HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
For more events before Pasco County was created in 1887, please see the Hernando County timeline. This page was last revised on Oct. 16, 2017.
About 900 to 1500. Native Americans known as the Tocobaga Indians live in small villages at the northern end of Tampa Bay.
1528. Panfilo de Narvaez lands on the shores of Old Tampa Bay and marches northward through what is now Pasco County.
1825. Fort King Road is cleared. [It was completed in 1826. This military trail connected Fort Brooke (Tampa) to Fort King (Ocala).]
Dec. 23, 1836. Construction begins on the fort that would become Fort Dade, at the intersection of Fort King Road and the Withlacoochee River, near present day Lacoochee.
Mar. 6, 1837. At Fort Dade General Thomas S. Jesup and five Seminole chiefs and representatives sign the capitulation in which the Seminoles agreed to emigrate.
Dec. 14, 1837. Lt. Thomas Boylston Adams dies of typhoid fever at Fort Dade, at age 28. He served in the Seminole War.
1839. Fort Dade is abandoned.
1842. Jacob Wells arrives from Madison County and builds a home near Riggs Hammock on what originally was Handcart Road, now Prospect Road. A community developed there called Prospect.
Aug. 4, 1842. The Armed Occupation Act is signed into law.
Dec. 20, 1842. James Gibbons is issued a permit for 160 acres in S 27, T 24, R21, in what would become Dade City. [Information from a deed dated Dec. 1, 1849, conveying the property to Gibbons’ heirs.]
Jan. 2, 1845. The Fort Dade post office is established.
Mar. 3, 1845. Florida becomes the twenty-seventh state.
1849. The Army rebuilds Fort Dade west of the current location of Dade City.
About 1850. Capt. John Townsend builds a log cabin about 14 miles northwest of what is now Dade City. [Townsend donated the home in 1856 for use as a Methodist Church.
1852. A man named Walter Lowe goes in the schooner Chestnut to Anclote Key and in several days secures a cargo of sponges. They brought such a profit that other men embarked in the business. This might be considered the birth of the sponge industry of Florida. [From an 1892 newspaper article.]
Aug. 20, 1853. A post office is established at Cedar Tree.
About 1855. A bridge is constructed across the Withlacoochee River. According to a historical marker, it was constructed by the slaves of James Lanier.
May 14, 1856. Seminoles besiege the isolated cabin of Capt. Robert Bradley and his family near Darby. Two of his children were killed. More is here.
1859. The Florida map accompanying the 1859 annual report of the Surveyor General shows Pittitochoscolee, where Port Richey is now located.
1859. A post office directory shows post offices at Cedar Tree, Fort Dade, and Fort Taylor.
Dec. 7, 1859. Maj. John Parsons receives a deed for a homestead in S1 T24 R16, in Aripeka.
1860s. During the Civil War, a salt works was in operation at the Salt Springs, just north of Port Richey.
Jan. 10, 1861. Florida secedes from the United States.
About 1866. Peter Karr Baillie and his wife leave Georgia for Florida and build a home at what is now called Bailey’s Bluff. Florida Cracker Days gives the dates 1864 and 1867.
1867. Frederick Meyer and Franklin B. Meyer, brothers, build log cabins about 100 yards west of the present Anclote Cemetery, thus founding the community of Anclote.
Jan. 10, 1870. Benjamin H. Gaines marries Rosannah C. Baillie in Anclote. [Information from Carl Gause.]
May 11, 1870. The Florida Peninsular reports, “Mr. E. Bettman and Capt. F. Worth have opened a store at Tuckertown, in Hernando County.”
1872. Mount Zion Methodist Church is constructed in Fort Dade, according to a 1920 article in the Dade City Banner.
1874-75. Two water mills used to grind meal are constructed by Levi Eiland. One was south of Chipco and the other was near the farm of J. W. Hudson [A History of Hernando County 1840-1976].
1875. The Oak Grove Baptist Church in Fort Dade is in operation.
1875. A grist mill built by Jack Howell and Levi Eiland goes into operation at Chipco.
Oct. 5, 1876. A post office is established at Tuckertown. [It was renamed Richland on July 17, 1886.]
Jan. 8, 1876. Rev. John W. Wells begins serving as pastor of the newly organized Union Church, according to a local church register. This church is believed to be the first Baptist church in western Pasco county.
Dec. 22, 1877. The Sunland Tribune reports, “Mr. John Geiger, living in the lower part of Hernando county near the county line between that county and Hillsborough was killed on the night of the 18th inst.”
About 1878. The Isaac W. Hudson family moves to what is now the site of Hudson, building a home near a large spring.
1878. The Enterprise Church is built. [It was moved to the Pioneer Florida Museum in 1977. A sign on the church lists the charter members as: Bishop D. S. Legget, P. E. W. [illegible] Jordan, Robert Sumner, Jane Sumner, David H. Thrasher, J. Cary Sumner, Mary [illegible] Sumner, Willie Thrasher, James Shearer, Jane Shearer, F. A. Barnes, Mary Clement, Elizabeth Tucker, W. H. Parker [illegible].]
June 2, 1878. Double Branch Baptist Church at Wesley Chapel is constituted.
Sept. 10, 1878. The Anclote post office is established.
Dec. 2, 1878. The Hopeville post office is established. [It closed on Nov. 22, 1881.]
Jan. 16, 1879. The state House of Representatives unanimously passes a resolution asking for a lighthouse at Anclote Key. The measure was promoted by Samuel Hope.
Feb. 10, 1879. A post office is established at Pleasant Plains. [It closed on Sept. 17 of the same year.]
Nov. 27, 1879. The Decatur Daily Review reports, “The sponge schooners have two places to clean their sponges when coast-sponging. One at Anclote Keys, the other at Rock Island.”
1880. A post office is established at Pinan. [The post office operated until 1881 or 1887. It may have been in what is now Hernando County.]
Aug. 10, 1881. Judge Edmund F. Dunne contracts with Hamilton Disston to handle the selection of the four million acres of the Disston Purchase from the state of Florida. [As his attorney fee, Dunne received control of 100,000 acres of land, where he founded the Catholic Colony of San Antonio.]
1882. The Fort Dade Messenger is established.
May 16, 1882. The first post office in Hudson is established.
Oct. 30, 1882. A post office is established at Hatton. [The name of the post office was changed to Dade City on December 18, 1884.]
Nov. 27, 1882. A post office is established at Sumner. [It was renamed San Antonio on Dec. 19, 1882. The post office was renamed Lake Jovita on Nov. 1, 1926; it was renamed San Antonio on Aug. 1, 1931.]
Apr. 3, 1883. A post office is established at Lenard. [It was discontinued in 1900.]
May 28, 1883. A post office is established at Diston. [It was originally in Hillsborough County. It was renamed Drexel on Sept. 15, 1888.]
June 1883. Andrew Barthle (1802-1891) and Charles Barthle (1852- 1936) build the first permanent home in what would become St. Joseph.
July 16, 1883. A post office is established at Chipco.
Oct. 9, 1883. The Gulf Key post office is established. [It was renamed Argo on Nov. 12, 1886, and renamed Gulf Key on Dec. 24, 1892. The post office was closed on Jan. 6, 1896.]
1884. The San Antonio Herald is founded by Edmund Dunne, according to a history of San Antonio by Bill Dayton. [An early newspaper directory says it was founded in 1896. The Nov. 4, 1897, issue says, “After a lapse of several years we have deemed it advisable to renew the publication of the San Antonio ‘Herald’ on the lines laid down by its former management...” and identifies the editor as Jno. B. Michel.]
Jan. 28, 1884. A post office is established at Ellerslie.
Apr. 2, 1884. A post office is established at Keystone Park. [It was discontinued in 1923.]
July 9, 1884. The Port Richey post office is established. Aaron Richey was the first postmaster.
Aug. 29, 1884. A post office is established at Twin Lakes.
Oct. 13, 1884. A post office is established at Ashley.
