HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
See also Ehren schools. This page was last revised on May 15, 2019.
Ehren Pine Sawmill was established near the 26-Mile House by Fredrick and Louis Müller of Germany along what is now County Road 583. Ehren Pine Sawmill employed about 100 workers and had homes for some to live in. Others owned property near the mill in the community that became known as Ehren. According to MacManus, Ehren is named for the hometown in Germany of Müller.
A post office opened in Ehren on Jan. 17, 1890. It burned and was rebuilt several times before closing in 1950. At one time it was listed in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as the smallest post office in the country.
There was a white Methodist church, a black A. M. E. church located by the black school on Ehren Cemetery Road, and a black Baptist Church next to the black cemetery, known as Mount Carmel Cemetery.
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad (and its predecessors) ran northeast through Ehren at an angle permitting three section houses to be built between the main dirt road and the railroad. Blacks who worked for the railroad lived in these section houses. Old timers called the area north of the railroad tracks “Old Ehren” and that to the south “South Ehren.” The tracks formed a racial divide. Whites lived on the north side of the tracks and blacks on the south. Most of the mill hands were black. They occupied 20-30 company houses that were scattered on the south side of the railroad, on the same side as the sawmill.
Rev. Byrl Dawkins, preacher at the A. M. E. church, moved to Ehren with his wife Mary in 1918. They had 13 children, 11 of whom were born in Ehren. He worked at the sawmill for $1 per day, saved his money, and bought a parcel of land for $150 and began farming. He sold fresh vegetables house-to-house and was known as “Preacher Dawkins, the vegetable man.”
(Some of the information in the above section was taken from Citrus, Sawmills, Critters, & Crackers by Elizabeth Riegler MacManus and Susan A. MacManus.)
Jan. 17, 1890. The Ehren post office is established. The first postmaster was James J. Head. (The post office application stated that 60 persons lived in Ehren but that the post office would serve about 300 persons.)
July 10, 1900. Ben Stafford is killed near Ehren. [The following year, Granville and Tom Ellis were charged with the murder.]
Aug. 23, 1904. A newspaper reports that Mr. Jones, the captain at Dunn’s convict camp near Ehren was shot and killed by one of the guards on Aug. 21. He was to have been married that day.
June 12, 1905. The Ocala Evening Star reports: “Mr. R. S. Hall sold last week 20,000 acres of good pine timber land, located near Ehren, in Pasco County, to Mr. F. E. Miller of Ehren. The land was bought for sawmill purposes, as it has been turpentined. The consideration was about $50,000.”
June 25, 1905. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports:
The Gulf Cypress Lumber Mill is running full blast. F. E. Muller, the manager, is well known in Tampa. He is a live man and hustles around in his automobile looking after the business, which is large and requires careful management. Anyone having business with Mr. Muller at his office, Main street, if he is not there, will be waited upon by his advisor, Harry Weldon, who is a gentleman in every respect.
June 29, 1905. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports, “G. B. Milton, tonsorial artist, has taken new rooms on Market street, where he is now prepared to do all kinds of work in his line. R. H. Garner is making some repairs on the postoffice that will make it much more convenient.”
Aug. 6, 1905. The Tampa Tribune reports, “The boarding house conducted by Mr. and Mrs. Berry is full to its utmost capacity and the landlord is all smiles as new patrons come in daily. Mr. Pinkham, the new postmaster, is kind and smiling as he gives us our mail. ... C. B. Messick has sold his store to Hinson Bros., of Holder, who are now living here. Mr. Messick has bought a turpentine business at Bowling Green. Mr. Waters has moved to Georgia, where his relatives are and has a good situation in business.”
Sept. 14, 1905. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports that W. P. Smith has sold his interest in his turpentine business in Ehren to Mr. Wilkerson and Mr. Howell of Inverness. It reports that Dr. L. C. Warren left Monday for north Georgia, where he intends to marry, and that Mrs. J. M. Berry left to visit her grandchild, who is very sick at Bushnell.
