Early Residents of Pasco County

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This page was last revised on April 15, 2024 by Paul Herman, Digital Media Archivist, West Pasco Historical Society.

BASIL MANLEY PACK (1857-1943) was one of the early pastors of First Baptist Church in New Port Richey. He came to New Port Richey in 1922 and was a long-time resident of the city. He became pastor of the church by 1924. He died at the home of a daughter in Moultrie, Ga., and was buried in Pine Hill Cemetery.

JOHN PALANSKY (d. 1941) was a resident of Bayonet Point for the last eight years of his life. He operated a service station there. He was born in Czechoslovakia and died on Jan. 11, 1941. According to his obituary, he was survived by his widow, Mrs. Suzanna Palansky, a daughter, Miss Olga Palansky, a son, John Palansky, and relatives living in Czechoslovakia.

John Parkes Rev. JOHN W. PARKES (1893-1964) was the publisher of the New Port Richey Press from early 1926 until he sold the business to Benjamin Lyle in early 1932. He arrived in New Port Richey in July 1923 and was an early supporter of incorporation of the town. In the 1940s he was employed by the U. S. Government Printing Office in Washington. In the early 1960s he was pastor of First Baptist Church of Hudson, First Missionary Baptist Church of Elfers, and the Jasmine Lakes Baptist Chapel. During this period he wrote a weekly newspaper column about the early days of New Port Richey. He was born in Sugar Grove, Virginia. His wife was Anna Bell Horne Parkes (1895-1981).


  • John Jr.
  • Juanita (Nita) Belle, b. October 24, 1918, in Alexandria, Va.; m. James R. Kautz Jr.; d. March 25, 2010. She graduated from Gulf High School in 1934. Her son Lawrence Kautz graduated from Gulf High School in 1965.

ANTHONY J. PAUELS (died, 1944) was a resident of New Port Richey (then Port Richey) beginning in 1914. He built the Hotel Newport, one of the earliest businesses in town, and later served on the city council, at which time he was in charge of Pine Hill Cemetery. He was born in Holland, Michigan, and later moved to Grand Rapids. He died at his home on Orange Lake on Jan. 1, 1944, at age 83.

ALLEN O. PEARCE (1851-1928) was for 20 years civil engineer of Pasco County, according to his obituary. His obituary called him a pioneer resident of Greenfield and reported that funeral services were held at Pearce Cemetery at Lake Hancock. At an old-timer’s picnic around 1927 he was found to be the oldest resident born in what is now Pasco County, as he stated that he was born in 1851 at Lake Iola. He was a son of Samuel J. Pearce. On Mar. 31, 1916, the Dade City Banner reported that Tom Pearce, a son of Pasco County Surveyor Allen Pearce, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant as he left his home two miles west of San Antonio on Saturday night. Pearce had been suggested as the person who might have killed Adolphus Lewis at Fivay some time earlier.

HIRAM F. PENT (1849-1939) was born March 29, 1849, at Key West, and settled at Anclote in 1872, according to his obituary. He married Lucy L. Meyer, q.v., on Jan. 5, 1875, in 1875 at the Meyer homestead at Anclote. They were married by Rev. James Kilgore, a Methodist minister, who came from what is now Ozona. He homesteaded a tract of land on the bank of the Anclote River where the Linger Longer auto camp stands. A carpenter, he built the Anclote church/school. Children:

  • Robert Franklin, b. June 25, 1878, author of History of Tarpon Springs (1964).
  • Sarah Amelia
  • Cora Estelle, m. Frank Davis
  • Clara Elma

NINA PERCIVAL (1882-1981) was a long-time school teacher in Pasco County. According to The History of Zephyrhills 1821-1921, she taught fifty years including substitute work after retirement. She supplemented her salary by teaching the summer normal terms, preparing many of her former pupils of Zephyrhills for teacher examinations. She recalled:

My health had not been good and they [my parents] had sent me to Green Cove Springs for a long winter. When they saw my improvement, they decided to move to the veterans’ colony being built at Zephyrhills. I got a job as bookkeeper and remained in New York. Then I had a severe heart attack and was in bed for some time at the home of an uncle and aunt. When I was able to travel I came to Zephyrhills and later worked in Mrs. Hennington’s drygoods store. It became known that I had taught and I was asked to take a place in the school where I taught during the 1913-14 and the 1914-15 terms. They were very happy years but I was offered a big raise in salary and moved. The trustees at Zephyrhills exhausted every means within their power to keep me but they failed and I went to Dade City.

