley’s company. He fought for more than a year, most of the time in the Everglades.

When he was mustered out of the service, Tompkins was married to Fannie Hopkins. They set up housekeeping at Lochloosa Lake, but soon moved to Fort Christmas, near Orlando, and then back to Alachua County. After the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862. His brigade remained in the state until after the battle of Ocean Pond at Olustee, Feb. 20, 1864. He was then ordered to join Gen. Robert E. Lee and his brigade fronted Gen. Ulysses S. Grant until the surrender.

Returning to his family in Lochloosa Lake, they stayed there for two years, then in 1868 moved to a part of old Hernando County, which later became Citrus County. Interviewed by a reporter for the Citrus County Chronicle in 1914, when he was 81 years old, Uncle Alf recalled that “in the early days, bear and deer were as common as cattle are now.” In those days, he said, they had to go to Brooksville and Crystal River for their mail, and to Ocala for supplies.

He (Tompkins) was the means of securing the first mail service for Tompkinsville. He carried the mail for six months at his own expense before the community received a commissioned office.

To attract newcomers to his town, Tompkins gave a man by the name of Greene a lot and helped him erect a sawmill, the first sawmill in the county. He also gave his brother-in-law, Frank M. Dampier, Sr., a lot to build a store building on, and Dampier became the first merchant in town.

A few years later, the exact year not yet acknowledged, Tompkins sold the town of Tompkinsville to a firm in Jacksonville and the name was changed to Inverness.

Uncle Alf then moved to the Cove, and there put out an orange grove, and it was just ready to bear when the Big Freeze of 1894-95 came along and killed it. He remained on the farm, and replanted his grove and did farming until about 1910 when he moved back to Inverness.

Tompkins is one of the few persons to recognize that horrible Big Freeze as “a blessing” for Florida. He told the reporter “it showed the people that there could be something else raised here besides oranges.”

It was Tompkins’ brother-in-law, Francis M. Dampier, Sr., who is credited with laying out the town and naming it Tompkinsville. At the beginning, Dampier, it is claimed, owned much, if not all, of what is now the city of Inverness. It was he who surveyed Tompkinsville and planted the big oaks along Main Street.

Dampier was born in 1859 on a plantation run by slave labor at Fort McCoy, now in Marion County. His father, John G. Dampier, was wounded in the Civil War and died Jan. 12, 1864, leaving his widow and four children. When Francis was six years old, his courageous mother set out on horseback to find a new homesite for her children. With the help of the children she cleared the land and got a farm started. They had moved to escape harassment of Indians and “Carpetbaggers” in the Gainesville area.

LIGHT TOWNSEND III (1770-1851), who was born in South Carolina, moved from Newnansville to Hernando County in 1848 following the death of his wife Phoebe in Newnansville on Feb. 2, 1848. He bought 200 acres six miles south of what today is Brooksville. He moved to be nearer his son John and several daughters, all married with families of their own. He still retained possession of twelve slaves, having given the remainder of several families each to each of his children upon their marriage. He died on this plantation on Oct. 14, 1851, and is said to be buried there. He and Phoebe were the parents of ten children; those who were connected to Hernando County have separate entries on this page. [Information on Townsends is from a Summer 1972 article in the Florida Genealogical Journal.]

Capt. JOHN T. “JACK” TOWNSEND (1793-1867) is listed on the Pasco Settlers page.

MARY TOWNSEND (1816-1855), a daughter of Light and Phoebe Townsend, was born in Georgia. She was known to the family as “Polly.” She married James Gibbons and William Harney Kendrick, qqv. She died June 6, 1855.

JOHN H. TUCKER (1785-1853) was a missionary who helped establish the Edenville Baptist church.

On July 7, 1844, Rev. Tucker baptized J. W. Hayman in Lake Lindsey. This is the first record of any religious activity in the community. Eden Baptist Church was constituted in September 1845. Rev. Tucker is listed in a report as pastor of Eden Baptist Church in 1848. Thus, it is assumed that he was instrumental in the organization of the church in 1845. According to Cynthia Elizabeth Jacobs Spiller, a descendant, who provided information for this entry, Rev. Tucker and his children lived in Buddy’s Lake and Hernando County from 1840 to around 1885. The 1850 census shows the Tucker family (Rev. John Tucker, wife Mary Carter Tucker, children Elijah Alexander, Lewis, Amanda Marie, Julia E. and Jesse Tucker and his future wife Margaret Bates Tucker, daughter of James Bates, granddaughter of Rev. Fleming Bates, in the Buddy’s Lake Settlement in (then) Hernando County.

The following is from A History of Florida Baptists (1972).

Tucker was born in Georgia in 1785, and began to work as a Methodist minister in 1806. In 1828, however, he was baptized by a Georgia Baptist district missionary, and after coming to Florida in 1832, he was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1833. Apparently Tucker was greatly inspired by Fleming Bates and maintained affection for him despite their disagreement over the anti-missionary movement. The continuing affection of John Tucker for Fleming Bates indicates the greatness of his heart because the anti-missionary movement was very strong and made Tucker’s work very hard. When the Seminole War came, 1834-1842, John Tucker continued to minister in Alachua County at the risk of his life, after ministers of other denominations had left for safer territory. He went from fort to fort, leading worship, preaching funerals, comforting the suffering ant the fearful. Although he received some help from William Friar who came in 1840, and from William Cooper, who came when the Seminole War ended, Tucker had to do much of his work alone, sustained and driven by a great sense of purpose. In 1843-144 he was employed as a missionary by the American Baptist Home Missionary Society. He traveled over a wide area during those years (2,000 miles in 1844, an astounding feat for that time) but concentrated his activities in Hernando County, where in 1844 he baptized J. M. Hayman, who was to become a significant leader in that section. During those years, he wrote “I am a missionary, and I must travel.”

