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Cullen Boyette


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Cullen Boyette
Series Title:
West Central Florida land use oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file ( 90 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Boyette, Cullen, 1934-
Mansfield, Bill
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Logging -- History -- Florida -- 20th century   ( lcsh )
Land use, Rural -- Florida -- Pasco County   ( lcsh )
Social life and customs -- Pasco County (Fla.) -- 20th century   ( lcsh )
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )


Cullen Boyette, a retired resident of Wesley Chapel Florida, talks about growing up in Pasco County and land development. He discusses his father's experiences logging in Big Cypress Swamp and in the Pasco County area, the history of development in Pasco County, the social structure of rural Florida, and education in rural Florida. He also expresses concerns about over building, and the developers who build homes without the necessary infrastructure.
Interview conducted September 13, 2006, in Wesley Chapel, Fla.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System Details:
Streaming audio.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by William Mansfield.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 028708548
oclc - 206930598
usfldc doi - W34-00019
usfldc handle - w34.19
System ID:

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C O P Y R I G H T N O T I C E T h i s O r a l H i s t o r y i s c o p y r i g h t e d b y t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a L i b r a r i e s O r a l H i s t o r y P r o g r a m o n b e h a l f o f t h e B o a r d o f T r u s t e e s o f t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a C o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 7 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a A l l r i g h t s r e s e r v e d T h i s o r a l h i s t o r y m a y b e u s e d f o r r e s e a r c h i n s t r u c t i o n a n d p r i v a t e s t u d y u n d e r t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e F a i r U s e F a i r U s e i s a p r o v i s i o n o f t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s C o p y r i g h t L a w ( U n i t e d S t a t e s C o d e T i t l e 1 7 s e c t i o n 1 0 7 ) w h i c h a l l o w s l i m i t e d u s e o f c o p y r i g h t e d m a t e r i a l s u n d e r c e r t a i n c o n d i t i o n s F a i r U s e l i m i t s t h e a m o u n t o f m a t e r i a l t h a t m a y b e u s e d F o r a l l o t h e r p e r m i s s i o n s a n d r e q u e s t s c o n t a c t t h e U N I V E R S I T Y O F S O U T H F L O R I D A L I B R A R I E S O R A L H I S T O R Y P R O G R A M a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h F l o r i d a 4 2 0 2 E F o w l e r A v e n u e L I B 1 2 2 T a m p a F L 3 3 6 2 0


Land Use Oral History Project Patel Center for Global Solutions University of South Florida Interview with: Interviewed by: William Mansfield Location: Wesley Chapel, Florida Date: September 13, 2006 Transcribed by: Wm. Mans field Edited by: Audit Edited by: Kyle Burke Audit Edit Date: January 28, 2008 WM: University of South Florida and the Patel Center for Global Solutions talking to Mr. Bill Mr. Boyette we always get people to start out by having them state their names and telling us when they were born and where they were born. BB: Do you wan t my real name, Cullen Boyette (Mrs. Boyette laughs) or Bill Boyette? like that. BB: Yeah. My name is Cullen Boyette, but my friends call me Bill. even know him by Cullen.) WM: Okay. And when were you born? BB: I was born April 25, 1934. WM: Okay. You told me that you were born in Tampa but raised in Wesley Chapel? BB: Yeah, [I was] born in Tampa and then when I was ten days old they brought me WM: Okay. When we were talking earlier you told me about how your family got down BB: Okay. Our family came down here after the Civil War and homesteaded some property over on Boyette Road. Eventually, the homestead was divided up among the sons. WM: Um huh.


2 BB: And some of the family still lives on some of the old homestead you know there. it. Daddy bought this about nineteen the early forties. He might have bought it just WM: Um huh. ht along in there Daddy bought this from some folks. Then we moved here and have basically lived here ever since. WM: Okay. I think your granddaughter said that you are retired? BB: Yeah. WM: What did you do before you retired? BB: I worked at Sears for forty years. WM: Okay. BB: I started at Sears in Tampa, when they were downtown on Florida Avenue, at the old Florida Avenue Store. Stayed with them. [When I] went into the army [I] went on WM: Okay. BB: Sp ent a couple of years active back and enjoying yourself ever sense? BB: Been trying to. We like to travel and you might have noticed the travel trailer out WM: Okay. Now, you said that you were born here in Wesley Chapel. Te ll me about what your father did [for a living]. BB: My Daddy was a farmer and a logger. He primarily logged um cut timber. In fact cypress came out of the Big Cyp ress Swamp.