Miss Percival moved to Zephyrhills from Michigan in 1911 to join her parents, who had become residents there. She taught two years in Zephyrhills beginning in 1913. Beginning in the 1915-16 school year, she taught at the Dade City high school. In the 1930s and 1940s she is shown as a science teacher and assistant principal there. She retired in 1953 and served as a substitute teacher for nine years after she retired. Nina Percival was born on Aug. 10, 1882, in Stanton, Mich., and died at age 99 in November 1981.

PORTER LAMAR PIERCE (1871-1949) was a school teacher in Mississippi for 15 years before he and his wife, the former Charlie Mae Rogers (1877-1965), and their children came to Florida in 1912. They resided in Tarpon Springs until 1913, when they came to Elfers. He was a member of the Pasco County School Board, and Chairman of Public Instruction of Pasco County. Pierce Elementary School is named for him. As chairman of the local board of trustees and member-elect of the County School Board, Pierce spoke at the opening ceremony of Gulf High School in September 1922. While they were building Gulf High School, the bricklayers stayed in Pierce’s house. He was elected as a member of the first city council of Elfers in 1925. He was born at Tilden, Mississippi, on Oct 13, 1871, and died on July 6, 1949. Pierce and his wife are buried at Cycadia Cemetery in Tarpon Springs. Children:

  • Velora Afton (1898-1982), taught at the Elfers school.
  • Raymond Rogers (1904-1991), m. Elizabeth Ann Vorhees (1913-1977)
  • Mittye Walker (see the entry for Mittye P. Locke)
  • Norman Ridley (1906-1978)
  • Maxine (1911-2005)
  • Gwendolyn (1915-2013), graduated from GHS in 1932. Gwendolyn Knowles lived in Jacksonville and later Nashville

John Pinder JOHN PINDER (1854-1902), an early resident of what would become Elfers, is shown as a sailor in the 1880 census and a sponger in the 1900 census. Pinder purchased 40 acres described as the NW Qtr of the SW Qtr of Section 21, Township 26S, Range 16E, from the State of Florida Internal Improvement Fund on May 16, 1881. John Pinder was born in Little Abaco, Bahamas, on March 1, 1854, son of John Pinder and Elizabeth Sands. John Pinder came to Key West with his mother in September 1865. He married Virginia M. Brown (1856-1899) on July 28, 1878, in Hernando County. Virginia was the daughter of John Allen Brown q.v. John Pinder died July 2, 1902, at Elfers; Virginia died March 4, 1899, at Elfers. Both were buried in the West Elfers Cemetery. The children of John Pinder and Virginia M. Brown:

  • John Allen (1882-1954)
  • Joseph Thomas (1884-1899)
  • William Charles (1886-1932)
  • Alma Louise (1887-1966)
  • Samuel Jesse (1889-1894)
  • Sarah Ida Elizabeth (1893-after 1975)
  • Daniel Whitmore (1895-1930)
  • Ira Eugene (1897-1958)

[Information from Sam D. Houston, great grandson]

THOMAS PINDER (1857-1921) was a brother of John Pinder. He is shown as a farmer in the 1880 census. He married Julia Catherine Goethe (1856-1934). She died in Tarpon Springs on Aug. 3, 1934. Her obituary states, “Mrs. Pinder was a descendant of a brother of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, famous German poet and dramatist. She was a pioneer resident of this section, coming here from Georgia, her native state. … Mrs. Pinder is survived by her daughter, Mrs. George Gillett, a son, George Pinder of Clearwater, a brother, Ed Goethe of Anclote, and other relatives.” They are buried in East Elfers Cemetery.

