If you’re curious about the history of Wesley Chapel, there’s a new event designed to help you learn about the community’s past.
Pasco-Hernando State College is hosting the Wesley Chapel History Fair on March 31, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the college’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, 2727 Mansfield Blvd. The event will be in the college’s conference center.
The event will showcase stories and anecdotes about the area, as it has evolved from a rural community into a center for growth in Pasco County.
Madonna Jervis Wise will talk about her latest book, “Images of America: Wesley Chapel,” which recounts what Wesley Chapel was like when the community still had moonshiners, alligator hunters, turpentine and timber operations.
Wise also will be signing copies of her book, which will be available for purchase at the event.
Other highlights will include presentations from two women who will share stories about their family members.
Stephanie Black, director of the Pioneer Museum & Village, will recount tales of the legendary Lonnie Tucker, and Quinn Porter Miller will share vignettes about James H. “Wiregrass” Porter, and her family.
Thomas Touchton, founding Chairman of the Tampa Bay History Center, will share the J. Thomas and Lavinia W. Touchton Collection of Florida Cartography.
Angelo Liranzo, a librarian who spearheaded the digitizing of more than 100 years of area newspapers, will provide a hands-on demonstration regarding local historical resources.
Wise, who has also written local history books about Zephyrhills and Dade City, said it was harder to find a starting point in Wesley Chapel because the community did not have a city hall or established town center.
So, she relied on her knowledge of genealogy and tracked down people she could interview, which led to more interviews and documents to help tell the community’s story.
Putting together the book meant interviewing scores of pioneer descendants, culling through land records, visiting properties and even putting together a map to get a sense for what it used to be like.
As Wise did her research, she said one surprising discovery was that women in the community had long been acknowledged for their contributions.
“Pioneer women of Wesley Chapel were revered for their tireless days of toil, with a nurturing spirt and the skill to raise large families,” she wrote in her book.
Published March 23, 2016