Dec. 21, 1905. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports, “R. A. Bradley, of Ocala, has accepted a position with the Gulf Cypress Lumber Company as Superintendent of railway and will make Ehren his future home.” The newspaper also lists visitors registered at the Berry Hotel.
Feb. 2, 1906. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports:
Everything is moving along quietly and pleasantly in this little town at present. New laborers are coming in every week.
April 3, 1906. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports, “The mill, which has been closed down for two weeks or more, undergoing repairs, has resumed. Some of the old laborers have moved away and new ones have taken their places. The planing mill is completed and was running last week. F. E. Muller has returned to Ehren for business and pleasure combined. He has been very ill at his home, in Tampa. Eli Cooper is building a neat seven-room cottage on his farm at Old Ehren. He is also engaged in gardening, has about four acres of watermelons planted, besides many kinds of vegetables, such as collards, cabbage, turnips, etc.”
May 17, 1906. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports, “The Gulf Cypress Company is putting up a first class iron tank, which is to be 60 feet or more in height, which will give good artesian water and will also be an ornament to the town. It is situated near the Central Ice Cream Parlors. The boardinghouse is running to its utmost capacity. There is much building going on which speaks well for the improvement of this town. All the carpenters are busy.”
July 8, 1906. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports, “There is much improvement in town. Nearly all the buildings are taking on white paint, which makes all look neat, clean and tidy, and it will add much to the health of the town. Business is prosperous. The Gulf Cypress Company is cutting logs as fast as they can be furnished, form 40,000 to 55,000 feet per day, and shipments of lumber are regular from four to eleven cars per day. All regret to hear that F. E. Muller is suffering very much from a wound he received at his planing mill here some time ago. ... The ice cream parlor is a great pleasure to all this warm weather. Mr. and Mrs. Pinkham are always ready with something cool and up-to-date. Mr. Vincent has returned from a business trip of a week. There is a rumor that the school is to be put in a prosperous condition soon. All should join in trying to improve the school and church.”
May 9, 1907. The Ocala Evening Star reports:
News has reached the city of the cowardly murder of Lee Ellis, a well-known deputy sheriff and merchant of Ehren, Pasco county, which occurred Saturday night. Ellis was at work in his store weighing bacon for a customer, when someone discharged a load of buckshot thro’ the window. Nine buckshot entered Ellis’ body, one penetrating the heart, killing him instantly. No arrests have been made, although friends at once gave the assassin a chase through the woods. The killing, it is stated, is the result of a feud which has existed in that vicinity since the killing, seven years ago, of a man named Stafford, in Ellis’ house, by a brother of Ellis. Ellis was formerly a mail route contractor.—Tampa News.
Dec. 7, 1907. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports, “The Gulf Cypress mill is running on full time, and everybody seems contented and happy. F. E. Muller comes up from Tampa nearly every day and returns in his auto. ... J. J. Duren from Tampa has become a permanent resident here. He is employed by the Gulf Cypress company in the commissary. R. J. Holly, also from Tampa, employed in the same work with Mr. Duren, is expecting to move his family here in the near future.”
Dec. 14, 1907. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports, “Mr. and Mrs. E. F. Hall of Sanford have become permanent residents of Ehren. W. L. Holly’s family arrived last night and have already moved into the house formerly occupied by H. Tucker.”
Feb. 13, 1908. The Tampa Weekly Tribune reports colored Masons celebrated at Ehren.
Dec. 21, 1912. Ehren Pine Co. is incorporated, with officers E. L. Mueller, president; Louis Mueller, vice president; Curt Holzer, secretary; J. A. Barthle, treasurer.
1918. The 1918-1919 Florida State Gazetteer and Business Directory shows E. C. Rush as the postmaster of Ehren, which it reports has a population of 200. It also lists Ehren Pine Co., F. E. Muller pres., R. B. Haddon sec and treas; and W. F. Evans and Co., turpentine.
