HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
Early Residents of Pasco County
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This page was last revised on June 17, 2019.
CHARLES WILLIAM MALACHI LANG (1837-1908) was an early settler in the Hudson area. A native of Alabama, he arrived in Hernando County around 1850 with his sister Martha and perhaps with a brother James and four slaves. He married Mary Jane Boyett in 1858 (Ash). He enlisted at Brooksville on July 19, 1861, in the Third Florida Infantry, Co. “C” of the “Hernando County Wildcats.” According to Hendley, Lang started the fishing industry in Hudson in 1874. The area there was known as the Lang settlement before it became Hudson. According to Stanaback, “A fishing business started by Bill Lang was flourishing by 1885. The price of roe mullet was one cent each, and people would come from miles around to buy fish.” Hernando County school board minutes of Oct. 1877 show Lang’s School with trustees W. M. Lang, W. G. Frierson, and D. J. Strange. According to Ash, a log schoolhouse was built on their property in 1881. His homestead is today in the golf course in the Sea Pines subdivision. Lang and his wife later lived in Anclote and in an area between Dade City and Zephyrhills. He died of typhus on November 25, 1908, in Dade City. [Some information was provided by Jim Lang.] Their children were:
According to Maude Lang Asbell and Annie Lang Keen, granddaughters of Bill and Mary Jane Lang, the first 11
children were born on the family homestead north of Hudson. Catherine V. Lang married Antonio Hernandez in Hudson early
in 1882. This marriage is believed to be one of the first marriages in Hudson of pioneer families. [Information from Ash.]
ISAAC MILLS LANIER (1811-1892) was born in Georgia on Sept. 19, 1811. His father, Hardy Lanier, and mother, Melintha Mills, moved the family to Ft. Crane, Alachua, Florida, about 1831. He married Mary Catherine Watson, born June 3, 1816, in Georgia, and died Jan. 15, 1895. They were married in Paines Prairie, Alachua, Fla., on Aug. 29, 1832. The following are their children:
By 1852 Isaac and Mary had moved their family to Pasco County. He bought land from the federal government, two pieces of land southeast of what is now Dade City on the eastern side of the Withlacoochee River. This was signed by President Franklin Pierce in May 1855. Isaac came to the area well prepared to take on the dangers of the land and the Indians that lived here. While at the fort in Alachua he had gained a reputation of being a hard fighter for what was his. One story says that he and his brother-in-law, Mr. Nettles, left the protection of the fort to go hog hunting. They were attacked by a band of Indians. Mr. Nettles was wounded twice in the legs. Unable to walk, he convinced Isaac to go for help. When he returned with the men from the fort, he found Mr. Nettles had been scalped, his heart cut out and placed on a pole with his entrails wrapped around the pole. Isaac also had a sense of right and wrong that sometimes made him take matters into his own hands. His sister, Nancy Ann, later remarried Nelson R. Hall and moved to the Carolinas. She had a son by Mr. Nettles that Isaac called Crete because when he first saw him he said, “You poor little critter.” Isaac found out that Crete was being mistreated by his stepfather. He got on a horse and rode to the Carolinas and brought the boy back to live with him. Later, Jan. 1856 to Dec. 1857, they fought together in the third Seminole Indian war while their family was living in Pasco County. The story goes that Isaac had made a bench that was on his front porch of his house in the woods east of the river. He had a what he thought was a hidden drawer in which he kept his gold that he had made selling his cows to Cuba. One day after a visit from his cousin, he found his gold gone. He followed his cousin back down south where he lived. He killed his cousin and took back his gold. Also there are stories of men who went into the woods in the open range where Isaac scrub cows roamed and never returned to see Dade City again. Isaac later moved to around Kissimmee, where he died and is buried. He died May 29, 1892. His wife Mary Catherine was a member of the Withlacoochee Baptist Church. Her death was recorded in the church records. She died on Jan. 15, 1895.
Isaac’s son John Gaines is the grandfather of the Laniers who came to live on River Road. He married Mary Bonita Rushing, born Dec. 12, 1842, died Sept. 8, 1914. John was born on June 1, 1838, in Ft. Crane, Alachua. They were married on Nov. 8, 1860, in Hillsborough Fla. They had the following children: Daus Judson, Metenthia, Melinthia, Clement Hodges, Eliza, Benjamin, Isaac W., Frances, James H., Dallias Judson.
John and Mary received several tracts of land out on the River Road. Here they raised their family. Most of his life John had suffered from migraine headaches. He tried many home remedies to try and do away with the pain. This included drinking and rubbing on his head kerosene. On April 11, 1880, John could not stand the pain any longer. He went out into the woods that he loved so much and took his life. His wife Mary later remarried, a Tindall, and moved over to the middle of the state.
