Neighborhoods

Ocean Springs neighborhoods

East Beach

EAST BEACH

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

 

East Beach Road circa 1925-This image was made by Winifred Norwood Shapker (1869-1937), the daughter of Frederick W. Norwood (1840-1921) and Elizabeth Norwood (1842-pre-1916).  Frederick W. Norwood was a Chicago entrepreneur who with C.S. Butterfield acquired thousands of acres of Mississippi, yellow pine in Lincoln County and founded the mill town of Norfield, Mississippi which supplied lumber for Chicago in the late 19th Century.  Mr. Norwood acquired the East Beach home of James Charnley (1843-1905), also a lumberman and resident of Chicago, in June 1896.  In Mrs. Shapker’s vintage photograph which was taken from an early road to East Beach and viewed eastward across Week’s Bayou.  Note that there are at least two bridges through the marsh and the telephone poles along the beach.  Also note the road rising up the East Beach ridge which was the focus of early settlements in this area of Ocean Springs.

 

Louis H. Sullivan's East Beach: 1890-1912

There was a time in the late 19th Century, at Ocean Springs, when renown Chicago architect, Louis Henri Sullivan (1856-1924), led a contingent of affluent business men from the Midwest to our verdant shores.  After Sullivan purchased six acres from Colonel Newcomb Clark in 1890, his friend James Charnley, also from Chicago, bought a contiguous fifteen-acre tract east of Sullivan.  Sullivan's brother, Albert W. Sullivan, superintendent of the Illinois Central Railroad, then acquired nine acres east of James Charnely.  Before the turn of the Century, the cedar, oak and magnolia lined shores of remote East Beach would become a "Chicago neighborhood".  In addition, a wealthy circle of families from the mining districts of central Colorado, settled east of the Sullivan and Charnley cottages where some erected winter retreats or purchased those of former affluent proprietors.

 

In 1890, Louis H. Sullivan found Ocean Springs "an undulating village all in bloom in softest sunshine, the gentle sparkle waters of a bay land-locked by Deer Island; a village sleeping as it had slept for generations with untroubled surface; a people soft spoken, unconcerned, easy going, indolent; the general store, the post office, the ancient live oaks; the saloon near the depot, the one-man jail in the middle of the street back of the depot; shell roads in the village, wagon trails leading away into the hummock land, no "enterprise", no "progress", no booming for a "Greater Ocean Springs", no factories, no anxious faces, no glare of the dollar hunter, no land agents, no hustlers, no drummers, no white-staked lonely subdivisions.  Peace, peace, and the joy of comrades, the lovely nights of sea breeze, black pool of the sky oversprinkled with stars brilliant and unaccountable".

 

The village has changed.  Today, do you think Sullivan would have gotten back aboard his train?

 

Geographically, East Beach at Ocean Springs, Mississippi is defined as the shoreface on the Bay of Biloxi and Davis Bayou, from Weeks Bayou on the northwest, southeasterly to Stark Bayou, a linear distance of about 1.3 miles.  A low-lying peninsula, Marsh Point, which lies about a mile to the south across Davis Bayou, affords some protection to the shoreface from storms generated from the southeast.  Most of East Beach is located in irregular Section 32, T7S-R8W which contains 216 acres of highly variable terrain.

 

Inland, a few hundred feet north of the beach, a low-lying, northwest-southeast striking, narrow ridge, which parallels the entire shoreline of East Beach, reaches an elevation of about fifteen feet above sea level.  This ridge, which was the site of early cultural development in the area, is bounded on the north by two small bayous, Weeks Bayou on the west and Halstead Bayou, formerly Alderson Bayou, on the east.  Vegetation in the area ranges from marsh grasses in the bayous to live oaks, cedars, magnolias, pines, yaupon and other indigenous shrubs and plants on the sandy ridge.

 

PIONEER SETTLERS

The first American settlement at East Beach probably occurred shortly after the land along this sylvan strand was patented in 1837, by the Federal Government.  Section 32 was divided into four fractional, governmental lots each 1,320 feet wide.  Lot 1 on the east was acquired by Louis A. Caillavet (1790-1860), a native of Opelousas Post, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana in August 1837.  With Marguerite Fayard (1787-1863), his wife, Monsieur Caillavet was the progenitor of a large pioneer family at Biloxi; Lots 2 and 3 were patented to James Fitch Bradford, a Connecticut native; and Lot 4 went to John Black.  The lands of James F. Bradford were the most desirable as they encompassed over 2800 feet of water front and were relatively high compared to Lots 1 and 4 which were chiefly bayou and marsh.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 96, pp. 325-326 and Bk. 78, pp. 586-587 and Bk. 87, pp. 91-92) 

 

Lyman Bradford

Since many early land titles in Jackson County have been destroyed by fire, it is difficult to abstract properties before 1875.  From the available Jackson County Chancery Court land deed records and the family genealogy of the Bradford family provided by J.K. Lemon and his wife, Eleanor Bradford, it appears that the family of Lyman Bradford (1803-1858) was the earliest settlers at East Beach.  Lyman Bradford was born at Montville, New London County, Connecticut.  Before 1810, he came South as a child, with his father, Captain Stephen Bradford (1771-1825+), and mother, Peggy Comstock.  The Bradford family homesteaded on 820 acres in Section 38, T4S-R6W and Section 39, T4S-R7W.  This settlement was situated on the east side of the Pascagoula River and west of Big Cedar Creek, about 3.5 miles northwest of Wade.  The other children of Stephen and Peggy Bradford were:  James Fitch Bradford (1802-1860+), Burissa B. Holley (1808-1881), and John Bradford (1817-1898). 

 

Burrisa Bradford married Benjamin Holley (1810-1860+), a native of New York.  Holley would become a judge in Harrison County at Biloxi, where he resided.  Her brother, John Bradford (1817-1898), also resided at Biloxi.  Their grandson, Anson Holley (1882-1967), would become one of Biloxi's finest boat builders.  Many of Holley's "white-winged queens" sailed for U.S. Desporte and the C.B. Foster Packing Company.

 

In May 1850, Lyman Bradford bought a one-half interest in 210 acres on the Pascagoula River, primarily in Section 22, T7S-R6W, from his brother, James Fitch Bradford.  The Griffin Cemetery is now on this old Bradford settlement site.  Bradford family lore relates that James Fitch Bradford sold his East Beach property consisting of about 110 acres to Lyman and moved to Fannin County, Texas before 1860. 

 

In August 1836, Lyman Bradford married Cynthia Davis (1813-1887), the daughter of Samuel Davis and Sally Balshar?  Here on East Beach, the Lyman Bradfords reared their family:  Margaret B. Davis (1836-1920), Sherwood Bradford (1838-1922), Elizabeth Bradford (1840-1886), Martha A. Bradford (1842-1887), Sarah B. Turner Ramsay (1846-1926), Lyman Bradford, Jr. (1851-1894), and Mary B. Ramsay (1853-1892+)

From land deed records, it can be ascertained with a high degree of certitude that the Lyman Bradford homestead was located in Lot 2.  This is corroborated by the U.S. Survey Map of 1854.  The family cemetery which had two burials before 1887, appears to have been located in the E/2 of the N/2 of Lot 1.

 

LAND SPECULATOR

In March 1888, New York native, Colonel Newcomb Clark (18-19), a Civil War officer, who commanded the only black unit from Michigan, the 102nd U.S.C.T., and a recent retiree to Ocean Springs from the North, acquired the remaining 75 acres of the original 110 acre Lyman Bradford tract from Agnes W. Salisbury of Independence, Missouri for $2000.  Clark made his livelihood at Ocean Springs in real estate and land speculation.  His last home, which was erected in May 1904, stands today at 525 Porter.  The William Engbarth (1882-1957) family resided here for many years.  The Queen Anne-Stick style, two-story structure is now the domicile of Vernon and Stephanie Reinike.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 9, pp. 42-43)

 

In March 1890, Colonel Clark sold James and Helen Charnley of Chicago fifteen acres in Lot 3, at East Beach for $750.  The Charnleys were friends of Louis H. Sullivan (1850-1926), the renown Chicago architect and a principal in the firm of Adler & Sullivan.  Sullivan, who had not vacationed since his architectural studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris fifteen years prior, was at New Orleans with the Charnleys.  He was just completing the Auditorium Building at Chicago, and the stress of the four-year project led Sullivan to seek solace from the Windy City.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, p. 13)

 

Mr. Sullivan first traveled to California to relax and cogitate.  He found the Golden State rainy, and an earthquake during his sojourn there, enforced his negative impression of the region.  Sullivan then went to New Orleans where he met the Charnleys.  They convinced him to make the short journey to Ocean Springs.  The discriminating Sullivan described the Crescent City as, "that filthy town".

 

Louis H. Sullivan's first impressions of Ocean Springs were quite astute.  In his memoir, Autobiography of AnIdea (1912), the "Father of Skyscraper" found Ocean Springs:  an undulating village all in bloom in softest sunshine, the gentle sparkle waters of a bay land-locked by Deer Island; a village sleeping as it had slept for generations with untroubled surface; a people soft spoken, unconcerned, easy going, indolent; the general store, the post office, the barber shop,      the ancient live oaks; the saloon near the depot, the one-man jail in the middle of the street back of the depot; shell roads in the village, wagon trails leading away into the hummock land, no "enterprise", no "progress", no booming for a "Greater Ocean Springs", no factories, no anxious faces, no glare of  the dollar hunter, no land agents, no hustlers, no drummers, no white- stacked lonely subdivisions.  Peace, peace, and the joy of comrades, the lovely nights of sea breeze, black pool of the sky oversprinkled with stars brilliant and unaccountable.

 

Today, one quick glance to the north and Louis H. Sullivan would see quite a different scenario.  The recent massacre of one of our "ancient live oaks" and the bon marche, hideous structures located there would certainly precipitate his sojourn to another place.

 

At Ocean Springs, shortly after the Charnley land acquisition in March 1890, on East Beach, from Colonel Clark, Louis H. Sullivan bought a contiguous, six-acre, tract west of the Charnley lot, from Florian Shafter of New Orleans for $800.  His elder brother, Albert W. Sullivan,

 

General Superintendent of the Illinois Central Railroad, purchased a nine acre tract from Newcomb Clark in April 1890.  A.W. Sullivan paid $850 for his almost, 200-foot lot fronting Davis Bayou.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.11, p. 44 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, p. 77)

 

Debate is still active among architectural historians as to who designed the Louis H. Sullivan and James Charnley cottages, both, which are extant on East Beach at 100 Holcomb Boulevard and 509 East Beach Drive respectively.  The consensus believes that Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959), one of the architectural geniuses of the 20th Century, was the creator.  At this time, young Wright was in the employ of the firm of Adler & Sullivan at Chicago, as a draftsman.  He would leave the firm in 1893.

 

When Louis H. Sullivan returned to Chicago from his restful spring of 1890, at Ocean Springs, he was recharged with the joie de vivre.  One of the first projects to emerge from his drawing board at Adler & Sullivan was the Wainwright Building at St. Louis.  It was completed in 1891, the same year that the Sullivan and the James Charnley’s cottages were completed on East Beach.  In late January 1891, the two Chicago gentlemen were domiciled at the Ocean Springs Hotel awaiting the imminent completion of their waterfront homes.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 30, 1891, p. 1)

S

hortly thereafter, the firm was hired to design the Illinois Central Passenger Terminal at New Orleans, which lasted until its demolition in 1954.  The depot was not one of Sullivan's memorable architectural works, but it allowed the Sullivan brothers an excellent opportunity to combine work and pleasure.  The propinquity of the job site to his blissful, Ocean Springs, winter cottage was but a few hours by rail. 

 

This simple cottage at an isolated East Beach site, on the Bay of Biloxi, was the womb into which Louis H. Sullivan retreated to recharge his creative mind.  Between 1890 and 1895, after which he dissolved his partnership with Dankmar Adler, the firm designed and completed over forty buildings.  Among these were five major "skyscrapers".

 

In 1893, while in the Crescent City, Albert W. Sullivan met and married Mary Spelman.  He never built a home at Ocean Springs.  In 1896, the Sullivan brothers became alienated over an internal family matter, and in March 1898, Albert W. Sullivan sold his East Beach property to Fred W. Norwood (1840-1921) and Elizabeth Norwood (1842-c. 1911) of Chicago for $1050.  The Norwoods had acquired the James and Helen Charnley, ten-acre, estate in June 1896, for $6075.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.19, p. 160 and Bk. 17, pp. 389-390) 

 

PRE-SULLIVAN EAST BEACH

When Louis H. Sullivan and James Charnley arrived on the shores of Biloxi Bay in March 1890, several families were already established either as occupies or absentee landowners on the East End, as the area was called by the natives.   They were from east to west:  William and Ella Howard of Fenton, Michigan; the David W. Halstead family from Iowa; Ohio born, the Reverend William C. West (1848-1915), the local Presbyterian minister; Newcomb Clark (1836-1913) and his wife, Ellen Chambers Clark (1841-1915); Florian Shaffter of New Orleans; Dr. George W. Lawrence from Hot Springs, Arkansas; and Maine native, Captain Silas Weeks (1823-1901), a leading shipping agent from New Orleans. 

 

Captain Silas Weeks

THE WEEKS FAMILY

In July 1879, Matilda Rayne Weeks (1830-1912), the spouse of Captain Weeks, acquired a large parcel of land facing Deer Island between the Mill Dam Bayou (now Ocean Springs Inner Harbor) and a small bayou, which became known as Weeks Bayou from John I. Kendall and Mary E. Kendall of New Orleans.  The Weeks tract was east of the William Gray Kendall (1812-1872) estate, which centered about the present day Hansen-Dickey House on Shearwater Drive.  Here, the Weeks erected a large summer home, which they appropriately named, "Anchorage".  Captain Weeks retired here raising poultry and growing vegetables until his demise in January 1901.  "Anchorage" was legated to his daughter, Jessie Weeks Boyd, and later owned by her daughter, Miss Jessie M. Boyd (1881-1963).  It is believed to have been demolished in the 1940s.

 

Mrs. Matilda Weeks was born in London, England of Robert W. Rayne and Mary B. Langdon.  With Silas Weeks, she reared a family consisting of four daughters: Ada W. Depass, Jessie W. Boyd, Hattie W. Darsey, and Mamie W. Rice.  Ada Weeks (1851-1909) married David Depass (1850-1926) of New Orleans.  He made his livelihood dealing in stocks and cotton futures.  In June 1890, they purchased what we know today as the Shearwater Pottery of the George W. Anderson (1861-1937) family from Albert Baldwin (1843-1912), a dry goods merchant and entrepreneur of New Orleans.  They had one daughter, Hattie Virginia Depass (1882-1926+), who married Howard Hall.  The Halls resided at Chicago.

 

Jessie Weeks (1855-1932) married a Texan, William Boyd.  Their children were Silas W. Boyd (1876-1950) and Jessie M. Boyd (1881-1963).  Silas W. Boyd made a career in the Mississippi lumber business operating out of Jackson, while his sister, Miss Jessie M. Boyd, gave her life helping others primarily with the American Red Cross.  She was at the scene of many of the great floods of the 1920s and 1930s, including the infamous August 1936, Johnstown, Pennsylvania disaster.  

 

Hattie Darsey (1858-1939) was born at sea possibly on her father's ship.  She married Lowndes A. Darsey (1849-1929), a Methodist minister, from Georgia.  The Reverend Darsey came to the Mississippi Conference circa 1904, and served Methodist Episcopal churches at Ocean Springs and Pascagoula.  The Darsey children were:  L.A. Darsey, Jr., J.W. Darsey, G.U. Darsey, Rison C. Darsey, Mrs. Joe Zink, and Mrs. Lee Hammond.

 

Mamie Weeks (1864-1937) married George A. Rice (1860-1942) of New Orleans.  They had one child, Ethel Weeks Rice (1887-1969).

 

In February 1883, Captain Silas Weeks acquired sixty acres of land on East Beach.  This purchase precipitated a legal action in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Cause No. 416, "Martha H. Hilzeim v. Mary E. Snipes, Silas Weeks, et al", filed February 1892.  The disputed tract of Captain Weeks at East Beach was located in E/2 of the W/2 of SW/4 of Section 29, T7S-R8W and the eastern portion of Governmental Lot 4, Section 32, T7S-R8W.  The Old Martin Place had been situated here.  Mr. Martin may have been Warrick Martin (1810-1854+), a land speculator and attorney, from Chester County, Pennsylvania.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 6, pp. 386-387)

 

In 1850, Warrick Martin resided at Ocean Springs, Mississippi 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) 

 

WILLIAM HOWARD

Little is currently known about William and Ella Howard of Fenton, Michigan.  They purchased the most easterly lands at East Beach in May 1885, from Frank H. Ayers and Hattie Ayers of New Orleans for $1500.  The Ayers Place consisted of about seventy-two acres on Davis and Stark Bayou.  The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory is located on a portion of the former Ayers tract.  Prior to 1876, this scenic, quasi-peninsular, parcel of land had been in the possession of Enoch N. Ramsay (1832-1916) and his spouse, Sarah E. Bradford (1848-1926).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 7, pp. 475-476)

The Ayers family was Methodist and were prominent in their financial support of Methodism at Ocean Springs.  David Ayers, possibly the patriarch, resided at Galveston.  He provided the funds, which led Reverend C.F. Gillespie to remark, "we were pleased to find the church (at Ocean Springs) so beautifully improved.  It is not only neat and comfortable, but is now an ornament to the town". 

 

THE HALSTEADS

West of the Howards were the Halsteads.  Of the pre-Sullivan, settlers residing on East Beach, only the E.W. Halstead family is here today.  Their son, Kirk Halstead, and grandchildren, are the fifth and sixth generations of this family to reside on these sylvan shores. 

David Wileder Halstead (1842-1918) and his wife, Hannah Farnum (1841-1916), and their triad of Iowa born sons, Harley F. Halstead, Harry P. Halstead, and Ernest W. Halstead, came here from the Midwest in the late 1880s.  Mr. Halstead's mother, Betsy M. Halstead (1813-1902), accompanied them to their new home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 

Betsy M. Halstead and her mother were natives of Connecticut.  Her father was born at New York.  She was the mother of ten children, but only six had survived to see the 20th Century. 

In June 1888, Mrs. Betsy M. Halstead purchased land in Lot 1, at East Beach from William and Ella Howard for $1475.  The Halstead tract consisted of about forty-five acres with over a thousand feet of frontage on Davis Bayou.  Today, this parcel would be in the area west of the Gulf Coast Research Lab to Ashley Place and north to Brumbaugh Road, excluding the E/2 of the N/2 of Section 32, T7S-R8W.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 9, pp. 304-305) 

Here her son, David W. Halstead, erected a large, two-story, wood frame, front gable structure.  The three-bay gallery had a shed roof.  Mr. Halstead called his home, Wildemear.  It burned to the ground in a great conflagration late in the evening of June 14, 1911.  Because of the distance from town, the local fire companies were unable to reach the Halstead home before its total destruction.  David W. Halstead was in Cuba visiting son, E.W. Halstead, at the time.

In 1900, Mrs. Betsy Halstead was residing at Ocean Springs, with her daughter, Elizabeth J. Ball (1853-1900+), and her grandson, Harrison E. Ball (1884-1900+).  Mrs. Ball was a newspaper correspondent.  They rented the Hubbard Cottage at present day 509 Washington Avenue.  Mrs. Ball subsequently moved to San Antonio, Texas.

David W. Halstead was a veteran of the Civil War having served with the Company D of the Ohio Cavalry.  In March 1865, after the conflict, he married Hannah Farnum, an Ohio lady of Virginia parentage, at Tipton, Iowa.  D.W. Halstead relocated to LaRue, Ohio, and then Fort Dodge, Iowa where he built a successful John Deere farm implement retail business.  Failing health caused him to seek a more benign climate. 

At Ocean Springs, D.W. Halstead was engaged with E.T. Firth of Fort Recovery, Ohio in a brick making operation on Fort Bayou.  In June 1898, he took charge of the Illing bakery with his sons, Harry and Ernest.  They planned to add a soda water and ice cream parlor.  In 1900, D.W. Halstead was the custodian of the U.S. Marine Hospital. 

Near the turn of the Century, with Ocean Springs in a period of pecan and citrus prosperity, D.W. Halstead founded Halstead & Sons Nursery and Orchards.  The property was located on their East Beach property.  Here they propagated the most popular variety of pecans trees as well as satsuma and grapefruit.  Mr. Halstead continued as a nurseryman until his demise on August 28, 1918.

David W. Halstead brought his strong Presbyterian faith to Ocean Springs.  It was he who apparently influenced the Reverend William C. West (1848-1915) of Decatur, Ohio to come to Ocean Springs and minister to the spiritual needs of the small Presbyterian community.  It is highly probable that he was also responsible for former Iowans, the Alderson family, of Leadville, Colorado to purchase a vacation villa east of his place on East Beach in 1890.

It was in western Iowa that the Halstead children were born.  A son, Wileder Halstead, died before his second birthday.  A brief biography of the other Halstead children follows:

There is a high degree of certitude that David W. Halstead influenced several families that he would have known in the Midwest, to settle near the Halstead homestead on East Beach.  These were the West and Alderson clans.  The West family was permanent residents while the Alderson folks came a few years later and were primarily seasonal visitors to their East Beach abode.  Their occupancy here will be discussed in a later segment of this essay. 

 

THE WESTS

In October 1889, the Halstead family sold Harriet N. West (1851-1931), the wife of the Reverend William C. West (1848-1915), about fifteen acres off the west end of their parcel for $625.  The West tract had a front of 337 feet on Davis Bayou.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, p. 8) 

The Reverend William C. West was a native of Decatur, Ohio, while Mrs. West was born at New Albany, Indiana, the daughter of Silas C. Day (1813-1886) and Harriett Newell McClung (1820-1912).  They were married at New Albany, Floyd County, Indiana on February 11, 1880.  The West children were: Laura T. West (1882-1900), William D. West (1885-1915+), David M. West (1889-1915+), and Raynor E. West (1890-1915+).

The West family came to Ocean Springs, Mississippi in 1889, probably from Illinois.  At Ocean Springs, Reverend West was the Presbyterian minister serving the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs from 1890-1895.  He also preached to the people of Biloxi.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star announced in June 1891, that, "the prospect for building a Presbyterian Church with a goodly congregation in Biloxi is very promising".  In July 1892, the great New Orleans philanthropist, John Henry Keller, donated Lot 1 (50 feet by 150 feet)-Block 6 of Keller's tract to the Biloxi Presbyterian Church.  The church was located on Howard Avenue east of the old Biloxi Public High School.  The deacons and elders of the Biloxi Presbyterian Church, among them Bemis O. Bailey (1898-1969), an Ocean Springs native, sold their property to the City of Biloxi in late December 1940, for $3659.

Sometimes in 1899, the West house was destroyed by fire.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star announced in October 1899, "Reverend West was rebuilding his residence on East Beach.  It will be one of the most attractive on the east end".

In July 1904, the West clan sold their home site and ten acres to Gilbert O. Clayton of New Orleans for $2000.  After the sale, Reverend West went to Louisville, Kentucky.  He returned to Ocean Springs, in mid-October 1906.  His comment after returning, "glad to be back and eat mullet".(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 28, pp. 433-434)

The West family returned to Indiana, the home of Mrs. West.  This is corroborated in the May 6, 1915, weekly edition of The Ocean Springs News.  It announced at this time, "the Reverend W.C. West formerly of Ocean Springs, but now at New Albany, Indiana is in very bad health".  Indeed, William C. West was suffering from cancer of the tongue.  He died on November 26, 1915.  He and Mrs. West were interred in the Fairview Cemetery at 800 E. Sixth Street in New Albany, Indiana. 

 

POST-SULLIVAN ARRIVALS

The scene at East Beach is now complete for the March 1890, arrival of Louis Henri Sullivan.  Shortly after Sullivan's arrival, he contracted locals to build his beach cottage, which he called de Hutte, in literal French-"some or any cabin.  Sullivan in July 1874 had embarked from New York for Paris to study at the L'Ecole des Beaux Arts.  Naturally, he became very fluent in the French language during his seven-month sojourn in France.  Mr. Sullivan studied architecture in "The City of Lights" under Emil Vaudremer, the designer of the Church of the Sacred Heart, of Mont Rouge, and the Prison Mazzas.

Although in her excellent research paper, "An Historical Research on the Louis Sullivan Cottages in Ocean Springs, Mississippi (1973), Margaret Steelman, did not discover the builder of de Hutte.  I will speculate that Lyman N. Bradford Jr. (1851-1894) was the erector of the Sullivan residence and outbuildings.  This premise is based on Bradford's former residency on East Beach, and the fact that he built a home for Mrs. Morgan Williams of Leadville, Colorado, Mrs. Rushton H. Field, and Julia Brown of Chicago east of the Sullivan estate in January 1894.  They moved into their new residency, called "Wiljumarrie", in late March 1894.  Frederick S. Bradford (1878-1951), a nephew of Lyman Bradford, would become a 20th Century construction genius at Ocean Springs.

The former Louis Henri Sullivan Cottage is extant at 100 Holcomb Boulevard, although somewhat obfuscated by dense shrubbery.  As paraphrased from The Architectural Record (June 1905), it consisted of a one-story, shingled cottage with a spacious gallery or piazza.  Within the Sullivan domicile was a long and wide, roomy hall.  It contained furniture, bookshelves with interesting books, pleasing pictures, and a fireplace.  In addition, a nook in the hall was utilized for the dining table and its accessories.  The guest quarters and Sullivan's bedroom were at the front of the cottage on opposite sides of the hall.  These suites had access to the veranda.  At the rear of the great hall, was the service room, which lead to the kitchen.  The wing of this part of the cottage terminated in an octagonal cistern used to store rainwater.  An artesian well was dug in May 1898, to eliminate the water storage problem.  The sewerage from the house was conveniently discharged into Weeks Bayou to the north.  The sylvan grounds of the estate were well planned.  Sullivan became enamored with roses and developed several gardens of these flowering, prickly plants.  A circular pool with spouting, artesian wellhead graced the entrance of the villa.  At the rear of the Sullivan residence were the servants quarters, stable, and chicken house and yard-"protected from the marauding incursions of alligators by fence and screening".  A fish pond and vegetable garden at the northern terminus of the grounds completed the estate. 

We will now examine the people and society that developed at East Beach after March 1890.  These men and women were primarily from the Midwest and West who came here to enjoy the relatively mild winters compared to the harsh cold and snow that often inundated their northern landscapes.  At Ocean Springs, these affluent people found fantastic fishing and hunting, aquatics sports, and the joi de vivre manifested by descendants of earlier Creole families, 19th Century expatriates from southern Europe, and their progeny.  

 

JOHN TRACY MARTIN-AMERICA'S SPORTING PAINTER

In April 1890, the great American naturalist and sporting painter, John Martin Tracy (1842-1893) bought the old Bradford Cottage and tract which encompassed 32.5 acres in Lot 2, at East Beach from Newcomb Clark.  Tracy died here in March 1893.  His landscape paintings featuring hunting dogs are well known on the East Coast.  In 1983, Tracy's "Field Trials in North Carolina" sold for $46,000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, pp. 150-151) 

Artist Tracy was the brother-in-law of Parker Earle (1831-1917), the husband of Melanie Tracy (1837-1889).  Their parents, John Martin Tracy (1808-1843) and Hannah Maria Conant (1815-1896), were theologians and lawyers active in the abolition movement prior to the Civil War.  His own health failing, the consummate artist, Tracy, came to Ocean Springs shortly after the demise of his sister.  He brought his family from Greenwich, Connecticut where he had painted many of his hunting scenes. 

Before locating on East Beach, the Tracys had lived at Bay View, the Parker Earle estate at Fort Point (Lovers Lane).  Here John M. Tracy became acquainted with the Poitevent family.  In April 1893, shortly after his demise and interment in the Evergreen Cemetery, his widow, Melanie G. Tracy, sold their estate to Mary F. Field of Chicago and Kate Mason Williams of Leadville, Colorado.  Mrs. Tracy relocated with her three children to New York City.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 14, pp. 570-571)

In 1994 and 1995, Dr. Peter E. Sturrock (1929-1998) of Doraville, Georgia, and his sister, Ruth Sturrock of Gaineville, Florida, donated several small Tracy paintings to the Walter Anderson Museum of Art.  The Sturrocks are the great grandchildren of Parker Earle and Melanie Tracy Earle. 

 

GOLD MINERS ON THE SILVER STRAND

In July 1890, John Alderson (1851-1906), Edward D. Alderson (1860-1894), and Lizzie Alderson (1849-1899) of Leadville, Colorado bought the William Howard place on the extreme east end of East Beach for $3000.           They were the children of Thomas Alderson (1827-1895) and Dorothy Alderson (1827-1907).  Mr. and Mrs. Alderson were born in England and immigrated to the United States in 1849.  Their first child Elizabeth, called Lizzie, was born at New Diggings, Wisconsin in 1849.  The other children were Miles Alderson (1856-1896) and another daughter, Margaret A. Christy Shelton (1862-1948).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, pp. 466-467) 

Circa 1855, the Alderson family moved to Dubuque, Iowa, which is about twenty miles west of New Diggings, Wisconsin. In 1870, the Aldersons relocated to western Iowa.  They moved to Omaha, Nebraska before finally settling at Leadville, Colorado in 1879, joining their sons, John, Thomas Miles (1856-1896), and Edward Alderson who preceded them there.  Leadville is located seventy-five miles WSW of Denver at an elevation of 10,190 feet.  It was founded in 1878 as a silver mining camp and grew to 35,000 souls by 1885.  The present population is about 5000 people.  Leadville was one of the principal American mining centers of the 19th Century.  Gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper, bismuth, manganese, and molybdenum have been taken from the earth here in vast commercial quantities.

At Leadville, Mr. Thomas Alderson opened a grocery store and his sons clerked for him.  By 1885, Thomas, John, and Edward Alderson were mining while Miles Alderson made his livelihood as a bookbinder.  In 1880, the Alderson brothers sunk a shaft known as the Hunter's Last Chance.  They quit without finding pay dirt.  A few years later, others took up the claim and dug ten feet deeper and discovered a world-class ore body.

Several letters from the Alderson-Shelton file from the Colorado Mountain History Collection at the Lake County Public Library in Leadville, Colorado reveal the character of the Leadville mining camp in the 1880s.  In a letter dated November 4, 1879 to his daughter, Margaret, called Madge, who is attending school in Omaha, Nebraska, Thomas Alderson describes some of the family activity at Leadville:  Miss Sheppard was to see us today and stayed her tea.  Then she went to the Temperance meeting at the Spruce Street church tonight.  I did not go.  I do not like to be out at night.  It is cold after the sun goes down but very fine in the daytime.  This place is a very busy place and is going very fast.  Miles came in last night on some business.  He has nine men working for him.  He does not work in the mine himself.  He sharpens the tools and looks after the men.  I was with him until I took a bad cold.  John and Eddy are about three miles from home.  They have the span of mules to hoist their dirt and have three men working for them.  You would enjoy their company when they all come home on Saturday night.  

In June 1894, Edward Alderson was killed when he fell from a cage during an early morning shift change at the Maid of Erin Mine near Leadville. 

In April 1892, a few years after Louis H. Sullivan's arrival at East Beach, he bought 45.5 acres of land in Lot 2 from Colonel Newcomb Clark, east of his place, for $5500.  Almost immediately, he conveyed this large parcel of land with a 900-foot frontage on Davis Bayou to Horace C. Williston of Duluth, Minnesota.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, p. 425 and  JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, p. 425)

At the end of 1892, the inhabitants and land owners along the beach front of Davis Bayou, from east to west were:  John Alderson et al, D.W. Halstead, W.C. West, John M. Tracy, Horace C. Williston, Albert W. Sullivan, James Charnley, Louis H. Sullivan, Dr. George Lawrence, and Silas Weeks, and F.M. Weed.