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. The fire was started by a high wind carrying brands from a burning trash pile to the mill which was ablaze in several places in a few minutes. A large boarding house and two residences were burned with the mills. The mill of the Ehren Pine Company has been destroyed by fire once or twice before. The president of the company and principal owner, is F. E. Mueller, and the secretary is A. E. Medard (?). With the sawmill gone there is little left of Ehren, and its future will depend largely upon whether Mr. Muller and his associates rebuild or not.”Sept. 9, 1920. The Tampa Morning Tribune reports, “The Ehren Pine Company’s new mill at Ehren is running, having just gotten under way. It is cutting timber for finishing up the plant right now and will soon be producing for the market. This is a $25,000 plant with a capacity of close to 30,000 feet daily.”
Sept. 1, 1950. The Ehren post office is renamed Land O’ Lakes.
The first three paragraphs of this article are illegible and are missing from this transcription. This article appeared in the Dade City Banner on May 19, 1922.
By C. B. TAYLOR
...Mrs. Ida Williamson has a very pretty place that is managed by her son. Unfortunately he has been ill for some time so things are a bit behind. Good patches of cukes, eggplant, beans, Irish potatoes and squash have been raised. Watermelons and cantaloupes are ripening. A good seedling grove is bearing well and a budded one was set out last year.
Mrs. Williamson has some very nice pigs and a small bunch of buffalo and Poll Angus cattle. While the boy looks after the farm and stock she runs a boarding house for the swamp and log crew of the saw mill. Naturally a good cook, Mrs. Williamson has evolved a new dish that is quite popular in and around Ehren. It is egg plant preserves and they sure do eat good and taste very much like figs.
E. C. Brassen is enjoying poor health, having been poisoned by an orange thorn that pierced his side. Mr. Brassen does not farm but works at his trade, cutting meat in Mr. Mueller’s market at Odessa. A nice cane patch, orange, peach and guava trees as well as some fine scuppernong grape vines are found on Mr. Brassen’ place and if it were well cared for a nice farm could be developed.
Along the railroad in what is locally known as Old Ehren is a settlement of colored people. The places are small but some of them are well cared for and produce good crops. B. E. W. Dawkins, a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal church, has one of the nicest of these places. Vegetables for peddling in town and at the Dowling log camp is his specialty and he has something growing and to sell nearly every month in the year. Melons ripening, others just starting to grow, cantaloupes already ripe, extra fine onions, tomatoes just set out from late summer crop. Dawkins upsets the usual rules for planting and grows whatever he thinks he can sell.
From a third of an acre he made two hundred gallons of syrup and from an acre he gathered seventy-five bushels of peanuts last year and then left some for his hogs to root up, so one can see that Dawkins is a good farmer. Last Sunday Dawkins’ best horse was killed by a train. This has been quite a blow but he is going right ahead the best he can till able to replace the animal.
Another colored resident of old Ehren and one of the fast disappearing old time negroes is A. D. Boatright. He has a few bearing orange trees and a nice grove just coming in, besides good patches of corn, peas, beans, cantaloupes and watermelons. Boatright, though, is an old cottonfield hand and is anxious that people in this section should go back to that as a crop. He says, “It is harder work than raising oranges or vegetables but when you get your money you’ve got it all in a heap. It ain’t comin’ in driblets that you spend as fast as you get it.” I’m afraid the old darkey’s dream of return to this section of “King Cotton” will never materialize but he told one great truth when decrying the great tendency of the younger generation to leave the farm he said, “Ef yo’ wuks public wuk when yo’ goes to de smoke house yo’ gits a paper sack, but ef yo’ sticks to de farm yo’ gits meat.” Boatright and his old wife are resting in their old age on the little farm which the only one of his nineteen sons who is home manages in his spare time. It is a nice little place and a credit to the settlement.