His son, Clement Hodges, along with the most of the family, had lived in Kissimmee. Clement was born in 1863 most likely in Pasco. On July 21, 1888, he married Martha Ann Thigpen in Kissimmee. She was born about 1872. For some unknown reason, about 1905 Clement rode from Kissimmee in a wagon with seven of his eight children. Marie was crippled stayed in Kissimmee with her mother. On the wagon were Oscar, Benjamin, Frank, Alice, Lee, Jeremiah (Jerry), Rose. Their dad needed help to raise the kids. When the wagon turned onto River Road he was able to find a home for all them. Some with family, some with friends. Alice was given to her Aunt Melintha (Dot). She was married to G. A. Bryant. They lived in a two story house about two miles out on River Road. G. A. Bryant was the pastor at the Withlacoochee Baptist church on the east side of the river where Isaac Lanier and his slaves had made the first bridge over the Withlacoochee River. Alice met James Bethel McMillan who lived nearby and went to church with her. They married in April 1913. They lived and raised their family a little further out River Road on what became known as the McMillan Curve. In later years, her dad, Clement, came to live with them. It is said that he was the best hide tanner around. People came from miles around to have their hides tanned by “Uncle Clem.” There were always hides hanging on the side of the barn, and the smell of animals who gave their lives to be tanned by Uncle Clem. It is said that he spent most of his time down by one of the ponds on the property. It was his place, where he butchered the animals, told the grandkids not to come, and spent private time. He is remembered by his grandkids as the grandpa who sat on the back porch peeling oranges for them, and making funny noises when they walked past. He died from a stroke in 1952. His grandkids carried on some of ways. For example, James Leon McMillan became known as the best cow whip maker in the area. He used Grandpa Clem and his own hides to make and mend the cow whips that was greatly needed until at least the early 1960s.
Alice Lanier McMillan lived the rest of her life on the 40 acres that she and James Bethel bought on the River Road. She was able to show the wonderful lady that she was by overcoming low points in her life. She lived a great life with James Bethel and her seven kids, James Leon, Carrie Mae, Elba Dena, Lucille Marie, Alice Lois, Rosa Lee, James Bethel Jr.
She died on March 16, 1967. The 40 acres is still in the McMillan family and is a place to come home to when we need to hear and feel our past.
[This biography was contributed by Susan McMillan Shelton.]
THOMAS E. LANIER (1845-1910) and his wife operated the Lanier House in Dade City. He married Alice E. Hinely (1863-1936), who was born in Effingham County, Ga. They came to Clearwater in 1906. In 1908 they moved to Dade City and built the Lanier House.
ELAM SANDERS LARKIN (1877-1934) was born on Mar. 28, 1877. In 1897 he married Rhoda Gavin (b. Nov. 10, 1877, at Thonotosassa) at Knights Station. School board records show that he transported students in the Ellerslie section in the 1920s and 1930s. Elam died on Apr. 9, 1934. Mrs. Larkin died on April 10, 1935. Her obituary lists survivors: three sons, William M., Dade City; E. B., attending the Univ. of Florida; Sidney, Dade City; three daughters, Emma, Bartow; Neva, Lakeland; Rhoda Jay, Dade City. A son Dell died in 1922 at age 20, and two children died in infancy.
WILLIAM SIDNEY LARKIN (1871-1934), a farmer and lumberman, was a member of the Pasco County School Board for sixteen years and its chairman for eight years. He was born in Lincoln County, Tenn., on June 9, 1871. He came to Gainesville, Fla., with his parents at age four, and came to Pasco County in 1889. He died July 14, 1934.
WILLIAM M. LARKIN (1899-1973) was elected Pasco County prosecuting attorney in 1924. As a cattleman, he brought the first Santa Gertrudis bull east of the Mississippi in 1941 and established the first Santa Gertrudis herd in Florida. He introduced and sponsored the Fence Law of Florida and invented a cattle underpass that is used when a new road separates a piece of land. Larkin was born in Dade City, October 6, 1899. He received his law degree in 1922 from Stetson University and was admitted to the Florida Bar. He died May 26, 1973.
FREEMAN LEACH (1841-1922) was one of the earliest
settlers in Port Richey. A 1916 Port Richey Co. advertisement
said that he came here five years ago, intending to spend the
winter, but remained ever since. He was from Massachusetts.
His wife Minerva died in 1917.
A son, Rev. Floyd S. Leach, was the pastor of St. Thomas
Church in New York City in 1922.