Dec. 17, 1884. The Blanton post office is established.
Dec. 18, 1884. The Hatton post office is renamed Dade City.
About 1885. Dade City is incorporated. [A newspaper advertisement on Dec. 5, 1885, called Dade City an incorporated town and identified E. A. Hall as Mayor. A second incorporation occurred in 1889.]
1885. A real estate brochure for Annuttaliga Hammock in Hernando county has: “Still further south are the Pithluchescootie and Anclote, both navigable by vessels of ordinary tonnage. At the mouth of the latter river is the flourishing settlement of Anclote. Here, too, are located some of the finest fisheries in the county.”
Jan. 2, 1885. A post office is established at Saint Thomas.
Jan. 6, 1885. A post office is established at McLeod. [The post office was renamed Macon three weeks later. The post office was renamed Trilby in 1901.]
Jan. 29, 1885. The Indiana Weekly Progress reports, “Mrs. Harriet Smith, of Tuckertown, Fla., has proved that women have a soul above the fashions. She is making money by running a large sawmill.”
Feb. 17, 1885. A post office is established at Earnestville.
Aug. 18, 1885. A post office is established at Dixie.
Sept. 14, 1885. The first regular train of the Florida Central and Peninsular Railway passes through Dade City.
Nov. 4, 1885. A post office is established at Carmel.
1886. The spongers from Key West build a pavilion at Bailey’s Bluff to store the sponges they had pulled from the Gulf.
1886. The Dade City hotel is built.
Mar. 15, 1886. A post office is established at Herndon.
Nov. 9, 1886. A post office is established at Bee Tree.
1887. The Plant System Railroad comes to Pasco County. [It was later called the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. A second railroad arrived in 1888, which later became part of the Seaboard Railroad. Some businesses abandoned the Fort Dade location and moved to the new depot along Meridian Ave; the new location was named Dade City.]
1887. A second newspaper in Dade City, the Pasco County Democrat is established by Capt. John B. Johnston.
Mar. 4, 1887. A post office is established at Cedar. [It was discontinued three months later.]
May 19, 1887. Samuel Pasco, Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, is elected to the U. S. Senate by the state legislature.
May 25, 1887. The Palatka Daily News reports that Mr. Latham introduced a bill to divide Hernando County.
May 29, 1887. The Palatka Daily News reports, “TALLAHASSEE, Fla., May 28.—...Mr. Latham introduced a bill to create the county of Pasco from the southern portion of Hernando. ... At the night session to-night the bill to divide Hernando County by establishing Pasco County from the lower part of Hernando, on a line running about eight miles south of Brooksville, passed the second and third reading. On its hearing in the Senate, amendments will be offered cutting off the northern end of Hernando to make another county.”
May 31, 1887. The Palatka Daily News mentions “the substitute for House Bill No. 350 creating Pasco County from the south part and Citrus County from the northern part of Hernando County.”
June 2, 1887. Florida Governor E. A. Perry signs into law “An act to Divide the County of Hernando, and to Create and Establish the Counties of Pasco and Citrus from Portions of Hernando.” The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. James F. Latham, and the bill sailed through both houses, with only Rep. McKeen Carleton of Putnam County and Sen. C. W. Stevens of Madison County voting against the bill. Latham later represented Pasco County in the House of Representatives. The bill made Dade City the temporary county seat of Pasco County for a period of two years, and called for an election to choose the permanent county seat.
[According to the recollections of Col. C. E. Spencer of Dade City in a 1920 newspaper article, a petition calling for division of Hernando into two counties was signed by a majority of the voters in what is now Pasco County. However, such a division would have put Brooksville near the border between the two counties, so that it could not be a county seat, and thus the change was made to three counties. On the last Sunday of the legislative session, with two days remaining, Spencer went to Tallahassee and met with the county’s senator and two representatives and by grim determination and insistence had the bill introduced and rushed through the legislature.]
[Much more information about the formation of Pasco County is here.]
July 18, 1887. The Pasco Board of County Commissioners meets for the first time. The following officers of Pasco County were named:
Chairman of the County Commission: Col. Ebenezer G. Liles (1825-1927). Liles served as a commissioner until April 1889 and again from Jan. 1903 to Dec. 1904.
J. W. Hudson recalled in a 1927 interview that the board members were chosen at a mass meeting of the citizens in San Antonio. Mr. Hudson attended this meeting as a delegate from Hudson and served on the committee that drew up the list of officers. He recalled that he was the only member of the committee who did not nominate himself for an office, but he nominated his brother J. B. Hudson to represent the west coast district on the board.
Aug. 1, 1887. The County Commission divides the county into five districts. [The commissioners for each district were:
Dist. 1, Daniel T. McLeod
The County Commission also voted to accept the proposal of Coleman Ferguson and Co. for a two-story structure on Meridian St. in Dade City for use as a temporary court house free of rent. The company promised it would be finished by Sept. 5. Hendley later recalled that the building was “a long one-story house where the hardware store of Treiber and Otto is now located.” The Commission turned down a similar offer by E. B. Hall for a rent-free location apparently at Fort Dade. Hall unsuccessfully sued the Commission over this decision. At this meeting, the Commission delayed action on the application of Jacob H. Delcher as a student to the East Florida Seminary.
The list of Pasco County tax collectors, provided by Greg P. Giordano:
1887-1888, Robert J. Bradley
Some dates may be off by one year, as in the past the elected official took office in the January after the election.
Sept. 1887. County Commission minutes show the election precincts were established as follows:
Precinct 1, Macon
[Precinct 11 was established later, in August 1888, at Earnestville.]
Sept. 15, 1887. The Anclote Keys lighthouse is first lit.
Oct. 17, 1887. The Pasco County Commission adopts a strict quarantine policy requiring persons who entered the county to have yellow-fever immunity cards. The minutes have: “In view of the fact that yellow fever is raging in Tampa and for our own protection, the board assembled to take some steps to establish a quarantine against infected sections.” Telegrams were sent to the mayors of Tampa, Plant City, and Lakeland, stating that Pasco County was quarantined against Tampa and all points south of here. It was voted to appoint two quarantine guards for Flat Ford, Cooper’s Ford, the F. R. & N. R. R. crossing, the Hillsborough River, Burnt Bridge, Anclote, and, if necessary, Trout Creek.
Oct. 31, 1887. The New York Times reports, “The official records, of the Marine Hospital Bureau show the continued existence of yellow fever at Tampa, Fla., but nowhere else in the state. Reports have been received that cases have appeared at different points in Pasco County.”
Dec. 21, 1887. An Iowa newspaper reports, “A special from Dade City, Florida, says Dick Hines and Charley Metz, colored, were lynched there Tuesday for assaulting Mrs. Oberry and her daughter, living near Owensboro.”
About 1888. The Lake View Highlands Hotel, located near Pasadena and Chesterfield roads, off Clinton Avenue, is built. [It was a luxury hotel where wealthy visitors from the north vacationed. A December 1892 advertisement indicated that Frederick L. Small was manager of the Lake View Highlands Hotel at Pasadena. The freezes of 1894 and 1895 ended the prosperity of the community and the hotel, which burned Dec. 31, 1901.
Feb. 2, 1888. The Abbott post office is established. [The name was changed to Hegman in 1890 and back to Abbott in 1892. In 1910 the post office was either renamed Zephyrhills or discontinued and replaced with the Zephyrhills post office.]
Feb. 13, 1888. The first Orange Belt Railway passenger train passes through San Antonio. Previously, the nearest railroad point was Wildwood.
Mar. 15, 1888. A post office is established at Godwin.
Apr. 21, 1888. A post office is established at Jessamine. [The community developed when Walter N. Pike and William J. Ellsworth came in 1887. They started a seed and plant business called Jessamine Gardens.]
May 22, 1888. A post office is established at Lacoochee.
July 1888. Because of continuing concerns over yellow fever, the county commission appoints Dr. G. M. Roberts quarantine physician and orders that outsiders cannot stop in Dade City without a health certificate from him.
