Pioneer Thomas Snook arrived in these parts around 1880 when he purchased 40 acres of land for $7 per acre. He may have been one of 28 residents counted in the 1880 census of Foster Park (now Weirsdale). Attracted to Florida by the flourishing citrus trade, Snook went about developing the business into a productive livelihood. At the same time he worked on his three story Victorian masterpiece which was completed in 1887. Now an historic landmark, it stood for some time as the tallest structure from Ocala to Leesburg. The great freeze of 1895 devastated the groves for miles around and it took years to recover. But by God’s grace, guava groves grew up where once many orange trees had been, providing an income (or a means to barter) until the groves were reestablished.
It would be 88 years before the groves felt the bitter sting of winter again. It came in 1983 & again in ’85 & ’89. The 1985 freeze was the final blow for the Snook family (then grandson John) and after more than 100 years the groves were abandoned.
In 1989 Brantley & Anne Overcash purchased the original Snook Grove plantation.
Brantley, who grew up in Brandon, Florida, is a Florida State University accounting graduate. Brantley worked as a Certified Public Accountant in taxation law. Brantley is past president of Florida Bed and Breakfast Inns and continues to contribute his knowledge to local and state Tourist Development councils. You may hear him freely dish out tax advice over breakfast also!
Anne is the last of eight children born in CO. Antrim, Northern Ireland. As a feature correspondent, Anne has written for business publications in Ireland and Florida. After moving to Florida Anne’s work was more readily seen in the New York Times owned Ocala Star Banner. In 1994 the doors opened for the Shamrock Thistle & Crown Bed and Breakfast. The Overcash kids Olivia, Natalie and Brantley Jr. have helped keep the Inn running like a well oiled machine.