H. J. Chaffer
Benton County was organized Feb. 24, 1845, and comprised the territory now included in the counties of Citrus, Hernando and Pasco. The name was changed to Hernando about 1830. It was originally named for the great Democratic leader of Missouri, Senator Thomas Hart Benton, the tireless ally of Delegate Joseph M. White and David Levy Yulee in securing adequate military and financial provision for the Floridians during the Seminole War of 1835-42.
However, in 1849, the "Jackson Resolutions" were adopted as the Democratic policy, and were approved by Benton's constituents. They instructed him to support them and their champion, John C. Calhoun, but this Benton refused to do, and although his powerful influence kept Missouri from seceding and probably cost the South her defeat in the War for Southern Independence.
This action of Benton's in abandoning his party in the crisis, and the increasing inevitability of war, caused the Florida Legislature to change the name of Benton County to Hernando.
"Thirty Years in the United States Senate"-- Benton.
Banskett, W. T. MSS at State Library
"Life of Andrew Jackson", Parton, 3 vols.
State Library of Florida, WPA - Historical Records Survey, County Histories
Brief history of Benton County, now Hernando County, Florida collected by the Works Progress Administration's Historical Records Survey.
Note to Researchers: Though the WPA field workers included extensive citations for the factual information contained in these county histories, it should be noted that these historical narratives were produced in the 1930s by federal government employees, and might reflect the inherent social biases of the era.