1889. A Methodist church is erected on College Street in Dade City by James E. Lee.
Jan. 13, 1889. The First Presbyterian Church of Dade City is organized. [A church was erected on College Street in the early 1890s.]
Jan. 15, 1889. An election is held to select the city officials of the newly-incorporated Dade City.
Apr. 11, 1889. An election to name the county seat is held. Dade City won with 432 votes. Gladstone received 205 votes. Pasadena received 96; Urbana, 4; Fort Dade, 2; Clear Lake, 2; Jefferson, 2; and Owensboro, 1. [Gladstone is thought to have been a proposed new name for San Antonio. According to Bill Dayton, the name was proposed by the Orange Belt Railway. Dayton believes that Urbana was somewhere in the Land O’ Lakes area.]
May 6, 1889. An entirely new board of county commissioners takes over: H. W. Coleman, chairman; Allen Hill, J. H. Pedrick, J. A. Smith, J. W. Jackson.
June 4, 1889. Saint Leo College is granted a charter by the state of Florida.
July 15, 1889. A post office is established at Pasadena.
Aug. 2, 1889. A post office is established at Pasco.
Aug. 8, 1889. School board minutes refer to a “graded and high school” in Dade City. [For information on this school, see the history of education page.]
Aug. 15, 1889. The Bank of Pasco County announces in the Pasco County Democrat that it will open for business as soon as its banking house is completed, but that meanwhile, anyone wishing to borrow money can write to A. A. Parker, Tavares, the president of the bank.
1890. The U. S. census for Pasco County shows 4249 persons (3872 whites, 376 negroes, and 1 Indian).
Jan. 17, 1890. A post office is established at Ehren.
Oct. 18, 1890. A post office is established at Saint Leo.
1891. The county’s first court house is constructed in Dade City. [County government had earlier been conducted in a temporary location.]
1891. John King Cheyney (1858-1939) starts a commercial sponge venture called the Anclote and Rock Island Sponge Company on Bailey’s Bluff. [On Mar. 9, 1894, the Tampa Tribune reported on the Anclote & Rock Island sponge Co., John K. Cheyney, manager. It reported that J. C. Bowyer has 13 vessels, 120 employees, $400,000 annual income.]
Feb. 24, 1891. Residents vote to incorporate Saint Leo.
May 6, 1891. A post office is established at Pedrick. [It was renamed Flatford in 1892.]
June 1, 1891. The five newly-appointed county commissioners are installed. They were B. C. Campbell, James W. Clark, T. F. Williams, Leonard Strozier Bradham, and William Henry Haager.
Nov. 14, 1891. College Street Baptist Church, later First Baptist Church, is organized by ten leading families of Oak Grove Baptist Church, according to an article in East Pasco’s Heritage.
1892. An Episcopal church is constructed at Lake Pasadena. [More information on St. Mary’s Episcopal Church is here.]
July 18, 1892. Benjamin and Virginia Baisden sell an acre of their property near Buddy Lake to the trustees of the African Methodist Episcopal Church for five dollars. [The trustees were Baisden himself, Henry Whitfield, and Alec Branden. Information from Jeff Cannon.]
Aug. 3, 1892. The Indiana Progress reports, “Pasco county, Florida, boasts of having the oldest soldier in the United States. His name is Jonathan Pratt, and he is claimed to be 103 years old.”
Sept. 17, 1892. A post office is established at Elba Heights.
Sept. 19, 1892. A newspaper reports, “Mrs. Sarah W. Kuester, of Lenard, Pasco county, Fla., is a remarkably hale and persevering lady of seventy-four, who has just finished a noteworthy piece of bead-work for the world’s fair. It is a copy of Stuart’s picture of Gen. Washington, and is wrought with fine beads on canvas fifty-two inches long and thirty-nine inches wide. The figure of Washington is thirty-eight inches in height,and Mrs. Kuester has made a very careful study of the coloring of each detail of drapery, clouds, etc. Over five hundred thousand beads have been used, and the effect is that of a fine painting. Who can present a better record of persevering labor than this?”
Dec. 2, 1892. The Mayflower post office is established. [It was closed on July 21, 1898.]
May 6, 1893. A post office is established at Amelia (an area now known as Darby).
May 8, 1893. A post office is established at St. Joseph.
July 24, 1893. A post office is established at Myrtle.
Aug. 8, 1894. A newspaper reports, “Rev. A. E. Drew, of Pasadena, Fla., general manager of the Pasco County nursery and fruit company, who has been stopping with Rev. Mr. Goodall, has engaged A. F. Sanctuary to go as superintendent for the company.”
Dec. 29, 1894. The temperature drops to 19 degrees in Tampa, damaging the citrus industry. [According to the obituary of John M. Baillie of what would become Elfers, “The ’95 freeze killed all his citrus nursery.” A second freeze occurred February 7-9, 1895. During that period a temperature of 16.8 degrees was recorded at Saint Leo. On Feb. 9, 1895, the Tampa Morning Tribune reported, “Yesterday morning the thermometer was down to 22 degrees, and the weather was cloudy. Snow fell thick and fast up to noon, and the weather cleared up in the evening. The mercury kept going down, an at midnight had reached the 20 mark—nearly as low as it was on Dec. 29th. What the damage is can hardly be estimated yet, but it is severe.” On Feb. 10, 1895, several newspapers reported low temperatures from the past week of 22 at Tampa “with snowstorm” and 28 at Anclote, “with snow, which is unprecedented....” At Saint Leo Abbott Charles Mohr later wrote, “The trees are encased in solid ice. After the thaw the bark splits and the trees die and have to be dug up, root and branch. The oldest living settlers do not remember anything like this calamity. Everybody that has money, leaves.”]
Dec. 27, 1894. The list of Master Mason members of Twin lakes Lodge, No. 141, Twin Lakes, Pasco County, Florida for the year ending December 27th. A. D., 1894:
1. Samuel J. Ansley, Chipco
[Transcribed by Charles Blankenship from Returns of the Lodge to the Grand Lodge of the State of Florida]
1895. An 1895 atlas shows these places in Pasco County, with populations: Abbott; Argo; Big Cypress; Blanton; Chipco 13; Dade City 321; Drexel; Earnestville 72; Ehren; Ellerslie; Godwin; Hegman; Hudson 16; Jessamine; Keystone Park; Lacoochee; Lenard 101; Macon 133; Milliards; Odessa; Owensboro; Pasadena; Pedrick; Port Richey 27; Richland; San Antonio 252; St. Leo; St. Thomas 202; Twin Lakes 76. The atlas also shows Anclote (population 84), although it is in Hillsborough county.
Feb. 11, 1895. The Aripeka post office is established in Hernando county.
Feb. 15, 1896. A newspaper article refers to “Finley’s Hammock, or Hope Grove, a few miles north of the Anclote river.”
Feb. 22, 1896. The Tampa Weekly Tribune mentions H. H. Hendry, Pasco County Clerk of the Circuit Court.
June 11, 1896. The Tampa Weekly Tribune reports that Bailey’s Point was the scene of a stabbing.
Oct. 8, 1896. The Florida Staats-Zeitung, published in German in San Antonio, is vol. 1, no. 28. [The microfilm of this newspaper apparently begins on Apr. 2, 1896. The July 15, 1897, newspaper reports that it is the only German newspaper in the state. Correspondence should be addressed to Jno. B. Michel, San Antonio.]
1897. Embry Tobacco Co. is established.
Sept. 15, 1897. A post office is established at Wesley. [It was discontinued in 1902. The location was called Wesley Chapel before and after this post office.]
Sept. 28, 1897. An Ohio newspaper, reprinting a New York Tribune article, reports, “For many years the principal dredging has been in progress at Bailey’s point. Now, however, the crews of the sponging vessels have begun to remove their kraals to Anclote key. Several reasons are given for the change in place of operations, the most important of which is the fact that the water around Bailey’s point was being used too rapidly on account of the large number of sponge men there.”
