• Billy the Kid to visit the 1885 Train Depot Museum in Brooksville

    Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear the story of William H. Cox II, “BILLY THE KID.”  He recounts his adventure of 30 years ago when he experienced a life-changing event that found him literally living in the footsteps of the legendary figure of the wild wild West, William H. Bonney,  known infamously as “Billy the Kid.” Billy has written an autobiography about his life and adventures entitled: “The Adventures & Times of William H. Cox II, Billy the Kid.”

    Thirty years ago, Billy took a road trip to Roswell, New Mexico to learn about the land and history of that place after seeing the movie “Young Guns.”   Little did he know he was headed for an experience that would change his personal history and had everybody in the SouthWest saying that New Mexico’s notorious son was back.

    As Billy recounts,  he was twenty two years old and full of energy.  Arriving in Roswell, New Mexico, he stepped off the bus, not knowing where to go.  He just went with the direction of the wind. It led him to the Roswell Museum. As he walked into the museum, the historian immediately approached him and said he looked just like “Billy the Kid.”  “What is your name?” asked the historian. “Billy,” he replied. The museum historian’s mouth dropped! “We need to get you to Lincoln,” he said, which was about sixty miles from Roswell.

    So began his adventure as “Billy the Kid” in Lincoln, New Mexico.  Billy the Kid had returned in the person of William H. Cox II, who bore an uncanny likeness to the Kid.  Let the Kid tell you the rest of the story in person where he will make his book available and answer questions.  You will learn not just about Billy the Kid, you will learn that life is full of adventures and you don’t have to be ordinary, you can be original!

    EVENT TIME:     SATURDAY, JULY 28 @ 7 P.M.

    EVENT LOCATION:     1885 TRAIN DEPOT MUSEUM
    70 Russell Street
    Brooksville, FL 34601

    EVENT COST:    $10      RSVP 352-799-4766
    (20 seats available)

  • Dedication for the Historical Marker of Pilaklikaha

    Sumter County Historical Society & Dade Battlefield Society

    INVITE YOU TO ATTEND THE

    Dedication & Reception

    for the

    Historical Marker

    of

    PILAKLIKAHA

    “Abraham’s Old Town”

    APRIL 10, 2018

    DEDICATION CEREMONY 3:00 p.m.

    RECEPTION 3:30-5:00 pm

    Intersection of SR 471 and CR 567 (aka: Fortune Teller Road; East of 471; Between Webster & Sumterville.

    Pilaklikaha was also known as “Abraham’s Old Town,” named after Abraham, who came to the area after escaping slavery in Pensacola around 1826. Abraham served as a skilled interpreter and the voice of the Seminoles during treaty negotiations with the United States government. He rose to prominence as the counselor for Chief Micanopy, even accompanying him on a diplomatic trip to Washington, D.C. Abraham was later released from service in appreciation for his work. Assuming a connection to the Dade Massacre in 1835, United States Army soldiers, under the command of Brigadier General Abraham Eustis, burned Pilaklikaha to the ground on March 30, 1836, during the second escalation of the Seminole War. All the residents of Abraham’s town escaped weeks before its destruction. During the conflict, many native Seminoles and some Black Seminoles, including Abraham, were forcibly relocated to Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma, as part of the “Trail of Tears.” Abraham died in Indian Territory sometime after 1870.

    For More Information:
    karencloud@yahoo.com

  • Town of Centralia Historic Marker Dedication Ceremony

    The Historic Hernando Preservation Society will dedicate a State Historical Marker near Centralia Road and Commercial Way in Hernando County on Saturday, September 23rd @ 10 AM.  Centralia was a large logging and mill town which existed in Hernando County over one hundred years ago.  Although now a ghost town, this short lived town of Centralia had an impact on Hernando County’s history to this day.  The dedication ceremony will be held on Saturday, September 23 @ 10AM.  Light refreshments will be served.  The ceremony will be held approximately 6 miles north of Weeki Wachee,  just south of Centralia Road on Commercial Way.  This event is sponsored by the Historic Hernando Preservation Society.

    WHAT:  Dedication ceremony of State Historical Marker for the TOWN OF CENTRALIA

    WHEN:  Saturday,  September 23, 2017  @ 10AM

    WHERE: Centralia Road and Commercial Way, approximately 6 miles north of Weeki Wachee.

    Email:               hernandpreservation@gmail.com

  • Tarpon Springs to Boom Town

    by:  Mary J. Moses

    Historic Hernando Preservation Society ventured to Tarpon Springs Saturday, September 24th. The group was there to take in the museums, shops and fabulous food Tarpon Springs had to offer. The trip, in itself, was a nod to the fifty Greek sponge divers who left Tarpon Springs in 1910 for a new life in Centralia.

    Centralia beckoned people from the silver and gold booms to a new resource, red Tidewater cypress. The seemingly inexhaustible supply drew workers from Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, Finland, Canada, and yes, Tarpon Springs. Centralia, born in 1910, was named after a lumbering and agricultural town by the same name in Wisconsin. It’s many workers, 1,500 in number, required services which Centralia gladly provided. Centralia boasted a one room school house where about two dozen pupils attended, it doubled as a church for Protestants and Catholics. There was a boarding house, the Centralia Hotel and a restaurant called the Hungry None, which served meals day and night. A drug store and a movie house called the Flicker Palace flanked its streets. Centralia was best known for George Gambles Commissary. The huge store supplied dry goods and hardware needs to the town, it stayed open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. It carried more stock than any retail store in Tampa or Jacksonville.

