Hotels and Tourist Homes

 HOTELS AND TOURISTS HOMES

of

OCEAN SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI

 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

When I moved to Ocean Springs in May of 1990 after a career as a petroleum geologist, I began to get in touch with the local history.  A few months earlier, I had completed a Bellande family history with Heidi Balje Good titled,From Marseille to Mississippi (1813-1990).  This proved to be a rewarding experience, and I discovered that "looking for ancestors" was almost as exciting and interesting as the search for hydrocarbons.

 

My first venture into our local history occurred as the result of a conversation with J.K. Lemon (1914-1998).  I have known Mr. Lemon since the early 1970s when he sold me some land on Fort Bayou.  Everyone at Ocean Springs acknowledges that J.K. Lemon is certainly the dean of local history if not the professor emeritus. 

 

At this time Marshall Park was receiving much accolade from its restoration by the Historic Ocean Springs Association (HOSA).  My question was:  How did Marshall Park receive its name?  Mr. Lemon knew it was railroad related, but the name Marshall didn't have any particular meaning.  Historically, it is not a local name.  I took this as a personal challenge to unravel the mystery of Marshall Park.

 

It took about two weeks of letter writing, phone calls, etc. before I felt comfortable with results of the Marshall Park question.  This exercise was the catalyst which launched me on the research mission and chronicling which presently continues.  As I researched additional subjects in old newspapers, pamphlets, and the courthouse, I began to take an interest in the old hotels and tourist homes that I encountered.  As more and more information began to collect in my files, I could visualize a treatise on the early tourist industry at Ocean Springs.  The result is The Hotels and Tourist Homes of Ocean Springs .  I did not include any structures built after 1920.

 

Some of my other research materials have been disseminated through "Sous Les Chenes", a column, in the local journal, The Ocean Springs Record.  "Sous Les Chenes" commenced on May 13, 1993..  Many people have requested that these newspaper articles be published in a book format.  This is certainly possible with some financial support from the community.

 

Now that you know how I got to this stage of my tour through our local history, I will tell you that many people contributed to my efforts.  Probably one of the greatest joys of this work is relating to people.  It has been delightful to get to know and share information with many of our senior citizens.  Among them and many others who I sincerely and personally thank for their knowledge and willingness to share some of it with me are: J.K. Lemon (1914-1998) and Elenora Bradford Lemon, George E. Arndt (1909-1994), Margaret Seymour Norman (1908-2001), Orwin Scharr(1914-2002) and Ruth Dickey Scharr (1913-2000), Vertalee Bradford VanCleave (1914-2004), Arlene M. White (1908-2000), Frank H. Bryan Jr. (1914-1999), John Sterry Nill (1928-2002), Sister Mary William HewsonMSC (1919-2009), Dolores Davidson Smith (1916-1997), Harry Lucas Jr., Richard Beh, Mary Ann Lightsey Clark (1920-1999), Matilda Elizabeth 'Betty' Bradford Milsted (1913-2009), Regina del Buono Hines Ellison (1938-2005), Raymond Hudachek (1926-2011) and Maureen Carol Russell Hudachek (1926-2011), Dot Eglin McKinnon, Robbin Ann McKinnon (1957-2000), Treva Bauman Eglin, Courtney Cook Blossman, Edgar Wallace Edwards (1927-1996), Robert L. Maxwell, Orion S. Baker, Evelyn VanCourt (1921-2006) and Louise A. VanCourt (1915-2004), A. J. Holloway (1919-1997), Donald Scharr, and Carl Lizana. 

 

Much gratitude is due to those who have come before and paved the way with their work.  If you love Ocean Springs, please read C.E. Schmidt's accurate and concise, Ocean Springs French Beachhead (1972), and Regina Hines Ellison's detailed and informative Ocean Springs, 1892 (1979 and 1991).  The History of Jackson County(1989) was used extensively for family information. 

 

This treatise would be severely lacking in detail without old newspapers such as: The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, The Ocean Springs News, and The Jackson County Times.  Without the deed and tax records of the Jackson County Chancery Court, the chronological and ownership accuracy of the structures would be questionable.  Special thanks to Regina Hines Ellison for her critical review of this manuscript.  Kudos to talented artist, Ken Matthew, of Long Beach for his renderings of the buildings studied.  Architect, Maria Bargas, contributed her interpretive skills in attempting to visualize some of the buildings.  Linda Kerr assisted in some of the courthouse and library research, and Murella Powell at the Biloxi Public Library provided valuable suggestions. 

 

Without the permission of Katherine Hamilton-Smith, Special Collections Curator, of the Curt Teich Postcard Archives at Wauconda, Illinois, several wonderful images of our old hotels would be absent from this book.  Thank you, Katherine, and Curt Teich.

 

What would I have done without all of my "guardian angels" who seem to open the right page or guide me to someone knowledgeable person when I reached an impasse?

This was a rewarding experience.  I thank God very much for allowing me the time and resources to do it.

Good on you.

 

     Ray L. Bellande

     Ocean Springs, Mississippi

     July 4, 1994

 

 

HOTELS and TOURIST HOMES of OCEAN SPRINGS, Mississippi

by

Ray L. Bellande

 

INTRODUCTION

With the discovery of the mineral springs at Ocean Springs by the Reverend P.P. Bowen and James Lynch in the middle of the 19th Century, the demand for hotels, inns, and boarding houses or tourist homes began in the sleepy, coastal village of what is now Ocean Springs.  An excerpt from The Ocean Springs Gazette of March 24, 1855, demonstrates the interest in resort property on this early date at Ocean Springs: 

The undersigned will either sell or lease for a term of years, the property known as the Infirmary Property, situated in the Town of Ocean Springs, consisting of 4 acres of ground enclosed by a new, neat, and substantial fence.  A large new and well finished house, six new and neatly built cottages, a good kitchen and outhouses, and a well of excellent water near the house.  The property is well situated for either an infirmary or a private boarding house, and will be sold or rented on such terms as will suit the lessee or purchaser.  George A. Cox 

Initially those pilgrims seeking hydrotherapy for their physical ailments were housed near the mineral springs on the south bank of Fort Bayou as the above Cox advertisement would indicate.  Later commercial activity was centered about lower Jackson Avenue where the steam packets of the Morgan steamboat line began to land with frequency.  Here on the west side of Jackson Avenue, Dr. William G. Austin and the Porter family of Tennessee built the celebrated Ocean Springs Hotel in 1853 which gave its name to the newly developing resort in 1854.  Also along Jackson Avenue, the Morris House, Seashore House, Egan House, O'Keefe Boarding House, Egan Cottage, and Artesian House developed.

With the coming of the railroad in November 1870, the central business district shifted to Washington Avenue near the depot.  The White House across from the L&N depot on Robinson, and the VanCleave Hotel, built by R.A. VanCleave just north of his Washington Avenue store, were early structures in this area. 

The Illing House , Shanahan House, Vahle House, and Eglin House  were also located on Washington Avenue, and developed south of the railroad.  Dr. Henry Bradford Powell established Powell's Sanitarium-Bayou Inn on Washington Avenue at Fort Bayou.

Commencing in the early years of the 20th Century, tourism interest shifted from the mineral springs on Fort Bayou to the beach environment where saltwater bathing and seafood were popular.  Excursion trains from New Orleans brought day and weekend tourist to the coast, and particularly to Ocean Springs where the cool bay breezes, bath houses, piers, hotels and boarding houses such as the French Hotel-Edwards House, Beach Hotel, and Pines Hotel catered to these needs.  The pecan and citrus industry at Ocean Springs and shipyards at Moss Point and Pascagoula also contributed to the demand for housing in the area at this time.

Even into the early years of the 20th Century, yellow fever epidemics at New Orleans and Mobile sent those who could afford it to the "Six Sisters", Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Mississippi City, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and the Pascagoulas (East and West), for refuge.  Unfortunately the height of the summer tourist season coincided with the time of highest incidence of the fever.  Quarantines during these endemic occurrences kept visitors away for months at a time.

Fire was always a great threat to the hotels and tourist homes of Ocean Springs.  Conflagrations took away the Ocean Springs Hotel, Vahle House, Shanahan, Van Cleave, Pines Hotel, and Eglin House.  Others were torn down due to the Great Depression-Artesian House, hurricane damage-the Edwards House, or demolition by neglect-the White House, and the New Beach Hotel.  Only the Egan Cottage at 314 Jackson Avenue, the O'Keefe Boarding House which was moved in 1910 from the northeast corner of Porter and Jackson to 2122 Government Street, the Hubbard-Armstrong-Bauman House at 509 Washington Avenue, and Dr. Powell's Sanitarium-Bayou Inn which is now Aunt Jenny's Catfish Restaurant at 1217 Washington are extant. 

A theme pressed through the years at Ocean Springs by journals of the time was that the town needed at very large hotel.  As early as September 1895, The Pascagoula Democrat-Star announced that Joseph Benson Rose and Rushton H. Field of New York and Chicago planned to erect a $100,000 hotel at Ocean Springs on East Beach.  The Ocean Springs News in April 1905 stated that "several prominent Chicagoans express that a modern hotel is a great necessity; that no doubt it will soon be built".

After the Ocean Springs Hotel burned in May 1905, The Ocean Springs News was filled with statements regarding a new hotel:  June 8th - "Ocean Springs, like many of her neighbors, is suffering from want of a commodious hotel, which should be situated on the old site, or some other location on the front beach".  June 15th -"Our people should bear in mind that the need of a hotel is imminent.  Unless we believe in ourselves, no one will have confidence in us".  July 7th - "Ocean Springs is fast filling up.  Let us have a new hotel".  July 27th - "The number of visitors along the Gulf Coast, and particularly at Ocean Springs on excursion days is larger than ever before.  All cottages are occupied and hotels are being obliged to rent annexes.  Why not build another hotel?  One to hold twice the present number of guests could easily be filled".  August 3rd - "There is a magnificent opening here to some enterprising capitalist to erect a modern hotel.  Cottages are so nearly filled, people contemplate pitching tents for guests".  November 30th - "Ocean Springs is receiving its usual visitors who expect and have the right to expect up-to-date accommodations in a first-class hotel".

These appeals went for naught as no new hotel at Ocean Springs was ever built.  By 1915, the game of golf had become popular in the United States.  Mr. H.F. Miller, manager of the Chicago Association of Commerce speaking on the future of Ocean Springs said, "the golf club is a most important thing.  Develop that; it will bring people, it will bring trade; develop a good eighteen hole links, and the big hotel that I hear agitated will come of its own accord".  Although the Ocean Springs Country Club was incorporated in 1914, and operated on the Rose Farm property north of Fort Bayou in Section 7, T7S-R8W, it also failed to bring the big hotel.

By 1921, disciples of a new hotel were still lecturing on this subject.  President W.L. Mapother of the L&N stressed before members of the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce the need for more hotels and modern bungalows on the Gulf Coast to house the great influx of tourist brought here by a great advertising campaign now being contemplated by the L&N.  Mapother said, "We have been spending 54% of our total advertising fund on exploiting the Coast.  The first thing needed is real estate development-the building of modern hotels, bungalows, and more commodious conveniences".  (The Jackson County Times, November 11, 1921, p. 1).

In June 1926, realtors Germain and VanCleave announced that the Shannon tract which comprised over 1400 acres had been sold to the Farrer Development Company.  Plans for a $2,000,0000 hotel were proposed on this land located in Section 21, T7S-R8W.

The large, modern hotel was never constructed at Ocean Springs.  Possibly, more aggressive hostelry development by surrounding Mississippi Gulf Coast cities, the isolation of Ocean Springs before the Biloxi Bay Bridge was dedicated in 1930, and the shortage of good water front acreage eliminated Ocean Springs as a possible site for a large hotel.  It is interesting to note that Gulf Hills north of Ocean Springs did develop in the late 1920s by a Chicago based group incorporating the golf links as a central motif.

Many of the hotels and tourist homes at Ocean Springs had an ethnic flavor.  Irish expatriates and visitors were greeted by Mary Tracy O'Keefe, Maria Shanahan, and Julia Egan.  German travelers would feel comfortable at the F.W. Illing place at Washington and Porter, and possibly Schmidt & Zeigler's Ocean Springs Hotel, or the Vahle House of Theresa Vahle Friar and Katherine Vahle. 

To hear his romantic French language spoken fluently, a French visitor or Francophile would only have to travel to the French Hotel of Antoine and Marie Gouaux Bertuccini at Martin and Front Beach.  The B.F. Joachim and Emmy May Bauman tourist homes may have had a Teutonic or Eastern European flair.  An Anglophile could find a wee bit of Scotland at the Edwards House of James Henry Edwards and Amelia Shubert Edwards, or England at the Pines Hotel when it was owned by Ernest A. Morris.  Dr. H.B. Powell at the Bayou Inn was Canadian, and the Eglins were originally from Alsace in northeastern France.

The hotels and tourist homes formed an integral part of the history of Ocean Springs.  Unfortunately, other than four surviving structures, the only records remaining of this interesting historical era are photographs, land records, Sanborn insurance maps, some promotional pamphlets, and the memories of older citizens.  The loss of such architectural treasures is certainly a strong affirmation for historical preservation in this city.

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

The Jackson County Times"Ocean Springs Plans New Hotel", June 5, 1926, p. 2.

The Ocean Springs News"Ocean Springs has a great future, says manager Chicago Association Commerce", March 4, 1915, pp 1-2.

Dr. H.B. Powell's Sanitarium - The Bayou Inn (1906 - 1994)

 

 

LOCATION

Dr. Powell's Sanitarium (later Bayou Inn and Bayou Chateau)) was located on the south bank of Fort Bayou at Washington Avenue in Lot 9, Block 52 of the Culmseig Map (1854).  It was in proximity to a free flowing spring which provided mineral water to its patrons.

BUILDING

The original structure was probably the old Antonio Franco home place which may have consisted of a one to one and a half story, pier supported, wood framed structure of approximately 2400 square feet.  In 1909, Dr. Powell constructed a two story, 2660 square-foot connecting addition north of the old house.  Their were two galleries (east and west facing) totaling 750 square feet in area.

HISTORY

In 1874, Antonio Franco (1834-1891), a Portuguese immigrant, and his wife, Genevieve "Jane" Rodriguez (1844-1915), daughter of Spanish immigrant, Juan Antonio Rodrigues, settled in the NE/4 of the SW/4 of Section 19, T7S-R8W.  Here on the south bank of Fort Bayou, Franco ran a ferry across the bayou linking the people of Ocean Springs with their brethren to the north.  He also operated a saloon on Washington Avenue which later became George Arndt's Paragon Saloon.  The Francos reared a family consisting of: Charlotte F. Cochran (1864-1939), John J. Franco (1859-1935), Lillie F. Geiger (1863-1905), Joanna F. Ruppel (1865-1903), Thomas Franco (1869-1951+), Francis Aristede Franco (1871-1935), Eugenia Franco (1875-1950), Anthony Franco (1878-1939+), and Walter Edward Franco (1883-1939+).

Antonio and Jane Franco acquired their homestead at Fort Bayou and Washington Avenue with real estate purchases from George A. Cox and James D. Parker from 1874 to 1890.  The Daniel Goss Store and Moeling House may have been located on these tracts in the 1850s.  Frederick F. Moeling was the first Postmaster at Ocean Springs serving in this capacity from 1854-1856.  There is a strong possibility the post office was located on Fort Bayou at this time.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, pp. 27-30 and p. 152)

In 1896, Emma A. Rudd Powell (1860-1932), a native of Pennsylvania or New York State, and the wife of Canadian physician, Dr. Henry Bradford Powell (1867-1949), bought property from the Heirs of Antonio Franco establishing a position on the bayou.  By February 1906, Jane Franco had also sold her land to Emma Rudd Powell.  There is a high degree of certitude that Emma A. Rudd Powell was the widow of Karl E. Rudd (1855-1890).  Mr. Rudd's father, Orson Rudd (1837-1870+), was the proprietor of a dry goods store at Cassopolis, Cass County, Michigan.  The corporal remains of Karl E. Rudd were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou at Ocean Springs.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 31, pp. 298-299 and 1870 and 1880 Cass County, Michigan Federal Census M593_668, p. 76 and T9_575, p. 1, ED 78)

Dr. H.B. Powell

In 1906, at this lovely three acre site overlooking historic Fort Bayou, Powell established a sanitarium utilizing the curative powers of the Indian Springs just west of his lodge.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of November 24, 1905 (Ocean Springs Locals) related the following:  There is no longer any impedimenta in the way of Dr. Henry Bradford Powell building a sanitarium which has long been projected.  This is a movement in the right direction as an institution of this kind will supply a long felt want.  Our exceedingly healthy climate and the accessibility of our Coast to Chicago and a large belt of surrounding country renders this place a suitable site, while the eminence of Dr. Powell at the head will be an unlimited source of confidence to its patrons.

Mrs. Powell, probably the widow of Curtis Rudd of Chicago, had discovered Ocean Springs in the late 1880s as she owned real estate along Ward Avenue (Alto Park Block 3) and possibly the front beach.  She had met Dr. Powell at Chicago where he practiced medicine.  Powell was a native of Whitby, Ontario, and a graduate of Pickering College and the University of Toronto.  He had done post-graduate work in surgery at Berlin and Vienna. 

The Powells appear to have visited Ocean Springs often in the 1890s probably wintering here like many others from the Midwest.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of February 3, 1899 announced "Dr. H.B. Powell and Mrs. Powell all of Chicago are domiciled at their seaside home, Three Oaks".  They owned a home at Chicago where Mrs. Powell's mother, Caroline Phillips, resided.  She also had a sister, Mrs. H.W. Toby, of Enderlin, North Dakota.  The Powells were still residents of Chicago in 1900 as a local journal reported that "Dr. and Mrs. H.B. Powell after a delightful sojourn at their beautiful home here returned to their Chicago home". 

In February 1901, H.B. Powell permanently located at Ocean Springs.  He set up his surgical and medical practice with dispensary in the Masonic Building.  He also entered into a lease agreement with F.J. Lundy (1863-1912) for the Ocean Springs Hotel the same year.

Dr. Powell and F.J. Lundy must have become good friends.  The Powells had met Mignon Courson (1878-1957), a charming and talented, Iowan born violinist, in Chicago.  They invited her to Ocean Springs.  Here she met the widower, Lundy who had lost his wife, Vera Poitevent (1874-1897), in 1897.  Mobile born, Lundy was a very successful merchant, and the father of a daughter, Virginia May (b. 1893).    F.J. Lundy married Mignon Courson in 1901.  They had a daughter, Margaret, who born in 1903.  After Lundy's death, Mignon Lundy moved to London.  She settled at Townshend, Vermont where she died in 1957.

The summer of 1904 saw Dr. Powell travelling and study ing in Europe.  He visited London, Heidelberg, and Berlin.  At Berlin, Powell spent weeks at the hospitals and University observing the latest surgical techniques.  Upon his return in the fall, he intended to manage the Ocean Springs Hotel. 

It can be established with some degree of certitude that the Powells were permanently settled at Ocean Springs in 1905, as Dr. Powell was issued a license to practice medicine on November 17, 1905 in Jackson County.  By 1906, Dr. Powell was driving the first automobile in Ocean Springs on the shell roads of town.  He must have created much ex-citement as he motored from his residence at "Three Oaks" on the beach to his sanitarium at Fort Bayou..

In January 1909, Powell's sanitarium was doing well with patients coming from all over the Midwest and east.  This flurry of prosperity encouraged the Powells to build a two-story addition on the north side of the old structure of approximately 2600 square feet.  A modern heating plant, and other conveniences to please his patients were installed at this time.  The firm of Burr & Bradford were the contractors.  Upon completion of Dr. Powell's work, they built the First Baptist Church at Porter and Bellande.  By August, the grounds were landscaped with green hedges and tropical foliage flanking the walks and driveways.  The spa was frequented daily by hundreds to imbibe the salubrious mineral waters.  They claimed the springs benefited them.

When the new Ocean Springs State Bank building was opened in early 1910, Dr. Powell maintained an office on the second floor.  About this time, he became interested in establishing a golf club at Ocean Springs.  Arrangement were made to layout a seven hole course on Captain Antoine Bellande's tract (formerly Ames) where the ball park was once located.  By July 1910, a four hole course was operating on the ball ground.

In addition to his professional services as a doctor and sanitarium proprietor, Powell was active in civic and social functions.  When the Ocean Springs Civic Federation and the L&N Railroad constructed Marshall Park in 1911, the work was supervised by a commission composed of J.H. Behrens, Theo Bechtel, and Dr. Powell.

The Bayou Inn

About 1913, Dr. Powell changed his mode of operation.  He closed down the sanitarium and opened a hostelry which he called the Bayou Inn.  It catered to guests and tourists from the Midwest especially the Chicago area.  In the winter of 1914, business was so good at the Bayou Inn that the management leased one of the Westbrook cottages south of the inn to accommodate the overflow of visitors.(The Ocean Springs News, February 21, 1914, p. 5)

Fruit grower

Developed the “Orangelo” at Ocean Springs.(see The Ocean Springs News, March 25, 1915, p. 1)

Golfer 

Dr. Powell maintained his avid interest in golf, and with A.E. Lee and George E. Arndt, he organized the Ocean Springs Country Club in April 1914.  The country club and golf links were located on sixty five acres of land leased from the Rose Farm north of Ocean Springs.  By May of 1914, Dr. Powell who was the president of the Ocean Springs Country Club saw the course enlarged from five to nine holes.  The course was in good condition as Mrs. D.V. Purington had donated a horse lawn mower to the club.  The putting greens were kept oiled to insure a solid surface.  Members aspired for eighteen holes by the end of the year. 

Dr. Powell appears to have been on his golf game as he won a handicap tournament at the course on Christmas Day of 1914.  He was reelected president of the Ocean Springs Country Club in July 1915.  The year 1915 saw the Powells investing in more acreage in the Ocean Springs area.  Dr. Powell bought five acres of land north of Fort Bayou from H.D. Money at the Rose Farm east of the Ocean Springs Country Club.  In September, Mrs. Powell purchased a small tract from the Builder's Supply Company to the west of the Bayou Inn from B.F. Joachim.  In June 1915, Dr. Powell moved his medical office to the Farmers & Merchants Bank Building.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 41, p. 544. and 46, p. 505)

By January 1917, the Bayou Inn Cup was established at the Ocean Springs Country Club.  Druggist, John Whittle, won the match play contest held over several weekends of links play.  The trophy cup was displayed at his drug store in the Catchot Building on Washington Avenue. 

In March 1917, the Powells sold "Three Oaks" and moved to "Hillside", the Calogne Cottage at 204 Washington Avenue.  By the summer they were renting the McVay home (now Conamore) on Lovers Lane.

In 1917, Dr. Powell hired H.G. Ganson to manage the Bayou Inn.  Ganson spent that summer at Pointe-aux-Pins, Michigan to take care of his hotel interest there.  He was expected back at Ocean Springs in October since Dr. Powell would enlist in the US Army on October 2, 1917 for World War I.  H.G. Ganson left Ocean Springs for Johnson City, Tennessee in February 1918, where he would manage a hotel there.

During the early stages of the Great War, Powell was stationed at Camp Shelby with the 139th Field Artillery.  He saw active duty in France as the war was ending.  Powell was with the Army of Occupation in Trier, Germany where he performed surgical work.  Dr. Henry Bradford Powell returned from his military exploits on October 31, 1919 attaining the rank of Captain although he was often referred to as Major Powell.  Mrs. L.D. Davenport, the sister of nationally known baseball writer, Charlie Dryden (1869-1931), was in charge of the Bayou Inn during Captain Powell's absence.  When Dr. Powell got back into civilian life at Ocean Springs, his medical office was located at the Bayou Inn.

“Magnolia Route”

In an effort to promote tourism from the Chicago area to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Dr. Powell formed Mississippi Coast to Chicago, Highway, Inc. known locally as the "Magnolia Route".  In October 1923, he and Claude Engbarth led a motorcade from Ocean Springs to Chicago over the proposed new north and south highway.  The pilgrims met with appreciation at stops along the route.  At Chicago, they received a police motorcycle escort, met and dined with ranking city officials.(The Jackson County Times, October 6, 1923, p. 5)

In September 1925, he departed Ocean Springs for Chicago to personally inspect the route which he felt was the most direct course from the Windy City.  It had stops at the Shiloh Park Hotel in Tennessee, northern Indiana, and Chicago.  On the trip he drove from Ocean Springs to Meridian in only five hours.(The Jackson County Times, September 19, 1925, p. 1)

1927 Fire

Like most hotel and inns at Ocean Springs, a fire was expected at any time due to the nature of the wood construction.  Fortunately in April 1927, the Bayou Inn escaped with only minor damage when a fire was discovered on the roof.  The fire company extinguished the blaze very quickly.  Mrs. Powell visited her mother in Chicago during the hot month of July. 

The Powells also had a farm north of Fontainebleau.  In February 1928, the Dixie Oil Company of Shreveport, Louisiana was doing seismic, oil exploration work on this parcel east of Ocean Springs.

By 1929, Mrs. Powell's mother had moved to Lawton, Michigan where they visited with her in August.  Later they drove to Toronto to call on friends there. 

The Powells lost the Bayou Inn during the depression.  Creditors foreclosed and trustee, Charles E. Clark, conveyed it to Emma M. Logan and Lena M. Wigton for $5425 on April 25, 1932.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 65, pp. 102-105)

After Emma Powell died in 1932, Dr. Powell married Mildred Franco Theriot Petrie (1896-1969).  Mrs. Mildred Powell purchased land and a house known as the "Gillespie Place" on Government Street in 1947.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 96, p. 358)

After a long life filled with human and military service, entrepreneurial exploits, and social and civic duties, Dr. Henry Bradford Powell died on Government Street in May 1949.  He was buried in the National Cemetery at Biloxi.  Mrs. Powell lived until December 1969.  She died at Miami while residing with her son, Numa F. Theriot (1914-2002).  Mildred Powell is interred at the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs.

Logan tenure

Mrs. Logan apparently maintained the Bayou Inn as a residence as her daughter, Mrs. George Kalmbach of Shreveport, Louisiana would visit her on occasions.  When these visits were reported in the Jackson County Times, her property was referred to as their Fort Bayou estate or Mrs. Logan's place, the former Bayou Inn.  Adrian, daughter, of Mrs. Kalmbach.

In September 1943, Emma Logan, the owner of the Bayou Inn, conveyed it to Cornelia Bolton Miller Reagan (1898-1994) for $15,000.  Mrs. Reagan held it for only a short time as she sold the estate to Dorothy and Roland Collins.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 83, pp. 526-527 and Bk. 468-471)

Collins’ ownership

Under the Collins management, in 1944, the name of the old hostelry was changed to Bayou Chateau.  It was advertised in The Jackson County Times at this time as:

 

 

BAYOU CHATEAU

"An Inn of Distinction"

On Old Fort Bayou

(October 28, 1944, p. 4)

 

 

 

By 1946, the Collins sold to Ethel Rhodes Scott Shafer who opened a convalescent home.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 97, pp. 127-129)

Mrs Shafer advertised in The Gulf Coast Times in July 1951:

 

BAYOU CHATEAU

Convalescent Home

Beauty-Privacy-Recreation

Mrs. A.B. Shafer

 

 

Obviously all was not well at the Shafer establishment for in August 1947, Mr. Shafer, a retired lawyer from Memphis. Attempted to take his own life by firing three bullets into his stomach.

Ethel Shafer sold the Bayou Chateau to Mrs. Clendinen B. Smith on June 15, 1953.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 133, pp. 154-155) 

 

Smith’s Le Moyne Lodge

Clendenin Baird Smith (1903-1985) was the spouse of George Kinnebrew Smith III (1901-1969).  She was born in Columbus, Mississippi, the daughter of Dr. Thomas C. Baird and Elvira Terrell Baird.  Clendenin spent some of her childhood in the Mississippi Delta country at Baird, Sunflower County.  She was educated in Columbus, Mississippi at MSCW.  George K. Smith III, the son of Faison Heathman Smith and Jessie Gooch Smith, was also a native of Sunflower County, as he was born at Indianola, the county seat.  George K. Smith III made his livelihood as a cotton broker in the Delta.  He was a director of the Greenwood Cotton Exchange.  Clendenin and George were the parents of three sons: Catchings Baird Smith (b. 1924), Dr. George Faison Smith (b. 1927), and Richard Clendenin Smith (b. 1928).(The Ocean Springs Record, September 11, 1969, p. 4 and August 1, 1985, p. 3, and Catchings B. Smith, January 25, 2005)  

 

Catchings B. Smith

Catchings “Catch” Baird Smith (1925-2009) was born at Greenville, Mississippi.  Circa 1935, he came to Ocean Springs in his to live with Dr. William Richards and family on East Beach.  Catch Smith had asthma and his parents thought that a change in environment from the Mississippi Delta to the Mexican Gulf would improve his health.  Dr. Williams was a retired physician from Columbus, Mississippi.  His son, William Coolidge Richards (1910-2004), grew up in Ocean Springs and became an internationally known artist working in the postmodernist style.  He made his home in New York and in Italy.  Walter “Bob” I. Anderson (1903-1965) was acquainted with William C. Richards and would visit him at his father’s home near the old Tuttle place on East Beach.  In 1957, W.C. Richards had an exhibit at the Municipal Art Gallery in Jackson, which was lauded as “the best one-man show in the History of the Mississippi Art Association.”(Black, 1998, pp. 300-301 and Catchings B. Smith, January 25, 2005)

 

Catch Smith graduated from Tulane University at New Orleans with a business degree and made a career with Merrill Lynch in the brokerage business at Jackson.  He retired as a vice president with that firm.(Catchings B. Smith, January 25, 2005)

 

Catchings Baird Smith (1925-2009)

Services were held October 8 at St. James Episcopal Church for Catchings Baird Smith of Jackson.  Smith died October 6 at St. Dominic's Hospital.   A native of Greenville, Smith was born January 15, 1925 to George Kennebrew Smith and Nancy Clendenin Baird Smith. He spent most of his youth in Indianola and the Mississippi Delta. His high school years were spent at Sewanee Military Academy in Sewanee, Tenn., and Greenwood High School. He attended the University of Virginia and was graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans. He served in the United States Air Force during World War II and was stationed in Hawaii and Saipan.   His career in the financial industry began with Anderson Clayton in Houston, Texas. In 1950 he joined the Jackson office of Merrill Lynch and retired in 2000 after 50 years. He was a member of Merrill's prestigious Chairman's Club since its beginning and the Charles E. Merrill Circle.   A longtime member of St. James Episcopal Church, he was a former senior and junior warden and a licensed lay worship leader. He was also a member of the Paul Harris Foundation of Rotary International and a trustee of the University of the South in Sewanee, and All Saints Episcopal School in Vicksburg. He was also an officer in the English Speaking Union.   Survivors are Lottie Louise Lee Smith, his wife of 59 years; son Baird Smith of Monteagle, Tenn.; daughters Sharon Miller and husband Jim of Vicksburg, and Melissa Patterson and husband David of Canton; grandchildren Andrea Miller Pound of Birmingham, Elisabeth Miller of Port Gibson, Randolph Miller of Troy, la.; great-grandchildren Ann Elise and Lottie Pound of Birmingham; brothers George Faison Smith and wife Grace of Jackson, and their sons Brannon and Jonathan, and Richard Clendenin Smith and wife Emme of San Antonio, and their sons Brian and Trevor.   Memorials may be made to St. James Episcopal Church, 3921 Oakridge Dr., Jackson, 39216. [from The Northside Sun (Jackson, MS) - Thursday, October 22, 2009]

 

George F. Smith

Dr. George Faison Smith (b. 1927) was born at Indianola.  He began his medical practice in Ocean Springs with Dr. James Waddell in July 1958.  Before he began his journey into medicine, George F. Smith joined the U.S. Navy where he studied radar.  His fine education had commenced at the Virginia Military Institute.  In June 1950, he graduated with a biology degree from Sewanee College.  Dr. Smith did post-graduate studies also in biology at Ole Miss before entering the University of Mississippi Medical School.  He completed his medical education at the Tulane Medical School.  Prior to joining Dr. Waddell at 822 Porter, Dr. Smith had interned at Charity Hospital in New Orleans and been a resident at the Huey P. Long Charity Hospital in Pineville, Louisiana.(The Ocean Springs News, July 24, 1958, p. 1)

 

Circa 1963, Dr. George F. Smith left his general practice at Ocean Springs and returned to medical school where he studied pathology.  He has recently retired from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.(Catchings B. Smith, January 25, 2005)

 

Richard C. Smith

Richard Clendenin Smith (b. 1928) was born at Greenville, Mississippi.  He studied Spanish at Sewanee College and graduated with his brother, George, in June 1950.  In Ocean Springs, Richard worked as bartender at his mother’s hostelry, the Le Moyne Lodge, and at Gulf Hills.  He eventually settled at San Antonio, Texas and found permanent employment with the Veterans Administration there.(The Daily Herald, June 13, 1950, p. 9 and Dr. George F. Smith, January 31, 2005)

 

Glengarriff

The George Kinnebrew Smith III family’s first living experience at Ocean Springs commenced in 1937, when they rented Glengariff, the Front Beach estate home of Captain Francis O'Neill (1849-1936).  Captain O’ Neill was the retired General Superintendent of the Chicago Police and a renowned collector and authority on Irish music.  Anna Rogers O’Neill (1849-1934), his widow, was their absentee landlady.  Their initial living experience at Ocean Springs was so positive that Clendenin Baird Smith (1903-1985) and spouse, George Kinnebrew Smith III (1901-1969), decided that after their children completed their high school education to leave Greenwood in the Mississippi Delta to relocate to the Mississippi Gulf Coast.(Dr. George F. Smith, January 31, 2005)

 

Country living

In December 1947, Mrs. Clendenin B. Smith acquired for $1000, forty acres with improvements, situated in then rural east Ocean Springs.  The legal description of the Smith acquisition was the NE/4 of the SW/4 of Section 28, T7S-R8W.  Ernest S. Cole and Violet Fordice Cole, were the vendors.  In addition to a furnished, small house, the sale included all farm implements and tools stored in the barn or garage and two horses and all other livestock.  At this time, the dirt road to the Smith place from Government Street, U.S. Highway 90 was unnamed.  It is now Hanley Road, and A.P. “Fred” Moran (1897-1967) was asked by Mrs. Smith to have it graveled.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 98, 412-413)

 

Le Moyne Lodge

In June 1953, Ethel Rhodes Scott Shafer (1894-1985), the spouse of Arthur Byron Shafer (1871-1947), who had opened a convalescent home, the Bayou Chateau Convalescent Home, in March 1950, in Dr. Henry Bradford Powell’s old Bayou Inn, sold it to Clendenin B. Smith (1903-1985).  Under the supervision of Mrs. Smith and Frances Costa, who co-managed the old hostelry, the Bayou Chateau buildings were remodeled and the name changed to the Le Moyne Lodge.  Mrs. Maggie McCusker managed the dining room, called "Harbor", which overlooked Fort Bayou.  The building was painted a pink pastel.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 133, pp. 154-155, The Gulf Coast Times, March 3, 1950, p. 1 and 

 

 

For Reservations Wire or Write

 

LE MOYNE LODGE

 

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Phone 2956 or 9176

 

An old fashion Townhouse-with a Country Air

 

 

The name, Le Moyne Lodge, was probably chosen, as it was the family name of Iberville (1661-1706) and Bienville (1680-1768), the French Canadian brothers from Montreal, who established Fort Maurepas (1699-1702) at present day Ocean Springs, in April 1699.  The fourteen refurbished rooms were named for the Confederate States who ceded from the Union in 1861.  Mrs. C.B. Smith also instituted the “Julep Room”, which remains today.