Jan. 17, 1898. A post office is established at Shingleton.
May 26, 1898. The San Antonio Herald lists the inspectors and clerk for the upcoming primary election:
June 2, 1898. The San Antonio Herald reports the grand totals of Saturday’s primaries in the thirteen precincts of the county:
For Representative: G. S. Bowen, 181; H. C. McRae, 158; J. I. Spivy, 145; J. B. Johnston, 137; E. Frazier, 52
Oct. 13, 1898. The San Antonio Herald reports, “The Democratic Rally held last Friday at Dade City was fairly well attended, considering the late hour at which it was held. Among the speakers in attendance were Senator Pasco, Gen. J. B. Wall, of Tampa, who took Mr. Sparkman’s place, Hon. W. S. Jennings, of Brooksville, and Hon. G. S. Bowen, the nominee for the Legislature from this county.”
Dec. 9, 1898. A post office is established at Wheeler.
Feb. 2, 1899. The San Antonio Herald reports, “A majority of our readers will learn with regret the news of the unexpected demise of our popular tax collector, Mr. R. A. Brown. His death occurred last Sunday evening at his residence in Dade City and the funeral was held Monday and attended by a large concourse of relatives and friends. ... The deceased was in former years a resident of San Antonio and enjoyed the distinction of having been its first postmaster.”
Feb. 9, 1899. The San Antonio Herald reports, “Dr. Williams of Dade City, our county health officer, died Monday at his home from the effects of the Grip.”
Feb. 13, 1899. The temperature at Inverness drops to 14 degrees, according to readings made by W. C. Zimmerman. According to records kept at St. Leo Abbey, snow fell for five hours but mostly melted before hitting the ground. The high temperature for the day was 30. [On Feb. 16, 1899, the San Antonio Herald reported, “Monday morning our people had a chance to admire the beautiful snow! It was the genuine article and samples of it were still in evidence Tuesday morning. ... Mr. Wm. Sultenfuss returned Tuesday afternoon from a visit to St. Petersburg. While there Monday morning he witnessed the first Florida snowstorm, and according to his report it lasted till the afternoon, or something like four hours longer than in our neighborhood. ... The cold snap of last Monday has damaged the strawberry crop to such an extent that very little shipping will be done inside of [illegible] weeks.”]
Mar. 2, 1899. The San Antonio Herald reports that T. J. O’Neill was appointed tax collector for the county, replacing the late R. A. Brown.
Mar. 9, 1899. The San Antonio Herald reports that the results of the primary held last Saturday for selecting a board of county commissioners are as follows:
First District: J. A. Delcher, 228; J. G. Wallace, 217.
June 8, 1899. The San Antonio Herald reports on a major fire in Dade City yesterday.
1900. The population of Pasco County is 6054.
May 3, 1900. The San Antonio Herald reports that the total vote cast in the county last Saturday is divided as follows:
Representative: G. S. Bowen, 123; J. B. Johnston, 233; T. E. Lucas, 89; H. C. McRae, 261; J. I. Spivy, 166.
May 22, 1900. A post office is established at Odessa.
June 22, 1900. A post office is established at Greer.
July 16, 1900. The Security post office is established.
July 30, 1900. W. R. Clark and R. T. Golding drown in Lake Pearce, near San Antonio.
Aug. 13, 1900. A post office is established at Bramlett.
Oct. 18, 1900. The San Antonio Herald reports, “The construction of the Emmaus Church is being rapidly completed. The edifice, when finished, will be a handsome structure and a credit to the congregation.
Apr. 25, 1901. The Weekly Tallahasseean reports that a bill to incorporate the town of Trilby was introduced by Mr. McRae of Pasco. [The bill, H. B. 249, was approved on May 23, 1901. A bill act to repeal the incorporation was passed in 1909. A second incorporation occurred in 1913.]
1902. Memoirs of Florida (1902) by Francis P. Fleming has:
PASCO COUNTY, organized in 1887, has an area of 800 square miles and contains a population of 6,054, an increase from 1890 of 1,805. It is situated on the Gulf, between Hernando and Hillsboro counties, with a water frontage of many miles, but no important harbors. There is much fertile agricultural land, and large crops of sweet potatoes, rice, hay, millet and egg plant are produced, as well as other field crops. The yield of vegetables reaches enormous proportions and can be easily marketed. Oranges are raised in considerable quantities and the tropical fruits find congenial environment. Phosphate rock is found abundant and the mining interests are extensive. Dade City is the seat of county affairs, the chief city and railroad center, is most conveniently located on the lines of the Seaboard Air Line and Savannah, Florida & Western roads and is a progressive, pushing town of 500 inhabitants. The tobacco crop of Pasco County is of great importance and its yield is the second largest in the State, being exceeded only by that of Gadsden county. Live stock of all kinds do exceedingly well and are raised in great numbers. Poultry of the various sorts are successfully bred and 438,100 dozen eggs were gathered in 1900. Off the rocky coast of Pasco county are famous spongefishing grounds and several hundred boats are busied in this industry.
Mar. 6, 1902. A post office is established at Sagano.
May 17, 1902. A list of Democratic county executive committees for the various counties in the Florida Cracker includes: Pasco. M. J. Dooner, State Executive Committee, San Antonio; J. M. McShane, chairman county Executive Committee, San Antonio; J. M. McShane, San Antonio; R. C. Mickler, Macon; G. W. Dayton, Dade City; S. W. Averett, Lumberton; J. A. Smith, Wesley; J. B. Miller, Jr., Blanton; R. B. McKendree, Pasco; J. B. Gay, Riverland; J. W. Hudson, Hudson; M. N. Hill, Port Richey; W. C. Ray, Dade City; E. B. Liles, Ehren; J. C. Geiger, Abbott; J. W. Gant, Enville.
July 31, 1902. A newspaper reports that John B. Johnston of the Dade City Democrat was elected to the legislature from Pasco County.
Nov. 24, 1902. A post office is established at Kenney.
April 1903. The Pasco County Telephone Co. is organized in April 1903 by W. J. Ellsworth of Jessamine.
Oct. 15, 1903. The Tampa Tribune reports that convicted cow stealers B. C. Slaughter, Sam Harris, George West, and Thomas O. Slaughter will each receive two years in prison.
1904. The sawmill operation begins at Fivay.
1904. The Dade City Star is established.
1904. A report by the Secretary of State lists these Pasco County officials:
County Judge, J. G. Wallace
County Board of Public Instruction:
Justices of the Peace:
Apr. 6, 1904. William L. Mobley is commissioned as Tax Collector, replacing John D. Sims, who was suspended from the office.
May 26, 1904. The Tampa Tribune reports the Brooksville-Hudson railroad has opened. [According to West Pasco’s Heritage, in 1905 a railroad spur track was laid from Fivay to Hudson, with a depot at Hudson for passengers and commodities. This line connected Hudson and the Fivay Lumber Co. with Tampa.]
July 3, 1904. The temperature reaches 102° at St. Leo, according to records kept at St. Leo Abbey.
Sept. 23, 1904. The Fivay post office is established.
Dec. 8, 1904. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports on murder trials in Pasco County: Jones murdered Pyatt; James Tompkins, colored for murder; A. F. Sullivan killed Tom Wilson; George Quinn, colored, killed Will Thompson, acquitted; Henry Packer, colored.
Apr. 20, 1905. The Tampa Tribune has the Pasco County Criminal Court docket: Henry Parker convicted of murder, sentenced to life in prison, Frances Bailey, colored, convicted of murder, life in prison, Robert Coleman, murder, life imprisonment.
June 27, 1905. The Tampa Tribune reports that S. B. Keaggin (elsewhere spelled Keigan or Keagin) was taken into custody in connection with the killing of Mr. Norman of Norman, Weeks, & Co. at Sagano last week.