3 Years ago, back in the 1800s there was some tremendously big cypress down in the Big Cypress Swamp. This logging company came in, bought the logging rights to it and built a tram road. They cut all of the big cypress out and hauled it to Tampa on that tram road. Had a little train like [machine] that carried it down there. But they used an overhead skidder to get the logs out of the swamp. Occasionally some of those logs would just fall them, they just left them. Cypress Swamp. It was right after World War II and pilings were in demand, pre soaked piling. And down at the corner of [Highway] 301 and [State R oad] 60, there is a car dealership there now but years ago it was Tampa Creosote Company. You took long pine used either for utility poles or the shipyards drove them in th e ground and built docks. So out in the middle of that Big Cypress Swamp we were down there cutting timber, just saw logs. That year had been a dry year and the water was low. Out in the middle of the swamp there was an old island. And there was some tal l virgin slash pine out on that island that would make extra good pilings. So we cut a trail through the swamp and bought a skidder and started cutting that slash pine off of that island. WM: Um huh. BB: Well, going through the swamp we found these bi g cypress logs that had been laying underwater and in the mud, for years and years and years, still preserved. Daddy said, big old logs up out of that swamp. [They were huge] and the only sawmill around that had a saw blade big enough to cut them was Cummer Cypress Company up in Lacoochee. So we carried them up there and had them sawed, rough cut, and brought them home and stacked them so they could dry and when they d ried and cured out we carried them to the planner mill and had them made into boards that you could build a house with. We also cut the cedar out of that swamp. Any mill could saw that so we had it sawed in into boards. WM: Tell me what Wesley Chapel was like when you were a little boy, when you were growing up.


4 BB: When I was a little boy we had one church, one little g rocery store and maybe thirty five to forty families. Um everybody was either a farmer or a logger or had to work for someone. They either worked for the county, or you worked for one of the logging crews. Like my Daddy was a logger. Well he worked four or five people, you know. That was about the only work out here. Everybody tended to farm a little. Everybody had a few hogs, a cow or two, or a few cows. We had a one room school, one teacher. The school was right out here by the church. WM: What, that wo uld be out on Highway 54? BB: Um huh. WM: Well, you say everybody farmed a little, was that like a garden to feed themselves or was it crops for sale? BB: Both. They would grow everybody had a garden. That was almost standard. Because times was hard and money was tight so everybody had a garden. Everybody had chickens. Everybody had a hog pen you know? WM: Um huh. BB: But they farmed. We raised stuff like black eyed peas, corn, peanuts, okra, and watermelons. Watermelons would be one of the better mone y crops. WM: Um huh. orange grove. Eventually, Preston Gillette had an orange grove. But most of the people were row cropping: peanuts and black eyed peas and corn, stuff like that. remember my Daddy ah logwoods and work in the logwoods. When it was about time for school to get out, when ound]


5 before 8:00. He would get up and go down to the market and sell th e peas, or okra, or whatever we had picked that day. Then he would come back and eat breakfast and then go to the in the world did that man go out in them hot log woods, cut logs, do physical labor until 3:00 in the afternoon, come in and pick peas and load the truck, sleep three or four hours, get up and go to the market, come back and go back to the woods and work i n that hot sun again? WM: Yeah, folks worked a lot harder than they do these days. BB: We could never do it. BB: ( WM: Now the logwoods, were those around here in this area? Where were they? BB: They were different pastures around here. People who owned pastures you could either cut your logs and [then] pay him and you whatever for the timber on your property. Then if he got more than he estimated, he made good money. If he got less, if he estimated wrong, he took a hit. We could get whatever timber was th case we got the cedar and we got uh whatever. So that was the two ways they did it. But we logged down where a lot of these subdivisions are now, my Daddy and I cut the timber off those pastures years a go. Down where Quail Hollow is now, we logged in WM: Um huh.


6 BB: We logged back in there a long time. Down at Twenty Mile Level, we logged [there]. WM: Now where is Twenty Mile Leve l? Avenue comes out on [State Road] 54, right where Livingston dead ends [there] used to be a dirt road that went back there to a cow pasture. Big Cypress Creek is just to t he east of that. That pasture land that was out there, just west of the creek, but before you get to [Highway] 41 was nice level pastureland [that] used to be called Twenty Mile Level. time rs called it. It was flat country all the way from there to Ehren. far from home? BB: No. The farthest we ever really got from home is we cut timber one time Year s ago, over at New Port Richey, there was place over there called the Moon Lake Preserve. They had a high fence all around it to keep the wildlife in. They were preserving wildlife. It was a huge compound. Daddy bought timber in there one time. That was fa r enough Creek. WM: Um huh. BB: We cut timber and we camped in tents, right on the creek. Daddy was the cook, of course, me and my cousin were the dishwashers. We camped over there and cut timber cutting was [around] Wesley Chapel. Up to Pasco, up to [State Road] 52 you know San Antonio, within ten or fifteen miles of here. WM: Okay. Y ou were telling me about the free cattle range? Free range cattle? BB: Prior to the no fence law, all of your cattle and livestock, except your milk cow and You regist ered a mark [for your livestock] with the county. Each family had their particular mark. It might be three slashes in the ear, or two [slashes], whatever. But everybody had their mark. The cows just roamed free out there on the open land. So of [the land ] belonged to people and some of it belonged to the county, but it was just open range. WM: Um huh.


