History of Bealsville Community

Map of State of Florida (Image)


Alfred Beal

The history books document the Bealsville community as a community settled by freed slaves in the year 1865. They state that twelve original families of Peter Dexter, Bryant Horton, Roger Smith, Robert Story, Isaac Berry, Mills Holloman, Sam Horton, grandfather of O. V. Hargrett, Sr., Mary Reddick, Jerry Stephens, Neptune Henry, Steven Allen, and Abe Messenger, upon gaining their freedom, remained on their former slave owner’s plantation to plan their futures. Peter Dexter, a skilled surveyor, Smith, Stephens, Reddick and Horton searched for property for home sites for the settlers. The Southern Homestead Act of 1866 enabled the families to acquire property ranging from 40 to 160 acres. The community was originally called Howell’s Creek, then Alafia and later named Bealsville in honor of Alfred Beal.

After the abolition, these freed men and women gathered at the plantation of Sarah Hopewell. She provided them with horses, hoes, a mule and a plow and allowed them to stay on her property until they completed the town they named Howell's Creek on December 24, 1865.

This community is located in the most eastern quadarant of Hillsborough County and unincorporated Hillsborough County outside of Plant City, Florida. Visitor's can reach Bealsville by traveling on Hwy 60 through Brandon until you pass Hwy 39.

Alfred Beal was born November 25, 1859 to Mary Reddick. Alfred worked his mother’s farm until 1884. He married Esther Horton in Hillsborough County and begun his own family in 1879. Esther Horton was the daughter of Bryant and Olive Horton. In July of 1884, the couple claimed a homestead near Mary Riddick’s homestead. Excellent farming skills permitted Alfred to hold onto his land when difficult times forced many of his neighbors into foreclosure, which resulted in unforeseen consequences. With the proceeds of his labor, Alfred Beal purchased some of the forfeited property. In 1923, the community was officially named Bealsville in honor of Alfred Beal, who is credited with helping to keep ownership of area properties in local hands. Alfred Beal purchased foreclosed lots and sold them back to Bealsville residents. He also donated land for a school, a church and a cemetery.

Alfred and Esther Beal lived among their old friends and neighbors for the rest of their lives. Esther passed away on December 24, 1908 and Alfred passed away on November 25, 1948

Bealsville, Inc.

Bealsville citizens, in an effort to provide education for the children, raised money and secured land for their own school when the county would not provide one. The William Glover School was closed in 1980, partly due to lack of students. With integration programs in place, students who once went to the school were bused to other schools. Bealsville citizens tried, to no avail, to appeal the county’s decision to close the school. Finally, in an effort to at least keep the buildings and grounds in the community, the citizens formed Bealsville, Incorporated, and a non-profit group. The group was successful in getting Hillsborough County to return the land and buildings to the community’s control. Bealsville maintains the campus and are developing alternative uses for the buildings that have been the center of the community and a source of pride for over sixty years.

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