 

MORE COLORADANS ARRIVE 

 

Henry M. Blakely

After John Martin Tracy's death in March 1893, his widow moved to Hempstead, New York with her children.  In April 1893, Melanie Tracy sold for $2000 her home and 16 acres comprising the western half of the 32-acre Tracy homestead to Mary Florence Field of Chicago and Kate Mason Williams (1859-1895+) of Lendale, Colorado.  Mrs. Tracy sold the eastern half of her tract to Henry M. Blakely of Leadville, Colorado in September 1893 for $2000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 14, pp. 570-571 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.15, p. 304)

Henry M. Blakely (1866-1902+) was born at New York.  He went west and at the age of twenty-one was a clerk in the establishment of R.H. Beggs & Company at Leadville, Colorado.  In August 1888, Blakely went into business for himself with $2000 in a little store with an area of 360 square feet.  He stocked his place with a small but select line of dry goods and notions.  In a short period of time Blakely had succeeded to the status that he bought for $9000 the building, which housed his former employer.  In December 1889, the local Leadville journal wrote the following about Henry M. Blakely: 

Mr. Blakely is to be heartily congratulated on his success in his Leadville business.  He is just such a citizen as the greatest mining camp on earth needs, for he has shown pluck and an enterprise worthy of emulation at every hand.  He has fully exemplified the oft-quoted, but unfortunately seldom demonstrated aphorism-"every man is the architect of his own fortune,"-and has proved conclusively that he is an admirable architect.  That his business efforts have been crowned by a richly deserved success is due entirely to his own pushing, enterprising nature and that he may continue even more prosperous in his future career is the sincere wish of every citizen of Leadville.  Mr. Blakely has the peculiar and fortunate faculty of knowing what the people want, and here in, in large measure, lies his success.  

Mr. Blakely was known locally as the "Dry Good Prince" of Leadville, Colorado.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of February 16, 1894, related that Blakely expected to build a winter residence on the Tracy property.  He may have built the original "Elk Lodge" which soon became the winter residence of Chicago residents, Joseph B. Rose and the Fields.  Rose acquired the sixteen-acre estate from Henry M. Blakely in March 1895 for $2000.  Also at this time, J.B. Rose acquired twenty acres in the western half of Lot 3 from Harry de Ponte of New Orleans.  He paid de Ponte $2000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 16, pp. 344-346 and Bk. 16, p. 626)   

 

THREE WESTERN LADIES

A more social and active clime developed at East Beach with the arrival of Mary Florence Field, Kate Mason Williams (1859-1895+), and Julia E. Brown (d. 1907) in early 1893.  Mrs. Field and Mrs. Brown were sisters.  They may have been the founders of the Cherokees, an East Beach social club.  The name may have been derived from the captivating Cherokee Rose, which grows ubiquitously here in the wild state.

By the spring of 1895, these affluent ladies were neighbored on the east by Joseph Benson Rose (1841-1902), a wealthy capitalist from Chicago who made his fortune in the baking powder business.  Rose was an avid yachtsman with memberships in the Atlantic Yacht Club of New York and the Southern Yacht Club of New Orleans.  He often took Madames Field and Brown on cruises to nearby islands aboard his celebrated yacht, Nepenthe.  They once sailed four hundred miles southeast to the Florida coast and returned to Ocean Springs by rail.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of November 17, 1899, described "Elk Lodge", the East Beach residence of Mr. Rose as:

 one of the finest and most beautiful villas situated on east beach.  The grounds are tastefully and artistically ornamented with tropical fruit trees and rare shrubbery.  The dwelling is built after the style of a German suburban home.  It has a wide hall in the center with large elegant rooms on both sides, richly furnished and is very particularly an ideal seaside retreat.  Colonel Rose is fond of yachting and hunting and is the owner of the celebrated yacht, Nepenthe.  He entertains quite a select number of wealthy Northern friends each season.

Mr. Rose left his name in the area as he bought the Earle Farm from creditors in August 1897.  This large plantation was located north of Fort Bayou.  The Rose Farm Road survives today as is reminder of this man.  For more information on George B. Rose see The Ocean Springs Record,  "Joseph Benson Rose (1841-1902):  Biscuits, beans, and boats", May 29, 1997, p. 22, and June 5, 1997, p. 24)

Although the Cheniere Caminada Hurricane struck the Mississippi coast with great fury on the morning of October 2, 1893, local journals reported no severe damage from the east end at Ocean Springs.  A 200-foot section of the L&N railroad bridge across the Bay of Biloxi was washed away.  Piers, oyster houses, and damage to homes was reported from Breezy Point (the Lovers Lane area) to Washington Avenue. 

In early 1894, Lyman Bradford, Jr. (1851-1894) erected a winter home, originally called "Wiljumarrie" by Julia E. Brown, in Lot 2, on the west sixteen-acres of the John M. Tracy tract.  This land had been purchased for $2000 by Mary F. Field and Kate M. Williams in April 1893, from the Widow Tracy.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of March 23, 1894, announced that, "Mrs. Julia E. Brown, Mrs. Morgan Williams, and Mrs. Rush Field, wealthy ladies from the West have moved into their new residence on the east end, and which though still unfinished is sufficiently completed for occupancy”.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 14, pp. 570-571)

The lives of these affluent Western women is most interesting.  Each will be presented individually: 

 

KATE MASON WILLIAMS HOFSTRA (1859-1895+)

Born Katherine Mason at Illinois in 1859, she was the wife of Vermont native, Morgan H. Williams (1854-1892).  In 1880, they were residents of Leadville, Colorado where Mr. Williams operated sawmills and dealt in lumber.

In 1888, Morgan H. Williams and his brother, H.S. Williams, were the proprietors of Williams Brothers.  This organization manufactured and dealt in a variety of lumber products:  shingles, lath, sash, doors, and paper.  Their business reputation was based on their ability to provide the client any dimension of lumber on the shortest possible notice.  In 1879, with H.S. Darby, the Williams brothers commenced their operation at Leadville.  Later they accepted Eugene Wilder into the partnership, but by 1883, they were the sole proprietors.

In addition to their efficient Leadville lumberyard, the Williams brothers had a saw, shingle, and lath mill situated at Tennessee Pass, twelve miles from Leadville.  They also operated a large lumberard and planning mill at Aspen, in Pitkin County, Colorado.  In the Midwest, the Monsieurs Williams were the owners of a clothing, boot, and shoe business at Howard, Illinois.

When she was at Ocean Springs during the winter months, Mrs. Williams was transported about town in a fine carriage drawn by a span of elegant horses. Kate Mason Williams was widowed on September 30, 1892, when her husband, Morgan, expired at Leadville, Colorado from peritonitis.  His remains were initially interred in the evergreen Cemetery at Leadville, but they may have later been disinterred and sent to Illinois for final burial.  In August 1895, when she conveyed her one-half interest in "Wiljumarrie" to Julia E. Brown for $2000, her name on the warranty deed was Kate Mason Hofstra of Cook County, Illinois.  Her new husband was William S. Hofstra.  No further information.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 6-7) 

 

JULIA E. BROWN (d. 1907)

Julia E. Brown was the sister of Mary Florence Field, the wife of Rushton H. Field of Chicago, and Jessie I. Blair, the wife of James A. Blair of New York City.  She was divorced from James H. Brown.  They had a daughter, Pink Brown, who was residing at Troy, New York in 1893.

Mrs. Brown was a guest of Kate M. Williams and Mary F. Field at East Beach for several years at "Wiljumarrie".  In August 1895, she bought the one-half interest of Mrs. Morgan H. Williams (then married to William S. Hofstra) in that estate.  It was renamed Field Lodge and became the winter quarters for the Field family.

Mrs. Brown acquired a twenty-two acre tract in Lot 2, from Horace Williston of Boston, Massachusetts in December 1900, for $2850.  Before October 1901, she built a raised cottage near the water in the southwest quarter of her lot, which was named, "Belle Fleur" (Beautiful Flower).

In the last will and testament of Julia E. Brown, Jackson County Chancery Court Cause No. 1691-November 1902, the following legatees are named:  James A. Blair, Jr. of NYC-two diamond pins; John B. Dennis of NYC-a diamond ring; Jessie I. Blair-"Belle Fleur", her East Beach home at Ocean Springs; Rushton H. Field-a watch, horses, carriages, wagons, and harnesses, and all livestock at "Belle Fleur"; Mrs. Rushton H. Field and Mrs. James A. Blair-the remainder of her property.

Julia E. Brown passed on August 10, 1907, probably at New York City, New York.  "Belle Fleur" was sold to B.F. Kaufman (1871-1912+) of Polk County, Iowa (Des Moines) for $7250 in March 1910, by her sister, Jessie I. Blair.  Kaufman owned the property for two years before he conveyed this Davis Bayou estate to Ruth G. Chase of Chicago and Hopkinton, New Hampshire, in March 1912, for $5600.  Miss Chase renamed "Belle Fleur", the "Rose Garden".(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, pp. 550-551 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 38, p. 47)

The Ocean Springs News reported to its Ocean Springs and other local readers on November 7, 1914, that a small fire had occurred on October 31st at the beautiful East Beach home of Miss Chase.  Part of her roof was destroyed when a spark from the chimney ignited some shingles.  The resulting damage was deemed not great.

Other owners of the "Rose Garden" parcel have been Dr. Chaillos Cross (1919-1925), F.J.A. Forster (1925-1945) of Chicago, and James E. Elliot (1945-1968).  According to Virginia E. DeFrank (1919-2001), the present owner and spouse of Paul DeFrank Jr. (1918-2006) of the twenty-two acre, Julia E. Brown tract, "Belle Fleur" was gone and the lot over grown when her parents, James E. Elliot (1886-1980) and Lucille Lundy Elliott (1892-1980), acquired it from Mr. Forster in July 1945.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 89, pp. 559-560)    

 

James E. Elliott

In November 1914, James E. Elliott (1886-1980), formerly employed at Pascagoula, Mississippi joined the Brady Jewelry store in Biloxi as a watchmaker and jeweler.  He was born at Havana, Hale County, Alabama and married Lucille Lundy (1892-1980), an Illinois native, in April 1916 at Harrison Co., Mississippi.  She was the daughter of James H. Lunday (1857-1910+), a retired farmer, and Minnie Cullotta Richardson (1867-1910+), both residents of Gulfport, Mississippi.  James E. Elliott and Lucille Lundy Elliott were the parents of James E. Elliott II (1917-1992) and Virginia Elliott DeFrank (1919-2001).(The Daily Herald, November 11, 1915, p. 2 and Harrison Co., Mississippi MRB 29, p. 19)

James E. Elliott left the employ of Brady Jewelry in the spring of 1918.  He became a partner of J.D. Crane, a jeweler located in Pascagoula, Mississippi.  By July 1918, Mr. Elliott decided to return to Biloxi and become an independent jeweler with a store on West Howard Avenue.  Mrs. Elliott and her baby had gone to Gulfport to be with family during his absence.(The Daily Herald, June 4, 1918, p. 2 and July 11, 1918, p. 3)

After Edward Brady retired from his jewelry business in 1929, the Gabriel Jewelry Company owned by Heyman Gabriel (1874-1929+), a German Jewish immigrant domiciled in Mobile, Alabama, acquired his stock. Mr. Gabriel’s Biloxi manager, John Rezin Beggs (1890-1972), a watchmaker and Kansas native and former owner of Beggs & George, a jewelry firm also situated in Mobile, Alabama, had a large sale.  They were preparing to move by July 1929, to the Lawrence Building at 200 West Howard Avenue situated on the northwest corner of Howard Avenue and Delaunay Street.  Manuel & Wetzell were contracted to renovate the two-story, brick structure erected in August 1911 for Charles C. Redding (1857-1926) and Joseph V. Lawrence (1867-1952) by Edwin M. Wetzell (1877-1953) for $8000.  The initial tenants of the Lawrence Building were the Guaranteed Hat & Shoe Store owned by Redding and Lawrence and Uncle Fred’s Gift Shop.  They both occupied the first floor in December 1911.(The Daily Herald, August 29, 1911, p. 8, November 27, 1911, p. 8 and May 28, 1929, p. 2)

     It appears that in June 1927, Lawrence & Redding commenced erecting another structure juxtaposed to their 1911 building on West Howard near Delaunay.  Again Manuel & Wetzel were their chosen contractor.  The new Lawrence-Redding building was two-story and made from Cordova brick with a plate glass front.  It had a front of forty-five feet on West Howard and was eight-four feet deep.(The Daily Herald, June 27, 1927, p. 2)

In 1931, in addition to Elliott’s and Gabriel’s Jewelry Company, Biloxi supported the Keystone Jewelry at 117 West Howard; George Waldemeir at 116 West Howard; and Bleuer’s Gift Shop at 210 West Howard.  At this time, the Elliott’s resided at 614 East Howard Avenue.  Also in 1931, Mrs. Lucille L. Elliott vended hats from their store as the Elliott Hat Shop.(The Daily Herald, June 5, 1980, p. A2)

When Gabriel’s Jewelry closed in 1932, John R. Beggs became an independent watchmaker jeweler at 200 West Howard Avenue.  Dr. C.S. McAllister, an optometrist, also joined him in the new enterprise and they offered their clients a variety of jewelry and optical selections.  By 1936, J.R. Beggs had relocated to 103 Howard Avenue where he remained for many decades until his retirement.(The Daily Herald, February 22, 1932, p. 2)

During WWII, the James E. Elliott family moved from Biloxi to East Beach at Ocean Springs.  He expired here in June 1980.  Lucille Lunday Elliott followed him closely in death, passing in December 1980.  Their corporal remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery at Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, June 5, 1980, p. A2 and December 30. 1980, p. A2)   

 

Paul DeFrank Jr.

Mr. Elliott retired from his jewelry business in 1961 and Paul DeFrank Jr. (1918-2006), his son-in-law, became the proprietor of Elliott’s Jewelry.  Paul DeFrank Jr. was born at Bessemer, Alabama to Paolini DiFranco (1886-1958) and Elsie Lynn DiFranco (1896-1960+).  Mr. DiFranco had immigrated to America from Sutera, Caltanisetta, Sicily in February 1909 aboard the SS Campania and by 1920, he had changed Paolini DiFranco, his birth name, to Paul DeFrank.  He made his livelihood as a shoe maker and shoe repairman in Alabama while providing for his six children.(1930 Jefferson Co., Alabama Federal Census R21, p. 26A, ED 112)

In September 1952, Paul DeFrank Jr. and the Elliotts took a five year lease from Joseph V. Lawrence at (1902-1975) at 200 Howard Avenue in the Lawrence Building.  They remained here until Skip DeFrank, successor to his grandfather and father’s jewelry enterprise, moved to Pass Road in West Biloxi in the early 1990s.  Elliott’s Jewelry is now closed.

Paul DeFrank Jr. married Virginia Elliott (1919-2001) in 1936.  They had met in Montgomery, Alabama at a Freshman party on the campus of Huntington College.  They were the parents of Paul DeFrank II, called ‘Skip’, and Virginia Paulette ‘Toni’ DeFrank (b. 1938).  She married Charles H. Schaffner (b. 1936), the son of Philippe ‘Phil’ Val Louis Schaffner (1908-1936), and Ethelyn Lucille MacKenzie (b. 1916).  Mrs. Schaffner married Donald L. ‘Pat’ Connor (1912-1982) after the demise of her husband.(History of Jackson Co., Mississippi, 1989, pp. 169-172)

Virginia Elliott DeFrank postulated that a fire destroyed the former home of Mrs. Brown.  Her mother had visited the Davis Bayou site on a church picnic during her youth and was quite enamored with the waterfront tract.  Mrs. Elliott (then Miss Lundy) had come by boat from Gulfport, her home, to the site which would eventually be her domicile for many years.  Virginia E. DeFrank acquired title to the estate in January 1968. 

 

MARY FLORENCE FIELD

Mary F. Field (1859-1930+), nee Meyers, was born at Mansfield, Ohio, on November 27, 1859.  Her family went to Wheeling, West Virginia where they started the first iron foundry in that region.  Mary F. Meyers married Rushton Holmes Field (1838-1908), the founder of Fields' Point, Rhode Island, and the proprietor of the Reviere House at Chicago.  Mr. Field was also an early pioneer of the West and a Colorado mining magnate.  At East Beach, the Fields enjoyed the good life afforded to the affluent.  They were primarily fall-winter visitors usually arriving in mid-October from Chicago.  When not at "Field Lodge", the appellation given to their East Beach estate after Mrs. Field's sister, Julia E. Brown of New York, built "Belle Fleur", west of them, Mr. Field traveled extensively by rail throughout the United States and Canada seeking business opportunities.  He was also a frequent visitor to his mining properties in the Colorado mountains.(The Ocean Springs News, April 14, 1914, p. 5)

It appears that the Fields were well received by the community and shared some of their wealth with the local citizenry.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported on Christmas Day 1896, that "a display of fireworks at Elk Lodge will be given for the entertainment of all good citizens of Ocean Springs and vicinity Christmas evening, commencing at 6 o' clock.  Display can be seen from the roadway in front as well from the grounds"

In October 1901, Mary F. Field acquired the sixteen-acre estate of Joseph Benson Rose (1841-1902), which was contiguous and east of her land.  This purchase enlarged Field Lodge, to thirty-two acres with about 600 feet of water frontage on Davis Bayou.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 24, pp. 14-15)

When at Ocean Springs, Rush Field enjoyed gardening.  In February 1905, he exhibited his grapefruit, blood oranges, satsumas, and creole sweets at the Mississippi State Fair at Jackson, Mississippi.  In late October 1905, Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Field and Julia E. Brown returned to Ocean Springs from their summer holiday in North Carolina and New York City.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 3, 1905, p. 3)

Rushton H. Field died at Ocean Springs on December 29, 1908.  After his demise, Mary F. Field may have spent time with her sister, Jessie Isabelle Blair, at New York City.  She continued her winter sojourns to Ocean Springs.  In September 1911, Mrs. Field presented the Ocean Springs public school on Dewey and Porter, a sanitary drinking fountain.  It was placed in the schoolyard in memory of her late husband, Rushton H. Field.  It was the first sanitary drinking fountain installed in South Mississippi.  The Civic Federation planned to place one at Marshall Park.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, December 29, 1908, p. 1 and The Ocean Springs News, September 16, 1911, p. 5)

In September 1909, Field Lodge was sold to Captain Malicah G. May of Pass Christian for $19,000.  Mrs. Field financed $18,000 of the selling price.  For his investment, Captain May received thirty-two acres with a large modern residence and numerous outbuildings, an artesian well, orange, pecan, and grape fruit groves, a rose garden, pier, and boat houses.  In addition, Mrs. Field conveyed all the furniture, fixtures, and appliances, except the billiard table, and goods, which were packed and stored in the closet on the second floor of the house.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, pp.

58-59)

In the spring of 1914 in the Elham District of Kent County, England, Mary F. Field (1859-1930+) married Edward Brooks Scovel (1852-1930+), a native of Detroit, Michigan.  Mr. Scovel was a well-known tenor of his time.  They met at Nice, France on the Cote d'Azur and lived after their wedding at the Villa Spontini in Paris.  In November 1914, the Scovels sailed from England for New York City aboard the SS Minnewaska.(New York Passenger Lists T715_2384, p. 102)

E. Brooks Scovel had married Marcia Roosevelt, the daughter of Judge James I. Roosevelt who resided at 13th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. In 1920, Mary F. Scovel and her spouse were living in retirement at San Diego, California.  They went to Hawaii in 1921 and returned in March 1921 to San Francisco aboard the SS Maui.  By 1930, the Scovels were living quite well at San Diego.  Their home was valued at $35,000 and they had three domestics living with them: a cook, chauffeur, and housekeeper.  No further informaiton.(1920 and 1930 Coronado Co., California T625_130, p. 15B, ED 238 and R 190, p. 11B, ED 37) 

 

Captain M.G. May

Captain Malicah G. May (1834-1910) was a veteran of the Civil War having served with CO A of the 9th Alabama regiment.  He was well known at Gulfport where he had many investments and business interests.  May was a widower having lost his wife circa 1907. Captain May expired on October 4, 1910, at his East beach estate.  The land and improvements were repossessed and conveyed to Mrs. Field for $14,452.85 on February 5, 1912, by Fred Taylor, commissioner of the Jackson County Chancery Court.  In April 1913, Mary F. Field sold Field Lodge to Newton M. Jones of Columbus, Ohio for $25,000.  Jones started the Jackson County Sheep Ranch, a 1200-acre spread, west of Latimer.

If you reside at East Beach today in the LeMoyne Beach Subdivision between Watersedge (1975) and Ashly Place (1980), which was platted in August 1968, your home occupies the former Field Lodge grounds. 

 

MORE ILLINOISANS ARRIVE

            Shortly before and after the turn of the Century, three more Illinois families would acquire land at East Beach.  They were the Woodruff, Curtiss, and Vermilyea clans.  

 

EDWARD WOODRUFF

In April 1897, Horace C. Williston, formerly a resident of Duluth, Minnesota, but now living at Boston, sold Ohio native Ellen Woodruff (1851-1940), 9 acres from the eastern end of his large tract in Lot 2 of Section 32, T7S-R8W, for $900.  She married circa 1868, Edward Woodruff (1847-1910+) also an Ohioan, who fathered their two children.  The family resided at Chicago. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 18, pp. 546-547)

In March 1899, the Woodruffs were staying at the Alderson cottage and were expected to build soon on their East Beach property.  Unfortunately, Mr. Woodruff was recalled to Chicago on business and their anticipated domicile construction date was deferred until the fall of 1899.

In 1911, the local journal announced that the Woodruffs had taken their summer vacation to North Carolina.  They returned to Ocean Springs in September.  The Woodruffs employed Martha Person (1887-1910+) from Alabama as their domestic cook.

Ellen Woodruff sold her East Beach estate to H.O. Penick in April 1920.  It is believed that her husband died at East Beach before the conveyance and Mrs. Woodruff relocated to San Diego, California where she expired on May 10, 1940.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 48, p. 77 and The Jackson County Times, May 18, 1940, p. 4) 

 

H.O. Penick

H.O. Penick came to Ocean Springs from New Orleans where he was active in the banking community.  Penick had been with the Central Trust and Savings Bank and Whitney-Central Trust and Savings Bank as cashier.  Prior to his arrival here, he was in the manufacturing business and a director of the Citizen's Bank at New Orleans.  Mr. Penick had a brother, J.A. Penick, who resided at Charlton, Iowa.

Mrs. Penick, nee Foster, had been reared on the Dixie Plantation at Franklin, Louisiana.  Her father, Murphy J. Foster, served the people of Louisiana as its United States Senator from 1901-1913 and Governor from 1892-1900.  The present governor of Louisiana, Murphy Foster, is a relative.  The Penicks left Ocean Springs for Kent, Washington in March 1924.  Mr. Penick has acquired an interest in a bank in the Seattle area.  H.O. Penick sold "Wildwood", their East Beach estate, to G.W. May, et al in April 1925.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 55, pp. 208-209)    

 

RALPH C. CURTISS-WINTHROP CURTISS

Ralph C. Curtiss (1831-1900+) was born in Warren, Litchfield County Connecticut.  Erastus Curtiss (1790-pre-1860), his father, was a farmer.  Circa 1862, R.C. Curtiss married Calista L. Curtiss (1834-1910+), an Illinois native.  By 1870, they were domiciled at Waverly, Morgan County, Illinois where Ralph C. Curtiss was a successful farmer.  Waverly is twenty miles southwest of Springfield.  Calista L. Curtiss had no children, but she reared and educated ten.  Among these juveniles were Ralph's nephew, Winthrop Curtiss (1862-1903), and his wife, Ida M. Curtiss (1874-1902).  Winthrop made his home at his uncle's winter residence on East Beach, "Seven Pines", where he was the caretaker, and enumerator of the 1900 U.S. Census at Ocean Springs.

Ralph C. Curtiss purchased the northeast quarter of Lot 1 (20 acres), Section 32, T7S-R8W at East Beach in March 1895, from A.G. Tebo of New Orleans for $100.  He acquired water frontage on Davis Bayou with John J. Tribble in August 1897, from Hannah F. Halstead.  Mrs. Halstead had acquired the western 350-feet of the Alderson tract in a court action of March 1897.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 16, pp. 506-507, Bk. 18, p. 490, Bk. 19, p. 171)

John J. Tribble and Winthrop Curtiss planted oyster beds on their riparian rights in Davis Bayou.  They shared jointly in the gain from the harvesting and sale of these mollusks by Adolph Schrieber.  Mr. Tribble also from Waverly, Illinois, quitclaimed his one-half interest at East Beach to R.C. Curtiss in December 1897.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 18, p. 491)

The R.C. Curtiss lot acquired from Mrs. Halstead had about 350 feet on Davis Bayou.  Lizzie Alderson of Leadville, Colorado at "Bonnie Oaks" (now Gulf Coast Research Laboratory) was his eastern neighbor and David W. Halstead and family resided to the west at "Wildermear".

In October 1898, Ralph C. Curtiss conveyed a one-half interest in all of his East Beach property (about 70 acres) for $1500 to Winthrop Curtiss, his nephew.  Winthrop and Ida M. Curtiss had two children, Ralph Charles Curtiss  (1897-1910+) and Helen M. Curtiss (1899-1910+), who were born at Ocean Springs.  Winthrop Curtiss died at San Antonio, Texas on January 15, 1903.  His brother, Charles F. Curtiss (1859-1903+) of Waverly, Illinois, was the executor of his estate, Jackson County, Miss. Chancery Court Cause No. 1129-February 1903.  Maternal aunt, Grace McCasland of East St. Louis received $5.00 per month to rear the Curtiss children.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 19, p. 371)

The Curtiss lands were sold to John Duncan Minor (1863-1920) for $1600 in February 1911.  Minor was a building contractor and the forefather of the Ocean Springs Lumber Company.  He served the people of Jackson County as their Sheriff (1902-1904) and Ocean Springs as Mayor (1911-1912).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 36, pp. 359-360)

 

 ADELBERT R. VERMILYEA

Adelbert R. Vermilyea (1845-ca 1908) was a prominent capitalist from Chicago.  He was born in New York, but was reared on a farm in Tioga County, Pennsylvania.  After serving with the Pennsylvania 35th Volunteer Reserve Infantry during the Civil War, Adelbert matriculated to Mansfield State Normal School, now Mansfield Univesity at Mansfield, Pennsylvania and graduated as the valedictorian of the Class of 1866.  In December 1897, he was a guest of Colonel Joseph B. Rose at "Elk Lodge".  Obviously, Mr. Vermilyea was impressed with the climate and recreational potential of the area, as in July 1901, he and wife, Ida B. Vermilyea, bought the last lot in the Williston tract (western two-thirds of Lot 2) from Horace and Mary L. Williston of New York.  The consideration for the land was $650.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 23, pp. 289-290)

A.R. Vermilyea expired before 1914, as Ida was married to George D. McCain at this time.  Although she was active in the local Civic Federation, which built Marshall Park in 1911, and the Homemakers Club, Mrs. McCain left for Des Moines, Iowa in April 1914.  The business interests of her husband precluded their permanent residency at East Beach.

When the Vermilyea tract was sold to H.O. Penick for $1250 in July 1920, Ida McCain was residing at Hennepin County (Minneapolis), Minnesota.  She was referred to as the only heir of Adelbert R. Vermilyea.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 48, p. 297) 

EARLY 20TH CENTURY HURRICANES

The Hurricane of August 15, 1901, was the worst natural disaster at Ocean Springs since the October Storm of 1893. The shoreline from "Bonnie Oaks" on East Beach to "Breezy Point" at Lovers Lane was in ruins.  From "Bonnie Oaks" to "Elk Lodge", the home of Rushton Field, the damage was slight, only the road and fences were affected.

West of "Elk Lodge", the piers, bathhouses, and pavilions were destroyed.  Mrs. Norwood of Chicago lost her new wharf, pavilion, and bathhouse.  The large bridge over Weeks Bayou was washed 100 feet up into the bayou.  The entire New Beach Road, which had just been built and shelled was swept into the bay.  All small bridges along the beach were lost.

The only damage reported in local journals concerning the 1906 Hurricane in the East Beach area was to the cottage of Mrs. Chauncey S. Bell (1847-1922+) on the Boulevard Farm (probably situated on Holcomb Boulevard).  It was an entire wreck.  The loss in monetary value in the region was probably greater to those engaged in the timber and naval stores industry than anyone else. 

 

SULLIVANS DEPARTURE

During the twenty years that architect Louis H. Sullivan owned property at East Beach, his presence was less noted than the other effluents by the local journals, indicating that he led a private existence when here from Chicago.  This was in keeping with his purpose for acquiring the estate.  As stated previously, East Beach served as an opportunity for Louis H. Sullivan to rest, relax, and recharge his creative mind.  His accomplishments in the field of American architecture        

 

Fred W. Norwood

In June 1896, Mr. Sullivan had acquired a new neighbor on his eastern perimeter, when his friend and client, James Charnley, sold "Bon Silence" to Fred W. Norwood (1840-1921).  Mr. Norwood was born at Northhampton, Massachusetts.  He made his livelihood as a lumber broker.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 389-391 and Hickman, Mississippi Harvest, p. 60)

Although not documented and of anecdotal origin, Ray Thompson, the author of “Know Your Coast”, The Daily Herald, reported in his newspaper column of July 29, 1957, the following: 

“during one of the annual absences of the Norwoods, this house that Sullivan had designed and which they named "Bon Silene"  burned completely to the ground.  However, Mr. Norwood loved the house so well that he had it rebuilt from Sullivan's original blue- prints exactly as it was-with the exception that he finished the house inside entirely with priceless  curly pine he had been hoarding for years.” 

Fred W. Norwood and his wife, Lizzie Norwood (1842-pre 1916), had two daughters, Winifred N. Shapker (1862-1937) and Virginia N. Jones Culver (d. 1906).  Circa 1904, Winifred married Edward B. Shapker (1867-1925+), a bond banker, of Chicago.  The Shapkers resided at Wilmette, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago, with their children Betsy (1905-1925+) and Ned (post 1910-1925+). 

Mrs. George Culver and her husband, a veteran of the Spanish American War, perished in the Hurricane of September 1906.  Her corporal remains were initially buried on Heron Bayou and re-interred in March 1908, in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 14, 1908, p. 3) 

They left one son, Horace Culver, who was circulation manager of The Mobile Item in July 1914.  Young Culver was a sailboat racing enthusiasts.(The Ocean Springs News, July 18, 1914, p. 5)

The Norwoods called their estate "Bon Silene".  In April 1904, The Progress, our local journal, reported that,"for abundance, variety and beauty of roses, no place excels Bon Saline (sic), the home of Mrs. Norwood on East Beach.  It is one of the beautiful sights of this locality" After Mrs. Norwood passed, her husband married the widow, Mrs. Priscilla Finnel, at Cincinnati, Ohio in December 1916.

Henry Seymour (1880-1910+) and Mary Seymour (1880-1910+) worked for the Norwoods as yardman and cook respectively.  Other black families working in the area in 1910, were those of Ernest P. Mayfield, Sr. (1880-1960) who may have been employed by Matilda E. Weeks at "Anchorage", and William "Billy Boo" Seymour (1871-1937) who was an overseer for     ?.  Two of their grandchildren, Harold M. Mayfield, Jr. and Jocelyn Seymour married and are the proprietors of one of Ocean Springs finest eateries, Jocelyn's- "like this, no place", established in December 1982. 

 

Park Place

In February 1911, Mr. Norwood sold his East Beach cottage to Mrs. Fronie Stealy Park, the wife of Samuel T. Park, a retired railroad executive for the C.& E.I. R.R..  He expired on the 4th of July 1921, at Maysville, Kentucky.  His daughter, Mrs. Edward Shapker and family, returned to Ocean Springs for visits as late as April 1925, when they had leased the Darsey Cottage at East Beach.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 36, pp.  445-446)

The Parks called their new home, "Park Place".  Mrs. Park's father, Orlando Oscar Stealey (c. 1850-1924+), who resided at Millboro, Virginia in the 1920s, had been the Washington correspondent for the Louisville (Ky.) Courier Journal.  He lived seasonally with his daughter and son-in-law at East Beach and was a frequent contributor to The Jackson County Times, the local journal.  Colonel O.O. Stealy was a staunch Democrat.  There are still a few on East Beach today! 

 

Gustav Hottinger

A sad day in Louis H. Sullivan's life must have been on May 1, 1910, when his inspirational cottage was sold to Gustav Hottinger of Chicago for $8500.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, pp. 600-601)

  A sense of what the ambience of Ocean Springs may have meant to the creativity of Sullivan was expressed by him in his autobiography as follows:  For while the great cities are great battle grounds, they are not great breeding grounds.  The great minds may go to the great cities but are not born and bred in the great cities.  In the formation of a great mind, solitude is prerequisite; for such a mind is nurtured in contemplation, and strengthened in it. 

