HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY

Early Residents of Pasco County

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This page was last revised on April 19, 2015.

ALBERT ABLE KEITH (1843-1927) was the postmaster of Elfers and pastor of the Elfers Baptist Church in the early 1920s. He was a Baptist minister who fought in the Civil War first for the confederacy and later for the union. Albert A. Keeth is shown as a 35-year-old minister living in Palo Pinto County, Texas, in the 1880 census. A Dec. 19, 1891, newspaper reported that he was the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dade City and a resident of Lakeland. A newspaper article on Aug. 1, 1915, mentions that A. A. Keith is the postmaster at Elfers. He is referred to as the genial postmaster of Elfers in the Tarpon Springs Leader of Aug. 17, 1921. In 1922 the Elfers West Pasco Record said that he was “a horticulturist of no mean ability, and in conversation with him during a walk about his place, which is planted with a great variety of plants and shrubs as well as fruit trees, strawberries, etc., one may learn a great deal regarding the cultivation of these plants.” It also reported that he had lived in Florida for about 37 years. On Aug. 17, 1922, the New Port Richey Press reported, “A farewell party was given last night at the Community Hall in honor of Mr. A. A. Keith, the postmaster, and his wife, who are leaving Elfers for Pensacola on account of Mr. Keith’s health.” According to Jeff Cannon, Keith gave his birthdate in a sworn statement as Oct. 23, 1843. Another source, apparently his obituary, states that he was born on Oct. 10, 1844, and died at his home in Elfers on Dec. 27, 1927.

BAYNARD HARDWICK KENDRICK, a detective story writer and one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America, maintained a winter home in Hudson.

Mathew Kinney MATHEW RANDALL KINNEY (1856-1950) and his wife Margaret G. Kinney (1856-1926) moved to New Port Richey from New York State in 1916, planting a large orange grove on his property. Later he opened up the section later called the Kinney subdivision on Kenwood Avenue. He was born in Montella, Wisconsin, but spent most of his life in Avon, New York. He was a successful farmer, having operated a 500-acre dairy farm for a number of years. His niece Pearl G. Panter (1890-1980) and her husband George E. Panter (1887-1954) later came to New Port Richey, residing with the Kinneys to care for them. She was the organist for the Episcopal Church and the violinist with the New Port Richey Ensemble [West Pasco’s Heritage].

Michael Knowles Sr. MICHAEL KNOWLES, SR. (1852-1924) was born in Rocksound, Eleuthera, Bahamas. He came to Hudson as a sponger. He married Jane Thincy Frierson (1866-1935) in 1887. In 1978 daughter Essie May recalled that her parents met and married in the Hudson area in 1887, when Knowles first came to Hudson from the Bahamas. Brenda Knowles writes, “My father recalls his Grandfather [Michael Sr.] as an old man with a long white beard, who smoked his corncob pipe upside down in the tradition of seafaring men.” He was born on May 3, 1852, and died in Hudson on Feb. 9, 1924.

Children:

  • Robert Henry (1889-1956), m. Ruby Helen Carter (died Jan. 31, 1958), was a commercial fisherman, and he died in his boat. Children included:
    • Kenneth Robert Knowles, b. July 4, 1915, in Hudson, d. Jan. 31, 2000, m. on Aug. 2, 1913: Halla Mae Lorton, b. Dec. 31, 1917, Cadiz, Ind., d. Aug. 2, 2006. Kenneth graduated from Gulf High School in 1934. Children included:
      • Brenda J. Knowles (GHS '60)
      • Ronald Lorton Knowles (GHS '64)
  • Nancy Sussanah (Nannie), b. Dec. 27, 1892, Anclote, m. James F. Gillett
  • Michael Jr. (1895-1944), m. Melvina (Vinnie) Hicks
  • Leslie Lee, b. Aug. 2, 1899, d. 1970, Hudson, m1. Lenora Edwards, m2. Eula Hunt
  • Essie May, b. Aug. 2, 1899, Hudson, m. Jessie Hamilton. In 1978 she was Hudson’s longest residing citizen.
  • Emma Jane, b. Feb. 23, 1903, Hudson, m. Clarence Brady
  • Archie (1906-1907)

SAMUEL KNOWLES (d. 1938), a younger brother of Michael, moved with his wife and family from Rocksound to Hudson in 1908, according to Brenda Knowles. He was a sponger and a fisherman. According to his obituary, he had been a resident of Hudson for more than 25 years and was a native of the Bahama Islands. In a 1978 newspaper article, a Jack Knowles, then 88, recalled that he and his brothers came here from the Bahama Islands in 1903. Children:

  • Leila, m. Willett Pyfrom
  • Woolsey Samuel, b. 1886, m. Mary Eliza Brady
  • Mary Manecha, b. 1888, m. Joseph Pyfrom
  • John Henry (Jack), b. 1889, m1. Christie Bush, m2. Judy Swain. He was a fisherman in Hudson.
  • William Mervin (Willie), b. 1892, q.v.
  • Sadie Alberta, b. 1898, m1. Robert L. Sands, m2. Grover Burton; d. 1982

WILLIAM MERVIN (WILLIE) KNOWLES (b. 1892) was a son of Samuel Knowles, q.v. He came to Hudson in 1908 at age 16 from the Bahamas. On Feb. 16, 1916, he married Ruth Holloway, who had arrived in May 1914 from her birthplace in Columbus, Fla., according to one source. However, a 1975 Tampa Tribune article about her reported that she was born in Providence in Bradford County on Dec. 2, 1892. Willie was a fisherman in Hudson. A 1969 newspaper article reported that these Hudson pioneers had lived here longer than anyone else in the area. A 1978 newspaper article reported that William Knowles, age given as 83, was living in the same house where he took his bride in 1916, although the house had been moved from Main Street to Hudson Avenue. Ruth stood only 40 inches tall as an adult because of a spine defect at birth, whereas Willie was 6 feet tall. She was elected the first treasurer of the Hudson-Aripeka Board of Trade.

JAMES BENJAMIN KOLB (1877-1945) and his wife Amanda Elizabeth (1877-1952) were married in Alabama in 1900, moved to Plant City in 1902 and subsequently to Tampa. They moved with their children to Aripeka in 1910 according to Ash or in 1911 according to the recollection of their daughter in West Pasco’s Heritage or in 1912 according to his obituary. Mrs. Kolb’s obituary said she had been a resident of Aripeka for 42 years. She was born in Fort Deposit, Ala. Mr. Kolb was a district school trustee in the 1920s and his wife was a postmaster of Aripeka. The New Port Richey Press of Feb. 10, 1928, reported that Kolb had been a resident of Pasco county for the past 17 years, and that he had recently announced his candidacy for the county commission.

WILLIAM S. KUSTER (b. 1846) is shown as the postmaster of Lenard in the Florida State Gazetteer (1886-87). The post office was established in 1883, but he had requested that the post office be named Kuster. Kuster was later the postmaster of Trilby. He was born in July 1846. His wife was Laura M. Kuster, born in Oct. 1850.

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