7 BB: So all of our livestock, basically, roamed free. Two or three times a year you had to go out and gather them up and then mark your new livestock, the calves and your pigs. We were talking earlier about cowboys? WM: Um huh. BB: The cowboys that helped us, where we were, cause every family helped each other, whatever old were regular old [horses]. Might be the horse you ploughed with you know? WM: Um huh. BB: We had a few people that actually had cow horses and worked cows. I had a couple of cousin s that were basically true cowboys. They had good riding saddles and cow whips and lassoes and all of that stuff. They could do all of that, they could ride and rope. The old horse I rode, I had an old McClelland army saddle. Very uncomfortable and not m go out and gather up the livestock and mark the young ones and BB: We fenced out the livestock, to keep them out of your field. Pastures, the woods peas. If you have a black there they loved it. They ate a bunch but they stompe d down and destroyed more than they ate. So you had to fence them [crops]. But when the no livestock was considered trespass animals and whoever caught them [could keep them]. Regardless of how many marks you had on your livestock, it didn't make any difference. So we had to gather up all of our stock and everybody had to build fences then. But prior to that you only fenced your field. WM: I just want to make sure I understand you correctly, the people who lived around here all farmed a little bit and worked at some other job? BB: Yep. You either farmed or you worked the logwoods or you worked somewhere else. There was no industry of any type out here. WM: Um huh.


8 BB: Back when I was very little, or prior to that, they would do turpentining out here. They would bring people in to collect turpentine. [They would] just move through, turpentine t for any period of time. But [other folks] worked for the county, worked for the County Road Department, or whatever. Some of them went to Dade City and worked at Pasco Packing. P asco Packing was big back then. one little grocery store. He had one gas pump. There was no regular, mid grade, and high test, there was [just] gas. WM: (laughs) BB: And on the side they had a little tank that had kerosene, and a few little boxes of oil. WM: Um huh. see now. He had a small meat case and he had some meat. He had some dry goods and some cold drinks. But he also had staples and some nails and a few rolls of fencing. You know a little bit of chain and a few nuts and bolts and you know things you needed every day. everything. BB: A general store, exactly. WM: Well tell, me if you can, what was the landscape like? BB: Mostly open woods and, like I said, small farms. Like here, Daddy had thirty five acres. When we first moved h ere, only, maybe ten acres of it, at the most, had been cleared and was a field that we could do anything with. Him being a logger and having equipment, when we first moved here we just farmed the ten acres. Then, as time went by, we would start clearing a little here and a little there and cleared on further out. In the forties there was really no industry of any type. [There were] a few orange groves and then in the fifties a lot of people started putting in orange groves. We cleared our place and even tually turned all of the fields into orange groves. A lot of other folks did. They put in a lot of orange trees, north of [State Road] 54.


9 orange tree[s]. [It was] too lo w and too wet. WM: Um huh. the interstate, when you come past [the gated community] Saddlebrook, you come up a little bit of a rise. WM: Um huh. on this little ridge and when you go on down, towards Zephyrhills and you get by Curley Road, you go down another little ridge. Well they planted a lot of orange groves in this ridge part, where it was sandy and they could drain. ad some bad freezes. I mean some bad ones! [The temperature] got down to eighteen degrees and stuff like that. At that time Wesley Chapel was still pretty much there were some families that had development; it was just an odd family here and a family there. A family came out and you know? But then in the mid orange groves, or some of the cow pastures. Quail Hollow was one of the first developments that came in. They sold home sites. They sold an a cre lot. They might have, but most of them were five or ten acres. People they called them estates they could come out and build a house and have a horse and this sort of stuff. Then they built the golf club. They put in a little subdivision down by t he airport, beside the interstate. Well, the interstate came in the sixties. Prior to the interstate, to go to Tampa, to go to work, I wold have to drive out [State Road] 54, either to Livingston Avenue or on out to [Highway] 41 and drive down Livingston or down 41, all the way into Tampa to work. WM: How long would that take? minutes, depending on traffic. WM: Um huh. and the little subdivision they put in down by the airport, there was an outfit in Tampa


