Hernando County Pioneers
From Old Brooksville in Photos and Stories
December 2002 Vol 55
Publisher: Bob Martinez
Used with Permission
It is impossible to actually determine who was the first family to move into Hernando County was. There are names like Crum, Harville, Hale, Law, Peterson, Wall, Coffee and others. But in an 1891 interview and among early records, there is proof that William Hope visited this area as early as 1835. In 1834, he had visited Jacksonville, which back then was a small village on the St. John's river. Looking for farming country he wandered down through the Gainesville area, then called Newnansville, and claimed to have visited and scouted Hernando County as early as 1835. he finally settled here on Hope Hill in the very early 1840's. Before his arrival, he and his cronies fought Indians, cleared land, battled the elements and tried to tame this vast wilderness. Even after his arrival, Brooksville resident Charlotte Crum was killed by Indians in 1842. So it was indeed a pioneering sort who could take on this sort of environment. You had to have a positive attitude or you died. Most of their food was grown or hunted down. There were no stores, restaurants or any shops. Perhaps a blacksmith or a wheelwright here and there, but by and large if you were not self-sufficient,you very likely perished. The Hope family continued to prosper,and by the 1870 Census there were 29 Hopes listed living in Hernando County
William Hope became quite a successful farmer, owning about 2500 acres of quality citrus land and cattle. The freeze of 1895 would wipe that out. Bill Hope was born in 1808 and he died in 1898 at the age of 90.