Gustav Hottinger (1848-1929) came to Chicago from Vienna, Austria circa 1878.  He married a Bohemian, 1866 immigrant, Katharina Rous (1850-1932).  Mr. Hottinger formed the Northwest Terra Cotta Company at Chicago.  Its assets in 1923 were $4,000,000.  Herr Hottinger legated 93% of the stock in his tile company to his thirty-six original employees.  The Hottinger's son, Adolph T. Hottinger, held the Sullivan cottage until March 1943, when it was conveyed to William G. Nichols of Birmingham, Alabama.

Katherina R. Hottinger expired at her East Beach home on March 30, 1932.  her corporal remians were sent to Chicago for internment.  Katherina was survived by four daughters: Mrs. E. Holbeck; Mrs. R. Zimmerman; Mrs. L. Peterson; and mrs. W.T. Veazue; and two sons, Arnold Hottinger and Adolph Hottinger.  All the Hottinger children were residents of the Windy City.(The Daily Herald, March 31, 1932, p. 5)

The final years of Louis H. Sullivan's life were marked by great sadness.  Divorce and bankruptcy entered his life and he died destitute on April 24, 1924.  On his final project in 1922, Sullivan served as an associate to one of his former draftsmen. 

 

EPILOGUE

On May 21, 1949, Louis H. Sullivan was honored at Ocean Springs by the emplacement of a memorial tablet in the St. Johns Episcopal Church on Rayburn Avenue.  At this time, there were approximately 500 architects attending the Southern Conference on Hospital Planning at the Buena Vista Hotel in Biloxi.  A rose garden was planned on the church grounds.

Today, East Beach, like many great neighborhoods of 19th Century America, has lost its original character.  The white, shell road, leading from the tidal marsh and deep green pine forest, and slowly drifting parallel southeastward along the grassy, shoreface of Davis Bayou past graceful, post-Victorian, raised cottages is no more.  Lone gone are the marvelously landscaped estates of the wealthy Midwestern winter visitors.  Only the Sullivan and Charnley cottages remain basically intact, and fortunately in the proprietorship of good stewards.  As the ink on this essay dries, the romantic view of Deer Island from East Beach, is threatened to be replicated as a clone to Biloxi's rapidly developing casino-resort, skyline. 

With the formation of subdivisions at East Beach, commencing with Lee-Hail in July 1924, the great estate lots of the Sullivan Era (1890-1910) slowly became dissected into smaller tracts.  Only the twenty-two acre, Virginia Elliott DeFrank parcel, which was established by Julia E. Brown in December 1900, remains intact.  Other subdivisions on East Beach and their platting dates are: Halstead No. 1 (1953), Gulfview (1958), Le Moyne Beach (1968), Watersedge (1975), Yarbrough (1980), Ashley Place (1980), and Halstead Bayou (1985). 

Local architects, Bruce Tolar and Maria Bargas, have left their mark at East Beach.  The Robohm House (1990) of Tolar and Charles Yarbrough's guest cottage (1991) of Bargas are certainly noteworthy architectural contributions to this east end neighborhood.

These series of articles were inspired by Dr. Paul E. Sprague, a recent retiree from the art history department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Dr. Sprague continues to research and write about the Sullivan cottages at Ocean Springs.  Paul is no stranger to Ocean Springs, especially the residents of the Sullivan East Beach cottages. 

Some sources utilized in the preparation of this essay were:  Willard Connely, Louis Sullivan, The Shaping of American Architecture (1960); Louis H. Sullivan, Autobiography of an Idea (1924); The Architectural Record, "The Home of an Artist-Architect" (June 1905); Ocean Springs Genealogical Society Journal, Thomas Park, "Recollections of Ocean Springs 1911-1919" (July 1996 and March 1997); Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, "Louis Sullivan Ornamental Iron Work" (1988); Pamela L. Jacobs, "Louis Sullivan's New Orleans Illinois Central Railroad Station and Ocean Springs Cottages" (1972); Margaret Steelman, "An Historical Research on the Louis Sullivan Cottages in Ocean Springs, Mississippi" (1973); North & South, Volume No. III, Nos. 9-10, (1905); The Daily Herald, "East Beach of Ocean Springs Takes a Bow", July 29, 1957; and the land deed records of the Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court. 

Personal thanks to the following people for their kind assistance with this project:  Betty Armand, E.W. "Wy" Halstead and Margaret Lemon Halstead, Virginia E. DeFrank, Mr. and Mrs. Lee Rasor, and Linda Scupien of Ocean Springs; Else Martin and Betty Rodgers of Pascagoula; Betty Pruitt and Benita K. Mason of New Albany, Indiana; and Nancy Manly of Leadville, Colorado. 

 

Hurricane Katrina-August 2005

On the Monday morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast near the mouth of the Pearl River, which separates it from the marshlands of southeast Louisiana.  This Category Four tempest brought high winds and a devastating storm surge estimated at twenty to thirty feet, which inundated the entire Mississippi coastline destroying or severely damaging all structures from Waveland to Pascagoula.  The shoreline of Ocean Springs was no exception.  The waters of Old Fort Bayou and Biloxi Bay removed or flooded almost every home from Seapointe to Gulf Park Estates.  Relatively low-lying East Beach was particularly destroyed.  The Sullivan-Minor cottage was destroyed and the Charnley-Ruddiman house heavily damaged while the Charnley-Butera octagonal cottage received a moderate to severe beating from the wind driven tidal surge.  

 

 

CHARNLEY-NORWOOD COTTAGE

509 East Beach

[L:R: image made June 1992 and September 2006]

The Charnley Cottage: “awash in paper work” [published in The Ocean Springs Record, November 15 and 22, 2007]

Time and Hurricane Katrina have changed Ocean Springs and the Mississippi Gulf Coast region forever.  Developers scramble for the last square-foot of commercial and residential land to metamorphose and remold the landscape and streetscape and create their own ‘architectural history.’  The stabilization and restoration of the Charnley-Sweeney Cottage at 509 East Beach in Ocean Springs is a salient step in preserving one of America’s treasured, architectural structures that was severely damaged by the late tempest of August 2005.

The history of the Charnley-Sweeney Cottage commences in the late 19th Century, when renowned Chicago architect, Louis H. Sullivan (1850-1926), led a contingent of affluent business men from the Midwest to the vacant, verdant shores of East Beach.  After Sullivan purchased six acres from Colonel Newcomb Clark (1836-1913) in 1890, his friend James Charnley, also from Chicago, bought a contiguous fifteen-acre tract east of Sullivan.  Sullivan's brother, Albert W. Sullivan, superintendent of the Illinois Central Railroad, then acquired nine acres east of James Charnely.  Before the turn of the Century, the cedar, oak and magnolia lined shores of then remote East Beach would become a "Chicago neighborhood".  In addition, a wealthy circle of families from the mining districts of central Colorado, settled east of the Sullivan and Charnley cottages where some erected winter retreats or purchased those of former affluent proprietors.

Debate is still active among architectural historians as to who designed the Louis H. Sullivan and James Charnley cottage and guest house.  Sullivan’s home, which was destroyed by Katrina and situated at 100 Holcomb Boulevard, was owned by Paul Minor, embattled, former Ocean Springs’ legal representative and resident, who is appealing his recent conviction for bribing local judges.  The consensus of historians is that Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959), one of the architectural giants of the 20th Century, was the creator of both.  At this time, young Wright was in the employ of the firm of Adler & Sullivan at Chicago, as a draftsman.  He would leave the firm in 1893 to pursue his own dreams and become one of the signature architects of the 20th Century. 

Historical Significance

     Had the Charnley-Norwood House not been associated with Monsieurs Sullivan and Wright, it might have been bull dozed in the FEMA cleanup post-Katrina.  Kathi Ruddiman Sweeney, the owner of record, inherited the property after Benjamin Edsel Ruddiman (1917-2006), her beloved father and long time WAMA super volunteer, had passed.  Her initial plan was to demolish the derelict structure and sell the large beach front lot.  After Mrs. Sweeney applied for a demolition permit, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History approached her to allow them to restore the property with federal grant money.

     Ken P'Pool, Mississippi Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, believes that the Charnley Cottage could conceivably be considered America's first modern house.  Interviewed by the Bloomberg News in November 2007, Mr. P’Pool related that: ``We also think these [Charnley Cottage and guest house] are important buildings because they show a morphing of one architectural style to another. While difficult to classify, the bungalows reflect elements of the shingle style but also presage 20th-century forms. The long, low lines are ideals we see later in prairie style.  This is an outstanding opportunity to restore some of the heritage lost on the Gulf Coast and the site could become better known than it was before Katrina.” 

Contractual obligation

In 2007, Kathi Sweeney signed a Historic Preservation Easement with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH).  This legally binding instrument gives MDAH the right to “ensure the preservation, stabilization, rehabilitation or repair of the subject property, and to provide planning and technical assistance to preserve the historical and architectural integrity of the features, materials, appearance, workmanship, and environment that rendered the subject property eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.”  Mrs. Sweeney received or will receive grant funds through the Hurricane Relief Grant Program for Historic Preservation federally funded through the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior for her donation.

More demolition requests?

Recently, Kathi Sweeney and David Palmer, her son, have sought again to proceed with the demolition of the Charnley Cottage through the Board of Aldermen and Mayor of Ocean Springs.  Mrs. Sweeney apparently impatient with the lack of progress by MDAH and its contractors is seeking “demolition” to get them moving forward as the process is bogged down and basically nothing has been accomplished to permanently stabilize the Charnley Cottage.  After agreeing to a Historic Preservation Easement with MDAH, demolition would seem to be a moot point.  Mrs. Sweeney no longer legally controls the destiny of her property.  Chelius H. Carter, Director of the MDAH Gulf Coast Field Office at Biloxi, opines that only the Attorney General of Mississippi and legal representatives of the National Park Service could abrogate the Historic Preservation Easement agreed to by Kathi Sweeney.

The future

One could only surmise that the patience of Kathi Sweeney will be challenged in the future months and years, as the gears of government bureaucracy slowly churn progressively to restore her historic Charnley Cottage.  As someone once said, “there is no free lunch”.  Clearly, concurring with government easements and accepting federal grants has its caveats.

 

REFERENCES:

Regina Hines Ellison, Ocean Springs, 1892, (Second Edition), (Lewis Printing Services:  Pascagoula, Mississippi-1991), pp.      .

Don L. Griswold, History of Leadville and Lake County, Colorado, Volume 1, p. 2058.

Susie Willis Vaughan, History of the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs-1887-1903, p. 3.

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, "William Bradford", (Jackson County Genealogical Society:  Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989), pp. 139-140. 

Journals

The Bay Press, "Sullivan-Wright compound destroyed", November 4, 2005, p. 24.

The Daily Herald, "Mrs. Hottinger dies", March 31, 1932, p. 5.

The Chicago Tribune,

The Herald Democrat (Leadville, Colorado), "Death of Reverend John Alderson", August 20, 1906.

The New Albany Weekly Ledger, December 1, 1915, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News, "Local News", May 6, 1915.

The Ocean Springs News"Local News", May 6, 1915.

The Ocean Springs Record"Sous Les Chenes", December 14, 1995, p. 24.

The Ocean Springs Record"Historic homes may be history", October 17, 2005, p. A-9.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Executrix to push for Charnley demolition”, March 15, 2007, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Board stalls on Charnley demolition”, March 22, 2007, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “History repeats itself”, October 18, 2007, p. A2.

 The Ocean Springs Record, “Charnley House remains in limbo”, November 8, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Stay granted historic home”, March 21, 2007, p. A7.

The Ocean Springs Record"The Charnley Cottage: Awash in paperwork", November 15, 2007, p. A3.

The Ocean Springs Record"The Charnley Cottage: Awash in paperwork, Part II", November 22, 2007, p.  .

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Booming Ocean Springs”, January 30, 1891.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", January 28, 1898.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", October 27, 1899.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star"Ocean Springs Locals", March 14, 1908..

The Progress, Local News”, February 19, 1904.

The Progress, “Local News”, April 2, 1904.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 McEvoy-Usner Place-This vintage image of the McEvoy-Usner, summer home on East Beach was made circa 1905 by Roy L. Bland (1878-1970), a prolific local photographer.  Hurricane Camille destroyed this structure in August 1969.  Courtesy of  H. Randy Randazzo-Arlington, Virginia.

The McEvoy-Usner Cottage

East Beach, Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Geographically, East Beach at Ocean Springs, Mississippi is defined as the shore face on the Bay of Biloxi and Davis Bayou, from Weeks Bayou on the northwest, southeasterly to Stark Bayou, a linear distance of about 1.3 miles.  A low-lying peninsula, Marsh Point, which lies about a mile to the south across Davis Bayou, affords some protection to the shoreline from storms generated from the south and southeast.  Most of East Beach is located in irregular Section 32, T7S-R8W which contains 216 acres of highly, variable terrain.  Inland, a few hundred feet north of the beach, a low-lying, northwest-southeast striking, narrow ridge, which parallels the entire shoreline of East Beach, reaches an elevation of about fifteen feet above sea level.  This ridge, which was the site of early cultural development in this area, is bounded on the north by two small bayous, Weeks Bayou on the west and Halstead Bayou, formerly Alderson Bayou, on the east.  Vegetation in the area ranges from marsh grasses in the bayous to live oaks, cedars, magnolias, pines, yaupon and other indigenous shrubs and native plants on the sandy ridge.

PIONEER SETTLERS

The first American settlement at East Beach probably occurred shortly after the land along this sylvan strand was patented in 1837, by the Federal Government.  Section 32 was divided into four fractional, governmental lots each 1,320 feet wide.  Lot 1 on the east was acquired by Louis A. Caillavet (1790-1860), a native of Opelousas Post, St. Landry Parish, Louisiana.  With Marguerite Fayard (1787-1863), his wife, Monsieur Caillavet was the progenitor of a large pioneer family at Biloxi; Lots 2 and 3 were patented to James Fitch Bradford (1802-1860+), a Connecticut native; and Lot 4 went to John Black.  The lands of James F. Bradford were the most desirable as they encompassed over 2800 feet of water front and were relatively high compared to Lots 1 and 4 which were chiefly bayou and marsh.

     Since many early land titles in Jackson County have been destroyed by fire, it is difficult to abstract properties before 1875.  From the available Jackson County Chancery Court land deed records and the family genealogy of the Bradford family provided by J.K. Lemon (1914-1998) and his wife, Eleanor Bradford, it appears that the family of Lyman Bradford (1803-1858) was the earliest settlers at East Beach.  Lyman Bradford was born at Montville, New London County, Connecticut.  Before 1810, he came South as a child, with his father, Captain Stephen Bradford (1771-1825+), and mother, Peggy Comstock.  The Bradford family homesteaded on 820 acres in Section 38, T4S-R6W and Section 39, T4S-R7W.  This settlement was situated on the east side of the Pascagoula River and west of Big Cedar Creek, about 3.5 miles northwest of Wade.  The other children of Stephen and Peggy Comstock Bradford were:  James Fitch Bradford; Burissa Bradford Holley (1808-1881); and John Bradford (1817-1898) m. Burissa Jane Elder (1830-1917) 

Burissa Bradford married Benjamin Holley (1810-1860+), a native of New York.  Holley would become a large land owner in East Biloxi and also a Judge in Harrison County.  Her brother, John Bradford (1817-1898), also resided at Biloxi.  Their grandson, Anson Holley (1882-1967), would become one of Biloxi's finest boat builders.  Many of Holley's "white-winged queens" sailed for Ullyse S. Desporte and the Charles B. Foster Packing Company.

In May 1850, Lyman Bradford bought a one-half interest in 210 acres on the Pascagoula River, primarily in Section 22, T7S-R6W, from his brother, James Fitch Bradford.  The Griffin Cemetery is now on this old Bradford settlement site.  Bradford family lore relates that James Fitch Bradford sold his East Beach property consisting of about 110 acres to Lyman and moved to Fannin County, Texas before 1860. 

In August 1836, Lyman Bradford married Cynthia Davis (1813-1887), the daughter of Samuel Davis (1769-1831) and Sally Balscher (1776-1860+).  Here on East Beach, the Lyman Bradfords reared their family:  Sherwood Bradford (1838-1922) m. Eleanora Davis (1851-1938); Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Bradford (1840-1886); Martha A. Bradford (1842-1887); Sarah B. Turner Ramsay (1846-1926) m. Enoch N. Ramsay (1832-1916); Margaret Bradford (1846-1920) m. George W. Davis (1842-1914); Lyman Bradford Jr. (1851-1894); and Mary ‘Mamie’ B. Ramsay (1853-1942) m. Andrew W. Ramsay (1830-1919).

From land deed records, it can be ascertained with a high degree of certitude that the Lyman Bradford homestead was located in Lot 2.  This is corroborated by the U.S. Survey Map of 1854.  The family cemetery which had two burials before 1887 appears to have been located in the E/2 of the N/2 of Lot 1.

East Beach Road circa 1925-This image was made by Winifred Norwood Shapker (1869-1937), the daughter of Frederick W. Norwood (1840-1921) and Elizabeth Norwood (1842-pre-1916).  Frederick W. Norwood was a Chicago entrepreneur who with C.S. Butterfield acquired thousands of acres of Mississippi, yellow pine in Lincoln County and founded the mill town of Norfield, Mississippi which supplied lumber for Chicago in the late 19th Century.  Mr. Norwood acquired the East Beach home of James Charnley (1843-1905), also a lumberman and resident of Chicago, in June 1896.  In Mrs. Shapker’s vintage photograph which was taken from an early road to East Beach and viewed eastward across Week’s Bayou.  Note that there are at least two bridges through the marsh and the telephone poles along the beach.  Also note the road rising up the East Beach ridge which was the focus of early settlements in this area of Ocean Springs.

PRE-McEVOY EAST BEACH

When Margaret Ann O’Neil McEvoy (1847-1918) acquired land and possibly a cottage at East Beach in November 1902, her neighbors to the east were primarily affluent Midwesterners: Joseph Benson Rose (1841-1902), proprietor of the Royal Baking Powder Company which later became a part of Nabisco; Louis H. Sullivan (1850-1926), major American and Chicago architect and mentor of Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959); Frederick W. Norwood (1840-1921), former Union Army officer and Chicago lumber baron; Julia E. Brown (died 1907); Albert R. Vermilyea (1845-1908), former Union infantry Sergeant with the 35th Pennsylvania Volunteers and a prominent Chicago capitalist; Ellen Woodruff (1850-1941); Mary F. Field Scovel (1848-1930+), the wife of Rushton H. Field (1838-1908), Chicago hotelier; Gilbert O. Clayton (1861-1945), an Illinois native and clerk at NOLA; Hallie S. Harman; David W. Halstead (1842-1918), former Union corporal in the 2nd Ohio Cavalry.  Mr. Halstead became the founder of a local nursery and his descendants still reside on East Beach; Winthrop Curtiss (1862-1903) of Waverly, Illinois, took the 1900 Federal Census at Ocean Springs; and I. Giles Lewis (1851-1918), a New York native and a pharmacist at Chicago.

Silas Weeks

In July 1879, Matilda Rayne Weeks (1830-1912), the spouse of Captain Silas Weeks (1823-1901), acquired a large parcel of land facing Deer Island between the Mill Dam Bayou, present day Ocean Springs Inner Harbor, and a small bayou, which became known as Weeks Bayou, from John I. Kendall (1841-1898) and Mary E. Smith Kendall (1852-1880) of New Orleans.  The Weeks tract was east of the William Gray Kendall (1812-1872) estate which was centered about the now vacant lot which once was the locus of the Hansen-Dickey House, called Shadowlawn, on Shearwater Drive.  Here, the Weeks family erected a large summer home, which they appropriately named, "Anchorage".  Captain Weeks retired here raising poultry and growing vegetables until his demise in January 1901.  He had been a leading shipping agent at New Orleans.  "Anchorage" was legated to his daughter, Jessie Weeks Boyd, and later owned by her daughter, Miss Jessie M. Boyd (1881-1963).  It is believed to have been demolished in the 1940s.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 3, pp. 211-213 and Bk. 4, pp. 123-125and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 18, 1901)

Mrs. Matilda Weeks was born in London, England of Robert W. Rayne and Mary B. Langdon.  With Silas Weeks, she reared a family consisting of four daughters: Ada W. Depass (1851-1909), Jesse W. Boyd (1855-1932), Hattie W. Darsey (1858-1939), and Mamie W. Rice (1864-1937).  Her grandchildren, Misses Jesse Boyd (1881-1963) and Ethel W. Rice (1887-1969), are well remembered by the older generations at Ocean Springs.

 Ada Weeks (1851-1909) married David Depass (1850-1926) of New Orleans.  He made his livelihood dealing in stocks and cotton futures.  In June 1890, they purchased what we know today as the Shearwater Pottery of the George W. Anderson (1861-1937) family from Albert Baldwin (1843-1912), a dry goods merchant and entrepreneur of New Orleans.  They had one daughter, Hattie Virginia Depass (1882-1926+), who married Howard Hall.  The Halls resided at Chicago.

Jessie Weeks (1855-1932) married a Texan, William Boyd.  Their children were Silas W. Boyd (1876-1950) and Jessie M. Boyd (1881-1963).  Silas W. Boyd made a career in the Mississippi lumber business operating out of Jackson, while his sister, Miss Jessie M. Boyd, gave her life helping others primarily with the American Red Cross.  She was at the scene of many of the great floods of the 1920s and 1930s, including the infamous August 1936, Johnstown, Pennsylvania disaster.  

Hattie Darsey (1858-1939) was born at sea possibly on her father's ship.  She married Lowndes A. Darsey (1849-1929), a Methodist minister, from Georgia.  The Reverend Darsey came to the Mississippi Conference circa 1904, and served Methodist Episcopal churches at Ocean Springs and Pascagoula.  The Darsey children were: L.A. Darsey Jr., J.W. Darsey, G.U. Darsey, Rison C. Darsey, Mrs. Joe Zink, and Mrs. Lee Hammond.

Mamie Weeks (1864-1937) married George A. Rice (1860-1942) of New Orleans.  They had one child, Ethel Weeks Rice (1887-1969).

In May 1883, Captain Silas Weeks acquired sixty acres of land on East Beach.  This purchase precipitated a legal action in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Cause No. 416, "Martha H. Hilzeim v. Mary E. Snipes, Silas Weeks, et al", filed February 1892.  The disputed tract of Captain Weeks at East Beach was located in Governmental Lot 4, Section 32, T7S-R8W.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 6, p. 386)

The Silas Weeks lands at East Beach in Ocean Springs were sold by his heirs several years after his demise in 1901.  One tract went to Margaret A. McEvoy of New Orleans for $1200 in November 1902, while another was conveyed to Augustus H. Niles of Richland County, Illinois in February 1904, for $1000.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 28, p. 228 and Bk. 27, p. 601) 

 

“Anchorage”-This rustic, side-gabled, dormered roof, seven bay residence was erected by Silas Weeks (1823-1901), a Mainer, sea captain and NOLA shipping agent, circa 1880, east of the present day Dickey and Sherod Raum Arndt estate on East Beach.  In retirement at Ocean Springs, Captain Weeks raised poultry and vegetables.  Anchorage is believed to have been razed in the 1940s. Image by Winifred Norwood Shapker (1869-1937) courtesy of Lynn Sutter.

McEvoy family

Margaret Ann O’Neil McEvoy (1847-1918) was a native of County Kerry, Ireland and immigrated to America in 1860.  At New Orleans, she married Martin McEvoy (1833-1924), also an Irish immigrant.  Martin McEvoy left his native Dublin and arrived in America in 1848 and came to New Orleans in 1854.  They were the parents of four children born in the Crescent City: Dudley J. McEvoy (1868-1936) m. Marguerite L. Boes (1889-1965); Albert J. McEvoy (1882-1915); George A. McEvoy (1881-1964); and Margaret A. ‘Rita’ McEvoy (1885-1963).  Martin McEvoy made his livelihood as a laborer in the wholesale houses of the Crescent City until he left to join the Army of Northern Virginia.  He became janitor and building superintendent for the New Orleans’ Board of Trade in 1882 and in November 1912, he was recognized and warded a loving cup for his faithful and diligent service to that organization.  Martin McEvoy expired in the Crescent City on March 21, 1924.  He was preceded in death by his spouse who passed on November 25, 1918.(The Daily Picayune, November 11, 1912, p. 10, November 26, 1918, p. 2 and March 23, 1924, p. 4)

Ocean Springs

At Ocean Springs, Dudley J. McEvoy met and in October 1912 in New Orleans, married Marguerite Lillian Boes, the daughter of Charles Peter Boes (1859-1928) and Sarah Lahr (1859-1936), both natives of New York, probably Westchester County, and both of Germany immigrant parents.  The Boes family arrived in Ocean Springs circa 1893, from New Orleans where circa 1889, they may have relocated to from New York. At Ocean Springs, Mr. Boes made his livelihood as a railroad carpenter and by 1915, Charles P. Boes was the proprietor of a small confectionary in the former Paragon Saloon owned by George E. Arndt (1857-1945), himself a first generation German-American. At this time, the Paragon Saloon had been moved just north of its former site on the southwest corner of Washington Avenue and Robinson. This relocation was necessary when in 1913, the Farmers and Merchants Bank Building was erected here.(1900 and 1910 Federal Census-Jackson Co., Mississippi T623_812, p. 12B, ED 45 and  T624-744, p. 7A, ED 62 and Patricia Boes-Parenteau, June 17, 2003 and The Ocean Springs News, July 8, 1915, p. 4)

Boes home

In April 1905, Charles P. Boes acquired a portion of Lot 12-Block 37 of the 1854 Culmseig Map of Ocean Springs from Dr. O.L. Bailey (1870-1938). Here on the northwest corner of Calhoun and Van Cleave, the Boes family resided until their departure for New Orleans sometimes before February 1919. They were residents of New Orleans, when their home on Calhoun was acquired by Noah A. Bellman (1889-1941) and spouse, Williamina Catchot Bellman (1898-1990), in February 1919, for $500. The old Boes cottage is known today as the Bellman House and situated at 1401 Calhoun.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 29, p. 536 and Bk. 46, pp. 359-360) 

Dudley J. McEvoy was born at Mobile and made his livelihood at New Orleans.  He and Marguerite Boes were the parents of Dudley J. McEvoy Jr. (1913-1978); Albert J. McEvoy (1915-1981) m. Margaret Luke; John O’Neil McEvoy (1922-2000) m. Flossie Weber ; and Margaret Lynn McEvoy (1923-2002) m. William Zaccardi.

Greenwood Cemetery

The following members of the McEvoy-Boes family lie in eternal rest in their family burial plot at the Greenwood Cemetery in New Orleans: Charles Peter Boes, Sarah Lahr Boes, John Morris Boes, Lena Boes McGee, and Marguerite Boes McEvoy and Dudley J. McEvoy, Margaret O. McEvoy, Margaret A. McEvoy, George A. McEvoy, and Martin McEvoy.

Dreuding lease

Of interest to some would be a lease executed in May 1914, by Margaret McEvoy to Henry A. Drueding (1866-1954) of New Orleans for her summer cottage on East Beach.  The rate for five months was $15 per month.  For this consideration, Mr. Drueding, the lessee, received the following:  the use of the bath house and boat; the house to be furnished; repairs to the roof, the screens and doors of the side porch, the windows and shutters to be completed by May 25, 1914; locks, keys and other fastenings to be delivered in good order; and water pipes and plumbing to be delivered in good condition.  The lessee was expected to keep the chimneys and privies clean and to comply with all City Ordinances at his own expense.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 40, p. 342)

Henry A. Dreuding was born at Oldenburg, Germany and arrived at New Orleans circa 1891.  Circa 1903, he married Elizabeth Schanzmeyer (1875-1958), a native of Westphalia, Missouri, and they reared seven children in the Crescent City.  Mr. Dreuding was a well-known organist at New Orleans being affiliated with St. Mary’s Assumption Church, the Elks, and Leiderkranz, a German singing society.  In the fall of 1905, Professor Dreuding toured the Midwest visiting Chicago and St. Louis.  He was offered a position at Chicago, but preferred life in the South and returned to New Orleans.  He expired at New Orleans in July 1954.  Elizabeth S. Dreuding died in September 1958.  Their corporal remains were interred in the Metairie Cemetery.(The Daily Picayune, October 5, 1905, p. 12, The Times Picayune, July 12, 1954, p. 2 and September 25, 1958, p. 2)

McEvoy-Usner Place

This vintage image of the McEvoy-Usner, summer home on East Beach was made circa 1905 by Roy L. Bland (1878-1970), a prolific local photographer.  Hurricane Camille destroyed this structure in August 1969.  Courtesy of  H. Randy Randazzo-Arlington, Virginia.

Sale

In March 1915, Margaret Schmaltz Usner (1848-1929), the spouse of Jacob Usner (1841-1926) of New Orleans acquired the McEvoy place on East Beach for $1600.  Her son, Anthony M. Usner (1872-1946), had bought the A.H. Niles property, next door, in September 1912 for $1500.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 41, p. 548 and Bk. 38, pp. 491)       

Usner family

Jacob Usner was born at Blieskastel, Bavaria, Germany.  He came to New Orleans in 1845 and served with the 2nd Regiment of the Louisiana Infantry Volunteers in the Civil War.  After the conflict, he married Margaret Schmaltz in October 1867.  She was a recent immigrant from Lauterbourg, Bas Rhin, France in the Alsace region.  At New Orleans, Jacob Usner made his livelihood as a contractor and builder.  He did all the interior woodwork in St. Mary’s and St. Stephen’s Catholic Churches in the Crescent City.   The Usner family was domiciled at 923 Seventh Street and reared six sons and two daughters: Jacob V. Usner (1868-1958) m. Theodora Pollman; Emma Usner (1870-1956) m. Nicholas Werther (1868-1908); Anthony M. Usner (1872-1946) m. Mary Ellen Houlihan (1871-1940); Louis Usner (1875-1949) m. Marie M. Miller (1878-1958); Frederick J. Usner (1876-1966) m. Lorena Fredericka Walsdorf (1882-1982); Joseph M. Usner (1879-1944) m. Stella Harring Sougeron (1888-1968); Clara Wilhelmina Usner (1881-1936) m. Albert F.  Bernius (1881-1947); and Nicholas E. Usner (1889-1971) m. Luella Spanier (1900-1954).

1925 land option

In June 1925, Jacob and Margaret Schmaltz Usner offered a one-year option on the ‘Jacob Usner place’ at Ocean Springs, Mississippi to Albert F. Bernius (1881-1947), his son-in-law.  At this time, the ‘Jacob Usner place’ was described as a tract of land 400 feet by 400 feet.  Apparently the option by Mr. Bernius was never exercised.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 55, p. 631)

1940 agreement and land division

In late November 1940, Louis Usner; Jacob Usner; Mrs. Emma Usner Werther; Anthony M. Usner; Joseph Usner; Nicholas Usner; Frederick Usner; and Conrad Albert Bernius, heirs at law of Jacob Usner and Margaret Schmaltz Usner, and each owner of an undivided 1/8 interest in two tracts of land in coastal Mississippi, met at New Orleans and agreed on an equitable division of these mutually owned tracts.  Only the division of the Jacob Usner, East Beach, Ocean Springs, Mississippi tract will be discussed.  As surveyed the former Jacob Usner tract ran for 422 feet in a northwesterly direction parallel to the Beach Road and was west of the line dividing Lot 3 and Lot 4 of Section 32, T7S-R8W.  Its western perimeter ran north for 400 feet and on the eastern side it had a boundary of 665 feet.  On the north, the east-west closing boundary ran 328 feet.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 76, p. 271)

The Heirs of Jacob Usner agreed to divide their land at Ocean Springs into five (5) parcels.  From east to west, the ownership and width on East Beach Road and depth were as follows: Parcel I-Louis Usner-75 feet on Beach Road with 665 feet on the east line and 620 feet on the west line; Parcel II-Jacob Usner-75 feet on Beach Road with 620 feet on the east line and 575 feet on the west line; Parcel III-Nicholas Usner-104 feet on Beach Road with 575 feet on the east line and 511 feet on the west line; Parcel IV-Anthony M. Usner-75 feet on Beach Road with 511 feet on the east line and 459 feet on the west line; Parcel V-Frederick J. Usner-93 feet on Beach Road with 459 feet on the east line and 400 feet on the west line.

