HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY

Early Residents of Pasco County

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This page was last revised on June 20, 2017.

FRANK NELSON (died, 1945) The New Port Richey Press reported on May 24, 1940:

"Big Frank" Nelson, former resident of New Port Richey, is back again, making his home for the time being with Art Suhonen. Nelson was at one time a professional wrestler of national repute. He originated and introduced the "half-nelson" hold, which practically revolutionized the technique of "catch-as-catch-can" wrestling in this country. Of late years, Nelson has been touring the country giving exhibitions showing his great physical strength. Nelson says there's no place like New Port Richey and he's glad to get back.

The term "half-nelson" has been found in print in 1889, and thus is not named for Frank Nelson. According to his obituary, Nelson's original surname was Rosnel. He is buried in Pinehill Cemetery.

Henry Nicks and wife HENRY ROBERT NICKS (1852-1928) was an important early figure in the history of Port Richey. A picture of H. R. Nicks is here. On June 19, 1873, he married Alatha Frances Jane Hope (1854-1894). Alatha was born at Spring Lake, Hernando Co., on October 12, 1854. She appears on the 1870 U. S. Census in her widowed mother's household in Hernando County. A larger version of the picture of her is here.

The Genesis of New Port Richey has:

Mr. Robert Nicks (better known as Bob) was born in Leon County, Florida, about 71 years ago. He subsequently lived at Spring Lake, in Hernando County, about eight miles from Brooksville. He settled at Port Richey on the Cotee River in 1904 and, as a large property owner, has lived there ever since. He married Latha Hope; of his 7 children, 4 are now living, namely; Henry, Mike, Frances (now Mrs. Hancock of Miami), and Lonnie (now Mrs. Victor Malcolm Clark of Live Oak). Every one residing in the Cotee Valley knows of 'Bob' Nicks, except those who arrived yesterday.

An article in the New Port Richey Press of Nov. 12, 1926, states that Nicks came with his parents to Brooksville over 40 years ago and to the site of his present home 20 years ago. In the article, Nicks says:

I remember well seeing my father go to the dining table with a gun in his hands, which he would lay across his lap while eating, as protection against marauding Indians, who resented the invasion of the white man. When he arrived here, there was no sign of Port Richey or New Port Richey, the whole country being a veritable jungle. Bears roamed around in the wilderness about Orange Lake and alligators were thick where the First State Bank now stands. The Indians lived a lazy life, hunting and fishing when my father brought me and the other children from Tallahassee, but as the years passed they gradually disappeared, giving way to the modern improvements of the white man.

Alatha died on December 31, 1894 and is buried in the Brooksville City Cemetery.

The obituary of H. R. Nicks in the New Port Richey Press on Jan. 20, 1928, follows:

H. Robert Nicks, pioneer resident of Pasco county, died of heart disease at Port Richey Friday afternoon, Jan. 13, after an illness of only a few days. He was 75 years of age and is survived by four children, Mrs. A. F. Hancock, W. M. and Henry Nicks and Mrs. Victor M. Clark, all residing at Port Richey with the exception of Henry, who lives at Tarpon Springs. He left 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Funeral services were conducted at the home in Port Richey Sunday at 12:30 P. M. by Rev. C. M. Cotton, pastor of the First Methodist church and the body was interred at Brooksville cemetery the same afternoon. The ceremonies were in charge of the Masonic order of which he had been a member for many years, holding a paid up life membership in Trilby Lodge, No. 141, and being a charter member of that lodge. "Uncle Bobby" as he was familiarly known to his host of friends, was one of the first settlers in this part of the state, having come here from Tallahassee, his birthplace, and settled at Port Richey in 1904, when there was nothing resembling a hard road or street in the country. He was married to Miss Alatha Frances Hope June 19, 1873, who preceded him to the grave several years ago. Mr. Nicks was a member of the Port Richey Methodist Church, and was one of the town's most active citizens, being known as "The Father of Port Richey."

The children of Henry Robert Nicks and Alatha Frances [Jane] Hope (1855-1894) were:

  • Henry James Nicks Sr. (1874-1942), married Alice Hill
  • Alatha Frances Nicks (1876-1949), married Horace J. Hancock (1862-1914)
  • William Michael Nicks (1878-1944), 1married Susan Brown, 2married Nevada Lee (1889-1963)
  • Mary (Cecelia) Celia Nicks (1881-1915), married David Hope Clark Sr. (1877-1962)
  • Sheldon (or Shelton) S. Nicks (1886-1909), married Ruby Eugene Clark (1887-1950). Shelton was a deputy sheriff who was killed by a man he attempted to arrest at Fivay on May 8, 1909. He was born on Jan. 12, 1886.
  • Lonnie Lee Nicks (1889-1930), married Victor Malcolm Clark Sr. (1889-1951)
  • Robert C. Nicks (1891-1898)

In December 1928 a park in Port Richey was dedicated as Robert Nicks Memorial Park.

SIMON NOFFSINGER (1854-1929) was one of the earliest settlers in what would become New Port Richey, arriving in 1913, according to Avery. He built one of the first houses in town, at "Land's End" on the bayou. He was born on Sept. 3, 1854, in Ohio, although he came here from West Virginia according to his obituary. He was married to Laura E. Noffsinger (1860-1924). A daughter, Virgie, married Frank Luikart; they moved here in 1915.

Emil Nyman EMIL FERDINAND NYMAN (1884-1927) was an early resident of New Port Richey. His obituary stated, "Coming to New Port Richey over fifteen years ago, when it was little more than a wilderness, Mr. Nyman was instrumental in the initial progress of the town, building a large number of the city's original homes and business places. Mr. Nyman was the owner of New Port Richey's first water system and was also a leading business man." According to his grandson, Reynald C. Feldt, Jr., he owned Port Richey Novelty Works, which supplied windows, doors, trim, and novelty siding for homes. Nyman left Finland for the U. S. in 1908, settling in Massachusetts. He married Helmi Josefina Kivikoski (1886-1963) in 1910. They came to what is now New Port Richey on May 12, 1912. After Emil died, Helmi worked for the Sims and Pretorious families as a cook/housekeeper until she later remarried. Their children were Walter (1910-1912?), Elsie (1914-1999), and Margaret (1916-1997). Elsie was born in a small house on Old Post Road in Port Richey on Aug. 13, 1914. Margaret married Wilford Berry Mitchell, a son of Rev. Jesse M. Mitchell of Elfers; they had a son, Jerry M. Mitchell (1940-2016).

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