    Edgar Roberts who owned the Central Cypress Lumber Company, had the most efficiently run saw mill in the area. Double band saws cut rough timber into finished boards. Power for winching and sawing was provided by large steam boilers. Logs were hauled in by train, dumped into a pond, and floated to the mill. Yet, due to the lack of land management, the lumber source ran out in six short years. In 1917 Centralia had 160 acres of land stacked with lumber piles 15 feet high. The mill could turn out 100,000 board feet a day, and on many days it did, but no more.

    Centralia’s final whistle blew on the last day of operation when Robert’s daughter “Queen” pulled it for the last time in 1917. The sound meant to call loggers to work now signaled Centralia’s end.  Centralia officially closed on December  11, 1922 with the closing of the Post Office. Today, all that remains of this once vibrant logging town are the float pond and the ramp up which the great logs were winched, the concrete slab where the water tower stood, and the brick foundations of the sawmill and depot.

    Historic Hernando Preservation Society is currently working on a project to place the nearly forgotten history of Centralia on a Historic Marker. Centralia was located 4-1/2 miles north of Weeki Wachee Springs and east of US 19 Highway, just north of Tooke Lake. The Historic Marker project should be completed in 2017. Donations for the marker can be made on the Centralia Marker Page. You can learn more about Historic Hernando Preservation Society by visiting their web page at historichernandopreservationsociety.org.

  • Croquet Anyone?

    The Hernando Historical Museum Association invited the Historic Hernando Preservation Society for a croquet match on the lawn of the May Stringer House, Sunday, August 28th. The event was to encourage growing friendships as well as provide a pastime of a by-gone era. It reflected days of summer afternoons sipping cold drinks in the shade, while rocking on the porch.

    The Stringer House was the perfect backdrop for this friendly game. The lawn stretched beyond the welcoming porches inviting participants to “come play.” Some wore period dress, adding to the enchantment of the evening. A light supper was spread across white linen cloths for the enjoyment of all. After the match, deserts were served as the sun began to set. Historic Hernando Preservation Society member, Debbie Charlow may have won the match, but everyone considered themselves a winner at this years event.

    Museum President Mary Sheldon was the event coordinator. She and her board provided everyone with hospitality and charm. They food they served was excellent, and the fellowship was enjoyed by all. Preservation Society President Don Moses and Museum President Mary Sheldon hope this event will be the beginning of many more. Anyone in the community is welcome to attend the Historic Hernando Preservation Society meetings at CIty Hall the first Thursday of each month beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Hernando Historical Museum Association is also extending invitations to the community to be a part of their organization as well. You can get more information about them by visiting http://www.hernandohistoricalmuseumassoc.com .

  • Headstone Returns “Home”

    When young men Hunter Mello and friend William Lorentsen stumbled upon a headstone in a vacant lot near their home, they had no idea what events would follow.  Since bones were also found near the headstone, local police were called to investigate the mystery. They determined the bones were not human, and suggested contacting someone to connect the headstone with its owners.

    The headstone reads "At Rest Mr. Jim Blount Died 1940".

    The headstone reads “At Rest Mr. Jim Blount Died 1940”

    Rich Lorentsen, grandfather of William, got involved to help the young men with their search. He researched the name on the headstone, and determined that the individual was buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery. He also researched the family, and found links to substantiate his information. Through a series of phone calls, Historic Hernando Preservation Society was contacted.  President Don Moses, Vice President David Letasi, and Secretary Jon Yeager worked together to investigate the matter further.

    Alice Walker from the Spring Hill Cemetery was contacted to connect the headstone with the family member. Ms. Walker, recognizing the name Jim Blount, immediately connected Historic Preservation with Margaret Blount Hart, 98 of Brooksville.  During the initial phone conversation between Don Moses and Margaret Hart, she confirmed that Jim Blount was indeed her father.

    Ruby Hart, cousin of Margaret, requested a meeting with William Hart, his wife Pat, and other individuals involved to return the stone home to the Spring Hill Cemetery.  The stone was carefully cleaned by Don, and carried by Rich Lorentsen with the help of his son. Grandson William and friend Hunter also assisted in the placement of the stone; the young men were very proud to be a part of the process.  Historic Hernando Preservation Society President, Don Moses, Vice President David Letasi, and their wives along with Secretary Jon Yeager were also present. A simple invocation was conducted after the placement. Margaret Blount Hart plans to visit the site with William and Pat Hart, as soon as she is able.

    The family that found the headstone in an empty lot and Historic Hernando Preservation Society President Don Moses at the Spring Hill Cemetery

    After years, the missing headstone of Jim Blount was reunited with the headstone of his precious wife Nora, who died in 1927. There they stand, under the shade of a water oak, together at last.  Welcome home.

    Certificate of Appreciation being given to the family who found the headstone at the May 5, 2016 HHPS Meeting.