Usner settlement

It appears that the large Jacob Usner family occupied the former McEvoy place as a weekend and summer retreat during their ownership.  Joan Usner Salvant (b. 1932), the daughter of Clarence L. Usner (1907-1992) and Lillian Cox (1911-1981) remembers that during the depression that Percy Noel (1908-1977) and Ruby WilliamsNoel (1915-1993) lived in the Usner family East Beach home as caretakers.   Percy Bernard Noel (1908-1977) was born at Cottage Hill, Mobile County, Alabama.  He resided at 609 Ward Avenue and made his livelihood as a painter and shrimper.  Percy married Ruby Williams (1915-1993), the daughter of William Eugene "Nub" Williams (1890-1966) and Lorena Devereaux (1896-1978).  They were the parents of Vallee N. Atkinson and Charles Noel.(Joan Usner Salvant, January 2011 and The Daily Herald, March 17, 1977)            

Clarence L. Usner

Joan U. Salvant recalls that by 1940-1941, the Usner family had outgrown the McEvoy-Usner house and that Clarence L. Usner, her father, began constructing a small cabin [12 feet by 12 feet] on his tract, which was west of the larger McEvoy-Usner house.  The Usner cabin grew through the years and was the site of fond memories for Joan as she enjoyed with her father in his small boat, fishing and exploring the bayous which penetrate and drain areas of Marsh Point to the south of East Beach.  The September 1947 Hurricane did much damage on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and East Beach at Ocean Springs did not escape the fury of this tropical cyclone.  The Usner properties survived but there was much beach erosion and Live Oak tree loss in their neighborhood.  Hurricane Camille of August 1969 destroyed the McEvoy-Usner house as well as the cabin of Clarence L. Usner.(Joan Usner Salvant, January 31, 2010)

Clarence L. Usner

Joan U. Salvant recalls that by 1940-1941, the Usner family had outgrown the McEvoy-Usner house and that Clarence L. Usner, her father, began constructing a small cabin [12 feet by 12 feet] on his tract, which was west of the larger McEvoy-Usner house.  The Usner cabin grew through the years and was the site of fond memories for Joan as she enjoyed with her father in his small boat, fishing and exploring the bayous which penetrate and drain areas of Marsh Point to the south of East Beach.  The September 1947 Hurricane did much damage on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and East Beach at Ocean Springs did not escape the fury of this tropical cyclone.  The Usner properties survived but there was much beach erosion and Live Oak tree loss in their neighborhood.  Hurricane Camille of August 1969 destroyed the McEvoy-Usner house as well as the cabin of Clarence L. Usner.(Joan Usner Salvant, January 31, 2010)

At this time, may I introduce you to Joan Usner Salvant.  She is going to share with us her recollections of her childhood at East Beach in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  Joan Usner was born at New Orleans to Clarence L. Usner (1907-1992) and Lillian M. Cox (1911-1981).  She began her career in architectural drawing and commercial art, but soon gravitated to the fine arts. Her skillful perspective renderings and beautiful landscapes have been enthusiastically received for more than forty years. Her love of history has led to a highly successful series of paintings of historic buildings, sites and homes in Texas, where she lives and works, and in her native city of New Orleans, Louisiana.  Many of Ms. Salvant's paintings of Texas are collected in three books published by the University of Texas Press: The Historic Ranches of Texas, The Historic Seacoast of Texas, and If These Wall Could Speak: The Historic Forts of Texas.

Joan Usner Salvant's paintings and drawings are found in the art collections of two US Presidents, US Congressmen, governors, a former First Lady, banks, holding companies, petroleum companies, interior designers, and various businesses. Permanent hangings of Salvant art work may be found in the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D. C., the University of Texas Visitors Center, and Fort Concho Historical Museum - San Angelo, Texas.   Galleries that have displayed her work are Salado Gallery in Salado, Texas, Evangeline Gallery in Lafayette, Louisiana, Merrill-Chase Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, and Sotheby’s of New York.

Ms. Salvant has also illustrated a number of other historical books and has been featured in Texas Highways Magazine seven times.  Much of her time is spent on commissions, creating art depicting the private ancestral, family and childhood homes of her clients.

Teaching people to paint and draw is a passion for Salvant, and she regularly conducts art classes and workshops in Austin and Central Texas. A gifted instructor and mentor, she generously shares her knowledge of the basics of good drawing -- perspective, light and shadow, and composition -- as well as techniques of watercolor painting and ink drawing.  To see Joan’s work and acquire it, please view her website at: www.jusalvant.com

 

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES OF EAST BEACH

OCEAN SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI: 1933-1954

by

Joan Usner Salvant

 I was fortunate to have spent every summer of my childhood at the Usner home on East Beach in Ocean Springs, Mississippi from 1933 until 1954.  The following is a recollection of those wonderful days shared with relatives and friends as a child and later as a teenager until the year I married. 

It was summer in New Orleans, sweaty, hot and steamy. The only way to stay cool was to turn on the water hose and run gratefully through its spray. Or, wait until Dad’s vacation finally came and we were on our way to glorious Ocean Springs and the Big House on East beach, where gentle breezes constantly blew off the waters of the Mississippi Sound, and we could swim all day long in the gentle surf.

It was a distance of ninety miles between New Orleans and Ocean Springs and back then it would take the better part of a half day to make the trip by car.  After crossing into Mississippi, the ride along the coast between Pass Christian and Biloxi, with the beautiful palatial homes was a pleasant one, but as a child, I was anxious to get to our destination.  Finally, we were crossing the Biloxi Bay Bridge looking out over the water that bordered Front Beach of Ocean Springs.  Anxiously we looked to see that the old oyster house in the marsh in the distance was still standing on it high piers as it had for so many years guarding the bay.

As our 1936 Nash sedan left the streets of Ocean Springs and passed the little harbor of fishing boats, making our way up the hill, through the woods past Shearwater Pottery, my anticipation soared.  Then down out of the woods and off of the hill we came to almost water level.  We passed over the little “Usner Bayou” bridge (as the Usners called it), riding along the new seawall, and there on the hill ahead, covered with countless ancient oaks, was the Big House.  Some folks said it looked haunted, and maybe in the bleak winter it did, but if it was, they were the most friendly of ghosts.

Usner Cottage-This original watercolor of the Usner Cottage was painted by Joan Usner Salvant who as a child spent her summers on East Beach at Ocean Springs.  In later life, Joan studied architecture and commercial art and has developed into a nationally known artist.  Her painting and drawings are found in the art collections of two US Presidents, US Congressmen, governors, a former First Lady, banks, holding companies, petroleum companies, interior designers, and various businesses. Permanent hangings of Salvant art work may be found in the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington, D. C., the University of Texas Visitors Center, and Fort Concho Historical Museum - San Angelo, Texas.  To see Mrs. Salvant’s work, please visit www.jusalvant.com. Courtesy of Joan Usner Savant-Austin, Texas.

     The memory of my summers at East Beach is, without a doubt, the happiest of my childhood.   For there it was that I would run carefree through the sandy loam that surrounded the house, playing with my second and third cousins whose family also came for vacation to the Big House.  What a treat that was for me as an only child.  There was always so much to do to have fun as children.  There were six huge live oak trees that guarded the drive at the top of the hill, three on each side, and someone years ago had placed thick wooden seating planks between them.  As the trees grew larger the seats became too high to sit on but were ideal for imagining the place as a playtime grocery store, or bakery for making mud pies, or for a fortress for battles.  There was always someone playing horseshoes on the west side of the house where those big trees gave constant shade.  With our parents we went crabbing off the bridge at “Usner “ Bayou [Week’s Bayou], or grabbed some bamboo fishing poles that always leaned against a tree in front of the house and go fishing for our supper in one of the little skiffs.

Early in my memory there was only a very small amount of sandy beach and that was in front of the seawall which at that time ended at the beginning of our property.  In front of the house the water came up to the road which was at the bottom of the big hill.  To get from the house on the hill to the road below and then the water, there was a rickety wooden stair that always seemed to be under repair to no avail.  The skiffs rested there in the water moored by ropes to heavy stakes, and someone would wade out, untie the skiff and bring it to the water’s edge so we could all pile in.  For supper that night we would dine on white and speckled trout, maybe some boiled crabs, shrimp and even oysters found in the bed on the sandbar in the water out front.  What a feast!

Several days a week we would all drive to Community Pier on Front Beach and go swimming.  On the way back we would go into town on Government Street to be treated to snowballs at the little stand that stood in the front yard of a house next to the movie theater [Illing’s Theatre on Washington Aveue].  Speaking of the theater that was the only place I ever saw a silent movie with an organ playing for sound.  It was probably around 1935 and I guess the theater hadn’t been rigged for sound yet.  I couldn‘t have been more than three at the time. 

I remember a few things about the little town that we would frequent every few days to buy groceries and sometimes have a meal.  Early on, my parents bought their groceries from Gottsche’s grocery that stood at the corner of Washington Avenue, then US Highway 90 and Desoto Street, near where the highway made a turn through town.  In later years we traded at Steelman’s Grocery on the highway as it turned east toward Pascagoula.  Mr. Steelman had his sons all working for him - one in the butcher shop, one on the cash register and the youngest one (my age) helping customers carry their groceries.  There was Lovelace Drugs, a small diner, an ice cream shop that sold black walnut flavor ice cream, and a variety store that sold hardware, trinkets of all kinds and some items that cost no more than a penny.  And of course, there was the railroad station where the steam locomotives brought our friends to visit us on occasion.  Sometimes we would drive past the old hotel [now Aunt Jenny’s Catfish Restaurant] near the springs, cross the marsh and bayou, and go up into the Gulf Hills and enjoy seeing the beautiful homes and broad landscape of the golf courses.  Then it would be back again to our home on East Beach.

COMMUNITY PIER

Located on Front Beach at Ocean Springs, the Community Pier was a summertime gathering place for the town’s young people in the 1930s,1940s and 1950s.  Here swimming lessons were taught by Bertridge ‘Bert’ Bellman Brou (1900-1992), the daughter of Philip M. Bellman and Alice V. Seymour (1880-1957).  While all of Bert’s  children were excellent, competitive amateur swimmers, Edward J. Brou (1921-2004) and Margaret M. Brou (b. 1922), went on to win regional swimming championships.  In September 1936, Edward J. Brou set a record at the Southern AAU swim meet in New Orleans, when he swam the mile in 25 minutes and 59 seconds.  He placed second in the two-mile event.  At Baton Rouge in August 1939, Margaret M. Brou was the Southern AAU junior relay champion.  Charlotte 'Lottie' Moore Schoemell (1895-1966), former world champion endurance swimmer, also taught swimming at the Community Pier and the Buena Vista pier at Biloxi in the late 1940s and early 1950s.  She once held 21 world swimming records.  Another local swimmer of note was Herbert P. Beaugez (1895-1954) who swam the Biloxi to Isle of Caprice Marathon Race in August 1927 as an amateur and was awarded a medal or his effort.  Courtesy of Carlana Lindstrom Lane-Pascagoula, Mississippi.

     My background is in architecture and painting so most of what I remember about the house, both inside and out is probably pretty accurate.  The house was a Victorian style cottage, wooden weather boards with fishtail accents at the crow’s nest and around the second-story windows, all painted a mustard yellow with brown trim.  The porch ran across the front and down the whole east side of the house to the rear past the kitchen.  The depth of the porch was about eight feet.  It was deep enough for an eight foot long table and benches on each side that stood outside the foyer room on the east side.  This was where the family ate most of their meals.  Down the rear steps off the porch and down the hill toward the marsh was the outhouse - a “four-seater” - two for boys on the west and two for girls on the east.  It was not too sanitary and it sure did smell.  And there was a Sears Catalog there as well.

 Everywhere, surrounding the house, there were beautiful live oaks with Spanish moss softly draped on their branches and lazily swaying in the cool breeze.  A giant Magnolia tree stood off to the northwest of the house in the woods and a persimmon tree was in the front yard along with two chinaberry trees that supported a bench between them. The bench held the bushel basket for crabbing and the trees supported numerous cane fishing poles for everyone’s use.

As you walked through the front door of the house you entered the foyer with the stairs on the right leading to the second story.  To the left, through two, huge, sliding doors was at one time the parlor, but in my time it was the overseer’s quarters.  It had the only fireplace in the house and was the largest room downstairs.  To the rear of this room was once the dining room, which was sometimes used as an overflow bedroom when too many families showed up, a second set of stairs with a pantry room underneath and the kitchen.  The kitchen was equipped with a large, iron, wood-burning stove and a spigot came out of the wall from the fifteen-foot tall cistern just outside at the rear of the house.

The stairs in the front foyer soared and curved to the second story bedrooms.  Many gleeful hours were spent by me and my cousins sliding down that swirling staircase.  There were four bedrooms and each held from one to three cast iron beds, one or two fancy Victorian dressers, and each had an armoire.  My parents and I most often occupied the small room over the foyer with the crow’s-nest extension over the front porch. It was very cool day and night with windows on three sides.  My parents used to push the cast iron bed right up into the crow’s nest to catch the breezes at night.  The walls throughout the house were wooden planks. I don’t remember any wallpaper anywhere.  The floors were of pine plank.  The stairs and rails were cypress.  After Hurricane Camille destroyed the house my Uncle Merlin Usner, pastor of Ocean Springs First Presbyterian Church, found the main newel post from the stairs and, I believe his daughter, Priscilla Usner Lasseigne, still owns it.

East Beach Road

Circa 1900-This image was made by Winniefred Norwood Shapker (1870-1937), the daughter of Frederick W. Norwood (1842-1921) and Elizabeth Winnie (1838-1912), second owners of the Charnley House at present day     East Beach Drive.  Mrs. Shapker’s vintage photograph was taken on East Beach, east of the Usner property and west of present day Holcolmb.  Note the road rising up the East Beach ridge which was the focus of early settlements in this area of Ocean Springs. Courtesy of Lynne Shapker Sutter-Eden Valley, California.

     In 1939 there were so many Usner families who enjoyed their vacations at the Big House that sometimes there wasn’t enough room for everyone.  So my grandfather, Frederick Joseph Usner, and his brothers and sisters decided to divide the property. Some would still have the house and the others would get property.  My grandfather received the western most parcel of property.  Since my father, Clarence Leonard Usner, was the only one of his siblings to frequent Ocean Springs often, my grandfather gave my father permission to build a small cabin on the property.  The cabin was begun in the summer of 1940 and finished the summer of 1941.  It stood just north of the driveway that led to the Big House.  Between the driveway and the edge of the hill was a huge Spanish oak tree.  Dad later built two Adirondack chairs that lounged under that tree.  On the east side of the cabin were two pine trees between which we hung a hammock.  The dimensions of the cabin were twelve feet by twelve feet, with a tiny porch, bunk beds, a collapsible table hinged to the back wall to create more space and a small closet.  To open the two windows you would slide them sideways along a channel.  The walls were weather board, the only door was Cape Cod style - separate upper and lower hinged openings, and under the house a secure space for storing the skiff.  Watching my dad build the cabin was probably what first interested me in architecture, as he was always eager to share his building expertise and answer all my questions.  To save money, Dad did not run electricity to the cabin so we had a Coleman lantern for light.  City water was not available as we lived too far from town so we installed a cistern.  After the war we did get electricity and Dad also added a room to the back and a portico across the front but still no water.  Of course we had a “one holer” outhouse down the back.  The year of Hurricane Camille, Dad finally hooked up to city water and built another room on the back with a bathroom.  However he and Mom never were able to enjoy the new luxury because the hurricane blew in the week before their vacation and totally destroyed the cabin as well as the Big House.

The property next to ours was granted to the Anthony Usner family and Anthony’s daughter, Betty Usner Armand, bought a surplus U. S. Army barracks after the war in 1946, and had it delivered in pieces on a flat bed truck.  All the able men in the whole family came out and put it together for her that summer (including my dad).  What a site! 

There was an abundance of wildlife aside from what the Gulf gave up.  There were lots of different species of birdlife - several types of gulls, sandpipers, shearwaters that would skim across the waters, brown and white pelicans, and on land, dove, terns, jays, beautiful Baltimore orioles, and so many more.  One summer a white pelican befriended us and accompanied us uninvited on our fishing trips.  He would sit on the bow of the skiff and wait for us to catch a fish and then would try to snatch it for his meal.  We were afraid he might grab the hook as well as the fish and tried to shoo him off to no avail.  We got used to him after a while and even named him Pete the Pelican.

My dad was a master fisherman, at least that’s what a lot of people said. He always knew the places to float his cork and always came back with a nice catch.  I started accompanying him at a very young age as Mom wasn’t too keen on fishing and I hated to see Dad go alone. He would first go into the marshes, take out his cast net and cast for shrimp. He thought live bait was the best if you wanted to catch redfish or speckled trout.  I learned to bait my own hook, row the boat and fillet fish.  It was quite an education for a little kid.

Speaking of education, as I grew up my days were spent roaming the woods, building sandcastles on the beach, wading in the shallow water watching all kinds of marine life.  The crabs would come close to shore to shed their outgrown shells, burying themselves in the sand and laboriously backing out of their too small home.  I watched a female stingray give live birth to her brood.  And at night, the fireflies and the phosphorus that played in the water seemed magical to me.   When the moon was new and it was pitch dark, the stars in the Milky Way were so bright they glistened on the water.  And when the moon was bright, the glow of it dancing on the water is indescribable.  Many a night when sleep doesn’t come, this is the memory that clears my thoughts and lulls me to sleep.  This is the kind of education every child should be privileged to have, and I was the lucky one to experience it.

 I am not a writer, nor a historian.  What I have written is simply the recollections of the happy memories of my childhood.  Joan Usner Salvant February, 2011

Usner Settlement

This excellent sketch plat was drawn by Joan Usner Salvant who spent her childhood summers at East Beach.  It depicts the general topography, three structures erected by the Usner-Armand families during their occupation here from 1912 until recent times, the 1928 seawall and the later 1950s seawall, as well as the status of the artificial beach which was created after the second seawall.  Hurricane Camille destroyed the original buildings, but the Betty Armand place was rebuilt and later refurbished by Martin and Lisa C. Waggoner, present occupants and owners of most of the original Usner tracts.  Courtesy of Joan Usner Salvant-Austin, Texas.

Many thousand thanks to Joan Usner Salvant, formerly of NOLA and a long time resident of Austin, Texas, for sharing her excellent memories of East Beach!

Hurricanes

As previously mentioned the original McEvoy-Usner summer cottage was destroyed in August 1969 by Hurricane Camille, as well as the cabinof Clarence L. Usner (1907-1992), Joan Usner Salvant’s father.  As we so vividly recall, Hurricane Katrina of August 2005 was a very catastrophic, millennium event on the shore face of Ocean Springs and a large section of the Mexican Gulf.  East Beach was particularly hard hit due to its low elevation.  Of the three Usner structures on their East Beach parcels, only that of Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Usner Armand (1909-1999), the daughter of Anthony M. Usner (1872-1946) and Mary Ellen Houlihan (1871-1940), was rebuilt after Camille. 

Post-Usner East Beach

With their summer domiciles destroyed and older family members dying, the Usner family of NOLA and Mobile, Alabama began vending their Biloxi Bay tracts on East Beach.  A brief history of their small parcels from west to east follows:

409 East Beach

Frederick J. Usner property and Merlin F. Usner

In November 1970, Lorena F. Usner (1882-1982), the widow of Frederick J. Usner (1876-1966), conveyed her East Beach tract to her children: Merlin F. Usner; Corinne Usner Oplatek; David A. Usner; Clarence L. Usner; Frederick W. Usner; and Charles L. Usner.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 388, p. 556)

Merlin Frederick Usner (1902-1995) was one of two Usner descendants that later lived in Ocean Springs.  Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Usner Armand (1909-1999) was the other.  Merlin was born at NOLA on September 2, 1902.  He attended Maryville College, Maryville, Tennessee and the Princeton Theological Seminary.  Merlin came to the First Presbyterian Church at Ocean Springs, Mississippi in September 1962 and was installed by a commission chaired by the Reverend Robert T. Colt of the First Presbyterian Church of Long Beach, Mississippi, the Reverend Victor Augsburger of Biloxi and the Reverend Arthur M. Schneider of Pascagoula, Mississippi. 

After 1930, Merlin F. Usner had married Ruby Elizabeth Getaz (1909-1986) of Maryville, Tennessee.  They had Priscilla E. Usner (b. 1948), a daughter, who married Russell Lasseigne (b. 1945).  Reverend Usner retired from his ministry at Ocean Springs, Mississippi in 1972.  Ruby G. Usner expired at Ocean Springs, Mississippi on November 28, 1986.  Merlin F. Usner relocated to Katy, Houston County, Texas and died there on August 20, 1995.

In June 1973, Merlin F. Usner; Corrine A. Usner Oplatek (1903-1991) m. Joseph C. Oplatek (1906-1977); David A. Usner (1904-1999); Clarence L. Usner (1907-1992); Frederick W. Usner (1910-2003); and Charles A. Usner (1916-2009) m. Marion Pujol (1921-2004), the Heirs of Frederick J. Usner and Lorena Walsdorf (1882-1982) sold the Frederick J. Usner property to Robert W. Warren and Anne Margaret Brunson Warren in June 1973.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 468, p. 223)

Robert W. Warren

Robert W. Warren (1912-2005) was an attorney domiciled in Jackson, Mississippi.  During Mississippi’s savings and loans financial crisis in the late 1970s, he consulted for the State as a representative of Governor Charles C. ‘Cliff’ Finch (1927-1986).  At Ocean Springs, Robert W. Warren had a 2200-square foot, side-gabled, wooden structure, designed by his nephew, erected on East Beach.  The Warrens added sixty front feet to the west side of their tract in September 1982, when Paul B. O’Neal and Allison Pringle O’Neal conveyed a parcel from the east side of their East Beach lot.(Martin R. Wagoner, April 2011 and Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 746, p. 160)

The Warrens enjoyed their beach retreat until Mrs. Warren became ill and couldn’t make the trip from Jackson.  In May 1993, Robert W. Warren conveyed their East Beach residence to Anne Brunson Warren (1909-1994), his spouse.  The next month, Anne B. Warren sold her home and land to Martin R. ‘Marty’ Wagoner and Lisa Courtney, his spouse.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 1017, p. 947 and Bk. 1019, p. 502)

Martin R. Wagoner

The Marty and Lisa C. Wagoner are active in the business and civic activities of the community.  They are partners in the Cornerstone Group, an investment counseling firm, located in the 1910 Ocean Springs State Bank Building in the heart of Ocean Springs.  Courtney Farms on Bienville Boulevard is another family enterprise that specializes in landscape architecture and outdoor and indoor plants, pottery, and fountains.  The Wagoner yard on East Beach is always a dynamic, array of blooming plants and shrubs, which elicits laud from neighbors, as well as transients and beach goers.

he Warren-Wagoner domicile was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  The Wagoner family rebuilt a Katrina-style cottage here in the summer of 2006.

409 East Beach

This holiday home was built by Jackson attorney, Robert W. Warren (1912-2005), after he acquired the former Frederick W. Usner tract in June 1973.  When Mrs. Anne B. Warren’s  health began to decline, this structure was conveyed in June 1993 to Martin R. ‘Marty Wagoner and Lisa Courtney Wagoner, his wife.  The Wagoner home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Images made August 1997 and September 2005 by Ray L. Bellande.

411 East Beach-Anthony M. Usner Tract (75 feet on seawall)

In July 1948, Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Usner Armand acquired this lot with a 75-foot front on the seawall at East Beach from Jacob M. Usner et al.  Betty Usner Armand (1909-1999) was the daughter of Anthony M. Usner (1872-1946) and Mary Ellen Houlihan (1871-1940).  She was born at NOLA on August 16, 1909.  During the Depression, Betty married Ury Joseph ‘Ray’ Armand (1908-1959), a native of Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana.  He had left the farm of Camille Armand, his father, situated in Ward 3 of Avoyelles Parish and relocated to New Orleans.  Here Ray J. Armand made his livelihood as a collector for the New Orleans Linen Supply Company and driving for the United Cab Company.  Betty and Ray Armand were the parents of two sons: Ury J. Armand Jr. and Patrick James Armand Sr. (1934 -2003) m. Jacqueline Ducarpe.(1920 Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana Federal Census T625-605, p. 21A, ED 4)

          

411 East Beach Drive-Armand Cottage

The Armand Cottage was erected shortly after the termination of WW II from a former military barracks.  It did not survive Hurrciane Camille and another structure was built here by Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Usner Armand (1909-1999).  Martin R. Wagoner and Lisa Courtney Wagoner, his wife, acquired the Armand Cottage in July 2001.  It was extensively refurbished as a guest cottage to compliment their domicile at 409 East Beach.  Both structure were victims of Katrina in late August 2005. Image made by Ray L. Bellande in August 1997.

Joan Usner Savant, a niece of Betty Usner Armand relates that:  the Armands acquired a surplus U. S. Army barracks after the war in 1946, and had it delivered in pieces on a flat bed truck.  All the able men in the whole [Usner] family came out and put it together for her[Betty]  that summer, including my dad.  What a site!(Joan U. Salvant-March 2011) 

The Armand cottage was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Camille in August 1969.  by volunteers and friends after 1970.  In later life, Betty U. Armand resided here on East Beach.

In August 1982, Elizabeth U. Armand sold to her sons, Ury J. Armand Jr. and Patrick J. Armand Sr., her home on East Beach.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 468, p. 223)

Betty Armand died intestate at Gulfport, Mississippi in late December 1999.  The Armand brothers conveyed their mother’s home to Charles Spence Boyd in January 2001.  Mr. Boyd, a partner in the Cornerstone Group, an investment counseling service, and business associate of Martin R. Wagoner, sold 411 East Beach to him and Lisa Courtney, his wife in July 2001.  The Wagoners restored the Armand Cottage y restored it (Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 1228, p. 296 and Bk. 1245, p. 152)

Nicholas Usner property- East Beach (104 feet on seawall)

In February 1941, Nicholas Usner sold the largest parcel of the Usner family’s five tracts on East Beach to Emma Usner Werther (1870-1956), Joseph M. Usner (1872-1946), and Conrad A. Bernius.(1905-1975). Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 76, p. 477)

In June 1963, Conrad A. Bernius et al conveyed their rights, title. and interest in this property to Geraldine F. Usner LaGreca.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 243, p. 157)

Geraldine U. LaGreca

Geraldine Florence Usner LaGreca (1912-1997) was born at NOLA the daughter of Joseph M. Usner (1879-1944) and Stella Harring Sougeron (1888-1968).  She was reared on Josephine Street in the Crescent City where her father made his livelihood as a building contractor.  Post-1930, Geraldine married Joseph Thomas LaGreca (1912-1999), a native of Ustica, a small island north of Sicily.  The LaGreca family was one of many that had immigrated to NOLA in 1912.  Joseph was the son of Charles S. LaGreca (1882-1932) and Anna Falanga (1887-1985).  In his youth Joseph worked as a waiter in a restaurant, probably on Magazine Street where the family resided.  His father was a restaurant cook.  Geraldine and Joseph T. LaGreca were the parents of two daughters born after 1930: Dolores Lolita LaGreca Vega and Geraldine LaGreca Klein.  Mrs. LaGreca was active in girl scouting.(1930 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census R 812, p. 6B, ED 251 and The Times Picayune, December 28, 1999, p. B4)

     In August 1963, Geraldine F. Usner LaGreca conveyed an interest in her East Beach lot to her husband, Joseph T. LaGreca.  Joseph T. LaGreca expired at NOLA in April 1997 and Geraldine followed him in death in December 1999.  They legated their East Beach lot to their daughters.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 244, p. 525, The Times Picayune, May 3, 1997, p. B5, and Jackson Co., Mississippi Chancery Court Cause 2002-0035-GB)

     In August 2002, Geraldine L. Klein and Dolores L. Vega sold their parents Ocean Springs real estate to John H. Kohler of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Mr. Kohler is the father of Stacy K. Moran, the husband of A.R. ‘Fred’ Moran of Ocean Springs.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 1277, p. 684 and p. 688)

     In April 2003, John H. Kohler conveyed the former Nicholas Usner tract to Martin R. Wagoner and Lisa C. Wagoner.  The Wagoners now own three of the original Usner tracts with about 330 feet fronting on the seawall at East Beach.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 1299, p. 683)

 

                   

415 East Beach

This two-story, shingled, front-gabled cottage was erected before 1996 and after 1988 by Rita Jung Walker.  It was taken down by Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005.  Mrs. Walker has resided in NOLA since Katrina and her lot remains vacant.  Image made August 1997 by Ray L. Bellande.

 

415 East Beach -Jacob V. Usner Jr. property (75 feet front on seawall)

Jacob V. Usner Jr. (1868-1958) was born at NOLA.  He married Theodora Octavia Polhman (1869-1949) at NOLA in February 1892.  She was the daughter of Bernard J. Pohlman (1843-1916), an 1845 Dutch immigrant to America, and Caroline Schneider (1847-1922), a native of NOLA. Before moving to Mobile, Alabama, Jacob and Theodora had lived in Tampa, Florida.  For forty-five years at Mobile, he worked in the bakery of Gordon Smith (1872-1964), his brother-in-law, who had married Mary M. ‘Mamie’ Pohlman (1873-1930+) at NOLA.  Gordon Smith was the proprietor of the Smith Bakery on Dauphin Street in Mobile, which he established in 1901.  In recent times, the old Smith Bakery Building has been the venue for The Bakery Café Market and The Bakery Restaurant at 1102 and 1104 Dauphine, respectively.

Jacob and Theodora P. Usner were the parents of two daughters, Bernetta Usner (1893-1959), who was also an employee of the Smith Bakery, and Irma Usner Strong (1900-1958+), the spouse of Gregory Strong (1899-1930+).

After his demise in August 1958, the Jacob V. Usner Jr. East Beach lot was legated to Bernetta M. Usner and Irma Usner Strong.(Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 14897-August 1959)

In August 1963, Irma Usner Strong conveyed her East Beach lot to Dr. A.H. Smith of Sumner, Mississippi.  The consideration was $6000.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed 247, p. 67)

Dr. A. H. Smith

Dr. Arthur H. Smith (1885-1971), Mississippi native, was a resident of Sumner, Tallahatchie County, Mississippi.  He married Grace Smith (1894-1981), born Tennessee, and they were the parents of three children: Marguerite Smith Webb (1918-1986+); Louise Smith Oakes (1923-1986+); and Dr. Gerald Arthur Smith (b. post 1930).  In 1930, the Smith family was domiciled on Walnut Street in Sumner, Mississippi where he was an emergency room physician.   In February 1968, Dr. Smith sold this parcel to Marguerite Webb Smith, Louise Smith Oakes and Dr. Gerald Arthur Smith, his children.(1930 Tallahatchie Co., Mississippi Federal Census R 1167, p. 5B, ED 17 and Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 247, p. 67 and Bk. 327, p. 552)

In December 1984, after the demise of Dr. Gerald A. Smith, Carol B. Smith, his widow, sold her interest in this tract to J.J. Webb II.  In June 1986, Marguerite Webb Smith, Louise Smith Oakes and J.J. Webb II, sold their lot to Louis Cambre and Mary Spencer Cambre, his spouse.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 813, p. 11 and Bk. 861, p. 75)

Louis Cambre

Louis Cambre appears to be the son of Allen B. Cambre (1893-1972) and Catherine Ruth Usner Cambre (1898-1984).  In August 1987, Louis Cambre and wife conveyed this parcel to Lowell H. Roberts and Janice E. Roberts.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 861, p. 75) 

  In September 1987, Marshall P. Walker Jr. and Rita Jung, his spouse, acquired this lot from Lowell H. Roberts and Janice E. Roberts.  After divorcing her husband, Rita Jung Walker built a home here between 1988 and 1996.  It was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 894, p. 541)

 

417 East Beach-Louis Usner Property (75 feet front on seawall)

In February 2008, H. Candler Yarbrough began construction of a raised cottage on the former Louis Usner lot.  It was built by Terry Lewis, the son-law of Buddy Graham.

Louis Usner (1875-1949) was born at NOLA.  In June 1897, he married Marie M. Miller (1878-1958).  They were the parents of two daughters: Catherine Ruth Usner (1898-1984) m. Allen B. Cambre (1893-1972) and Emily Usner (1905-1991).   Circa 1903, Louis Usner moved his family to Tampa, Florida where he made his livelihood as a cigar packer.  They returned to New Orleans between 1920 and 1930 and settled on Magazine Street where he worked as a Cigar classer.