Effie Marshall, colored, is managing a small place while her husband works as a blazer at the Dowling log camp. She is a hard worker and her two or three acres has good crops of corn, cane and sweet potatoes growing. Last winter Effie made over a hundred gallons of syrup off her little place which is doing very well indeed.
Edna Humphrey, colored, has good crops of cane and peas coming on.
Joe Tize, colored, is planting his pinders. His corn is a failure but he has good stands of cane, sweet potatoes and sorghum.
E. C. Cooper has a small grove of very nice trees and did have a very good garden but it is about all gone now. He is preparing to set out a lot of sweet potatoes.
Louis Mueller has as fine a ten acre seedling grove as can be found any where. The trees bore well last year and set a good crop this spring, but the dry weather has caused the fruit to drop considerably. The people at Ehren, where Mr. Muller sells a good deal of his fruit, say that it is the best and sweetest brought in there. He has lately set about two hundred budded trees that are coming along nicely.
Mr. Muller runs a meat market at Odessa and is away from home most of the time. Mrs. Muller manages the place in good shape, maintains a fine home garden and raises chickens, having about three hundred altogether. The Mueller home is one of the nicest and most comfortable ones to be found in the country.
Mrs. C. P. Thompson, the pleasant and efficient post mistress of Ehren, has consented to represent the Banner there as reporter. Mrs. Thompson has had previous experiences in such work and her articles will be full of interest.
Mrs. J. P. Hardin, wife of the blacksmith at the saw mill, has been in poor health for some time and for the past two weeks was in Gordon Keller hospital for treatment. She returned home Sunday greatly benefitted.
Alfred, the infant son of Mrs. J. H. Johns, died Tuesday May 2, and was buried May 3. The sympathy of the entire community is extended to Mrs. Johns.
Carl Mueller has twenty acres of Jap cane that is looking fine. Mr. Mueller has ground his cane here before but this year will probably pasture it as he has a herd of a hundred fine hogs which he keeps on pasture all the time. That this method of caring for hogs pays is seen when one looks at a fourteen month old one he has that easily weighs three hundred pounds. Recently Mr. Mueller killed one and from the head made thirty one pounds of cheese.
Mr. Mueller has five hundred grape vines that will bear their second crop next month. He estimates the yield at about two thousand pounds and is wondering how he will dispose of them.
A serious attempt at reforestation has been made on this place and ten thousand Eucalyptus trees set out. They are doing well.
F. E. Muller is preparing the land to set out a two acres nursery. A hundred dollars worth of sour orange seeds have been bought for the seed bed. This is the first step in the developing of a large tract of land around Drexel which Mr. Mueller owns.
F. B. Carriker is starting a new place on the railway between Ehren and Drexel. He has built a good house and has fenced a small garden but as he is woodsman for the mill does not have much time at present at home. Peas, Irish potatoes and other vegetables have been planted but as the land is new and sour are not doing very well. Mrs. Carriker is very successful raising chickens and guineas and has large flocks of each.
Besides looking after the railway water tank at Drexel A. N. Yeary raises a fine garden the surplus from it being sold to the crews of passing trains. Cabbages, collards, onions, squash, cukes, melons, Irish potatoes and beans are Mr. Yeary’s main crops. He has a small grove bearing and has set out more trees that are growing nicely.
J. M. Tucker has a place that would make a fine farm if it were worked as the land is rich, low and not affected by drought. Mr. Tucker is a timber contractor, though, and does not try to raise any crops.
C. E. Woods, one of the best known men in the state, has accepted a position tendered him by the people of Kissimmee, as secretary of the trade body of that city, and will report for duty at once
A $110,000 bond issue for sewerage and paving carried in Eustis by a large majority. The victory was welcomed in Eustis more vociferously by bells and whistles than any event since the signing of the armistice.
Ehren Sawmill Was A Central Pasco Hub in 1900 (1996)
This article appeared in the St. Petersburg Times on June 23, 1996.