Nov. 10, 1905. The St. Lucie County Tribune reports, “Pasco county is among the latest to join the ‘dry’ column in Florida. In an election held last week the ‘drys’ carried the day by overwhelming majority. The county voted dry once before, but the election was set aside in the courts. This time it is claimed that the election was conducted so that the will of the people will be heeded.”
Sept. 11, 1906. Lee W. Hicks, who had been a prominent stock man in Macon, Ga., is shot and killed at or near Brooksville. He was a conductor of the train that ran between Brooksville and Hudson.
Oct. 11, 1906. The Tampa Tribune reports that John D. Sims, former Tax Collector of Pasco County, was convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to two years in prison.
Oct. 18, 1906. The Tampa Tribune reports Clyde Pike was murdered by Lafayette Pike and Maxey Ryals.
1907-08. County Officials. County Commissioners: Dist. 1 - A. J. Drew, Dade City; Dist. 2 - H. S. Doormany, Kenney; Dist. 3 - L. M. Strickland, Godwin; Dist. 4 - R. B. McKendree, Pasco; Dist. 5 - J. W. Hudson, Port Richey. County Judge - J. G. Wallace; Sheriff - B. D. Sturkie; Clerk Circuit Court - O. L. Dayton; Supt. of Public Instruction - John Barnes; Assessor - Thomas R. Alexander; Tax Collector - W. L. Mobley; Treasurer - James A. Cunningham; Supervisor of Registration - John R. Sumner.
July 1907. The Official Railway Guide reports, “Tampa Northern R. R.—This road has been opened for business from Tampa, northward to Brooksville, 48.5 miles, and Port Richey, Fla., 61 miles.”
Feb. 10, 1908. A post office is established at Tucker. [It was renamed Greenfield on July 6, 1923.]
Sept. 30, 1908. A meeting is held at the office of the Aripeka Saw Mills Co. for the incorporation of the town of Fivay. More information is here.
1909. A newspaper is established in Trilby, the Pasco News. [It ceased publication in 1916.]
1909-10. County officials: County Judge: E. P. Wilson. Sheriff: B. D. Sturkie. Clerk Circuit Court: Archie J. Burnside. Supt. of Public Instruction: M. L. Gilbert. County Assessor of Taxes: T. R. Alexander. Tax Collector: W. L. Mobley. County Treasurer: James A. Cunningham. Supervisor of Registration: John R. Sumner. County Commissioners. Dist. 1: J. T. Tait, Dade City. Dist. 2: H. A. Brown, Richland. Dist. 3: E. W. Gillett, Kenney. Dist. 4: A. G. Schiselbauer, St. Joseph. Dist. 5: J. I. Spivey, Tarpon Springs. County Board of Public Instruction. Dist. 1: W. S. Larkin, Dade City. Dist. 2: D. E. Wallace, Herndon. Dist. 3: L. J. Sellers, Pasco. Justices of the Peace. Dist. 2: T. J. Blitch, Trilby. Constables. Dist. 2: T. E. Croft, Trilby.
Feb. 1909. Capt. Howard B. Jeffries, a Civil War veteran from Pennsylvania, searching for a site for a colony for Union Civil War veterans, selects the site of Abbott.
April 1909. The AME Church Review (unseen) reports on editor Hightower T. Kealing’s tour of AME churches, as follows: Kealing arrived in Croom on Feb. 27, 1908, and met with Rev. S. H. Bell and spent the night with Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Williams. He described conditions at the train station: “As usual, little or no attention is given to the waiting room for colored people in these villages. Not a heater at Croom, not even a light. Mr. Williams and Reverend Berrian had to furnish a lamp, and on this cold morning, Friday Feb. 28th, made a bonfire, and before the fire the representative of the Review waited for the train.” In Trilby Mr. and Mrs. Burt Foster welcomed him into in their comfortable home. He described Mrs. Burt as a genuine entertainer who took special delight in making it pleasant for those stopping over in Trilby. “On Friday night, February 28, I addressed a most excellent audience in St. John A. M. E. Church. Rev. E. D. Dempsey was the pastor. Mr. and Mrs. Robert Witherspoon assisted in making my stay pleasant.” On March 1, he spoke to the Mount Zion AME Church in Dade City, describing the church as beautiful and writing that he was pleased they were building a parsonage. [Information from a newspaper article by Imani Asukile]
May 8, 1909. Sheldon S. Nicks is shot to death at Fivay by a man that he was apparently trying to arrest. [Nicks is identified in Tampa Morning Tribune articles as a Hernando County sheriff’s deputy but is later identified as a Pasco County sheriff’s deputy in another newspaper.]
May 11, 1909. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports that the Mutual Construction Co. of Louisville, Ky., was awarded the contract for erecting Pasco County’s new court house at $34,860.
May 14, 1909. A post office is established at Needmore.
May 21, 1909. The Fort Pierce News reports: “On the same day that the courthouse contract was let the county commissioners of Pasco ordered the construction of 35 miles of hard road, connecting Dade City and Hudson. The value of this improvement cannot be estimated. Practically speaking, it will be even more valuable than the new courthouse and yet there are some people who prefer the sand.”
July 1, 1909. A newspaper advertisement reads, “WANTED—100 cross tie choppers at once at Sagano, Fla. Plenty good timber, enough for a year. Pay off every two weeks. 7x9 14 cents, 6x8 11 cents. Address: C. T. Ansley, Sagano, Fla.”
Dec. 14, 1909. The Elfers post office is established.
Dec. 17, 1909. The DeLand News reports, “A deal has been consummated whereby Powell Brothers, of DeLand, have come into possession of the ownership of fifteen thousand acres of timber lands in Pasco county. While the tract has been put through the process of turpentining, the timber is yet intact. The tract is conveniently located near two railroads, and is one of the finest in the state. The consideration is understood to have been $75,000, the sale having been made by J. R. Sloan and associates, of Jacksonville.”
May 31, 1910. The name of the Abbott post office is changed to Zephyrhills. [A newspaper from November 10, 1909, listing towns, shows Zephyrhills colony.]
Oct. 4, 1911. A post office is established at Crystal Springs.
Oct. 5, 1911. A newspaper is founded in Zephyrhills, the Zephyrhills Colonist.
Dec. 7, 1911. The Tampa Morning Tribune shows the county commissioners as John Wes. Gant, Willis Ashley Dormany, D. H. McCarthy, Harry Weldon, and J. T. Tait (chairman).
1912. The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Station is erected in Dade City.
Aug. 25, 1912. The Atlanta Constitution reports: “Tampa, Fla., August 24—Lonnie Rewis, a young married man, was shot and killed at Fivay Junction by unknown parties late last night. It developed at the corner’s inquest that Rewis had alleged illicit relations with a young woman named Pearce. Bad blood has existed between the two families for some time because of Rewis’ infatuation for the girl.” [According to Jeff Cannon, Rewis (1884-1912), shot on Aug. 23, was allegedly having a relationship with Grace Pearce, a girl under age 17; members of her family were immediately suspected in the killing.]
1913. Railroad service to Elfers is established by the Tampa and Gulf Coast Railroad to accommodate shipment of citrus. (The track was extended to New Port Richey in 1916. According to Florida Cracker Days, operation of the railroad was assumed in 1927 by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad which closed the New Port Richey depot on April 25, 1943.)
1913. The Dade City Banner is established.
April 30, 1913. Voters approve a $100,000 bond issue to build a hard road from Tarpon Springs to Port Richey to Aripeka.
May 1, 1913. Trilby is incorporated.
May 21, 1913. The first of two legal executions occurs in Pasco County as Tom Bush is hanged by Sheriff Sturkie.
June 12, 1914. The Dade City Star reports on the primary election, saying, “The count shows that something like eight hundred votes were cast, in fact nearly every one qualified to cast a vote, did so.” O. N. Williams was elected to the legislature. A. A. Boone was elected tax collector. Wendell Gilbert was elected tax assessor. County Commissioners elected by district were R. L. Bryant (1), Allen Bird (2), John H. Harper (3), D. H. McCarthy (4), J. M. Baillie (5). E. M. Craig was elected to the school board from District One and Z. T. Roberts was elected from District Two. An obituary of Dr. T. C. Whitman says he died at his home south of Ehren and tells of his experience in the Civil War. Rev. T. S. Hubert was pastor of the Baptist church.