 Catherine Ruth Usner Cambre and Allen B. Cambre married circa 1928 and had five children: Mary Jeanne Cambre (b. 1930), Lucien Louis Cambre, Alfred Cambre, Richard Cambre, and Beverly C. Commander.  In February 1999, Mary Jeanne Cambre sold her interest in their East Beach lot to her siblings, Lucien Louis Cambre, Alfred B. Cambre, Richard Cambre, and Beverly R. Cambre Commander.(1930 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census R802, p. 26A, ED 52 and Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 1166, p. 786)

In October 2000, Lucien Louis Cambre, Administrator of the Estate of Louis Usner, conveyed their lot on East Beach to Harry Candler Yarborough and wife.  This warranty deed was corrected in December 2008.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 1219, p. 520 and Bk. 1564, p. 498)

Harry C. Yarborough

Harry Candler Yarborough (b. 1939), called Candler, formerly lived at 419 East Beach.  He acquired Lot 1 of the Yarbrough Subdivision from Charles Yarbrough in November 1985.  Here Candler and Linda Rabby Yarbrough, his wife, built a two-story brick edifice.  Buddy Graham of Escatawpa, Mississippi was the building contractor.  Candler and Linda sold this home in November 2004 to Gary R. Brunson and relocated to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The Brunson home was destroyed by Katrina in August 2005.(Jackson Co., Mississippi Land Deed 843, p. 113 and Bk. 1362, p. 778)

In February 2008, H. Candler Yarbrough began construction of a raised cottage on the former Louis Usner lot.  It was built by Terry Lewis, the son-law of Buddy Graham.

Candler and Linda R. Yarbrough have had an interesting life.  Candler was born in West Palm Beach, Florida and after a stint in the USAF joined Delta Airlines, as a pilot and flight engineer.  His career with Delta spanned over thirty years and included international flying to Southeast Asia.  Linda is a native of Escatawpa and is the mother of three daughters, all who are licensed pilots.  The Yarbroughs are enjoying their very comfortable home with its excellent view of Marsh Point, Deer Island and Biloxi Bay.  Their front porch rests 23 feet above mean sea level.(Candler and Linda R. Yarbrough-April 2011)

This concludes the McEvoy-Usner House story.  Thank you for your patience and interest and special thanks again to Joan Usner Salvant for her memorable contribution.

 

REFERENCES: 

Chancery Court

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 14897, “Estate of Jacob V. Usner”-August 1959.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 16876, “Conrad Albert Bernius et al v. Unknown parties”-April 1963.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No.  51009, “Louis Cambre, et al v. George Smith Strong Jr., et al”- August 1987.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 53711, “R.W. Warren v. E. Usner Armand et al”-May 1989.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 99-1985, “Estate of Louis Usner”-October 2000.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No.  2000-0917, “The Estate of Elizabeth Usner Armand”-2000.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 2002-0035-GB, “Estate of Joseph LaGreca and Geraldine F. LaGreca”-2002.

Journals

The Daily Herald, “Install Pastor Ocean Springs [Merlin F. Usner], September 10, 1962.

The Daily Herald, "Percy Bernard Noel", March 17, 1977.
The Daily Picayune, “Prof. Dreuding’s tour”, October 5, 1905.

The Daily Picayune, “McEvoy’s Loving Cup”, November 11, 1912.

The Gulf Coast Times, Deaths-Jacob V. Usner”, October 2, 1958.

The Jackson County Times, “Jacob Usner”, February 5, 1927, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News, “advertisement”, July 8, 1915.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Ruby Elizabeth Usner”, December 4, 1986.

The Times Picayune, “A.J. McEvoy’s Death”, May 10, 1915.

The Times Picayune, “Died [Margaret A. O’Neill McEvoy], November 26, 1918.

The Times Picayune, “Died [Martin J. McEvoy], March 23, 1924.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Margaret Schmaltz Usner], March 27, 1929.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Charles LaGreca], January 6, 1932.

The Times Picayune, “Collector slugged and robbed of $14”, February 2, 1934..

The Times Picayune, “Five vacationists die as auto upsets, burns on highway near Chef”, August 7, 1936.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Clara Usner Bernius], August 7, 1936.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Dudley J. McEvoy], October 28, 1936.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Mary Houlihan Usner], October 11, 1940.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Joseph Usner], July 19, 1944.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Louis Usner], March 9, 1949.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Henry A. Dreuding], July 12, 1954.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Emmas Usner Werther, February 6, 1956.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Marie Miller Usner], May 8, 1958.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Elizabeth Schanzmeyer Dreuding], September 25, 1958.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Ury J. Armand Sr.], July 1, 1959 .

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Margaret A. McEvoy], November 27, 1963.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [George A. McEvoy], January 19, 1964.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths”, [Allen B. Cambre], July 4, 1972.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Catherine Usner Cambre], May 29, 1984 .

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Anna Falanga LaGreca], October 28, 1985.

The Times Picayune, “Rev. Merlin Frederick Usner”, August 22, 1995.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Joseph Thomas LaGreca], May 3, 1997.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Geraldine Usner LaGreca], December 28, 1999.

The Times Picayune, “John O’Neil McEvoy”, June 25, 2000.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Joseph Thomas LaGreca], May 3, 1997.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Geraldine Usner LaGreca], December 28, 1999.

The Times Picayune, “Deaths [Patrick J. Armand Sr.], November 9, 2003..

 

Personal Communication:

Maybelle Bowers, January 27, 2011

Susan Robinson Moran, January 27, 2011

Priscilla Usner Lasseigne, January 29, 2011

Joan Usner Salvant, January 31, 2011

Martin R. Wagnor-April 2011

Harry Candler Yarborough-April 2011

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Some home appellations used at East Beach:

Belle Fleur-Julia E. Brown.  Formerly the Williston home.(1902).  Williston of Duluth, Minnesota.  Later at New York and Boston.

Bonnie Oaks-John S. Alderson of Leadvile and Pueblo, Colorado.

Bon Silene-James Charnley house.

Bon Silene-Fred Norwood home..

De Hutte-Louis H. Sullivan home.

Elk Lodge-Joseph B. Rose place.

Field Lodge-Rushton H. Field and Mary F. Field.

Rose Garden-Ruth Chase of Chicago and Hopkinton, New Hampshire, and F.J. A. Forster (1927).

Seven Pines-home of Ralph C. Curtiss of Waverly, Illinois..

Wildermear-David Wileder Halstead (1842-1918) of Iowa home on east beach.  Destroyed by fire in June 1911.

Wildwood-H.O. Penick of New Orleans home on East Beach.

Wiljamurrie-Julia E. Brown home built by L.N. Bradford (1896).

Henry L. Girot & Cherokee Glenn

Cherokee Glen is a unique Ocean Springs neighborhood encompassing sixty wooded and well-drained, acres.  It is situated in the very western part of the city on the Fort Point Peninsula, which combines areas familiarly called “Lover’s Lane”, “Seapointe”, and “Davidson Hills”.  The northern portion of the Cherokee Glen land subdivision fronts on Old Fort Bayou.  Legally Cherokee Glen is described as a part of U.S. Government Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W. 

 

Henry L. Girot, founder of Cherokee Glen

 

Cherokee Glen owes its name and founding to Leopold H. Girot Jr.(1886-1953), who called himself, Henry L. Girot.  Mr. Girot, a retired tailor, from New Orleans envisioned himself a gentleman farmer and aspired to make his livelihood here growing pecans and raising poultry on these sixty-acres when he acquired Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W, less twenty acres from Benjamin F. Parkinson Jr. (1859-1930) in March 1923. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 52, p. 558)

 

Immediately Mr. Girot began to make improvements to his property.  In order to gain access to his land, dynamite was utilized to clear an impenetrable barrier of thickly, overgrown, foliage consisting primarily of the Cherokee rose vines.  It was thusly, the Cherokee rose, which gave its name to Cherokee Glen.(Beryl Girot Riviere, March 14, 2002)

 

Joseph R. Plummer, the Connecticut Yankee

The Federal patent to U.S. Government Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W, an eighty-acre parcel of land, which encompasses about one-half the land mass of the Fort Point Peninsula, was granted to Arthur Bryant of Illinois, in September 1846.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 59, p. 444-445)

Since the land deed records in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi, have been destroyed by fire several times since 1812, the last conflagration occurring in March 1875, it is practically impossible to abstract early land titles, unless the deeds were rerecorded.  With this in mind, one can deduce from the present Jackson County land deed records with some confidence, that Joseph R. Plummer (1804-1870+) was probably the first 19th Century Caucasian inhabitant of the Fort Point Peninsula.  He owned about 16 acres in the southeast corner of U.S. Government Lot No. 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W.(History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 12) 

 

Mr. Plummer was born in Connecticut, and was in Jackson County for the Federal Census of 1840.  It is believed that J.R. Plummer married Mary G. Porter (1808-1878), the sister of Martha Porter Austin (1818-1898).  He made his livelihood as a farmer and land speculator.  Mrs. Austin was the wife of Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1891), a New Orleans physician who built the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1853.  The Porter family had also settled at Ocean Springs in the 1840s.  They were originally from Giles County, Tennessee and were merchants at Ocean Springs.  Porter Street or is it Porter Avenue? was named for this pioneer family.

 

U.S. Government Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W was also the locale for Fort Maurepas, the French beachhead, established by Pierre Le Moyne (1671-1706), Sieur d’ Iberville in April 1699 and the Biloxy settlement of 1719, when the French colonists move the capital of La Louisiane from the Mobile area back to the original Biloxi Bay site.  Both of these French Colonial settlements were situated on a prominent topographic feature, a NNW striking ridge, which runs from the southeast corner of U.S. Government Lot 4 for approximately 3500 feet where it terminates in a marsh.  This ridge reaches an elevation over twenty feet above mean sea level.  This area became known as Vieux Biloxey, when Nouveau Biloxey (present day Biloxi) was founded about 1720.  This historical fact gives Biloxi an excellent opportunity to revisit “their Tercentennial” again in 2020.  Standby you party people!

 

Plummer’s “Brick House”

J.R. Plummer built a brick home overlooking Biloxi Bay on his sixteen-acre parcel in the southeast corner of U.S. Government Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W.  His residence in time became known as the Plummer Brick House.  It may have been built with local brick produced by Kentuckian, William Gray Kendall (1812-1872), U.S. Postmaster at New Orleans in 1854, and a summer resident of Ocean Springs.  In January 1846, Kendall established a fifty-acre estate in Section 30, T7S-R8W with 800 feet fronting on the Bay of Biloxi.  On this beautiful, high ground facing Deer Island to the south, he built a residence, icehouse, and school.  Today this property is divided and owned by the heirs of Ruth Dickey White Scharr (1913-2000) and George E. Arndt II (1909-1995).  It lies between the Shearwater Pottery and the Blossman Estate and is the site of “Shadowlawn”, the former Hanson-Dickey House, and our premier bed and breakfast inn.

 

J.R. Plummer sold this place on Biloxi Bay to Issac Randolph (1812-1884) of New Orleans in September 1859, and moved to the Gulf Hills area where he established Oak Lawn Plantation.  Mrs. Joseph R. Plummer began acquiring land in this region as early as November 1849, when she bought about 160 acres, the NW/4 of the SW/4 of Section 17, T7S-R8W, the NE/4 of the SE/4 and the SW/4 of the SW/4 of Section 18, T7S-R8W, and the S/2 of US Lot 2, Section 13, T7S-R9W for $160.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 3, pp. 354-356)      

 

Joseph R. Plummer passed on before 1877, as his wife married Albert G. Bufford of Water Valley, Mississippi.  In the summer of 1878, Mrs. Mary P. Bufford while visiting Ocean Springs to check on her property at present day Gulf Hills from her home in North Mississippi, was a victim of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic, which was fatal to many here.(The Buford Letters, August 2, 1878 to September 15, 1878, Wallace Northway, Jackson, Mississippi)

 

Mrs. Joseph R. Plummer began acquiring land in the Bayou Puerto area as early as November 1849, when she bought about 160 acres, the NW/4 of the SW/4 of Section 17, T7S-R8W, the NE/4 of the SE/4 and the SW/4 of the SW/4 of Section 18, T7S-R8W, and the S/2 of US Lot 2, Section 13, T7S-R9W for $160.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 3, pp. 354-356) 

 

Holmcliffe

Holmcliffe, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence of Robert Hays Holmes (1869-1949) and Mary Colquahoun Holmes (d. 1969), was commenced in November 1929, by Joseph A. Wieder (1877-1960). The Holmes lived atHolmhaven, near the Edgewater Hotel in West Biloxi at the time.(The Jackson County Times, November 30, 1929)

 

J.K. Lemon (1914-1998) was told by Mr. Wieder that when the foundation for Holmcliffe was dug, they discovered that an old brick foundation was found on the same site.  There is a high degree of certitude that this was the remains of  “Plummer’s Brick House”.(J.K. Lemon-1998)      

 

Lot 5-Section 24, T7S-R9W

With this introduction of Joseph R. Plummer completed, the history of the parcel that in March 1923, would become Girot’s Cherokee Glen commenced in August 1863, with Mr. Plummer’s conveyance for $1600, to Sarah Armstrong of his sixty-acres in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, p. 461)

 

In May 1863, J.R. Plummer and spouse had sold twenty of the eighty acres in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W, to Julia Smith, a native of County Limerick, Ireland, and the widow of John Hayes, (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 12, p. 355)

 

Sarah A. Armstrong

Sarah Affleck Armstrong (1796-1882) was a Scottish lady who resided at New Orleans.  Her daughter, Elizabeth Jane Armstrong (1822-1901), was a native of Liverpool, England and had immigrated to America with her parents when she was small child.  She married Arthur Ambrose Maginnis (1815-1877), a wealthy New Orleans cottonseed oil manufacturer.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 15, 1901, p. 3 and John Hobson Maginnis,1997)

 

In January 1882, Mrs. Armstrong sold her daughter, Elizabeth Jane A. Maginnis, the widow of Arthur Ambrose Maginnis, her sixty-acres in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W.  The consideration was $100.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 5, pp. 579-580)

 

Elizabeth Jane Armstrong Maginnis

 

The Maginnis family at New Orleans was synonymous with cottonseed oil and cotton mills.  Arthur A. Maginnis Sr. (1815-1877), a native of Maryland, was the pioneer in the making of cottonseed oil in the Crescent City, when in1856, he commenced the A.A. Maginnis' Cotton Seed Oil & Soap Works, and later Maginnis' Oil & Soap Works.  His sons, John H. Maginnis (1845-1889) and Arthur A. Maginnis Jr. (1846-1901) founded A.A. Maginnis' Sons, who in 1882, promoted the Maginnis' Cotton Mills.  The Maginnis' Cotton Mills were bounded by Calliope, Poeyfarre, Annunciation, and Constance Streets.  The mills were considered models of their kind and employed nine hundred people.  Their workers operated 12,000 looms and 41,000 spindles to produce over 21,000,000 yards of cotton sheeting, shirting, osnaburg, yarn, bating, and duck cloth from over 12,000 bales of cotton.(Progressive New Orleans, 1895, p. 41) 

 

It is interesting to note that Pres Kabacoff of Historic Restoration Inc. of New Orleans was a partner in the 1996 restoration of the Maginnis Cotton Mill property in New Orleans.  The old derelict structure was renovated into a 286-unit apartment building costing $26 million.  In the early 1990s, Mr. Kabacoff and family rented the 1877 Poitevent-Mavar house at 309 Lover’s Lane.(The Times Picayune, January 6, 1996)

 

Elizabeth Jane A. Maginnis and Arthur Ambrose Maginnis reared a large family at New Orleans.  Their children were: Sarah Eugenia M. Nolan (1841-1894), John Henry Maginnis (1845-1889), Arthur Ambrose Maginnis Jr. (1846-1901), Emma Isabel M. Gilmore (1854-1901+), Charles Benjamin Maginnis (1856-1909), Margaret Cecelia M. Pescud (1857-1905+), William D. Maginnis (1862-1938), Laura Elizabeth M. Penrose (1863-1905+), and Albert Baldwin Maginnis (1864-1917). 

 

After Elizabeth Jane Maginnis expired in 1901, her succession revealed that her heirs were: William Daniel Maginnis, Margaret C.M. Pescud, Elizabeth M. Nolan Becnel, Emma I. M. Gilmore, A.B. Maginnis, Emma Nolan Maurin, Martha N. Gilmore, Charles B. Maginnis, Laura M. Penrose, John T. Nolan, and Samuel L. Gilmore.  At Ocean Springs, they were legated the sixty-acre parcel in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W, as well as Mrs. Maginnis’ other family property here, which included the Maginnis Estate on Front Beach Drive. 

 

Maginnis Estate

Here on a high bluff, near the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club, with over six-hundred feet of water front acreage, between present day Hillendale and McNamee, the Maginnis family had erected a large mansion and several outbuildings.  C.E. Schmidt (1904-1988) in his Ocean Springs French Beachhead (1972), describes the Maginnis Estate as "along the Bay front East of Hillendale, and back to Porter Street…(in addition to the main house)….There was also a smaller house on the front, and servant cottages on Porter".(Schmidt, 1972, pp. 121-122)

 

John Henry Maginnis lost his life at Ocean Springs on July 4, 1889, when struck by lightning.  He was preparing to dive into the bay in front of the Maginnis home.  There is a stained-glass window dedicated to his memory in the Trinity Church at New Orleans.(The Trinity Record, November 1924, p. 6)

 

In June 1905, the heirs of Elizabeth Jane Armstrong Maginnis conveyed their rights title and interest in her Ocean Springs lands and improvements to A.A. Maginnis Land Company of New Orleans, W.D. Maginnis, vice president.  The consideration was $2000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 30, pp. 285-286)

 

A.A. Maginnis Land Company

In June 1907, the A.A. Maginnis Land Co. of New Orleans sold their sixty acres in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W to B.F. Parkinson for $2000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, p. 462)

 

Benjamin F. Parkinson and family

Benjamin Franklin Parkinson (1859-1930), called Frank, was the son of Franklin B. Parkinson (1823-1896) and Eugenia Bodley Parkinson (1831-1898) and a native of New Orleans. Parkinson’s father was born in Ohio.  In 1857, he married Eugenia Bodley, a native of Baltimore, Maryland.  She had a brother, Thomas B. Bodley who lived in Jackson, Mississippi with his wife, Charlotte G. Coleman Bodley.  When the Civil War commenced, Franklin B. Parkinson and family were domiciled in the 11th Ward of New Orleans.  He joined the Confederate ranks with A.D. Parkinson, who may have been a relative.(1860 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, La., p. 871 and The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 4)

 

Civil War military service records indicate Franklin B. Parkinson enlisted in Company B, Orleans Guards, Louisiana Military Regiment on March 8, 1862.  He was immediately transferred by Governor T.O. Moore to a unit for the local defense of the City of New Orleans, commanded by Major General Mansfield Lovell, CSA.(Booth, 1984, p. 73).

 

In June 1875, the F.B. Parkinson family of New Orleans acquired for $4000, the 6.41-acre estate of Mary B. Allison, also a resident of the Crescent City, and the widow of Andrew Allison (1818-1873).  Andrew Allison was a native of Ayershire, Scotland and had lived in the South since 1852.  At New Orleans, the Allisons were at home on Baronne Street.  This exceptionally fine summer retreat was situated on Biloxi Bay in Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W at present day 335 Lovers Lane.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 479-482 and The Times Picayune, January 11, 1873, p. 4)

 

In the summer of 1895, the family of William Woodward, an art professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, took a long holiday at the Parkinson place.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 23, 1895, p. 3)

 

In 1900, B.F. Parkinson was a resident of Peter’s Avenue, Ward 14 of New Orleans.  In his home were his siblings, Mary Eugenia “Mollie” Parkinson (1862-1902) and Robert Parkinson (1864-1925), as well as their servant, Ellen Perry (1850-1900+).  Both of the Parkinson men were employed in the insurance business.(1900 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, La., Roll 575, Bk. 2, p. 3)

 

After the demise of their parents, the Parkinson children owned their Ocean Springs estate.  In August 1902, several years after the demise of his mother, B.F. Parkinson acquired the one-third interest of his brother.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 25, pp. 492-495)

B.F. Parkinson nor his siblings married.  He was in the insurance business at New Orleans. Mr. Parkinson after many years with the Home Insurance Company founded the Fire Insurance Patrol circa 1920.  He was president and secretary of this organization at the time of his demise on April 24, 1930.  In New Orleans, Parkinson was once active in the St. John Rowing Club.  At Ocean Springs, he raised prize-winning chickens as a hobby on his Bay front estate.  Parkinson was buried in the family tomb at the Lafayette No. 1 Cemetery on Washington Avenue in New Orleans.(The Times Picayune, April 25, 1930, p. 2, c. 6)

 

Ocean Springs Poultry Farm

At Ocean Springs, B.F. Parkinson called his avocation, the Ocean Springs Poultry Farm.  In January 1906, the Ocean Springs Poultry Farm was under the management of Mr. Winslow.  Mr. Parkinson’s chickens won several awards at the Mobile poultry breeders exhibition in January 1906.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 12, 1906, p. 3)

In May 1906, a fire destroyed the barn on the Parkinson place.  The loss was estimated at approximately $1,000 and uninsured.  Destroyed in the conflagration were: grain, exhibition chicken coops, tools and implements, but fortunately only four prize chickens.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 18, 1906, p. 3)

In 1910, B.F. Parkinson was living at Ocean Springs with his cook, Bell Riley (1887-1910+), and yardman, Solomon Carter (1881-1910+) and his wife, Fannie Carter (1886-1910+).  He was not here for the 1920 or 1930 Federal Census.

In June 1875, the F.B. Parkinson family of New Orleans acquired for $4000, the 6.41-acre estate of Mary B. Allison, also a resident of the Crescent City, and the widow of Andrew Allison (1818-1873).  Andrew Allison was a native of Ayershire, Scotland and had lived in the South since 1852.  At New Orleans, the Allisons were at home on Baronne Street.  This exceptionally fine summer retreat was situated on Biloxi Bay in Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W at present day 335 Lovers Lane.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 479-482 and The Times Picayune, January 11, 1873, p. 4)

In the summer of 1895, the family of William Woodward, an art professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, took a long holiday at the Parkinson place.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 23, 1895, p. 3)

In 1900, B.F. Parkinson was a resident of Peter’s Avenue, Ward 14 of New Orleans.  In his home were his siblings, Mary Eugenia “Mollie” Parkinson (1862-1902) and Robert Parkinson (1864-1925), as well as their servant, Ellen Perry (1850-1900+).  Both of the Parkinson men were employed in the insurance business.(1900 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, La., Roll 575, Bo. 2, p. 3)

After the demise of their parents, the Parkinson children owned their Ocean Springs estate.  In August 1902, several years after the demise of his mother, B.F. Parkinson acquired the one-third interest of his brother.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 25, pp. 492-495)

B.F. Parkinson nor his siblings married.  He was in the insurance business at New Orleans. Mr. Parkinson after many years with the Home Insurance Company founded the Fire Insurance Patrol circa 1920.  He was president and secretary of this organization at the time of his demise on April 24, 1930.  In New Orleans, Parkinson was once active in the St. John Rowing Club.  At Ocean Springs, he raised prize-winning chickens as a hobby on his Bay front estate.  Parkinson was buried in the family tomb at the Lafayette No. 1 Cemetery on Washington Avenue in New Orleans.(The Times Picayune, April 25, 1930, p. 2, c. 6)

 

Plummer Avenue

On April 9, 1913, B.F. Parkinson requested of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of Ocean Springs at their public meeting that Plummer Avenue (now Lovers Lane) be open from Old Fort Bayou to the L&N Railroad right-of way. He presented copies of recorded warranty deeds to the Board demonstrating that reservations had been made in prior land conveyances for Plummer Avenue to be a public thoroughfare of 60 feet in width.  Alderman J.D. Minor (1863-1920) motioned and the Board passed his recommendation, that the Plummer Avenue situation be reviewed with attorney J.S. Ford for his legal advise.(TOS, Minute Bk. Dec. 3, 1907 to Jan. 14, 1915, pp. 259-260)

On May 6, 1913, Mayor W.T. Ames (1880-1969) reported to his Board of Alderman, that the honorable J.S. Ford had reviewed the matter of the opening of Plummer Avenue from Old Fort Bayou to the L&N Railroad right-of-way.  He rendered his legal opinion in writing, which said that Ocean Springs had the legal right to open the road under certain conditions.  Alderman W.S. VanCleave (1871-1938) motioned that the action be sent to the Street Committee with the petition of the landowners on Plummer Avenue relative to the road opening. (TOS, Minute Bk. Dec. 3, 1907 to Jan. 14, 1915, p. 263)

 

Local insurance agency

In 1914, at Ocean Springs, B.F. Parkinson was in the insurance business with George E. Arndt (1857-1945).  They operated as Arndt & Parkinson-Fire and Tornado Insurance.(The Ocean Springs News, February 7, 1914

In September 1990, J.K. Lemon (1914-1998), local historian and realtor, recalled that James A. Carter (1875-1947), also known locally as James Carco, one of the best pecan grafters in the region, had composed a little ditty about mullet, which with oysters were his primary food source in his impoverished childhood years.   Carco’s rhyme went something like this:

“I went down to the Parkinson’s wharf

I made one throw and they all ran ‘arf

And I rolled my pants up to my knee

And I chased them mullet to the Rigolets”

“I went down to the Parkinson’s wharf

I made one throw and they all ran ‘arf

And I rolled my pants up to my ass

And I chased them mullets through the Biloxi Pass”

By the late 1920s, Mr. Parkinson’s health had seriously deteriorated.  He was at Ocean Springs in late April 1930, when he had to be taken to New Orleans in an ambulance owned by the Bradford burial parlors.   He passed on in the Crescent City, on April 24, 1930.  Thorp-Southeimer, Tharp, Inc. prepared his corporal remains for internment in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1.(The Daily Herald, April 29, 1930, p. 2)

 

Parkinson Estates

M.A. Phillips from Hancock County was the administrator of the B.F. Parkinson Estate.  Mr. Parkinson’s estate was valued at $4845.  Edith Ingleharte was his cook at time of his death.  B.F. Parkinson legated $1519.50 each to Ralph Palfrey and Mrs. J.H. Palfrey.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5265, June 1930)

 In September 1934, an interesting development occurred in the estate of B.F. Parkinson’s parents.  John W. Dwyer of 40 Wall Street in New York City wrote the editor of The Jackson County Times seeking their legal heirs.  He related in a letter titled, “Information Wanted”, that “the heirs of Franklin B. Parkinson and Eugenia Bodley, his wife, are entitled to about $20,000.”  The Dwyer letter also stated that F. B. Parkinson was born at Natchez, Mississippi, not Ohio, as the 1860 Federal Census indiates.(The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 4)

 

Palfrey Place

In May 1931, M.A. Phillips sold the B.F. Parkinson place and improvements on the Back Bay of Biloxi Bay toRalph Palfrey (1898-1972), a printer from New Orleans and his mother, Mrs. Herbert A. Palfrey (1870-1966), neeJessie Handy and wife of Herbert A. Palfrey (1866-1921), for $4700.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 64, pp. 318-319) 

In January 1980, Miss Gertrude Palfrey sold the Parkinson-Palfrey place on Lovers Lane to Thomas P. Crozat, the son of her sister, Leila Palfrey Crozat (1902-1967).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 670, p. 34)

 

The Joseph Catchot Place

Another episode relating to ones knowledge of the pre-history of the Cherokee Glen neighborhood at Ocean Springs is the residence and farm of Joseph Catchot and family, which consisted of the twenty acres, more or less, comprising the remainder of Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W.  In May 1863, Joseph R. Plummer and Mary G. Plummer conveyed to Julia Smith (1823-1903), the widow of John Hayes, and a native of Limerick County, Ireland for $400, a twenty-acre parcel in the northwest corner of Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W.  This tract had a frontage of about 400 feet on Old Fort Bayou and ran south for approximately 1950 feet.  As previously mentioned the Plummers sold the remaining sixty acres in Lot 5, which would become Cherokee Glen, to Sarah Affleck Armstrong (1796-1882) in August 1863.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.12, p. 355 and Bk.    32, p. 461)

Julia Smith had immigrated to America in 1847.  After the death of John Hayes, she married Jose’ (Joseph) Catchot (1824-1900), an 1842 immigrant from the island of Minorca, a Spanish possession in the western Mediterranean Sea.  Senor Catchot was the son of Jose' Catchot and Eulalia Derany.  Joseph Catchot and Julia Smith had a son, Antonio John “A.J.” Catchot (1864-1954), born at Ocean Springs.   In his mature years, A.J. Catchot carried the appellation “Captain”.

Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936), the first historian of Ocean Springs, who once resided at present day 309 Lovers Lane, wrote the following about the Joseph Catchot Place, in his unpublished book, Broken Pot, which relates the French Colonial history of this region.

“Born and reared just across the narrow branch from Old Magnolia Springs and almost, therefore, within a pine-knots throw of the site of Old Fort Maurepas, Mayor A.J. Catchot, of Ocean Springs, told me the other day that the old home where he was born in 1863, and where he had spent his boyhood days had been the site of an old Indian village.”

In February 1932, Mr. Poitevent recorded these words of A.J. Catchot: When I was a young man, my father, Captain (Joseph) Catchot, used to own a small twenty acre farm bordering on Old Fort Bayou and Plummers acres.  When plowing our field, I often came across old Indian relics such as a large blue china bead about the size of a buckshot.  Also flint arrow heads & Indian tomahawks of flint.  Also small cannon balls about 4” diameter and some small 2 ½”.  Also lots of clam and oyster shell. Those shells had pieces of broken china dishes some white & others colored blue.  Also several pieces of clay pottery and bottoms of broken jars.  There seem to be a row of wigwams, which had a reddish-yellow, clay floor.  Shell relics were found in the wigwams.  The location of this Indian village was on what is now called the old Dr. Dabney Place.”  (A.J. Catchot-February 12, 1932) 

 

Antonio J. Catchot

In April 1891, Mrs. Julia Catchot sold her son, A.J. Catchot, a lot on the south end of her twenty-acre tract in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W.  This 2.3-acre parcel ran 260 feet north and south and 384 feet east to west.  In January 1887, A.J. Catchot had married Florence Victoria Clark (1862-1933), the daughter of William Clark and Elizabeth Cochran of Mobile, Alabama. They were the parents of five children: Edward C. Catchot (1888-1946), Matthew W. Catchot (1890-1891), Mary Julia Catchot (1892-ca 1892), Eula C. Simpson Gill (1893-1982), and Sadie C. Hodges (1894-1973).  After his wife died in 1933, Catchot married Mrs. Georgia Gordon (1894-1983) at Pass Christian in May 1934.  Mrs. Gordon had three children: Emmett Gordon (1920-1976), Mary Lou Gordon, and Christy Gordon.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.12, p. 356 and The Jackson County Times, May 21, 1934)

In 1880, Captain Junius Poitevent (1837-1919), a neighbor of the Catchots and father of Schuyler Poitevent, brought young Tony Catchot to St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana to work on the East Louisiana Railroad, a narrow-gauge logging road, which was being constructed in the Honey Island swamp area.  An elderly Quaker gentleman from Philadelphia, who was his foreman, taught Catchot to use the T-square.  Soon he was framing bridge timbers like a veteran.(The Gulf Coast Times, July 29, 1949, p. 5)

On October 1, 1882, Tony Catchot joined the L&N Railroad.  His first job was unloading coal cars for 90 cents per car.  Catchot soon joined the bridge and building department on the Mobile and New Orleans Division of the L&N.  He spent most of his sixty-four years with that railroad building and maintaining the bridges and trestles on the 140-miles of track between New Orleans and Mobile.  Catchot had to contend with the teredo worm, hurricanes, rivers and swamps, and the "prairie tremblante", that unstable, silty, organic clay which underlies coastal marshes.  Catchot served the railroad as its bridge and building superintendent for thirty-six years.  His skill as a construction engineer was so impressive that between 1894 and 1902, the L&N Railroad “loaned” him to several large companies and the US Navy for wharf, piers, and dock projects in Florida at Pensacola, Warrington, and Dry Tortugas.  In Mississippi, Catchot built piers at Gulfport in 1901, for the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad.  He was aboard the first ship piloted into the new harbor at Gulfport.(The Jackson County Times, January 11, 1947, p.1)

In 1894, A.J. Catchot moved his young family from their farm in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W, northwest of present day Cherokee Glen, to a new cottage on Porter.  The Catchot domicile was situated at today’s 703 Porter.  It burned to the ground on December 18, 1914, killing Elizabeth Clark Nolan (1839-1914), A.J. Catchot's mother-in-law.  The inferno was sourced from an exploding oil heater in her room.  The Catchot-Kendall home was rebuilt in January 1915, and is owned today by John and Sherry Kendall.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 13, 1894, p. 3 and The Ocean Springs News, December 24, 1914, p. 1)

Tony Catchot returned to the L&N Railroad in 1902, and was promoted to Superintendent of the Bridge and Building Department of the New Orleans-Mobile Division in 1907.  He remained at this prestigious post until 1943.  Catchot retired from the L&N Railroad in January 1947 with over sixty-four years of loyal and meritorious service to that organization.(The Jackson County Times, January 11, 1947, p. 1)

In 1911, Tony Catchot began his long political service for the citizens of Ocean Springs in 1911, when he was chosen Alderman-at-large.  He officiated in this office until 1917, when he began sixteen years of continuous service as Mayor.  Morris McClure (1884-1940) replaced Catchot in 1933.  The "new" Ocean Springs Public School was erected on Government in 1927, during the Catchot mayoral reign.  His son-in-law, Calvin Dickson Hodges (1893-1958), was a member of the school board at this time.