10 called Williams Brothers Car Lots. They bought and sold cars and you could make the payments there and all of this kind of stuff. So Mr. Williams come up here and he bought some property off the Pasco Road. He subdivided it, had some streets put in and he sold acre lots and two acres lots. Tha t [enterprise] went fairly well for him. Then he come up and bought some froze out orange He put in the roads, put in his own water system. He put septic tanks on the lots. Then d sell you the lot and hold the contract. Then you could buy a mobile home and put on repossess it. Some of those lots, (laughing) he sold four or five times you k now. five acres and developed this to the side of [our house here]. BB: I think it was called something like Williams Acres Number Three, or Number Five. It was one of nearly all of this was mobile homes. WM: Um huh. I WM: Certainly before my time in Florida. BB: Many years ago ah and this was a lon g time ago, Morris Bridge Road, before the interstate, if you wanted to go to Tampa, you had to go over to [Highway] 41 or [Highway] 301. Well, Morris Bridge Road was a dirt road, but it went all the way across the Hillsborough River, it had a bridge. Morr is Bridge Road came around and came into Tampa as Skipper Road, which is out by the University [of South Florida]. WM: Um huh. BB: Well it was a dirt road. So Pasco [County] talked to Hillsborough [County] and said s Bridge Road from [State Road] 54 up to the county line. Morris Bridge Road was paved from Skipper Road up to the river. From the river up to the county line was a dirt road.


11 So Hillsborough and Pasco was going to pave Morris Bridge Road to give us anot her road to travel. Pasco [County] paved it up to the county line. Something happened with Hillsborough [County] and their budget whatever generate enough traffic to pay for it. A few years later, quite a few years later, Hillsborough [County] is growing out towards the University area. So they want a road out past the University, so they build [State Road] 581. They build it up to the part out to [State Road] 54. So Hillsborough [County] built theirs [quickly]. They got to So that road sat there for a long time. And the people in Tampa and Hillsborough County the time. That was prior to Pebble Creek and New Tampa wa was just a bunch of cow pastures. So all the young people in Tampa would go out there to Eventually, after a period of time, Pasco [County] finally paved it on through. Onc e they paved it through, boy it started developing out that way. Once it started developing there, and it gave another road going into Wesley Chapel ah the first thing you know another little development started popping up here. They came and built Sadd lebrook. Of course Saddlebrook was not built to be a housing project like the ones you see along [State Road] 54. That was going to be for a certain group of people that like to play golf they wanted the money people there. WM: Um huh. BB: They gated it. money people. And it brought money. And when it brought money, then the next one started sprouting. The people who managed to keep their groves, the price of oranges dropped, the price of land went up you know? And the first thing you know by selling your land! Why fight freezes, [purchasing for and applying] fertilizer, no rain [and a] poor crop this year? Sell it! Put the money in the bank and live for When I was a kid, I could walk down here to [State Road] 54, sometimes for an hour you had to tell [you the] best way to try to get out, s o you can get through all of this traffic, to get back on 54.


12 I told you we had a one room schoolhouse? WM: Um huh. BB: Years ago it was [grades] one through eight. By the time I got there it was down to grades one through six. When I was there we had one teacher. In the whole school there might have been, in grades one through six, a dozen kids. The year I started in the first grade there was me and one boy, we were the only two. Since our mothers had already taught us how to count and how to write o ur names and how to do certain things, [within] half a year we had we had read every book that the teacher had for the first grade. She ran out of stuff for us to do. So she asked the school [completed] every first grade and the second grade the same year. (chuckles) And the second year of school I started in the third grade. Well, when you got out of th e sixth [grade], there was a school bus. The high school was in Dade City. The school bus started over on Highways 52 and 41. The bus picked up all WM: Wh at was it called years ago? BB: It had three names, Gowers Corner was up at 52. WM: Which corner? BB: Gowers. (spelling) G o w e r s. WM: Okay. BB: Gowers Corner was [at the intersection State Roads] 52 and 41. Then you come down to where the railroad track crossed 41 and Ehren Cutoff goes off, that was called Drexell. WM: Um huh. BB: Then you come on past Drexell and you get to down to [the intersection of State Roads] 54 and 41, and that [was called] Denham (spells) D e n h a m. There was no Land O That bus would start up at [State Road] 52, come down 41, picking up all of the kids that were high school age, to [State Road] 54 turn down 54, come to Wesley Chapel and up [students] through Wesley Chapel and turn on C urley Road, to go to Dade City.


13 children. That tells you how populated we were. WM: Um huh. BB: Now if you lived on 54, beyond Curley Road, you caught a bus that come fro m Zephyrhills and you went to Zephyrhills High School. But because we lived this side of Curley [Road] we went to Dade City [High School]. Well, if you wanted to play sports, or be in the band, or anything where you had to practice after school, you misse d the bus. I always liked to play sports. If I stayed after Lakes, well actually he lived in Drexell. WM: Um huh. BB: He had a car. I could ride with him from Dade Cit y to San Antonio. Then he went on Curley Road, hoping to hitch a ride home. Once in a while a car would come along. If a car come along usually I know them and they know me and they picked me up. [But] [in sports]. up there and practice. I had to get on home. WM: Yeah. Going back, a little bit, you said that the Williams Brothers first started the developing [in this area]? BB: They first started selling lots up here. You could just come buy a lot. WM: Um huh. BB WM: Right. WM: Um huh. BB: Quail Hollow was actually the first that started.


