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"Bayou Bill" Conners

Bayou Bill Connersby Ranger Jan

Also known as the Hermit of Hunter's Pass, "Bayou Bill" Conners had many friends, both human and bird.

In the 50's Bill had to move where he lived on Mullet Key when Pinellas County wanted to make it a park. He packed up his few belongings and rowed across to Hunter's Pass in Ruskin. Fifteen years later, this time Hillsborough County wanted to make his home a park, but this time Bill refused to move. His friends gathered around him and persuaded the County to let him live his life out in what is now E.G. Simmons County Park.

When hunters came into the area to shoot Bluebills, Bill would shoo dozens of the ducks into a coup until the danger had passed.

Bill was known for sharing a cup of salt-water coffee with visitors and to accept a little money or a cold six-pack for showing a fisherman a favored fishing hole.

Bill died at the age of 73, found before Christmas 1972, in the shack he had lived in Simmons Park.
 

Bird Sanctuary - EliseA Dec. 29, 1972 story about Bill's life and death was found by Simmons Park rangers on the back of a painting that still hangs over the doorway to the park headquarters.

The painting, entitled "Bird Sanctuary Simmons Park, Ruskin Florida" was done by a local artist and is signed "Elise". The painting depicts Bill's home and the birds that he had befriended.

 

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