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Clyde H. Lockhart—Barrister Turned Rancher

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I pass the green street sign at least 200 times a year while driving back and forth to Brooksville or Spring Hill. Lockhart Road, it says. It’s located near my house and just west of I-75, off Highway 50. This two-lane strip of pavement parallels and then crosses over the busy interstate as it travels south. It intersects quiet Myers Rd. in Pasco County. You might be familiar with Hwy 50 and the beginning of Lockhart Road at Florida Classic Park, home to many car shows, dog shows, bluegrass festivals, and arts and crafts.

During my Tampa Tribune days, I delivered many newspapers on the east side of the county and had to navigate Lockhart Rd. at night in all kinds of weather. Today, it’s much the same as I remember it, with small farms, barking dogs, cows, and lots of open land. However, “progress” is on the way in the form of several new housing developments.

Did you know that during the 1950s and 1960s, this open land was mostly a one-family cattle ranch of 2,300 acres? Imagine over three and a half square miles of land belonging to just one individual, Clyde Lockhart!

Clyde Herald Lockhart was born in Lockhart, West Virginia, an unincorporated community in Jackson County, on April 19, 1889.

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He spent his 20s and early 30s performing various jobs. After attending universities in Ohio and Oklahoma, Lockhart became a teacher, a salesman, and a training manager. By 1917–1918, he was married, a young father, and a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber in Akron, Ohio. He later got a law degree from the Atlanta Law School and was admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1923.

On a 1925 Florida visit, Lockhart decided to stay. He was lecturing on horticulture and fell in love with central Florida. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1926 and settled in Brooksville to practice law.

According to the 1940 Census, Lockhart, wife Flossie, and daughter Arline lived on Bell Avenue in Brooksville. Daughter Arline graduated from Hernando High. She later married Ira W. McCollum, Sr., in 1943. Their union was considered the merger of “distinguished Southern lineage” and “prominent Southern families,” a very important Brooksville wedding!

The 1930s and 1940s were an interesting time in society. One main form of entertainment was through club activities. As the young wife of a well-known town lawyer, Mrs. Lockhart received a paragraph or two in the Tampa Tribune newspaper for most public appearances. She was president of the Brooksville Women’s Club and later division chairwoman of all the women’s clubs. Besides her twice-monthly club meetings, she attended bridge parties, cancer fundraisers, lectures, and political rallies. She was prepared for anything. Mrs. Lockhart was once summoned to help arrange an impromptu and informal party for 70 guests to welcome some last-minute out-of-town visitors.

Mr. Lockhart stayed busy as well. He had a Florida law practice for 45 years, from 1926 to 1970. In 1928, he was also a trustee in bankruptcy for Hernando State Bank. And he was heavily involved in the political arena.

Once, as a registered Democrat, Lockhart supported FDR. In 1943, he switched to the Republican Party and had high hopes for a Republican president in 1948. (However, Truman won), Lockhart would speak politics anywhere and everywhere—at club luncheons, YMCA meetings, and the Women’s Republican Club. He had several unsuccessful bids of his own for public office, including a bid for the state senate and one for the House of Representatives.

In his later years, Lockhart turned to ranching. He had always been interested in the fine land and rich soil of Hernando County. He felt there were many profitable farming options, such as fruit trees, grape vines, chickens, and cattle.

Since 1939, Lockhart had been buying property, one block at a time, until he had amassed a total of 2,300 acres east of Brooksville. Some reports say it was closer to 3,000 acres. There, he raised cattle, a herd each of Brahman and Angus, with the help of his son-in-law Ira. They called it Lock-Collum Ranch, a joint venture.

Sadly, Lockhart’s only daughter, Arline, passed away in 1950 at the age of 34. His son-in-law, Ira, remarried and moved to the ranch in 1956. Ira Sr. remained in Brooksville until his death in 2011 at the age of 96 and is buried in Bushnell.

Lockhart worked with the well-known Lykes Brothers of Brooksville to improve his herds and raise quality hay. He also continued practicing law well beyond the normal retirement age. He attended regular meetings with other Brooksville attorneys throughout the 1960s.

Lock-Collum Ranch must have been quite a sight! Just think of it! Miles of open pasture, herds of cattle, large barns, storage sheds, and a central well and pumping system. To navigate the ranch, Lockhart constructed paved roads throughout the property. Perhaps remnants of them remain to this very day?

Clyde H. Lockhart passed away on July 19, 1971, at the age of 82 and is buried in the Brooksville Cemetery. Some of you may have heard of his grandson, Ira William (Bill) McCullom Jr., who carries on the family tradition of law and politics.

Bill McCullom Jr. was born and raised in Brooksville. He was the son of Ira Sr. and his wife Arline. At age 79, he now lives in Orlando. He’s an attorney and spent two decades in the Florida House of Representatives (1981-2001) and one term as Florida Attorney General (2007-2011) under Governor Charlie Crist. He had an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010 against Rick Scott.

I like to think that, as a 12-year-old boy, Bill McCollum Jr. played outside much like any other boy his age. He just had a much bigger playground and it was called the Lock-Collum Ranch on Lockhart Rd.

Clyde Lockhart Published in 1933, Tampa Daily Times.
Clyde Lockhart
Published in 1933, Tampa Daily Times.

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