New Port Richey FL- We took a walk through the beautiful and peaceful Starkey Park in New Port Richey one afternoon last week. It was a lovely day in the low '80's. We were walking the trail to the Mc Neil homestead, not having been to the site before, we were surprised by what we found. The peacefulness of the gravesite made us reflect on what might have happened to them. The area was a wilderness that is now bounded by Starkey Blvd (think of the German Autobahn) and the traffic can be heard at the homestead. If you have the time and a beautiful day, take a walk through Starkey Park and discover this parcel of history.
Originally surveyed in 1847 by Deputy Surveyor George Watson for the newly-formed state of Florida, this plat later became known as the Mc Neil Homestead. A board was formed to encourage settlement in the area and decrease the threat of Indian attacks while also improving roads. Click to advance slides.
The parcel was bought by James Mc Neil, a Civil War veteran (Confederate, Florida Infantry), in 1882. Since there are Mc Neil family members that were buried on the property before 1880, I'm sure the Mc Neil family lived there for some time prior to purchasing the land. Mc Neil used the land for farming, and possibly turpentine production. A Pasco County Historic Landmark registered with the Florida Master Site File (
click here for more info on historical markers); it's preservation was accomplished by the BSA Explorer Post 604 and members of the BSA of West Central Florida Council and various civic organizations in the area. The property passed through several owners including J.B. Starkey and is currently owned by SWFWMD.