HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
Early Residents of Pasco County
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This page was last revised on July 23, 2018.
FRANK NELSON (died, 1945) The New Port Richey Press reported on May 24, 1940:
“Big Frank” Nelson, former resident of New Port Richey, is back again,
making his home for the time being with Art Suhonen. Nelson was at one time
a professional wrestler of national repute. He originated and introduced the
“half-nelson” hold, which practically revolutionized the technique of “catch-as-catch-can”
wrestling in this country. Of late years, Nelson has been touring the country giving
exhibitions showing his great physical strength. Nelson says there’s no place like
New Port Richey and he’s glad to get back.
The term “half-nelson” has been found in print in 1889, and thus is not named
for Frank Nelson.
According to his obituary, Nelson’s original surname was Rosnel. He is buried in Pinehill Cemetery.
HENRY ROBERT NICKS (1852-1928) was an important early figure in the history of Port Richey.
A picture of H. R. Nicks is here.
On June 19, 1873, he married Alatha Frances Jane Hope (1854-1894).
Alatha was born at Spring Lake,
Hernando Co., on October 12, 1854. She appears on the 1870 U. S. Census in her widowed mother’s household in Hernando County.
A larger version of the picture of her is here.
The Genesis of New Port Richey has:
Mr. Robert Nicks (better known as Bob) was born in
Leon County, Florida, about 71 years ago. He subsequently lived at
Spring Lake, in Hernando County, about eight miles from Brooksville.
He settled at Port Richey on the Cotee River in 1904 and, as a large
property owner, has lived there ever since. He married Latha Hope; of
his 7 children, 4 are now living, namely; Henry, Mike, Frances (now
Mrs. Hancock of Miami), and Lonnie (now Mrs. Victor Malcolm Clark of Live
Oak). Every one residing in the Cotee Valley knows of ‘Bob’ Nicks,
except those who arrived yesterday.
An article in the New Port Richey Press of Nov. 12, 1926, states
that Nicks came with his parents to Brooksville over 40 years ago
and to the site of his present home 20 years ago. In the article, Nicks
I remember well seeing my father go to the dining table with a gun
in his hands, which he would lay across his lap while eating, as
protection against marauding Indians, who resented the invasion of
the white man. When he arrived here, there was no sign of Port Richey
or New Port Richey, the whole country being a veritable jungle. Bears
roamed around in the wilderness about Orange Lake and alligators
were thick where the First State Bank now stands. The Indians lived a lazy
life, hunting and fishing when my father brought me and the other children
from Tallahassee, but as the years passed they gradually disappeared,
giving way to the modern improvements of the white man.
Alatha died on December 31, 1894 and is buried in the Brooksville City Cemetery.
The obituary of H. R. Nicks in the New Port Richey Press on Jan. 20, 1928,
H. Robert Nicks, pioneer resident of Pasco county, died
of heart disease at Port Richey Friday afternoon, Jan. 13, after an
illness of only a few days. He was 75 years of age and is survived by
four children, Mrs. A. F. Hancock, W. M. and Henry Nicks and Mrs.
Victor M. Clark, all residing at Port Richey with the exception of
Henry, who lives at Tarpon Springs. He left 10 grandchildren and one
great grandchild. Funeral services were conducted at the home in Port
Richey Sunday at 12:30 P. M. by Rev. C. M. Cotton, pastor of the
First Methodist church and the body was interred at Brooksville
cemetery the same afternoon. The ceremonies were in charge of the
Masonic order of which he had been a member for many years, holding a
paid up life membership in Trilby Lodge, No. 141, and being a charter
member of that lodge. “Uncle Bobby” as he was familiarly known to his
host of friends, was one of the first settlers in this part of the
state, having come here from Tallahassee, his birthplace, and settled
at Port Richey in 1904, when there was nothing resembling a hard road
or street in the country. He was married to Miss Alatha Frances Hope
June 19, 1873, who preceded him to the grave several years ago. Mr.
Nicks was a member of the Port Richey Methodist Church, and was one
of the town’s most active citizens, being known as “The Father of
The children of Henry Robert Nicks and Alatha Frances [Jane] Hope (1855-1894) were:
- Henry James Nicks Sr. (1874-1942), married Alice Hill
- Alatha Frances Nicks (1876-1949), married Horace J. Hancock (1862-1914)
- William Michael Nicks (1878-1944), 1married Susan Brown, 2married Nevada Lee (1889-1963)
- Mary (Cecelia) Celia Nicks (1881-1915), married David Hope Clark Sr. (1877-1962)
- Sheldon (or Shelton) S. Nicks (1886-1909), married Ruby Eugene Clark (1887-1950). Shelton was a deputy sheriff who was
killed by a man he attempted to arrest at Fivay on May 8, 1909.
He was born on Jan. 12, 1886.
- Lonnie Lee Nicks (1889-1930), married Victor Malcolm Clark Sr. (1889-1951)
- Robert C. Nicks (1891-1898)
In December 1928 a park in Port Richey was dedicated as Robert Nicks Memorial Park.
SIMON NOFFSINGER (1854-1929) was one of the earliest settlers
in what would become New Port Richey, arriving in 1913, according to
Avery. He built one of the first houses in town, at “Land’s
End” on the bayou. He was born on Sept. 3, 1854, in Ohio, although he
came here from West Virginia according to his obituary. He was
married to Laura E. Noffsinger (1860-1924). A daughter, Virgie,
married Frank Luikart; they moved here in 1915.
EMIL FERDINAND NYMAN (1884-1927) was an early resident of New Port Richey.
His obituary stated, “Coming to New Port Richey over fifteen years ago, when
it was little more than a wilderness, Mr. Nyman was instrumental
in the initial progress of the town, building a large number of the
city’s original homes and business places.
Mr. Nyman was the owner of New Port Richey’s first water system and was also a
leading business man.” According to his grandson,
Reynald C. Feldt, Jr., he owned Port Richey Novelty Works, which
supplied windows, doors, trim, and novelty siding for
homes. Nyman left Finland for the U. S. in 1908, settling in Massachusetts.
He married Helmi Josefina Kivikoski (1886-1963) in 1910.
They came to what is now New Port Richey on May 12, 1912.
After Emil died, Helmi worked for the Sims and
Pretorious families as a cook/housekeeper until she
later remarried. Their children were Walter (1910-1912?), Elsie (1914-1999), and Margaret (1916-1997).
Elsie was born in a small house on Old Post Road in Port Richey on Aug. 13, 1914.
Margaret married Wilford Berry Mitchell,
a son of Rev. Jesse M. Mitchell of Elfers; they had a son, Jerry M. Mitchell (1940-2016).