By ELIZABETH MACMANUS
At the turn of the century, Ehren Pine Co. ran a sawmill in central Pasco County.
The proprietor, Frederick C. Muller, had a wife, Emma, and two children, Carl and Edna. Muller was a German-born immigrant. His wife, a native Floridian.
Their home was a large two-story house across the road from the sawmill. The Mullers lived lavishly here and even had maids.
U. S. census workers actually listed the house as a hotel. But some locals, now dead, have said that no locals stayed there or even set foot in the place. Muller, it seems, limited his guest list to upper-crust foreign friends and visitors.
The house later burned.
Clarence Lutz served as the sawmill clerk. His father, Charles, was the mill’s superintendent and in 1909 built the Tampa and Gulf Coast Railroad from his own sawmill in Odessa to Lutz Junction.
Other sawmill employees worked as machinists, bookkeepers, engineers, laborers, clerks, sawyers, foremen, log yard workers, teamsters, mill hands, swamp foremen and swam workers.
Swamp workers cut cypress logs. They used mules to skid the logs out of the woods and then loaded the wood into train cars to be taken to the mill. They rolled the logs into a pond near the mill to keep them in good condition until they could be cut into lumber.
Tram trains ran throughout the woods and were moved when a timbering site played out.
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad first came through Ehren in 1880. At first, it was a narrow gauge for hauling logs and lumber, but in 1891 it was widened to standard track width to carry freight and passengers.
John Henesay and Frank Lutz, both white, were the train’s engineers. John Clark, who was black, was the fireman.
The division of labor between white and black laborers, in line with the practices of that era, was distinct.
White workers cut wood to feed the wood-burning trains; black laborers had the more difficult job of cutting railroad ties to maintain and expand the tracks.
Segregated housing also was the rule of the day. Black workers lived in three section houses just south of the sawmill, where the road and railroad both turned. William Boyde was chief of the railroad section, but because he was white he did not live in the area.
White workers’ houses were west of the highway and railroad, north of the old hotel.
In 1900, records show a turpentine still had been built southeast of the sawmill. The grueling work fell to black laborers who served as “chippers” and “dippers” in the operation.
Dippers collected the resin from trees and dumped it into large, heavy barrels that had to be taken to the still and unloaded. On each pine tree, resin dripped out of the slash into a clay pot or tin receptacle that hung below the slash.
A commissary stood near the sawmill. William Rice was the dry goods clerk. The store served loggers and workers at the sawmill and turpentine still.
Every Friday night, the workers were paid in “babbits” — small metal coins stamped with the company name, which could be traded for merchandise at company store.
On payday, workers let loose with wild parties, drinking lots of moonshine and fighting.
The town of Ehren also had a blacksmith and at least two boarding houses. Octavio Maxwell ran the post office, a tiny building near where the railroad later crossed the road. Alexander Gerry delivered the mail.
Down Ehren Cemetery Road, just before the cemetery, stood a one-room schoolhouse. Locals described the pupils as a wild lot. That might explain why one teacher brought his pistol every day.
The old stagecoach line kept running because the Tampa Northern Railroad line, the crucial link from Tampa to Brooksville, was not built until 1907. The stagecoach route followed Twenty Mile Level Road, turned north of the cemetery, west through Ehren and then north to Hernando County.
A wide range of occupations attracted early Ehren settlers, according to the 1900 census.
Morton Rich moved from Georgia to be the town’s wagoneer.
The town had a dressmaker, but because the community’s population was largely poor, it is likely she worked exclusively for people like Emma Muller and her daughter, Edna.
A couple of contractors and several carpenters lived in the settlement. Two people reported to census workers that they were horticulturists, but it is unclear what they actually did for a living.
William Booth reported that he supervised a shingle mill.
Many men in early Ehren worked as farmers or farm laborers. Undoubtedly, the farmers often grew crops, such as sugar cane, to feed the hundreds of mules used in the sawmill and still operations.