14 WM: And about when was that? WM: About how old were you at the time? early sixties. started developing, in the early sixties? BB: First started developing, um huh. WM: Was there any kind of public hearings or zoning BB: That part um I was ith what was going on in Pasco County government because I was working either in Tampa, or later on in St. Petersburg. I was only coming here [to Wesley Chapel] to sleep. (laughs) WM: Right. BB: I knew more about what was happening where I was working th an I knew about what was happening here. As far as what was happening with local government about who was controlling the zoning, or whatever I know that the building codes at that time were very lax. Now [if] you want to put in a standard. Because when these people wanted the county to take over the streets, [the c I know that the building codes were pretty lax when all of that was done. What kind of was nothing like what they have to do today. WM: Um huh. BB: Because, as time went by, they no longer used the water system that he put in. The county put in a water system. The county come in and finally took over the roads, but they charged each home owner a big fee to take it over. They had to come in and bring it up to standard and repave [the streets] and all of that kind of stuff.


15 WM: But thinking back to the sixties when folks started moving out here, what did you think about it then? BB: Well, at the time, when they first started us over with mobile them Because the first real influx [of people] was mobile homes. I mean boy just piles of them. Because they were cheap and the taxes were cheap here. Their payments were nance the land. WM: Um huh. here th less crew? BB: Right, just a totally different type of growth. Now [if you pay attention] when you drive out of here. You drive by any of these big BB: No! They want $200,000.00, see? When I let me think a minute. You could buy land in 1960 of land here for $500.00. Now an acre of land here is anywhere from $28,000.00 to $50,000.00. Just for an acre of land, depending on where WM: (laughs) But the first real growth out here in the late sixties and early seventies was [people] iliar where Angus Valley is?


16 buy a lot and put a mobile home in it. That was over in the flatwoods that my father and I logged many years ago. The cou nty permitted all of that and let them put lots in there way around it; no place for the water to go. So you were asking abut the permitting process and all? Back in the sixties and seventies you carried them a plan, I think you pretty much got what you wanted. WM: So the first wave of development was largely mobile homes, trailer parks? BB: Um huh. WM: How did you think that would change the community? BB: I think that was the beginning of us becoming a bedroom [community] for Tamp a. WM: Um huh. when I first went to Tampa, and used to go to Brandon. Brandon was mostly cow pastures. [State Road] 60 was a two lane road. [There] were just one or two l ittle stores become. The people who moved out here in those mobile homes had to go to Tampa [to work]. jobs are. See? WM: Um huh. moving out here. It was fami lies with kids, and the roads were starting to clog up. WM: Um huh. because of all the dust from that road, from all of them cars going back and forth to That was my thought. Here comes another, like Brandon.


17 WM: Um huh. BB: Here comes another bedroom community. People have a place to s t raise a family working at McDonalds. BB: Right. WM: What kind of talk was there in the community from term residen ts about this development? BB: [They were] wondering if they had made a mistake selling their property. WM: Um huh. u know? WM: Okay, but the first wave of development was the mobile homes and then people started building houses? BB: Yeah. They came out first with a few builders. The growth that you see out here sprawling subdivisions with big signs on the side of the road. Somebody would buy some Some of the talk I heard was that Hillsborough County drov e a lot of people up here because they kept raising their tax base, trying to support what they had. minute drive, twenty minute extra drive. I can get across the county line and my taxes are cheape r. I can have a bigger house. Once it started there where Meadow Point is WM: Say what now? oh this was twenty years or so ago somebody came out and bought some land from Porter and built Shops, at [State Road] 56 now.


18 Right in the middle between, between those two is the little settlement called Williamsburg, they built that oh, probably twenty years ago. Everybody thought that was a stretch. Somebody come out from Tampa and built that and Williamsburg was the first development out across the county lime on [County Road] 581. For years it was the only one there. I had a cousin that went down there an of that. They bought some property, built some houses and it [seemed like] was too far to Well the next thing you know, across the street from Saddlebrook, somebody bought that property put in some streets and poof subdivision. When they built those, those houses sold for a hundred thousand or less. Working people, a couple of guys from Sears, come out there and bought houses. They put that [subdivision] in. After a little while that was the new development out here. But then when the ninetiescame and once the ball started rolling all the builders just started coming up here and paying exorbitant for property. Here it come! Now there is no stopping it. WM: (chuckles) got an inventory and they are trying to get rid of it. I was looking at real estate transact ions in the paper the other day. WM: Um huh. BB: Usually you go down the transactions and when you get to Wesley Chapel and over transactions for Wesley Chapel] there was a [short list] and there were only two builders in there. All the rest [of the transactions] were people to people. WM: Huh. starting offer less money down, or the WM: Um huh. BB: They are trying to unload their inventory. So it may slow down some now, but the now.