Lennie Thurman and Mattie Brooks Thurman (1902-1978), husband and wife, were an integral part of Mrs. Smith operations at Le Moyne Lodge.  Mattie cooked and Lennie was the yardman and “jack of all trades”.  Willie, another local, kept bar in the Julep Room.(George F. Smith, January 31, 2005)   

In June 1958, the Smiths leased their Le Moyne Lodge to H.O. French of Starkville, Mississippi.  Mr. French was a graduate of the Mississippi A. & M. Hotel Management Course.  He was associated with Doug Walton and Jim Welsh who managed the Henry Clay Hotel at West Point and the Stark Hotel at Starkville.(The Ocean Springs News, July 3, 1958, p. 1)

 

Sunset

In December 1958, Mrs. Smith sold her country acreage in the NE/4 of the SW/4 of Section 28, T7S-R8W, with improvements to Elwood and Marie O. Ross for $31,500.  The sale to the Ross family included a farm tractor and all farm tools.  The Magnolia Park Estates Subdivision now exists on land which was a part of the Smith-Ross farm.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 179, pp. 509-510)      

After leaving the pastoral serenity of east Ocean Springs, the Smith family rented a house on the east side ofSunset, formerly Cemetery Road, and the entrance into the Evergreen Cemetery.  

 

Weed Cottage-Washington Avenue

Dr. George F. Smith (b. 1927), the son of Clendenin and George K. Smith III and now a retired pathologist from the Veterans Administration Hospital at Jackson, practiced medicine at Ocean Springs for about five years.  In the summer of 1958, he worked with Dr. James Waddell at present day 822 Porter.  Dr. Smith began his own practice on the NE/C of Washington Avenue and Iberville Drive, when in October 1958 he acquired the former home of Mayor Frederick M. Weed (1850-1926), a native of Hinesburg, Vermont, from Martha O’Brien Minnemeyer (1883-1968).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 181, p. 583)

 

The Weeds came to Ocean Springs in 1877.  Fred Weed had found employment with the L&N Railroad, and he was sent here as the railroad and express agent by that organization.  He and spouse, Alice A. Lyon (1853-1928), a native of St. Albans, Vermont, settled on the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Iberville Drive on Lot 12-Block 20 (Cox Map) with improvements that they purchased for $300 in November 1879, from Robert A. VanCleave (1840-1908), Special Commissioner of the JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court.  The parcel had formerly been the domicile of Barney Thomas (1807-1878) and Roxy Ann Best Thomas (b. 1816), both natives of Anson, North Carolina.  Mr. Thomas and family had relocated to Ocean Springs from Jasper County, Mississippi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 5, p. 91-92 and The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 367)

 

By October 1880, F.M. Weed had acquired the remainder of the land on Iberville west of the Medical Springs Lot, now Marble Springs Park, to the east line of the old Barney Thomas place.  His four land purchases here between late 1879 and late 1880 amounted to about three acres more or less.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 5, pp. 91-95)

 

It is very likely that the old Barney Thomas place burned or was demolished because at present day 1007 Iberville, the Weeds circa 1900, built a five-bay Queen Anne cottage featuring a full-width undercut gallery, box columns, brackets, a shingled gable, and an etched glass trasom.(Berggren, 1986, p. 1)

 

Dr. George F. Smith

Dr. George F. Smith divided the Weed house into a medical office and an apartment where he lived.  In January 1963, he sold this property to his mother.  She had the F.M. Weed home moved about 75 feet to the east on the same lot, but had it rotated to face south, i.e. Iberville Drive.  In April 1968, Clendenin B. Smith sold a lot on the NE/C of Washington and Iberville with about 150 feet on Washington to Dr. Frank G. Garbin and Joe Thomas Garbin.  When Mrs. Smith decided to leave Ocean Springs for Jackson, she vended her home on Iberville to E.J. Boney and spouse in September 1969.(Dr. George F. Smith, January 31, 2005, JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 234, p. 133, JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 330, p. 604 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 363, p. 504)

 

Selling the lodge

On July 9, 1960, after seven years of operating the Le Moyne Lodge, Mrs. Clendenin B. Smith and George K. Smith III sold their investment on Fort Bayou to David Earl Mattina (1907-1989) and his wife, Ola H. Mattina (1918-1985), for $68,000. Included in the sale were all furniture, fixtures, and personal property.  In the conveyance, the following sections of the real estate were given: Dixie Room, Virginia Bedroom, Kentucky Bedroom, Georgia Bedroom, Maryland Bedroom, Louisiana Bedroom, Alabama Bedroom, Florida Bedroom, and Julep Room.  The North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas Cottages were also listed.  The Mattinas continued to use the name Le Moyne Lodge.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 200, p. 58-61)

 

 

David Earl Mattina

David Earl Mattina was a native of Biloxi, and an outstanding football and baseball player at Biloxi High School in the late 1920s.  He won an athletic scholarship to Spring Hill College at Mobile.  Mattina also owned the Globe News Stand on Howard Avenue at Biloxi in the late 1950s and 1960s.  At Ocean Springs, he operated the Fort Bayou property as the LeMoyne Lodge.

After the Mattinas sold the LeMoyne Lodge to Dr. William A. King, an orthodontist and Natchez native, residing at New Orleans on May 10, 1968, the Kings refurbished the interior of the building, and opened as the Bayou Chateau in December 1968.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 332, p. 163) 

Their scheme was to present their property as a cultural complex.  The Kings advertised:

 

 

BAYOU CHATEAU

Native and Regional

ARTS & CRAFTS

 

 

Several rooms were utilized to exhibit handicrafts and hand-blown glass.  One room was reserved for art instruction by LaVigne Long of Gulf Hills.

An amphitheater was planned on the grounds west of the main structure amid the live oaks.  Outdoor concerts and musicals were planned for this erection.

The basement area once occupied by Trilby's Restaurant, operated by Trilby G. Steimer (1896-1960), and the Julep Room were refurbished to present a brick-walled English tavern ambience.  This tavern known as King William's Cellar featured colorful red and black chairs with gold crests on their backs.  A fireplace completed the tavern atmosphere. 

King William's Cellar opened on February 1, 1969 with internationally acclaimed opera singer, Lillian Rappolo, and "2-90" Durham, the World's Greatest ragtime pianist, as the  featured entertainment.  Rapollo came direct from the Persian Room of New York's Plaza Hotel.

By 1972, King William's Cellar had develop a fine reputation for its beef fondue, roast prime rib, fish fondue, rolled cabbage, and hickory smoked ribs.  Other unique features at this time were the autograph wall extending the length of the east side of the Cellar, the "Enchanted Tunnel" which connected the Cellar to the first floor dining area, and the one hundred-year-old Steinway grand piano.  Two small buildings, the 1911 Marshall Park Bandstand and an old carriage house, graced the property.

After the death of Dr. King, his widow, Julliette Thompson King, also a Magnolia State native who was reared near McComb, sold the Bayou Chateau to Roman B. Garriga on August 16, 1979.  Garriga began a refurbishment program, but never opened the old inn.  He conveyed it to Carl Lizana on July 1, 1981.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 657, p. 524 and Bk. 711, p. 297)

After a renovation, Lizana opened a restaurant called, AUNT JENNY'S CATFISH RESTAURANT, in October 1981.  The eatery which specializes in fried catfish is capitalizing on Mississippi's growing catfish farming industry.  In early March 1989, Lizana donated the old bandstand to HOSA who moved it to Marshall Park and restored it under the supervision of architect, Bruce Tolar.

The present establishment appears to be a financial success.

 

REFERENCES:

Ray L. Bellande, "Lundy Family", (unpublished essay), October 1992.

Biloxi, Mississippi City Directory (1961), Volume 6, (Mullin-Kille of Texas: Chillicothe, Ohio), p. 57.

Regina Hines Ellison, Ocean Springs 1892 , 2nd Edition, (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula - 1991), pp. 93-94.

Harriet White Frank, Burial Records: Biloxi National Cemetery, "H.B. Powell", (White: Biloxi - 1992).

Jerome Lepre, Catholic Church Records Diocese of Biloxi, Mississippi (1843-1900), "Franco", (Catholic Dioceses of Biloxi: Biloxi -1991), p. 123.

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi"Henry Bradford Powell", (Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula-1989), p. 320.

Mississippi Coast History and Genealogical Society"Postmasters", Volume 13, No. 1, (June 1977), pp. 22-23.

WPA For Mississippi Historical Data-Jackson County, Addenda, (State Wide Historical Project, 1936-1937), p. 25.

Physicians License Book 1, Jackson County Circuit Court, Jackson County, Mississippi, p. 95.

Down South"Bayou Chateau", Volume 22, No. 2 (March-April 1972), pp. 4, 5, and 21.

 

Journals

The Daily Herald"State Football Champions to Cast Eye on Pigskin", August 23, 1927, p. 9, cc. 4-5.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, December 22, 1932.

The Daily Herald“Dr. H.B. Powell Obit”, May 30, 1949, p. 7, c. 3.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs Graduates”, June 13, 1950.

The Daily Herald, "Landmark Gets Facelift and New Name", October 21, 1981.

The Daily Herald, “Mineral springs made Ocean Springs famous”, November 29, 1974.

The Daily Herald,  “David Earl Mattina Obit”, January 27, 1989, p. A-4.

The Gulf Coast Times"Le Moyne Lodge Will Open This Weekend", September 3, 1953, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, November 25, 1916.

The Jackson County Times"Golfers to play for Bayou Inn Cup", January 26, 1917, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times“Local News Items”, February 3, 1917.

The Jackson County Times“Local News Items”, February 24, 1917.

The Jackson County Times“Local News Items”, March 31, 1917.

The Jackson County Times“Local News Items”, May 26, 1917.

The Jackson County Times“Local News Items”, February 23, 1918.

The Jackson County Times,, “Local News Items”, February 1, 1919.

The Jackson County Times,, “Local News Items”, April 19, 1919.

The Jackson County Times, “, Local News Items”, November 8, 1919.

The Jackson County Times,, “Local News Items”, November 22, 1919.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, October 6, 1923.

The Jackson County Times"Major Powell Tours Magnolia Route", September 19, 1925, p. 1

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, September 26, 1925.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, April 23, 1927.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, July 16, 1927.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, January 28, 1928.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, September 23, 1936.

The Jackson County Times“Bayou Chateau Advertisement”, October 28, 1944, p. 4.

The Jackson County Times,"Shafer Attempts Suicide", August 2, 1947, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News, January 23, 1909, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News, February 13, 1909, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News, August 28, 1909, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", October 9, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", November 6, 1909.

 The Ocean Springs News, January 22, 1910, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News, June 17, 1911.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", February 21, 1914.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", April 4, 1914.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", May 2, 1914.

The Ocean Springs News"$600 Available: Country Club Extends Links", May 13, 1914, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"Powell Wins Trophy", December 31, 1914, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"Ocean Springs Has a Great Future, Says Manager of Chicago Association Commission", March 4, 1915, p.1.

The Ocean Springs News, “New Citrus Fruit, Originated in Ocean Springs, Promises Well”, March 25, 1915.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", June 3, 1915.

The Ocean Springs News The Ocean Springs News , "Country Club Elects Officers", July 15, 1915, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"LeMoyne Lodge Is Leased; To Open Thursday, July 3", July 3, 1958, p. 1

The Ocean Springs Record"Bayou Chateau Plans of Dr. and Mrs. King", December 5, 1968, p. 9.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Advertisement for King William's Cellar", January 30, 1969, p. 3.

The Ocean Springs Record,  "King William's Cellar Holds Gala Opening", February 6, 1969, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record"Moving Day", March 9, 1989, p. 1.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 3, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 4, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 30, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 15, 1901.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, November 24, 1905.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 6, 1906.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 13, 1906.

The Progress“Local News Items”, May 28, 1904.

Maps

Sanborn Map Company (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1909)-Sheet 1.

Photographs:

Courtesy of Katherine Hamilton-Smith, Curator Special Collections, at the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, Wauconda, Illinois.

US Census-Jackson County, Mississippi (1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920).

 

Personal Communication:

J.K. Lemon - December 1992.

Carl Lizana - June 1993.

Catchings Baird Smith, Jackson, Mississippi-Febraury 2005.

George Faison Smith, Jackson, Mississippi-February 2005.

French Hotel-Edwards House (1896 - 1969)

 

 

LOCATION

The French Hotel was located at Front Beach Drive and the east side of Martin Avenue comprising Lots 4 and 5 of the Austin Tract.  The hotel grounds comprised approximately .60 acres.

 

French Hotel

BUILDING

In later years, the French Hotel-Edwards House consisted of two buildings.  The primary structure was a front gable, two-story, wood frame house with an undercut gallery.  It faced the Bay of Biloxi near the beach front. 

 

The original house was a five-room, Creole cottage of wood frame construction.  Four doric pillars supported a hip roof, and two gabled dormers which featured six-over-six double-hung windows.  The simple entablature consisted of a sinuousoidal patterned frieze.  Multi-light French doors and windows graced the facade.  A simple wooden balustrade surrounded the three-bay undercut gallery. 

 

In 1927, The Edwards Family added a second story to the Creole cottage, and also increased the area of the structure to about 7000 square-feet.  The dining room had the capacity to seat three-hundred people.  A 600 square-foot, oak shaded pavilion sat near the beach.

 

At the rear of the Edward House lot, there was a two-story, wood frame structure.  It may have had a hip roof with an undercut gallery.  The building consisted of twelve bedrooms, six upstairs and six on the ground floor.  The rooms were approximately 14 x 20 feet.  They were simply furnished with a four poster Nunn bed, wash basin, and picture.  The bathroom and shower were located on the ground floor.  When the Keesler Air Force base boom began in the early 1940s, this edifice was converted to an apartment building to ease the housing shortage in the area.  A grape arbor was located near the stairway south of the building.  It and the pavilion were destroyed in the September 1947 Hurricane.

 

HISTORY

In 1896, the French Hotel was founded by two French immigrants, Antoine and Marie Gouaux Bertuccini (1863-1930).  Antoine Bertuccini (1844-1921) was probably born at Sisco on the  Mediterranean island of Corsica.  His parents may have been Paul Bertuccini and Marie Orsouie.  Antoine Bertuccini immigrated to the United States in 1870 probably settling at New Orleans. 

 

Marie Gouax immigrated from France or Corsica circa 1884, the same year that Antoine's younger brother, Jacques Bertuccini (1854-1943), immigrated to the United States.  Her nephew, Dr. Frank T. Gouax, was the health officer at Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, and would visit his aunt at Ocean Springs occaisionally.

 

The Bertuccinis had five children.  The first four, Agnes Bertuccini (1889-1906), Paul T. Bertuccini (1893-1949), Sadie (b. 1895), and Louis Bertuccini (b. 1897), were born at Napoleonville, Louisisana.  Only Mary Felicite (b. 1900) was born at Ocean Springs.  Paul T. Bertuccini married Hazel Cavanaugh of Biloxi in 1915.

 

Circa 1896, Jacques Bertuccini also came to Ocean Springs with his Louisiana born wife, Emma (1873-1955).  Their children were Melanie B. Gallagher (b. 1888), and Deo Bertuccini (1893-1979).  Jacques and Deo were both barbers.  The Jacques Bertuccini family home and barbershop were located at 619 Washington Avenue.  Marie Bertuccini acquired Lots 4 and 5 of the Austin Tract from Kate Staples in December 1895.  The old residence on the site became the French Hotel.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 133-134)

 

Under the Bertuccinis' management, the French Hotel catered to French speaking visitors from New Orleans and rice and sugar planters from South Louisiana.  They came to Ocean Springs in the summer months to enjoy salt water bathing, cool breezes off the bay, and the medicinal waters which made the city famous.  There was a 750-foot pier in front of the hotel.  In 1904, a furnished room at the French Hotel rented for $3.00 per month.

 

The French Hotel was acclaimed for its food and locally produced Scuppernong and Concord wines.  The vineyards were destroyed in the 1947 Hurricane.  In January 1921, Antoine Bertuccini passed on, and Marie G. Bertuccini sold the hostelry to J.H. Edwards in June.  Mrs. Bertuccini moved to New Orleans in July 1921.  She returned to Ocean Springs in 1922, and married George W. Vance (1859-1940), a retiree from Iowa.  Mrs. Marie Bertuccini Vance died at Ocean Springs on August 31, 1930.  She is interred at the Bellande Cemetery.  Mr. Vance lived on in their Jackson Avenue home until his demise in February 1940.  His remains were shipped to Marksville, Kansas.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 50, p. 465)

 

Edward House

[postcard and courtesy of Molly Stiglitz Edwards-April 2014]

 

Edwards Family and Guests-circa 1940

[Edwards family members in this image are: Ethel L. Schubert (1900-1991); Cecelia Schubert Brandt (1897-1989); Edgar Wallace Edwards (1927-1996); Donald F. Edwards (1924-1982); James H. Edwards Jr. (1920-2000); Bruce R. Edwards (1926-2003); Amelia Schubert Edwards (1893-1979); and James Henry Edwards (1893-1950).

[Courtesy of Iva Joyce Edwards-April 2014]

 

James H. Edwards

James Henry Edwards (1893-1950) was born in Scotland and came to the United States in 1908.  After serving as a Sergeant in WWI with Ambulance Company 129 of the 33rd Division of Chicago, he found employment as a chef at the Grunewald Hotel, now Fairmont, of New Orleans.  He met his wife, Amelia Schubert (1893-1979), a native of New Orleans in Dallas.  They reared four sons at Ocean Springs: James Henry Edwards Jr. (1920-2000), Donald F. Edwards (1924-1982), Bruce Robert Edwards (1925-2003), and Edgar Wallace (1927-1996).

When the Edwards family took over the French Hotel in 1921, there was no electricity.  These were the days when people convened in the evening after dinner for conversation.  The French Hotel had a 60 square-foot pavilion which encircled an oak tree on the beach around which hotel guests and people of the community would gather and exchange stories. 

 

Plaza Cafe

Mr. Edwards was both very industrious and frugal.  During the early days of his proprietorship of the French Hotel, he also operated  the Plaza Cafe located on the northwest corner of Desoto and Washington.  To equip his kitchen, Edwards purchased surplus WWI equipment from the Army camp at Deer Island.  Although it had won the reputation as one of the very best restaurants on the Gulf Coast, the Plaza Cafe closed in May 1924. 

As the winter season was generally slow, he would work as a chef at the Great Southern Hotel at Gulfport, and at the Gulf Hills resort north of Ocean Springs.  Mr. Edwards was the first chef at Gulf Hills, when the hostelry formally opened in the winter of 1927.(The Jackson County Times, December 3, 1927, p. 1)

 

Railroad chef and steward

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Mrs. Edwards and Ethel Shubert managed the beach front hostel.  As times were lean, J.H. Edwards found employment with the Fred Harvey system, which furnished gifted chefs for rail lines.  During this time of national economic crisis, Mr. Edwards also went to sea and was employed on ships.  In 1934, he left Ocean Springs to serve as chief steward aboard the S.S. Kenowis bound for the United Kingdom.  Edwards planned to visit his old home at Glascow, and his brother at London.(The Jackson County Times, January 6, 1934, and The Ocean Springs Record, April 19, 1979, p. 20)

 

World War II

During World War II, Lieutenant Commander J.H. Edwards took a position with the Shipping Administration and crossed the North Atlantic on troopships.  He also served as chief steward aboard the very large hospital ship, USS Larkspur.  His son, Seaman First Class Donald Edwards, served in the merchant marine.

At the time of his death in January 1950, Edwards was the chief steward on the Army transport Short Splice.  He died in the Marine Hospital at New Orleans.

Edwards anticipated a busy summer season for the French Hotel.  He needed additional time to prepare his beach front hostelry for the influx of visitors.

Mr. Edwards ran this advertisement in The Jackson County Times of July 1921:

 

 

FRENCH HOTEL

situated directly on the beach

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Under New Management

Wedding and Dinner Parties a Specialty.  Rates reasonable.

J.H. Edwards, proprietor.  Former Chef of Tortorich's Cafeteria.

 

 

The Edwards family operated the French Hotel as a summer resort until 1928, when it became a year-round inn.  In late 1927, the Edwards family made improvements to the old structure adding several rooms.  In conjunction with this work, the reception area, lounge room, and dining room were enlarged.  A new culinary department was added.  With the in stallation of a modern heating plant and several new bath rooms, the French Hotel became a complete and comfortable home for the traveler and visiting public.  An advertisement in The Jackson County Times of December 30, 1933 described the French Hotel as follows:

 

 

THE FRENCH HOTEL

on the beach

The ideal winter resort

Bathing, Boating, Fishing

Private Pier

Modern throughout

Pleasant surroundings.  Excellent meals.

Moderate rates

J.H. Edwards, Proprietor

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Phone 89

 

 

On July 11, 1936, The Jackson County Times reported that the 4th of July weekend was the largest ever seen along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  At Ocean Springs tourist activity was particularly busy with the French Hotel and the Eglin House filled to capacity.  The Edwards were lauded by the journal for their kindness and concern for the welfare of stranded visitors.  This praise was expressed as follows:  We wish to commend Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Edwards of the French Hotel for their civic interest in giving personal attention to visitors who come to our city.  When their hotel was filled to overflowing Saturday and they were unable to accept any more guests, they went out in their car and assisted the visitors to find rooms in private homes in order that they might remain in Ocean Springs over the weekend and not be forced to go elsewhere.  (Local and Personal).

Mrs. Edwards was also civically active in other ways.  She served faithfully as the local chairperson for the March of Dimes Campaign in the 1940s and 1950s.  The hotel also served as the meeting place for the Rotary Club in the 1940s.  Their charter meeting dinner was held at the Edwards House.

In addition, Mrs. Edwards was a very charitable woman, as she allowed less fortunate, elderly persons to reside in her apartments at very reasonable rates.

The name of the French Hotel was changed to the Edwards House circa 1943.  The Edwards House ran the following advertisement in The Gulf Coast Times of July 12, 1951:

 

 

ON THE BEACH

in beautiful Ocean Springs

THE EDWARDS HOUSE

Front Beach

Ocean Springs

 

 

Mrs. Edwards ran the hotel for many years until it was damaged by Hurricane Camille in August 1969.  The weight of trapped water caused the first floor to collapse.  Clarence Galle (1912-1986) tore down the main house after the infamous tempest, and the property was sold in December 1979 to Charles H. Jacoby.  Amelia Schubert Edwards expired on December 14, 1979.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 665, p. 68 and Wallace Edwards, March 1994)

 

1997

 

Troy H. Vincent

In the summer-fall of 1997, Troy H. Vincent, proprietor of TVH, a subdivison development company and home builder, erected a Mediterranean style home on the old Edwards property at present day 303 Front Beach.  Mr. Vincent also built a fine pier on his riparian rights, which was destroyed by Hurricane Georges in late September 1998.  Katrina destroyed the Vincent home.

 

2014

 

Illiane House

2014 and July 2015

REFERENCES:

C.E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula-1972), p. 77.

Llyod Vogt, New Orleans Houses, A House-Watcher's Guide, (Pelican Publishing Company:  Gretna, Louisiana-1985), p. 44.

Jerome Lepre, Catholic Church Records of Biloxi, Mississippi, Volume 1, (Catholic Diocese of Biloxi: Biloxi-1991), p. 28.

Jackson County Chancery Court Cause No. 6230, “Will of G.W. Vance”.

The Daily Herald"Marie B. Vance Obit", September 1, 1930, p. 2.

The Daily Herald"George W. Vance Obit", February 13, 1940, p. 6.

The Daily Herald"James Henry Edwards Obit", January 11, 1950, p. 8.

The Daily Herald, Know Your Coast, "The French Hotel of Ocean Springs" by Ray M. Thompson, 1957.

The Jackson County Times, Local News Interest, August 17, 1918.

The Jackson County Times"Antoine Bertuccini Obit", March 19, 1921

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, July 2, 1921.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, May 24, 1924.

The Jackson County Times"French Hotel Praised by Members of Rotary Club", January 7, 1928, p. 3.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, January 6, 1934.

The Jackson County Times"Jacques Bertuccini Obit", May 1, 1943, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times, August 26, 1944, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, January 6, 1945.

The Jackson County Times, January 30, 1945, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Memoirs of the Edwards Hotel”, April 19, 1979, p. 20.

The Progress, Local News, December 24, 1904.

 

US Census - Jackson County, Mississippi 1900, 1910, and 1920.

 

Photographs:

Edgar'Wally' W. Edwards Collection and Curt Teich Postcard Archives

Forrest Lamar Cooper Postal Card Collection-Mississippi Department of Archives and History, "Ocean Springs Book".

Hubbard-Armstrong-Bauman House

HUBBARD-ARMSTRONG-BAUMAN HOUSE

509 Washington Avenue

 

LOCATION:   The Hubbard-Armstrong-Bauman House is located at 509 Washington Avenue on the N/2 of Lot 12, Block 34 (Culmseig Map of 1854).

509 Washington Avenue

(image made February 1993)

 

BUILDING:   The Hubbard-Armstrong-Bauman House is a one-story, side gabled roofed, wood frame, raised cottage.  The full-width undercut five-bay gallery is supported by colonettes.  The three central bays of the five-bay facade consist of transomed doors.  The outer bays are six-over-six double hung windows.  There have been some additions to the rear and north elevations.  It is estimated that the house was constructed in the middle 1850s making it one of the oldest extant homes at Ocean Springs.

A study of the Hubbard-Armstrong-Bauman House site utilizing Sanborn maps indicates several stages of development between 1893 and 1909.  During this time, several alterations and additions occurred.  The area of the house increased from 1375 square-feet in 1893 to just over 2000 square-feet by 1909.  There has been virtually no change in the area of the house since 1909.

HISTORY:

With the absence of Jackson County land records and tax rolls prior to 1875 due to several conflagrations occurring at that Courthouse, it is difficult to determine the exact age of the Hubbard-Armstrong-Bauman House.  A manuscript in the files of the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church relating the early history of that Church tells of a faithful Catholic woman, Sophia Schnider Hubbard (1822-1900), who offered her Washington Avenue home for the celebration of Mass prior to the construction of a Catholic Church at Ocean Springs.  Mrs. Hubbard, a native of Bavaria in southern Germany, was the wife of George Hubbard (b. 1820), a retired businessman born at Connecticut.  The Hubbards were probably former residents of New Orleans.

It can be determined with a high degree of certitude that the first Catholic Church at Ocean Springs was built at what is now the northwest corner of Porter and Dewey.  In July 1859, Joseph Bellande (1813-1907), a French immigrant, from Marseille, and his wife, Roseline LaFauce (1821-1893), the granddaughter of Catherine Bourgeois (1768-circa 1845), the Widow of Louis Auguste LaFontaine (1762-1824), sold Bishop William H. Elder of Natchez a lot on the south side of Porter measuring 192 feet by 100 feet deep for $100.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Book 2, pp. 498-499)

Bishop Elder reported also in 1859 that, "Father Georget has bought the lumber for the church at Ocean Springs.  It is to measure 50 feet by 25 feet very plain".  Father Georget was the pastor at Biloxi, and he took on Ocean Springs as a mission.

From this brief history of the commencement of the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, one could conclude that the Hubbard-Armstrong-Bauman House existed at least a few years prior to 1859.  The land deed records of Jackson County indicate that Mrs. Hubbard owned the north half of Lot 12 in Block 34 from at least as early 1875 until October 1890 when she conveyed it and the house to Helen Thomas Armstrong for $500.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Book 23, pp. 186-187)

Helen Thomas Armstrong (1858-1928) was the wife of John L. Armstrong (1851-1911).  She was born at Jasper County, Mississippi, and came to Ocean Springs in 1871 with her parents, Barney Thomas (1807-1878) and Roxy Ann Best (1816).  The Thomas Family had migrated to Mississippi from Anson County, North Carolina.

John Armstrong was also born at Mississippi of Virginia parents.  He toiled as a farm laborer, but later went to work for the L&N Railroad.  Armstrong pioneered the rail route between New Orleans and Mobile participating in this construction.  Later in his railroad career, he served as a bridge gang foreman and water pumper.  Armstrong had two brothers, L.W. Armstrong and George Armstrong.

The Armstrongs had one son, Don Carl Armstrong (1880-1911), who was a carpenter.  He became very ill at Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1911.  His mother went West to care for him, but he never recovered from his malady.

The Armstrongs were significantly active in real estate at Ocean Springs.  By December 1898, Helen Armstrong had purchased the south half of Lot 12 from Mrs. Hubbard.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 23, pp. 188-189)

In October 1903, John and Helen Armstrong probably built two Queen Anne style rental cottages on the southwest corner of Washington and Calhoun.  This lot (180 feet on Washington by 160 feet on Calhoun) had been acquired for $375 a month earlier from the George W. Thomas Family and Miss Annie Eglin.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, p. 126) 

In March 1913, Widow Helen Armstrong sold the south cottage to Leroy McFarland (1836-1920+), a native of Virginia.  McFarland's children, Elsie McFarland Hayden (1881-1956) and Oscar "Mike" McFarland (1872-1952) ran a variety store on Washington Avenue for about twenty years.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 130-131)

Both cottages were destroyed in the Big Fire of November 1916 with the J.P. VanCleave Store, Richardson Cottage, Ocean Springs Fire Company No. 1, and the Vahle House.

After the demise of her husband in 1911, Helen Armstrong began to rent rooms in her large Washington Avenue home.  By 1920, her sister, Annie Thomas, and brother, George W. Thomas, were residing with her.  Before her death on April 26, 1928, Helen Thomas Armstrong legated her Washington Avenue home and property to her brother, George Washington Thomas.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 3, pp. 72-73)

George W. Thomas

George W. Thomas (1854-1932) was a native of Jasper County, Mississippi.  He resided most of his life at Ocean Springs were he farmed, worked for the L&N Railroad, and in later life was considered an expert gardener.  Thomas is credited with planting the oak trees on Washington Avenue. Thomas had two families.  With his first wife, Laura Sutton (1853-1887), an Alabama native, Thomas fathered:  Julie Annie Thomas (1877), Charles L. Thomas (1878), James Acey Thomas (1882-1919), and Edith Armstrong (1886-1967).

After Laura died , George Thomas married Evelyn Woodcock (1867-1904) of Ocean Springs.  They were married in 1889 and had the following children:  Mary Jane (Mollie) Penton (1890-1978), Georgia LeBatard (1893-1976), Jessie William (1894-1906), Harold (b. 1896), Aline King (b. 1899), and Lee J. (1902-1958).  Another child died in infancy.

Jessie William Thomas (1894-1906), called Willie, had a fatal accident in Ocean Springs on October 5, 1906.  Willie was crossing a stile when he fell and a splinter perforated his wind pipe.

After his wife died, George Thomas lived with his sister, Helen, at the Armstrong House.  Thomas sold the S/2 of Lot 12, Block 34 to his daughter, Edith Thomas Armstrong (1887-1967).  She was the wife of Walter G. Armstrong (1878-1945), a rural mail carrier.  In September 1929, about three years before George W. Thomas died on September 15, 1932, he sold his house to his daughter, Mary Jane "Mollie" Penton, for $2000.  Circa 1908, Mollie Penton had married Marby A. Penton (1882-1951), a native of Baldwin County, Alabama.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 62, p. 536 and Bk. 62, pp. 607-608)

Marby A. Penton's father, had come to Moss Point, Mississippi to build boats for the Dantzlers.  He moved the family to Biloxi and died of yellow fever circa 1888.  As a young man Marby Penton worked on a charcoal schooner.  He later joined the L&N Railroad as a carpenter at its Gautier, Mississippi creosote plant about 1910.  The Pentons reared a large family on De LaPointe Road at Gautier.  The Penton children were:  Houston (1909-1973), George A. (1911), William Kell (1913-1993), Joseph W. (1916-1970), Gordon J. (1920-1981), Marby R. (1922-1995), Floyd E. (1925), and Claude H. (1929).

