Fort DeSoto, a military fort established about 1840 to give protection to settlers from Native Americans, was located at the northeastern edge of present day Brooksville on Croom Road about one-half mile east of U.S. Highway 41. Fort DeSoto was also a trading post and a regular stop on the Concord Stage Coach Line which ran from Palatka to Tampa.
The fort was built on top of a heavy bed of limestone, a fact which they were unaware of at the time, and this made it exceedingly difficult to obtain water, thus causing this location to be abandoned as a community site. As a result, in the early 1840s the population shifted about three miles to the south where a settlement first formed by the Hope and Saxon families became known as Pierceville. About this time, another community about two miles northwest of Pierceville, named Melendez, was formed.
On September 12, 1842, Seminole Indians attacked the McDaniel party near the community of Chocachatti, south of Brooksville, killing Charlotte (Mrs. Richard) Crum.
In 1850 a post office was established at Melendez. In 1854 it was replaced by a post office at Pierceville. Both towns were situated in the area that would become Brooksville.
In 1856 the county seat of Hernando County became the newly named town of Brooksville. The name was chosen to honor Preston Brooks. Brooks, a congressman who nearly caned abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner to death in 1856 on the floor of the Senate after Sumner gave a speech which disparaged Brooks’ uncle, Senator Andrew Butler. The Pierceville post office was not renamed Brooksville until 1871.
The City of Brooksville was settled by four pioneer families: the Howell family which settled the northern part of town; the Jon L. Mays family which settled the eastern part of town; the Hale family on the west; and the Parsons family on the south. The city was incorporated on October 13, 1880.
Hernando County, the seat of which was Brooksville, began issuing scrip in 1862, the notes were signed by Anderson Mayo, Treasurer and Perry Green Wall, Judge of Probate. Mayo was a wealthy plantation owner, who moved from South Carolina in 1851. Wall served in the Second Seminole War and settled west of Brooksville in 1845. After the war Wall became a judge and postmaster in Tampa.
Brooksville scrip issued by C.L. Friebele in 1862. Christopher L. Friebele was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 1815, and came to Tampa in 1848. He operated a general store until February 1862. He became a blockade runner during the war and was captured in 1864 and imprisoned for the remainder of the war.
The First National Bank of Brooksville was organized on October 10, 1910 and chartered on November 21, 1910. When Florida Banking fell on hard times in March of 1929 Charles M. Price resigned and the bank was reorganized before its collapse and created a new charter, First National Bank in Brooksville. Only 4 notes plus 2 uncut sheets are known on this rare bank.
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Notes & Currency
- 18__ Fernandina $3 Obsolete Note
- 1882 $50 Jacksonville Note Charter #3869
- 1902 $10 Punta Gorda Note Charter #10512
- 1882 $5 Palatka Note Charter #3223
- 1902 $5 Key West Note Charter #7942