Nov. 17, 1914. The vote to incorporate Zephyrhills is held at the G. A. R. Hall. It passed 65 to 12.
Feb. 12, 1915. The Dade City Banner reports that the Pasco County Medical Society held its regular monthly meeting and banquet at the Hotel Edwinola. Those present were Drs. Devane and Byrd of Trilby, Dr. C. H. Scoville of Dixie, Dr. J. T. Bradshaw and Dr. J. W. Gatton of San Antonio, Dr. J. F. Corrigan of St. Leo, Dr. Wilhoit of Lacoochee, Drs. Wade and Sistrunk of Dade City, and Dr. J. H. Brownfield, visiting physician.
Aug. 6, 1915. Will Leak, a black man, is lynched at Trilby after being accused of attempted rape.
Aug. 6, 1915. The Dade City Banner reports: “About 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon Tom Scott and Elmore Tucker, of Richland, were fired on from ambush as they were crossing the Withlacoochee river at Cow’s Ford, about four miles east of Richland. Scott was killed and Tucker was wounded in the chin and arm. The horse was unhurt.” [On Aug. 15, the Atlanta Constitution reported: “Tampa, Fla., Aug. 14 — Taft, Ivey and Preston Overstreet, brothers, white men, accused of ambuscading and killing Tom Scott and Elmore Tucker, near Dade City, early in the week, are in jail here for safekeeping. Officers at Dade City feared for the safety of the men and rushed them to the local jail. Scott and Tucker were driving in a wagon when they were fired upon from ambush. Scott died immediately and Tucker fled through the woods.”]
Aug. 30, 1915. The New Port Richey post office is established.
Feb. 1916. An article in the Dade City Banner lists the county commissioners: D. H. McCarthy (chairman), J. H. Harper, R. L. Bryant, J. M. Baillie, Allen Bird.
Mar. 31, 1916. The Dade City Banner reports 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.] The newspaper also reports that coming attractions at the Motio next week include the five-reel feature Hazel Kirke, starring Pearl White and Creighton Hale.
1917. At this time the Dowling Lumber Mill in Odessa is producing 100,000 board feet daily.
Jan. 1917. The Tarpon Springs Progressive (unseen) reports that a bill has been prepared for introduction into the legislature to create a new county consisting of northern Pinellas and western Pasco counties. The new county would be named Wilson County, for President Wilson.
Mar. 13, 1917. Samuel Pasco dies, in Tampa.
May 1917. In a letter published in the Tarpon Springs Leader and Dade City Banner, G. M. DeVries reports that the citizens of western Pasco County desire to secede and join Pinellas County because of the condition of the schools and the roads.
July 4, 1917. Fifty residents of Dade City drive to New Port Richey to attend the 4th of July celebration. According to a newspaper account, they made the trip in less than 2½ hours.
Dec. 28, 1917. The second and final public hanging takes place at the Dade City jail. Edgar London, a black man convicted of murdering his wife at Ehren in 1917, is executed by Sheriff I. W. Hudson.
May 17, 1918. The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Isom Stewart are found in their home east of Dade City in Lake County. They were murdered with an axe. [They are shown as living in the Pasadena election precinct in the 1910 census. A son and two grandsons were arrested. The Dade City Banner reported, “It looks particularly bad for Josh [Josh Browning, grandson] as he bought a Ford car and was spending money freely shortly after the murder and could not give a satisfactory explanation as to where his sudden wealth came from.”]
Oct. 11, 1918. The Dade City Banner reports that the county board of education decided on Tuesday to close all Pasco County schools for five weeks until Nov. 11 because of the outbreak of influenza.
Oct. 24, 1918. The Zephyrhills Colonist reports in the Ellerslie news column: “Dan Richardson, colored, who has done a good deal of work for the people in this community, died at his home near Lumberton of influenza. Dan was the most reliable of his race we have had to do with.”
Nov. 21, 1918. The Port Richey Press begins publication. [The publisher was Charles L. Fox and son. The name was changed to the New Port Richey Press on Nov. 4, 1920.]
Jan. 8, 1919. The board of county commissioners elects J. M. Mitchell as chairman. The other commissioners are B. A. Thomas of Zephyrhills, W. J.Zeigler of Pasco, J. M. Boyett of Ehren, and C. A. Lock of Dade City. All members are new except Lock.
Mar. 5, 1919. The Tarpon Springs Leader reports that the Anclote River is blocked by the reconstruction of what is known as Bailey’s bridge, which is now two feet or more lower, preventing boats with awnings on them from passing.
1920. The Pasco County population is 8802.
Apr. 2, 1920. The Dade City Banner reports: “The plant of the Ehren Pine Company at Ehren was entirely destroyed by fire last Sunday, entailing a loss estimated at $125,000.”
July 22, 1920. The Port Richey Press says “our population is at least 550.” It reports the population figures for the largest towns in Pasco, presumably from the 1920 census: Dade City, 1296; Zephyrhills, 577; Odessa 700; San Antonio, just under 700.
Aug. 30, 1920. The Associated Press reports, “James Boyette, county commissioner of Pasco county, James Cooper, another prominent man of that county, and two negroes are in jail [in Tampa] charged with violating the federal prohibition act. According to prohibition agents, the men attempted to escape in their automobile when stopped for examination. Driving at a high rate of speed, the officers fired repeatedly into their car but only succeeded in stopping them when one of the officers jumped from one car to the other and struck the driver with a blackjack. Over 50 gallons of ‘moonshine’ was found.”
Jan. 7, 1921. The Dade City Banner reports: “The saw mill of the Greer Lumber Co. at Greer, five miles south of Dade City, was destroyed by fire last night.”
July 8, 1921. The Dade City Banner reports that W. R. Townsend, a woodsman in the employ of the Dowling Lumber Co. at Odessa killed Alex Roberts, a black man, in self-defense.
Sept. 9, 1921. The Zephyrhills Colonist reports that Fritz Boyett of the Wesley Chapel neighborhood was appointed to the county commission by the Governor, replacing W. H. Mayo, who resigned to move to Tampa.
Oct. 25, 1921. A hurricane, later estimated as category 3, makes landfall around Tarpon Springs. Information is here.
Nov. 25, 1921. The Dade City Banner reports:
The turpentine business in the Darby section, known as the Amelia Still, suffered severely in the tropical storm of October 25, when the building was damaged and possibly a third of the timber blown down. This was followed on Tuesday night, November 15, by the destruction by fire of the commissary together with all tools and merchandise it contained, a loss of $2,000 and without insurance. J. B. Sessoms, the manager, got a truck load of groceries in at once, and re-opened the commissary in a shanty. He has put in more goods since, and will run the store in its temporary quarters until a building can be erected for it.
1922. The Cummer Sons Cypress Company sawmill is constructed at Lacoochee. [The last timber was milled on June 5, 1959.]
Feb. 2, 1922. The Elfers West Pasco Record begins publication. [It was absorbed by the Dade City Banner at the end of the year.]
March 3-5, 1922. The first Chasco Fiesta is held in Enchantment Park. Gerben DeVries, the first postmaster of New Port Richey, had created the legend of the Chasco Fiesta.
Sept. 18, 1922. Gulf High School opens, the first high school in western Pasco County.
Oct. 4, 1922. Deputy Arthur Fleece Crenshaw, 31, of Trilby, and federal prohibition agent John Van Waters, 46, of Dade City are ambushed as they returned from an investigation northeast of Dade City. [These were the first documented deaths of law enforcement officers killed on duty since Pasco County was formed.]
Oct. 19, 1922. The New Port Richey Press reports that the lumber plant and stored materials of the Dowling Brothers Lumber Co. at Odessa were destroyed by fire.