Tony Catchot was elected president of the L&N Veterans Club for the New Orleans- Mobile Division in the late 1920s.  In 1929, he reigned as King d' Iberville of the Coast Mardi Gras Association.  Catchot was a charter member of the Ocean Springs Fire Company No. 1 joining in 1880, and serving as its fire chief for nearly sixty years.  Why or how Ocean Springs has not named a firehouse or bestowed some other significant honor on this man is beyond comprehension.  Captain Cathot died on August 11, 1954, at Handsboro, Mississippi.  His remains were interred at the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Daily Herald, The Daily HeraldAugust 11, 1954, p. 6)

In November 1911, A.J. Catchot sold his natal home in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W, to Dr. Thomas S. Dabney (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 37, p. 411).

 

Dr. Thomas S. Dabney

Dr. Thomas Smith Dabney (1851-1923), who would become an authority on tropical diseases, was the seventh son of the sixteen children of Thomas Smith Gregory Dabney (1798-1885) and Sophia Hill (1810-1854+), both Virginians from King and Queen County.  Thomas was born on his father’s plantation, Burleigh, situated south of Raymond, Hinds County, Mississippi.  He married Ida Mae Ewing (1858-1900+) whose parents were from Kentucky and Louisiana respectively.  Dr. Dabney’s older sister, Susan Dabney Smedes (1840-1913), published Memorials of a Southern Planter in 1887. 

Dr. T.S. Dabney and Miss Ewing had married in 1884 and were the parents of two children, Thomas Ewing Dabney (1885-1970) and another who had expired in childhood prior to 1900.  In 1900, the Dr. Thomas S. Dabneys were residents of New Orleans and domiciled on Magazine Street. He was a member of the Orleans Parish Medical Society from 1880-1882 and 1893-1915, and was president of that organization in 1900.(1900 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, T623, Roll 570, Bo. 1, p. 43 and Fossier, 1930, p. 16)

It seems that the arrival of the T.S. Dabney family at Ocean Springs met two salient requirements-a retirement place for Dr. Dabney and a place for his son, Thomas Ewing Dabney (1885-1970), to recuperate from a bout with the virulent yellow fever that he had contracted while Secretary of the American Legation in San Salvador.  Dr. Dabney had attended Tulane University at New Orleans.  In the 1870s, while a medical student, he left school briefly to assist in a yellow fever outbreak near Brookhaven, Mississippi.  While in the field, serendipity discovered Dabney in the guise of an herb that was being utilized by Native Americans camped in the vicinity.  From this plant, Dr. Dabney developed an efficacious treatment for dropsy.  He also achieved international acclaim when he diagnosed the first human case of anthrax.  In 1898, Dabney reported the first case of hookworm in Louisiana. 

Dr. T.S. Dabney passed on December 28, 1923, at New Orleans.  He corporal remains were sent to Raymond, Mississippi for internment.(The Daily Herald, December 29, 1923, p. 1 and Papers of Major W.J. Heimke (1847-1931), Tulane Latin American Lib., NOLA)

 

Thomas E. Dabney

In 1907, Thomas E. Dabney (1885-1970) had married an English lady, Winifred Hilda Michaels (1888-1972), of London.  They were the parents of Patricia Rose D. Bush (1912-1978), Dorothy D. Kehoe (1915-1997), David F. Dabney (b. 1917), and Natalie D. Arnold (1922-1998).  At Ocean Springs, T.E. Dabney was a dynamic entrepreneur and promoter of the town.  He ventured into dairy farming; vending Aetna Dynamite, as well as using this high explosive to clear land of tree stumps; and publishing.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 180 and The Daily Herald, January 10, 1913, p. 8)

Boscobel Dairy (1912-1914)

T.E. Dabney’s first venture into local capitalism was the Boscobel Dairy.  It and his pecan orchard were situated at “The Field”, the Dabney twenty-acre tract in Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W, which had been the former Catchot place.  Mr. Dabney was reputed have had one of the finest herds in the State.  He catered to the upper class families as he charged $12 per quart for his high quality milk.  Mr. Dabney advertised extensively in his local journal in 1914, as: 

 

 

Pure Jersey milk delivered one hour from milking time.

T.E. Dabney-Boscobel Farm

Phone 106.

 

(The Ocean Springs News, April 14, 1914, p. 5)

 

 

When T.E. Dabney decided to get into the newspaper business, he sold the dairy to Charles Snyder (1877-1963) in December 1914.  The deal included nine cows, cream separator, utensils, and good will.  Snyder was already in the dairy business with a herd of twelve cows.(The Ocean Springs News, December 10, 1914, p. 1)

In November 1915, Charles Snyder leased his dairy to B.J. Rhodes.  Rhodes, a New Yorker, had been a resident of Grand Isle, Louisiana.  He was wiped out by the October 1915 Hurricane there and came to Ocean Springs with his family of five girls, ages seven to eighteen years to commence a new career. (The Ocean Springs News,November 4, 1915, p. 1)

The Ocean Springs News

In November 1914, Thomas E. Dabney acquired The Ocean Springs News from Albert Enos Lee (1874-1936).  He ran a good local journal pregnant with salient information and news germane to the populace.  In mid-July 1916, Dabney suspended production of The Ocean Springs News.  He had gone to Pensacola, Florida in April and secured a position with The Pensacola Journal.  Mrs. Winifred M. Dabney, and E.T. Simpson (1884-1960) ran The Ocean Springs News in his absence.  

A.E. Lee ran a job printing establishment at Biloxi during his two year hiatus from Ocean Springs.  On July 29, 1916, Lee published the first issue of The Jackson County Times.  It was printed at his Biloxi plant until he could relocate his printing equipment to Ocean Springs.  C.E. Schmidt (1904-1988) wrote in Ocean Springs Beachhead that,"the local newspaper of greatest endurance was The Jackson County Times published by A.E. Lee. ….. The Jackson County Times continued up until the fifties, for the most part under the editorship of son Harry R. Lee".(The Daily Herald, July 25, 1916 and Schmidt, 1972, p. 126)

T.E. Dabney during his short tenure at Ocean Springs also published a promotional pamphlet, "Ocean Springs: The Land Where Dreams Come True (1915)", which emphasized the agricultural and recreational opportunity of the town and environs.  Dabney joined the staff of The Times Picayune in 1933, and had a marvelous career as an author, lecturer, adventurer, and expert on Shakespeare.  Dabney penned, Tropic Intrigue; One Hundred Great Years: The Story of The Times Picayune From Its Beginning To 1940The Man Who Bought The Waldorf: The Life of Conrad N. Hilton; and Revolution or Jobs.(The History of JXCO, Ms.,1989, p. 180)

Another aggressive move by T.E. Dabney to promote enterprise at Ocean Springs occurred in February 1915, when he contacted the Dixie Club & Kennels.  This hunting and fishing organization was composed of some of the most affluent gentlemen of New York and Chicago.  Its manager, C.W. Grubbs, was seeking a new location for the club.  Dabney wrote to Grubbs emphasizing the wonderful attributes of Ocean Springs as a spa and outdoor recreational haven for fish and wild game.(The Ocean Springs News, February 25, 1915, p. 1)

Thomas E. Dabney expired at a nursing home in Covington, Louisiana on April 22, 1973.  His corporal remains were sent to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi for interment in Garden of Memories Cemetery.(The Times Picayune, April 23, 1970, p. 1)

 

Dabney Archives

Nearly 1200 items from Thomas Ewing Dabney in the period 1911 to 1969 are archived in the Tulane University Manuscripts Department at New Orleans.  In August 1925, Thomas E. Dabney sold “The Field” at Ocean Springs to Walter S. Lindsay and Catherine B. Lindsay.  The Lindsays kept horses on this land.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 56, pp. 293-294 and Beryl Girot Riviere, August 26, 2002)

 

Girot family origins

In the United States of America today, the largest concentration of Girot family members are situated primarily in Grundy, Will, and Massac Counties, Illinois.  Some Girots are also in California, Utah, and naturally Louisiana.

The progenitor of the Girot family of New Orleans and Ocean Springs, Mississippi was Leopold Henry Girot (1839-1911), a native of Metz, Alsace-Lorraine, France.  He was the son of Joseph Girot, a tailor, and Marie Humbert, also natives of this French industrial city on the Moselle River, about two hundred miles east-northeast of Paris.  Young Leopold followed his father into the tailor trade.  Although an accomplished cutter and designer by the age of twenty-one, he went to Paris to further hone his fashion and design skills.  In Paris, he married Juliette Remy, who expired there.  She bore him two daughters: Berthe Girot and Alphonsine G. Dubos; (Encyclopedia of Biography, ?, p. 379)

 

Louisiana and tailoring

In 1868, Leopold H. Girot left France for New Orleans.  In the Crescent City, he found employment with the clothing firm of L. Godchaux.  After three years, Leopold and Prosper Godchaux founded the tailoring company ofGirot and Godchaux.  Several years late Mr. Girot commenced L. Girot, his own tailoring organization.  Circa 1906, Leopold H. Girot Jr. joined the firm and with John Pfefferle, the three became partners, operating as L. Girot.

Months prior to his father’s demise, in 1911, L. Henry Girot Jr. became president of L. Girot.  Rene Girot(1896-1981) the youngest son, took the reigns of the Girot sartorial enterprises in 1921, when L. Henry Girot sought a career change which brought his family to Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  

 

Girot family of New Orleans

On July 2, 1884, at the age of forty-five, Leopold H. Girot married Marie Claverie (ca 1864-1933+), the daughter of French immigrant, Dominick Claverie, and Marie Masquere, of New Orleans.  Their progeny were: Blanche G. Gondolf (1885-1969) married Victor Gondolf; Leopold H. Girot Jr. (1886-1953) married Mabel E. Judlin (1890-1956); Jeanne G. Redmann (1888-1976) married Stephen Redmann; Rose G. Meyers married Herbert Meyers; Zelie Girot; and Rene Girot (1896-1981).(Ibid., p.      ) 

 

Leopold Henry Girot Jr. Leopold H. Girot Jr.(1886-1953), called himself, Henry L.Girot, was born on December 12, 1886, at New Orleans, the son of Leopold H. Girot and Marie Claverie Girot.  His early education was at McDonough No. 10 and Loyola University, the Jesuit College.  In 1906, he began his career in his father’s clothing store as a tailor.  Young Girot had been sent to New York City to study tailoring, cutting, and design.(The Gulf Coast Times, July 15, 1949)

In July 1910, Henry L. Girot married Mabel E. Judlin (1890-1956), the daughter of Peter Judlin (1864-1917) and Henriette Monteverde.  Their children were: Judlin H. Girot (1912-1970), Myrle “Sally” G. Williams Staley (1913-1961), Beryl G. Riviere (b.1916), and Georgine “George” G. Nicholson (1918-1998).

In 1911, Henry L. Girot assumed the leadership role of L. Girot with the passing of his father.  Although a skilled tailor, Henry L. Girot did have passion for his art.  He grew to dislike the sartorial business and it began to affect him emotionally and physically.  Upon the advice of his physician, Mr. Girot decided upon a career change.  At the age of thirty-five, he decided to become a gentleman farmer which led the family to remove itself from the bustle of the Crescent City to the quite shores of Biloxi Bay at Ocean Springs, Mississippi.(Beryl G. Riviere, March 14, 2002)

 

Ocean Springs

Although a young man, Henry L. Girot’s emotional health dictated a change of place and life style.  In February 1923, he moved his spouse and young family to Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  Mabel E. Girot had family at Ocean Springs as her aunt, Emma Judlin (1869-1958), had married a prominent businessman and judge, Eugene W. Illing (1870-1947).  The Illings were once in the hostelry business, but at the time of the Girots arrival, they were owners of a movie house, the Illing’s Theatre, which was situated on the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Porter, the former site of Illing’s Hotel and now the location of the First Baptist Church of Ocean Springs.

 

Cherokee Glen Farm

At Ocean Springs, Mississippi Henry L. Girot became a gentleman farmer.  His primary crops were pecans and poultry.  In March 1923, on the western perimeter of the town, Mr. Girot acquired 60 acres in US Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W from Benjamin F. Parkinson Jr. (1859-1930).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 52, p. 558)

Immediately Mr. Girot began to make improvements to his property.  In order to gain access to his land, dynamite was utilized to clear an impenetrable barrier of thickly, overgrown, foliage consisting primarily of Cherokee rose vines.  It was thusly, the Cherokee rose, which gave its name to Cherokee Glen.  While the land was being cleared for cultivation, the Girot family rented a home initially on the northwest corner of Dewey and LaFontaine, very likely the Roseale A. Bellande Reus (1854-1923) cottage.  Later, they moved to East Porter and let a cottage from Judge E.W. Illing.(Beryl G. Riviere, March 14, 2002)

 

Poultry

Prior to erecting a permanent home in 1925, which is extant at present day 400 Lovers Lane, H.L. Girot erected outbuildings, a large barn, machinery house, and chicken plant, which included three incubators.  He also acquired Rhode Island Red brood stock for his chicken farm from the Sunbrier Farm at Laurel, Mississippi.  By June 1923, he had approximately five-hundred young chickens.(The Daily Herald, June 6, 1923, p. 5)

Although a newcomer to the region, by 1925, Henry L. Girot was exhibiting the energy and leadership that would be characteristic of his long and productive tenure at Ocean Springs.  In October 1925, he was named superintendent of poultry and livestock for the Jackson County Fair in Pascagoula.  At the mid-November exhibit, Mr. Girot won awards for his fine Rhode Island Reds and White Minorcas.  The Ocean Springs poultry farmers won fifty-four ribbons and $38.50 in cash for their entries, which consisted of one hundred four of the two hundred twenty-five birds at the fair.  In addition to Girot, other local winners were: Albert B. Ackander (1858-1926), Theo Bechtel (1963-1931), B. Bilbo, Ed Brou (1896-1949), Lawrence Dalgo (1894-1937), O.D. Davidson (1872-1938), O. Fish, Gus Nelson (1896-1970), H. Olivier, Dr. H.B. Powell (1867-1949), A.J. Riviere (1871-1954), and George Sherman.(The Jackson County Times, October 24, 1925, p. 3 and November 21, 1925, p. 1)

 

Granitz cottage

A caretaker’s cottage was also built for Harold I. Illing (1897-1959) and spouse, Edith Flowers Illing (1902-1984), who oversaw the Girot place before the Girot home at present day 400 Lovers Lane was erected in 1925.  This structure in the Cherokee Glen Subdivision was relocated to Block C-Lot 10, at present day 1107 West Cherokee, and sold to Emil A. Granitz (1882-1965), in June 1926, by Mr. Girot.  Granitz, a German immigrant, was sponsored to America by Miss Idelle Watson (1856-1956+).  Miss Watson resided on Lovers Lane at Oakroydthe former home of H.H. Germain, from 1923 until it was destroyed by fire in 1925.  Mr. Granitz worked as her man servant and gardener.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 58, p. 574 and Beryl G. Riviere, March 14, 2002)

Emil A. Granitz was born in Dresden, Germany.  In April 1907, he married Helene Meinhardt (1885-1970), the daughter of Hermann Meinhardt and Alma L. Schuster and a native of Crimitschau, Germany.  They had a son, George H. Granitz (1909-1981) who made his livelihood at Keesler AFB as a Civil Service employee.   In addition to his gardening, Emil A. Granitz worked for the United Poultry Producers and retired in 1952, while Mrs. Granitz was the custodian of the Ocean Springs Public School and also operated the cafeteria there for fourteen years.  Her food was well-prepared and delicious.(The Ocean Springs News, April 4, 1957, p. 1 and Walterine V. Redding, August 14, 2002)

 

Cherokee Glen Subdivision

One of Henry L. Girot’s first business ventures at Ocean Springs was the development in his neighborhood of a subdivision, Cherokee Glen.  It was situated in Section 24, T7S-R9W, on the west side of Ocean Springs.  In May 1926, he received approval from the Board of Aldermen of his sixty-acre platting, which was bounded on the north by Old Fort Bayou, on the east by the land that was adversely possessed by O.D. Davidson (1872-1938) and would become the Davidson Hills Subdivision in March 1956, on the south by Porter, and on the west by Lovers Lane.( The Jackson County Times, May 22, 1926, p. 1 and The Daily Herald, May 25, 1926, p. 3))

The Cherokee Glen Subdivision consisted of Four Blocks designated from east to west as A, B, C, and D.  Block A had twenty three lots until September 1953, when J.B. Richmond and Louis A. Gily Jr. platted Lot 23 into the Cherokee Cove Subdivision.   Richmond and Gily acquired the 5.7 acres in Lot 23, from Clifford P. Turk for $12,500, in April 1953.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 131, p. 419 and JXCO, Ms. Land Plat Bk. 2, p. 57)

Block B has thirty-two lots, which includes the homes of Beryl G. Riviere and Ricky Riviere; Block C has twenty-one lots, which includes the original H.L. Girot residence; and Block D has two lots, one of which was once was the Broadway place just east of the new and fabulous home of Walter T. “Buzzy” and Laura E. Bolton.( JXCO, Ms. Land Plat Bk. 2, p. 57)

By June 1926, Southern States Construction Company of Biloxi had began work in Cherokee Glen for Mr. Girot.  Plans called for each boulevard in the subdivision to be sixty feet wide with from 12 to 24 foot neutral grounds or medians.  The neutral grounds would be planted with palm and native shrubs and all streets were platted to reduce or eliminate the destruction of Live Oak trees.  In addition concrete sidewalks, curbs and drains, and concrete coping bordering the central neutral grounds were used.(The Biloxi News, June 6, 1926, p. 11)

Today, Cherokee Glen is as quaint and charming as the Girots would have desired.  A recent grant has provided the neighborhood with funds for an entry sign and beautification projects.  Cooperation between the City and residents has worked for their mutual benefit in upgrading the neutral grounds of the subdivision with plantings of flowers and trees.(The Ocean Springs Record-Independent, October 21, 1999, p. 1)

 

United Poultry Producers

In 1929, with the infrastructure of Cherokee Glen in place, Henry L. Girot became associated with the United Poultry Producers and served this organization for twenty-one years as secretary-manager.  The United Poultry Producers was a co-operative of local chicken farmers, which marketed high quality eggs and poultry from their headquarters on the northeast corner of Washington and Desoto.

 

Social and civic life

Mr. Girot was socially and politically active during his thirty years at Ocean Springs.  He was elected alderman and represented the citizens of Ward II in 1929-1930.  Girot served on the School Board when the 1927 Public School was erected on Government Street.  He was a charter member of the Ocean Springs Rotary Club and the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce and also active in the affairs of the St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church.  His religious societies included membership in the Knights of Columbus, Holy Name Society, and service on the building committee for the new church.(The Gulf Coast Times, August 4, 1950, p. 1)

 

Dr. Horace C. Conti

In May 1951, Dr. Horace Charles Conti (1907-1982), a pathologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Biloxi, and spouse, Marjorie L. Caddell Conti (1913-1984), acquired the H.L. Girot home on Lovers Lane from Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Girot.  They had two children: Horace Charles Conti II (b. 1944) and Eleanor V. Conti Bauer (b. 1949).  The Conti family had settled in Biloxi in 1949, on Morrison Avenue.  Dr. Conti had been with the U.S. Marine Hospital at Chicago coming here after his discharge from the U.S. Public Health Service.  He was an Army and Navy veteran. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 118, p. 133-134 and The Gulf Coast Times, May 10. 1951, p. 12, and The Daily Herald, January 15, 1960, p. 13)

Dr. Conti was born at Providence, Rhode Island and a 1937 graduate of the Georgetown University Medical School at Washington, D.C.  He was certified by the American Board of Pathology in clinical pathology and pathologic anatomy.  He was very active in the Ocean Springs School Board and its long-time chairman.  In November 1972, Dr. Conti was elected to president of the Community Concert Association.(The Daily Herald, January 15, 1960, p. 13 and The Ocean Springs Record, November 22, 1972, p. 8)

Eleanor Victoria Conti, 1968 Gulf Coast Debutante and USM graduate in fine arts, married John M. Bauer, a pre-Medical student in 1971.(The Ocean Springs Record, May 20, 1971, p. 14)

In the summer of 1970, when entrepreneur, Carroll B. Ishee (1921-1982), began construction of homes in his ten-lot development called Lover’s Lane Addition Subdivision situated in US Government Lots 4 and 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W, Mrs.  Marjorie L. Conti became frustrated.  She wrote a letter in December 1970, to The Ocean Springs Record complaining of several aldermen’s apathy in enforcing city ordinances as relating to lot line setbacks.  Mrs. Conti was also unhappy with the aldermen’s lack of proper procedure in its public meetings.(The Ocean Springs Record, December 3, 1970, p. 4)

The Contis sold their home on Lovers Lane to Dr. Buford A. Wilkerson in March 1977 and very probably relocated to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Before his departure, Dr. Conti platted the Lover’s Lane Addition-part II Subdivision in February 1977.( (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 585, p.553 and JXCO, Ms. Plat Bk. 15, p. 32)

 

West Cherokee Avenue

After the sale of their large Lovers Lane home, Henry and Mabel J. Girot and Roy and Beryl G. Riviere, who had been living with her parents, erected homes on West Cherokee Avenue.  Refurbishment on both early 1950s homes was commenced in 2001, by contractor, Bobby Lewis, and his construction crew.  Beryl G. Riviere currently resides at 1106 West Cherokee, while her son, Rickey Riviere, will move to 1112 West Cherokee in 2002, when the work on his edifice is completed.

 

Demise          

Henry L. Girot passed on while a patient in the Touro Infirmary at New Orleans on January 26, 1953.  He was survived by his spouse and four children, as well as a brother, Rene Girot (1896-1981), and four sisters, Miss Zeile Girot, Jeanne G. Redmann, Mrs. Herbert Meyers, and Blanche G. Gondolf.  Mr. Girot’s corporal remains were laid to rest in the Southern Memorial Park at Biloxi, Mississippi. .(The Gulf Coast Times, January 23, 1953, p. 1)

Mabel E. Judlin Girot (1890-1956) expired on November 23, 1956.  As a baby, her father had named one of his freight schooners, the Mabel E. Judlin, in her honor This well-known vessel was by Matteo Martinolich (1861-1934), a Croatian-Italian immigrant, who had come to America in 1883.  The Mabel E Judlin was launched in late April 1891, at Henry Lienhard’s shipyard on Bayou Bernard.  The finished vessel described as a “beauty and reflects much credit upon her builder” had a keel length of sixty-seven feet and was twenty-two feet at the beam.  Her sails were constructed by A. Gerdes & Brother of New Orleans.  The launching occasion had a party atmosphere with a large contingent of ladies and gentlemen of New Orleans present at the Handsboro boatyard.(The Biloxi Herald, May 2, 1891, p. 4)

In February 1901, ownership of the Mabel E. Judlin changed as Peter Cardona of New Orleans and Kate Thompson Lockard (1868-1954), the wife of  James E. Lockard (1863-1951), of Vancleave, Mississippi acquired the schooner from Messrs. Judlin and Mestier.  She was listed as having a gross tonnage of 46 and net 31.  John V. Lewis was master and the Mabel E. Judlin was ported at New Orleans. (Permanent Certificate No. 38, BMIN, April 18, 1904)

The Mabel E. Judlin remained in the J.E. Lockard family from 1901 until her demise in July 1930.  She sank and was abandoned in the New Basin Canal at New Orleans, Lousiana.  Her documents were surrendered at Gulfport, Mississippi on July 31, 1933.  Some of the masters who served aboard the Lockard freight schooner were: John V. Lewis, August A. Bellais (1866-1929), Joseph Roig, and P.A. Bayhi.( Permanent Certificate No. 4, BMI N, July 31, 1933).

In 1934, Mayor Charles R. Bennett (1884-1971) named Mrs. Girot to the Ocean Springs Park Commission.(The Daily Herald, January 6, 1934, p. 2)

A short history of the lives of Henry L. Girot and Mabel E. Judlin Girot’s family follows:

 

Judlin Henry Girot

Judlin Henry Girot (1912-1970) was born at New Orleans.  He graduated from Ocean Springs High School in 1930 and Tulane University.  Judlin married Vivian LaPorte (1917-2000) of New Orleans.  She was born on March 25, 1917.  They were the parent of two children, Henry Joseph Girot (b. 1936) and Joan G. Mecom Noel (b. 1940). (The Daily Herald, July 20, 1970, p. 2)

The Judlin H. Girot family moved to Ocean Springs from Huntsville, Alabama in November 1945, to open accounting office.  He passed the C.P.A. examination at Jackson, Mississippi in July 1948.  The Girots were at home on Ward Avenue at this time.(The Jackson County Times, November 7, 1945, p. 1 and July 30, 1948, p. 1)

In June 1952, Vivian L. Girot was elected president of the Ocean Springs Woman’s Club.  She accepted the honor at the annual luncheon at the Friendship House in Biloxi.  Serving with Mrs. Girot was: Mrs. Ralph Palfrey, vice-president; Mrs. Chester Snyder, secretary; and Mrs. Frank Snyder, treasurer.(The Gulf Coast Times, June 12, 1952, p. 1)

 

Acme Photo

J.H. Girot was also a partner in Acme Photo with his brother-in-law, F.H. “Bus“ Staley (1912-1963), and William T. Dunn (1919-1990).  After his demise, his son-in-law and daughter, William H. Mecom Jr. (b. 1939), and Joan Girot Mecom, moved to Ocean Springs.  Mecom worked for Acme Photo, which was situated at 1311 Bienville Boulevard.  He and Joan acquired a home at 219 Washington Avenue in May 1974, from Edward W. Wood II, the heir-at-law of E. Watson Wood (1894-1972).   At the time, E.W. Wood II was a resident of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, where he was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at Cambridge, near Boston.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 498, p. 89)

William H. Mecom Jr. was the son of W. Hardy Mecom (1909-1992) and Lois Omega Chambers Mecom (1916-1984) of Kerrville, Texas. He and Joan were the parents of Eric Christian Mecom (b. 1963) and Andrew Lee Mecom (b. 1968).  Joan G. Mecom divorced and married Mark Noel of Birmingham, Alabama.  They relocated to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in 1995.

In June 1976, the Mecoms conveyed their Ocean Springs cottage to Dr. W.F. Pontius and relocated to Pass Christian, Mississippi where he continued in the photo processing business.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 565, p. 157)

While at Ocean Springs, Judlin H. Girot was active in city government.  He was elected alderman from Ward Four and served this political entity from 1951 thru June 1953.(Schmidt, 1972, p. 137)

 

New Orleans

The Girots moved to New Orleans in January 1953.  They sold their home on Cleveland Avenue to E.P. McBride of Chicago.  At New Orleans, Mr. Girot became a partner in the CPA firm of LaPorte, Girot, Sehrt, and Romig.    He was a member of the Audubon Golf Club, Clover Club, and an Episcopalian.  He was survived by his wife and children.(The Daily Herald, January 5, 1953, p. 6 and July 20, 1970, p. 2)

 

Biloxi

After Judlin’s demise, Vivian left New Orleans and moved to Biloxi, Mississippi in 1971.  She married Otho E. Barron.  Vivian L. Barron expired at Biloxi, Mississippi on March 26, 2000.  She had been a parishioner at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and the Woemn’s Golf Club of Gulf Hills.  In addition to her husband and children, Vivian was survived by a sister, Evelyn LaPorte Judlin, of Metairie, Louisiana.  Her corporal remains were sent to Lake Lawn Park in Metairie for internment besides those of Judlin H. Girot.(The Sun Herald, March 28, 2000, p. A-5)

 

Henry Joseph Girot

Henry Joseph "Hank" Girot was born February 27, 1936 at New Orleans.  In June 1957, he married Francis Ann McKie (1938-2014) of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  Francis was the daughter of Nathan Whitehead McKie Jr. and Laurin Linam McKie. They had two sons, Kenneth Gordon Girot, born at New Orleans on November 1, 1958 and Roy McKie Girot born March 5, 1961.[The Sun Herald, March 23, 2014, p. A-12] 

On May 18, 1985, Kenneth, called Kenny, married Melanie Lynn Castle, the daughter of Harroll Dean Castle and Jeanette Louise Rayner, former residents of 318 Lover’s Lane.  Melanie was born at Laurel, Mississippi on April 6, 1961.  Their nuptials were celebrated at St. John’s Episcopal Church at Ocean Springs on May 18, 1985. (JXCO, Ms. MRB 153, p. 275)

Roy Girot married Cynthia Wingood.  They are the parents of: Paulina Girot (b. 1992) and Nathan Girot (b. 1995).  Roy and Cynthia divorced and he now resides in Crofton, Maryland.(Roy Girot, July 4, 2002)

Henry J. Girot and Frances A. McKie Girot divorced and she married Frank Dunlap.  On October 19, 1974, while a resident of Ocean Springs, he married Corine Baldridge Caruso (1939-1991), a native of Los Angeles County, California.  She was the daughter of Robert Baldridge and Ruth Gaalken of Hemit, California.  Their wedding was held at the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs.  While residing at Ocean Springs, Mrs. Corine Girot was employed at the Keesler Federal Credit Union.  Corine died at Fairhope, Alabama on October 2, 1991.  She had two daughters, Gianna F. Caruso Stewart and Elena M. Caruso Rhea, from a prior marriage.(JXCO, Ms. MRB 125, p. 269, JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. P-4403, June 1997, and The Sun Herald, October 5, 1991, p. A-2)

Hank Girot now resides in Lake Seminole, Georgia where he is the proprietor of the Trails End Marina and Campground situated on a bayou that flows into beautiful Lake Seminole in southwestern Georgia.   In October 1994, Hank married Penelope “Penny” O’ Kurin, a native of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Francis McKie Girot Dunlap expired at Diamondhead, Hancock County, Mississippi on March 16, 2014. A memorial service was held at the Chapel of the D.T. Williams Funeral Home at Pearl River, Louisiana.[The Sun Herald, March 23, 2014, p. A-12]

Hank J. Girot expired on May 28, 2015 at Niceville, Florida.  His corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi National Cemetery on June 26, 2015.[The Sun Herald, June 24, 2015, p. A-4]

 

Girot Girls in 1931

[L-R: Georgine Girot (1919-1998); Myrle 'Sally' Girot (1913-1961); and Beryl Girot (1916-2011)

[Courtesy of Susan Staley Delgado-March 2011]

 

Myrle “Sally” Girot

Myrle “Sally” Girot (1913-1961) was born at New Orleans on September 21, 1913.  Sally graduated from the Ocean Springs Public School in 1931.  On April 27, 1935, she married Sloan Williams, in the Girot home at Ocean Springs.  Sloan was born August 15, 1907, at Birmingham, Alabama.(JXCO, Ms. MRB 23, p. 285)

 

           

FIELDING H. STALEY FAMILY [circa 1949]

[[Courtesy of Susan Staley Delgado-March 2011]

 

Sloan and Sally had a daughter, Sally Ann W. Freeman.  After Sloan Williams and Sally divorced, she married Fielding H. “Bus” Staley (1912-1963).  Their children were: Susan Staley Hubbell Delgado (b. 1943), and Michael T. Staley (b. 1945).