One son, Marby R. Penton (1922), lived at 206 Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs.  He served the community as their three term representative to the Mississippi State Legislature in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  Penton was d'Iberville in the 1979 reenactment of the 1699 Landing.

During their ownership, the Pentons never lived in their Washington Avenue home.  It was utilized as a rental house most probably to railroad families who were numerous in Ocean Springs at this time.

The Pentons sold the house to John Ake (1881-1953) for $700 in February 1938.  Mr. Ake was probably born at Alabama.  He made his livelihood as a carpenter for the L&N Railroad.  In 1943, Ake married Mary Jane Williams (1884-1962), the daughter of Benjamin F. Williams of Belle Fountaine and the widow of Henry King (1878-c.1940).  She had married King in 1903.  King was a shipyard worker in the 1920s.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk.71, p. 18)

As a young woman, Mary Jane Ake worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Henry B. Powell (1867-1949) at the Bayou Inn.  At the Powell inn, she learned the skills essential to managing a public house.  While married to Henry King, Mary Jane operated a rooming house at the King home located to the rear of the Westbrook Barber Shop on Washington Avenue.  Here the Kings reared two daughters, Emma Mae King Bauman (1906-1988) and Rosalie King Shock (1908). 

After moving to the Ake home on Washington Avenue, Mary Jane opened the house to roomers.  She let rooms to single men for $2.50 per night.  Although married to John Ake, she was called "Mrs. King" by the towns people.

After Mrs. Ake's demise in January 1962, her daughter, Emma Mae Bauman, took over the Washington Avenue rooming business.  Room rents at this time were about $5.00 per day.  Single men were the primary occupants. 

Emma Mae had married Manuel Bauman (1904-1973), a Russian immigrant, born at Maloyaroslavets, USSR, site of the 1812 battle where the Russians prevented Napoleon from retreating southward.  He entered the United States at Philadelphia with his father in 1910.  The Baumans settled at Lamoure, South Dakota.

Manuel, called Monk, and a friend, Edward Shock, came from the Midwest to Ocean Springs in the late 1920s to work on the seawall.  They met and married the King sisters, Emma Mae and Rosalie.  Monk and Emma Mae Bauman had three daughters:  Mary Louise (1930), Treva Eglin (1934), and Sheila Puffer (1944).  At Ocean Springs, Bauman made his livelihood as a plasterer and cement finisher.  The Shocks moved to Lincoln, Arkansas.

In July 1973, Rosalie Shock and Emmy Mae Bauman sold their Washington Avenue property to Carroll B. Ishee (1921-1982) and Gladys Smith Ishee.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 470, p. 150) 

Carroll B. Ishee

Ishee utilized 509 Washington Avenue as a staging area and storage for his construction business.  In May 1979, the Ishees sold the house to John R. and Courtney Cook Blossman.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 651, p. 467) 

Carroll B. Ishee was born at Hattiesburg, Mississippi and became a lawyer after serving in the US Army.   He received the Silver Star for bravery while serving with the 82nd Airborne Division in Europe. 

After WWII, Ishee practiced law briefly at Biloxi, but soon became bored.  He developed an interest in real estate and architecture.  Carroll Ishee built his first home in Gulf Hills in 1953.  In time, he developed an architectural signature which is characterized primarily by its site, i.e. thick vegetation or wooded slope of a wetland.  In this natural environment, he built houses featuring trees penetrating the deck, cores of trees utilized as vertical or horizontal supports, skylights, free-form bathtubs, and built in furniture.  There are approximately 150 Ishee homes from Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula.

In February 1969, Ishee acquired 4.3 acres from E.M. Galloway in the Fort Point area of Ocean Springs.  He called the development Lover's lane Addition.  Here on the northeast slope of historic Lovers Lane traced by ancient oaks and magnolias as it winds it way through grounds once inhabited by Bienville and his French colonials, Ishee created ten wonderful contemporary structures.  Each home comes from the individual palette of this consummate artist who painted with foliage, wood, slate, cedar shingles, and glass to camouflage his creation in this sylvan environment.   

Carroll Ishee was married to Gladys Smith.  They lived at Biloxi and Ocean Springs where they reared six children: Carroll B. Ishee Jr., Andre, Thomas Ishee, Jane I. Trochessett Beavers, Nell Ishee, and Rae Ishee.

Mr. Ishee utilized 509 Washington Avenue as a staging area and storage for his contracting and construction enterprises.

Blossman

John R. Blossman (1943-2010) is a graduate of Yale University (1965) and the Vanderbilt School of Law (1968).  He was elected President of Blossman Inc., a regional marketer of propane gas, in 1969. 

Courtney Cook Blossman (b. 1941) is a native of Greenville, Mississippi.  She is a 1963 graduate of MSCW with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  The Blossmans were an integral part of the Friends of Walter Anderson, that organization responsible for the construction of the Walter Anderson Museum at Ocean Springs (1991). 

In 1979, Mrs. Blossman refurbished the old house which she utilizes as a rental.  Particular attention was paid to the front gallery which had been boxed in and screened in the past.  She consulted with historian, C.E. Schmidt (1904-1988) concerning the front porch ballusters.

The Singing River Mental Health Clinic occupied the structure for about thirteen years.  In 1994, the old rooming house is now the domicile of Letitia Galbraith, director of the Walter Anderson Musueum.  The rear apartment is also tenant occupied.

The Hubbard-Armstrong-Bauman House is significant not only for its historical architectural value, but as being the last operating tourist home or rooming house at Ocean Springs.  It ceased this service in the late 1960s when owned by Emmy Mae Bauman.  The citizens of Ocean Springs are fortunate that this treasure has been preserved through the years.

 

REFERENCES:

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi"George Thomas Washington", (Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula-1989), p. 367.

Websters New Geographical Dictionary, (Meriam-Webster: Springfield, Massachusetts-1984), p. 718.

Mississippi Coast History and Genealogical Society, "A Short History of Saint Alphonsus Parish, Ocean Springs", Volume 9, No. 4, November 1973, p. 131.

Mississippi Department of Archives and History, "Old Ocean Springs Historic District", Item No. 7, p. 5

 

Journals  

The Biloxi Herald"Sophia Schnider Hubbard Obit", January 13, 1900, p. 8.

The Jackson County Times"Mrs. Helen Armstrong Obit", May 5, 1928, p. 3.

The Mississippi Press"Penton May Run for Judge's Post", August 19, 1974, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"Death of John L. Armstrong", March 11, 1911, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs Record"John Blossman Heads Group Enterprises", June 19, 1969, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record"Penton Seeks Re-Election", June 29, 1967, p. 3.

The Ocean Springs Record"Noted home designer dies", January 21, 1982, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record,"J.R. Blossman is Yale Graduate", June 9, 1966, p. 1.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", October 5, 1906.

 

US CENSUS - Jackson County, Mississippi (1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920)

 

Sanborn Map Company (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1893)-Sheet 2, (1904)-Sheet 2, (1909)-Sheet 3, and (1925)-Sheet 3.

  

Personal Communication:

Claude H. Penton

Marguerite Seymour Norman

Gladys Smith Ishee

Treva Bauman Eglin

Courtney Cook Blossman

Seashore House (1855? - 1886)

 

LOCATION

The Seashore House was located on the east side of Jackson Avenue and Front Beach Drive (called Marion Avenue at that time).  The lot was 113 feet on Marion and 192 feet on Jackson.

 

 

BUILDING

No description or photograph of this structure is known to the author at the present time.

 

HISTORY

Currently other than brief statements in books not much has been discovered about the Seashore House in the literature.  In 1933, Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936), a scholarly gentleman, who lived most his life at his Lovers Lane home on Biloxi Bay and wrote short stories and novels none of which were ever published, interviewed octogenarian, Josephine Bowen Kettler (1845-1933+).  Mrs. Kettler was the daughter of the Reverend Philip P. Bowen (1799-1871), a Baptist minister, who was an early pioneer at Ocean Springs.  From his conversation with Kettler, Mr. Poitevent wrote a romantic picture of early life at Ocean Springs.  The following is taken from Broken Pot, an unpublished novel, written by Poitevent:

 

As she (Mrs. Kettler) talked, I felt myself going back to the time she was telling me about, and I could see in imagination her ante-bellum Ocean Springs with its straight, tall pine-trees which the charcoal hand of men in time felled and with its grey-trunked live-oaks and with its white, sandy roads winding in and about gallberry thickets and through patches of graceful latanier and heading branches where sweet-bays and magnolias and chinquepins and wild honeysuckle---"azalias", the young ones now call them ---was so much a part of our fair Land then as now that we unconsciously accept their charm now as then as a part of a land as the Land should be; and I imagine I heard Captain Walker blowing the loud whistle of the good steamboat "Creole" of the old Morgan Line, on her regular passenger packet run of every other day from New Orleans to Ocean Springs and return, pretty much like the "Coast Train" of our times, only not so often; and I could see the proud people of her day, with grinning kinky-headed slaves for coachmen, driving in old-fashioned, heavy carriages down to the foot of the old steamboat wharf---driving through that white sandy road which nowadays opens to view the beautiful vista beneath the arched live-oak limbs that overhang our paved Jackson Avenue; and from the foot of the wharf, I could in imagination hear the paddle-wheels of the steamboat striking the water and out on the long wharf of one thousand and seventy-five feet I, too, went along with the others to see the boat come in; and as I stood on the pier, I saw out in the Bay mullet jumping and saw the sharks striking and saw the many pelicans feeding and some were sailing in long streams; and then the boat approached and I saw a deck-hand heave the lead-line and I saw nigger slaves on the pier-head catch it and haul the hawser in, and I saw the mate lower the stage-plank and I saw the passengers, in the queer costumes of those old summer days---the ladies in big-hooped skirts, tight waists and flat hats; the gentlemen in tight pantaloons, shirts with ruffled fronts and crossed cravats and broad-brimmed beavers---disembark; and back up the long wharf in the bright forenoon sunshine, I followed the passengers and the people ashore, and most all stopped at the Old Seashore Hotel on the west side of the road at the foot of the wharf where now stands the Sacred Heart Convent, and there attached to the hotel, they had a store, and in the store was the post-office; and in imagination, I heard people step up and ask:  "Any mail for me Mr. Eagen?"

 

The Seashore House lot was originally a part of Lot Number Two of the Widow LaFontaine Claim (Section 37, T7S-R8W).  It was in the possession of Robert B. Kendall in September 1846.  Kendall conveyed his interest to E.R. and Henrietta S. Porter before 1855 for in October of that year, the Porters sold the Seashore House tract (113 feet x 192 feet) to J.E. McGehee of Helena, Arkansas and Mary J. Jourdan of New Orleans for $900.  McGehee conveyed his half interest to Jourdan in December 1859.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 243-245)

 

After Mrs. Jourdan died sometimes before 1881, her daughters and sole heirs, Kate Peniston Maurice Jourdan and Augusta Sophia McGehee Jourdan of New Orleans, inherited the property.  They sold the house and lot to W.B. Schmidt of New Orleans on August 8, 1881.  Schmidt was a partner in the well established Ocean Springs Hotel (1853-1905) up the block on the west side of Jackson Avenue.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 5, pp. 228-229) 

 

It appears that W.B. Schmidt didn't want any competition for his Ocean Springs Hotel because when he sold it to Captain Raphael "Ralph" Beltram (1828-1898) in November 1886, it was stipulated in the conveyance deed that Beltram "at any time or times here after, establish, open or keep, or allow to be established, opened, or kept on the premises hereby granted and conveyed any coffee house, saloon, bar room, or public establishment, for the sale of wines, or liquors without the consent of the said W.B. Schmidt, his heirs, or assigns".  Beltram named his residence "San Souci".  The site was acquired by the Marianite Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1899.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed 8, pp. 292-293 and Bk. 20, pp. 104-106)

 

Raymond J. Hudachek purchased the property from the Reverend Joseph B. Brunini, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Natchez-Jackson, as Trustee of the St. Alphonsus Parish, in March 1976.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 559, p. 678)

 

REFERENCES:

 

Schuyler Poitevent, Broken Pot, "Biloxi Bay" (Chapter 7), (Mississippi State Department of Archives and History: Jackson, Mississippi-1933-unpublished), p. 5.

The Artesian House (1891 - 1936)

 

 

LOCATION

The Artesian House was located on the southwest corner of Jackson and Porter Avenues in Lot 8 of Block 31 of the Culmseig Map (1854) of Ocean Springs.

 

Artesian House

BUILDING

The Artesian House was built in the Queen Anne architectural style.  It was a two-story wood frame structure with an area under roof of 4,320 square feet.  An eight-foot wide gallery facing north and east was present on both floors.  The kitchen was attached to the rear of the building and had an area of 486 square feet.  Located to the rear of the main structure was a small cabin of approximately 300 square feet.  North of the cabin there was a small stable of 240 square feet which faced Porter Avenue.  

HISTORY

The Cowan House

The Artesian House, sometimes called the Artesia House, was built by Alfred E. (Fred) Lewis (1862-1933) probably early in 1891.  A notice in the Biloxi Herald of November 8, 1890 stated, "Mr. Fred Lewis is to build a large hall with store underneath just opposite O'Keefe's Hotel".  This date is corroborated somewhat in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of March 11, 1892 by the following, "Mrs. D.D. Cowan's grocery business has been removed to the "Lewis Building" on the corner of Jackson and Porter Avenue where she will also keep boarders"

In May 1892, Mrs. Cowan advertised her business in The Biloxi Herald of May 7, 1892as:

 

The Cowan House

Cor. Jackson Street and Avenue

Ocean Springs, Miss.

Mrs. D.D. COWAN, Proprietress,

PRIVATE BOARDING

By the day, week or month.  Meals served at any hour on the European plan.

Excursionist’s Dinner 50 Cents

 

Mrs. Lillie L. Cowan (1862-1892), the wife of educator, D.D. Cowan, passed on July 28, 1892.  Her occupancy of the Lewis Building was short lived.

Mr. Lewis had acquired the N/2 of Lot 8 of Block 31 from F.M. Weed on September 11, 1890 for $400.  The tract measured 50 feet on Jackson Avenue and 200 feet on Porter.  Lewis sold G.E. Arndt 81 feet off the west end of the lot in October 1894 for $600.  Arndt built a cottage at present day 822 Porter circa 1895 which he rented to visitors from New Orleans and the Midwest.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 16, p. 455 and Bk. 16, p. 65)

Fred Lewis was the son of Colonel A.E. Lewis (1812-1885), a pioneer settler of Jackson County.  The elder Lewis was active in commerce and politics serving as Sheriff for fourteen years, and in the Mississippi State Legislature from 1850-1852.  He built Oldfields Plantation (1845) on the Mississippi Sound at Gautier where he raised stock, fruit trees, and crops.  Fred Lewis was married to Julia Johnson (1861-1933).  Their Alabama born adopted daughter, Marguerite Lewis (1890-1961), married Frank Raymond (1883-1952) who owned the Pines Hotel at Ocean Springs from 1925-1929.

Until 1895, Lewis resided north of the railroad bridge on the Bay of Biloxi in a home called “Mendenhall”.  In that year the home, was sold to Julia Rodriguez.  At this time, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis probably moved to the Fort Bayou Community southwest of Vancleave where they established a home, called "Sweet Heart", on 320 acres of land in Sections 23 and 24 of T6S-R8W.  Here Lewis operated a model agricultural enterprise.  He was lauded for his outstanding poultry, pecans, and peaches.  The Lewis family remained here in the country near the Antioch Baptist Church until their demise in 1933.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 16, p. 398 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 1, 1905, p. 3)

Fred Lewis like his father was active in politics, commerce, and served as the chief oyster inspector for the Mississippi Seafood Commission.  He also owned the water works at Ocean Springs.  Lewis supplied the town with artesian water from a well about 500 feet deep.  The well, tanks, and other equipment were located on a lot between Washington Avenue and Church Street just northwest of the Munro Shell Station on Bienville Boulevard.

On July 4, 1893, the official minutes of the Town of Ocean Springs relate that Lewis agreed to furnish water at no cost to the citizens of Ocean Springs for four public fountains.  On January 2, 1894, he agreed to furnish free water for fighting fires.  Because of his generosity with water to the people of Ocean Springs, Fred Lewis acquired the title, "the artesian prince".  It is easily understood why his hostelry once referred to as the Lewis House acquired the name, Artesian House, in February 1894.  Fred Lewis sold his waterworks to J.J. Kuhn of New Orleans in February 1898 for $4500.( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 18, p. 531)

The Artesian House opened for business on February 1, 1894 under the capable management of Mrs. Samuel Backous.  Mrs. Backous was the wife of a Fayette County, Indiana farmer.  She advertised her business in the Ocean Springs Business Directory (1893-1894) as:

 

ARTESIAN HOUSE

Mrs. S. Backous, Proprietress

A Pleasant, Home-Like House, With All

the Comforts and Conveniences of a Modern Hotel.

RATES - $1.50 per day; $7.00 per week

Patronage of Tourists and Sample Rooms Free

Commercial Men Solicited

 

Evidently 1894 was a difficult year for the tourist business at Ocean Springs as The Pascagoula Democrat-Starannounced on March 15, 1895 that "the Artesian House closed its doors on account of hard times".  The Backous family moved to Texarkana, Texas in March 1904 to operate a farm.  They would return to Ocean Springs in March 1910 and start a farm near present day Clark and Government Street.  Samuel Backous purchased the O'Keefe Boarding House in 1910, and moved it from Porter to its present day location at 2122 Government.  Mrs. Alvah Clark owns it today.  With commerce in an apparent depressed state, Fred Lewis sold his Jackson Avenue inn to local real estate man, E.J. Morris (1849-1899) for $1775 on April 11, 1895.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, p. 618)

At this time journalist, Charles L. Dyer, was touring and writing about the Mexican Gulf Coast resorts for the L&N Railroad.  He would relate in his Along the Gulf (1895) the following about the Artesian House:

 

Another beautiful hotel at Ocean Springs is the Artesia House, which is a modern structure in every sense of the word and contains all the comforts of home.  Being the last hotel built at Ocean Springs, it naturally has many advantages over the older ones in the way of modern improvements.  It is built on the Queen Anne style and is right in the center of the city.  Its ceilings are high and the rooms large and airy.  It is the property of Mr. E.J. Morris, an enterprising gentleman of Ocean Springs, who has done much to advance the interest of the place.  He is a large real estate owner and the best informed man of that topic in the city. 

By late November 1895, E.J. Morris had sold the Artesian House to his mother, Ann Morris (1819-1900), for $700.  Mrs. Morris was also the proprietress of the Morris House at Ocean and Jackson Avenue.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 145-146) 

The modus operandi of some Ocean Springs hotel owners was to lease their property to others for the "seasons" which ran from April to September or November to March.  Mrs. Morris followed this trend and leased the Artesian House to Casper Vahle (1869-1922) in October 1899.  In November 1899, The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported on several occasions that Casper Vahle had rented the Artesian House and that it would open after being refurbished where"the visitor can find the best accommodations".(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 639-640)

James H. Walley acquired the property from Anne Morris and owned it for a brief period.  He sold the hotel to Sidney J. Anderson (1867-1917), a Louisianan, on February 16, 1900 for $1000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 21, pp. 150-151)

In the fall of 1900, Casper Vahle sued S.J. Anderson.  They settled their dispute by compromise.  Casper Vahle gave up his lease and Professor Sauls (1870-1909+) began his occupation of the Artesian House.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 2, 1900, p. 3)

Professor Sauls and his family moved from their cottage on Porter to reside with some of the school boarders at the Artesian House during the 1900-1901 school term. The Artesian House was situated on the southwest corner of Jackson and Porter diagonally opposite the J.J. O’Keefe boarding house. The Sauls rented their home to H.H. Richardson and his spouse of Chicago who were wintering here.  Mr. Richardson had Gregoire Wieder (1849-1899) erect his cottage at present day 605 Porter in 1895.  He vended it to Belle Caraway Sauls (1877-1904+) in May 1898.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 9, 1900, p. 3 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 19, p. 75)

 The S.J. Anderson family lived on Bluff Creek at Vancleave north of Ocean Springs.  Here they owned and operated a mercantile store which was purchased from Andrew W. Ramsay (1830-1916) in March 1896.  The wharves and storehouses of Ramsay were located in the NE/4, NE/4 of Section 16, T6S-R7W.  Mr. Anderson was a director of the new Ocean Springs State Bank when it opened its doors on Washington Avenue in March 1905.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 30, p. 478)

 By the fall of 1900, S.J. Anderson had rented the Artesian House to J.C. Dearborn who took possession in November.  November also saw Professor Q.D. Sauls become a tenant, and Casper Vahle in a dispute with the Andersons probably over his lease.  Captain John Johnson also lived here before moving to Biloxi after he lost $800 when 700 barrels of his oysters froze.  The temperature had plummeted to one degree Fahrenheit on February 13, 1899.

The Oak View Hotel

The Andersons changed the name of the hostelry to the Oak View Hotel in 1904 or 1905.  This fact is corroborated by a notice on January 30, 1904, when The Ocean Springs News reported that, "J.L. McDaniel has rented the lower floor of the Knights of Pythias building and moved his fruit and vegetable stand from the Artesian House".  A notice in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of September 1, 1905 referred to it as the Oak View Hotel.

In mid-May 1904, vandals wrought havoc along West Porter, when they smeared colored paint on the Methodist and St. John’s Episcopal Church, as well as the Artesian House.  Fences and walks were also marred by the night marauders.  It marked the first time in the town’s history that houses of worship had been defiled.(The Progress, May 14, 1904, p. 4)

The Andersons would run the hotel for over twenty years.  Mrs. Caroline Anderson was born at New Orleans in 1873.  Her father was Eugene Gaspard, a native of France.  She and S.J. Anderson married circa 1889 and had two children:  Malvina J. Bernard Cotter (1890-1954+) of Eddy County, New Mexico and Frank Sidney Anderson (1893-1923+).  Children:  Catherine G. Buendia (1954)? of NOLA, Frank Sidney Anderson, Jr. of Napa Co., Calf., and Doris Jean Lewis (1954+) of Harris Co., Texas?.

S.J. Anderson had a frightening experience in the Hurricane of October 1915.  During the tempest, his schooner was anchored at the New Basin in New Orleans.  Anderson went to check on his vessel with winds roaring at one hundred miles per hour.  He boarded the floundering boat and threw out double anchors to secure it.  As he was about to leave the vessel, the wind hurled the roof of a cotton warehouse upon the schooner falling both masts and narrowly missing the anxious Anderson.  He also lost a schooner in the Rigloets Marsh.

In June 1911, The Ocean Springs News reported that, “The Artesian House has leased to a gentleman by the name of McDonald,  from Florida, for a term of three years”.(The Ocean Springs News, June 10, 1911, p. 5) 

In November 1915, the Andersons advertised their enterprise in The Ocean Springs News: 

Rooms For Rent

Rooms for light housekeeping.  Apply at the Oak View Hotel

or to S.J. Anderson, Vancleave, phone 109-2.

 

The Anderson Apartments

By December 1915, the name of the Oak View Hotel had been changed to the Anderson Apartments.  On December 2, 1915, The Ocean Springs News described this enterprise as:  Each apartment consists of two rooms, with all appurtenances for light housekeeping; also bath, electric light, and telephone service.  These apartments, ten in number, are centrally located, and should appeal to our visiting friends, wishing to spend a season in our delightful climate, and enjoy all the comforts of home, with the charming hostess, Mrs. Anderson, who spares nothing for the comfort of her patrons.

In late September 1917, the Andersons went to Hot Springs, Arkansas as Mr. Anderson's health was failing.  Unfortunately, he died there on October 3, 1917.  Anderson's remains were sent to New Orleans for interment in the Greenwood Cemetery.  The funeral was held at the home of H. Moskan at 2713 Bienville Street.  Moskan was the brother-in-law of Sidney Anderson.

On April 28, 1920, Caroline Gaspard Anderson, now the widow of S.J. Anderson, conveyed the property now known as the Anderson Apartments to her mother, Barbara Martiau Gaspard (1852-1931), for $2800.  Caroline relocated to New Orleans and participated with her son, Frank S. Anderson, in a firm called the Orleans Advertisement & Street Guide Company.  They officed at 618 Commercial Place in the Balter Building.  In 1922, she moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico for a few years returning to New Orlerans circa 1925.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 48, pp. 87-88)

Mrs. Gaspard was a Louisiana native and widow of Eugene Gaspard, a Frenchman.  Her other children were:  Mrs. J. Fitzner, Mrs. H. Moskan, and Mrs. Annie Rehage.  It is possible that Mrs. Gaspard leased the building to a Mrs. G.F. Frush.  An advertisement appeared in The Jackson County Times of November 19, 1921 stating: 

THE HOME BOARDING HOUSE

$15/week Room and Board

$9/week Table Board

Meals $.50

Mrs. G.F. Frush

Jackson Avenue 

In January 1922, The Jackson County Times advertised:

HOME BOARDING HOUSE

Wanted

10 or 12 Boarders & Roomers

at

THE HOME BOARDING HOUSE

Mrs. G.F. Frush

Phone 88

Jackson Avenue-Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Based on the number of roomers wanted, and the location of the business, there is a probability that the Home Boarding House was the old Artesian House.  Octogenarian, Arlene Muzzy White  (1908-2000), remembered that Mrs. Frush operating a boarding house in the 1920s on Washington Avenue at a location near the present day Community Center.  Pearl Frush, a daughter, became a successful commercial artist at Chicago.  She studied art at Nichol’s School of Commercial Art in New Orleans and attended Annette McConnell Anderson’s art colony in the summer of 1926.  Miss White remembers that the Frushes were from North Dakota and Iowa.(The Jackson County Times, June 12, 1926, p. 3)

Mrs. Gaspard sold the inn to the Crescent Realty Company with all furniture on July 5, 1925 for $7500.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 57, pp. 93-94)

The Crescent City Realty Company, a Louisiana Corporation, was represented at Ocean Springs by W.J. Hardke (1877-1932) and John Leo Dickey (1880-1938) both natives of Niles, Michigan.  There was a rumor at this time that a colony of twenty-one families from Niles, Michigan would move to Ocean Springs.  Some were to reside at the Anderson Apartments.

During the Crescent City Realty Company's proprietorship, the name of the hostelry was changed to the White House.  The Jackson County Times of August 25, 1925, reported that E.E. Woodford recently purchased the Anderson Apartments. Victor Toche (1887-1962) painted the building, and Woodford, who probably had a lease on the property, named the edifice, The White House Apartments.  Woodford may have employed Mrs. L.A. Elwyn, who was born at Indiana in 1882, as the resident manager.  Crescent City Realty lost their Jackson Avenue property when they defaulted on a deed of trust held by Lester F. Alexander of New Orleans.

Lester F. Alexander was a partner with John Leo Dickey.  Their company, the Lester F. Alexander Construction Company, specialized in river engineering projects such as, jetties, docks, and locks.  In June 1922, Dickey purchased "Bay View", the Christian Hanson (1845-1914) home off Shearwater Drive, which he renamed Shadowlawn. 

The demise of the aging Queen Anne structure came during the Great Depression.  The Jackson County Times of July 18, 1936 reported the following in Local and Personal:

Another landmark in Ocean Springs will soon disappear.  The White House is being demolished by Charles Braun of Biloxi.  This building a large two-story structure was built in the early nineties at a cost of about $5000, when lumber and labor were cheap.  It was sold to the wrecker for $300.  The material is all heart lumber and most of it is in perfect condition.  We believe the lumber will be moved to Biloxi.  Mrs. L.A. Elwyn has occupied the place for the last nine years.

Mrs. Gladys Alexander bought the abandoned site for $1750 in a trustee's sale on May 3, 1937.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 70, p. 35)

For many years, the St. Paul United Methodist Church owned the empty lot on the corner of Jackson and Porter, which was the former site of the Artesian House.  Ray L. Bellande acquired it from them in October 2002.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1279, p. 290)

 

REFERENCES:

Ray L. Bellande, "The Hanson-Widmer House", (unpublished essay), March 1993. 

C.E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula - 1972), p. 63.

 The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, "Lewis Family", (Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989), p. 265.

The History of Jackson County , "John and Jennie Dickey", (Jackson County Genealogical Society:Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989), p. 190.

Jackson County Chancery Court Cause No. 4390, “W.T. Burt Company v. Caroline J. Anderson”, October 31, 1923.

Jackson County, Mississippi Land Assessment Roll (1902), "A.E. Lewis", pp. 199-200.

 

Journals

The Biloxi Herald, November 8, 1890, p. 4.

The Biloxi Herald, “The Cowan House”, (advertisement), May 7, 1892.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, February 21, 1899, p. 8.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, January 13, 1900, p. 8.

The Daily Herald"Sidney Anderson, 50, Dead", October 5, 1917, p. 6.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, June 6, 1925.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, June 27, 1925.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", August 15, 1925.

 

The Ocean Springs News“Local News”, January 8, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News“Local News”, March 19, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News“Local News”, June 10, 1911.

The Ocean Springs News"Anderson Has Narrow Escape From Death", October 7, 1915, p. 2, The Ocean Springs Record, photo of "Anderson Apartments", January 2, 1969, p. 11.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, "Ocean Springs Locals", February 23, 1894.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Local", November 3, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", November 17, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", September 21, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", November 2, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, November 9, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", March 31, 1905.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 1, 1905, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local News”, December 1, 1905.

The Progress, "Local News Items", March 5, 1904.

The Progress, “Local News Items”, May 14, 1904.

 

Maps

Sanborn Map Company (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1904)-Sheet 2.

US Census - Jackson County, Mississippi (1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920).

 

Personal Communication:

George E. Arndt

Ruth Dickey Scharr

Orwin Scharr

Arlene White

The Beach Hotel - New Beach Hotel (1899 - 1921)

 

LOCATION

The New Beach Hotel was located on the front beach at Ocean Springs between Jackson Avenue and Washington Avenue.  It sat on a multi-acre tract comprising Lots 1, 2, 8, 9, and part of Lot 7.  The Fort Maurepas replication which was built in 1981 is situated approximately at the location of the former New Beach Hotel.

                                                                     Beach Hotel (Edwards House)

 

New Beach Hotel

BUILDING

The New Beach Hotel was an L-shaped, three story, wood framed building which faced the Bay of Biloxi.  Extensive front and rear galleries graced the structure.  The hostelry had a living area of approximately 7400 square feet, and the galleries provided about 2500 square feet of recreational area.  There were thirty-two bedrooms and a dining room which were steam heated.  Sanitary closets and bathrooms were available.

 

HISTORY

The founder of the magnificent Beach-New Beach Hotel was Dr. Jasper J. Bland (1850-1932) a native of Deasonville in Yazoo County, Mississippi.  Bland began his career in medicine as an apprentice to Dr. Wroten at Magnolia.  He attended the University of Tennessee and graduated with valedictory honors in 1878.  After practicing medicine at Pickens, Mississippi, Bland moved to New Orleans and at-tended the University of Louisiana, now Tulane.  He received his state license in 1882.  Dr. Bland went on to a distinguished medical career in South Louisiana initially serving the wealthy sugar planters and their households near Houma.

In 1891, Dr. Bland married Agnes Elizabeth Edwards (1868-1936) of New Orleans, and practiced medicine in the Crescent City for the next fifteen years.  Agnes Bland's father, James Daniel Edwards (1839-1887), owned a large summer home at Ocean Springs on the beach between Jackson and Washington Avenue.  He had purchased it from Sarah Margaret Richardson Hansell, the widow of Henry Holcombe Hansell, in May 1885 for $2800.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 7, pp. 468-472

Hansell-Edwards home

In 1850, Henry Holcombe Hansell (1817-1878), a native of Pennsylvania, was domiciled on St. Charles Avenue at New Orleans with Sarah Margaret Richardson Hansell (1825-1908), his wife, two sons, and daughter: Henry H. Hansell II (1848-1900+), William S. Hansell (1849-1911), and Margaret M. Hansell (1858-1878).(1850 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census M432_237, p. 264, Ward 2) 

In the Crescent City, Mr. Hansell was a ‘saddler’.  He expired at New Orleans in August 1878, and was lauded in his obituary as follows: “known for his kindly nature and honorable character, which won for him the high regard of his fellow men.  As proprietor of one of the oldest and most extensive saddlery houses in the City, he occupied a notably responsible position, the duties of which he discharged with superior judgment.” .(The Daily Picayune, August 17, 1878)

In January 1880, the heirs of H.H. Hansell were continuing to advertise their saddle and harness business in the Crescent City:

H.H. HANSELL

Manufacturer of

SADDLERY and HARNESS

and Importer and dealer in

SADDLERY HARDWARE, LEATHER, BELTING HOSE, ETC.

Government Harness, Saddles, etc.

No. 22 Magazine and 74 Common Street

New Orleans, La.

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 23, 1880, p. 4)

 

James D. Edwards

Mr. Edwards made his livelihood as the proprietor of James D. Edwards Iron Works located at 22 to 34 South Front Street in New Orleans.  This institution produced sugar machinery as well as copper, brass, and sheet iron work.  Edwards employed a skilled work force numbering several hundred.  Their machines were exported to Mexico, Cuba, and Central America.  In addition, the firm was an agent for steam pumps, gauges, and locomotive and marine equipment.  James D. Edwards died intestate on April 2, 1887 at New Orleans.  In February 1899, Dr. Bland took a lease from the Edwards' heirs and opened a hostelry which he appropriately named the Beach Hotel.  Lawrence Gautreaux, a seasoned hotel manager, was put in charge. 