Aug. 1923. The Pasco County Medical Society is formed by doctors of Dade City, Trilby, San Antonio, and Lacoochee. Dr. J. T. Bradshaw is elected president.
Dec. 1923. The Warner Packing House in Blanton is destroyed by fire.
Apr. 4, 1924. The Dade City Banner reports, “Prospect is blessed with sawmills. J. A. Barthle of San Antonio has one at Pine Bay, while J. F. Hammett has one located on the Dobell property.”
Oct. 27, 1924. Residents vote 201-4 in favor of incorporating New Port Richey and choose Elroy M. Avery the first mayor.
1925. The 1925 census shows these populations: Dade City 1776, New Port Richey 862, Zephyrhills 861, San Antonio 326, St. Leo 128.
April 10, 1925. The New Port Richey Press reports that population figures made public on April 6 showed that Pasco County has a population of 11,322.
May 15, 1925. The New Port Richey Press reports: “Fire totally destroyed the lumber mill of the Lyon Pine Company at Odessa last Saturday night.”
May 18, 1925. Gov. John W. Martin signs the special legislative act creating the town of Port Richey, according to a 1950 St. Petersburg Times article.
June 5, 1925. The New Port Richey Press reports: “Fifteen buildings composing the entire business district of Trilby, seven miles north of Dade City, were destroyed by fire last Thursday afternoon with a loss of approximately $50,000.”
June 9, 1925. The Tarpon Springs Leader reports, “An act incorporating Elfers as city passed both houses of the legislature last week, and today only awaits the signature of Governor Martin to become law.”
Dec. 11, 1925. The New Port Richey Press reports that this week Sen. J. M. Mitchell was elected the first Mayor of Elfers and Victor Malcolm Clark (1889-1951) was elected the first (elected) Mayor of Port Richey. Both were elected to one-year terms. The article stated that the city council for Port Richey would consist of Warner H. Randall, H. H. Stubblefield, Walter Smith, B. W. Davis, and Mrs. Susie Clark.
Jan. 1, 1926. The New Port Richey Press reports that Deputy Sheriff Henry O’Berry, until recently employed in a store in Elfers, was shot and killed near Dade City by Charles Davis, whom he was attempting to arrest. [Davis was later seriously wounded and captured near Ocala. A Dade City Banner article of Apr 30, 1926, reported that Davis was believed to have been lynched when he was being transferred from the Ocala jail to Brooksville for trial.]
Oct. 26, 1926. The Tampa Tribune reports, “Percy A. Rockefeller of New York has just purchased 1,000 acres of farm land in Pasco county for a figure above a half-million dollars, which brings his total holdings in Hillsborough and Pasco counties to approximately 33,000 acres. The deed has been recorded in Pasco county. The Pasco tract is directly across the Hillsborough line. Mr. Rockefeller owns 16,000 acres in this county. The property joins 20,000 acres of land owned by Otto H. Kahn, another New York capitalist. A staff of New York engineers will be sent to Florida by Mr. Rockefeller to make a complete survey of the land and to construct a drainage system, it was said yesterday. The holdings of Mr. Rockefeller extend from Temple Terrace Estates to within five miles of San Antonio.”
Oct. 29, 1926. The Dade City Banner reports, “Frank Simpson, colored fireman on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, was instantly killed and six other employees of the road were injured, one of them probably fatally, when extra freight train No. 815 collided with Work Train No. 273 on a curve one mile north of Blanton, six miles from Dade City, about 11 o'clock Thursday morning.”
Nov. 12. 1926. The New Port Richey Press reports that J. M. Mitchell, Pasco County’s senator-elect, and Arthur L. Auvil, Pasco County’s representative-elect to the state legislature, have declared their opposition to the movement to create a separate county out of western Pasco County.
Feb. 17, 1927. The formal opening of the Hacienda Hotel in New Port Richey is held.
May 17, 1927. The Dade City Banner reports figures from a special census conducted of Pasco and Pinellas county to determine whether a second judge should be authorized for the sixth circuit. It reports the four largest towns are Dade City, 2701; Zephyrhills, 1397; Lacoochee, 1396; and New Port Richey, 1275. It also reported that Elfers had a population within the corporate limits of 303, “all of whom are white,” and that “the Elfers voting precinct, which includes outlying territory, shows a population of 554 persons, of whom 21 are colored.”
July 18, 1929. The Washington Post reports that fifteen banks in Florida failed in one day. One of them was the Bank of Pasco County in Dade City.
June 27, 1930. The New Port Richey Press reports that U. S. Highway 19, which currently runs from Erie, Pa., to Tallahassee, is expected to be extended to St. Petersburg and run through New Port Richey. [The extension occurred in 1932, according to a history of U. S. highways. A road map dated March 15, 1932, shows U. S. 19 extending from Erie to St. Petersburg. The route originally multiplexed with U. S. 41 to Brooksville, then went west on Route 50 to Aripeka, and then south on its current alignment.]
June 13, 1931. The First State Bank of New Port Richey suspends operations, a victim of the depression.
Nov. 6, 1934. In an election, Pasco County votes 1130 to 670 in favor of becoming “wet.” Pasco was the 42nd of 67 counties to resume the selling of alcoholic beverages stronger than beer.
Sept. 3-4, 1935. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 causes extensive damage from flooding and high winds in western Pasco County. The roofs of the Elfers Citrus Growers Exchange and Gulf High School as well as many smaller buildings were heavily damaged. Winds were estimated at 60 to 70 miles per hour. Electricity was knocked out and schools throughout the area were closed for several days.
July 16, 1936. Tax Assessor Wendell V. Gilbert, who had served in that position for 21 years, sends in his resignation to Governor Scholtz.
Aug. 19, 1938. The New Port Richey Press reports: “Local sponge boats operating out of Port Richey are reporting good catches. Last week Captain Kenneth Hope and his crew came in with 1,100 fine sponge, as also did Capt. Earl Bates with 1,500. The Gay Bros. of Hudson, now operating out of Tarpon Springs brought to auction $7,500 worth of sponge in about three trips, it is reported recently. American operated boats are now more in evidence than has been the case in recent years, the Greek divers from Tarpon Springs having nearly a monopoly in the trade.”
Feb. 21, 1945. County commissioner John J. Gaskins is killed in an accident. [L. W. LeHeup was appointed by Gov. Caldwell to replace him.]
Jan. 24, 1947. The Dade City Banner reports: “Following a meeting of New Port Richey citizens and others of the West Coast area with attorneys and county commissioners of Pinellas county in New Port Richey Friday night, a meeting was held here Tuesday afternoon relative to a proposal that Pasco county’s coastal sector be annexed to Pinellas county. George C. Dayton, representative, and Senator J. C. Getzen both expressed disapproval of the plan in no uncertain terms and said they would fight in the Legislature any attempt of western Pasco to secede.”
Feb. 19, 1949. The bridge across the Anclote River at Seven Springs collapses under the weight of a tank truck loaded with 30,000 pounds of citrus syrup.
Aug. 27, 1949. A hurricane which made landfall around West Palm Beach travels across the state and causes flooding in Pasco County.
Sept. 1, 1950. The Ehren post office is renamed Land O’ Lakes.
Dec. 1954. WDCF radio station in Dade City begins broadcasting.
Aug. 8, 1957. The New Port Richey Press reports that Al Roger of the State Road Department in Clearwater announced that the widening to four lanes of U. S. 19 from Clearwater to Tarpon Springs would begin within 60 days, and the widening from Tarpon Springs to the Pithlachascotee River bridge would begin within four months.
Jan. 9, 1958. A measurable snowfall occurs in Pasco County.
