What's Up Zephyrhills

a blog – by Greg First

Brantley Smith’s Roots Run Deep

Brantley Smith

Brantley Smith, ZHS Class of 1958

The following is an article written by Zephyrhills News correspondent Dave Walters.

Imagine driving north on US 301 and seeing just orange groves, hay fields and cattle pastures on either side. Every driver who passes you going the other way is someone you know and gives you a friendly wave.

That’s the Zephyrhills Brantley Smith remembers fondly. Smith, lifelong resident of his beloved Zephyrhills, has seen changes in his 69 years and is a staunch believer that you can’t stop progress.

Smith grew up on his family’s farm working cattle and tending to the orange groves. He is known more now as builder and owner of Silverado Golf and Country Club on Eiland Boulevard.

He is much more at home in the seat of a tractor in a hay field than he is on the fairway at Silverado.

That comfortable feeling of farm life started young when his father Cullen Smith put his boys Brantley and Buddy to work. There were no free rides.

“I remember my parents were very conservative coming through the depression like they were,” Smith recalled. “I never realized that we were really well off. You never realized it by the way that we lived. It was just conservative.

“We didn’t get a lot of stuff. If we got anything, we worked for it. I remember when I was 12, I was already thinking that I wanted a car. I worked each summer and earned $6 day and I was able to save up $300 a summer running tractors and hoeing orange trees and stuff like that.” 


He was as happy as can be. 


He added that those values aren’t completely lost on the youth.  He instills the same lessons on his grandchildren. 


His grandson, Chance, 13, is a prime example.  Smith would pick him up at 5:30 a.m. three days to mow fairways at Silverado. 


“There are still young people who will work, but they are few and far between,” Smith said. 


Family is as important as breathing for Smith.  It all started from the beginning.  Tilly Smith got that ball rolling. 


“My mom made us go to church,” Smith said.  “When I was 15 or 16, she made us go to Sunday School at church.  I started pitching a fit about going telling her that I wasn’t getting anything out of it. 


“Her response to me was, “Well son, it ain’t hurting you.” 


With his family all in and around Zephyrhills, Smith takes great pleasure in watching his grandchildren grown up and be close to them whenever the opportunity arises. 


Smith worked for his family until 1966, when he moved on to a seven-year stint at Zephyr Egg working for Jack Linville where he started picking up eggs and feeding chickens. 


“He started me at the very bottom and I was as happy as I could be working outside,”  Smith said. 


He moved up at Zephyr Egg and was the boss of eventual owner Danny Linville. 


“One of my toughest things to do at Zephyr Egg was having to work Danny every summer,” Smith said. “His dad would give him to me each summer and I would work him.  I would work him hard.” 


Those days at Zephyr Egg are some of Smith’s fondest memories. 


“I did everything.  I moved chickens at night and everything else Jack Linville could think of,” Smith said. 


Smith returned to the family business of fruit harvesting with his brother Buddy in 1981 and Silverado was built in 1986. 


He still works the hay fields and has four acres of citrus trees to harvest.  He is also involved in an investment company and real estate. 


The Smith family is a huge part of Zephyrhills.  They donated to get the hospital built in Zephyrhills.  The clock in Times Square on Fifth Avenue was donated in Buddy Smith’s name.  Brantley’s mother played a big role in donating the land that the Zephyrhills Family YMCA sits on. 


Zephyrhills was built on the foundation of small, family-owned businesses.  Smith would like to see that aspect of Zephyrhills return.


 “It seems like they are making it harder on small businesses,” Smith said.  “Penny Saver and Neukoms were small businesses here in town and they worked.  It’s hard for me to deal with that.”  The days of green scenery along US 301 may be gone, but with each passing moment, a Smith memory is made. 


“Those are the good old days,” Smith said.  “But tomorrow will be good too.”

September 7, 2009 - Posted by | Dave Walters, Zephyrhills Community News, Zephyrhills News


  1. Yeah, Zephyrhills! Yeah, Brantley!
    This is, in fact, one of the friendliest towns I have ever been a part of. For real! Everyone has welcomed me in since I moved here. That doesn’t happen everywhere – as I have experienced other places.
    I like Brantley’s optimistic attitude. The Smiths and so many others pull together to help make this community and events a success.
    Thanks, Brantley! Thanks, Zephyrhills! You rock!

    Comment by Tammy Struble | September 12, 2009 | Reply

  2. Nice article. Thanks for sharing. Note the error: Danny Linville was not the owner of Zephyr Egg.

    Comment by Gerald | October 8, 2009 | Reply

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