Early Residents of Pasco County – O


Early Residents of Pasco County

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This page was last revised on Sept. 28, 2020.

JULIE OBENREDER (1913-2011) was instrumental in the formation of the West Pasco Historical Society and wrote many of the articles in West Pasco’s Heritage, a book published by the WPHS. She was also the author of My Pioneer Days in West Pasco. Julie Jenkins was born Jan. 7, 1913, in Wilcox, Pa. Mrs. Obenreder came to Florida with her husband Roy and three children, James, Joyce, and Connie Ann, in August 1945. They came from Erie, Pa., in search of health for one of the daughters. They originally planned to stay only temporarily in the home of Roy’s parents, who had spent several winters in New Port Richey. A nurse and midwife, she worked for several local doctors and was employed by West Pasco Hospital when it opened in 1965. She recalled that she delivered at least 50 black babies, usually at no charge, at residences in the Pine Hill section before West Pasco Hospital opened and admitted black patients. Roy Peter Obenreder was a building contractor; he was in charge of converting the old Seven Springs schoolhouse into the museum of the WPHS. He was a native of Fryburg, Pa. He died at age 80 in 1993. Mrs. Obenreder died on March 10, 2011.

O’BERRY. See a separate page here.

DORA OELSNER (died, 1946, age 91). According to her obituary, “She was born in New York city and came to Port Richey from Tampa 20 years ago. She had lived in Tampa five years.” She was buried in New York City. Her husband Rudolph died on a train in North Carolina on Nov. 1, 1925. A daughter was Martha (q.v.).

MARTHA OELSNER (1886-1981), born in New York City, came to Port Richey from Tampa in 1925. She came to Florida in 1922 with her family. She is described in Tales of West Pasco as “the most colorful personality that has ever lived in Port Richey.” Aunt Martha, as she was usually referred to, served as Chairman of the Chasco Fiesta for several years and was active in civic affairs. On Mar. 27, 1925, the New Port Richey Press reported that her father Rudolph Oelsner of Yonkers, N. Y., had purchased the property which included the “Shell Mound.” The Indian mound on her property is now called the Oelsner Mound. Miss Oelsner married Dr. Oscar Johnson at New Rochelle, N. Y., on Nov. 7, 1909. Their son Rensleo drowned at age 6 in 1915. She divorced Johnson in 1917. Her home was destroyed by fire on Dec. 5, 1961, destroying many valuable works of art. She rebuilt in the same location. Port Richey Mayor John Durney proclaimed Oct. 4, 1971, her 85th birthday, as Martha Oelsner Day in Port Richey. U. S. Sen. Lawton Chiles was the guest speaker in October 1974 when the City of Port Richey dedicted its new city hall to Martha Oelsner. In a 1975 interview, Mrs. Oelsner said that the home her father built “was more like a museum than a house. He had collected antiques and art from all over the world and brought them all here. The antiques included furniture that had belonged to King Henry VII of England, and a porcelain jewel casket owned by a court favorite of one of the kings of France.”

KARL OLOF OLSON (1858-1941) is the father of M. N. Olson, a law enforcement officer, and the grandfather of Tax Collector Mike Olson. The following is taken from his obituary:

Karl Olof Olson was born in Nykarleby, Finland, a town near the Swedish border. His earlier years had been spent on the sea. He entered the merchant marine service of both Sweden and Norway for several years of service, sailing to all parts of the world. While still a young man, he came to the United States and served with the United States navy from 1880 to 1886. While on duty with a warship which attended the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, he became deafened by the tremendous naval salute given by the ship on this occasion. Leaving the service he engaged in various occupations, mainly boat building, carpentry work and farming. He made several trips back to his native Finland and was the means of inducing many settlers from that land to come to this country. While in the navy, about 1883, he was with a party which made a geodetic survey of the entire Florida coast. While thus engaged he became acquainted with this coastal region of Florida, and it impelled him to return here as a settler in 1913, where he lived until his death last Sunday.

His wife, Mrs. Sophie Margaret Olson, died on Jan. 15, 1945, at age 78. According to her obituary, she was born in Nykarleby, Finland, and came to the U. S. in 1907.

HUGH S. OSBORNE purchased the New Port Richey Press in (apparently) 1934. He leased the newspaper for two years before purchasing it. He had earlier worked with his father, J. A. Osborne, in Williamsburg, Va.; his father was the publisher of the Virginia Gazette, one of the oldest newspapers in the United States. He died on Jan. 23, 1953.

JACKSON A. OSBURN (1843-1938) was born in Madison County on Nov. 14, 1843. When he was four years old, he came here with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. David Hampton Osburn, who selected as a homestead property southwest of San Antonio. In 1869 he married Eliza Jane Kersey (1847-1926). In 1929 he sold his home and grove and lived with a daughter and later his son. According to his obituary, Mr. Osburn was a trustee of the Prospect Methodist Church from its founding. He had two sons, Emmanuel J. and Wiley, and eight daughters: Mrs. Eugenia Howell, Mrs. L. L. Taylor, Mrs. Gordon E. McDonald, Mrs. Minnie Lee Smith, Mrs. E. H. Jewell, Mrs. B. E. Smith, Mrs. Gertrude Knapp, Mrs. J. Leroy Smith.

WILLIAM L. OSBURN (1842-1922) was born to David Osburn and Eliza Wells Osburn in Madison County, Florida, on Dec. 24, 1842. He came to Pasco County with his parents at age 12 and the family settled on the place between San Antonio and Pasco now known as the College farm. He enlisted in Company B, Second Florida Cavalry, at Fort Myers in 1863, and was captured and imprisoned at Tallahassee until the close of the war. He was married on Dec. 1, 1868, to Mary A. K. Hudson. He died at his home in St. Joseph on May 7, 1922. His name is also spelled Osborn and Osborne. Mary A. K. Hudson was born in Georgia on Oct. 9, 1849, and came to Pasco County with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Hudson, when a young girl, and the family first settled at Chipco and in about 1876 moved to the site that became Hudson.

JAMES HARVEY OSBURN (1870-1955) was a son of William L. Osburn, q.v. He was born on July 13, 1870. On Feb. 5, 1896, he married Martha Jane McNeil or McNeill (b. May 17, 1872; d. 1956 or 1957). He was a deputy sheriff under Sheriff Hudson and adjusted the noose on the condemned man who was hanged on Dec. 28, 1917. picture, picture, picture. His name is also spelled Osborn and Osborne. Children:

  • Samuel R. (b. 1897), m. Alta Newton. He opened Osborne Electric Company on East Reynolds St. in Plant City.
  • Gladys (b. 1900)
  • Burton F. (b. 1906), married Alice Martinson.

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