EDWARD LEOPOLD (1864-1947) was born March 19, 1864, in Alexandria Pike, Ky., of German descent. His first wife was Mary Margaretha Uhl, b. May 2, 1868, in Owl Creek, Ky., of German descent. She died of typhoid fever in Indianapolis, Ind., on Sept. 19, 1899. They had six children: (Tillie, b. 1889; Laura, b. 1890; Henry, b. 1892; Annie, b. 1894, m. Alfred Leander Hudson; Edward, b. 1897; Rosa, b. 1899. His second wife was Lydia Elizabeth Harper (1864-1914); they had one child, Florence, born in Dexter, Ga., in 1902. Leopold and his second wife moved from Dexter, Ga., to Florida, in 1905, and settled in Aripeka. Leopold built houses for a living, including his own residence in Aripeka, where he lived for a few years. He then moved to Hudson and in 1907 built a two-story home which he named the Kentucky Inn, for the state he came here from. He later sold the home to Salem Hatcher. [Some information provided by Susan Marchi (née Savage), daughter of Thelma Alberta Hudson, great granddaughter of Isaac Washington Hudson.]
Col. EBENEZER GILBERT LILES (1825-1927) was chosen as the chairman of the Pasco County Board of County Commissioners at its first meeting on July 18, 1887. Liles served as a commissioner until April 1889 and again from Jan. 1903 to Dec. 1904. During the Civil War, he was a member of the 39th Mississippi regiment, led by Gen. Starling Price. He fought in the battles of Corinth and Baker’s Creek and was in command of the fort at Vicksburg during the siege of the fort. He was a first lieutenant and captain, Company K, 6th Missouri Infantry. He enlisted in the CSA on Jan. 1, 1862, at New Madrid, Missouri, and was captured near Nashville on Dec. 16, 1864. He subsequently lived in St. Louis. He is shown in the 1900 census as a widowed farmer living in Precinct 5 at San Antonio. A 1927 article in the Tampa Times reported that Liles, then 102 years old and living in San Antonio, was one of two living Civil War veterans in Pasco County. He was born in Wilson County, Tennessee, near Nashville; both parents were born in North Carolina. His wife was Lettie L. (born about 1844 in Pennsylvania). Ebenezer G. Liles was born Nov. 17, 1825, and died Dec. 8, 1927. He is buried in St. Anthony Cemetery. A son was Edward B. Liles, q.v. [Information from Charles Blankenship]
Colonel Lyles Rounds a Century
SAN ANTONIO PIONEER QUIETLY CELEBRATING HUNDRETH ANNIVERSARY AT HOME TODAY
This article appeared in the Dade City Banner on Nov. 17, 1925.
Centenarians are not so numerous but what when one rounds out a century of life, it is an event of more than local interest, and for that reason Tuesday, November 17, 1925, is for residents of Pasco county, and especially for those fortunate enough to reside in San Antonio, a day especially to be remembered, as it marks the one hundredth mile-stone in the life of one of her most beloved and respected citizens, Col. Ebenezer Gilbert Lyles, C. S. A.
Quietly and with simply this venerable veteran of the war between the states, and pioneer settler of Pasco county, is receiving the congratulations of his many friends, for on account of being blind and deaf, besides somewhat enfeebled with age, his niece, Miss Augusta Moan, to whom he was a foster father during childhood and who now repays him by the loving care which she bestows upon him, refused to allow the public community celebration which it was hoped to hold.
Col. Lyles was born in Nashville, Tenn., 1825, and at the age of 12 accompanied his parents when they removed to Cape Girardeau, Mo., where he remained until the breaking out of the war between the states. While a young man he married Miss Charlotte Boyle, a reigning bell of St. Louis in those days. One son, Edward Lyles, deceased, of Tarpon Springs, was born to this union. His granddaughter, Miss Marie Lyles, has lately been appointed postmaster of that thriving Florida city. Besides his son, Colonel Lyles brought up two other families, children of his wife’s sisters. Three of them reside in Florida, Miss Augusta Moan, who cares for him in San Antonio, her sister, Mrs. Will Hibbs of San Antonio, and brother, L. L. Moan, formerly chief of the West Tampa fire department, and since its annexation to Tampa is still in charge with the rank of assistant chief.
Col. Lyles first came to Florida in 1883, settling in San Antonio, where he has lived ever since. It is interesting to hear him tell of those days, when the railroad ended at Wildwood and provisions had to be hauled by ox teams from Tampa, while the drivers walked alongside. In those days there were no bridges over the Hillsborough river or Big Cypress creek, making it necessary to ford them and many times to cross by swimming. There were no roads, no churches, no schools.