ELIZABETH PINDER (1849-1910) was a sister of John Pinder. She married Samuel Baker, q.v.

GEORGE THOMAS PINDER (died, 1940, age 55) was born at what would become Elfers. He was employed by Florida Power Corp. and at the time of his death was office manager of the Florida State employment service in Clearwater. He was survived by his widow Mrs. Josephine Beckett Pinder and five children.

GEORGE DEWEY PINHOLSTER (1899-1984) was the Principal of the Elfers School by 1918. He was born in Bradford, Florida, on Feb. 2, 1899. The 1920 census lists him as a teacher in Elfers. According to David Stovall, his grandson, he married Delah S. Beilling of Providence and Lake Butler in Union County in 1921. He taught at Florahome in 1918 and 1919. He and his wife taught at Frostproof in 1921.

MAREE PINHOLSTER (1900-1981), the adopted sister of George Pinholster, is shown as a teacher at the Elfers school in school board minutes of Sept. 1921. She never married, but worked as a nanny near St. Petersburg for most of her life. (Information from David Stovall.)

LOUIS BALDWIN PLATHE (1891-1978) was a guest at the Hotel Newport in December 1919 and later married the innkeeper’s daughter Mabel Broersma (the daughter of Minne Broersma and her first husband Edwin Henderson). He came to the area from Brooklyn, although he was born in Norway. Plathe Road is named for him. According to Florida Cracker Days in West Pasco County 1830-1982, he was the 75th person to become a resident of New Port Richey. The following is taken from that book:

Plathe was considered by many to be one of the most rugged men who ever lived in this vicinity. Perhaps his individual initiative and perseverance, over great odds at times, made him the character he was.

Born in Norway on July 22, 1891, Plathe became a sailor at the age of 13 working aboard a ship owned by an uncle. Several years later, he landed in the United States and became a citizen. He was a resident of New York City, shipping out of there from time to time as a first or second mate on board a ship. He may even have served as a United States Navy lieutenant in World War I.

Attending a Merchant Marine school in 1920-1921 because there were no ships sailing, he spotted an ad extolling the virtues of Pasco County. Having heard of Florida from shipmates, he took a train to Tarpon Springs, grabbed a taxi to New Port Richey and the next morning rode via horseback looking for a home on the Cotee River.

Spotting a site he liked on the river, he was told it was sold, but his wishes prevailed, and he soon took over the house and the property. Deciding the house should be closer to the river, he placed jacks under the building, then large logs for it to roll on and, using his Model T Ford, he pushed the house to the hill overlooking the river. Neighbors stood by terrified, or so the story goes. They were afraid the house would roll down the hill and into the Cotee.

Another time, he rowed his way home — the river was his only mode of travel at the time — felled a tree and made a 40-foot ladder from it, and then rowed back to town where he continued painting a house. He was working for Claude and “Pop” Miller at the time, building houses.

During the summers, he continued his maritime career aboard ships on the Great Lakes, spending his winters here. When the first Chasco Fiesta was held, in 1922, he made an instrument, a combination drum and bass fiddle topped by cymbals, to accompany his brother on the accordion. They were so popular that people followed them all the way home just to hear the music they were playing.

Plathe, for whom Platt Street is named, married Mabel Broersma, the daughter of pioneer Mike Broersma. She died in 1930. Plathe then married Lillian Ray in 1952. She died in 1974. The former Mrs. Ray, before she married Plathe, had one son by her former marriage, Charles F. Ray. Charles, his wife, Louise, and their children, Lisla and Charles F. Ray Jr., live in New Port Richey.

Plathe died on March 2, 1978. In a facebook post in 2012, Chris DeCubellis wrote that his father, David DeCubellis, who was the Road and Bridge Superintendent for Pasco County and was friends with Plathe, named the road in his memory. Photos of his home are here, here, and here.

