Hopeville was the early name of the settlement that would eventually become Port Richey. According to Pasco County Historian Frances Clark Mallett, Hopeville was named for members of the prominent Hernando County family the Hopes. David and Henry Hope were involved in the creation of Hopeville near the salt springs. Ms. Mallet stated that according to oral accounts the name Hopeville dated back to the 1850s. It only appears on a few maps around the time that there was a post office at Hopeville.
Henry Hope Sr. was born in 1810 and died in 1869. He lived on 160 acres in the Spring Lake area purchased from his father-in-law Michael Garrison. The land was the result of an Armed Occupation Act grant of land. Henry and his brother David voted in Benton County in the 1845 election (Hernando was briefly renamed Benton County 1844-1850). Henry, his wife, and brother David are listed on the 1850 census in Benton County.
David Hope was born in 1819 and died in 1879. David was appointed the Postmaster of Fort Taylor in 1854. Fort Taylor was a Third Seminole War Fort and also refers to the town that was created near the fort. David’s plantation was west of Brooksville towards Bayport and was burned by Union soldiers in July 1864 in the Brooksville Raid.
Excerpt from Rev. Capt. Leroy G. Lesley: Tampa’s Fighting Parson by Spessard Stone “In December 1863, he (Lesley) and his neighbor David Hope, were engaged in the production of salt, twenty-five miles southwest of Brooksville. “Hope, Leslie & Ryals” advertised salt for $10 per bushel and that they’d give $5.00 per bushel for corn, or give one bushel of salt for two of corn.” These salt works were located near Hopeville.
Capt. Lesley led the Confederate home guard, which skirmished the Union soldiers during the Brooksville raid. The Union’s objective of the raid was to stem the flow of cattle, salt, and other supplies coming out of Bayport.
Anna Olivia Sowers Hope stated on her widow’s pension claim filed in 1909 that she married William Maxie Hope in Port Richey, Hernando County during November 1879. It would have been Hopeville at the time of their marriage.
Aaron McLaughlin Richey moved to the area in December 1883 and settled near the mouth of the Pithlachascotee River. Mr. Richey opened a post office there in 1884 naming the post office Port Richey.
Port Richey became the name of the community and Hopeville was forgotten.