19 WM: I was going to ask how has this change affected you? Traffic is one. What are some of the other changes? BB: Being retired a major change for me is the traffic. As you can tell, once you get contained. got my three acres. I got orange trees. We travel. We have a little house up in South Carolina. Got a little place up near the Ocala [National] Forest. So we go up to Ocala for a week or two. We go up to our little house kend to go up to South Carolina for two weeks. Go up for the changing of the leaves. Zephyrhills or to Dade City or to Tampa for my basic needs any more. See I used to have to at least go into Zephyrhills to even buy my groceries. Now, if I can get out on the highway, I can go down here two miles we got Publix [Grocery Store] we got have a hard ware store. I still have to [go to] the Home Depot for hardware. But I only have to go out to Morris Bridge Road for Home Depot. So [development has] made things a lot easier, as far as me going to get stuff I need for subsistence. I used to groceries. Now I go to the grocery store three of four times a week and I buy a little bag. WM: Um huh. s, or you know you get a relationship with one. WM: Oh yeah. He knows what ails you. BB: Yeah. And I trust him. But just about everything else [is out here]. There are d octors go to my doctor in Tampa. WM: So the growth out here has made things more convenient for you? BB: Oh yeah. Everything I need is right at the corner. WM: What about the new people living out here? I mean BB: When I was a kid I knew every family. I knew their kids. I knew their uncles. I you know. Most of them are recent [arrivals ] and they are the only members of their family here, so there are no get togethers on Sundays. The only get together might be, if this guy and his neighbor may barbecue you know?


20 Maybe at Meadow Point there will be a little group of them that will get t ogether in a everybody out here and you all went to one church you know? WM: Um huh. BB: So ah when I go in Publix to shop, most days I will not see a person I know, exc to talk about stan ding in the yard and looking at the lights [of Tampa] Most of my cousins, all of my children just about I got one child still in this area but all of them have moved somewhere else. Depending on their career, what they do you know. We got one son in [Sout who is five miles away. But most of the old core families that were here in the twenties, thirties and forties, most of their children have migrated somewhere else, either for jobs or wha tever. WM: So there are more people and less community? BB: Exactly. WM: When we were talking earlier, before the interview began you were telling me about how people in the community got together. I wonder if you could tell that again? Contrast the co mmunity then with the lack of community now. BB: The difference between then and now is then like I said there were ten or fifteen core families. Through marriage most of use were related in some fashion, way or form. Since there were no movie theaters ou t here, no electricity, no TV church was kind of come to church. WM: Um huh. be four or five, six, seven sections of the family wo uld gather for a Sunday dinner. All of meals. After dinner all of the men would gather out on the porch and catch up on the ting dirty and getting in trouble and fighting and getting yelled at and whatever. The women would be in the kitchen, cleaning up and or making ice cream, or serving pie, or whatever. But it was a social gathering and we were close. Everybody knew what was going on.


21 scattered you know? My brother is down in Sarasota. My sister is in Seffn er. And like I said, I got a daughter in Knoxville. I got a son in South Carolina. WM: Um huh. were housewives and mothers. WM: They worked in the house. BB: They worked i n the house WM: Yeah, right I understand. earner. WM: Um huh. BB: The men all worked and Mama raised the kids and cleaned the house and washed the ore, with no electricity and no running water. That was a deal. WM: That was a lot of work. BB: Daddy bought Mama an old Maytag, gasoline engine, ringer washing machine. Fortunately, with us living right here and the school right there [close by] We ha d an old pitcher pump and I would pump her wash water on Sunday nights. Monday was washday. That was written in stone. You washed on Monday and ironed on Tuesday. I would pump her wash water for Monday, on Sunday afternoon and I would fill two of the rins e tubs with cold water. The washing machine was set up and Daddy had made her here, a tub here and a tub there. WM: So, on three sides of the washing machine? BB: The [tubs] with cold water. Then we had a big old syrup kettle, that we used for making furnace full of wood Sunday afternoon. [The syrup kettle sat atop the furnace.] Then Monday morning early!


22 light the fire under that kettle and start warming that water. [After] I got the chickens feed go out and dip the hot water and fill her washing machine and fill that first rinse tub wi th WM: Um huh. WM: (laughs) WM: You mentioned something about how families would swap work in the gardens and on the farm? BB: When it wa Side 1 ends; side 2 begins. BB: Ah the men would do whatever [it is] they do in the daytime. Like my Daddy would be logging. WM: Um huh. BB: But then, whenever it was time for school to get out and all of us kids come home. If we were picking me and my brother, my cousin and two or three other cousins but those kids, from around, and if those men could help out, everybody would converge and l pick till dark. you know? WM: Um huh. BB: This day and time they go and hire some lab or group, either Mexicans or whatever