Col. Lyles was active in politics in those days. Following the formation of Pasco county he served on the board of county commissioners for three terms. He was a successful farmer and orange grower, both before and after the big freeze of 1894-95.
At the breaking out of hostilities between the northern and southern states Col. Lyles was offered command of a regiment of federal troops but declined, as his sympathies were with the South. He joined the Missouri militia and was with them in an action at Frederickstown, where he was charged by Union cavalry, who retired after he had ordered his men to fire. Later he entered the regular Confederate army with a company and participated in a skirmish at Iuka and at Corinth, being wounded at the latter place in the hand. He formed part of the garrison at Vicksburg when that city was captured by Gen. U. S. Grant.
He had charge of a camp at Demopolis, Ala., and later was chief provost marshal at Granada, Miss., where he was placed in command of the 39th Mississippi regiment and marched to Tennessee where he joined the forces of Gen. Franklin and later served under General Hood. Here he took part in the action of Stone River and being left in charge of certain fortifications when the army retreated held them so successfully that he was cut off and was forced to surrender. He was sent to Johnson’s Island, where he was kept six months, until the close of the war. He says that he was on half rations at this place and but for his family in St. Louis sending him provisions would have suffered severely.
EDWARD BOYLE LILES (1868-1918) was an early school teacher at
a school built in the Pine Hill section in the late 1880s on land
donated by James W. Clark. He was from San Antonio.
He is said to be the first teacher in Port Richey.
Frances Clark Mallett believes Edward B. Liles came from
St. Leo/San Antonio around 1886 to teach school and boarded with J. W. Clark.
She believes that after he married Frances Sophia Clark that they may have still lived with the Clarks.
The 1910 census shows Edward B. Liles as a grocery merchant living in Tarpon Springs.
He was born in St. Louis, Mo., on Feb. 4, 1868. According to his obituary, he came
to Tarpon Springs about fifteen years earlier, and for a time kept a grocery store
and afterward clerked in various other stores. In 1910 he was elected city
tax assessor, and held that position until his death at age 50 from tuberculosis.
He married Frances Sophia Clark (1873-1962) in about 1894. They had 4 children:
[Information provided by Charles Blankenship]
GEORGE WASHINGTON COON LITTELL (1840-1935) was born in Greene County, Illinois. He married Amanda Eve Robinson (1842-1931) on Feb. 15, 1860, in Browning, Missouri. Shortly after the birth of their first child, Mr. Littell enlisted in the Civil War, in the 3rd Illinois cavalry, leaving his wife and son with his parents in Topeka, Ill. After the war, they lived on a farm near Topeka until the fall of 1873 when they started west in a covered wagon. In 1874 they reached Atchison County, Mo., where they built a home and lived until 1886. They arrived in Pasco county with ten of their eleven children on March 1, 1886, and settled in what is now Aripeka. He moved to Florida, hoping the climate would improve the health of their son Weaver (b., July 12, 1880). On Aug. 7, 1893, school board minutes show G. W. C. Littell as the teacher at Argo School, No. 33. In 1930 the Gulf High School band provided music for the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary party. A newspaper article called George W. C. Littell a “prominent bee raiser of the Hudson section.” He died at his home on Jan. 28, 1935. Children included:
BARTOW S. LITTELL (1907-2004) was a son of Corwin Pearl Littell. In a 2004 interview with the Tampa Tribune he recalled that as a child he fished with Babe Ruth near Aripeka on Hunter’s Lake and in the Gulf of Mexico. He said that Ruth visited here in 1920-1922. Littell was a member of the Gulf High School class of 1926. He obtained a civil engineering degree from the University of Florida. He was pro polo player in Argentina when jobs proved scarce during the Great Depression. He said that he helped develop the Redstone rocket with Wernher Von Braun in Huntsville, Ala., and designed seven launch pads and a rail system at Cape Canaveral for a Miami company. In 1932 he married Esther M. DeHaven of Aripeka. Littell was born on Dec. 31, 1907.
SAMUEL M. LITTLE and his wife moved to New Port Richey in 1923. They had eight sons and two daughters. Among them were Walter C. Little (1904-1982), a road construction engineer who married Eva Stevenson (1910-1982) in 1926, and William Desmond “Des” Little (see below). In the 1930s the family moved to Bradenton, except for Desmond, who remained (Ash).
WILLIAM DESMOND “DES” LITTLE (1913-1989) operated a successful paving contracting business, Desmond Little and Sons Paving.