Later in 1899, Mary H. Haner Edwards (1845-1925), the widow of James D. Edwards, petitioned her children in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Cause No. 804.  The suit was filed to force a sale of the Edwards House in order for the respective heirs to receive their share of the property.  Dr. Jasper J. Bland (1850-1932), the son-in-law of Mrs. Mary Edwards, purchased the Edwards summer home property from Special Commissioner, Frank H. Lewis (1865-1930) of Pascagoula, Mississippi, for $5500 in August 1899.  Dr. Bland had married Agnes Elizabeth Edwards (1868-1936) in 1891.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 248-250)

Mr. Edwards made his livelihood as the proprietor of James D. Edwards Iron Works located at 22 to 34 South Front Street in New Orleans.  This institution produced sugar machinery as well as copper, brass, and sheet iron work.  Edwards employed a skilled work force numbering several hundred.  Their machines were exported to Mexico, Cuba, and Central America.  In addition, the firm was an agent for steam pumps, gauges, and locomotive and marine equipment.  James D. Edwards died intestate on April 2, 1887 at New Orleans.

In February 1899, Dr. Bland took a lease from the Edwards' heirs and opened a hostelry which he appropriately named the Beach Hotel.  Lawrence Gautreaux, a seasoned hotel manager, was put in charge.  By November 1899, manager Gautreaux had resigned from the Beach Hotel.  Dr. Bland invited his brother, George Duncan Bland (1853-1915), who resided at Pelahatchie, Mississippi to Ocean Springs to oversee his seaside inn.  Dr. Bland maintained his medical practice at New Orleans during the early years of the operation.  On occasions, he and the family would come to Ocean Springs and occupy their cottage on the hotel grounds.

In February 1901, George Bland quit the hotel and purchased the Roquett Place on Fort Bayou where he established a truck farm.  Mrs. Kate Setton was appointed manager of the Beach Hotel in the summer of 1901.  George Bland and his wife died within days of each other in late December 1915, from pneumonia.  They were survived by six children.

The Bland family which included young daughters, Agnes (1895-1979) and Mildred (1902-1987), moved to Ocean Springs from New Orleans in 1906.  Dr. Bland became active in the social and political affairs of the community.  In 1909, he endorsed a municipal bond issue for the benefit of the schools and improvement of streets and sidewalks.  Dr. Bland was appointed to the School Board for one term in April 1910.  He ran for Alderman from Ward 4 in 1914 losing to former mayor, John Duncan Minor (1863-1920). 

Daughter, Agnes, who was called "Missy" taught Latin and other higher grades at the Ocean Springs High School during the 1916-1917 school term.  She was admired by her students and rated excellent by her peers.  During the summer of 1917 she studied Spanish and advanced Latin at Tulane University in New Orleans.  Agnes Bland married Urban Beh (1899-1990) in 1923.  They resided at Los Angeles.  Their children are: Jean Beh Beek (1925) and Richard Beh (1927).

Mildred Bland married Harry Lucas (1901-1951) of Beaumont, Texas in 1926.  Their children are: Harry Lucas, Jr. (b. 1932), and Philip Bland Lucas (1934-1987).

A unique and desirable feature of the Beach Hotel was its pier which was constructed in May 1902.  Later it would become the victim of the three hurricanes which struck Ocean Springs during Dr. Bland's ownership.  In September 1908, Bland went to Biloxi to make arrangements for power boat service between the two cities.  He also sought someone to manage the hotel restaurant.

With the large Ocean Springs Hotel burning in the spring of 1905, the town was desperately short of lodging especially in the summer months as tourist from New Orleans enjoyed the saltwater bathing and seafood generously offered by the area.  This paucity of hotel rooms probably encouraged Dr. Bland to enlarge the Beach Hotel.  In fact there is a strong possibility it was torn down as announced by The Ocean Springs News of April 3, 1909, "the old Beach Hotel is being demolished to make way for the new and handsome structure which is to take its place".  A week earlier (March 27, 1909), the same journal had announced:

     Dr. J.J. Bland started a force of men to work remodeling and greatly enlarging the hotel.  When completed it will be not only large and roomy but modern in all appointments.  The new structure will be fitted throughout with hot and cold water, electric lights, baths, etc.  The building will be two and one-half stories high and fifty rooms.  It is hoped to finish by opening of the summer season.

Work on the structure was commenced by Fred Bradford, John Burr, George Dale, Charles Woodcock, Ed Simmons, and Reynoir Mon, and completed in June 1909.  When opened, Dr. Bland called his new caravansary the New Beach Hotel.  His workmen presented him with a silk umbrella on opening day.

On September 4, 1909 Dr. Bland ran the following advertisement in The Ocean Springs News to promote his Biloxi Bay front enterprise:

 

THE NEW BEACH HOTEL

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Modern improvement.  Healthiest location on the coast.

Boating, bathing, and fishing unequaled.  Artesian

mineral water.  Rates $10 to $15 per week.

Dr. J.J. Bland, proprietor

The Hurricanes

The Hurricane of September 1909 greeted Dr. Bland's newly opened inn unkindly, but no serious damage was incurred.  The roaring surf created by the high wind washed the bluff in front of the structure and some of the brick steps were removed.  The soil and shells were transported to the west and deposited in the marsh in front of the former Ocean Springs Hotel property. 

Access to the New Beach Hotel was made by a road in front of the structure.  In July 1915, The Ocean Springs News reported that:   "the road in front of the Beach Hotel is in a shocking state.  It is impassable for automobiles, and tradesmen suffer delay in deliveries and damage to their rigs".  Dr. Bland said that, "It is the duty of the town to fix the road.  If the town does not, I certainly shan't.  I would rather see the road abandoned entirely".

In order to prevent the road from being washed away, it was necessary to build a small seawall.  Since the seawall would cost about $25,000, Mayor W.T. Ames (1881-1969) declined to spend taxpayers dollars on the project which would benefit only three properties.  The road problem would soon be solved by Nature.

The Hurricane of late September 1915 was the worst on record.  Large waves scoured the front of the New Beach Hotel removing forty feet of the terrain.  The upper half of the stairs leading to the terrace were left suspended in mid-air as the bottom ones were destroyed by the boiling surf.  A large sloop was deposited in the rear of the hotel. The July Storm of 1916 was relatively benign to beach front property.

By late 1914, Bland now at retirement age, must have tired of the business, as a report in The Ocean Springs News indicated that the property was for sale.  On October 24, 1914, that local journal related:  Dr. J.J. Bland, proprietor of the New Beach Hotel, has sent out circular letters to many of the principal hotels of the country advertising his property for sale.  The hotel is new, modern, and sanitary in every respect.  It has thirty two bedrooms, with large halls, dining room, and outbuildings, is steam heated and fitted with sanitary closets, bath rooms, etc.  It is located on the beach and in close proximity to the business part of town, and has large grounds with a grove of fine pecan trees.  At present the hotel is leased at a good rental, but possession can be given after May 15, 1915.

Mrs. Bridget E. White (1860-1943), the daughter of Maria Shanahan (1826-1909), was the lessee.  She had worked with her mother at the Shanahan House and Frye Hotel on Washington Avenue, and managed the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1904.  Once Mrs. White owned a private hotel at New Orleans.  Her experience in the hostelry business was unsurpassed in the city of Ocean Springs.

In 1916, The Ocean Springs News ran the following advertisement:

"THE NEW BEACH HOTEL"

Mrs. B.E. White, proprietress

Rest this winter in the South.  Beautiful scenery,

boating, fishing, tennis, golf, motoring.  Good

accommodations.  Rooms overlooking the Gulf.  Steam

heat.  American plan, $10 - per week and up.  Special

family rates.  Write for booklet.  (January 6, 1916, p. 5, c. 4).

From newspaper articles of that day, it appears the New Beach Hotel was closed for approximately four years from some time in 1916 to late November 1920, when it was reopened by J.C. Joiner of Grove Hill, Alabama.  Joiner was heralded as an experienced and competent hotelman. 

Dr. Bland had lost the hotel property in a foreclosure in 1918.  A group of New Orleans ladies, Mrs. Minerva A. Flower, Mrs. F.F. Ogilivie, Mrs. M.B. Griffin, and Mrs. Browning C. Moore bought the property on June 3, 1918 at the Jackson County Chancery Court.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 45, pp. 534-536)

Dr. J.J. Bland, in anticipation of resuming his medical practice in Louisiana, attended the Louisiana State Medical Association Convention at New Orleans in April 1918.  He relocated to Vinton, Louisiana and was practicing medicine there in 1920.  On occasions, Mrs. Bland would visit Ocean Springs to see her friends.

Dr. Bland passed away at Beaumont, Texas on March 30, 1932.  His exemplary career as a pioneer in the field of modern medicine spanned fifty years during which his reputation as a surgeon, yellow fever, and influenza authority was lauded in Louisiana and Texas.

There is some indication that the New Beach Hotel may never have opened under J.C. Joiner.  After Mrs. Flower died in November 1919, the hotel was sold by her heirs to Clotilde Lombarde, Angela Patelli both of Chicago, and Erminia de Giovanni (d. October 2, 1945) of New Orleans.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 50. p. 401) 

Cabrini Sister

These women may have been members of the Roman Catholic Holy Order known as the Cabrini Sisters.  Clothilde Lombarde (d. March 6, 1934) was also known as Mother Josephine Lombardi.  Angela Patelli (d. April 2, 1945) called herself, Sister Emerenziana Patelli.  Erminia de Giovanni bequeathed the property to Teresa Alice of Angelo who died in New York in January 1950.  She legated the real estate to the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a Louisiana corporation.

The Jackson County Times of April 30, 1921 ran an article stating that the New Beach Hotel had been bought by the Grunewald Hotel Company.  In addition the following comments were made:  This property has been idle for several years past and it is a fortunate circumstance for Ocean Springs that it has fallen into the hands of the Grunewald Hotel Company for it means that the hotel will be improved, modernized, and fitted up in an up-to-date style and conducted in a manner fitting such a hotel, by people who thoroughly understand the hotel business.

Apparently this announcement was in error as the Cabrini Sisters took possession of the New Beach Hotel, and utilized the structure as a summer orphanage.  It was later used as a convalescent home for the elderly of their Holy Order.  When the Mother General of the Order decided to send the retired sisters to other areas of the country, the building was vacated and became a haven for derelicts, transients, and drug addicts.  The city government of Ocean Springs requested the Order to have security for the building or remove it.  The Sisters elected demolition and the structure was torn down in the summer of 1971 by Clarence Galle (1912-1986).

The City of Ocean Springs now owns the property and the Fort Maurepas replication which was commenced by the State of Mississippi in 1981.  Mayor Kevin Alves accepted the deeds on April 25, 1991 from Governor Ray Mabus.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 975, p. 113-117)

1699 Historical Committee

In March 1971, a group of citizens organized at Ocean Springs to promote an interest in historical events of the past, present, and future of the Ocean Springs, Mississippi area. This association was called the 1699 Historical Committee. The 1699 Historical Committee is responsible for the annual Iberville Landing Commemoration (April), seeks to have the Fort Maurepas marker returned from the Cabildo, and was instrumental in the Fort Maurepas replication.          

In 1973, the 1699 Historical Committee, State Representative Marby R. Penton (1922-1995), and Secretary of State Heber Ladner (1902-1989) saw their years of work come to fruition when the Mississippi Legislature passed House Bill No. 1361 which appropriated $300,000 to "purchase land for the location of the Fort Maurepas historical site, provided that said site is entered in the National Register of Historical Places". In the same year, archeologists from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History began a survey to locate the site of Fort Maurepas. Most of their efforts were concentrated in the Lover's Lane area of west Ocean Springs.           

Although some trenching was done, conclusive evidence for the structure was never discovered. One theory why the fort was not found was that the scientists were not allowed to explore a particular location (Poitevent) where cartographic and surface evidence indicated the fort to be situated. Others believe the original site of Fort Maurepas on the high bluff at Fort Point was eroded long ago by wave action and violent storms.          

The Gulf Regional Planning Commission released its study titled, "Reconstruction of Fort Maurepas", also in 1973. This detailed study dealt with the history and significance of Fort Maurepas, and the costs to acquire land and build an historically accurate replica. 

By 1975, Fort Maurepas zealots saw the Mississippi Legislature apportion $250,000 to the State Building Commission for a site to be administered by the Department of Archives and History. With this money, two tracts of land were purchased in February and March of 1976 by Governor Cliff Finch and Secretary of State Heber Ladner representing the State of Mississippi.(The Ocean Springs Record, March 11, 1976, p. 2)           

The most westerly tract of approximately 5.7 acres was the former location of the Edwards' summer home. In 1899, Dr. Jasper J. Bland (1850-1932) bought the property, and opened the Beach Hotel (Jackson County Deed Book 20, pp. 248-250)  

Eventually, he enlarged the structure to three stories renaming it the New Beach Hotel in 1909. By 1921, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart were occupying the site utilizing it as a summer orphanage. It later became their retirement home. Hurricane Camille damaged the structure in 1969, and it was torn down by Clarence Galle in 1971. The Missionary Sisters sold the tract to the Richelle Corporation of Metairie, Louisiana in February 1974 (Jackson County Deed Book 448, p. 546).  

Richelle planned to develop the property as the Twin Bluff Condominiums, but were foreclosed on and sued by the First National Bank of Jackson County (Chancery Court Case No. 29,412). The Bank was awarded the land, which they sold to the State on March 1, 1976 (Jackson County Deed Book 554, pp. 644-645).          

The other contiguous parcel of about two acres was sold by the Missionary Sisters to Donald M. Bradburn in September 1975. Bradburn later conveyed to the Ocean Springs Yacht Club who sold to the State on February 16, 1976. (Jackson County Deed Book 543, p. 387 and Book 554, pp. 646-647).         

Fort Maurepas replica

In 1979, the State Legislature appropriated $350,000 for the construction of the Fort Maurepas replica. Fred Wagner of Bay St. Louis was named project architect and the New Orleans firm of Koch & Wilson associate architects.  In September 1980, the State Building Commission awarded a contract for $273,000 to the Carter & Mullins Construction Company of Columbia. House Bill No. 1296 (March 1981) allowed for $950,000 in Federal revenue sharing funds to complete Fort Maurepas. The first phase of construction was completed in August or September of 1981. It consisted of an exterior stockade (154 feet x 154 feet) constructed of single, treated pine post about eight feet tall. The square enclosure encompasses an area of about .54 acres. The southeast corner of the Fort Maurepas replica is a blockhouse or bastion (Royal Bastion). It is triangular in plan about twenty feet tall and served as the Governor's House and cannon fortification. No other bastion was commenced. The only portion of the inner palisade completed is a twenty eight-foot section, which runs west of the Royal Bastion and includes the main gate (seven feet wide). This wall is approximately twelve feet tall and is built triple log thick. No interior buildings have been constructed, i.e. soldier's lodges, bakery, or general warehouse.  Unfortunately in 1982 and 1983 the Mississippi Budget Commission took measures to avert State budget deficits. With a deficit of $85 million facing them in 1983, the Commission approved a $9 million cut in agency appropriations, which included $900,000 for the completion of Fort Maurepas. Since this time State and Federal funds for the completion of Fort Maurepas had been suspended indefinitely.          

With the State of Mississippi apparently not financially capable of committing funds to complete the Fort Maurepas project, it was felt that if the City of Ocean Springs got title to the property something might be done to accomplish this goal. By February 1991, under the leadership of District 113 Representative, Alvin Endt, the House voted to transfer the title to the City of Ocean Springs. After Senate approval and Governor Ray Mabus's signature, Mayor Kevin Alves on April 25, 1991, received the quitclaim deed to the two tracts containing the Fort Maurepas Reconstruction from the State of Mississippi by the Department of Archives and History and Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks. The State of Mississippi retained all mineral rights and stipulated that the city maintain the fort as a historic site and include in its annual budget sufficient funds to maintain the structure. (Jackson County Deed Book 975, pp. 113-117).            

A ceremony was held at the Fort Maurepas replica on July 21, 1991 where Mayor Kevin Alves accepted the title to Fort Maurepas from Archives and History representative, Elbert R. Hilliard. U.S. Representative Gene Taylor addressed the group and said that the fort was "worthwhile to the preservation of our heritage", and pledged his support on seeing the replica completed.          

On August 20, 1991, the Environmental Concerns Committee of the Greater Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce proposed to the City of Ocean Springs that the marsh, wetlands, contiguous upland and wooded habitats which were adjacent to Fort Maurepas be declared an "inner city" nature preserve. The City Council accepted the proposal, which additionally provided for the protection, management, and development of a natural history program for the area. Discouragement of activities which might degrade the aesthetics, biological, scientific, or educational value of the area surrounding Fort Maurepas was another goal. (Minutes of the City of Ocean Springs, Mississippi (8-20-1991), pp. 582-583).    

Fort Maurepas Society

On June 10, 1992, an organizational meeting was held at the Ocean Springs City Hall to form the Fort Maurepas Society. The purpose of this group is to outfit, maintain, and complete the construction of Fort Maurepas. After a slow first year, the Fort Maurepas Society is progressing and plans to present the citizens of Ocean Springs with some interesting programs commencing this fall. They tell me that "a few good men" will be coming from Fort Toulouse in October. Be there!

Reenactments

After the formation of the Fort Maurepas Society, the Fort Maurepas replica became the site of annual reenactments for about ten years.  In the spring of 1992, Commandant Ray L. Bellande went to the Fort Toulouse replica at the Fort Toulouse-Jackson Park near Wetumpka, Alabama and invited the French Colonial animators there to participate in the first reenactment at Fort Maurepas, which was held in early October 1993.

Katrina

 

 

 

Maurepas Parc

Mayor Connie Marie Moran with Ray L. Bellande and Canadian artist

Fort Maurepas Park was dedicated on October 24, 2009.(The Gazette, October 21, 2009, p. 1, The Ocean Springs Record, October 22, 2009, p. 1, The Sun Herald, October 20, 2009, p. A1)      

 

 

REFERENCES:

Ray L. Bellande, "Fort Maurepas (1699-1702), A Reconstructed French Colonial Fort", (unpublished essay - 1992).

C.E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, (Lewis Printing Services:  Pascagoula - 1972), pp. 79-80.

The City of New Orleans-The Book of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Louisiana and Other Public Bodies of the "Crescent City", (George W. Engelbardt: New Orleans-1894), p. 138.

Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi Cause No. 22, 803, “Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, a Louisiana Corporation v. The Unknown Heirs of Erminia de Giovanni, deceased, and the unknown heirs at law of Teresa Alice of Angelo, deceased”, filed March 26, 1971.(see Jackson County Deed Book 398, pp. 230-233).

Journals

The Beaumont Enterprise"Late Dr. Jasper J. Bland Won Dinstinction Combating Yellow Fever in Louisiana", April 1932.

The Biloxi Daily Herald"City News", September 1, 1908, p. 1.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, February 24, 1917.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, May 26, 1917.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, June 9, 1917.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, April 20, 1918.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, June 12, 1920.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, November 13, 1920.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, April 30, 1921.

The Jackson County TimesLocal and Personal, October 3, 1925.

The New Orleans Daily Picayune, June 13, 1901.

The Ocean Springs News, March 27, 1909, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News, June 26, 1909, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News, September 4, 1909, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"Hurricane Sweeps the Gulf Coast", September 25, 1909, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"Local New", April 9, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News, May 30, 1914, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News, October 24, 1914, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News,"Unable To Build Seawall", July 22, 1915, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"Ocean Springs Rides Out 90 Mile Hurricane", October 7, 1915, p. 1 and p. 6.

The Ocean Springs News"Laid To Rest Within A Week", December 30, 1915, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"Ocean Springs Storm Loss Small", July 13, 1916, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record, August 19, 1971, p. 17.

The Pascagoula Democratic-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", February 17, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democratic-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", November 24, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democratic-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", February 8, 1901.

The Pascagoula Democratic-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", May 30, 1902.

The Pascagoula Democratic-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", August 8, 1903.

Maps

Sanborn Map Co. (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1909)-Sheet 1, and (1925)-Sheet 2 Sanborn Map Co. (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1925)-Sheet 2.

Photographs:

Courtesy of Katherine Hamilton-Smith, Curator, Special Collections, at the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, Wauconda, Illinois.

 

US Census-Jackson County, Mississippi (1900 and 1910).

 

Personal Communication:

Frank Bryan - October 1990.

Mary Ann Clark - January 1993

Harry Lucas, Jr - February 1993

Richard Beh - March 1993

The Eglin House (1906 - 1968)

 

 

 

LOCATION

The Eglin House was located on the west side of Washington Avenue at Bowen Avenue in Lot 9, Block 27 of the Culmseig Map (1854).

 

BUILDING

The Eglin House was a wood frame, one and two-story edifice of approximately 5100 square feet.  The front of the house had a hip roof while a flat roof graced the west half of the structure.  The facade of the house consisted of five bays.  A central, transomed door with side lights was symmetrically flanked by four, full length, shuttered windows.  The front galley (350 square feet) was marked by six turned post with decorative sawn brackets, and a fine balustrade. The posts supported a projecting hip roof and a belvedere (135 square feet) which had turned posts, brackets, and balustrade similar to the gallery.  This configuration also sustained a projecting gable roof.

 

Eglin House (circa 1935)

[Courtesy of Dorothy Eglin Dees McKinnon]

HISTORY

Ocean Springs pioneer settler, Albert M. Eglin (1852-1891) a French speaking immigrant from Alsace in northeastern France settled at Ocean Springs circa 1870.  In September 1873, he purchased Lot 9 of Block 27 from F.W. Illing for $400.  The lot had a front of 105 feet on Washington Avenue.  It and was 200 feet deep, and faced Bowen Avenue to the east.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 2, pp. 153-154)

Albert M. Eglin married Amelia Solitelle Krohn (1855-1916) on October 30, 1873.  She was the daughter of John Henry Krohn (1831-1912) and Zeolide Seymour (1836-1898).  Amelia Krohn acquired Lot 10 contiguous to their homestead to the south on Washington Avenue from her father, John H. Krohn, in September 1887.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 8, p. 722)

The Eglins reared nine children at Ocean Springs:  Albert M. Eglin (1874-1904), Eugenia G. Armstrong (1877-1962), John R. Eglin (1879-1946), Annie O. Eglin (1881-1963), Charles W. Eglin (1883-1966), Lillie M. Busbee (b. 1885), Verna Eglin (1886-1886), Thomas A. Eglin (1887-1914), Lena E. Gilbert (1890-1928).

Eglin made his livelihood as a butcher, a trade which was followed by his son, Charles Eglin.  After his death in 1891, Mrs. Eglin and young sons, Charles and John continued the meat market on Washington Avenue.  In the 1894 Ocean Springs Directory, Mrs. Eglin ran the following advertisement:

Mrs. A. Eglin  (Widow)

CITY MARKET

Fresh Beef, Mutton, Veal, Pork, etc., etc.

Free Delivery-Always ready to buy desirable market stock

The year 1904 commenced on a sad note as a fire had destroyed three buildings on their Washington Avenue property in December of 1903.  A few weeks later, Mrs. Eglins eldest son, Albert, died on January 19th at the young age of twenty nine years.  Another tragedy struck the Eglin family in 1914, when Tom Eglin, a flagman for the L&N Railroad was murdered at Gentilly, east of New Orleans.  He was shot by two masked bandits while aboard the New York Limited (No. 38).

The Eglins were very hard working people.  Almost immediately after the 1903 fire, Mrs. Amelia Eglin began rebuilding.  She added on to her restaurant, and was considering a new store building to replace the one destroyed by the conflagration. 

1906 Eglin House

In March 1906, The Biloxi Herald related that Mrs. Eglin was preparing to build a two-story residence on the same site as her comflgration ravaged former domicile.  The 1909 Sanborn Insurance Map of Ocean Springs corroborates that the Eglin family had built a large two-story house on Lot 9 which would become their rooming and boarding house.  There is a good possibility that it was in operation as early as 1909.  In the 1910 Federal Census, Amelia Eglin lists her occupation as boarding house proprietor.( The Biloxi Herald, March 1, 1906, p. 1)

In 1916, the following advertisement appeared in a pamphlet on Ocean Springs:

THE EGLIN HOUSE

FURNISHED ROOMS

By the Day, Week or Month    Rates Reasonable

FIRST CLASS RESTAURANT

IN CONNECTION

THE EGLIN HOUSE is operated by Mrs. A. Eglin. who provides first-class accomodations for winter tourists.  Her rooms are comfortably furnished, and adjoining her home is a first-class restaurant.  Mrs. Eglin has been identified withOcean Springs for forty-one years.  She is the proprietor of Eglin's meat market, which has been established all of these years.  She owns considerable real estate and takes an active interest in the building of Ocean Springs.  (reprinted in the The Ocean Springs NewsJanuary 6, 1966, p. 2)

Through the years, the Eglin family was deeply involved in the commerce along Washington Avenue.  At various times, an Eglin was involved in such businesses as:  feed store, pool hall, meat market, grocery store, lunch room, restaurant, mercantile store, dry cleaning, and rooming house.  A good example of Eglin entrepreneurial spirit was exhibited in March 1927, as reported by The Jackson County Times:  The grocery store owned by John R. Eglin and meat market owned by Charles Eglin will soon be under one roof.  Contractor Frank Galle, Sr is now remodeling the building and putting a new roof over both.  A partition will separate the two businesses, but there will be an inside connecting door.  The alteration will give the grocery store a much larger space to display goods.

In September 1916, Mrs. Annie Eglin, the widow of Albert Eglin, married John Donovan of Mobile at the residence of Walter Armstrong.  Will reside in Mobile.(The Jackson County Times, September 16, 1916)

In June 1917, Annie O. Eglin purchased the Eglin House from the Heirs of Amelia Eglin who had died in May 1916.  Miss Annie Eglin had commenced her career at the telephone exchange above Nill's Drugstore in August 1900.  By 1902, she had taken a position as a school teacher at the Dogwood Point School in the Larue Community north of Ocean Springs.  Annie boarded with the McDaniels family.  In 1909, she had attended a business college in Mobile, and after a few years with a local drugstore, began a career circa 1915 in commercial banking with the Ocean Springs State Bank.  By 1920, Annie Eglin was the assistant cashier of the bank and would serve as cashier for many decades retiring about 1954, when the Pascagoula-Moss Point Bank bought out the Ocean Springs State Bank.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 43, p. 608)

In May 1927, large additon was made to the Eglin House by Contractor Gid Tillman.  The addition was to provide more space for entertaining house guests.(The Daily Herald, May 23, 1927, p. 8)

During her many years as proprietor of the Eglin House, Annie Eglin always resided there.  It had a "homey" atmosphere and was very comfortable in the winter with its steam heat.  There was a porch swing and rocking chairs.  Several of the older, widowed, ladies lived here and would enjoy their time in idle conversation on the large gallery.  In addition to the seven "tourist" rooms as they were called, there were also five apartments.  Permanent guests resided in the apartments.  Some of these long term residents were:  Chester McPhearson (1883-1969), Mrs. Roy Sousley, James and Marie I. Farley (1903-1977), Erica Carson and Mrs. Riley.  Several single school teachers also lived at the Eglin House throughout the years.  Elsie Seymour Ryan (1905-1989) worked for Miss Eglin as a cook and housekeeper from the late 1930s to the early 1950s.

After Miss Annie Eglin's demise in 1963, the Eglin House was struck by catastrophe.  In the early morning hours of September 22, 1964, a fire commenced in the roof of the building.  Fire fighters from Ocean Springs and Biloxi responded to the alarm.  With a valiant effort, they kept the fire contained to the second floor.  Several residents on the upper level were stranded and had to be rescued by ladder.  Unfortunately one elderly resident, Mr. James E. Farley (1880-1964), lost his life in the conflagration.  The upper level of the Eglin House was completely destroyed by the fire.  The first floor suffered heat and water ruin.  The loss to the Eglin heirs was estimated at $50,000.  Clarence Galle (1912-1986) tore down the old structure in January 1968.  Thusly, closed the final chapter in the fifty plus year life of one of Washington Avenues most historic architectural treasures. 

Realtor, J.K. Lemon (1914-1998), purchased the vacant lot from Don Y. Eglin and the other Eglin heirs in April 1968.  Mr. Lemon then sold the property to the Catholic Charities Housing Association of Biloxi in February 1970.  The Roman Catholic Church built the Villa Maria retirement home on a portion of the former Eglin House site in 1970-1971.  The dedication ceremonies for the $3.5 million structure were held November 28, 1971.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 333, p. 23 and Bk. 371, p. 502)

 

REFERENCES:

 

Brother Jerome Lepre, The Krohn Family, (Lepre: New Orleans, Louisian-1989).

 

Marriages-Harrison County, Mississippi (1841-1899), compiled by Grace Husly and Minnie Atkins, p. 23.

 

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, March 1, 1906.

The Daily Herald"Tom Eglin, Murdered in L&N Holdup", July 25, 1914, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, May 23, 1922.

The Daily Herald"Man Dies In Fire At Ocean Springs Apartment House", September 22, 1964, p. 1 and 23.

The Jackson County Times, “Local News Items”, September 16, 1916.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, March 26, 1927.

The Ocean Springs News“Local News”, February 6, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News“Local News”, February 26, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News"Mrs. Amelia Eglin Passes Away", June 1, 1916, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News"Landmark Makes Way For Progress", January 10, 1968, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record"Ribbon Cutting For Villa Maria", December 2, 1971, p. 1.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, August 24, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, May 23, 1902.

The Progress, January 16, 1904.

Maps

Sanborn Map Company (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi" (1909), Sheet 2, and (1925), Sheet 4.

Personal Communication:

Alma Eglin Garlick - August 1993

J.K. Lemon - August 1993

Dorothy Eglin Dees McKinnon - August 1993

Robin Ann McKinnon - August 1993

Elaine Ryan Miller - September 1993

The Illing House (1870 - 1905)

 

LOCATION

The Illing House was located on the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Porter Avenue in Block 2, Lot 21 of the Culmseig Map (1854) of Ocean Springs.

 

 

 

BUILDING

The Illing House was a large, L-shaped, hotel complex consisting of two main buildings which were wood framed and two stories tall. Large expansive galleries accommodated guests on both floors.  There was approximately 7700 square feet of room space and 3668 square feet of gallery area.  Additional buildings on the one acre property consisted of a baking house, bakery and confectionery shop, lodge, outhouse, stable, and WC (water closet?).

 

 

Illing House

(east and south elevations)

Courtesy of Adrienne Illing Finnie (1925-2002)

 

 

HISTORY

The Illing House was built by Ferdinand William Illing (1838-1884), a native of Regansburg, Bavaria, Germany.  Young Illing studied botany in Europe and in 1864 came to North America to design and develop the Palace Gardens of Maximilian, the Arch Duke of Austria and Emperor of Mexico, at Mexico City.

After Maximilian was overthrown in 1866, Illing sailed to New Orleans and settled at Ocean Springs.  He purchased land on the northeast corner of Washington and Porter Avenues at Ocean Springs where he planted pecan trees and practiced horticulture.

In 1869, at Ocean Springs, Ferdinand Illing married Rosalie Eglin (1844-1894), a native of Alsace in France.  This marriage produced four children: Eugene William Illing (1870-1947), Alice Elizabeth Illing (1874-1876), Edward Ferdinand Illing (1878-1952), and Camilla Louise Illing Kiernan (1882-1960).

With the coming of the railroad to Ocean Springs in 1870, Illing decided to build a hotel on his Washington Avenue property to cater to the influx of tourist and salesmen brought by that vehicle.  A reporter for The Star of Pascagoula described the Illing House in June 1874, as follows:

 

Illing's House located in "the heart" of the village on the principal thoroughfare, is a favorite resort, and no wonder, for Mr. Illing is one of the most popular of landlords and he is ably assisted by an energetic and accommodating wife, and they manage to make a guest feel perfectly "at home".

 

This advertisement appeared in the The Star of Pascagoula on September 26, 1874:

 

 

ILLING'S HOUSE

Apartments for families and single persons.

Boarding by the day, week, or month.

F.W. Illing, proprietor.

 

 

By the summer of 1878, the Illing House must have been doing well as evidenced by the following advertisement:

 

ILLING HOUSE

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Apartments for rent for families and single persons.

Board and lodging by day, week, or month.  Meals at all

hours of the day at very low prices.  Refreshments for la-

dies.  The best lager beer, soda water, and liquors of all

kinds.  F.W. Illing, Proprietor

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star July 12, 1878 (p. 4, c. 4)

 

During this time, F.W. Illing was also involved in the sewing machine and office supply business.  He ran the following advertisement in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star on July 9, 1880:

 

F.W. Illing

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Dealer in

Genuine Singer Sewing Machines Machine Needles, Attachments, Machine Oil, Thread and ready wound Bobbins, with sea Island Cotton, white and black, and

the celebrated.  Sloan's Six Wheel Sewing Machine Casters

Agent for the Lightning Copying Books Files and Lightning Letter Binders, etc, etc

(page 1, c. 6).

 

The Illing House was noted for its excellent table.  With his horticulturist training, Illing maintained a large garden at the rear of the hotel where he raised vegetables and fruit.  Mrs. Illing was continually asked for her fig and fruit preserve recipes which she prepared for their guests.  The Illings also maintained dairy cows for fresh milk.