Leland Poole LELAND CAVANAUGH POOLE (1893-1974) was a law enforcement officer in western Pasco county in the early 1920s, serving as both deputy sheriff and constable. He also managed the Gulf Utilities Company, which owned the light plant and ice house; he recalled that he usually turned the electricity on for the town at 5 a.m. and turned it off at 11 p.m. He owned Poole’s Better Food Store on South Boulevard. Poole was a candidate for New Port Richey City Council in the original election in 1924. He came to New Port Richey from Tampa after seeing an ad in a Tampa paper for a lot on the river plus ten acres of woods land for $750 [West Pasco’s Heritage]. He was acting mayor of New Port Richey in 1932. He was elected to the county commission in 1934, 1936, and 1938. He said he was the first Yankee to be elected to the Board of County Commissioners. Poole served in the Navy during World War I and was awarded the Navy cross. His wife Mrs. Anna Schaffer Poole died on Dec. 12, 1937, at age 42. On Sept. 4, 1938, he was married to Mrs. Virginia Hewlett Poole, a native of Nashville. She had taught school in Crystal River before working for the State Welfare Board. In 1943, at age 37, she committed suicide, shooting herself in her automobile on a deserted beach road. A 1962 newspaper article reported that Leland Poole was living at 504 Adams Street, and had lived there for the past 40 years. He was a native of Gloucester, Mass. A son was Mickey Poole and a daughter was Mrs. Clarence Luikart.

Dr. JAMES MARTIN POSEY (1866-1917) is believed to be the first physician in western Pasco County. He was born in Aiken, S. C., on July 29, 1866. Posey began a practice in Hudson in 1888, according to an entry in an AMA directory of deceased physicians. The AMA directory indicates he was an allopath, licensed in Florida and Georgia in 1888, and that he attended the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta and graduated from the University of Georgia Medical Department in 1889. According to West Pasco’s Heritage, “He had his own drugstore with patent medicines and veterinarian supplies. He filled his own prescriptions. He was the first M. D. [Note: probably not an M. D. -jm] to practice in West Pasco County. When New Port Richey was founded, he moved there and had an office until he retired.”

On Jan. 25, 1909, the Tampa Morning Tribune reported:

Dr. Posey was convicted at the last season of the court and sentence was reserved pending the hearing of a motion for a new trial. Saturday morning Judge Wall and State’s Attorney Phillips went to Dade City to hear the motion. It was the purpose of Judge Wall to pass sentence at that time had he seen fit to overrule the motion for a re-hearing of the case. Posey was convicted of assault and intent to murder in the first degree. The facts, as elicited at the trial were that [R. A.] Ellis bought a lot of land in the vicinity of Hudson, where Dr. Posey resided and cut it up into lots and offered them for sale. It developed that Dr. Posey gave it as his opinion that the water on the land was poison. In time this assertion reached Mr. Ellis who is alleged to have replied that Dr. Posey had told an untruth and knew that he lied when he made any such statement. This message was carried back to Dr. Posey who immediately got his pistol and a shot gun and went in search of Mr. Ellis. An encounter ensued in which it is alleged that Ellis got the better of the argument. Dr. Posey, it is alleged, backed off and shot Ellis with the pistol. Ellis came very near dying and charges of assault with intent to murder int the first degree were sustained by the jury when the case we to trial. Colonel Robert W. Davis represented Posey.

On April 17, 1909, the Tampa Morning Tribune reported that Posey, who was convicted at a recent session of the court in Dade City, would have to serve the sentence of five years unless the supreme court intervened, as the court overruled a motion for a new trial. It reported that Posey was convicted of assaulting Richard Abbey Ellis (1866-1928), an early developer of Aripeka.

An advertisement in the Augusta Chronicle on Sept. 8, 1912, reads:

For Sale or Exchange—“Hudson Pharmacy,” Hudson, Fla., on Gulf of Mexico, with $3,000 practice summer and winter resort cash price. Best hunting and fishing section in Florida. Good seasons for selling. Dr. Posey, Hudson Fla. 1402 Broad St.

In January 1916, the New Port Richey Post reported:

Dr. J. Martin Posey, of Hudson, has rented the pretty bungalow owned by W. F. Bragg on Orange Circle and moved his family here. Dr. Posey is much impressed with the prospects of a fine little city and enthused over the possibilities of this part of Florida. He has opened an office over the Port Richey Drug Store and will be one of our substantial citizens hereafter.