Mrs. Staley was active in a number of organizations, the Biloxi Yacht Club, Kings Daughters, and the Carnival social clubs, Les Masques and Billikins.  While her children were young, she participated in Cub Scout and Boy and Girl Scout activities.  Sallie expired at Biloxi, Mississippi on December 14, 1961.  She had moved there in 1957.  Mrs. Staley’s corporal remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park at Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, December 15, 1961, p. 2)

F.H. Staley came to Biloxi in 1942, with the Army Air Corps.  He was active in the business community in photographic developing, insurance, and real estate.  Mr. Staley was a Lt. Colonel in the Mississippi National Guard and once commanded the 138th Transportation Battalion before transferring to the staff of the Adjutant General. He expired at Prairie Village, Kansas, and his remains interred at Leavenworth, Kansas.(The Daily Herald, January 25, 1963, p. 2)

 

Beryl Marie Girot

 

Beryl Marie Girot (1916-2011) was born at New Orleans, Louisiana on February 22, 1916.  She married Roy Joseph Riviere (1914-2000), the son of Adolph J. Riviere (1871-1954) and Julia Herbert Clement (1877-1964), on March 1, 1945, at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.  Roy was born on June 6, 1914.(JXCO, Ms. MRB 43, p. 315)  Their children were: Roy F. “Ricky” Riviere (b. 1946) and Ray P. Riviere (1947-1981).

The Riviere family came to Jackson County, Mississippi during WW I, from Patterson, Louisiana, as A.J. Riviere was employed as a shipyard worker at Pascagoula.  The family lived in the Fontainebleau community, on the west side of Hamill Farm Road in a cottage that had been built for the farm’s laborers.(Roy Riviere, October 1996)

In addition to Roy J. Riviere, the family consisted of: Albert T. Riviere (1906-1948), Frank P. Riviere (1909-1937), and Edward J. Riviere (1917-1968).

Albert T. Riviere (1906-1948) perished at sea off the Florida Keys in October 1948, while employed as chief steward aboard the S.S. Louise, a Texaco tanker.(The Jackson County Times, October 8, 1948, p. 1)

Eddie Riviere also went to sea.  In 1948, he was a steward aboard the Del Mar, a luxury liner in the Delta Steamship Line fleet out of New Orleans.(The Daily Herald, August 31, 1948, p. 4)

Roy J. Riviere made his livelihood as a linotype operator with The Jackson County Times.  In 1932, while returning home from work, he was robbed at gunpoint near the VanCleave Store on the northeast corner of Washington and Porter.  Roy once owned the local journal, The Gulf Coast Times, which he sold in December 1950, to Hardee King, the managing editor of The Tylertown Times, and the Advertiser Publishing Company of Pascagoula headed up by Ira Harkey.(The Daily Herald,May 21, 1932, p. 2 and The Gulf Coast Times, December 22, 1950, p. 1)

Roy J. Riviere died at Ocean Springs on October 6, 2000.  His corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs.  Beryl Girot Riviere passed on January 14, 2011 at her Cherokee Glen residence.  She lived    adjacent to her son, Roy 'Rickey' Riviere.(The Sun Herald, January 16, 2011)

 

Georgine Girot

Georgine Girot (1918-1998), called George, was born at New Orleans on July 22, 1918.  In May 1943, she married Lt. Granville T. “Terry” Nicholson (1913-1986), the son of Mrs. R. Charles Nicholson and the late R. Charles Nicholson of St. Louis, Missouri, at the William Mitchell Chapel, KAFB, Biloxi, Mississippi.  She was attended at her nuptial ceremony by Miss Beryl Girot, her sister.  George Girot was a graduate of Ocean Springs High School Class of 1936 and the Class of 1940 at Sophie Newcomb College.  She taught school for one year and was then employed at Camp Shelby, Stone County, Mississippi, before transferring to KAFB as an instructor.  Lt. and Mrs. G.T. Nicholson resided at Gulf Hills after their wedding trip.(The Jackson County Times, May 22, 1943, p. 4)

After WW II, the Nicholsons settled at Santa Barbara, California where they started a family consisting of three sons: Peter Terry Nicholson (b. 1949), David Christie Nicholson (b. 1951), and Craig Claverie Nicholson (b. 1953).  Some of their known residences were: Santa Barbara, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Clayton, Missouri; Destin, Florida; and Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  Terry expired in Florida on September 7, 1986. 

George moved to Ocean Springs after Terry’s demise and acquired a home in Cherokee Glen at 1111 East Cherokee Glen.  Her avocations were reading, classical music, library volunteer, and traveling.  During their lifetime, George and Terry had visited the Caribbean, British Isles, Europe, and Mexico.(Newcomb Alumnae Association Questionnaire)

George G. Nicholson died at Ocean Springs on January 14, 1998.  Her immediate survivors were: Peter T. Nicholson of St. Louis, Missouri and Craig C. Nicholson of Santa Barbara, California.  Her husband and son, David C. Nicholson, preceded her in death.(The Ocean Springs Record, January 22, 1998, p. 5)

 

Development

Although the Cherokee Glen Subdivision was platted by H.L. Girot in May 1926, its development was slow.  One must realize that this area of Ocean Springs was considered the “country”, much like eastern St. Martin and Latimer have been until early in the last decade.  Remember that Cherokee Glen and surroundings had been a poultry farm, a dairy, pecan orchards and a vine-tangled, wilderness draped in the mesmerizing Cherokee Rose before the Girots arrived here from New Orleans.

Before the Coach William H. Cole edifice, later E.A. Rehnberg and R.A. Taylor, was erected at present day        West Cherokee in the late 1920s, the H.L. Girot homestead on Lovers Lane and the Emil A. Granitz cottage at 1107 West Cherokee were the sole dwellings in the subdivision.  Other early Cherokee Glen domiciles were situated on Wisteria-the 1950 Lyle Whitman place at 202 Wisteria; the military barracks moved from Keesler AFB to present day          Wisteria by Colonel B.F. Lewis; and the R.A. Broadway place at 115 Wisteria.(Connie Whitman and Beryl G. Riviere, August 27, 2002)  

 

Mitchell Brothers

A unique feature of Cherokee Glen is the stalwart structures built by the Mitchell Brothers of Ocean Springs.  The Mitchell Brothers, John C. Mitchell (1915-1963), Oscar L. Mitchell (1917-1973), Michael B. “Mike” Mitchell, and James E. Mitchell, commenced in the construction business in 1949, utilizing a technique called “hollow wall concrete”.  John C. Mitchell had learned this construction method from Gurnee Clifton Gardner (1889-1954).  The Mitchell’s built solid concrete inner and exterior walls reinforced with 3/8 inch rebar.  A sealed void space existed between the two walls.(Mike Mitchell, August 27, 2002)

In the early 1950s, the Mitchell Brothers built homes for Henry L. Girot at 1112 West Cherokee; Roy J. Riviere at 1106 West Cherokee; and Fielding “Bus” Staley at 1015 Cherokee Boulevard.  The Judlin H. Girot home at 515 Cleveland was also erected by the Mitchells.  Gurnee Clifton Gardner built several hollow wall concrete homes in Cherokee Glenn, including his own residence at 408 Lovers Lane.(Beryl G. Riviere, August 26, 2002 and Mike Mitchell, August 27, 2002)

 

Epilogue:

Now over seventy-five years old, the Cherokee Glen Subdivision is in a very mature state of development.  In 2000, W.T. and Laura E. Bolton built a lovely Queen Anne replica west of the old R.A. Broadway place at 113 Wisteria.  Because of the paucity of building lots, this represented the first new construction at Cherokee Glen in many years.

Although Mr. and Mrs. Girot have been gone for over four decades, their daughter Beryl Girot Riviere and her son, Ricky F. Riviere, continue to live in the neighborhood, which began as the agricultural dream of H.L. Girot.  Although never a successful commercial farm, Mr. Girot did create a Cherokee Glen, subdivision with a serene environment conducive for families to live and rear their children.  It is only appropriate that the entrance into Cherokee Glen be named Girot in honor of him and his family who have contributed to the successful growth of Ocean Springs. 

 

 

caption: The Girot Girls-In March 1939, the daughters of Henry L. Girot (1886-1953) and Mabel Judlin Girot (1890-1956) were involved in the first Landing of Iberville celebration at Ocean Springs which was chaired by Miss Mary C. O’Keefe (1893-1980).  From left to right: Henry Weyerstall (1913-1987), Beryl G. Riviere (1916-2011), Sally G. Williams Staley (1913-1961), Georgine G. Nicholson (1918-1998), Annette Saxon O’Keefe (1913-1987), Mary Handy Lackey, and A.P. “Fred” Moran (1897-1967), in his first of many appearances as Iberville, the French Canadian soldier of fortune.

credit:  Courtesy of Beryl Girot Riviere.

 

REFERENCES:

Andrew B. Booth, Records of Louisiana Confederate Soldiers and Louisiana Confederate Commands, (The Reprint Company: Spartanburg, South Carolina-1984).

A.E. Fossier, History of The Orleans Parish Medical Society, (Fossier: New Orleans, Louisiana-1930).

L.F. Hyer, The Story of Louisiana“Dr. T.S. Dabney (1850-1923”(1960), p. 149.(LaR 976.3, D 24s, V.2)

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi“Thomas Ewing Dabney”, (Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989)

The Resources and Attractions of Progressive New Orleans"Cotton Industries", (Young Men’s Business League:  New Orleans-1895).

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

 

Chancery Court Cases

JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5265, “Estate of B.F. Parkinson”-June 1930.

JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 31, 153, “Martha McCrady Gardner v. Heirs-at-Law of G.C. Gardner”, September 1976.

JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 41, 784, “Estate of George Hermann Granitz”, June 1982.

JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. P-4403, “The Estate of Corine J. Girot”, June 1997.

 

Journals

The Biloxi News, "Development of Cherokee Glen is announced", June 6, 1926.

 

The Daily Herald, “Dynamite and Dynamiting”, January 10, 1913.

The Daily Herald"Will Start Ocean Springs Weekly", July 25, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, June 6, 1923.

The Daily Herald, “Dr. T.S. Dabney Dead”, December 29, 1923.

The Daily Herald, "Ocean Springs Progressive", May 25, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “Tourist Dies”, April 29, 1930.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs News”, September 16, 1930.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs Holdup”, May 5. 1932.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, January 6, 1934.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs News Paragraphs”, August 31, 1948.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs News Paragraph”, January 5, 1953.

The Daily Herald, “G.C. Gardner Dies”, August 7, 1954.

The Daily Herald"Catchot, former Mayor of Ocean Springs expires", August 11, 1954.

The Daily Herald, Mrs. Mabel Girot”,  November 24, 1957.

The Daily Herald, "Reappoint Dr. Conti to O.S. School Board", January 15, 1960.

The Daily Herald, “Mrs. Sallie Girot Staley”, December 15, 1961.

The Daily Herald, “Fielding Staley Dies in Kansas From Gun Wound”, January 25, 1963.

The Daily Herald, “Judlin H. Girot”, July 20, 1970.

 

The Gulf Coast Times, “Know Your Neighbor”, July 15, 1949.

The Gulf Coast Times"Know Your Neighbor", July 29, 1949.

The Gulf Coast Times, “H.L. Girot Resigns After 21 Years With Poultry Assn.”, August 4, 1950.

The Gulf Coast Times, “Tylertown Editor, County Company, Purchase Times, December 22, 1950.

The Gulf Coast Times, “Purchase Home in Cherokee Glenn (sic), May 10, 1951.

The Gulf Coast Times, “Mrs. Girot New President of Woman’s Club”, June 12, 1952.

The Gulf Coast Times, All City Joins in Mourning Death of Henry Girot; Funeral Held Tuesday”, January 29, 1953.

 

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, September 29, 1923.

The Jackson County Times, “Mr. Girot Urges Poultry Exhibits”, October 24, 1925.

The Jackson County Times, “Ocean Springs Leads In Poultry Display”, November 21, 1925.

The Jackson County Times, “Information Wanted”, September 29, 1934.

The Jackson County Times, “Nicholson-Girot”, May 22, 1943.

The Jackson County Times, “Judlin H. Girot to open office as accountant”, November 7, 1945.

The Jackson County Times, “Captain Catchot Retired After 64 Years With L. & N.”, January 11, 1947.

The Jackson County Times, “Judlin H. Girot Now Is Certified Accountant”, July 30, 1948.

The Jackson County Times, Albert Reviere Presumed Lost at Sea”, October 8, 1948.

 

The Ocean Springs News, “Arndt-Parkinson (advertisement), February 7, 1914. 

The Ocean Springs News"Boscobel Dairy Changes Hands", December 10, 1914.

The Ocean Springs News"Mrs. Nolan Succumbs To Injuries Received When Residence Burns", December 24, 1914.

The Ocean Springs News, “Big Hunting Club Planned; Manager Endorses This Place”, February 25, 1915.

The Ocean Springs News"Makes His Home In Ocean Springs", November 4, 1915, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News, “Granitz Couple Celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary”, April 4, 1957.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Eleanor Conti engaged”, May 20, 1971.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Dr. Conti to head association”, November 22, 1972.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Mrs. George Girot Nicholson”, January 22, 1998.

The Ocean Springs Record-Independent, “Cherokee Glen beautification project underway”, October 21, 1999.

 

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Local News”, July 13, 1894.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, January 12, 1906.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, May 18, 1906.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ocean Springs Locals”, November 15, 1901.

 

The Sun Herald, “Mrs. Corine Baldridge Girot”, October 5, 1991.

The Sun Herald, “Vivian Barron”, March 28, 2000.

The Sun Herald"Beryl G. Riviere", January 16, 2011.

The Sun Herald"Frances Ann McKie Dunlap", March 23, 2014.

The Sun Herald"Henry J. Girot", June 24, 2015.

 

The Times Picayune, “Insurance Patrol Founder Is Buried”, April 25, 1930.

The Times Picayune, “Andrew Allison”, January 11, 1873.

The Times Picayune, “Illness fatal To T.E. Dabney”, April 23, 1970.

The Times Picayune, “Cotton Mill Complex Brings Latest Gleam To Developers’ Eye”, January 6, 1996.

 

Personal Communication:

 

Mary Ann T. Dunn, March 8, 2002.

J.K. Lemon, September 13, 1990.

Joan Girot Mecom Noel, March 10, 2002. (228) 463-1919

Beryl G. Riviere, March 14, 2002.

Kenneth G. Girot, July 4, 2002.

Roy M. Girot, July 4, 2002.

Lovers Lane: The Fort Point Penninsula

A HISTORY oLOVERS LANE: the FORT POINT PENINSULA

Geography and Physiography

The Fort Point Peninsula is located in Sections 24 and 25, T7S-R9W, and is the western terminus of the City of Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  Today, the area is generally referred to as “Lovers Lane”.  The derivation of the nomenclature “Lovers Lane” is anecdotal.  In the 1920s-1930s, an amorous, social custom of local youths was to utilize the somewhat secluded area as a rendezvous for romantic interludes, hence “Lovers Lane”.   

Past names for this historic peninsula have included “Spanish Point”, “Breezy Point”,  “Benjamin Point”, and simply “The Point”.   “Seapointe” has been used in more recent times.  I prefer “Fort Point”, the name used on the USGS 7.5’ Quadrangle, “Ocean Springs”, 1992.  Residents of this sylvan peninsula sometimes refer to their eclectic neighborhood as “The Lane”.

Lover's Lane is a neighborhood as well as a road located on the Fort Point peninsula.  This peninsula is a northwest striking body of land about one mile long and five hundred to one thousand feet wide comprising about 300 acres.  Old Fort Bayou, a perennial stream, is located northeast while the prevailing windward, southwest flank of the peninsula faces the Back Bay of Biloxi.  A saltwater marsh dominates the tip of the peninsula called Fort Point.

Lover's Lane, a narrow asphalt path, is traced by large oaks and magnolias as it bisects the one mile long peninsula.  Dense, informal landscaping conceals diverse homes, which stand on large heavily landscaped lots.  The former shell road occupies the northeast slope of a high ridge about twenty feet above sea level.  A fairly steep ravine, which drains the area northward into Fort Bayou is immediately northeast of the asphalt roadway.

With the founding of the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1853 by the Austin-Porter family, commercial activity and tourism commenced in this small fishing village founded by the LaFontaine family in the early 19th Century.  Prior to this event the few families in the area subsisted by fishing, farming, lumbering, and charcoal making.  The medicinal waters from springs located along Fort Bayou attracted people primarily from New Orleans.  They sought cures for their ailments in these saline chalybeate and sulfur bearing waters.  The long hot summer and associated yellow fever epidemics also brought visitors from the Crescent City.  Commencing in the early 1850s, the Morgan Steamship Line and later in 1870 what became known as the L&N Railroad provided fast and economic transportation to the area.

At this time, affluent people from New Orleans discovered the ambience and charm of Ocean Springs and began to establish vacation estates on the Fort Point peninsula.  Some of the early families building here were: Armstrong, Buddendorff, McCauley, Israel, Arrowsmith, Randolph, Brooks, Ittman, Staples, Stuart, Allison, Maginnis, Parkinson, Sheldon, Poitevent, Thorn, and Hanson.

In the late 1880s to early 1900s, people from the East and Midwest especially the Chicago area began to discover Ocean Springs.  Some of these people became attracted to the Lover's Lane locale and established homes.  Among them were Parker Earle (1831-1917) of southern Illinois and Annie L. Benjamin (1848-1938) from Milwaukee.    

Architecture

Architecturally, the Lover's Lane neighborhood can be divided into three distinct elements, which reflect the time period of its development.  These three entities are the

Lover's Lane Historic District (1875-1965), the Seapointe Subdivision (post 1964), and the Lover's Lane Addition Subdidvison (post 1970).

The Lover's Lane Historic District was created with the passage of Ordinance Number 9-1989 by the City of Ocean Springs.  It consists of a cohesive neighborhood of seven homes facing the Back Bay of Biloxi.  These diversified structures range in age from 1875 to 1965 and represent Greek Revival, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Southern Colonial periods of architecture.  This was the area dominated by wealthy New Orleanians for decades.

The Seapointe Subdivision platted in July 1964, by Field and Brackett Inc. from the old Annie L. Benjamin Estate lands obtained from E.M. Galloway.  Mr. Galloway purchased most of the former Benjamin Estate from Walter S. Lindsay (1888-1975), Mrs. Annie L. Benjamin's son-in-law, in August 1963.  The Benjamin Estate, called Shore Acres, was established in 1902 when Mrs. Benjamin consolidated former holdings of others on the most westerly seventy-five acres of the Fort Point peninsula.  The Seapointe area is well developed with about sixty homes.  The architecture is diversified with structures of the following styles:  Period (Victorian, Greek Revival, Colonial, and Acadian), American ranch, and Swiss chalet.

The Lover's Lane Addition was the unique creation of Carroll Ishee (1921-1982).  Ishee acquired 4.3 acres from E.M. Galloway in February 1969.  Here on the northeast slope of Lover's Lane he created his wonderful tree houses in this sylvan environment.  Each Ishee 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 Nature's bosom.  There are ten Ishee "paintings" on Lover's Lane and several on Le Voyageur.

Soil and trees

Soil development in the Lovers Lane region has been classified as Norfolk fine sandy loam of the flatwoods phase.  This soil is characterized by a surface layer of dark-gray fine sandy loam, which ranges from about ½ inch to 3 inches in depth.  The subsoil is primarily a pale yellow compact sandy loam occurring about 30 inches below the surface while light-gray fine sand is common 3-4 feet below ground level.  Pecans, sweet potatoes, corn, and oats are the salient crops grown on this soil type.  In fact, Norfolk fine sandy loam is one of the best upland soils of the pecan belt and is excellent for the growt of slash and longleaf pine.    Other crops, which do well in this soil are: cotton, watermelons, cucumbers, nearly all vegetables, sugarcane, pears, and Satsuma oranges.  Pine.(Elwell, et al, 1927, p. 15)  

It is interesting to not that when Iberville erected Fort Maurepas on the Fort Point Peninsula in April 1699, he reported that “The work goes slowly: I have no men who can use an ax; most of them take a day to fell one tree; but the trees are truly big ones, oak and hickory.  I have had a forge set up to repair the axes.  All of them break.”(McWilliams, 1981, p. 92)

As we shall see, the Fort Point Peninsula has been in the past, the site of various agricultural pursuits including orange and pecan groves as well as subsistence farming and poultry raising.  Industry has been virtually lacking here with the exception of a small saw and planning mill located on the Old Fort Bayou side in 1895, by Porter B. Hand (1834-1914), the son of Miles B. Hand (1804-1880+), the founder of Handsboro, Mississippi, which has been integrated into Gulfport.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 11, 1895, p. 3)

Plummer’s Road

Many decades before our present day octogenarians chose their “Lovers Lane”, the tree line path, pretending to be a road, that now winds its way through verdant neighborhoods has been referred to in land deed conveyances through the years as: Plummer’s Road, the “wagon road”, and Porter.  Plummer Road derived its name from one of the earliest inhabitants of the area, Joseph R. Plummer (1804-pre-1867), a land speculator and farmer from Connecticut.  He was living in Jackson County as early as 1840, an indicated by the Federal Census of that year.  Circa the mid-1840s, Joseph R. Plummer probably met and married Mary G. Porter from Tennessee.  Her merchant family settled here in the 1850s and gave their name to Porter Street.

The earliest documentation of J.R. Plummer’s appearance here is in the deed records of Jackson County, Mississippi, when in October 1848, he is an agent for Arthur Bryant of Illinois who is selling land in Section 25, T7S-R9W, to his wife's sister, Martha E. Austin (1818-1898), the wife of Dr. W.G. Austin (1814-1891), the builder of the Ocean Springs Hotel, which in 1854, gave our town its present name.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 513-514).

Joseph R. Plummer built a brick home, which became known as the Plummer Brick House and is referred to many times in various land transactions in Section 24, T7S-R9W.  Mr. Plummer sold the house in September 1859 to Isaac Randolph of New Orleans.  A point of land where the Ocean Springs Yacht Club rests today is still known as Plummer Point on the USGS topographic map of the area.  It was given this name by the surveyors of the U.S. Coast Survey, when they were mapping the Mississippi coast in 1851.  This corroborates the fact that J.R. Plummer lived in the area and that his brick house is discernible on this map. 

Post November 1849, the Plummers relocated to a pioneer settlement at present day Gulf Hills.  They called their simple plantation here-Oaklawn Place.  It consisted of about 400 acres situated in Section 18, T7S-R8W and Sections 13 and 24 of T7S-R9W.  Oaklawn Place flanked present day North Washington Avenue for about one mile, southeast of its intersection with Old Le Moyne Boulevard and included that area of Gulf Hills along Old Fort Bayou from the west end of Arbor Circle eastward to a point about 1350 feet west of the Shore Drive-North Washington Avenue intersection.  The Plummer residence was probably situated in the vicinity of the present day W.E. Applegate Jr.-Colonel George E. Little Home at 13605 Paso Road.  During the J.R. Plummer tenure, citrus and fruit orchards were cultivated at Oak Lawn.

Plummer Avenue

On April 9, 1913, B.F. Parkinson (1859-1930) requested of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of Ocean Springs at their public meeting that Plummer Avenue (Lovers Lane) be open from Old Fort Bayou to the L&N Railroad right-of way. He presented copies of recorded warranty deeds to the Board demonstrating that reservations had been made in prior land conveyances for Plummer Avenue to be a public thoroughfare of 60 feet in width.  Alderman J.D. Minor (1863-1920) motioned and the Board passed his recommendation, that the Plummer Avenue situation be reviewed with attorney J.S. Ford for his legal advise.(TOS, Minute Bk. Dec. 3, 1907 to Jan. 14, 1915, pp. 259-260)

On May 6, 1913, Mayor W.T. Ames (1880-1969) reported to his Board of Alderman, that the honorable J.S. Ford had reviewed the matter of the opening of Plummer Avenue from Old Fort Bayou to the L&N Railroad right-of-way.  He rendered his legal opinion in writing, which said that Ocean Springs had the legal right to open the road under certain conditions.  Alderman W.S. VanCleave (1871-1938) motioned that the action be sent to the Street Committee with the petition of the landowners on Plummer Avenue relative to the road opening. (TOS, Minute Bk. Dec. 3, 1907 to Jan. 14, 1915, p. 263)

       In 1939, Lovers Lane was described by WPA writers as: “a narrow white shell road winding amid oaks, pines, magnolias, and cedars toward the northwestern corner of the headland known as “The Point”.  On the left are some of the oldest and most beautiful estates on the Coast.  On the right is a strip of forested land set apart by Mrs. A.L. Benjamin as a bird sanctuary.  The lane ends at the Benjamin estate (private).  Just offshore from this point (believed by many to be the site of the fort built by Iberville) the cannon mounted on the lawn of the Biloxi Community House were salvaged in the summer of 1893 (sic).”(Mississippi Gulf Coast Yesterday & Today, 1939, p. 92)

      In January 1953, Dr. Horace Conti (1907-1982) headed a petition to abandon the West Porter entrance into Lover Lane at the overpass over the L&N RR crossing.  This obviously was done.(TOS, Minute Bk. 5, pp. 84-85)

Section 24

      Section 24, T7S-R9W is composed of six (6) governmental lots, each about 160 acres in area.  Only Lot 4 and Lot 5 of Section 24 are within the geographic limits of the Fort Point Peninsula.  Lot 1 and Lot 3 are north of Fort Bayou and in the Gulf Hills development.  Approximately 50% of the Fort Point Peninsula is composed of land in Lot 4. Lot 5 furnishes about 30% and the remainder of the area is in the west half of Section 25, T7S-R9W.  

            Lot 4 runs southeasterly from the tip of the Fort Point Peninsula in an arced line for about 5500 feet along the Bay of Biloxi to the NW/C of Section 25.  Its southern boundary goes 400 feet east along the north line of Section 25.  Lot 4 is bounded on the east by the west line of Lot 6, and runs 2700 feet to the north where it intersects Fort Bayou.  The north line of Lot 4 is defined by Fort Bayou, which strikes in an arc northwesterly for a distance of about 4500 feet until it intersects the tip of the Peninsula, the point of beginning.        

            Prominent topographic feature of Lot 4 is a NNW striking ridge, which runs from the southeast corner of Lot 4 for approximately 3500 feet where it terminates in a marsh.  This ridge reaches an elevation over twenty feet above MSL.  It was here that Iberville selected to build Fort Maurepas in April 1699.  The first Biloxey Settlement was situated here in 1719, when the French colonists move the capital of La Louisiane from the Mobile area back to Biloxi Bay.  Naturally this area became known as Vieux Biloxey, when Nouveau Biloxey (present day Biloxi) was founded about 1720. 

17th Century

Native Americans

         Native Americans occupied portions of the Fort Point Peninsula prior to European settlement as evidenced by the discovery of shell middens, projectile points, and pottery shards.  Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936), the first historian of Ocean Springs, who spent most of his life at present day 306 Lovers Lane, wrote several treatises in which he discusses their occupation of the area. 

In his unpublished book, Broken Pot, which relates the French Colonial history of this region, Poitevent wrote the following about the Joseph Catchot Place situated in “Cherokee Glen”, the May 1926 sixty-acre subdivision created by Henry L. Girot (1886-1953), a transplant from New Orleans.  Joseph Catchot (1824-1900), an 1842 immigrant from the island of Minorca, a Spanish possession in the western Mediterranean Sea, homesteaded twenty acres, more or less, in Lot 5 of Section 24, T7S-R9W.

“Born and reared just across the narrow branch from Old Magnolia Springs and almost, therefore, within a pine-knots throw of the site of Old Fort Maurepas, Mayor A.J. Catchot, of Ocean Springs, told me the other day that the old home where he was born in 1863 (sic), and where he had spent his boyhood days had been the site of an old Indian village.”

In February 1932, Mr. Poitevent recorded these words of A.J. Catchot (1864-1954): When I was a young man, my father, Captain (Joseph) Catchot, used to own a small twenty acre farm bordering on Old Fort Bayou and Plummers acres.  When plowing our field, I often came across old Indian relics such as a large blue china bead about the size of a buckshot.  Also flint arrow heads & Indian tomahawks of flint.  Also small cannon balls about 4” diameter and some small 2 ½”.  Also lots of clam and oyster shell. Those shells had pieces of broken china dishes some white & others colored blue.  Also several pieces of clay pottery and bottoms of broken jars.  There seem to be a row of wigwams, which had a reddish-yellow, clay floor.  Shell relics were found in the wigwams.  The location of this Indian village was on what is now called the old Dr. Dabney Place.”  

1699-Iberville, Fort Maurepas, and La Louisiane

There is a high degree of certitude that the French beachhead in the Lower Mississippi River Valley, Fort Maurepas, was established on the Fort Point Peninsula by Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville (1671-1706) on April 7, 1699.  Iberville was acting under orders from King Louis XIV (1638-1715) to protect the April 1682 claim of Rene Robert Cavalier de La Salle (1643-1687), who had found the deltaic mouth of the Riviere de Colbert (Mississippi River) from his base in New France (Canada).  La Salle claimed for France, all the lands drained by the Mississippi River and its tributaries, an inland empire, extending from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians. He called this discovery La Louisiane, in honor of his King.

Although academic archaeologist have not blessed the Fort Point Peninsula site, there is sufficient cartographic data, archival records, and French Colonial artifacts, gathered by “amateur archaeologists”, to conclude that a French military post existed here in the late 17th-early 18th Century.  Some researchers believe that Fort Maurepas was located in the area where the stone marker was found in 1910, by Town Marshall Robert W. Rupp (1894-1958) on the shoreline in front of the W.B. Schmidt estate in Section 25, T7S-R9W.  For an in depth discussion about the location of Fort Maurepas, the reader is referred to Fort Maurepas, the Birth of Louisiana, (Higginbotham, 1968 and 1971), “Fort Maurepas and Vieux Biloxey:  Search and Research” in Mississippi Archaeology (Blitz, Mann, and Bellande, Vol. 30, No. 1, June 1995), and The Ocean Springs Record, Fort Maurepas then and now”, July 8, 1993 and July 15, 1993)

18th Century

1719-Bienville and “Biloxey”

            In 1719, when the capital of French Louisiana was relocated from the Mobile area back to the present day Mississippi Coast, there is no doubt that this settlement called “Biloxey” was located on the Fort Point Peninsula.  The name “Biloxey” was derived from a corruption of the word Annochy, one of the Indian nations that Iberville encountered in this area in February 1699.  Their village was situated on the Pascagoula River.(McWilliams, 1981, p. 45)

Vieux Biloxi

In 1720, Charles Franquet de Chaville, a French engineer, arrived in the Louisiana Colony first at Ile Dauphine (Dauphine Island) aboard the Dromadaire.  He then went to the natural harbor at Isle aux Vaisseau (Ship Island) before disembarking at Vieux Biloxy (Ocean Springs) in December 1720.  de Chaville was assigned to Louisiana with Adrian de Pauger (d. 1726) and Chevalier de Boispinel (d. 1723) to work under Chief Engineer of the Company of the Indies, Pierre LeBlond de La Tour (d. 1723). 

 LeBlond de La Tour drew the plans for Vieux Biloxy (Ocean Springs), Fort Louis at Nouveau Biloxy (Biloxi), and Nouvelle Orleans (New Orleans).  Fort Louis, which was located west of the Biloxi Lighthouse, was never completed as the Louisiana capital was moved to New Orleans in 1722. 

de Chaville’s Description of Old Biloxi follows:  “Old Biloxi is situated at the back of a bay surrounded by marsh.  The land that we settled on (occupied) is a plateau, stretching for about 2400 feet.  It was the only place we could see without any trees.  Those who had recently arrived from France had built cabins for themselves there.  The only house, that is to say a building or barracks worthy of the name, that was to be seen was that occupied by the Directors.  All others were built in a style I have described later. 

As far as age goes, this post was the oldest, according to the Commander, established at the time they discovered the mouth of the river in 1702.  It was occupied a second time after Dauphin Island was abandoned.   Hunting and fishing are abundantly rewarded, deer among others, is very good.  It is certainly the best eating when cooked on a spit.  The fish, which is caught in the bay is called red fish and is the very best.  It is larger than a large carp and its flesh is very firm.  The scales are like those of a carp except that they are red.  The Commander and the Directors were always well supplied with red fish for their table.  Since they felt honored to invite newly arrived officers, I ate there almost the whole time during my stay.”  (Journal de la Societe Des Americanistes De Paris, pp. 20-27)

The English Domain

After Old Biloxey was abandoned circa 1721, by the French, no activity was recorded in this area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast until the late 18th Century, when the British took control of this part of La Louisiane after the French and Indian War ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1763.  The Ocean Springs area became a part of British West Florida and governed from Pensacola.