 

The 1879 Conflagration

Like most wooden structures of this time, the Illing House faced destruction by fire on a daily basis.  During its history, there were several serious blazes.  The most fatal occurred in early morning hours of June 2nd, 1879, when a conflagration commenced in the summer dining room, which had a seating capacity of one-hundred fifty guests.  After the kitchen went down, flames reached the main building where Mr. and Mrs. Illing were asleep.  They and their two children barely escaped the roaring inferno and watched helplessly as the boarding house, bar, bakery, justice office, and older buildings south of the main building were destroyed.  The fire was believed to have been set by an arsonist.  The Illings had no insurance and estimated their loss at $5000.  By August 1879, plans for rebuilding the Illing House were being formulated.  The early hour and the weather were blamed for the delay in sounding the fire alarm.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 6, 1879, p. 3)

 

Barroom

            (see JXCO, Ms. Board of Supervisor Minute Bk. 1, p. )

  

A New Hotel

Construction of a new hotel commenced in early May 1880.  The two-story structure was planned to be 68 feet long and 40 feet wide.  By June 1880, the new Illing Hotel was rising rapidly from the ash stained ground of the former hostelry.  A reporter for The Pascagoula Democrat-Star related that “it will be a fine building when finished; quite an ornament to that part of town”.  The tourist inundation of Ocean Springs had reached such great proportions in mid-July 1880, that before painters and carpenters could put the finishing touches on the Illing House, it was filled with summer visitors.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 14, 1880, p. 3, June 11, 1880, p. 3, and July 16, 1880, p. 3)

 

New Proprietors

After Ferdinand Illing's untimely death in 1884, Rosalie Illing, and her son, Eugene William, continued the hostelry business with success.  In November 1891, she built an extension to the hotel.  It was necessary to accommodate the increase in business. When Mrs. Illing passed on in 1894, Eugene and his new bride, Emma Judlin Illing (1869-1958), carried on the family business.  He became actively involved in local politics and got elected Justice of the Peace.(The Biloxi Herald, November 28, 1891, p. 1) 

A new roof had been placed on the main building in April 1891.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 1, 1891, p. 2)

 

Another Fire

Another serious fire struck the Illing House on November 30, 1893.  Prompt response from the fire department contained the blaze to the dining room area of the structure.  The roof was slightly damaged.  The potential was good for a destructive fire as the wind was blowing with enough velocity to spread flames rapidly.  Fortunately the response of the firemen was rapid.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 1, 1893)

In December 1896, E.W. Illing advertised in The Ocean Wave, the local journal de jour.  The Illing announcement read as follows:

 

ILLING HOUSE

E.W. Illing, Proprietor

One of the oldest and best located hostelries in Ocean Springs.  Delightful verandas harbored from the rays of the sun by giant rose bushes and other sweet scented flowers.  Winter and summer visitors entertained in a homelike way.  All conveniences for fishing, boating, and bathing. 

The care of families seeking health the main consideration.  Write for terms by the day, week, month, of for the season.  Address, E.W. Illing, Ocean Springs.(The Ocean Wave, December 5, 1896, p. 1)

 

Illing House Recalled

In 1990, nonagenarian, Marion Illing Moran (1899-1993) vividly recalled her mother's stories about the old hotel.  Mrs. Illing would tell of the summer tourists from New Orleans who would ride the Coast Train to Ocean Springs for one dollar round trip.  When they arrived at the L&N Depot, the Joachims and O' Keefes would compete fiercely for the business of transporting them to the various hotels.  Mrs. Illing said that many of the guests were very "tight".  They would eat healthy servings of her fresh seafood gumbo, fried fish, fried chicken, vegetables, biscuits, and home made pies all for which she charged a paltry twenty-five or fifty-cents.  The frugal guests would take leftovers from the table to their rooms to eat later.(interview of October 12, 1990)

 

The End

Because of the responsibility of rearing her small children, Eugene William, Jr. (1895-1978), Harold Ivan (1897-1959), Marion Emma (1899-1993), and Alvin James (b. 1903), the daily tasks of cooking three meals for hotel guests, supervising servants, and her husband's political carer, Emma and Eugene Illing decided to get out of the hotel business.  This fact was noted in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star on August 11, 1905:

 

The Illing House, one of the oldest landmarks of our town is being rapidly demolished to be converted into small cottages with all modern conveniences.  Judge Illing is to be complemented on his enterprise.

    

The Illing Theatre

E.W. Illing Sr (1870-1947) built an open air movie show at this location between 1910 and 1914.  By 1925, an approximately 2500 square-foot theater was located on the site.  In the Fall of 1927, Illing remodeled or erected a larger cinema, The Illing Theatre, on this corner.  The stucco building had a tile roof and fancy grated windows.  In the fall of 1958, the Illings heirs sold their property to the First Baptist Church.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 183, pp. 107-108 and Bk. 183, pp. 109-111)

 

First Baptist Church of Ocean Springs

The Illing Theater which was an architectural landmark on the corner of Washington and Porter for over thirty years was demolished shortly after the sale to the church by Clarence Galle (1912-1986).  The First Baptist Church built a large sanctuary on this site.  It was dedicated on May 11, 1969.(The Ocean Springs Record, September 9, 1982, p. 16)

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, "Ferdinand W. Illing", (Jackson County Genealogical Society:  Pascagoula-1989), pp. 242-243.

 

Box Office, “33 Years an Exhibitor ‘Judge’ Illing Is Dead”, July 26, 1947.

 

Men and Matters, Volume 4, No. 11, October 1898, pp. 75-76.

 

Journals 

The Biloxi Herald, “Ocean Springs”, November 28, 1891.

The Ocean Springs Record"First Baptist of OS/ The Birth of a Church", September 9, 1982.

The Ocean Wave, "Illing House", December 5, 1896.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs News", June 6, 1879, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 22, 1879, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, May 14, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, June 11, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, July 16, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, May 1, 1891.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 1, 1893.

The Star of Pascagoula"Our Sea Coast", June 6, 1874, p. 2.

The Times Picayune, “Printing Firm’s President Dies”, 1952.

 

Maps

Sanborn Map Company (New York City), "Ocean Springs, Ms.", (1898)-Sheet 2.

Sanborn Map Company (New York City), "Ocean Springs, Ms.", (1909)-Sheet 1.

Sanborn Map Company (New York City), "Ocean Springs, Ms.", (1915)-Sheet 1.

Sanborn Map Company (New York City), "Ocean Springs, Ms.", (1925)-Sheet 4.

 

Personal Communication:

 

Marion Illing Moran - October 12, 1990.

J.K. Lemon - February 17, 1994.

The Morris House (1854 - 1900)

LOCATION

The Morris House was located on the northeast corner of Jackson Avenue and Ocean Avenue.

BUILDING:

No photographs or plans of the Morris House are currently known to exist.  From a description of the house, it can be estimated with some degree of certitude that the structure was probably about 4000 square feet in area.  The gallery may have been as large as 900 square feet.

 

HISTORY

The Morris House was one of the first boarding houses to be built in Ocean Springs.  It was located on the east side of Jackson Avenue just north of the steamboat landing at the foot of Jackson Avenue.  It was a neighbor to the large Ocean Springs Hotel just across the street.  This inn was built by James Morris and Ann Morris on land purchased from E.R. Porter and George A. Cox in September 1853 and October 1854.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 72, pp. 446-448)

The Ocean Springs Gazette dated March 4, 1855 ran an advertisement to sell the Morris House.  The ad read as follows:  The undersigned offers for sale on accommodating terms, his new, large and spacious boarding house, situated on the corner of Jackson and Ocean Avenues.  Said house is well furnished for a private boarding house, containing 24 rooms well furnished.  The house is well supplied with furniture, a good cooking range, cooking utensils, etc.  I will sell with or without furniture.  The lot on which said house stands is 91 ft. 6 in. front, more or less, and 200 ft. in depth, or I will sell with it or separately another lot adjoining, 90 ft. front more or less, and 200 ft, in depth.  Apply to the undersigned on the premises.

JAMES MORRIS

James Morris was probably born in Ireland.  His wife, Ann (1819-1900), was a native of Ireland, and came to the United States in 1832.  They had ten children, but only Elizabeth Morris Hill (1848-1933), Emmanuel J. Morris (1849-1899), both born in Louisiana, and Kate Morris (b. 1855) probably born at Ocean Springs survived to adulthood.  From the US Census, it appears James Morris died before 1860.  At least four of the Morrises are known to be buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs.

Mrs. Morris ran the boarding house with the philosophy that the "object of the proprietress is to render the Morris House in every respect a home residence".(The New Orleans Times, May 20, 1866, p. 1). 

The New Orleans Times of July 1, 1866 advertised as follows:

MORRIS HOUSE

Ocean Springs

 The Morris House, located on the main road (JacksonAvenue), offers every accommodation to invalids, families, and transient guests.Its location in immediate proximity to the chalybeateand sulphur springs, is a great convenience, and the facilities for sea bathing are unsurpassed.  It presents every advantage of a watering place with the comforts of a private residence.(p. 2, col. 4).

E.J. Morris and Ann Morris also owned the Artesian House on Jackson at Porter between 1895-1900.  She leased it to Caspar Vahle in October 1899.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 639-640)

Elizabeth Morris married Thomas G. Hill (1839-1880+) from Alabama.  Hill was a retail grocer at Ocean Springs.  In 1896, Elizabeth Hill was the proprietor of the Morris House.  She was a widow by 1900 living in Ocean Springs with her two daughters, Alice Hill Grayson (b. 1868), and Annie Hill Simmons (b. 1880) as well as her mother, Ann Morris, who would die shortly in October 1900.  She also had a son, Harry Hill (1866-1915).  

Elizabeth Morris Hill died at New Orleans on December 19, 1933.  She was survived by Alice Birdrow, her daughter, and grandchildren: Mrs. N.J. Werther, William Simmons, Sidney Simmons, Herman Simmons, Watson Birdrow, George Birdrow, and Morris Grayson; several great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren.(The Daily Herald, December 20, 1933)

Mrs. Annie Morris advertised in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star on July 4, 1884, as:

Nice Furnished Rooms

In private family, single or in suits; with or without board.  Terms to suit the times.

Apply to

Mrs. A. Morris

Ocean Springs, Miss.

Emmanuel Morris, called E.J., became a real estate magnate at Ocean Springs.  Charles Dyer in Along The Gulf (1895) said this about Morris:  Mr. Morris is one of the largest real estate dealers in this city and has done more towards the advancement and up building of Ocean Springs than any man who lives there.  He is enthusiastic on the subject, and, if anyone is desirous of gaining any information on this subject, they would do well to write him.

In August 1896, E.J. Morris was awarded a contract for ten years by the City of Ocean Springs to run the public wharf, bath house, and concession at the foot of Jackson Avenue.  The Morris Pavilion at the end of the pier was the site of band concerts on Sunday afternoons.  E.J. Morris sold his lease to Alice Grayson, his niece, for $460 on September 30, 1896.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. Book 20, pp. 639-640 and The City of Ocean Springs, Minute Book (1892-1899), p. 140)

In 1898, Morris also owned a large lumber mill on Fort Bayou called the E.J. Morris Lumber Company.  The Millsite Subdivision is located on this former plant site.

The Morris House was probably the first boarding house built at Ocean Springs.  It existed for approximately forty-five years on Jackson Avenue serving as a haven for travelers at Ocean Springs seeking a home away from home.  Its demise possibly came about as the railroad displaced the steamboat as a mode of mass transportation in the area.  Other contributing factors could have been the aging of the structure and Ann Morris, and the construction of the "modern" Artesian House by Alfred E. Lewis in 1891.  It appears the building burned or was demolished by 1901.  The lot has remained vacant since this time.

Aline Cottage

In late 1896, the Morris House was leased and called the Aline Cottage.  The "Aline House" was mentioned inThe Pascagoula Democrat-Star of October 15, 1897.  No further information.

Louis A. Lundy et al

Louis A. Lundy (1876-1941) acquired the former Morris House property from the Hills in 1901.  Lundy sold the lots to Frank H. Bryan (1872-1936) in March 1910.  Joseph Weider (1879-1931) built a lovely Queen Anne home here at 406 Jackson Avenue for Mr. Bryan in May 1910.  For many years, Julia Allen Love (1909-1994) lived here and it was locally referred to as the "Love House".(The Ocean Springs Record, March 2 and March 9, 1995 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, p. 521, Bk. 22, p. 229, Bk. 24, p. 9, and Bk. 35, pp. 495-496)

Pamela Boudoin-Aimee and Douglas B. Letoha acquired the Bryan-Love home on April 28, 1995.  They possessed the house and property when it was damaged by Hurricane George in 1998.  It was devastated and destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.1062, p. 674)

 

REFERENCES:

Charles L. Dyer, Along The Gulf, (reprint: The Women of the Trinity Episcopal Church: Pass Christian, Mississippi-1971).

Journals

The Daily Herald"Mrs. Ann Morris Obit", October 10, 1900, p. 8.

The Daily Herald"Mrs. George Hill dies", December 20, 1933.

The New Orleans Times, July 1, 1866, p. 1.

The New Orleans Times, "Morris House, Ocean Springs", July 1, 1866.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Frank Bryan House", March 2, 1995.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Niced Furnished Rooms”, July 4, 1884.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, January 31, 1896.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, July 11, 1897.

 

Archives

M. James Stevens Collection, Biloxi Public Library, Biloxi, Mississippi.

US Census - Jackson County, Mississippi (1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910).

The O'Keefe Boarding House (1881 - 1910)

 

 

LOCATION

The O'Keefe Boarding House was located on the northeast corner of Jackson Avenue and Porter in Lot 6 of Block 27 of the Culmseig Map (1854) of Ocean Springs.  The lower floor of the structure was moved to 2122 Government Street in 1910.

BUILDING

The O'Keefe Boarding House was a two story, wood framed structure with 2824 square feet of living area under roof.  There was a lower and upper gallery on the south and west side of the building of 1710 square feet.  The dining room was attached to the main building and had an area of 874 square feet.  The kitchen appears to have been detached and to the north of the building but was connected by a covered breezeway. 

 

HISTORY

The O'Keefe family began its long and illustrious history at Ocean Springs when Irish immigrant Edward "Ned" O'Keefe (1815-1874), came here from New Orleans in the mid-1850s.  O'Keefe married Mary Tracy (1832-1895) in 1859, the same year he purchased Lot 5 of Block 26 (Culmseig Map) from A.F. Ramsay on the northeast corner of Porter and Rayburn.  Lot 4 of Block 26 was purchased from George A. Cox in October 1867.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 7, p. 272)

 

After returning from the Civil War, Ned O'Keefe became a teamster and started a livery business.  He supplied transportation service to the multitude of visitors who arrived at Ocean Springs by steam packet and later train.  When people passed on, his carriages were used to transport their bodies to the cemetery.  Before his death in 1874, O'Keefe and his wife had two children:  Jeremiah Joseph (1860-1911) and Mary Helen (1863-1878), 

 

In February 1881, Mary Tracy O'Keefe commenced her boarding house and store operations on the northeast corner of Jackson and Porter.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 4, 1881, p. 3) 

 

The property was purchased by her husband, Ned Keith (later O'Keefe) in two parcels.  The first lot was bought from E.N. Ramsay, in April 1867, and described as Lot 6 of Block 27 (Culmseig Map) and comprised 52 feet on Jackson and 200 feet on Porter.  In August of the same year, Ned Keith purchased Lot 5 of Block 27 from George A. Cox.  This tract became the site of the livery stable.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 62, p. 475 and Bk. 62, p. 476)

 

The O'Keefe House probably had an ethnic flavor attracting Hibernian families from New Orleans and railroad workers.  Son, Jeremiah, met his future wife, Alice Cahill (1864-1921), a New Orleanian whose family came to Ocean Springs for a visit and stayed at their lodge.  The couple were wedded in 1887.  Neighbor and friend, Jeff Davis Egan (1864-1907), a very skilled carpenter made the young newly-weds a pair of cut glass doors for a wedding present.  Young Egan's parents were John and Julia Elwood Egan who owned the Egan House south of the O'Keefes on Jackson Avenue.

 

Not all boarders were Irish.  In August 1896, the Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported that one Alphonse Gauthreaux of Donaldsonville, Louisiana "beat his board, decamped, stole a pocket book containing $5.00 and prayer beads, shoes and some clothes....whereabouts unknown".

 

In 1895, the O'Keefes were tragically struck by fire on two occasions.  The most devastating occurrence was in February when Mrs. Mary O'Keefe's gown caught fire from the hearth and she died as the result of her burns.  Later in the fall of the same year, the kitchen was badly gutted by a fire caused by a defective flue.  Jerry O'Keefe gave a generous donation to the fire department which was very effective since this was the first fire fought with the assist of fifteen new fire wells which provided ample water.

 

After Mrs. O'Keefe's demise, Alice Cahill O'Keefe in addition to rearing her children, Edward Joseph (1889-1890), John William Aloysius (1891-1985), Mary Cahill O' Keefe (1893-1981), Jeremiah Joseph II (Ben) (1894-1954), and Joseph Hyacinth (Jodie) (1897-1932), ran the boarding business.  Her husband, Jerry, expanded his undertaking service to create the O'Keefe Funeral Service in 1892. 

 

Politically, Jerry O'Keefe was elected the first Alderman from Ward 2 in 1892, in the newly incorporated Ocean Springs, and served in that office for two years.  He also was a road overseer in Beat Four being in charge of Jackson Avenue from the beach to O'Keefe Corner on Porter Avenue and from O'Keefe Corner to the Illing Place.

 

In 1909, Jerry O'Keefe built a large family home behind the boarding house.  This 2 1/2 story mansion of Beaux-Arts "polite" design, Corinthian columns, and wide galleries has become a symbol of O'Keefe prosperity and financial calamity.  The Jeff Egan glass doors of 1887 were placed on the new house in 1906.  Unfortunately, the O'Keefes lost their Porter Avenue property in 1938, and the doors were removed to Biloxi.  At this time, the O'Keefes vowed to return to Ocean Springs in the future, and reclaim their ancestral property.  In late November 1987, Jeremiah J. O'Keefe III fulfilled the family prophesy when he repurchased the Porter Avenue residence and restored it to its former brilliance.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 71, p. 580-581)

 

In July 1910, the old wooden boarding house was sold to Samuel Backous (1855-1921), a farmer from Indiana who had recently returned to Ocean Springs from Texarkana, Texas.  Backous and his wife had sold their Texas farm, and planned to reside at Ocean Springs permanently.  In September 1907, they had purchased the NW/4, NW/4 of Section 29, T7S-R8W from E.E. Clements of Buncombe County, North Carolina.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, pp. 616-617)

 

The old boarding house was moved to the Backous place in 1910.  The upper story was removed.  It is speculated that it was transported over the shell roads of Ocean Springs using a method popular at this time:  When one wished to move a house, he called his neighbors together and organized a hauling bee or halerie.  With a dozen yoke or oxen and three wagons, they soon had the house underway with no difficulty.  First they took the beds off two wagons, and in place of the regular coupling poles they used long logs perhaps thirty feet long.  They jacked up the house then ran poles under it.  Next they chained them up to the two front pair of wheels, thus supporting the house, and it was ready to roll.  They hitched five or six yoke of oxen to each of the wagons, and away they went across the open prairie.(Post, 1974, p. )

 

The Backous family developed their twenty acre site on Old County Road (Government) into a farm, and probably utilized the boarding house as a home.  In July 1921, Samuel Backous died suddenly while working in his field.

 

The O'Keefe Boarding House is extant serving as the National Registered Home of Mrs. Alvah E. Clark at 2122 Government. 

 

REFERENCES:

Regina Hines, Ocean Springs 1892, (2nd Edition), Lewis Printing Services:  Pascagoula-1991), pp. 67, 69, and 82.

Lauren C. Post, Cajun Sketches, (Louisiana State University Press: Baton Rouge-1974),

Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home Brochure, pp. 1-2.

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, "O'Keefe", (Jackson County Genealogical Society:  Pascagoula-1989), pp.

300-301.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", July 23, 1921.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Items”, February 4, 1881.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 20, 1895.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 14, 1896, p. 3.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", March 19, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", July 23, 1910.

 

Personal Communication:

Mary Ann Lightsey Clark

Regina Hines Ellison

The Ocean Springs Hotel

LOCATION

The Ocean Springs Hotel was located on what has become known as the Hotel Tract.  The south boundary of the property fronts three-hundred feet on the Bay of Biloxi which consisted primarily of marsh until more recent times. The west line of the Hotel Tract is twelve-hundred feet in length and is bounded by the "Many Oaks" estate founded by New Orleanian, John B. Honor (1856-1929), in 1909.  The north line is Cleveland Avenue, once called Calhoun, a distance of three-hundred seventy feet.  The eastern periphery is formed by Jackson Avenue-one thousand three-hundred seventy feet to the Bay of Biloxi.  Today, the Hotel Tract comprises about eight acres of residential neighborhood.

The approximate site of the Ocean Springs Hotel was twelve hundred feet north of the Bay of Biloxi.  The hotel was about twelve feet above mean sea level.

 

Ocean Springs Hotel ca 1900

(image by Winifred Norwood Shapker (1870-1937-courtesy of Lynne Ann Shapker Sutter)

 

BUILDINGS

From photographs of the Ocean Springs Hotel taken in the late 19th Century, Maria Bargas, local architect and preservationist, has made an estimate of the dimensions and floor plan of the structure.  It is believed that the main building was completed in late 1852 or early 1853.  From her calculations, Ms. Bargas estimates this edifice to be fifty feet by sixty feet.  There was a ten-foot wide gallery on the south and east.  The building had a second floor and large attic area.  A newspaper person (Sobersides) reporting for The New Orleans Daily Picayune on August 18, 1853, related the following:  Before the opening of the next season, two wings of two hundred feet in length each will be added to the now quite extensive main building.  This will make it one of the most commanding hotels on the Gulf Coast.  An immense number of shade trees, full grown from the forest, will be planted in front, thus affording that which now is its only drawback, a shady promenade.p. 1, col. 4)

 

Bargas estimates the west wing additions (only one is visible in the photographs) to be seventy feet in length.  It is not known if the second wing was ever built.  It is judged this unit may have had twenty-eight rooms while the main building contained thirty-four rooms.  Assigning two people per room, the hotel would have had a one hundred twenty-four person capacity.  This figure is corroborated somewhat by an article in The Biloxi Daily Herald (1905) which stated that "the hotel had accommodations for one hundred and fifty guests".

 

All buildings were of wood frame construction.  It is assumed that the hotel had outbuildings typical of this era such as, stables, a large kitchen, and outhouses (latrines).

 

HISTORY

Early in the morning of May 25, 1905, a raging fire was discovered on Jackson Avenue in Ocean Springs destroying what had once been one of the finest of the flagship hotels of the Mississippi Gulf Coast's resort spas.  Such spas, called "watering places" were renown for their medicinal, spring fed waters. 

 

These "watering places" referred to by newspaper reporters from New Orleans as the "Six Sisters" were Shieldsboro (Bay St. Louis), Pass Christian, Mississippi City, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, and the Pascagoulas (East and West).  When the fire department arrived, the great Ocean Springs Hotel was too far gone to be saved by the valiant firemen.  The majestic old hostelry and most of its contents were consumed in the conflagration.

 

The history of the Ocean Springs Hotel commences with the discovery of the mineral springs on the south bank of Old Fort Bayou by the Reverend P.P. Bowen (1799-1871), the minister of the Tidewater Baptist Church, in 1852-1853.  As the result of this find, the tourist industry was born at East Biloxi or Lynchburg Springs (name changed to Ocean Springs in 1854).  George Lynch (1835), a native of Maryland, who operated a sawmill with Bowen near the present day Fort Bayou bridge had given his name to the town in 1853.  The Reverend Bowen constructed marble baths at the Iberville Street site, and visitors began to arrive for treatments in the medicinal waters known to the local Indians as "E Ca Na Cha Ha" (Holy Spring).

 

The population in the area was quite small at the time and consisted of descendants of the French Colonial occupation, immigrants from France, Spain, Germany, and Ireland, and Anglo-Saxon families migrating from the Carolinas and Georgia.  For the most part, the people in the Ocean Springs area subsisted by fishing, lumbering, charcoal making, farming, and brick making.

 

As the mineral springs grew in popularity because of their propinquity to the larger population centers at New Orleans and Mobile, it was natural that someone would build an edifice to accommodate the additional flow of visitors.  Although Reverend Bowen did build a boarding house near his Marble Springs, it wasn't until a New Orleans physician, Dr. William G. Austin, constructed a large, first class hotel on the front beach west of Jackson Avenue that sufficient space and amenities were available to the sophisticated traveler.

 

Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1894) was born in Somerset County, Maryland in 1814.  He did undergraduate work at Kenyon College in Ohio, and received his medical degree from the Washington University of Baltimore in 1836.  He left medical school and went to Yazoo County, Mississippi where he practiced medicine and married Martha E. Porter (1818-1898), a fine lady from a notable Giles County, Tennessee family.  The Austins moved to New Orleans from Yazoo County about 1840.  Here Dr. Austin practiced medicine for over forty years and was regarded highly as an authority in epidemic diseases, especially yellow fever.

 

The Austins had at least six children: John Edward Austin (1840-1878), Martha Porter (1842-1910+), Louisa Porter (b. 1846), William M. Porter (b. 1849), Willie (Willamena?) Porter (b. 1854), and Thomas Porter (1855-1855).  The children were all born in Mississippi except for daughter, Willie, who was a Louisiana native.

 

At New Orleans, the Austins were known to have resided at 111 Prytania Street, but also maintained a residence and owned beach front property at Ocean Springs east and west of Martin Avenue which they acquired in the late 1840s.  In 1910, the old Austin home which was located on "Many Oaks" was moved to 416 Martin Avenue (now Winklejohn) by John H. Behrens (1848-1918).  Behrens, a German immigrant, resided at Highland Park, Illinois and owned the Fort Bayou Fruit Company (1909).  He purchased the Austin land on Martin Avenue from Mattie Austin in 1910.  It is believed that Behrens lived here until "Terrace Hill" was built about 1911.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, pp. 508-509)

 

William L. Porter, probably the brother of Martha Porter Austin, owned a mercantile store at Ocean Springs in the 1850s and may have been a factor in their locating here.  Porter Avenue in Old Ocean Springs is named for this pioneer family from south central Tennessee, probably Giles County.

 

When New Orleans fell to Union forces in 1862, Dr. Austin was superintendent of the Charity Hospital.  He went to the front lines and saw active service.  In the post-War years, Austin was appointed to the Board of Health by Governor Nicholls, and in 1889 Nicholls appointed him resident physician at the Mississippi Quarantine Station. 

 

In addition to the mineral springs, the Ocean Springs area offered the seasonal tourist excellent fishing and oystering, sailing, salt water bathing, constant cooling sea breezes, and some relief from the dreaded "yellow jack" which was pervasive at times during the summers at New Orleans and Mobile.  The Morgan Line packet made daily trips to the area from New Orleans in only eight hours during the tourist season.

 

A letter dated Ocean Springs March 30, 1855 by Elvira A. Cox (b. 1809), the sister of George A. Cox (1811-1887), an Ocean Springs pioneer, to her father at Jefferson County, Alabama gives an impression of the area at this time:  This is a very healthy place.  Ocean Springs, our little town, is situated immediately on the Bay of Biloxi.  We live about a half mile from the hotel right on the bay at a beautiful place.  It is called Magnolia Grove.  If it was not for the cold weather we would not think of it as winter as we are surrounded with magnolias, live and water oaks, and cedar trees in abundance and flowers of every description, and upon the whole it is a beautiful place.  There are abundance of fish and oysters here and crabs and all such things but it is a new settled place.  Their were but a very few houses here two years ago.  Their were but very few that had gardens last summer.  Vegetables were scare indeed.....The land back of this place is so poor it is not cultivated in the summer season.  Their is a boat that makes five trips from here to New Orleans a week and it is about fifty miles by land to Mobile.  I am very pleased with the people here.  Their (sic) a great many families that came over from the City and stay through the sickly season.  Their are mineral springs all about over the place and we have a time bathing in the salt water. (from The Neaves Story).

 

Dr. Austin named the hotel the Ocean Springs Hotel for the valuable mineral springs located near the ocean (Bay of Biloxi).  Although 1835 is the date generally given for the founding of the Ocean Springs Hotel, the year, 1853, is more appropriate.  Charles Dyer in Along The Gulf (1895) wrote:  With the exception of the old Gulfview at Mississippi City, the Ocean Springs Hotel is without doubt the oldest established hostelry on the Gulf.  It was originally built in 1835 by a Mrs. Porter, the mother of the wife of Dr. George W. Austin, the celebrated New Orleans physician who gained a name for himself during the terrible yellow fever epidemics of some years ago.

 

It is postulated that the date 1835 proposed by Dyer was a transpositional error in his manuscript and should have read 1853, the correct date for the hotel inception.

 

In 1835, the land upon which the Ocean Springs Hotel was constructed was in the possession of the LaFontaine Family being part of the 237 acre private Claim of the Widow LaFontaine, Catherine Bourgeois (1768-circa 1845), which was confirmed by an Act of Congress in March 1819.  On August 31, 1846, the Widow LaFontaine tract, known as Claim Section 37, was divided among her heirs and legal representatives.  The tract, called Lot 2, upon which the hotel was built was deeded to Pennsylvanian, Robert B. Kendall.  It had a front of 672 feet on the Bay of Biloxi and went approximately 2500 feet to the north.

In March 1850, Kendall sold Lot 2 and Lot 3 to William L. Porter (b. 1811), an Ocean Springs merchant from Tennessee and Thomas C. Porter, the tax collector for the port of New Orleans from 1853-1857.  By August 1851, Martha E. Austin, the wife of Dr. William G. Austin, had acquired for $500 an undivided one half interest in Lots 2 and 3 from Thomas C. Porter who was her uncle.  Lots 2 and 3 were situated between the Jerome Ryan tract on the west and the property of Azalie LaForce Clay to the east.  In the transaction, Thomas C. Porter reserved one-half acre in the western boundary of the tract as to include the grave of his deceased wife, Deborah Porter (1801-1850).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, p. 514 and Bk. 4, p. 517)

 

Curiously in July 1986, The Ocean Springs Record reported that the tombstone of Deborah Porter had ended up at Pointe-aux-Chenes in Gulf Park Estates.  Charles Ernest Schmidt (1904-1988), local historian, civil engineer, and former Mayor, returned it to Ocean Springs.  He placed the stone in his front yard at the northwest corner of Jackson and Cleveland Avenues where it rest today in a horizontal position.  This is very close to its original location in the small cemetery behind the former Ocean Springs Hotel site on Cleveland Avenue.  Schmidt describes the hotel cemetery as surrounded by a heavy ornate iron fence and containing four grave sites.

 

In August 1855, The New Orleans Christian Advocate reported that Thomas Porter Austin, the infant son of Martha E. Austin, died of pneumonia at Ocean Springs.  This child was probably buried on the Hotel property.  It is generally believed that the four graves were exhumed during the 1930s by a WPA work party and interred at the Evergreen Cemetery.

 

It cannot be determined with a great degree of certitude who actually built the Ocean Springs Hotel.  Dr. W.G. Austin, the New Orleans physician who earned an excellent reputation for dealing with yellow fever, and Mrs. Henrietta Porter, his mother-in-law, are generally accepted as the initiators of the project.  It is believed that Dr. Austin operated a health sanitarium at Indian Springs near Fort Bayou and had the hotel built to accommodate his clients.

In a deed dated January 19, 1852 in which W.G. Austin and Martha E. Austin are conveying title to Sarah J. Rayburn, one of the boundaries of the sales tract was described as:  the dividing line between the said property and the Ocean Springs Hotel property, known as belonging to Austin and Martin, at the time of the public sale (1853), but now (1854) to Warrick Martin.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 214-216)

 

Warwick  Martin

Warwick Martin (1810-1854+) was an attorney and land broker from Pennsylvania.  In 1850, he resided at Ocean Springs with his Ohio born wife, Rachael Harbaugh (1813-1850+), whom he had married in May 1838 at Columbiana, Ohio.  Their first three children, James Martin (1839-1850+), George W. Martin (1842-1850+), and Henry C. Martin (1844-1850+), were all natives of Pennsylvania. There appears to have been a fourth son, John M. Martin.(Goff, 1988, p. 47)

 

At Ocean Springs, Warwick Martin owned real estate on Front Beach along and west of Bayou Bauzage (Bosarge), which became the present day Ocean Springs Harbor.  He was residing in New Orleans in January 1854 when he sold his Front Beach land to John Hughes.  It is believed that Warrick Martin expired at Washington, District of Columbia.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 2, pp. 585-587)

 

Because the land records of Jackson County have been destroyed several times by fire before 1876, it is not always possible to abstract older properties without breaks in the title chain.  In the matter of the Ocean Springs Hotel, this appears to be the case.  Utilizing newspaper reports from the New Orleans Daily DeltaNew Orleans Daily CrescentNew Orleans Daily Picayune, and other journals of the time, it is possible in conjunction with deed records to trace the history of this property with some degree of certitude.

 

From the ownership of Warrick Martin in 1854, until the cessation of the Civil War in 1865, there is some question of hotel proprietorship.  It appears the owner/owners may have leased the property to a number of proprietors through these years.  Among them were: Enoch Everitt (b. 1853), L. Jennings (b. 1854), John McDonnell (b. 1856), F.A. Kent (b. 1857) who proposed opening a male and female seminary, J. Wilkinson (b. 1859), Judge T.C. Scarborough (b. 1866), Mr. Arrington (b. 1867), Colonel A.G. Burley (b. 1869), J.P. Longly (b. 1873) and Colonel Strout who died in August 1878, at the hotel of yellow fever after throwing up black vomit.  Ohio native, Harvey Cree (b. 1837) was at the hotel in 1880.  These managers were represented at New Orleans by booking agents such as:  The E.W. Geer & Co. in 1859 and General Charles A. Labuzan in 1866.

 

1855 September storm

It is known that the during the 1855 September Storm, that Captain Walker’s wharf, which was situated at the foot of Jackson Avenue was severely damaged. The New Orleans Daily Picayune of September 18, 1855, reported that,"Captain Walker was on the pier head of his wharf when the latter was swept away, and there he had to remain all night, and until 4 P.M. on Sunday when he was discovered with a flag of distress flying".