(However, this photo is said to show Posey in front of the home built by V. Malmstrom.)

Posey died in New Port Richey on June 1, 1917.

Henry PotterHENRY POTTER (died April 7, 2008)

From an obituary published in Tampa Bay Times on April 8, 2008; Co-founder of Potter Bros. grocery dies Henry Potter worked with charities and was instrumental in starting West Pasco Hospital Henry Potter was a small-town grocer known for his friendly customer service – even toward the occasional shoplifter. One time Mr. Potter realized a woman had sneaked some eggs into her pockets and was headed out the door. He reached out and gave her a big hug – just hard enough to crack those eggs. He never said a word. “And there she was,” grand-daughter Robin Stevenson Barrus said, “with egg on her clothes.”

Mr. Potter, who died Monday (April 7, 2008) at the age of 96, was the first chairman of the board of West Pasco Hospital, which later became North Bay. He was a fire chief, a Mason, a chamber of commerce director, a citizen of the year and the 1975 King Pithla. But he was best known for that grocery store. Potter Bros. IGA Foodliner in downtown New Port Richey, which he and his brother, Frank, ran for nearly 40 years. Henry Potter oversaw the meat department and ran the front of the store. Frank Potter, who died several years ago, oversaw the produce and the back of the store.

Henry Potter had a second-floor office over an area where the store kept hot coffee, where shoppers would stop and chat with each other. The grocer’s descent from his office was always evident by a jingling noise. “He always had a big old ring of keys on his belt,” grandson Richard Stevenson said.

The btohers started their store in the 1930s in another location on Grand Boulevard. Mr. Potter had come to the city, his family says, as a traveling butcher, who worked for cattle auction houses and grocery stores. He eventually realized he could make a better living as a grocer. “He was quite a self-made man,” granddaughter Joanie Anderson said.

As the city grew, so did Potter Bros. The brothers eventually joined the IGA marketing and selling organization. In 1952, they moved to a location on Main Street, where Cameo Antique Mall is now located. The New Port Richey Press reported that the store, then the largest food store in west Pasco, was “modernly arranged and equipped, and alongside the premises is a large parking lot to make easier shopping for those who come in cars.” The Potter Bros. ran a full-page newspaper ad in honor of its grand reopening. Amon their advertised items: 3-pound can of Crisco for 79 cents; chuck roast for 59 cents per pound and two heads of iceberg lettuce for 19 cents.

The brothers sold the store in the 1970s. Not too many years after that, the store shut down. Mr. Potter, with some reluctance, began shopping at Publix. His family also recalled his work with numerous charities, and in 1965, he was instrumental in starting West Pasco Hospital. Establishing a public hospital was not easy. “It was so difficult back then to get it built,” Mr. Potter told the Pasco Times in 1995. “It was a real struggle, but we really needed this hospital. It was worth it.”

He is survived by his wife, Edit; three children; three grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Midge London-PraceMARJORIE “MIDGE” LONDON PRACE (1934 – 2024) Midge London-Prace, born Marjorie Winter to parents Elizabeth and Karl Winter on July 20, 1934, moved to New Port Richey with her husband David in 1994. She spent her retirement years tirelessly volunteering and promoting various local organizations including the West Pasco Historical Society, Habitat for Humanity, the New Port Richey library, Community Hospital (now known as Trinity Medical Center), Friends of the Hacienda, Pasco County supervisor of elections, and others. A biographical sketch is HERE.

NICHOLAS R. PRIEMER (1865-1920) was “one of the oldest grove owners in the New Port Richey district, having come here with his father over 30 year ago,” according to his obituary, which also states that he was about 50 years old and unmarried. A 1903 newspaper has a Port Richey news item: “R. R. Premier is building a small boat.”

The Florida Grower of March 4, 1916, said that he came here as a boy with his parents 29 years ago. He was born April 18, 1865 in Sherman Township, Huron County, Michigan, and died May 10, 1920. He was buried in Tarpon Springs, where a sister lived.

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