23 WM: Did you end up working in orange groves or was that after you had already [left home]? BB: When I got basically we started putting out orange trees when I was a junior in high school. I was taking FFA [Future Farmers of America] and my project was citrus how we planted our grove, was out of our own nursery. But I used it as a FFA project. So we started putting the grove in when I was a junior and senior in high school. But then when I went to Tampa and started school I still come up here and worked every weekend. Even after I went to work for Sears I still come helped Daddy. It was just something you do. WM: Um huh. BB: It was a way of life, so I come up here. Even when I got married and I had children, when it was time to pick oranges, me and my wife and my kids, my brother and his wife and kids, ah you did that. You know? WM: Back when you were growing up, were people ah were the houses kind of clustered together or were they spread out over the countryside ? BB: No. No. No houses were close together. WM: About how far apart would you say they were? BB: Anywhere from a quarter mile to a half mile to a mile. Our house the church was not the church building you see now but the old wooden church was out there, just out from [where the] cemetery [is]. And the school building would be straight across the street from where that convenience store is now. Our house was back here. The very next house, about a half uarter mile down was Uncle Hardy Cooper. You go up Boyette road and go up a half a mile and there was my Granddaddy Boyette. Go past his house, eighty acres away and th ere was Uncle Boyd Boyette. Then the next one hundred and twenty acres (or whatever it was) was Uncle Fritz you know? Going [west] toward the Interstate [75] of course there was no Interstate then down there where there is a little strip [shopping] c enter just as you start down the hill towards Holly Brook [Development], the was a house. A man named Joe Thomas lived there. Straight across, where Tupper Road comes out, there at the entrance to Saddlebrook, was our store. Uncle Jessie Stanley had a st ore there.


24 WM: He was your uncle? uncle, but everybody called him Uncle Jessie. (laughs) Then, once you passed there, there was not another house until you got down to Big Cypress Creek where the Redbrooks lived. Old Pasco Road. Pasco Road was a dirt road, but you go u p the dirt road a way and to the half mile or so and there was a man named Jack Stewart that lived there. Go on up, three quarters of a mile or so, and my Uncle Leslie had a house. He was on the backside of the there was nobody. Over where all of the schools are now, is called Wells Road. There was a family named Wells that had a house over there. Then on the other side of Curley Road, way back in the woods, a man named Ruben Barnes had a house. WM: Um huh. saw the people at church or you sa on Sunday. buggy. But ah after the Depression ah a lot of people left here. Just the core Cause in the Depression, what Daddy told me, things were tight as a tick out here. I mean buddy you farmed to eat! WM: Um huh. BB: About the only work around a little bit on the WPA [Works Progress Administration]. So a lot of people just had to pick up and leave. WM: What about World War II, how did that [change the community]? BB: World War II ah the part of it I remember was a lot of the family having to high blo the draft but they took him up and was going to draft him and he failed his physical. He come back 4


25 But the part about World War II, that I remember most is rationing, food [ration] stamps. You know For us, out here now in Tampa there was work for people. [They] went to the shipyards and stuff like that. For Daddy, it meant getting more timber down to Tampa Creosote that kind of stuff. t afford to drive to Tampa to get a job in the shipyard, or whatever. Your options were to move down there to work there. and lived in Tampa. He went down there witho ut a car and five years later he comes back WM: (chuckles) riving a nice car. But when he meat was rationed. We always had cows and hogs and all of this stuff. And while it tim but we could You could take two cows in there and buddy you could get sugar. You could get butter, you could get some groceries. (laughs) WM: You were bartering. (laughs) BB: Tires were hard to get. We had trouble getting tires. Man! We did some real things to You had to be on a waiting list and all of this kind of stuff. patch them any more. We were putting boots in them and patching tubes. Daddy would take a chain and put a chain drive it flat, on the old tractors, just to pull them logs. With no air in the tire, the wheel no air in it, it was jus


26 WM: You said that you all had livestock, tell me about that. BB: Oh everybody well nine out of ten people ood sow. These you kept close to the house. Then you would have a few something or others, a few cows, a few hogs that, before the no fence law, ran in the woods. Because you could sell a cow and get enough money to buy school clothes, or something like th at. Daddy had maybe ten, fifteen or twenty head of cattle, when we had to give them up, maybe a little more than that. [He had] several hogs. We would bring in three or four and put in a pen to fatten up for killing. Because when they just range out there eating what killing them, or butchering them, whatever. Most of the families had nearly everybody had a milk cow, had a chicken pen You milkman to deliver the milk and set it on the corner. Man we were lucky to have an have your own milk. You had to have your own eggs. WM: Um huh. pounds, you know because Mama made biscuits three times a day, or corn bread. You nd get a loaf of bread; you had to make the bread. WM: But most of your neighbors kept livestock too? BB: Um huh. with BB: Now all you see is a few people that hav e a horse a hog pen in the back yard any more. You know? BB: Y eah. Can you imagine that? Somebody in the middle of Meadow Point with a hog out there and the guy would be in jail! (laughs) ong.