 

The pier of the Ocean Springs Hotel, which was adjacent to that of Walker was destroyed and replaced with a new structure ten feet wide, but not as long as the previous.(The New Orleans Daily Picayune, September 21, 1855, p. 2)

In June 1859, E.W. Geer & Company, proprietors, advertised in The New Orleans Christian Advocate and The Daily True Delta, as follows:

 

Ocean Springs Hotel

This Hotel is now being thoroughly Renovated and Newly furnished and will be Opened for the Reception of Visitors on the FIRST DAY OF NEXT JUNE.  Every effort will be made to render Visitors comfortable, and to make their stay pleasant.  Than the beautiful bay at Ocean Springs, there is no better place for yachting, fishing or bathing. 

The Mineral Springs so celebrated for their curative powers are in excellent condition.  An Omnibus will run regularly several times a day to and from the Hotel to the Springs.  For testimony respecting the medicinal virtues of these Springs, reference may be made to Dr. Austin or Dr. Thorpe, New Orleans, to Rev. Dr. McTyere, Nashville, Tennessee.

Ocean Springs never having been visited by epidemics is decidely the healthiest as well as the most beautiful location on the Gulf shores.

Ocean Springs, May 25, 1859                                                        J. Wilkinson, Agent

 

 

Civil War

During the Civil War (1861-1865), the Ocean Springs Hotel was probably closed to guests because of the conflict.  Ray M. Thompson in his The Daily Herald column, "Know Your State", of June 8, 1961, relates an anecdotal story in which a Confederate conscript officer was invited by an unwilling candidate to the Ocean Springs Hotel for a drink.  Before they were to join the Rebel army, the young man got the officer so completely inebriated that he was able to slip away.  Some bars never close!

 

Although the Union Navy made occasional forays up the Tchoutacabouffa River and Fort Bayou to destroy salt works, ferries, and schooners, property damage at Ocean Springs was minimal during the rebellion.  In March 1862, a Federal raiding party from Ship Island visited Ocean Springs and seized newspapers, mail, and outdated firearms from the Post Office run by John J. Egan (1827-1875).(The New York HeraldMarch 25, 1862)

 

Schmidt & Ziegler

From 1866, it can be documented with confidence that the Schmidt & Ziegler Company of New Orleans owned the Ocean Springs Hotel for the next thirty-five years with the exception of a transaction in 1873.  In March 1873, the hotel property was conveyed to Matilda T. Huntington and James Huntington for $15,000.  In the trust deed, the hostelry tract was described to wit:  The Ocean Springs Both Hotel property together with the wharf, bath houses, mineral springs, property and contents of said hotel as per inventory and the Hotel property is more particularly described as follows: Bounded on the north by Calhoun Avenue (now Cleveland), on the east by Jackson Avenue, on the south by the Bay of Biloxi, on the west by the property of Goldenbow and Ryan Heirs.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk1, pp. 537-539)

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported in September 1878, that John and Mrs. Huntington were ill at the hotel of yellow fever.  Their eighteen year old daughter, Alice Huntington (1860-1878), a native of Cleveland, Ohio died of the fever on September 2, 1878.  Mrs. Huntington and her son left Ocean Springs for Ohio in early November 1879.(The Pascagoula Democrat-StarSeptember 13, 1878, p. 2 and November 12, 1879, p. 3)

In June 1880 Federal Census of Jackson County, there is a J.H. Huntington (1816-1880+) employed as a wharf clerk.  When the Huntingtons failed to make their annual mortgage payment, the hotel property was seized.  The Schmidt & Ziegler Company purchased it in 1879.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 3, pp. 430-431)

William B. Schmidt (1823-1901) and Frances M. Ziegler (1818-1901) were wholesale grocers and liquor importers from New Orleans.  Schmidt was born at Schwieberdingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany on April 10, 1823.  His parents settled initially at St. Louis, Missouri and Lexington, Kentucky before establishing permanent residence at New Orleans in 1838.

In 1845, at the age of twenty-two, Schmidt commenced a business relationship with Francis M. Ziegler, a native of Oberndorf-Am-Nekar, Baden-Wurttemberg in southwestern Germany.  Their firm, Schmidt & Ziegler, began as a small wholesale grocery business on Old Levee Street in the Vieux Carre.  It later located at 428-436 on South Peters.  By 1900, Schmidt & Ziegler had expanded to eleven stores.  The firm was the pioneer in New Orleans international trade initiating commerce between South and Central America.

In January 1849, W.B. Schmidt married Virginia A. Jackson (1835-1912) who was born at Philadelphia of Cuban parentage.  Ziegler married, Adrianna Weissenburger (1831-1886) on the same day at the Third Presbyterian Church in New Orleans.  She was a native of Lauterburg, Lower Alsace.

In later life, it is believed Schmidt converted to Roman Catholicism.  He donated land on the northwest corner of Rayborn and Porter to the St. Johns Episcopal Church in 1891.

The Schmidts had eleven children.  At the time of Mr. Schmidt's demise in 1900, seven were living:  Victoria A. Maes, Lillian Ruby Donovan, Florence J. Hoffman, Louise May Schmidt, James J. Schmidt, Charles G. Schmidt, and Theodore Louis Schmidt (1871-1909).  Two sons died at Ocean Springs prior to 1896, and were interred in the Bellande Cemetery.  Schmidt asked the city government for permission through his spokesman, G. Weider, in 1895 to disinter their bodies and move them to the Schmidt Family tomb at New Orleans.(City of Ocean Springs Minute Bk. (1892-1899), p. 92)

Both the Schmidt and Ziegler families owned summer homes at Ocean Springs west of their hotel.  Schmidt became established on the front beach (707 foot frontage) in 1878-1879, when he purchased Lots 16 thru 25 in Block 16 (Culmseig Map) from George A. Cox and Julia Ward.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 3, pp. 377-378 and pp. 441-443)

W.B. Schmidt called his property "Summer Hill".  By 1895, the Schmidt holdings were of estate proportions.  Charles Dyer in Along The Gulf (1895) (Ocean Springs Section) describes the Schmidt property as follows:  The finest, most elaborate and most expensive estate on the entire gulf coast is that of Mr. W.B. Schmidt, of New Orleans.  Covering as it does an immense territory of hilly land, with beautiful ponds, of which there are three large islands, namely Dog, Crane and deer Islands each of which have an immense iron figure according to these names.  These beautiful spots are connected with one another and the main island with rustic bridges. 

The house, which is an elaborate modern structure, sits on a high bluff, surrounded by a beautifully mowed lawn, with numerous beds of rare flowers and majestic oaks, magnolias, and cedars.  The tall stately pines are in abundance in the rear of the estate, through which runs numerous walks and drives.  The house itself is one of the most elaborate on the coast.  It is large and airy, with wide gallery and immense rooms, and, being located on a hill, near the water's edge, the stiff gulf breeze is generally blown through the house, which is magnificently furnished with everything necessary for the comfort of its owner.  Mr. Schmidt has spent nearly $40,000 on improvements alone, so the reader may form an idea of the magnificence of this estate.

The Ziegler home, called "Lake View", was located west of the Schmidt Estate on Lots 17, 18, and 19 of Block 17 (Culmseig Map).  It was modest in comparison to the Schmidt holdings.  Dyer (1895) described it as: an attractive little cottage, situated on a hill, with neatly laid out and well-kept lawn, with any number of massive moss-covered oaks and magnolias to shade it.  The estate contains all the comforts it is possible for a complete seaside residence to have.

Schmidt was described as a quiet, thoughtful man with a will of iron and a heart of gold.  He was a moving force assisting those less fortunate than himself.  At various times, he sent German immigrants to Ocean Springs to work on his estate until they could get a start in life.  Among those whom Schmidt guided to Ocean Springs were Adolph Joseph Schrieber (1835-1875) and Ferdinand W. Illing (1838-1884) who had escaped from Mexico in 1867 after the fall of Emperor Maximilian and his German and Austrian nationals.  Illing operated a hotel, the Illing House, on the northeast corner of Washington and Porter for many years.

Among the organizations and enterprises during his life, Schmidt could list:  Sugar Exchange, Board of Trade, Board of Liquidation, Charity Hospital Board, Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital (President), Canal Bank (Director), Teutonia Insurance Company, Texas and Pacific Railroad (Director), and Vice-President of the organization responsible for the Cotton Centennial of 1884-1885 in New Orleans.

In his obituary of 1900, he was described as "not only a merchant prince, but a prince of merchants".  The month of June 1878, found Schmidt & Zeigler extending their hotel wharf into the bay of Biloxi to accommodate thePearl Rivers, the steamboat, of Captain Junius Poitevent (1837-1919).  Poitevent was reared in lower Hancock County and moved to Ocean Springs about 1877.  He built a Victorian Italianate home for his family called "Bay Home" at Fort Point.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star stated that "Captain Poitevent does everything in his power to accommodate the coast people which is in marked contrast with the policy pursued by the railroad company." (June 14, 1878, p. 3).  Poitevent's steamer left Ocean Springs at 8:00 AM on Monday and Friday.

 

T.C. Scarborough

General Charles A. Labuan, general manager of the Ocean Springs Hotel, announced from his office at 30 Bank Place in the Crescent City that T.C. Scarborough would be the proprietor of the Ocean Springs Hotel.  Judge Scarborough was lauded by a reporter in July 1866 as follows: "the best hotel of any of the watering places is kept by Judge Scarborough, at Ocean Springs, where visitors are not charged a dime a drink fro ice water, and are not Jewed in the way of extra charges.  The want of a frequent steamboat communications is the only drawback to this favorite hotel, which will be obviated as soon as a fast steamer like the N.P. Banks makes daily trips in six hours. Creole and Camelia serving Ocean Springs at this time. (The New Orleans Times, April 28, 1866, p. 2 and The Daily Picayune, July 14, 1866, p. 2)

 

M.R. and R.E. Arrinton

In 1867, M.R. and R.E. Arrinton were the proprietors of the Ocean Springs Hotel.  They announced in early August 1867, that the rates of board were being reduced to $60 per month.(The New Orleans Times, August 6, 1867, p. 2)

 

Colonel Strout (d. 1878)

Before her demise, Mrs. Buford also recorded the death of Colonel Strout of the Ocean Springs Hotel.  On August 19, 1878, she wrote to her husband at Water Valley:  Mr. Strout one of the proprietors of the hotel died last night, and Dr. Dunlop (sic) dispatched the board of health this morning...that he died of black vomit and the place is in ferment.  The citizens have protested against his remains being carried through town and he will be buried in the hotel yard. 

Mr. Strout was denied a liquor license by the Jackson County, Mississippi Board of Police in April 1875.(JXCO, Ms. Board of Supervisors Minute Bk. 1, p. 3)

 

James P. Longley

James P. Longley (1827-1890), a native of Tennessee, appears to have replaced Mr. Strout at the Ocean Springs Hotel.  He was at the St. James Hotel in New Orleans in July 1880, as proprietor.  Opening in October for boarders.(The Pascagoula Democrat- Star, July 23, 1880, p. 3)

 

Harvey J. Cree

The 1880 season at the Ocean Springs Hotel opened on June 1st  with lessee and manager Harvey Cree (1837-1900+), a Kentuckian, at the helm.  Mr. Cree, an experienced Mississippi River steamboat man, had years of hosting travelers.  His cuisine was on par with the St. Charles of New Orleans.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 21, 1880, p. 3, July 2, 1880, p. 3, and July 16, 1880, p. 3 )

In 1858, Harvey J. Cree had married Georgiana Perry (1838-1900+) in Kentucky.  They were the parents of ten children, but only two lived to see the 20th Century.  Their known children are: Fannie Cree (1860-1900+); Isabella Cecelia (1870-1890+) m. Thomas J. Ryan; Charles Carnahan Cree (1873-1876); and Julia E. Cree (1880-1880).  The Cree family returned to the Crescent City in late 1884 or early 1885.(1900 Orleans Parish Federal Census T623-573, p. 14B, ED 94)

As late as August 1886, Harvey Cree was residing at New Orleans, where he was the proprietor of Harvey Cree’s Saloon.  The family resided at 316 Delachaise Street.  He advertised in The Pascagoula-Democrat Star as follows:

 

HARVEY CREE’S SALOON

The finest wines and liquors always on hand

No. 48 Magazine Street

New Orleans

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 27, 1886, p. 1)             

 

By 1890, Harvey J. Cree was employed as an inspector at the Rigolet's Station.  In 1900, he, Georgiana, and Fannie Cree, their widowed daughter, were residence of the Rigolet's where he managed a club house.  No further informtion.(1900 Orleans Parish Federal Census T623-573, p. 14B, ED 94)

 

 

Jefferson Davis visits

Jefferson Davis and wife, Varina Howell Davis, came to Ocean Springs in July 1880 and spent the day at the Ocean Springs Hotel.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 23, 1880, p. 3)

Mr. Cree would advertise his establishment in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of July 9, 1880 as follows:

 

OCEAN SPRINGS HOTEL

 and Mineral Springs Ocean Springs, Mississippi

This charming summer resort, one of the most delightful on the lake coast, is now open under the new management for the season of 1880, with first class accommodations for 250 guests.

The health and pleasure attractions of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi are unparalleled, and at Ocean Springs alone can visitors enjoy the benefits of the mineral waters.  The salt bathing and fishing are unsurpassed.

All that visitors can desire is obtainable within three hours ride from New Orleans and two from Mobile by three daily trains (the accommodations and excursion trains being now extended to this point).  Terms reasonable. Harvey Cree, proprietor.  (page 1).

 

By mid-July 1880, Mr. Cree was turning away reservations for the Ocean Springs Hotel as his bookings had gone well.  The remainder of the village was also seeing their greatest prosperity since the Civil War.  Merchants and proprietors of rental cottages were excited about the tourist boom which had everyone in town fully employed.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 16, 1880. p. 3)   

 

J.F. Pierce

J.F. Pierce, formerly of the Beach Hotel at Galveston, Texas took over management of the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1885.  The tourist season at the Ocean Springs Hotel began on May 25, 1885.  It was described as 'a delightful resort for families.'(The New Orleans Daily Picayune, May 15, 1885, p. 4)      

 

Frederick Frye

In 1886, Schmidt & Ziegler leased their hotel to a Swiss hotelier, Frederick Frye (1846-1892), a native of Geneva.  The Fryes had formerly operated the Willow Cottage at Biloxi.  In October 1890, the Fryes initiated a major renovation campaign at the Ocean Springs Hotel before the winter season.  They replaced the roof, installed double doors, and remodeled the rooms.  New carpet replaced worn fabric in the rooms.  A hot water heating system was placed in the building.  At this time, The Biloxi Herald lauded the Ocean Springs Hotel "as comfortable, if not more so, than any other on the coast, and offers most excellent accommodations to our northern visitors".(The Biloxi Herald, November 8, 1890, p. 4)

Mrs. Frye hosted a “hop” at the hotel, for the young adults of Ocean Springs in late June 1891.  It was a spirited occasion and appreciated by the community.(The Biloxi Herald, July 4, 1891, p. 1)

In mid-April 1892, Frederick Frye expired at Ocean Springs from heart failure.  He was so respected and admired by the community that most businesses closed on the day of his burial in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.  Frye’s funeral was conducted by the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias of which he was a distinguished member.(The Biloxi Herald, April 23, 1892, p. 4)

After her husbands demise, Mrs. Frye continued to operate the Ocean Springs Hotel.  She  had an excellent reputation along the Coast for running a first class operation.  In May 1892, Mrs. Frye ran the following advertisement in The New Orleans Daily Picayune:

 

EXCURSION TO THE OCEAN SPRINGS HOTEL

MRS. J. FRYE

Celebrated Dinner $.75

Bath and Towel Included

Board for Families

FISH & OYSTERS

 

This advertisement indicates the Ocean Springs Hotel was catering to the day tripper and weekend guest from New Orleans.  The L&N ran an excursion train on weekends to provide daily service for those who wanted to escape the City for a day or two.  One train, the "Coast Flyer", commenced service in June 1896 and made the jaunt from New Orleans in two hours and forty minutes.

To promote business among Mississippi Gulf Coast residents Mrs. Frye ran the following announcement in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star on July 22, 1892, p. 4:

 

OCEAN SPRINGS HOTEL

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

on the beach

Mrs. J. Frye-Proprietress

Mineral waters analyzed by Dr. Joseph Jones, of New Orleans.  The healthiest and pleasantest resort of any Southern coast.  Finest fishing, hunting, and drives.  This commodious hotel has just been refitted with hot waters, new carpets in halls and apartments, and other modern conveniences.  Families boarded at reasonable rates.  Best of accommodations for tourists, commercial travelers, and prospectors.

 

Some months after the untimely death of her husband in April 1892, Mrs. Frye moved to Pass Christian.  She returned to Ocean Springs in 1895 to open Frye's Hotel ( formerly the VanCleave) at Robinson and Washington across from the L&N Depot.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported in October 1893 that the Ocean Springs Hotel was closed and still for rent.  

 

Dr. Absalom Jackson II

Dyer reports in Along The Gulf (1895), that in June 1894, Dr. A. Jackson (1841-1925) and his wife, Laura Scott (1844-1922), opened the Ocean Springs Hotel.  Dyer's laud of the Jacksons follows:  They have the best accommodations for excursionists, commercial travelers and families, and, as Ocean Springs is unsurpassed for healthfulness, being free from epidemics, etc. it makes one of the prettiest spots on the coast at which to pass a vacation.  Guests of the hotel can be served with mineral water from the famous marble springs controlled by them...

Dr. Jackson renewed his lease for another year as indicated by this line in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of October 11, 1895:  Dr. A. Jackson has leased that popular hostelry, the Ocean Springs Hotel, which will continue under his excellent management for another year.

 

Dr. Absalom Jackson II

Dr. Absalom Jackson II (1842-1925), a dentist, was the son of Absalom Jackson (1805-1870+) and Emma Boling (1810-pre-1860).  He was born on January 26, 1842 at Mayhew, Autauga County, now Elmore County, Alabama, of which Wetumpka, near Montgomery, is the present day county seat.  Dr. Jackson arrived in Biloxi, Mississippi circa 1902.   He was fond of children and was well liked in the community.  A veteran of the Civil War, Ab Jackson II served gallantly with Company E of the 5th Alabama Infantry.(The Daily Herald, October 28, 1925, p. 1 and Bradford-O’Keefe Burial Bk. 14, p. 3

Dr. Jackson married Laura Scott (1845-1922).  She was born February 28, 1845 at Auburn, Alabama, the daughter of William Scott.  They had a son, Absalom Jackson III (1879-1959).( Bradford-O’Keefe Bk. 11, p. 220)

 

Ocean Springs

Several years before he retired to Biloxi, Dr. Absalom Jackson and his small family resided at Ocean Springs, Mississippi, a small resort community, on the east side of the Bay of Biloxi.  Here in June 1894, Dr. Jackson leased and managed the Ocean Springs Hotel.  Charles L. Dyer in Along The Gulf (1895), lauded The Jacksons’ management of this resort as follows:  They have the best accommodations for excursionists, commercial travelers and families, and, as Ocean Springs is unsurpassed for healthfulness, being free from epidemics, etc. it makes one of the prettiest spots on the coast at which to pass a vacation.  Guests of the hotel can be served with mineral water from the famous marble springs controlled by them...

Dr. Ab Jackson renewed his lease for another year as indicated by this line in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of October 11, 1895:  Dr. A. Jackson has leased that popular hostelry, the Ocean Springs Hotel, which will continue under his excellent management for another year.

In 1895, Augustus Smith was the proprietor of a white barbershop on Jackson Avenue opposite the Ocean Springs Hotel.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 23, 1895, p. 3)

In late February 1898, Dr. W.C. Jackson, a prominent medical practitioner at Montgomery, and a brother of Dr. Ab Jackson, visited him at the Ocean Springs Hotel.  (The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 25, 1898, p. 3)

After leaving the Ocean Springs Hotel, probably after the fall season of 1898, Dr. and Mrs. Jackson relocated to the Mobile area operating the Spring Hotel in 1900.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 2, 1900, p. 3)  This is corroborated somewhat by the fact that in November 1898, Dr. Jackson’s son, Ab Jackson III, went to Mobile employed with the YMCA as a stenographer.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 25, 1898, p. 3) 

New management arrived at the old hostelry on Biloxi Bay, in May 1899, when F.M. Allen of Chicago took control of the Ocean Springs Hotel.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 26, 1899, p. 3)           

Biloxi 

In October 1903, Absalom Jackson II located to the Mexican Gulf, resort town of Biloxi, Mississippi.  Initially, the Jacksons were guest of Colonel Harrison Smith Hyatt (1833-1906), a New York native and solicitor formerly of Ocean Springs.  Here he practiced dentistry.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 6, 1903, p. 3)

 

The Election

In July 1910, Dr. Ab Jackson entered the political arena at Biloxi.  He ran to represent the people of the 2ndWard, as their city alderman.  A local journal related the following about Ab Jackson’s political advent:  Dr. A. Jackson is well known to the voters of Biloxi.  For the past nine years he has been a resident of the city, engaged in the practice of his profession-dentistry.  Prior to coming to Biloxi he successfully conducted for eight years the Ocean Springs Hotel, since destroyed by fire, and during its existence one of the largest institutions of its kind on the Coast.  Should Dr. Jackson be elected he will no doubt prove a valuable member of that body.(The Ocean Springs News, July 23, 1910, p. 1)

The Biloxi Democratic Party held its first primary elections on August 22, 1910.  Dr. Jackson faced E.H. Benedict and Frank B. Castanera (1870-1934).  He placed second receiving 28% of the ballots cast, but qualified for the second primary race against Mr. Castanera.(The Daily Herald, August 23, 1910, p. 1)

Dr. Jackson withdrew from the race, only days before the second Democratic primary was held on August 29, 1910.  He gave no explanation for his quitting the contest against Mr. Castanera who was declared the winner.  Age could have been a factor, as Dr. Jackson was approaching seventy years.(The Daily Herald, August 30, 1910, p. 1)

 

Death

Dr. Jackson and his wife both died at Biloxi in the care of their son, Ab Jackson III (1879-1959), who resided at 124 West Beach.  Laura Scott Jackson expired on January 5, 1922.  After funeral services at her son’s residence, her corporal remains were sent via the L&N Railroad to Auburn, Alabama for perpetual internment.  At Biloxi, Mrs. Jackson was a dedicated Methodist and attended services and worked diligently at the Main Street Methodist Church.  In addition, she commenced the first chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy at Biloxi.  At the time of her demise, Dr. Jackson was residing at Bayou La Batre, Alabama.(The Daily Herald, January 5, 1922, p. 4)

Dr. Ab Jackson followed his spouse in death on October 28, 1925.  Like his spouse, his corporal remains were sent by the L&N Railroad to Auburn, Alabama for internment.(Bradford-O’Keefe Burial Bk. 14, p. 3 and The Daily Herald, October 28, 1925, p. 1)

His great grandson, Glenn Andrews II of Anniston, Alabama, relates that Ab Jackson II was buried in his Confederate States of America military uniform.  Dr. Jackson vowed that if the South lost the Civil War that he would never shave his face.  Needless to say, he died with a very long beard!(Glenn Andrews II, August 3, 2001)            

 

Schmidt & Ziegler revisited

An indication that Schmidt & Ziegler were losing interest in their hotel property occurred in June 1896, when they sold the venerable Marble Springs to the City of Ocean Springs for $1.00.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. Book 17, pp. 431-432) 

The waters of the springs analyzed prior to 1854 by Dr. J.L. Smith were described by Dr. E.R. Bragg in 1893 as: a mildild saline-chalybeate, containing also sulphuretted hydrogen.  This rather unusual combination renders it effective in the treatment of persistent skin and scrofulous diseases.Twentieth Century Coast Edition of The Daily Herald).

 

F.M. Allen

New management arrived at the old hostelry in May 1899, when F.M. Allen of Chicago took control.  Allen immediately began improvements to open the business for the summer of 1899.  By early June, the work was completed and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported that "the famous hostelry has been thoroughly renovated and presents a most inviting appearance both out and inside."(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 26, 1899, p. 3 and June 2, 1899, p. 3)

In late late June 1899, Mr. Allen ran the following advertisement:

 

 

OCEAN SPRINGS HOTEL

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

The largest, best, and most liberally managed hotel on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Accommodations unequalled.(The Pascagoula Democrat-StarJune 30, 1899, p. 3)

 

 

 

Sale

The sale of the Ocean Springs Hotel took place on March 19, 1901, when the firm of Schmidt & Ziegler conveyed it to the entrepreneurial Lundy brothers of Ocean Springs for $6000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 23, pp. 231-233) 

 

The Lundy Brothers

Franklin Jefferson Lundy (1863-1912) and Louis A. Lundy (1876-1941) were born at Mobile, Alabama.  They came to Ocean Springs with their widowed mother in 1889.  F.J. Lundy owned a mercantile store at the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Government.  L.A. Lundy was a pioneer in the ice and shrimp industry at Ocean Springs in the early years of the 20th Century. 

In 1901, the Lundys leased the Ocean Springs Hotel to Dr. Henry Bradford Powell (1867-1949) of Chicago.  Dr. Powell later owned a sanitarium, the old Franco home, on Washington Avenue at Fort Bayou where the Indian Springs were located.

 

Bridget E. White

By 1904, Mrs. B.E. White (1860-1943), nee Bridget Shanahan, as reported by was in control of the venerable hostelry:  H.F. Russell (as agent) leased the Ocean Springs Hotel to Mrs. B.E. White for the summer season, who has already taken charge.  Mrs. White needs no introduction from us, as she has been connected with the Shanahan House for many years.  She is a lady thoroughly familiar with all the business pertaining to a hotel and will undoubtedly do a successful business.  Mrs. White thinks as we do that the exodus from the Crescent City will be a record breaker.(The Progress of January 18, 1904 or June 4, 1904, p. 4)

 

Conflagration

Mrs. White had a successful season and was negotiating for another lease in May 1905, when disaster struck the Ocean Springs Hotel.  After the smoke had cleared on Jackson Avenue in the early morning of May 25, 1905, what hurricanes (1860, 1888, 1893, and 1901), the Civil War (1861-1865), Reconstruction (1865-1877), yellow fever epidemics, quarantines, and economic depressions had failed to do, i.e. destroy the Ocean Springs Hotel, was accomplished by fire in a few hours.  Some tables and a piano were salvaged from the ashes and ruins.

The old hostelry was valued at $12,000, but the Lundys only carried $5000 worth of insurance on the structure.  Dr. Powell was more fortunate as he had fire protection valued up to $2000 for his furniture.

About a year after the conflagration, the Ocean Springs News beseeched some enterprising capitalist to erect a modern hotel at Ocean Springs.  The summer of 1906 was particularly busy as all cottages were occupied and the hotels were renting annexes.  In fact, some people contemplated pitching tents for their guests.

Owner F.J. Lundy must not have been enthused by the newspapers suggestions or potential for the hotel business in the town as he made plans in early 1910 to have the Ocean Springs Hotel land platted into fifty-foot lots and put on the market.

For fifty two years, the Ocean Springs Hotel had been the social and cultural focus of the city.  Its management had cheerfully provided guests and visitors from throughout the South and Midwest with such diverse physical activities as:  tenpins, croquet, billiards, fishing, sailing, and saltwater bathing.  Socially and culturally, the hostelry provided:  dances, plays, music, regattas, balls, suppers, lounges, and newspapers, The Naiad and The Tattler.  For those guests who desired the curative properties advertised of the sulphur and chalybeate (iron salts) spring waters, transportation was provided to the Fort Bayou Marble Springs site by carriage three times daily.

The Ocean Springs Hotel was the salient catalyst in the growth and development of Ocean Springs in its early years.  Although the site of the former structure is now long covered by cultural developments along Jackson Avenue, its place in the history of Ocean Springs is permanently established.

 

 

REFERENCES:

Charles L. Dyer, Along The Gulf, "Ocean Springs", (Dixie Press: Gulfport, Mississippi-1972)  Originally published 1895 by the L&N Railroad.

Regina Hines Ellison, Ocean Springs, 1892 (2nd Edition), (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1991), pp. 22, 23, and 93.

H. Grady Howell, To Live and Die in Dixie, A History of the Third Mississippi Infantry, CSA, (Chickasaw Bayou Press: Jackson, Mississippi-1991), p. 104.

Bettie J. Marsh, The Neaves Story, (Marsh: 1979), p. 5.

C.E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1972), pp. 20. 72, and 73.

Charles Sullivan, The Mississippi Gulf Coast: Portrait of a People, (Windsor Publications:  Northridge, California-1985), pp. 41, 62, and 63.

Charles Sullivan, Hurricanes of the Mississippi Gulf Coast-1717 to Present, (Gulf Publishing Company-1986), p. 135.

E.M. and Ema L. Tipton, Marriages & Obituaries From The New Orleans Christian Advocate (1851-1860),(Tipton Printing & Publishing Company:  Bossier City, Louisiana-1980). p. 89.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi:  A Look At The Beautiful Past of a Beautiful City, "The Winklejohn House", (Ocean Springs Junior High School 8th Grade Enrichment Class-1983).

Patricia Ann Fenerty and Patricia White Fernandez, 1880 Census of New Orleans (Volume 1), (Padraigeen Publishing Company:  New Orleans-1991), p. 132.

 

Journals

The Biloxi Herald, “Ocean Springs”, July 4, 1891.

The Biloxi Herald, “Local Happenings”, January 9, 1892.

The Biloxi Herald"Ocean Springs", November 8, 1890.

The Biloxi Herald, “Frederick Frye”, April 23, 1892.

The Biloxi Daily Herald"Fire at Ocean Springs", May 25, 1905, p. 5.

The Daily Herald"Laura S. Jackson Obit", January 5, 1922, p.4.

The Daily Herald"Dr. A. Jackson Obit", October 28, 1925, p. 1.

The Daily True Delta, "Ocean Springs Hotel", June 22, 1859, p. 3.

The Daily Picayune, "Biloxi and Ocean Springs steamers", July 14, 1866, p. 2.

The Gulf Coast Times"Know Your Neighbor-Joe Lewis Schrieber", August 26, 1949.

The New Orleans Christian Advocate, “Ocean Springs Hotel”, June 29, 1859.

The New Orleans Daily Crescent“Ocean Springs”, June 2, 1857, p. 1.

The New Orleans Daily Crescent“Ocean Springs Hotel”, July 1, 1859.

The New Orleans Daily Crescent“Ocean Springs Hotel”, May 12, 1866, p. 1.

The New Orleans Daily DeltaSea Shore Divertissements”, September 21, 1853, p. 2.

The New Orleans Daily DeltaSea Shore Correspondence”, August 23, 1856, p. 2.

The New Orleans Daily Picayune“Letter From Ocean Springs”, July 29, 1853, p. 1.

The New Orleans Daily Picayune“Letter From Ocean Springs”, p. 1.

The New Orleans Daily PicayuneOcean Springs Wharf”, September 21, 1855, p. 2.

The New Orleans Daily Picayune“Advertisements”, September 21, 1855, p. 2.

The New Orleans Daily Picayune“Ocean Springs Hotel”, April 28, 1866, p. 2.

The New Orleans Daily Picayune“Ocean Springs Hotel”, May 15, 1885, p. 4.

The New Orleans Daily Picayune“Letter From Ocean Springs”, May 7, 1892.

The New Orleans Daily Picayune"W.G. Austin, M.D. Recently Appointed Quarantine Physician at Mississippi Station", February 24, 1889.

The New Orleans Times“Ocean Springs Hotel, April 28, 1866, p. 2.

The New Orleans Times“Interesting Letter From the Lake Shore”, May 19, 1866, p. 1, (Auctioneer's Supplement).

The New Orleans Times, “Miscellaneous”, August 6, 1867.

The New York Herald, March 25, 1862.

The Ocean Springs Gazette, March 24, 1855, p. 3.

The Ocean Springs News, July 27, 1906.

The Ocean Springs News, August 3, 1906.

The Ocean Springs News, September 11, 1909, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News, January 22, 1910, p. 2.

The Ocean Springs Record"Tombstone Back Where It Belongs", July 24, 1986, p. 1.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 14, 1878, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 23, 1878, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 13, 1878, p. 2.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 12, 1879, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, May 21, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, June 18, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, July 2, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, July 16, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “New Advertisements”, July 23, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Harvey Cree’s Saloon”, August 27, 1886.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 23, 1891, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Local News”, October 20, 1893.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Local News”, October 27, 1893.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 23, 1895.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, May 26, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, June 2, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, February 2, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, November 6, 1903.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 5, 1905, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 26, 1905, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 2, 1905, p. 2.

The Progress“Local News”, January 18, 1904.

The Progress“Local News”, June 4, 1904.

 

Jackson County Will Book 2, p. 12 (Martha E. Austin)

Jackson County General Docket, Volume 2, p. 74.

US Census Jackson County, Mississippi 1850

US Census Mobile County, Alabama 1880

US Census Orleans Parish, Louisiana 1870

 

Maps

Plat of “Ocean Springs Hotel Property” by J.F. Galloway, Jackson County Chancery Court Plat Book 1, p. 29 (April 1910).

US Geological Survey, "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1:24000) (1954).

Personal Communication:

Maria Bargas-December 1991.

George E. Arndt-March 1992.

J.K. Lemon-June 1992.