When the Southern Baptist Convention was organized in 1845, John Tucker was appointed by the Home Mission Board as the only missionary to Florida. During that year he apparently concentrated his energies on a large area in the center of the State, and until August of 1845 he found no other Baptist ministers in that area. In August he gained the help of Daniel Edwards, from Georgia. Later, he notes that Edwards moved to Florida. He (John Tucker) traveled, preached, baptized white and colored people, organized many churches (the exact number is not known) and pastored as many as six churches while ministering to still others at the same time. One of his last letters includes the very understandable statement, “I need much help.” The date of his death is not known, but one story indicates that he carried to his grave a bullet from an Indian rifle.

A son, Jesse H. Tucker, was appointed postmaster of Cedar Tree on Nov. 26, 1858.

WILLIAM W. TUCKER (died 1856) married Jane M. Pyles (died about 1849) in Alachua County on May 6, 1840. In 1842 he and his wife were among the first settlers to move southward from Alachua County to what is now Hernando County, settling on land just east of present-day Brooksville. His name appears on the list of voters for the election of Nov. 6, 1843, in the Chocochattee precinct. He was the Hernando County Judge in 1843. He raised cattle. In 1852, Mr. Tucker married Margaret A. Brown. He died on June 12, 1856, according to the Florida Peninsular. Mr. Tucker’s children included:

  • Samuel Cotton, q.v.
  • William W.
  • Charles

SAMUEL COTTON TUCKER (1845-1909), a son of William W. Tucker and Jane M. Pyles, was born on Jan. 1, 1845, in Benton County, according to his Civil War pension application. He was born “near Brooksville,” according to his obituary. After his father died, Samuel and his brother William moved to Alachua County and came under the care of their mother’s brother, Samuel R. Pyles Jr. The 1860 census shows both boys in the household of Samuel Pyles, guardian, and his wife, Ann (Dell) Pyles. Their cousins, Thomas, Julia, and Clifford Pyles, children of Thomas W. Pyles, were also in the household. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Samuel enlisted first in Co. F of the 1st Florida Infantry Regiment and then transferred to Co. F. of the 2nd Florida Calvary. He remained in the Cavalry, serving under Capt. J. J. Dickinson through 1865. He would in later years draw a Civil War pension for his service in Florida. He served on a jury pool in 1866, and in 1867 he became a Special Master for Chancery Court matters. In 1869, he was appointed Road Commissioner from Gainesville to Levyville. In 1867 or 1868 he married Ellen B. Denton. They had five children, according to Samuel’s obituary, including:

  • Claudia Tucker, b. 1868/1869, m. Augustus H. King in 1889 in Florida
  • William H. Tucker, b. 1870, m. Miss Orbie Weeks in 1891 in Florida
  • Clara Tucker, b. 1871

According to his obituary, after the war Samuel associated himself in the practice of law with the well-known attorney Col. M. E. Thompson. In 1877 he was appointed Sheriff of Alachua County by Governor George F. Drew. He held that position for four years. He subsequently accepted a position as a conductor on the Florida Railway and Navigation Co., working there until he was appointed register of the U. S. Land Office in Gainesville. He later worked as a conductor on the Gainesville & Gulf railroad.

Ellen Denton Tucker died on May 13, 1888. On Sept. 8, 1892, Samuel married Mrs. Lois (Knight) Bevill. The 1900 census lists their family as:

  • Randolph J. Tucker, b. 1893
  • Steven C. Bevill (stepson), b. 1884
  • Bevill P. Bevill (stepson), b. 1887

The 1900 household also included Lois’ brother, Thomas J. Knight. An obituary of Samuel Cotton Tucker appeared in the Gainesville Daily Sun on Sept. 11, 1909. An image of the page can be seen at the Library of Congress web site here.

[Information from an article by Charles Blankenship in the June 2003 ’Latchua Country News and from the obituary.]

JOHN PERRY WALL (1836-1895) came to Hernando County with his parents Mary H. and Perry Wall in 1845. The family estate was later called Chinsegut Hill. He graduated from the Medical College of South Carolina in 1858 and practiced in Brooksville briefly before the Civil War began. During the war he was a surgeon assigned to a hospital in Richmond and later requested and was assigned duty with troops, ending the war as a Major in the Fifth Battalion stationed in Florida. After the war he practiced in Brooksville again, but he moved with his family to Tampa in 1869 or 1870. He later served as Mayor of Tampa, a state legislator, and President of the Florida Medical Association. During the war he married Pressie Eubanks in Brooksville. She and their two-year-old daughter died of yellow fever. [Information from John Perry Wall – A Man for All Seasons, by James M. Ingram, M. D.]

PERRY GREEN WALL (1809-1897) was an early Judge of Probate in Hernando County and a wealthy landowner. He was born in Montgomery County, Georgia. He married Nancy Ann Hunter in 1830; she died in 1845, leaving him with seven children. He fought in the Second Seminole War. He settled at Spring Hill, about four miles west of present-day Brooksville, in the 1840s. In 1845 Wall married Barbara R. Baisden, who died in 1883 and was buried in the Lykes Cemetery. In December 1846, Wall purchased 40 acres of land in Section 24, Township 22 South, Range 18 East, at Spring Hill. He became Judge of Probate of Benton County in 1848, and was re-elected several times. In 1865 Wall was appointed agent for the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands in Hernando County. In 1870 he moved to Tampa, where he served as County Judge of Hillsborough County and the postmaster of Tampa. He died in Tampa and was buried there. [Information from an article which originally appeared in the Sunland Tribune in November 1997 and can be read at http://www.lamartin.com/history/wall/perry_green_wall.htm.]

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