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
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.
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
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