Dec. 12-13, 1962. All-time low temperatures were observed on the morning of Dec. 13: Tampa 18°, St. Leo, 18°, Tarpon Springs 19°, St. Petersburg 22°. In 2014 Thomas Franklin Giella posted on Facebook: “On this date December 12th in 1962 the coldest air mass of the 20th century invaded the Florida region. On this morning my grandfather Thomas who lived on 20 acres which he had planted with orange trees in a rural area north of Dade City in Pasco County observed a minimum temperature of 12 deg. I remember the local AM radio station WDCF 1350 kHz reporting a minimum temperature that morning of 14 deg. BTW Tampa AP had 18 deg that morning and that record still stands in 2014. What was amazing is that these low temperatures occurred with high wind speeds that dropped the wind chill temperature to below zero. Later in spring of 1963 when I was 6 years old I also remember watching my grandfather, my father and an uncle cutting the dead orange trees to the ground and burning them in big piles.”
Oct. 31, 1963. The first radio station in western Pasco county, WGUL, begins broadcasting on 1500-AM in New Port Richey.
Sept. 1, 1965. West Pasco Hospital opens. [It is apparently the first hospital in western Pasco County except for a hospital which operated briefly at Fivay.]
June 8-9, 1966. Hurricane Alma brushes the Tampa Bay area, causing widespread damage in some areas.
Oct. 18-19, 1968. Hurricane Gladys causes extensive damage in western Pasco County. Two Hudson men died of heart attacks probably related to the storm. The hurricane destroyed or damaged the stilt houses in the Gulf near the mouth of the Pithlachascotee River and a tornado destroyed or damaged dozens of mobile homes in the Signal Cove subdivision at Hudson.
Dec. 17, 1968. The Anclote River bridge collapses around 4:45 p.m., killing one person and injuring five others. The collapse was believed to have been caused by a large sinkhole. The person killed was Jane Tompkins Stinson of Tarpon Springs. [A video showing the collapsed bridge is on YouTube here.]
June 25, 1971. An Associated Press story appearing in newspapers on this date reported, “The House agreed Wednesday to give east and west Pasco Countians a chance to fight their ‘civil war’ at the ballot box. A bill by Pasco’s Rep. Tommy Stevens, D-Dade City, calling for a November straw vote on splitting the divided county passed 54-31.”
Mar. 14, 1972. Gov. George Wallace wins the Democratic presidential primary, receiving about 44% of the Pasco County vote in an 11-man field of candidates. Richard Nixon won the Republican primary.
Feb. 13, 1973. The county commission gives preliminary approval for a $2-million county judicial building to be built at Gower’s Corner. County commission chairman Walter Voorhees described the vote as a step in the direction of changing the county seat.
Feb. 20, 1973. The county commission chooses George Knoblock, a former New Port Richey city manager, as the first county administrator.
1977. Pasco County voters approve a proposal to spend $40 million to buy local utility systems. [In 1979, the county commission decided to purchase the Pasco Water Authority.]
Jan. 18-21, 1977. A severe cold snap covers all of Florida. [On Jan. 19, Pasco County received a rare light accumulation of snow.]
1979. The West Pasco Government Center is constructed in New Port Richey and a new identical building is constructed as a court house in Dade City.
1980. Gulf View Square Mall opens in Port Richey.
March 1981. Bayonet Point-Hudson Medical Center opens.
March 22, 1982. John Gallagher becomes County Administrator. [He apparently held the position longer than any county administrator in Florida history.]
Sept. 1, 1982. A grand jury indicts former County Commission Chairman Barry M. Doyle on bribery charges and issues an accompanying report criticizing Pasco County government. [Doyle was removed from office by Gov. Bob Graham on Sept. 7. On December 7 he pleaded guilty to five counts of accepting compensation to influence government affairs and was sentenced to three years in prison.]
Aug. 24, 1984. Sheriff John Short is indicted on three corruption charges and is removed from office by the Governor. [Short, who called the charges political, was acquitted. The indictment followed a series of articles in the St. Petersburg Times for which two reporters won a Pulitzer Prize.]
1986. Voters approve a measure to fund new parks and libraries. [The Hudson Regional Library opened on April 22, 1990; it was followed by Regency Park on October 26, 1990, Centennial Park on May 1, 1991, Hugh Embry on September 8, 1991, New River on November 15, 1991, Land O’ Lakes on December 12, 1991 and South Holiday on March 24, 1992.]
1990. The 1990 census shows these population figures: Pasco county, 281,131; New Port Richey, 14,044; Port Richey, 2523.
1992. Vice President Dan Quayle, seeking re-election, campaigns in New Port Richey, speaking at Sims Park.
Mar. 13, 1993. A tropical storm causes extensive damage to coastal areas of western Pasco County. The storm later became known as the “No Name Storm.” Water at least 9 feet deep flooded homes and businesses. In Pasco County, 237 homes were destroyed and over 5,000 homes were heavily damaged.
May 19, 1998. Florida Highway Patrol Trooper James “Brad” Crooks is murdered by Hank Earl Carr on the State Road 54 exit ramp off of I-75. Carr earlier fatally shot Tampa police detectives Randy Bell and Ricky Childers in Tampa.
2000. The 2000 population of Pasco County is 344,765, a 23% increase over 1990. According to Marvin Rose, author of the Rose Residential Reports, the growth in the 1970s was the result of working- class Northerners buying land for retirement homes, but the growth in the 1990s was largely suburban expansion from the south. The census shows the population of New Port Richey is 16,117, and the population of Port Richey is 3,021.
Feb. 4, 2001. The Suncoast Parkway opens from State Road 50 south to the Veterans Expressway, relieving some traffic congestion on U. S. Highways 19 and 41 in Pasco County.
Mar. 16, 2001. Salt Spring is dedicated as Florida’s newest state park and named Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park.
June 1, 2003. Lieutenant Charles “Bo” Harrison is shot and killed while sitting in his patrol car in Lacoochee.
Aug. 18, 2003. Governor Jeb Bush attends the dedication of Bishop McLaughlin High School, the first Catholic high school in Pasco County in modern times. It had opened for classes on Aug. 11.
March 9, 2004. Pasco County voters narrowly approve a one-cent increase in the sales tax to begin in January 2005. The proceeds will go to the school district and county and city governments.
Sept. 5-6, 2004. Hurricane Frances causes flooding, some damage, and massive power outages in western Pasco County. [Public schools were closed for two days beyond the planned three-day Labor Day weekend. Residents of the Sea Castle condominiums were forced to evacuate because of water leakage until repairs could be completed.]
Sept. 26, 2004. Hurricane Jeanne causes more damage in western Pasco County than Hurricane Frances earlier the same month. [Public schools were closed for two days following a two-day weekend because about 20 schools had no electric power on Sept. 27.]
Oct. 19, 2004. President Bush, campaigning for re-election, speaks in Sims Park in New Port Richey.
Dec. 14, 2006. Gov.-elect Charlie Crist announces the selection of Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Kurt Browning as the new Florida Secretary of State. [On Jan. 18, 2007, Gov. Crist named Brian Corley to serve as supervisor of elections for the remaining two years of Browning’s term.]
Dec. 25, 2006. A tornado damages nearly 100 homes, mostly in the Tampa Bay Golf and Country Club at San Antonio.
Oct. 27, 2008. Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for Vice President, speaks at Sims Park. [Five days later, on Nov. 1, Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for Vice President, spoke at the same location.]
Early January 2010. A week-long cold spell affects Pasco County. [Sleet and freezing rain fell on Jan. 9. The low temperature in New Port Richey on the morning of Jan. 11 was 26°.]
Feb. 7. 2012. Medical Center of Trinity is scheduled to open. Services at Community Hospital in New Port Richey are reduced.
June 24-26, 2012. Tropical Storm Debby causes extensive flooding in western Pasco County.
Aug. 3, 2015. Governor Scott visits Pasco County following flooding in western Pasco County.
Nov. 8, 2016. Amber Mariano, age 21, is elected to the Florida House of Representatives from District 36. She is the youngest person ever elected to the Florida House. Donald Trump easily carries Pasco County in the vote for President.
Sept. 10-11, 2017. Hurricane Irma causes widespread power outages and some damage to Pasco County. Schools were closed on Sept. 8 and Sept. 11-15.