Early Residents of Pasco County

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This page was last revised on May 24, 2020.

Dr. JOSEPH M. ABBOTT (1844-1906) was an early physician who came to Florida from Texas. He is shown in the 1900 census as a physician in the Macon precinct, born in Kentucky. The town of Abbott (now Zephyrhills) was named for him or his father. The following is from The History of Zephyrhills 1821-1921:

In Texas Andrew Jackson Green was told by his friend, Dr. J. M. Abbott, who was ill and worn out from the strenuous work as a physician in the service of the C. S. A. that another doctor said he might live another six months if he came to Florida. In the company of his friend Green, Dr. Abbott arrived. At that time he measured six feet two inches and weighed ninety-eight pounds. They found lodging in Tuckertown, and before long the doctor’s health began to improve. Mr. Green and Dr. Abbott went into partnership and set up a sawmill in the pines about where the present Zephyr Shopping Center and the overpass on Highway 301 are located. The doctor seemed interested only financially in the sawmill. Greatly improved in health, he brought his family — wife, mother, son, and daughter — to Lake Buddy (Pasadena). However, he maintained his voting precinct during reconstruction days at Tuckertown (Richland).

Dr. Abbott was married to Henrietta (1855-1915). Her obituary, provided by Jeff Cannon, appeared in the Pasco County Weekly News in Trilby on June 18, 1915:

Mrs. J. M. Abbott, mother of W. C. Abbott, proprietor of the City Drug Store, died at her home in this city at 6:10 o’clock Tuesday morning. Mrs. Abbott was taken suddenly ill a few day ago, while preparing for a trip to Texas to visit relatives, growing rapidly worse. She was in her sixtieth year and had lived in this state for 34 years. Many friends will grieve to hear of the death of Mrs. Abbott, who was known to everybody in the entire community, and beloved by all. Besides her son, W.C. Abbott, of Trilby, Mrs. Abbott leaves a mother and two sisters to mourn her loss. Her mother, Mrs. F.L. Varnell, and one sister, Mrs. Jno. C. Sweeney, live in Hillboro, Texas, and the other sister, Mrs. Joseph McGee, lives in Hermeliegh, Texas. Mrs. Abbott was buried at the Dade City cemetery Wednesday afternoon, the remains being accompanied to their last resting place by large number of sorrowing friends.

THOMAS RUTHERFORD ALEXANDER (1868-1943) was the Pasco County tax assessor from 1904 to 1914 and a farmer. He was born in Pasco County on Oct. 21, 1868, and spent 70 years of his life on the farm where he moved in childhood with his parents, Dr. and Mrs. Columbus R. Alexander. (Columbus Alexander is shown as a 26 year old physician in the 1850 Hernando county census.) T. R. Alexander married Grace Garrison in 1906. He was buried in the Dade City cemetery.

CHARLES B. ANDERSON (died, 1943, at age 79) was a prominent citrus grower in Elfers, long active in the affairs of the Florida Citrus exchange. He was born in Streator, Ill., and lived in Montana until 1918 when he came to Florida with his wife Mary A. Anderson. They originally settled in the Lake Hamilton area. In 1937 he bought 70 acres of citrus groves in Elfers. Anderson died July 8, 1943, at his grove home near Elfers. Mary Anderson died in 1960. In 1983 Pasco County purchased his two-story home, which has several unusual features. The Pasco Arts Council moved into the home in 1986.

DEAN W. ANDERSON (1882-1957) came to New Port Richey from Chicago in 1915. He owned and operated his own wholesale gift and novelty business, which included Anderson’s Orange Blossom Perfume. According to his obituary, he was nationally known as a stamp collector and owned the largest collection of pre-canceled stamps in the U. S. The Florida Pre-Cancel Club was formed in 1956; Anderson was its first president. He was born in Bothwell, Ontario.

ARTHUR LEE AUVIL (1876-1951) was a representative in the state legislature, an assistant state attorney, and the city attorney for Dade City. He was born Dec. 8, 1876, in Iaeger, W. Va. He came to Florida in 1905 andwas the prosecuting attorney in Lafayette County from 1907 to 1911. He began the practice of law in Dade City in 1912 and served as city attorney for Dade City and San Antonio. He died in Dade City on Aug. 27, 1951.

Avery, detail from a painting by Fred Sass Dr. ELROY McKENDREE AVERY (1844-1935) moved from Cleveland to New Port Richey after retiring in 1919. He was the first mayor of New Port Richey and the first president of the First State Bank of New Port Richey. The following is an entry in the 1950 Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia:

AVERY, Elroy McKendree (1844-1935), American author, born at Erie, Mich. He fought in the Civil War, retiring with the rank of sergeant-major. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1871, taught in various Ohio schools, and from 1893 to 1897 was a member of the State Senate. He became the first mayor of New Port Richey, Fla. (1924-25), and was founder and president, for 10 years, of the Avery Public Library of New Port Richey. Among his publications are elementary textbooks in physics and chemistry, which have been much used in the public schools throughout the United States; also History of the United States and Its People (12 vols.), and John Humfrey, Massachusetts Magistrate (1913), Cleveland and Its Environs (3 vols., 1918), and Genesis of New Port Richey (1923).

Avery was the Principal of a high school in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1869, and high and normal schools in Cleveland in 1871-79. He was a member of Cleveland City Council in 1891-92 and of the Ohio Senate in 1893-97. He was the author of: Elementary Physics, Elements of Natural Philosophy, Physical Technics, Teachers’ Hand Book of Natural Philosophy, Elements of Chemistry, Teachers’ Hand Book of Chemistry, Complete Chemistry, First Principles of Natural Philosophy, Words Correctly Spoken, Columbus and the Columbia Brigade, School Physics, First Lessons in Physical Science, School Chemistry, The Town Meeting, and History of the United States and Its People (16 volumes). His obituary appeared in the New York Times. He married Catherine Hitchcock Tilden on July 2, 1870.

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