The Pines Hotel Property (1915 - 2002)

 

 

LOCATION

The Pines Hotel was located at No. 25 Washington Avenue on the southwest corner of Washington and Ocean Avenues.  The structure was situated on Lots 1, 2, and 3 of the Pace Survey of 1906.  The Pace Survey is named for Emma Bullen Pace who resided on Prytania Street in New Orleans and owned other properties at Ocean Springs. The home of Charles V. and Margaret Menendes at 219 Washington Avenue lies here today.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Plat Bk. 1, p. 20) 

The hotel lot was well covered with tall pine trees as demonstrated by photographs of the building.  These stately conifers were probably responsible for the appellation, Pines Hotel.

 

 

Pines Hotel (L-R; first two images pre-May 1921; third image after addition)

 

BUILDING

The Pines Hotel was a two-story, wood frame building of 4200 square feet.  In May 1921, a new wing was commenced on the north side of the building, which was 20 x 30 feet and two stories tall.  The first floor of the addition was used as the dining room, and was fitted with the most contemporary electric fixtures and appliances.  The upper floor accommodated guests and provided them with adequate bath and toilet facilities.  A large gallery graced the front of the building.(The Jackson County Times, May 14, 1921, p. 3)

The completed Pines Hotel contained eighteen bedrooms, six baths, two kitchens, a dining, living, and other rooms.  It had the distinction of being the last hotel built at Ocean Springs.

        

Ernest A. Morris

[Courtesy of Patricia Maxwell Letort]

 

HISTORY

When Ernest Alfred Morris (1860-1946) purchased Lots 1 thru 3 from Mrs. Emma Bullen  Pace (1851-1936) for $1000 on August 7, 1915, the Pines Hotel commenced as a commercial enterprise.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 41, p. 540) 

The Morris Family had moved to Ocean Springs from Chicago in1910 where Mr. Morris was in the candy manufacturing business.  He was a native of England, the son of Thomas Morris and Elizabeth Baker, having emigrated from that country in 1872.  Morris probably settled at Chicago where he met and married his wife Chicago native, Lydia E. Meyers (1872-1933), the daughter of Leo Meyers.  Two children were born in Illinois: Myrtle Morris Maxwell (1893-1970) and Robert E. Morris (1902-1970).  In June 1919, Myrtle, called Nellie, married Karl C. Maxwell (1893-1958) of Ocean Springs, the stepson of Albert C. Gottsche (1873-1949) and Cynthia Davis Maxwell (1869-1951).  Mr. Gottsche operated a well-known grocery store on Washington Avenue.

             Ernest Morris acquired a home in Ocean Springs on Washington Avenue in late 1910, from Ellen Fox, who was divorced from Michael Gallagher. The home, which was located in Lot 5 of Block 5 (Culmseig Map of 1854), was adjacent to a very old cottage that had once belonged to the Wing and Tebo families from New Orleans.  It was also once called the Bartlett Place, from the original owner, Louisa Burling Bartlett (1823-1889), an affluent New Orleans lady, who was instrumental in organizing the Presbyterian Church at Ocean Springs.  The Pines Hotel was located across the street and to the north from the Morris home.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 38, pp. 190-191 and The Ocean Springs News, December 3, 1910)

 After the home purchase, Mr. Morris left for Chicago to make arrangement for having the family furniture and personal effects shipped to Ocean Springs.  As Morris intended to make his relocation to Ocean Springs permanent, he planned to improve the Gallagher house to first class status.  The Gallagher and Bartlett places were destroyed in a large conflagration in late February 1924.  Local realtor, F.E. Lee (1874-1932) owned the Bartlett cottage at this time.(The Ocean Springs News, December 3, 1910 and The Daily Herald, February 29, 1924, p. 3)

 The Pines Hotel was built to accommodate seasonal tourist and itinerant workers.  During the short history of the Pines Hotel, Ocean Springs was a citrus and garden center.  Horticulturist and orchard men such as, Charles E. Pabst (1843-1925), H.D. Money (1869-1936), Theodore Bechtel (1863-1931), E.W. Halstead Sr.(1876-1933), and C.S. Bell (1843-1925), among others were actively engaged in commercial agriculture.  As government inspectors were sent to survey the citrus groves and nurseries in the immediate area, they required a comfortable place to stay.  The Pines Hotel afforded this ambience. Ernest A. Morris probably opened the Pines Hotel for business in October 1915.  He hadThe Ocean Springs News office prepare and print an attractive brochure describing Ocean Springs and his new hotel at this time.  Thomas Ewing Dabney (1885-1970) was editor of the journal.

At Thanksgiving 1915, E.A. Morris ran the following advertisement in The Ocean Springs News:

 

YOU WILL APPRECIATE

The beauties of the Southland doubly if you stay at THE PINES HOTEL.  Situated on a lofty hill overlooking the Bay, the tang of the sea air and the health giving odor of the pines, sweep across its spacious veranda and through its commodious rooms alternately.  It is a new building, having just been built, is newly furnished from top to bottom.  It is screened, double floored, steam heated, and fitted with hot and cold water in each room.  There are commodious baths on each floor.  Special attention will be centered on the cuisine.  All the delicacies of the sea and country can offer constitute the menu:  Oysters, chickens, fresh milk and butter, sheephead, flounders, etc.  A special effort will be made to have everything as much like home as possible.  The water supply is from an artesian well.

 

On August 30, 1920, the Morris family sold their Pines Hotel to Albert Levy.  They relocated to the Pace Cottage on Washington Avenue for the winter season.  The Morrises returned to Chicago for a brief time, but returned to Ocean Springs and rented the Arndt Cottage at 822 Porter.  Mr. Morris went to work for Albert Gottsche as a clerk while Robert Morris who had gone to Buffalo, New York in June 1920 to work for Curtiss Aircraft joined him, and worked in the market at the Gottsche Store.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 48, p. 479 and The Jackson County Times, June 12, 1920, p. 5 and September 4, 1920, p. 3)

Robert E. Morris and George E. Arndt II (1909-1994) formed an electrical contracting firm at Ocean Springs in July 1926.  Armed with their pragmatic and school experience in the electrical field, they planned to do electrical wiring, installation, and repair.  Their company was called the Electrical Construction Company and all work was performed within the regulations and requirements of insurance underwriters.  Bob Morris was a resident of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin in March 1954.(The Jackson County Times, July 31, 1926 and August 7, 1926)

E.A. Morris expired at Ocean Springs on May 22, 1946.  He had been a charter member of the Dearborn Masonic Lodge of Chicago and a Mason for sixty-four years. Morris was a member of the Tourist Club, an election official, and enjoyed fishing the local waters.(The Jackson County Times, may 25, 1946, p. 1)

Mrs. Lydia M. Morris had expired in July 1933.  She had been a member of Eastern Star Ada Chapter No. 49, which conducted her funeral rites at the Morris home and as she was passed through St. John’s Episcopal Church.  Both Mr. and Mrs. E.A. Morris were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Daily Herald, July 26, 1933, p. 8)

 

Albert Levy

Albert Levy, the new proprietor of the Pines Hotel, was from New Orleans and had business interests at Meridian where he also resided.  He operated the Pines with his father, Victor Levy, who lived in the Washington Avenue hostelry with his wife, Pauline Rosenthal Levy (1853-1935).  Pauline R. Levy was born in Paris, the daughter of Samuel “Gates” Rosenthal.  Gates Rosenthal had played in the 1883 World Chess Championship at London finishing eighth in a fiele of fourteen contestants.  Pauline had come to the United States in about 1875.    In addition to Albert, the Victor Levy children were: Wolfe Levy (1893-1973), Alexander Levy, Leon Levy (1895-1976), Josephine L. Green, and Bertha L. Block (1897-1990).(The Daily Herald, February 28, 1935, p. 2 and www.mark-weeks.com/chess/y3lon-ix.htm)

It was under the Levy’s excellent management that in May 1921, the Pines Hotel was enlarged with a two-story 1200 square-foot addition.  The new dining room occupied the lower floor while guests rooms and bathes were upstairs.(The Jackson County Times,Mmay 14, 1921, p. 3)

 Bertha Levy (1897-1990), their daughter, was married at the Pines Hotel in January 1923.  Rabbi Silva of New Orleans performed the ceremony uniting her with Dr. Leon Block (1892-1974), a promising physician, of Denver, Colorado.(The Jackson County Times, January 13, 1923, p. 5)

  Albert Levy owned the hotel for about five years conveying it to Frank J. Raymond (1883-1952) in May 1925.   Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Lee were resident managers of the Pines Hotel for Levy in 1923-1924. They retired from this position in August 1924 and relocated to a cottage on Jackson Avenue, formerly owned by Henry Norris.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 55, pp. 225-226 and The Jackson County Times, August 16, 1924, p. 5)

 

Frank J. Raymond

Frank Joseph Raymond was married to Marguerite Delphine Lewis (1890-1961), the daughter of Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933) and Julia Johnson Lewis (1861-1933), the builders of the Artesian House on the southwest corner of Jackson Avenue and Porter.  The Raymond nuptials occurred on October 18, 1911.  Their children, Mary Julia R. Genre (1913-1999) and Alfred A. Raymond (1914-1975), were born at Biloxi, Mississippi.  Mary Julia married Arthur S. “Tee” Genre and resided most of her life in Port Allen, Louisiana.  She was a 1935 graduate of Our Lady of the Lake School of Nursing at Baton Rouge.  Alfred A. Raymond worked for the U.S. Treasury Department at Mobile.  He retired to Biloxi and expired there in June 1975.(The Ocean Springs News, October 14, 1911, p. 5 and The Baton Rouge Advocate, February 9, 1999 and The Daily Herald, June 15, 1975, p. A-2)

Frank J. Raymond was the assistant Postmaster at Biloxi from 1909-1924, and cashier for the W.V. Joyce Company from 1924-1928.  In fact, the newly founded, W.V. Joyce Company of Biloxi held their second annual banquet at the Pines Hotel in January 1927, with Frank Raymond serving as toastmaster.  In April 1928, Mr. Raymond became President of the newly organized People Laundry at Biloxi.  This position allowed him to spend more time at Ocean Springs.(The Jackson County Times, January 15, 1927, p. 3 and April 14, 1928, p. 3)

In March 1924, Governor Austin Peay and his son of Tennessee were entertained by the staff of the Pines Hotel.  They went fishing in Biloxi Bay and surrounding bayous.  The Jackson County Times reported that "the governor has been having good luck and some of the catches rival the best made here in recent months".  At the same time, Dr. J.D. Blanton, president of Ward Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee, was a guest at the Pines.  Later in the month, Governor Peay and entourage were entertained with a luncheon at the Gulf Hills Country Club with Mr. and Mrs. Walter Branigar hosting. (The Jackson County Times, March 9, 1924, p. 5 and March 20, 1926, p. 3)

Apparently the economy in the pre-Depression days at Biloxi and Ocean Springs was poor, as Frank Raymond had gone to Houma, Louisiana to work in an oyster packing plant a few months before he sold the Pines Hotel to Mrs. Victor Levy of Biloxi in April 1929.  Mrs. Levy had held a substantial mortgage on the hotel property since April 1928.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 62, pp. 437-438 and Deed of Trust Bk. 13, p. 83)

 The Pines Hotel was temporarily closed after the sale and it was placed in the care of Charles B. Morrison (1868-1938) of Biloxi. Mr. Morrison was familiar with Ocean Springs as he had come here in early September 1911, from Flora, Illinois and operated a variety store on Washington Avenue.  C.B. Morrison later lived with an elderly relative, Amanda Chick Shaffer (1841-1923), the widow of William Lafayette Shaffer (1834-1887), the proprietor of Cedar Grove Plantation near Chacahoula, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.  Mrs. Shaffer owned White House Hill at present day 214 Washington Avenue, which was situated opposite the Pines Hotel.(The Jackson County Times, June 8, 1929, p. 1 and The Ocean Springs News, December 23, 1911)

In March 1927, William Jones possibly a guest at the Pines Hotel published a poem evoking memories of the Washington Avenue hostelry.  It read as follows:

 

The Old Hotel I Love So Well

Sweet memories like clinging vines

Enfolds me here at The Pines

The while I cogitate a song

They bring me treasures all day long

From out their storehouse, old and new

And tell me where each flour grew

 

Then each one in their eagerness

Would add some to my happiness

One tells me that a faithful friend

Is like yon rose's richer blend

And whispers of a pearly tear

That harkens back to yester-year

 

Thus while embraced with slumberings

Among the pines at Ocean Springs

Sprite fairies come from flowering June

To whisper of a silvery moon

Who would reveal a path he's made

Of mysteries and magic shade

 

Upon the ocean's broad expanse

A floor for dimpled waves to dance

Till paling beams ride o'er the crest

Of morning's beaming loveliness

And dawn with loads of gladness brings

The smiling day at Ocean Springs.

(The Jackson County TimesMarch 12, 1927)

 

During 1931, it appears that Mrs. Levy leased the Pines Hotel to Mr. and Mrs. F.H. Bottenfield of Chicago, probably.

 

Spring flames

Like so many of Ocean Spring's historic structures, the Pines Hotel burned to the ground.  A fire of unknown origin started late in the evening of May 5, 1932 and was discovered shortly after 2 a.m. on May 6th.  The loss was estimated at approximately $20,000.  The structure was never rebuilt.(The Daily Herald, May 6, 1932, p. 1)

 

Post-fire

            With the poor economic climate created by the Depression, Pauline R. Levy ceased paying the real estate taxes on her vacant Washington Avenue lots.  In April 1933, she lost her Pines Hotel property to the State of Mississippi in a tax sale for $65.75.  At this time, she was residing at Biloxi on 819 East Howard Avenue.  Mrs. Levy expired at Biloxi on February 28, 1935.  Her remains were sent to the Orthodox Cemetery at New Orleans for burial.  Her son, Leon Levy and spouse, Rebecca Levy (1900-1978), lived at Biloxi on Seal Avenue for most of their lives.(The Daily Herald, February 28, 1935, p. 2)

In July 1939, Guy McCullen, Land Commissioner for the State of Mississippi, issued a forfeited tax sale land patent, No. 37,593, to William G. Slay II on Lots 1, 2 and 3 of the Pace Survey, for $150.  Mr. Slay’s patent was confirmed by Chancellor Dan M. Russell in December 1940.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 73, pp 604-605 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 6253)

William Gray Slay II (1911-1951) resided at Biloxi, Mississippi where he was a mail carrier in the U.S. postal system.  Mr. Slay was the son of W.G. Slay and Willie Rafield.  He was married to Marguerite Lowd Slay and their son, William Gray Slay III, is today a successful realtor who resides and maintains offices in Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 73, pp. 604-605 and The Daily Herald, October 15, 1951, p. 10)

In May 1941, the Heirs of Mrs. Victor Levy conveyed to Albert S. Johnson II, Lots 1 and 2 of the Pace Survey for $300.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 77, pp. 131-133)

            In June 1941, W.G. Slay II of Biloxi to Albert S. Johnson II for $400 Lots 1 and 2 of the Pace Survey.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 77, p. 639)

            In August 1945, Albert S. Johnson II to Stella G. Joachim for $1200.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 97, pp 12-13).

            Mr. Johnson sold Lot 3 of the Pace survey to Lee E. Jordan in February 1945.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 88, pp. 391-392)

            After the conflagration, the lots lie undeveloped for about fifteen years.  In May 1947, Stella G. Joachim conveyed them to Frank “Kiddo” E. Galle II (1900-1986) for $1710.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 97, p. 8)

     

The Galle-Menendes House

The Galle-Menendes is located a present day 219 Washington Avenue on Lot 1 and 2 of the Pace Survey of 1906.  The lots measured 100 feet by 200 feet. (JXCO, Ms. Plat Bk. 1, p. 20)

In October 1950, Frank Galle was completing the home.  It was described as: Frank and Gussie Galle are building one of the swankiest ones yet on their lot on Washington Avenue.  Brick floors throughout the house, a dream of a fireplace in the living room that will also open in the kitchen.  Frank made his own plans for his home…and it is really something.(The Gulf Coast Times, October 13, 1950, p. 7)

 

REFERENCES:

 

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi“Walter and Cleo Gulley”, (Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989)

 

Mississippi Department of Archives and History, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form,“Old Ocean Springs Historic District”, Item 7, 1979.

 

C.E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula-1972), p. 79.

 

Chancery Court Causes

Cause No. 6253, “W.G. Slay Jr. v. Albert Levy, et al”-May 1940.

Cause No. 10646, “Frank Galle v. Mrs. Theone Galle”-February 1949.

 

Journals

The Baton Rouge Advocate, “Mary Raymond Genre”, February 9, 1999.

The Daily Herald, “Burned Residence Was Old Landmark”, February 29, 1924.

The Daily Herald, “Pines Hotels Burns”May 6, 1932.

The Daily Herald, “Morris Funeral”, July 26, 1933.

The Daily Herald, Mrs. Victor Levy Dies”, February 28, 1935.

The Daily Herald, “W.G. Slay Jr. Dies After Long Illness”, October 15, 1951.

The Daily Herald“Watson Wood Is Named To Biloxi Hospital Board”, October 7, 1957, p. 9.

The Daily Herald“E. Watson Wood”, September 27, 1972.

The Daily Herald, “Alfred A. Raymond”, June 15, 1975.

The Gulf Coast Times“Cottages Being Built”, October 13, 1950.

The Gulf Coast Times“Chicago Residents Purchase Property”, November 3, 1950.

The Gulf Coast Times, “Personal Items”, November 24, 1950.

The Gulf Coast Times“The Good Old Summer Time Is Here But For How Long Is Not The Story”, March 15, 1951.

The Gulf Coast Times“Merry Makers”, March 3, 1954.

The Jackson County Times, June 1, 1916, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times, September 9, 1916, p. 5.

The Jackson County Times"Local News Items", June 12, 1920.

The Jackson County Times"Local News Items", September 4, 1920.

The Jackson County Times"Local News Items", October 2, 1920.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", May 14, 1921.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", January 13, 1923.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", March 9, 1924.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, August 16, 1924.

The Jackson County Times, “To Our Hostess At The Pines”, March 20, 1926.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, July 31, 1926.

The Jackson County Times, “Electrical Construction Company”, August 7, 1926.

The Jackson County Times"Employees of Biloxi Store Enjoy Banquet at The Pines Hotel", January 15, 1927, p. 3, c. 1.

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, March 12, 1927.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, March 20, 1926.

The Jackson County Times"Frank Raymond President of New Laundry Company", April 14, 1928, p. 3.

The Jackson County Times, “The Pines Hotel In hands Of Former Owner”, June 8, 1929.

The Jackson County Times, June 8, 1929, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times, “E.A. Morris Dies”, May 25, 1946.

The Mississippi Press, “Gulley files for bankruptcy”, September 15, 2000.

The Mississippi Press, “Appeal Denied; Gulley jailed”, January 10, 2001.

The Ocean Springs News, “Local News”, December 3, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News, “Local News”, October 14, 1911.

The Ocean Springs News, “The Pines Hotel”, Thanksgiving 1915.

The Ocean Springs News“Heart Fund Drive Opens Today; Watson Wood Heading Fund to Fight Top Death Cause”, February 19, 1959.

The Ocean Springs News“Services Thursday For Gertrude Wood”, June 7, 1962.

The Ocean Springs News“Wood-Parker”, December 17, 1964.

The Ocean Springs Record“Rain, Hail, Sleet, nor”, May 16, 1968.

The Ocean Springs Record“Prominent Civic Leader Dies”, September 28, 1972.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Wood Memorial Garden Dedication”, April 12, 1973.

The Ocean Springs Record, “E. Watson Wood Garden Dedicated”, April 19, 1973.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Anita Louise Pontius”, April 24, 1986.

The Sun Herald“Frank Galle Jr.”, September 30, 1986.

The Sun Herald, “Company denies it knew about Gulley”, July 25, 1998.

The Sun Herald, “Embezzler’s new trial to be moved”, April 20, 2001.

 

Maps:

Sanborn Map (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1925)-Sheet 5.

 

Photographs:

Courtesy of Katherine Hamilton-Smith, Curator Special Collections, at the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, Wauconda, Illinois.

 

U.S. Census - Jackson County, Mississippi (1910 and 1920).

 

Personal Communication:

J.K. Lemon-August 1992

Robert Maxwell-August 1992

George E. Arndt, Jr.-August 1992

Dr. William Pontius-December 1992

Mara Lou Guice Galle Hutto-February 26, 2002

The Shanahan House (1894 - 1919)

 

 

LOCATION

The Shanahan House was located on the northeast corner of Washington and Calhoun Avenue.  It occupied Lot 12 in Block 4 of the Culmseig Map of Ocean Springs (1854).

 

BUILDING

The Shanahan House was originally the home of John and Maria Shanahan.  In April 1897, a second story was added and the structure was probably called the Shanahan House or Shanahan Hotel.  At this time the building had a living area of 3360 square feet.  By 1909, the building had been enlarged to 9706 square feet.  This included the kitchen, dining room, and office.  There was a small stable a few hundred feet east of the hotel.

 

Shanahan House (post 1909)

 

HISTORY

The Shanahans were Irish immigrants arriving in this country in 1847.  They settled at Ocean Springs prior to 1850 joining other Irish migrants, the Colligans, Ames, and Sodens.  The site were the Shanahan House was located was bought from Azalie LaFauce Clay, the granddaughter of the Widow LaFontaine, Catherine Bourgeois (1768-circa 1845), in June 1854 by John Shanahan.  The lot had a 95-foot front on Washington Avenue and 195 feet east on Calhoun.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 221-222)

  Here John Shanahan (1810-1892) built a home and made his livelihood as a carpenter.  He reared a family with his wife, Maria Torney (1826-1909).  The Shanahans had six children come into the world on Washington Avenue:  Bridget Shanahan White (1860-1943), Mary E. Shanahan Ill (1863-1937), John J. Shanahan (1864-1883), Richard Shanahan (1866-1896), Sara T. Simmons (1869-1947) and Thomas B. Shanahan (1872-1932).

After the death of John Shanahan in 1892, Mrs. Shanahan leased the Meyer Hotel (originally the VanCleave Hotel) near the L&N Depot for a brief period in early 1893.  Shortly thereafter she probably began accepting boarders at her Washington Avenue home.  It was reported in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star in October 1895 that "the Shanahan House was painted a dark brown color."

The Sanborn Insurance Maps, indicate that the Shanahan property operated as a boarding house from 1898 to 1904.  In October 1906, Mary Shanahan and Bridgit White announced a twenty room addition to the Shanahan House.  In September 1904, presumably in anticipation of future growth, Mrs. Shanahan bought a lot from Joseph Bellande (1813-1907) on Dewey and Calhoun which was contiguous with the original lot.  The present day Little Childrens Park bounded by Dewey, Calhoun, and Washington comprises the former Shanahan property.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, p. 310)

Like the other public houses at Ocean Springs, the Shanahans faced competition.  One of their lagniappes was related in The Ocean Springs News of January 5, 1904:

 

"The guests of the Shanahan House and a few invited friends enjoyed a picnic over at Deer Island Wednesday.  The weather was ideal and a splendid time was had by all."

 

June 1909, was a sad time at the Shanahan House.  Less than a fortnight from the summer solstice, octogenarian, Maria Shanahan, passed on.  She had lived at Ocean Springs for forty-five years.  In her obituary in The Ocean Springs News of June 12, 1909, Maria Shanahan was lauded as follows:

 

"She was one of natures noblewomen.  None ever entered her abode, be he a friend or a stranger within our gates, without a warm welcome, nor left without feeling the warmth of a genuine hospitality.  Nor did age dimenish her unselfish solicitude for her friends and loved ones.  Her whole life was a poem of devotion to her family and her duty."

    

In addition to room and board, the Shanahan offered other services.  Its large dining room was often utilized for parties and banquets.  When the firemen of Ocean Springs celebrated the twenty-ninth anniversary of Ocean Springs Fire Company No. 1 on August 19, 1909, they celebrated after the two o'clock parade with a "big banquet at Hotel de Shannahan".  Following the meal, the Ocean Springs Brass Band and the fire companies serenaded the business houses.

After Mrs. Shanahan died in 1909, her son, Thomas B. Shanahan, a carpenter like his father, ran the hotel with his sister, Mary, and later Bridget White, their sister. 

Mary Shanahan married Frank Ill (1861-1937+) of Rock Island, Illinois at Gulfport in June 1916.  Ill's parents were German.  He had owned a hardware store at Ocean Springs in 1910.  Mary Shanahan had operated the Iberville Hotel at Ocean Springs in 1905-1906.  The Iberville was closed in March 1906, in order that she could concentrate her full energy in making the Shanahan House a first class establishment.  Mary Shannahan Ill left Ocean Springs and went to Rock Island where she made a home for her family.  She died and her remains were interred at Rock Island in June 1937.

During the "Big Fire" of 1916, the Shanahan House caught fire in eight different places.  Only the heroic efforts of firemen and volunteers saved the inn.

On December 24, 1919, the Shanahan met its demise in a roaring conflagration.  The fire was discovered in the attic at midday and consumed the structure within an hour.  Sparks from a chimney were believed responsible for the disaster.  Fortunately, most furniture and effects on the first floor and some things including guests' baggage on the second story were saved.  The loss was estimated at between $12,000 and $15,000.  Insurance coverage was for only $3500.  The furniture was consigned to H.F. Russell (1858-1940) to sell.  Mrs. B.E. White, the proprietress, moved to Natchez to live with her sons, Thomas White (b. 1884) and John White (b. 1887).

By 1943, the old Shanahan Hotel property was in control of William Sheppard VanCleave Jr (1899-1947).  Richard Gordon VanCleave (1906-1964) and other heirs of Sheppard VanCleave sold it to David Neely Powers in April 1954.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 138, pp. 349-352)

In February 1959, Alabama born industrialist, Neely Powers (1890-1983) and his wife, Katherine Crane (1891-1961), donated their 1.84 acre tract in the heart of Old Ocean Springs to the City of Ocean Springs for a park.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 186, pp. 435-436) 

The park is called Little Childrens Park and memorializes Mrs. Katherine Powers with a concrete and metal monument which reads: 

 

LITTLE CHILDRENS PARK

Presented by

Mrs. Neely Powers

1959

 

            Little Childrens Park is well utilized by the citizens of the city and is a welcome green space in this rapidly developing city.

  

REFERENCES:

 

Jerome, Lepre, Catholic Church Records Diocese of Biloxi (1843-1900) - Volume I, "Shanahan", (Diocese of Biloxi: Biloxi, Mississippi-1991),  pp. 315-316.

 

Ocean Springs Business Directory (1893).

 

The Biloxi Daily Herald"Fireman's Day", August 20, 1909, p. 4.

The Daily Herald, July 4, 1916, p. 3.

The Jackson County Times"Fierce Fire Does Heavy Damage", November 18, 1916, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times"Local News", December 27, 1919.

The Jackson County Times"Native of Ocean Springs Dies in Rock Island, Illinois", July 10, 1937, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs News", October 11, 1895.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs News", April 23, 1897.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 23, 1906, p. 3.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs News", October 12, 1906.

 

US Census - Jackson County, Mississippi-(1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910).

 

Maps

Sanborn Map Company (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi.", (1909)-Sheet 1.

 

Personal Communication:

George E. Arndt - September 12, 1993

J.K. Lemon - February 14, 1994

The Vahle House (1900 - 1916)

 

 

LOCATION

The Vahle House was located on the northwest corner of Washington Avenue and Calhoun in Lot 17 of Block 34 of the Culmseig Map (1854) of Ocean Springs.  This boarding house was directly across the street from the Shanahan House.

 

 

BUILDING

The Vahle House was a wood frame, L-shaped, two-story structure with 2156 square feet of living area.  There was a seven-foot wide wrap around gallery on the first floor which faced east and south.  Additional buildings on the lot were a stable of 432 square feet to the rear, and a small ice house of only 180 square feet just north of the hotel facing Washington Avenue.

Vahle House (circa 1903)

(Adolph Friar (1897-1971) with dog)

Courtesy of John Sterry Nill (1928-2002) -Austin, Texas. 

 

HISTORY

In August 1896, Mrs. Elizabeth Baxter Friar (1848-1902) sold her grandson, Thomas Adolph Friar (1871-1896), a parcel of land for $800 on the northwest corner of Calhoun and Washington Avenue.  The lot was 200 feet x 199.5 feet.  This may have been the familial home of Hiram Heath Friar (1825) and Elizabeth Baxter Friar.  Thomas Adolph Friar was the son of Thomas Randolph Friar (1845-1916) and Marie Louise Dolbear (1846-1914).  The elder Friar was postmaster at Ocean Springs from 1888 to 1895.  He made his livelihood as a carpenter and selling seafood.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, p. 577)

 

After the untimely death of Thomas A. Friar, the result of typhoid fever, on November 10, 1896 at Pensacola, his widow, Theresa Vahle Friar (1871-1956) inherited the Washington Avenue property.  Thomas Adolph Friar left two children: Lydia Louise Friar (1895-1968) and Adolph C. Friar (1897-1971).

After the Friar Cottage was destroyed by fire in March 1900, it was rebuilt from materials salvaged from the Old Methodist Church on Porter Avenue.  Theresa Vahle Friar's, brother-in-law, druggist Herman Nill (1863-1904), who was married to Caroline Vahle (1862-1949) bought the old sanctuary from the Methodists in April 1900.  The new structure resurrected from the ashes of the Friar Cottage became known as the Vahle House probably during the summer of 1900.  It was definitely in operation as a public house by the summer of 1901 as Katherine Vahle told ThePascagoula Democrat-Star that she was "making extensive interior improvements to her hotel".

Theresa Friar's mother, Katherine Vahle (1838-1914) may have run the Vahle House as she is listed as a hotel proprietor in the 1900 US Census.  The Vahles, of German extraction, came to Ocean Springs from New Orleans circa 1890.  Her son, Casper Vahle (1869-1922), was a local entrepreneur involved in the livery business and hotels.  He owned Vahle's Livery (1892), the White House in 1900, and had a lease on the Artesian House from Ann Morris in October 1899.(JXCO, Ms. Land deed Bk. 20, pp. 639-640)  Daughter, Caroline (1862-1949), was married to druggist, Herman Nill (1863-1904), while Theresa was involved in the sea food industry as an oyster dealer.  Some of the Vahle children spoke German.

Caspar Vahle assisted his mother and sister at the Vahle House as exhibited by a note in The Progress of May 14, 1904: The Vahle House is receiving a new coat of paint by its owner Theresa Friar.  Casper Vahle is superintending the job.

The Vahle House was more than a boarding house.  In 1904, it also housed D. Watts who tested eyes, filled eye glass prescriptions, made jewelry and watches.  Watts may have been from St. Louis originally.  One could purchase ice a few feet from the building where James Soden and Casper Vahle had an ice house just north of the structure. 

The Big Fire

The Vahle House was destroyed by a conflagration on November 15, 1916.  This fire is known in the annals of Ocean Springs history as The Big Fire.  Ocean Springs was fortunate as the great fire started at the leeward end of the business district on the southeast corner of Porter and Washington in the kitchen of the vacant J.P. VanCleave store.  A gale force wind blew out of the north and the flames and burning embers were sent south towards the beach with amazing speed.  The Richardson Cottage and the Firemen's Hall both near the fire's origin were rapidly consumed by the fast moving conflagration.  People on Washington Avenue were on their roofs with buckets of water and brooms to sweep away the fire and burning particles.  Suddenly the cry went out that the Vahle place was on fire.  This high two-story house made the roof blaze impossible to fight, and soon the flames leaped to the Armstrong and McFarland Cottages on Washington Avenue south of the Vahle House.  They were also destroyed.  In these times, devastation by fire was complete as buildings were composed almost entirely of wood, a very combustible material.  The Vahle House was valued at $2500.(The Jackson County TimesNovember 18, 1916, p. 1)

The heroic work of the Ocean Springs Fire Company No. 1, the Hook and Ladder Company, and citizen volunteers saved at least two blocks of residences on Washington Avenue.  Although it caught fire in eight different places during the holocaust, the Shanahan House directly across the street from the Vahle House was also saved.  Its loss would also result from a fire in 1919.

Several years after the fire, Theresa Friar moved to St. Leo, Florida to be with her daughter Lydia, and son-in-law, William James Hewson (1876-1930).  The Hewson children, William J. Hewson (1917-2007) and Mary Hewson (1919-2009), both joined religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church.  William was ordained a priest in May 1940 at the St. Louis Cathedral of New Orleans, and said his first solemn High Mass at St. Alphonsus in June 1940.  Mary Hewson became a nun adopting the name Sister Mary William.  Both resided in Louisiana.  Father Hewson expired at Baton Rouge, Louisiana on August 5, 2007 and Sister Hewson died at Opelousas, lLuisiana on July 3, 2009.

Theresa Friar and the Lydia Hewson family returned to Ocean Springs after the death of Lydia's husband at Florida in June 1930.  Older residents of Ocean Springs remember that another house, a small green cottage, was built on the corner lot at 403 Washington Avenue where the Vahle House had once stood.  Mrs. Theresa Friar lived here until her death in August 1956.  The cottage remained in the Friar Family until February 1960, when it was sold by her son, Adolph C. Friar of Chicago, to his nephew, the Reverend William J. Hewson.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 196, p. 315) 

The "Little Green House" was demolished in 1968.  Where the Vahle House once stood is now a vacant lot which is part of the St. Alphonsus Catholic School playground.  Ironically, the former site of the Shanahan Hotel across the street is now the Little Childrens' Park. 

 

REFERENCES: 

1.  Jackson County Deed Book 17, p. 577. 

Charle L. Dyer, Along the Gulf, "Ocean Springs" (originally published by the L&N Railroad in 1895). 

C.E. Schmidt, Volunteer Fire Companies of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, "The Big Fire", (1960). 

The Daily Herald"Caspar Vahle Dies", July 24, 1922, p. 4.

The Jackson County Times"Fierce Fire Does Heavy Damage", November 18, 1916, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times"Father Hewson says First Solemn High Mass in Local Church", June 1, 1940, p. 1.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", March 30, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", April 27, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", May 11, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", August 30, 1901.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", February 1904. 