27 What do you foresee for the future? got. Now, they keep increasing the worth $200,000.00. They lower the tax rate, but when they raise your assessment, your Marion County. I got property up in Marion County. I got property in Anderson County, South Carolina. They just done that t o me two years ago. Almost doubled the value of my house. [They] lowered the tax rate, doubled the value. The tax went up see what I mean? stage monster development called Belle Verde. You may have heard of it? WM: No. two years. There is nothing there but a sign. And I k You can turn right on Meadow Point Boulevard a nd it will take you all the way back to the [Hillsborough] County line. When I was a kind that was all cow pastures. I was telling you about the no fence law? WM: Um huh. BB: Back where all of those new houses are going up now, was nothing but open woo ds. When I was a kid we had to get all of the livestock up. You know families helping families. We was over there getting hogs and cows up from there. Now, you just leave WM: Hmm. BB: All the way! Yo u just finally come out at Meadow Point, there at the County Line Just thousands and thousands and thousands. WM: Like mushrooms.


28 BB: I think now, there is going to be some slow down. Now, instead of these massive developments I think it is going to start getting more selective. Smaller developments I got a daughter in to Jessica Brown who suggested interviewing Mr. Boyette.] WM: Um huh BB: [She says] a lot of people bought these houses expecting not to be in them long. So they bought them with a very small down payment. Some of them are interest only payments. Some of them are balloon [mortgages] that are going to hit them here in three moving out of them houses. And they are going to be b ack on the market. even though Pasco County is [increasing] their impact fees [and], they are upping their see the people coming here. But the growth is, even now, beginning to creep on in to Hernando County. And where all of the growth for the past ten years has been either over on the other side [of the oad] 54. The growth has been on the 54 Corridor. are no cows in it. WM: (l aughs) will lease it out so they can get back the Greenbelt [tax reduction] on it. WM: Just to make sure I understand [you], Greenbelt is where they pay lower taxes e to have a functioning ng and selling and show a loss or a profit, so you can get Greenbelt.


29 le it. Then we come in and start tearing up all of the water lines, moving all of the power poles and try to build enough road to move the people. power in and t hen put the houses [in] a four lane. Th en all of the power poles have to be moved water lines have to be moved. The cost is unreal. WM: Maybe they want to make it that much more inconvenient. Maybe they want to have a constant source of annoyance. BB: Yep. WM: Maybe that has something to do with it. BB: But the difference in the neighborhoods is that most people that come and buy in these subdivisions term residents. They are buying the house, either to live there two to five years. They are going to sell it make money on and move were probably going to die there. BB: But people move. They are moving because of their jobs. They move down here a nd WM: (laughs) BB: So they put their house up for sale. have a name for people that are moving from Florida to Tennessee. They call them way back. So they call them hal fbacks.


30 grow going to continue to g row. Because it is still cheaper to live here [in Pasco County] than it is in Hillsborough County. So they are still going to come. But until they get over this hump now of being over built to happen n ext? Now they are [putting four lanes on State Road] 54 on the other side of [Interstate] 75. Once they get that [finished] they are supposed to move over here and four lane 54, from 75 down to Curley Road. Then they are going to stop there, for the time being. Then they are supposed to re align Curley to come out on 54 further down. They are supposed to re align 54 to come out of Zephyrhills differently than it does now and it will come out on what they call Eiland Boulevard and come straight across. [T he State Road] 54 that we know now, once you leave here it starts bearing to the south and bears around and then gently curves back into Zephyrhills. They are going to eliminate that and bring it straight out Eiland Boulevard and connect it just the other side of Curley. So they are going to re align Curley, re stop four laning at Curley until they get all of that re alignment done. Then eventually they will four Zephyrhills. By the time they get that four I was tal king to the preacher out here the other day, and because of the cemetery rather way. It will be a little jog. When they come up the hill it will jog a little over t o the north, past the cemetery and then kind of come back. something do lane [that road]. BB: Exactly. WM: Okay, well that point of confusion might seem to be a good place to conclude. BB: All right.


31 WM: I want to t hank you for taking the time to talk with me. Library. In order for scholars researchers to have access to it I need to get you to sign a release form. BB: No problem. your picture? BB: (laughs) No, not exactly. WM: Okay my camera can handle a lot. BB: (laughs) I may break it. off. end of interview

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Cullen Boyette
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interviewed by William Mansfield.
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West Central Florida land use oral history project
Cullen Boyette, a retired resident of Wesley Chapel Florida, talks about growing up in Pasco County and land development. He discusses his father's experiences logging in Big Cypress Swamp and in the Pasco County area, the history of development in Pasco County, the social structure of rural Florida, and education in rural Florida. He also expresses concerns about over building, and the developers who build homes without the necessary infrastructure.
Interview conducted September 13, 2006, in Wesley Chapel, Fla.
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Pasco County (Fla.)
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