I am picking up where I left off in May, and also writing about some of my Mom’s memories of her Dad, being June 20, 2010 is Father’s Day.
Hugh Caffey Barco
Katherine B. Tolle's late father
Mom’s father’s name was Hugh Caffey Barco. Caffey was his mother’s maiden name. He was born Sept 19, 1897 and died February 14, 1966. He was one of Katherine and Nickabud Barco’s five children. Four boys and a girl, with Hugh (granddaddy) being the oldest, Claude, Paul, Loch and Minnie (“Sister” was her nickname). Nickabud (their father) was born May 6, 1847 and died May 22 1927. Before he was married to Katherine Caffey, he was married to Florida Allen (from the Lecanto area), and had two boys. Florida passed away at an early age.
From the stories Mom was told, the Barco family owned approximately the whole block and more, on Crystal Street that houses today the home of Douglas Author Nicolson and others on that block (between the Train Depot and the Crystal River Middle School). As time passed, they sold parcels of the property. The home of the Nicolson’s was part of their original home place, from stories Mom remembers. The original house was two stories, and there was a fire at some point of granddaddy’s life that took part of the house. Many years later, the Holmes family lived there and raised their boys, Robert and Bill. It wasn’t until recent years that Doug Nicolson bought the house and restored it, adding a large addition to the back.
Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of history on Granddaddy’s youth but I will pick back up when he married Edna Eubanks (Mom’s mother and my Mema) After Mema and Granddaddy were married, a house was built for them, which is now the home of “Cakes & Creations” on Heritage Village Grounds, behind the family home place (Heritage House). From what Mema (Mom’s mom) told her, she thinks they lived in the “Barco Cottage” for a few years and this was the home where mom was brought to from the hospital. Remember that both grandparents lived close; in front of their home was the Eubanks, and behind their home was the Barco’s.
There was a period of time that Granddaddy was the Crystal River Mayor. The records show from 1926-1927 and took a break and then from 1929-1932.
Mom’s childhood was during the time of the Great Depression. Business in downtown Crystal River was not good enough to support Hugh and his family. This forced him to find other work in the Gainesville area, where his sister, Minnie lived. Minnie had a nice 2 story home two blocks away from the University of Florida. The 2nd story of her home was used to rent out to boys that attended college at UF.
Just as Granddaddy found work in the Gainesville area, he had a bad stroke. Mom was around 7 years old at the time. The family moved to Gainesville to be near his doctors and hospital. Mema helped Minnie run the house full of College boys and later ran a Café, to help make ends meet. Mom did not like school in Gainesville, so they decided to send Beulah Katherine back to Crystal River to live with her grandparents while Granddaddy continued to recover and work there in Gainesville.
Granddaddy made a great recovery eventually and they moved back to Citrus County, but on the eastside. During this time, James Conner won Clerk of the Circuit Court. Mema took a job, working for him, in charge of all of the County Commissioners. At this time, mom started school in the 4th grade.
Granddaddy ran a few businesses in Inverness. In Hernando, he ran a gas station and restaurant for some time. The location was across the street from the lake, just past the only light in Hernando, I believe. Part of that building is still there, and is made out of Rock. Later, he also ran a Boxing arena in downtown Inverness, which is no longer there, but was located somewhere between the old movie theatre and the new Courthouse today.
In 1944, Granddaddy decided to run for Citrus County Tax Assessor and won. Mom felt confident he was Tax Assessor for over 20 years. Mema (Edna) worked alongside him during that time. Another funny memory Mom recalls was as you are driving up on the Old Court House, there was a small area with a large Oak tree on the left. Granddaddy, James Conner and other old timers were known to sit and play Dominoes for hours after work. It was not unusual for these men to flick lighters and matches to finish up the competition after dark.
Also during this time, Granddaddy started Barco & Daniels in Crystal River. It was an Oyster and Fish business where Charlie’s Fish House is today. It had an apartment over the top of it. Later in time, when my Dad came in the picture, he helped him run Barco and Daniels.
When Granddaddy took office he had the idea of collecting a tax for the sole purpose of acquiring a hospital. He worked with Senator James E. Conner to pass implementing legislation. A three mill tax was started in 1949 for this purpose and Citrus Memorial Hospital became a reality.
Some of the events that happened during granddaddy’s term in office was the beginnings of the Beverly Hills development. The new Florida Power Plant was built in Citrus County, and US Hwy 19 was complete.
Towards the end of his last term as Tax Assessor, Granddaddy had a heart attack and passed away February 14, 1966. Because Mema worked alongside Granddaddy as Tax Assessor, she was appointed by the Governor Haydon Burns, to finish up his term. Because Dad helped Mema in the Tax Assessor office ( when Granddaddy got sick), it was only natural for him to decide to try his hand at politics. He ran for Tax Assessor and won, Mema assisted him for a while. My dad was Tax Assessor from 1966 – 1976. Today Granddaddy (Hugh C. Barco), Mema (Edna E. Barco) and Dad (Edgar E. Tolle Jr.) pictures hang on the wall, along with other Tax Assessors (property appraisers) in the Crystal River office as well as the Inverness office located in the Courthouse Annex.
Granddaddy was a good man… a Deacon of the Presbyterian Church, while Mema sang in the choir. They lived next door to the church, on S. Osceola, in downtown Inverness for many years. Citrus Memorial bought their property (their home was on) and also the Presbyterian church in recent years. Their home was moved to another location and is still in the Inverness area.