In December 1854 the state legislature made Bayport the county seat of Hernando County, effective June 1, 1855.
It is believed that during the brief period that Bayport was the county seat, court was held in the home of Isaac Garrason.
During the Civil War, larger ports along the Gulf coast were blockaded and small rivers such as the Weeki Wachee became important trade routes. Union forces intercepted several blockade runners near Bayport and skirmishes took place between Union troops and Confederate forces. On April 3, 1863, the Union Navy launched a surprise attack on Bayport, resulting in a sharp action with Confederate forces known as the Battle of Bayport. A year later, the Brooksville Raid ended with the escape of Union soldiers aboard their ship docked at Bayport. 1, 2
This article was taken from Hernando County – Our Story, by Alfred A. McKethan.
• Mrs. Fannie V. Goethe, affectionately known as “Ole Miss,” was truly one of the colorful and interesting personages of old Hernando County. This highly regarded lady operated the Bay Port Hotel, which was the colonial home of John Parsons. This hotel was for fishermen and for those seeking recreation of almost any kind. Fine food was served family style, and the hotel was, for its day, a very satisfactory place to visit. 2
During America’s Prohibition era, Bayport was said to be a major destination for liquor imported from Cuba. As excerpted from http://www.fivay.org/bayport.html…Richard Cofer, a Hernando High School history teacher and a descendant of Frances Goethe, said his grandfather once told him that rum runners “stacked bottles of liquor as high as a small house” near the Bayport Cemetery. It was shipped to Brooksville in peanut trucks and then sent north on freight cars with forged manifests identifying the cargo as Irish potatoes.
Soon after a local trapper was suspected of telling federal agents of the smuggling, a mysterious Cuban man checked into the hotel, Cofer said.
“They brought in this Cuban assassin, and he killed (the trapper) and then left in a rum boat.” 2