He was a community leader and an important figure in the construction of West Pasco Hospital and the football stadium at
Gulf High School, which is named for him. Gulf High School Principal Ed Campbell recalled that he “sent
his equipment (bulldozers, road graders, dump trucks, paving machines, etc.) along with their operators
to do work as we needed it done.
The Stadium Committee knew Mr. Little was the major contributor in getting the project completed and recommended
to the School Board that the stadium be named Des Little Stadium, for his support of this project
and other work he had done in support of the youth in the community.”
His home was located just off Little Road, which is also named for him.
He married Michealine DeCubellis (born May 9, 1914; died Apr 30, 2009).
Among his friends were Johnny Cash and Rev. Billy Graham, both of whom visited him in New Port Richey.
In June 1988 he won $1.3 million in Florida’s second Lotto drawing. He was born in Cotton, Georgia, and came to
New Port Richey from Bradenton. He was born on Nov. 13, 1913, and died on Jan. 19, 1989.
His children are Desmond Gene (born 1941, GHS ’59), Terry (born 1944), Peter (born 1948), and Mary (born 1950).
CHRISTOPHER LOCK. The following is taken from a 2009 guest column in the St. Petersburg Times by William G. Dayton in which he argued that the name of Lock Street Calle de Milagros should not be changed.
MITTYE P. LOCKE (1909-2009) was the long-time Principal of Elfers Elementary School, which was renamed in her honor in November 1983.
Mittye Walker Pierce was born on Apr. 20, 1909, in Tupelo, Miss. She came to Florida with her parents in December 1912 and stayed in Tarpon Springs for six months while her father
located work. She attended school in Elfers for the first eight years; her first teacher was her older sister Velora.
As a student at Gulf High School, she performed a piano solo at the school’s first graduation on April 29, 1924.
She was one of nine students who graduated from Gulf High School in 1927.
Her father, school board member Porter Lamar Pierce, spoke at her graduation; Pierce Elementary School was named for him.
She subsequently attended the Florida College for Women.
She began her teaching career at Zephyrhills Elementary
School. School board records show she was appointed there on August 6, 1928.
She subsequently taught at the one-room Tucker School, near Gowers Corner. School board records show she
taught there in 1934-35, 1935-36, and 1936-37.
In a 1997 interview she recalled,
“I was only making $80 a month, and it was hard to work and continue my studies on that kind of income. So I came back home to Elfers.
I did what I had always wanted to do—teach in the school and community I had grown up in.”
In a 1987 interview she said that she taught six years before coming to the Elfers school.
She was appointed Principal at Elfers Elementary School by the school board at its meeting on June 7, 1937. She retired in June 1979.
She and another long-time teacher were named Citizens of the Year by the Greater New Port Richey Chamber of Commerce in about 1967.
One of her students was her son, Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Olson.
Mrs. Locke died on Feb. 25, 2009. A history of the Elfers School
WILLIAM HENRY LOVELAND (1873-1953) and his wife resided in the Jasmin Point section in the late 1920s until they moved to Harbor Oaks in Clearwater. There are several photos of his home here. He was born in Aug. 1873 and was from Binghamton, N. Y. He died on March 9, 1953, in Miami at the home of his daughter, Eleanor Allison (1905-1992).
SAMUEL FRANK LUIKART (1884-1968) arrived with his wife Virgie K. (1894-1979) in New Port Richey in 1915 from West Virginia. (She was a daughter of Simon Noffsiger, who had moved here earlier.) Luikart became the caretaker, gardener, and groundskeeper for Thomas Meighan’s thirteen-room, six-bath home. In 1926 Mrs. Luikart began to work as the housekeeper and took care of all of the chores except cooking. The family moved into the house and together received $25 per month salary. The house was sold several times during the 20 years the Luikarts stayed on as caretakers, and was eventually torn down. [Information West Pasco’s Heritage, from an interview with Mrs. Luikart]
DAVID LUIKART SR. (1925-2008), a son of Samuel Frank Luikart, graduated from Gulf High School in 1942 was on the 1941-42 football team which had a 9-1 record. He recalled in a 1987 interview, “My father worked for Meighan and whenever the swimming pool had to be filled he had to notify the city.” A pharmacist, he and Michael Maloy purchased Roscoe Rexall Drugs on Feb. 1, 1960. He married Arline Drinkard in 1946. They had three sons, David Jr., Phil, and Steven (GHS ’69), who was an assistant principal in Pasco County schools.
CHARLES HENRY LUTZ (1858-1927). The obituary from the Tarpon Springs Leader follows:
[This obituary was provided by William L. Vinson.]