Maps

Sanborn Map Company (New York) "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1904)-Sheet 2. 

US Census - Jackson County, Mississippi (1900, 1910, and 1920).

 

Personal Communication:

 Margaret Seymour Norman

Evelyn VanCourt

Louise VanCourt

John Sterry Nill

Sister Mary William Hewson

The Vancleave Hotel (1880 - 1920)

 

LOCATION

The VanCleave Hotel was located on the southeast corner of Robinson and Washington Avenues south of the L&N Railroad Station.  It occupied Lot 3 of Block 24 of the Culmseig Map of Ocean Springs (1854).

The former Hotel VanCleave Hotel in 1915, when it was called The Commercial Hotel.

(view south down Washington Avenue)

BUILDING

The VanCleave Hotel was a two story wood frame structure with an area under roof of 5450 square feet which included a 9-foot wide gallery on the front (west) and depot side (north).  The living area was approximately 4300 square feet.    

 

HISTORY

Although initially called the VanCleave (1880), this hotel had the distinction of being the hotel with the most name changes through its lifetime.  At various times, it was known as the:  Meyer Hotel (1891), Gillum Hotel-City Hotel (1893),  Frye Hotel (1895), City Hotel (1898), The Inn Hotel (1897), Iberville Hotel (1905), Commercial Hotel (1906-1915), Commercial House (1915), and Commercial Hotel (1915-1920).

Its builder, Robert Adrian VanCleave (1840-1908), was a founding father of the Town of Ocean Springs.  He arrived at Ocean Springs in 1867 from Yazoo County, Mississippi with his new bride, Elizabeth R. Sheppard (1842-1912).  She was the step-daughter of entrepreneur George A. Cox (1812-1887).  With Mr. Cox who came to Ocean Springs in the early 1850s, VanCleave established a store on Bluff Creek to trade with the charcoal burners in that area.  This commercial venture led to the development of the present day village of Vancleave.

At Ocean Springs, VanCleave owned and operated the R.A. VanCleave & Son mercantile store just south of the VanCleave Hotel on Washington Avenue.  Their slogan was "Best Quality and Honest Quantity".  The VanCleave home was adjacent to the store on the northeast corner of Desoto and Washington.

Seven children were born to the VanCleaves.  They were:  Fannie VanCleave Covington (1866-1893), George A. VanCleave, Robert A. VanCleave Jr. (1869-1897), William S. VanCleave (1871-1938), Richard S. VanCleave (b. 1875), Sarah Reid Westbrook (1876-1934), and Junius P. VanCleave (1879-1945+).

Among the many accomplishments earned during an active life time, VanCleave was appointed the first provisional Mayor of Ocean Springs in 1892, served as Postmaster at Ocean Springs from 1872 to 1882, and was appointed from 1885-1889 as Special Agent of the U.S. Land Office to protect public timberlands.

VanCleave purchased the hotel site from E.W. Clark and Mary T. Clark of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 1, 1877.  In the conveyance deed, the lot was described as commencing from the northwest corner of the VanCleave Store lot on Washington Avenue thence north 150 feet, east along Robinson Avenue 120', thence south 150' to the northeast corner of the said store lot.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 8, p. 460)

VanCleave must have commenced operation on his hotel in late 1879 as evidenced by the following:

 

VanCleave's new hotel on the depot grounds is going steadily forward to a speedy completion and gives employment to a number of workmen.  He seems to believe in the right way of doing things - that is employing home folks when he has work to be done.(The Pascagoula Democrat-StarJanuary 16, 1880, p. 3).

 

            By mid-April 1880, two-carloads of furniture for the new canvasary had arrived at Ocean Springs.  R.A.VanCleave was diligently engaged in preparations for his May opening.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 30, 1880, p. 3)

 

The VanCleave Hotel opened on May 1, 1880.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of May 7, 1880 revealed:

 

This entirely new and comfortable hotel opened on the 1st of May, 1880, and will remain open all the year round for the accommodation of regular and transient boarders.  This hotel being entirely new and elegantly fitted up, and with large, well ventilated rooms lighted by gas, boarders will find every comfort desired.  Special arrangements made for family.  Rates moderate.

 

Jefferson Davis Visits

On September 9, 1882, probably the most memorable event to take place at the hotel and possibly in Ocean Springs occurred.  This special occasion was the military review by Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), former President of the Confederate States of America, of the Reichard Battalion and German Guards of New Orleans under the command of Major Maximillian Hermann.  The troops were accompanied to Ocean Springs by Wolf's band.

The train, which carried the military personnel, stopped at Beauvoir for Davis and his daughter with the band playing the "Bonnie Blue Flag".  When they arrived at Ocean Springs, the uniformed Ocean Springs Fire Company greeted them in a heavy rain at the depot.  The honored troops marched to the splendidly decorated VanCleave Hotel where they were welcomed by R.A. VanCleave, President of the Ocean Springs Fire Company.  After a review by Jefferson Davis, a reception with champagne punch sponsored by W.B. Schmidt (1823-1900) was held in the parlor of the hotel.  The festivities of the day were concluded with a grand military ball at Schmidt's Ocean Springs Hotel.

 

Sale!

In April 1891, rumors were waltzing up and down Washington Avenue that the VanCleave Hotel had been sold.  In reality, the hostel had been rented, probably to Mrs. Emma Arndt.  At this time, Mr. R.A. VanCleave was actively engaged in the erection of his new residence on Washingon Avenue near Desoto.(The Biloxi Herald, April 18, 1891, p. 1)

In late January 1892, The Biloxi Herald announced that: “The VanCleave Hotel has been sold to Mr. Meyers of Pass Christian.  It is intended to add another wing to the building”.(The Biloxi Herald, January 30, 1892, p. 1)

It can be ascertained from the Jackson County Land Deed Records that Mrs. Emma Arndt Meyer (1866-1924+) of Ocean Springs paid R.A. VanCleave and his wife, Eliza, $3300 for the hotel on December 14, 1891.  The sale excepted the furniture, beds, bedding, dining room furniture, and kitchen furniture.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, p. 157)

 

Emma Arndt Meyer

Mrs. Meyer was born at Rodney, Mississippi in November 1866.  Her parents, George Arndt (18  -     ) and Caroline Russi, were born in Germany.  Mrs. Meyer's husband, Peter Meyer (1834-1899) also from Germany, died at the Inn Hotel in November 1899, and was buried in the Metairie Cemetery at New Orleans.  She was left with four children (2 boys and 2 girls) to rear: Victoria Meyer (1889-1900+), Vivian Meyer (1891-1900+), Llewellyn Meyer (1894-1900+), and Ethel Meyer (1897-1900+).(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 10, 1899)

Emma A. Meyer’s brother, George E. Arndt (1857-1945), had come to Ocean Springs in 1881, from Rodney and established himself as a hard working businessman.  He owned and operated the Paragon Saloon across the street from her hotel.  In March 1924, Mrs. Meyer was a resident of Los Angeles.(The Jackson County Times, March 1924, p. 5)

During Mrs. Meyer's ownership (1891-1905), it appears she leased the premises to Adele H. Gillum, Mrs. John Shanahan, and Mrs. Frederick Frye.  While Mrs. Gillum held the lease, a category three hurricane struck Ocean Springs on October 1, 1893.  This tempest severely damaged the City Hotel as it was then named.  During November 1893, the structure was repainted.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of January 12, 1894 reported that, "Mrs. Adele H. Gillum will shortly give up the City Hotel and move to New Orleans".  She and her daughter, Effie, moved to No. 153 Race Street in New Orleans later that month.

Mrs. John Shanahan leased the hotel, which was a favorite for commercial travelers in the spring of 1894.  She opened for business on April 1, 1894.

 

A directory of Ocean Spring's business establishments of 1893-1894 advertised:

 

MEYER HOTEL

Mrs. John Shannahan, Proprietor

Mrs. B. White, Manager

Under new management.  Appointments, organization,

accommodations, cuisine and service unexcelled.  Special

rates by the week and families.  The only sample room in

town.  Special attention to commercial men and tourist.

 

Maria T. Shanahan (1826-1909) was the widow of Irish immigrant and carpenter, John Shanahan (1810-1892).  She would later own and manage the Shanahan House at Washington

and Calhoun.  Her daughter, Bridget Shanahan White (1860-1943), assisted her in operating the Meyer Hotel.

The Shanahans lasted only one year at Washington and Robinson because by April 1895, Mrs. J. Frye, the widow of Swiss Hotelier, Frederick Frye (1844-1892), was in charge of the Frye Hotel.  The Fryes had managed the large Ocean Springs Hotel for eight years before the untimely death of Mr. Frye in 1892.  Mrs. Frye came to Ocean Springs from Pass Christian where she had run Frye's Hotel there.  Charles Dyer in Along The Gulf (1895) reported the following:

 

Here (Ocean Springs) Mrs. Frye is located centrally, and, as her reputation for setting a good table is unsurpassed, she has a large trade among travelling men.  She also makes a specialty of serving dinners to excursionist.  Frye's Hotel is a solidly built structure with wide verandas and is well fitted for the reception of both summer and winter guests, the rooms being fitted with large open fireplaces.  This house will remain open the year round and it is the intention of the proprietress to thoroughly remodel and refurnish the place the coming fall

 

For some unknown reason, Mrs. Frye closed the hostelry in June 1896, and moved to Mandeville, Louisiana.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 19, 1896)

T. W. Green, a former land and emigration agent for the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, and founder of Atmore, Alabama, took possession of the hotel in March 1897.  Green had the structure refurbished and opened as "The Inn".  Althoogh the The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported simply on November 12, 1897 that, "The Inn is closed", the next week it reversed itself stating that “F.W. Greene is ready to welcome guests”.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 19, 1897)

 

Dr. O.L. Bailey

Dr. Oscar L. Bailey (1870-1938) bought the lodge known as The Inn with the adjoining lots in November 1905, for $3000 from Emma Meyer.(JXCO, Ms. Land deed Bk. 30, p. 301)  Dr. Bailey had come to Ocean Springs circa 1897 from Lake, Mississippi where he had practiced medicine.  He was born at Conehatta in Newton County in 1870, the son of Doctor and Senator J.B. Bailey (1843-1918) of Newton.  Oscar Bailey received his medical degree in St. Louis and did postgraduate work in New York.  During his residence at Ocean Springs, Dr. Bailey had been president of the Ocean Springs Bank since its founding in 1905.  He and daughter, Beryl Bailey, operated a drugstore on Washington Avenue for many years.  Bailey was married to Birdie Anderson (1876- 1925) of Edwards, Mississippi.  They reared four children at Ocean Springs:  Mrs. Beryl Parker Wood (1896-1986), Bemis Bailey (1898-1969), Mrs. Clothilde Campbell (1901-1995) of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, and Mrs. Salome Watkins (b. 1903) of Handsboro.  In February 1926, Dr. Bailey married Maude Holloway (1901-1980) of North Biloxi.

During his tenure as owner of the hotel, Dr. Bailey leased it to Miss Mary Shanahan in December 1905.  She called her establishment the Iberville Hotel.  It was believed that Miss Shanahan's popularity would win for her a large patronage, but this was not the case.  Shanhan closed the Iberville Hotel in March 1906 in order that she could concentrate on making the Shanahan House (the family hostelry), a first class establishment.

 

Fred Christina

Dr. Bailey sold his inn to Fred Cristina of New Orleans in August 1909 for $3500.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, p. 23)  It was known as the Commercial Hotel at this time.  In March 1910, an Alabamian, John A. McDonnell (b. 1871), rented the hotel, and opened a rooming house.  His plans were to open as a regular hotel at a later date.  In 1910, among those residing at the inn were City Marshall, Henry Taylor (b. 1876), and criminal attorney, Charles Loud (b. 1854).

H.F. Russell

Fred Cristina conveyed the Commercial Hotel to H.F. Russell for $4000 in September 1913.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, p. 487)  H.F. Russell (1858-1940) was born at Yazoo City, Mississippi and came to Ocean Springs about 1880 as a protege of R.A. VanCleave.  Russell was an aggressive entrepreneur involved in furniture retailing, insurance, real estate, pecan propagation, banking, and newspapers.  He served Ocean Springs as its Postmaster from 1885-1889, Alderman of Ward One from 1895 to 1902, and organized the Ocean Springs State Bank with Dr. O.L. Bailey in 1905.

In February 1914, The Ocean Springs News announced that:  Workers have been busy this week building a cement walk around the Commercial Hotel property, opposite the depot.  This is the beginning of the Russell contract for cement walks which are to extend down Washington Avenue as far as the property occupied by the Chinese laundry.  Three hundred feet of walk was laid last week.(Local News-February 14, 1914)

In February 1915, Russell leased the inn to Monsieurs Woodham and Newman of Moss Point.  They chose to settle at Ocean Springs because they said, "Ocean Springs is the liveliest town on the coast; that's the reason why we came here to start in the hotel business".  The new proprietors called their business the Commercial House.  They ran an advertisement in The Ocean Springs News which read as follows:

 

COMMERCIAL HOUSE

Under New Management

Entirely remodeled.  Hot and cold water.  Special attention to sanitation.  Headquarters of commercial travelers.  Rates $1.50 to $2.00 a day.  Special rates by week or month.

Opposite the depot.  (February 11, 1915, p. 4).

By 1919, Woodham and Newman were gone and Russell had leased the old hotel to Mrs. T.A. Bennison.  Mrs. J.F. Ross (b. 1880), an Illinois native, opened a lunch stand the same year.  Her husband, J.F. Ross (b. 1880), a Missourian is a hotel keeper in the 1920 US Census, and probably managed the Commercial with his wife, Maude Ross.  By 1920, Mrs. Lambert ran the restaurant.  J.A. Weider had supervised needed repairs in March 1919.

The Fire

Early in the morning of October 26, 1920, a fire was discovered in the Commercial Hotel.  Immediately fire alarms consisting of fire bells, pistols, and engine whistles were sounded.  Unfortunately the entire structure was consumed by fire in only a few minutes.  Guest on the second floor made a hasty departure into the cool autumn darkness.  Although winds were light, firemen had difficulty securing a convenient water supply, and the building was quickly lost to the conflagration.  The Farmers and Merchants Bank Building west of the hotel had window damage from the intense heat originating from the hotel fire.

Although the structure was fully covered by fire insurance, H.F. Russell stated that he would not rebuild the canvansary.  Commencing with the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1905, and the Shanahan House in 1919, the Commercial Hotel became the third Ocean Springs hotel to be lost to fire in these early years of the Twentieth Century.

H.F. Russell sold the empty lot to Ben O'Keefe and J.H. O'Keefe on May 18, 1921 for $1500.(JXC, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 50, p. 400)  Their father, Jerry O'Keefe, had purchased the White House property to the east in 1906.  This gave the O'Keefes approximately three hundred front feet on Robinson Avenue across from the L&N Depot.  J.K. Lemon remembers as a boy circa 1925 that Ben O'Keefe had a livery stable, automobile service station, and a taxi service on Robinson Avenue.  The former hotel lot was utilized as a parking area.

In 1954, the United States Post Office moved from the Pascagoula-Moss Point Bank Building on Government Street to a building erected on the former hotel site by Wendell Palfrey of the Palfrey Realty Company.  The $26,000 structure was commenced in December 1953.  Today the old hotel site is occupied by the Salmagundi Gift Shop at 922 Washington Avenue.(The Gulf Coast Times, December 4, 1953, p. 1)

 

REFERENCES:

 

Ray L. Bellande, "The VanCleave Cottage", (unpublished essay), 1992.

Charles L. Dyer, Along the Gulf, "Ocean Springs", (L&N Railroad:  1895).

Regina Hines, Ocean Springs 1892 (2nd Edition), (Lewis Printing Services:  Pascagoula - 1991), p. 109.

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, "George Edward Arndt", (Jackson County Genealogical Society:  Pascagoula-1989), p. 111.

Journals

The Biloxi Herald“Around Ocean Springs”, April 18, 1891.

The Biloxi Herald, “Neighborhood Notes-Ocean Springs”, January 30, 1892.

The Daily Herald"Dr. O.L. Bailey Died Last Night", June 22, 1938, p. 1, c. 3.

The Gulf Coast Times"Construction of New Post Office at Ocean Springs Gets Underway", December 4, 1953, p. 1.

The Jackson County Times"On the death of Dr. J.B. Bailey", September 7, 1918, p. 5, c. 4.

The Jackson County Times“Local News”, March 29, 1919.

The Jackson County Times“Local News”, August 30, 1919.

The Jackson County Times"Fire Destroys Commercial Hotel", October 30, 1920.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, March 9, 1924.

The Jackson County Times, Birdie Anderson Bailey Obit, November 21, 1925.

The Ocean Springs News“Local News”, March 12, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News“Local News”, February 14, 1914.

The Ocean Springs News"Says Ocean Springs is a Live Town", February 11, 1915, p. 5, c. 5.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, April 30. 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, September 8, 1882.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, September 15, 1882.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, October 20, 1893.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, January 26, 1894.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, March 30, 1894.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, June 19, 1896.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, March 5, 1897.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, November 12, 1897.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, November 19, 1897.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, May 26, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, June 2, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, November 10, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, February 2, 1900.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, January 31, 1902.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, December 15, 1905.

 

Photographs:

 

Courtesy of Katherine Hamilton-Smith, Curator Special Collections, at the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, Wauconda, Illinois.

 

Sanborn Map Company (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1904)-Sheet 1.

 

US Census - Jackson County, Mississippi (1880, 1900 and 1910)

 

Personal Communication:

J.K. Lemon - October 7, 1992

Orwin Scharr - October 17, 1992

The White House (1877 - 1911)

 

THE WHITE HOUSE

(1877-1911)

 

 

LOCATION

The White House was located south of the L&N Railroad depot on Robinson Avenue.  It was just east of the Vahle and Eagan Livery Stable in Block 24 of the Culmseig Map (1854) of Ocean Springs.

 

BUILDING

The White House was a single story, wood framed building with a shingle roof.  It had a front gallery of 450 square feet which faced the L&N Depot to the north.  The structure had a living area of 1461 square feet contained in four rooms.  On the west side of the building there was a room of 475 square feet which was designated as a store.  It probably served as the saloon.  The kitchen was 120 square feet in area.  It was detached from the main building and located on the back gallery which was 775 square feet in area.

 

HISTORY

The origin of The White House began with the purchase of two lots (170 feet x 150 feet) on Robinson Avenue by Charles Ernest Schmidt (1851-1886) and Laura Coyle Schmidt (1857-1931) from E.W. and Mary T. Clark of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February and August 1877.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 3, pp. 103-106)

Charles E. Schmidt was born in New Orleans of German parentage.  He came to Ocean Springs and met Laura Coyle, the daughter of an immigrant Spanish Menorcan father, Francisco Coyle (1813-1891) and Magdalene Ougatte Pons (1813-1904).  They married in 1874. 

At Ocean Springs, the Schmidts were merchants and reared six children:  Euphemia Magdalena Beyer (1876-1954+), Francis Ernest (1877-1954), Theodore Charles (1879-1954+), Louis Victor (1880-1953), Magdalena Joachim (1882-1971), and Emilia Dolores (1884-1884). 

Their son, Francis Ernest, owned a bakery on Washington Avenue (1901-1938), and served as Ward One Alderman (1915-1922 and 1925-1929) and Mayor of Ocean Springs from 1935-1938.  A son of F.E. Schmidt, Charles Ernest (1904-1988) would write Ocean Springs French Beachhead (1972), the first comprehensive history of the city, and also serve as Mayor (1961-1965).  Two other sons, Frank O. Schmidt (1902-1975) and Harry J. Schmidt (b. 1905) would become prominent physicians on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The journal of the time, The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, generously contributed news and information about the happenings at Ocean Springs.  Some knowledge concerning The White House were related as follows:

 

Mr. Charles E. Schmidt, commonly called "Handsome Charlie" has opened a retail family grocery store and says he will sell goods as cheap as anybody.  Schmidt keeps almost everything good to eat in his store and at his other establishment (White House) everything good to drink.(November 7, 1879).

 

Last Saturday in the early evening, the kitchen of the White House caught fire.  Proprietor Charles E. Schmidt, had help from friends in battling the blaze.  Postmaster VanCleave brought two garden and house sprinklers.(November 26, 1879).

 

When you go to Ocean Springs call at the White House and see Charlie and Frank.(November 7, 1879).

 

The White House is the place to get liquid refreshments.(February 4, 1881, p. 3).

 

 

            In August 1881, Charles Schmidt made the decision to sell The White House.  He advertised it in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of September 2, 1881 as follows:

 

 

FOR SALE

White House Billiard

and

Beer Saloon

With fixtures is offered for sale ata great bargain.  The White House is opposite and near the depot.  Apply to Chas. E. Schmidt

 

 

In November 1881, the Schmidts sold the White House  to Antonio Marie for $1200.  It is not know why they sold the business to Marie, but if they did indeed reside at the White House, the environment of the growing railroad development along Robinson Avenue certainly wasn't conducive for rearing a family of small children as the Schmidts had at this time.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 6, pp. 19-21) 

Unfortunately in 1886, Schmidt met an untimely death at the age of thirty-five, and left Laura with at least five young children.  She married Michael J. Brady (1838-1919) in June 1895 and had another child, Mary Agnes Brady Mitchell (1896-1974).

Antonio Marie (1829-1885) commenced operating the White House in 1881.  Marie was born in Spain and married Mary Artemise Rodriguez (1840-1912), the daughter of Spanish immigrant, Juan Antonio Rodriguez and Marie-Martha Ryan.  Rodriguez had received a patent on Lot 5 of Section 13, T7S-R9W from the U.S. Government in 1848.  Lot 5 comprises lands along Bayou Porto and Old Fort Bayou in the western area of the Gulf Hill Development.

In December 1885, Antonio Marie died intestate at Ocean Springs.  His estate consisted primarily of four coastal schooners: the Sea Witch, Esperanza, Hortence, and Maud

Mary Rodriguez Marie began leasing the White House in October 1887.  At this time, she entered into a two year contractual agreement with John Vogt Miller.  The rent for the first four months was set at $5.00 per month, and $8.00 per month for the remaining twenty months.  Vogt expected Marie to repair the doors, windows, and blinds of the building.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, pp. 10-12) 

She allowed the use of the following articles: 

 

20 beer glasses, 8 chairs, 1 base ball club and deer horns, 2 round tables, 1 large mirror, 2 plaster images, 1 marble top wash stand (damaged), 1 ice stand, and 1 beer closet ( 1 door off).

     

On February 28, 1890, Mary Marie's daughters, Gertrude Marie Anglado Lauro (1860-1891), and Esperanza Marie Laporte (1862-1937) conveyed their two thirds interest in the White House to their mother.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 9, pp. 10-11)

According to The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of December 28, 1892, "the Messrs. Vahle have taken a long lease on the "White House" Property and have erected thereon a livery stable".  The Vahle Family of German ancestry came to Ocean Springs from New Orleans circa 1890.  Catherine Vahle (1838-1914), the matriarch and a widow, had at least six children:  Caroline Nill (1862-1949), wife of Ocean Springs druggist, Herman Nill (1863-1904), Anthony Vahle (1864- 1930), Louise Billick (1876-1957), Mamie Curtis (1873-1957), Casper Vahle (1869-1922), Theresa Friar (1871-1956), and John Henry Vahle (d. 1910).

In 1900, Catherine Vahle was a hotel proprietress probably managing the Vahle House on Washington at Calhoun.  Her son, Casper, was a livery man, and built Vahle's Livery on the White House property in the rear of the Frye's Hotel (VanCleave Hotel) facing the depot.  The building was forty-four feet x twenty-seven feet and 1188 square feet in area.  In March 1894, Richard Egan (1858-1896) joined Vahle to form Vahle & Egan.  In 1895, Charles L. Dyer in Along the Gulf stated that:

 

The firm of Vahle & Egan furnished us with cariages upon all occasions and we were rather surprised to find in a town of this size such a finely equipped livery stable.  Messrs. Casper Vahle and Richard Egan are both young enterprising, energetic business men and have built up a fine trade since their partnership, which commenced in March, 1894.  Previous to this, both members of the firm had conducted livery stables of their own.  They have a number of fine driving horses and several speedy matched pairs and a number of carriages to select from, among which are tally-hos, three and two-seated surries, buggies, wagonettes, transfer wagons, and they also have several teams for heavy hauling.

 

After Egan's untimely death in 1896, the business appears to have dissolved as Soden & Illing were operating a livery at this location in 1898.

By 1900, Mrs. Marie had moved to Biloxi.  In December of that year, she entered into a lease agreement with Casper Vahle.  The lease was for five years, January 1901 to January 1906, and called for a $5.00 per month rental.  Vahle must have decided to purchase the White House from Artemise Marie as the deed records of Jackson County indicate Mrs. A. Marie of Biloxi sold "the frame building known as the "White House" and a certain parcel of land, situated on the south side and opposite the L&N Railroad depot" to Casper Vahle on December 12, 1900.(Bk. 22, pp. 208-209)

Vahle must have cancelled his agreement with Mrs. Marie because on February 10, 1906, she sold the property to Jeremiah J. O'Keefe (1860-1911).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, p. 642)  O'Keefe was the son of Irish immigrants, Ned and Mary O'Keefe.  Apparently by this time, the White House had deteriorated through the years as described by an article in The Ocean Springs News of August 19, 1911:

 

The dilapidated old lady that has stood for years opposite the depot-antiquated relic of byegone days- is now being torn down by the owner, Jerry O'Keefe.  The old structure was at one time one of the principal business places of the town.  It was known as the White House, and was a hotel and barroom.  Old residents tell of great doings at the old tavern.  Of late years it has fallen into decay and has not been inhabited for a long time.  Something more substantial and ornamental will doubtless be built in its place.

 

The heirs of Jeremiah O'Keefe developed the property having a service station, taxi service, etc. here and on the adjoining property in the 1920s.

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Ray L. Bellande, Cemeteries Near Ocean Springs, Mississippi, "Rodrigues-Seymour Cemetery", (Bellande: Ocean Springs -1992), p. 125.

 

C.E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, (Lewis Printing Services:  Pascagoula-1972), pp. 134, 135, and 137.

 

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, (Jackson County Genealogical Society:  Lewis Printing Services:  Pascagoula-1989), pp. 272-273.

 

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 3962, The Estate of Mary Marie, August 1911.

 

The Pascagoula Star, July 27, 1873.

The Pascagoula Star, “Ocean Springs Items”, February 4, 1881.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “For Sale”, September 2, 1881.

U.S. Census-Jackson County, Mississippi (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910).

 

MAPS:

Sanborn Map Company (New York), "Ocean Springs, Mississippi", (1893)-Sheet 1.

Additional Structures

 

The following chronologically listed inns and boarding houses existed at Ocean Springs.  They were either short-lived or insufficient information exists to interpret their history with any degree of certitude.

 

AMES HOTEL PROPERTY

This old property was located in the W/2 of the SE/4 of Section 19, T7S-R8W.  It was also known as the Miss Eliza Ames place on Cemetery Road, now Sunset.  The Ames Hotel was demolished circa 1917, and some materials from this building were utilized to build the Rosambeau Cottage (now Thomas Gautier) at 420 Jackson Avenue.

            Miss Ames was the daughter of Irish emigre and pioneer settler, John Ames (1797-1852+), who received a patent on one hundred-twenty acres of land in the SE/4 of Section 19 in 1848.  Ames made his livelihood as a collier and reared a family with his wife, Helen Ames (b. 1814).  Their children were: Thomas Ames (1843-1906), Elizabeth Ames (1845-1917), William Ames (1848-1922), and Jeremiah Ames (1852 –ca 1920).

            The Ames family made an indelible mark on the history of Ocean Springs during the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878.  Miss Eliza Ames and her brothers worked day and night caring for the sick without remuneration.  They also buried the dead. 

            In 1884, Eliza Ames sold land south of the City Cemetery to the Catholic Church for a cemetery which was called St. Alphonsus.  The two cemeteries grew together and we now know them as the Evergreen Cemetery.

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Ray L. Bellande, Cemeteries Near Ocean Springs, Jackson County, Mississippi, (Bellande:  Ocean Springs-1992), p. 73.

 

The Jackson County Times"Eliza Ames Obit", January 26, 1917, p. 1.

 

 

OAK COTTAGE

This facility was located on the Front Beach about one thousand feet west of Martin Avenue in Lots 18 and 19 of Block 17 (Culmseig Map 1854).  It was owned by an Irish immigrant, Julia Ward (1830-1894+), wife of John N. Ward, who acquired the grounds from George A. Cox in the early 1870s.  The Ward children were:  Albert (b. 1862), Ida L. Franco (1864-1906), and Charles (b. 1869).  Ida was the wife of John Franco (1859-1935).  She died while returning from Mineral Springs, Texas in 1906.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 477-478 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 9, 1906)

Mrs. Ward also owned Lots 16, 17, and 18 of Block 16, and Lot 17 of Block 17 (Culmseig Map 1854).  Some of her land was later acquired by W.B. Schmidt of New Orleans.

A reporter for The Star of Pascagoula reported in June 1874, that the Oak Cottage was "a perfect gem of a place, delightfully situated, and elegant surroundings".  Mrs. Ward was described as hospitable and kind.  She had spared no expense or inconvenience to prepare her home on the bay front for her guests.  The grounds of the Oak Cottage were well done, the dining room clean, and food and drink suitable for both sexes. 

Julia Ward advertised her inn in the The Star of Pascagoula on September 26, 1874 as follows:

 

 

OAK COTTAGE

"Family Boarding House"

Mrs. Julia Ward, Proprietress

(p. 3, c. 5)

 

 

The property was mortgaged to the St. Joseph's Academy of Bay St. Louis in July 1880 for $752.  Mrs. Ward was obligated to the school this sum for tuition, piano lessons, and doctor's fees utilized by her children.

In July 1884, Tom Doroughty, a pugilist, stayed at Oak Cottage with his two sparring partners.  He was preparing for a prize fight at NOLA with a boxer named Gould.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 25, 1884, p. 3)

In May 1894, the Ward family sold their Oak Cottage grounds to Charles W. Ziegler of New Orleans.  Ziegler established a residence here called "Lake View".(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 15, p. 480)

 

REFERENCES:

 

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star“Ocean Springs Dots”, July 25, 1884.

The Pascagoula Democratic-Star“Ocean Springs Locals”, March 9, 1906.

The Star of Pascagoula"Our Sea Coast", June 6, 1874, p. 2.

The Star of Pascagoula"A Trip Along The Coast", July 31, 1875, p. 2.

 

 

 

JOACHIM COTTAGE

The location of the Joachim Cottage was probably on LaFontaine Avenue west of the small craft harbor.  At this time, Benjamin Franklin Joachim (1853-1925), called B.F., owned lands in Lots 26, 27, 28, and 29 of Block 36 (Culmseig Map 1854).  He advertised in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star on August 10, 1894 as:

 

 

JOACHIM COTTAGE

B.F. Joachim, Proprietor

Board by the Day, Week, or Month

 

 

            Joachim and his wife, Rosa Bokenfohr (1861-1934) were born in New Orleans of German immigrant parents.  They came to Ocean Springs about 1888 because of health reasons.  Their children were:  B.F. "Frank" (1882-1970), Josephine E. Joachim (b. 1884), Fred W. Joachim (1886-1887), Uriah S. (b. 1888), Elizabeth B. Joachim (b. 1891). 

            In 1899, B.F. Joachim also represented Jac. Bokenfohr a fruit and produce wholesaler from New Orleans.  Bokenfohr advertised that "carries everything in a first class produce house".

            Joachim probably closed his boarding house in 1905 as he started a lumber yard, Builder's Supply, on the south bank of Fort Bayou that year.  It was located just west of Dr. Powell's Bayou Inn, now Aunt Jenny's.  Joachim sold the lumber business to Ellis Handy in the 1920s.

 

REFERENCES:

 

Regina Hines Ellison, Ocean Springs, 1892 (2nd Edition), (Lewis Printing Services: Pascagoula-1991), pp. 71-73.

 The Biloxi Daily Herald, January 1, 1899, p. 8.

 

 

MRS. J. M. BOYD-mentioned in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of January 31, 1896. No information.

 

BUTLER HOUSE-mentioned in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of August 28, 1896.  No information.

 

MANY OAKS - Many Oaks (1909) was the estate of New Orleanian John B. Honor (1856-1929) and his wife, Ocean Springs native, Margaret Soden (1860-1932).  It is located on the Front Beach at present day 315 Front Beach Drive, and is the estate and residence of Mary Canada Zala Jensen. 

            The Ocean Springs News of September 25, 1909, advertised it as follows:

 

 

FOR RENT

On the beach at Ocean Springs, Mississippi

HONOR PLACE

Three modern cottages, furnished, electric lights,

telephones, artesian water.  Charming view of the Missis-

sippi Sound.  Electric lights on grounds.

Renting season November to May

Apply to any Real Estate agent in Ocean Springs, or to

Jno. B. Honor, 227 S. Front St., New Orleans

 

                       

            In March 1918, Fred S. Bradford (1878-1951), a local building contractor, commenced a large Dutch colonial style house for Honor which was to cost $15,000.  It was completed in the late summer or fall of 1918 using local labor.  This grand home stands today and is called "Many Oaks".

            The winter of 1921-1922 saw Mrs. Honor open her new home to boarders.  The Jackson County Times of November 12 and 19, 1921 advertised the Honor House as "open for winter guests-adults preferred" and having"furnace heat, private baths, hot and cold water, handsomely furnished, large and beautiful grounds".

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

The Jackson County Times“Local and Personal”, March 9, 1918.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, July 13, 1918.