During English rule, several expeditions reconnoitered the Mississippi Sound and local bays.  Among them were the George A. Gauld reconnaissance mapping for the British Admiralty in 1768, and the Lt. Thomas Hutchins rescue of the Mercury in 1772.  

The Gauld Map of 1768

Scottish cartographer and surveyor, George A. Gauld (1732-1782), in the employ of the British Admiralty and operating from HMS Sir Edward Hawke, made a map of Coastal Mississippi in June 1768.  During his reconnaissance of the area, Gauld found that “just opposite to Ship Island on the Mainland is situated Old Biloxi (present day OceanSprings) on a small Bay of the same name, behind L’Isle au Chevreuil, or Buck Island (Deer Island)”.  He discovered that only a few descendants of the original French settlers were still here.  They existed by raising cattle and making pitch and tar, and were troubled by the Indians.(Ware, 1982, pp. 106-107) 

The Gauld Map of 1768 depicts a Madame Bodrons (probably Madame Baudrau) living at present day Ocean Springs.  Her place appears to have been located in Section 25, T7S-R9W, near the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.

Lieutenant Hutchins and the Mercury-1772

In September 1772, the Mercury, an English naval vessel, was caught in storm at the mouth of Mobile Bay and blown westward to the Samphire Islands off the Louisiana coast, where she was beached.  Lt. Thomas Hutchins (1730-1789) and crew left the Pensacola area in the Elizabeth, an open schooner, in late September, in search of the Mercuryand her party of about twenty men. On the 27th of September, he was at Mme. Boudreau’s place on Biloxi Bay.  There is a high degree of certitude that this is the same Mme. Bodron’s at Old Biloxi on the Gauld Map of 1768.(Rea, 1990, pp. 56-58)  

The identity of Madame “Bodron” has not been ascertained at this time, but she is probably a descendant or spouse of a descendant of Jean-Baptise Baudrau (1671-1761), a French Canadian solder of fortune called Graveline, who came to Fort Maurepas with  Iberville in 1700.  He remained and settled permanently in what became in December 1812, Jackson County of the Mississippi Territory.  Today, his descendants from daughter, Magdeline, and her spouse, Pierre Paquet, number in the thousands.  Graveline's granddaughter, Catherine Louise Baudreau (1742-1806+), wedded Joseph Bosarge (1733-1794), a native of Poitiers, France in 1763, founding another large Gulf Coast family.(Lepre, 1983)

Bernardo Galvez and the Spanish Period

In 1779-1780, English garrisons were attacked by the Spanish and American forces from New Orleans, which resulted in the loss of Baton Rouge, Natchez, and Mobile.  During the Spanish campaign against Mobile, it is postulated by some that a “Spanish Camp” existed on the Fort Point Peninsula.  The term has been passed on and exists in land deed records in the area.

The “Spanish Camp”-1780

Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936) in Broken Pot (ca 1936), gives a plausible explanation for the mysterious“Spanish Camp” which possibly existed on the Fort Point Peninsula in the late 18th Century.  To quote Poitevent:   I do not know what became of the Old Fort (Fort Maurepas).  After the headquarters were moved to the present town of Biloxi, the cannons were doubtlessly moved over there and the Old Fort was abandoned.  I suppose it went the way of all old forts and fell into decay and since it was of wood it rotted down and in time produced good dewberries and blackberries.  Of course, the property remained the King’s and therefore was not subject to settlement.  I presume it continued vacant; and after the British took possession in 1763-1764, why its vacancy became more apparent.  Still it was known as the “old fort” and when the Spanish in New Orleans ousted the British from Natchez in 1779, the Spanish governor moved to attack Mobile.  He was defeated in his move by a storm.  He withdrew his demoralized shipwrecked army from Mobile Bay and reorganized a part of his force here at the Old Fort.  Part of the Spaniards camped here, while the reorganization of the force in New Orleans was underway, and the place thereafter came to be known as “Spanish Camp”.(Chapter XI, “Old Fort Maurepas)

Josephine Bowen Kettler

Circa 1933, while composing Broken Pot, Schuyler Poitevent interviewed Josephine Bowen Kettler (1845-1933+), then a resident of Lyman, Harrison County, Mississippi.  She had arrived at Ocean Springs in 1846, with her parents, the Reverend Philip P. Bowen (1799-1871) and Mrs. Bowen, from Enterprise, Mississippi.   Josephine B. Kettler told Mr. Poitevent about her ante-Bellum days at Ocean Springs. Their conversation concerning the “Spanish Camp” was recorded as follows:

Kettler-“There was a place where we children used to go to pick blackberries.  It was sort of a clearing where there had once been an old fort and there was a lot of old brick scattered about and cannon balls, and the blackberry vines grew as high as this.”(Mrs. Kettler measured waist high from the ground)

Poitevent-“This place is sometimes called ‘Spanish Camp’.”

Kettler-“So, this is ‘Old Spanish Camp’, is it?  Well, it has changed, for in those days there were no homes here; and we children when we would come to pick berries would sometimes wade on the beach, and there was an old cannon sticking breech up out there in the Bay and when the tide was out and the water was low we could see it and we used to chunk at it and throw sticks and shells at it; and I guess it is out there yet.”(Poitevent, 1933)

Early Census

During the rule of England and Spain, several records of inhabitants in West Florida, as the Mississippi Gulf Coast was a part, were taken by local authorities in service of these foreign powers.  In October 1764, Major Robert Farmer of the 34th Regiment made a list of those inhabitants of Mobile who swore allegiance to King George III (1738-1820) of England.  From this list, I believe the following were residents of the present day Mississippi-Alabama Gulf Coast: Hugo Krebs; Simon Favre; Nicholas Ladner; William Favre; Jean-Baptiste Necaise; John-Baptise Baudrau; Jean Favre; Francois Favre; Bartholew Grelot; Marianne Favre; Nicholas Carco; and Joseph Bosarge.(Strickland et al, 1995, p. 22)

On January 1, 1786, Spanish authorities at Mobile took a census of the residents under their jurisdiction.  I interpret from the census of that time, that the following people were present day Mississippi Gulf Coast residents of Spanish West Florida: Madame Gargaret, widow; Nicholas Christian Ladner and wife; Joseph Moran and wife; Jean-Baptise Fayard and wife; Louis Fayard and wife; Mathurin Ladner, widower; Jacques Ladner and wife; Jean-Baptise Favre and wife; Madame Baudrau, widow; Joseph Krebs and wife; Francis Krebs and wife; Madame Krebs, widow; Hugo Krebs and wife; Augustine Krebs and wife; Madame Peter Krebs, widow; Nicholas Carco and wife; Peter Fayard and sister; Joseph Bosarge and wife; and Madame Favre, widow.(Strickland et al, 1995, p. 25)

The population of Mobile in 1785 was 746 people.(Hamilton, 1910, p. 331)

Madame Baudrau-a mystery

As previously stated, the George Gauld Map of 1768 depicted a Madame Bodrons, probably Madame Baudrau (Would you expect a Scot to know how to spell a French Canadian name?), living in Section 25, T7S-R9W, near the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.  Madame Baudrau, a widow, again appears in the Spanish Census of 1786.  This woman has been a puzzle to some local historians, especially related to the location of Fort Maurepas (1699-1702).

In December 1812, an Elizabeth Baudrau conveyed a track of land in present day D’Iberville, Mississippi to my great-great grandfather, Louis Arbeau Caillavet (1790-1860), a native of the Opelousas Post, Louisiana, and the husband of Marguerite Fayard (1787-1863) of Biloxi.  She was the daughter of Jean-Baptiste Fayard Jr. (1752-1816) and Angelique Ladner (1753-1830), early Biloxi residents.  In the deed description, the five-arpent tract is stated as “situated on the Old Fort River.”  When L.A. Caillavet sold a portion of this land in November 1832 to a gentleman from New Orleans it was referred to as “a piece of land under the name BOISFORT CANADIEN.”   “Boisfort Canadien” translates from the French language as “Canadian wood fort”.  Does this imply that Fort Maurepas was situated in present day D’Iberville on the Back Bay of Biloxi?(Lepre, 1984, p. 62-63 and Cassibry, 1987, pp. 577-578)

The mystery of Madame Baudrau intensifies when one notes that the land claim in July 1823 of Woodson Wren, a resident of Natchez, to the 1782 Spanish land grant of Littlepage Robertson, which consisted of the entire Fort Point Peninsula, Section 24 and Section 25, T7S-R9W, states that “the place now claimed by Woodson Wren, situated on the northeast side of the Bay of Biloxi, adjoining the Vieux Fort (Old Fort)….”(American State Papers, Vol. 4, 1994, p. 764)    

Even with these interesting alternate sites for Fort Maurepas, the archaeological and cartographic data indicate rather conclusively that Fort Maurepas, the Old French Fort, was situated in the vicinity of the former June Poitevent (1837-1919) property on Lovers Lane in Section 24, T7S-R9W, not in Section 25, T7S-R9W.

Littlepage Robertson-Spanish Land Grant

We can assume that Madame Baudrau was living at Ocean Springs without a land grant or title from a foreign government.  Therefore, the first legal settler of the Fort Point Peninsula was Littlepage Robertson, sometimes spelled Robinson.  In June 1782, shortly after the expulsion of the English from this area, Littlepage Robertson was granted land at present day Ocean Springs by the Spanish civil and military governor of West Florida, Don Henrique Grimarest, who was posted at Mobile.  Robertson’s grant included Section 24 and Section 25 of T7S-R9W, which is the entire Fort Point Peninsula and the southern part of Gulf Hills, north of Old Fort Bayou.  Here affidavits by Pierre Carco and Susan Fayard in August 1829, reveal that Littlepage Robertson settled on the Fort Point Peninsula with his family a few years after the Spanish captured Mobile.  He remained here and cultivated the land until his children reached maturity.(American State Papers, Vol. 4, 1994, p. 764)

      Little is known of Littlepage Robertson or his family.  His movements can be traced in The American State Papers, which discusses land grants and claims in early America.  It appears that before Littlepage Robertson settled on the Mississippi Gulf Coast circa 1782, that he had resided on a Spanish land grant of one League Square donated by the Commandant of Nacogdoches in the “neutral territory” on Bayou Bain or Boine.  This grant was seven leagues west of the town of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Robertson remained here about twelve years growing corn, raising stock, etc.(American State Papers, Vol. 3, 1994, p. 236 and Vol. 4, p. 113)

    In November 1812, John Brown testified that in 1799, Littlepage Robertson settled on 640 acres on the right bank of Bayou Vermilion in the County of Attakapas, below Little Bayou.  Robertson remained and cultivated this land until 1804.  This testimony was refuted by Theodore Broussard, but Michel Pevoto related that Robertson settled one and one-half leagues Little Bayou.  The lands in these depositions are situated in southwest Louisiana in the Lafayette-St. Martinsville region.  By 1799, the children of Littlepage Robertson would have reached maturity corroborating the 1829 depositions of Pierre Carco and Susan Fayard.(American State Papers, Vol. 3, 1994, p. 205)           

19th Century

The Republic of West Florida-Jackson County

      The Colonial Period ended in 1810, when this region, then still a part of Spanish West Florida, declared itself the independent Republic of West Florida.  By early 1811, the Republic was added to the Territory of Orleans.  On December 12, 1812, Jackson County of the Mississippi Territory came into existence. Mississippi was admitted into the Union of the United States of America in March 1817.(The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, 1989, p. 1)

Obviously, this was a time when there was a paucity of people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  In fact, whenDr. Flood, the representative of Governor Claiborne of the Orleans Territory, was dispatched to the Mississippi coast to hoist the flag of the United States in January 1811, he found the population between the Pearl River and Biloxi to be about four hundred people chiefly French and Creoles.  Dr. Flood in his report to Governor Claiborne wrote:  proceeded to the Bay of Biloxi, where I found Mr. Ladnier (Jacques), and gave him the commission (Justice of the Peace).  He is a man of excellent sense, but can neither read or write, nor can any      inhabitants of the bay of Biloxi that I can hear of. They are, all along this beautiful coast, a primitive people, of mixed origin, retaining the gaiety and politeness of the French, blended with the abstemiousness and indolence of the Indian.  They plant a little rice, and a few roots and vegetables, but depend on subsistence chiefly on game and fish.  I left with all these appointees copies of the laws, ordinances, etc.  But few laws will be wanted here.  The people are universally honest.  There are no crimes.  The father of the family or the oldest inhabitant, settles all disputes......A more innocent and inoffensive people may not be found.  They seem to desire only the simple necessities of life, and to be let alone in their tranquility.  I am greatly impressed with the beauty and value of this coast.  The high sandy lands, heavily timbered with pine, and the lovely bays and with a delightful summer resort.  For a cantonment or military post, in consideration of the health of the troops, this whole coast is admirably fitted. (Claiborne, 1978, pp. 306-307)

Woodson Wren

            In 1812, Littlepage Robertson conveyed the lands of his Spanish Land Grant at present day Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which included the entire Fort Point Peninsula, to Woodson Wren (1779-1855).  Mr. Wren was born on June 20, 1779, in Fairfax County, Virginia, the son of Vincent Wren and Tabitha Crenshaw.  In 1805, he married Mary Grant (1787-1857), the daughter of John Grant and Mary Mosely, and a native of Lafayette County, Kentucky.  Woodson and Mary Grant Wren reared a large family during their residency in Louisiana and Mississippi: Mary Wren (b. 1806); Orleana Wren (b. 1808); Sarah Wren (1810-1886+) married John P. Walworth (1798-1883); Elizabeth Wren (1812-1870); John Vincent Wren (b. 1814); Woodson Wren II (1818-1835); Catherine Wren (1820-1896) m. James Rainey (1810-1876); William Wren (1823-1858+); Burrus Wren (b. 1825); Samuel Cartwright Wren (1826-1828); and Samuel Woodson Wren (1830-1851+).  In addition, Mary Grant Wren lost six children while birthing, which included two sets of twins, between 1816 and 1822.(American State Papers, Vol. 4, 1994, p. 764 and homepages. roots-web.com/~pettit/HTML/d0002/g0000043.html)

            In 1813, the Wren family was domiciled at Baton Rouge, Louisiana in a red- framed house near the town jail.  Here Woodson Wren was the proprietor of a “stand”.  A “stand” was a place of public accommodation—sort of a bed-and-breakfast for the traveling public, except dinner was also provided.  Some of them were also taverns.  At this time, Woodson Wren borrowed money from Cornelius Baldwin. Two slaves, Bill age 43, a blacksmith, and Lydia, his wife, age 30, served as collateral for the loan.(The Washington Republic, May 25, 1813, p. 4, MiMi Miller, August 19, 2004,  and Strickland, 1999, p. 94)

Woodson Wren practiced medicine at Natchez, Mississippi as early as 1828.  In March 1828, Dr. Wren’s “large and substantial building” survived a conflagration, which commenced on First North Street from the stables of the Jefferson Hotel.(Kerns, 1993, p. 82)

Mr. Wren served as Clerk of Court for Adams County, Mississippi and was also the postmaster.  In addition, Wren was helped organize the Masonic Lodges in Mississippi.  He passed at Port Gibson on April 9, 1855, while Mary Grant Wren died at Natchez in 1857.  Dr. Wren’s corporal remains were laid to rest in the Natchez City Cemetery.(The Mississippi Free Trader, April 7, 1837, p. 3, The Natchez Daily Courier, April 10, 1855, p. 2,  Dr. Stratton’s Diary, andAmerican State Papers, Vol. 4, p. 764)

Mary Grant Wren’s estate was probated in December 1858.  Her will provided that John P. Walworth (1798-1883), the executor of her estate, invest $1000 in real estate or stocks for children, Catherine Wren Rainey and William Wren.  Elizabeth Wren was bequeathed $500 to be used by her for an excursion to Virginia or others efficacious springs to benefit her health.  The rest of Mrs. Wren’s legacy was to be divided among her children.(Adams Co., Ms. Chancery Court Will Bk. 3, p. 108)

In May 1833, Woodson Wren, a resident of Natchez, Mississippi, made a land and slave conveyance to Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright, also of Natchez.  The consideration for Wren’s 640 acres in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, his lands on the east side of the Bay of Biloxi at present day Ocean Springs, which included all of the Fort Point Peninsula, and seven females slaves was valued at $8524.  Dr. Wren was indebted to Cartwright for this amount.(Southern District Chancery Court Cause No. 43-May 1851, Mississippi City, Ms.)

Alice Walworth Graham

It is interesting to note that Alice Walworth Graham (1905-1994), a great-great granddaughter of Woodson Wren and Mary Grant Wren and great granddaughter of Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright and Mary Wren, became a well-known Southern fiction writer.  Her great grandfather, John P. Walworth (1798-1883), was born at Aurora, New York.  He made his livelihood in Natchez as a merchant-planter and was Mayor.  The Burn, a circa1836 Greek Revival structure at present day 712 North Union Street, was the Walworth family residence.  Most of the published literary works of Alice Walworth Graham are romance novels set on Natchez plantations: Lost River (1938); The Natchez Woman (1950);Romantic Lady (1952); Indigo Bend (1954); and Cibola.  Mrs. Graham’s three historical romance novels situated in England are: Vows of the Peacock (1955), Shield of Honor (1957), and The Summer Queen (1973).  (www.lib.lsu.edu/special/findaid/4295.htm)            

Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright

Samuel Adolphus Cartwright (1793-1868) was born November 30, 1793 in Fairfax County, Virginia.  As a young man, he matriculated to the University of Pennsylvania to pursue the study of medicine.  Dr. Cartwright commenced his medical practice at Huntsville, Alabama before relocating in the early 1820s, to Natchez.  Here in 1825, he married Mary Wren (c. 1810-1898), the daughter of Woodson Wren and Mary Grant.  Dr. Cartwright served this Mississippi River community for over twenty-five years before settling down stream to New Orleans in 1848.  During the War of the Rebellion, he was commissioned by the Confederate military to enhance the sanitary living conditions of rebel troops bivouacked at Port Hudson and Vicksburg.  Dr. Cartwright’s medical research of yellow fever, cholera infantum, and Asiatic cholera was awarded several medals and prizes, and Cartwright’s treatments for these diseases have been utilized in military and civilian hospitals.(www.famousamericans.net/samueladolphuscartwright/ )        

In 1851, Dr. Cartwright published Report on the diseases and physical peculiarities of the Negro race.  This divisive treatise written to validate slavery reported Cartwright’s discovery of several mental illnesses unique to the Black race.  One disease called Drapetomania was purported by Dr. Cartwright as to result in “blacks to have an uncontrollable urge to run away from their masters.”  The cure was to beat the devil out of the “sick” slave.  Another of his “diseases” was Dysaesthesia Aethiopis, which was recognized by disobedience, disrespectful dialect, and work refusal.  Cartwright’s treatment for this “mental ailment” was extreme toil to energize blood flow to the brain in order to liberate the mind.(www.as.ua.edu/ant/bindon/ ant275/presentations/Race_and_Health.pdf )

Dr. Cartwright expired at Jackson, Mississippi on May 2, 1868.

In December 1850, Samuel A. Cartwright (1793-1868) and Mary Wren Cartwright (c 1810-1898), his spouse, domiciled at New Orleans, for the consideration of $2000, conveyed and quitclaimed their rights, title and interest in about 205-acres being Section 25, T7S-R9W and Lot 6 of Section 24, T7S-R9W, Jackson County, Mississippi to Elizabeth Wren of Natchez, Mississippi.(Southern District Chancery Court Cause No. 43-May 1851, Mississippi City, Ms.)

Elizabeth Wren

Elizabeth Wren (1812-1876) was the daughter of Woodson Wren and Mary Grant Wren.  She was born at St. Martinville, Louisiana and expired at New Orleans in February 1880.  There is the probability that Woodson Wren and Littlepage Robertson were at St. Martinville, then situated in Attakapas County, when Wren acquired in 1812, the Spanish land grant of Robertson at Ocean Springs. 

In June 1844, Woodson Wren was issued a land patent from the Federal Government for Section 25 and Lot 6 of Section 24, T7S-R9W, Jackson County, Mississippi.  This action initiated litigation in the Southern District Chancery Court at Mississippi City, Mississippi in May 1851 as: Cause No. 43-Elizabeth Wren of Natchez v. Woodson Wren of Natchez; Joseph Plummer of Jackson County, Ms.; Samuel A. Cartwright (NOLA), and John Black of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana.  Samuel A. Cartwright had sold this same land to Miss Wren in December 1850, as previously mentioned.  In the bill of this lawsuit, Elizabeth Wren asked that the land conveyances on the Fort Point     

Peninsula between Woodson Wren and John Black be declared null and void and that Joseph Plummer be perpetually separated from this land and pay her any rents or profits that he acquired from them.  It was adjudicated in this litigation that the deed from Samuel A. Cartwright to Woodson Wren, which included the Fort Point Peninsula was “uncertain, informal, and void of law and in equity and no good.”  The deed from Dr. Cartwright from Elizabeth Wren was also voided.  It appears that Joseph Plummer was awarded title by his adverse possession of the area.

Other land patents on Fort Point

In addition to Woodson Wren’s June 1844 land patent for Section 25, T7S-R9W and Lot 6 of Section 24, T7S-R9W, the Federal Government issued land patents to John Black for Lot 4 situated in Section 24, T7S-R9W in February 1837.  Lot 5 was patented to Arthur Bryant in September 1846.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 62, pp. 263-264, Bk. 249, p. 246, and Bk. 59, p. 444-445)

Early hurricanes

The Fort Point Peninsula, other than the high central ridge traversed by Lovers Lane, is for the most part at or near sea level.  This salient fact makes its perimeter very susceptible to inundation from storms, gales, and hurricanes.  The higher ground is relatively safe and accounts for the preservation of many 19th Century structures.  The Colonial settlers reported that at least ten tropical cyclones struck this region between the Florida Panhandle and the delta of the Mississippi River.(Sullivan, 1986, p. 135)           

1722 September Storm

Of the Colonial era tempests, the one that may have directly affected the Fort Point Peninsula was the 1722 September Storm.  Jean-Baptise de la Harpe (1683-1765), a French soldier who served in the Louisiana Colony from 1718 until 1723, kept a journal during his tenure here.  He wrote on September 11, 1722:  A hurricane began in the morning, which lasted until the 16th.  The winds came from the southeast passing to the south and then to the southwest.  The hurricane  caused  the destruction of beans, corn, and more than 8,000 quarts of rice ready to be harvested.  It destroyed most of the houses in New Orleans with the exception of a warehouse built by M. Pauger.  The warehouse of Fort Louis (present day Biloxi) containing a large quantity of supplies was overturned to the great satisfaction of its keepers.  The accident freed them from rendering their accounts.  The Espiduel, three freighters, and almost all of the boats, launches, and pirogues perished.  The Neptuneand the Santo-Cristo, which had been repaired according to the orders of the commissioners, were entirely put out of service.  A large supply of artillery, lead and meats, which had been for a long time in a pincre, were lost near Old Biloxi (which was situated on the Fort Point Peninsula).  The French had neglected to unload the ship for more than a year.  They were also worried about three ships anchored at Ship Island and the Dromadaire, which had been sent to New Orleans loaded with a supply of pine wood, which have cost the company more than 100,1000 livres.(La Harpe, 1971, pp. 214-215)

Some historians believe that the “mystery ship” discovered by Henri Eugene Tiblier Jr. (1866-1936) in August 1892 on an oyster reef known locally as “the rock pile” had been sunk in the 1722 September Storm.  The “rock pile” is situated in the Bay of Biloxi about ¼ mile southwest of “Conamore”, the home of Dr. Patricia Conner Joachim, at present day 317 Lovers Lane.  This derelict vessel has yielded many artifacts to salvagers and archaeologist, the most notable being the four, highly oxidized, cannon bores embedded in concrete in front of the Santa Maria del Mar, retirement residency, on East Beach Boulevard in Biloxi.  I have always wondered why these “treasures” have been allowed to “rot” here for the last seventy-three years?(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 23, 1892, p. 2)

Another hypothesis for the sinking of the small French vessel off Lovers Lane is that it was the victim of an accidental conflagration.  In January 1700, Sieur de Sauvole (ca 1671-1701), an ensign appointed by Iberville as commandant of Fort Maurepas, related the following in his journal:   Returning from the ships of M. d’Iberville, where I have been to receive the orders, we have noticed, before having put to land, our little traversier on fire, which was impossible to extinguish, being already too advanced, besides this, there were several barrels of powder, which, in a little time have had their usual effect.  This accident has been caused by two bunglers who having been to work on board, have left there a lighted fuse which has occasioned this loss; I am inconsolable, because of the need we had of it.(Higginbotham, 1969, p. 41)

Bernard Roman’s Hurricane

This 1772 September tempest was named for Bernard Romans (ca 1720-1774+), a Dutch scientist, who journeyed along the Mexican Gulf Coast from 1771-1773, and related his observations of this strong hurricane as follows:  At Mobile every thing was in confusion, vessels, boats, and loggs (sic) were drove up into the streets a great distance, the gullies and hollows as well as all the lower grounds of this town were so filled with loggs (sic), that many inhabitants got the greatest part of their yearly provision of firewood there….the greatest fury of it (the hurricane) was spent on the neighbourhood (sic) of the Pasca Ocolo (Pascagoula) river; the plantation of Mr. Krebs there was almost totally destroyed, of a fine crop of rice, and a large one of corn were scarcely left any remains, the house were left uncovered, his smith’s shop was almost washed away, all his works and outhouses blown down; and for thirty miles up a branch of this river is called cedar river, there was scarce a tree left standing, the pines blown down or broke, and those which had not intirely (sic) yielded to this violence, were so twisted, that they might be confused with ropes; at Botereaux’s (Baudrau’s) cow pen, the people were about six weeks consulting on a method of finding and bringing home their cattle……(Romans, 1961, pp. 3-4)

18th Century 

Between 1812 and the beginning of the 20th Century, there were at least nine hurricanes that affected the area between West Florida and the Atchafalaya Basin.  The July 1819 Storm was devastating to the Biloxi area.  The Fort Point Peninsula was probably not occupied at this time, but the LaFontaine family was probably residing in an area located somewhere between present day Front Beach Drive-Washington Avenue-Calhoun and Dewey Avenue.  Witnesses at Biloxi report that this tempest inundated Cat Island and the Biloxi Peninsula to the extent that a schooner sailed through the village from the beach into Back Bay.(The New Orleans Daily Crescent, September 22, 1860, p. 1)

There were six hurricanes to strike the Mississippi Gulf Coast between August 1852 and November 1860.  In fact, three tropical tempests came ashore here between August 10, 1860 and September 14, 1860.  There is very little information concerning Ocean Springs as regards these storms due to its small population, which made for few structures to destroy. One can only infer from the reports issued at Biloxi about the local damage and destruction, which for the most part consisted of the loss of wharves, piers, bathhouses, and an occasional structure.  Debris, driftwood, and displaced watercraft are also an integral part of the hurricane disaster scenario.(Sullivan, 1986, p. 135)           

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)

The Cheniere Caminada Storm of 1893

The 1893 October Strom, referred to by historians as the Great October Storm or the Cheniere Caminada Storm, struck the Mississippi coast slightly west of the Alabama state line on the morning of October 2, 1893.  Winds in excess of 100 mph and rainfalls of up to eight inches were recorded at many coastal towns.  The highest official storm surge reported in Mississippi was 9.3 feet at Deer Island where forty cattle were drowned and their carcasses deposited at the Biloxi lighthouse along with timbers of boats, saloons, oyster houses and piers.

On October 1, 1893, the tempest first struck the coast of southeast Louisiana.  Here winds in excess of 130 mph and a storm surge of 15 feet generated from the waters of Barataria Bay and Caminada Bay drowned 1,650 people from the population of 1,800 persons living on Cheniere Caminada, a small fishing community, near Grand Isle. 

After exiting Caminada Bay, the Great October Storm moved rapidly northeast inflicting heavy damage to the fishing fleet working the fecund waters of the east Louisiana marshes northwest of Breton Sound.  It is estimated that hundreds of sailors died here from drowning during the tempest or from exposure during the days following the aftermath of the storm.  Along the turbulent path to its Mississippi landfall, the Great October Storm destroyed the U.S. Marine Hospital, Quarantine Station, and lighthouse at Chandeleur Island.

Local damage

Regrettably for the beachfront inhabitants at Ocean Springs who remembered the gale of mid-August 1888, the approaching hurricane would soon make them forget that blow.  The damage in 1888 generally amounted to lost piers, bathhouses, breakwaters, and some trees.  The Daily Picayune of August 24, 1888, reported destruction to the wharves and bath houses of: The Ocean Springs Hotel, Mrs. Julia Ward, Mrs. Julia Egan, John Cunningham, Mrs. Illing, Mr. Hemard, Bishop Keener, Reverend Dr. Joseph B. Walker, and Ralph Beltram.  The grand lawn of the Arthur Ambrose Maginnis Jr. estate, west of the W.B. Schmidt estate, was strewn with fallen trees.  Schmidt lost a portion of his breakwater.  Narcisse Seymour, who operated a fish house and saloon at the foot of Washington Avenue, lost both during the high tides and wind of the raging blow.(The Daily PicayuneAugust 22, 1888, p. 2)

The Gillum Hotel (originally the Van Cleave Hotel) located on the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Robinson Avenue, opposite the L&N depot, was badly shaken by the heavy winds.  It had to be repainted.  Mrs. Adele H. Gillum gave up her lease on the hostel, which was owned at the time by Mrs. Emma Arndt Meyer (1866-1924+).  Gillum and her daughter, Effie, moved to New Orleans in January 1894.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 6, 1893, p. 2)

The L&N Railroad

First reports of the 1893 Hurricane destruction at Ocean Springs indicated that the most severe devastation occurred when the L&N Railroad bridge across the Bay of Biloxi was washed away.  Hurricane force winds drove a 200-foot section of the structure into the Back Bay of Biloxi.  The floundering rail span wreaked havoc on boats, wharves, and seafood plants on the shore of the bay along the Biloxi peninsula.  Mr. Jack Sheppard, the bridge tender's assistant, was drowned. 

When the first train reached Ocean Springs from Mobile on October 11th, it carried sixty bridge repairmen.  The townspeople were furious with the L&N for not carrying their mail.  The local postmaster had to row to Biloxi in a skiff to get the mail.  Although four schooners and several steamboats landed at Ocean Springs via New Orleans, their captains had been denied access to the town’s mail.(The Biloxi Herald, October 21, 1893, p. 4)

Martime victims

The town became very concerned when the Alphonsine, a fishing schooner, commanded by Captain Paul Cox was overdue.  The vessel had been shrimping in the Louisiana Marsh.  The people of Ocean Springs and others of the coast were relieved on October 13, when Father Aloise Van Waesberghe of St. Alphonsus reported to the editor of The Pascagoula Democrat-Star that Paul Cox (1867-1942), Ed Mon (1843-1920), Van Court, and Ladnier have returned to Ocean Springs from Breton Island where they spent the days following the hurricane.  The men survived on two croakers a day while they dug their beached schooner, Alphonsine, out of its quartz trap.

The Rubio brothers, Paul Fergonis (1861-1893) and Frank Fergonis (1865-1893), also known as Guiatan (Cajetan) or probably Gaetano brothers, of the Bayou Puerto settlement, were fishing in the Louisiana marshes aboard the schooner, Young Amercia, and were caught by the hurricane.  The tempest dismasted their vessel and drove it aground at Southwest Pass.  Both men were lost at sea.(The Biloxi Herald, October 7, 1893, p. 1)

The Civil War (1861-1865)

Ocean Springs basically slept through the Civil War years.  Hunger and pestilence were the greatest inconveniences suffered by those who remained in the village. With the exception of a brief visit from a contingent of marines and sailors from the USS Hartford in March 1862, and an occasional soiree for officers at the John Brown House on Fort Bayou, the town was relatively free from Union intrusions. 

If you were residing on the Fort Point Peninsula during the war years, you might have witnessed the June 1864 Union Navy raiding party crossing the tidal flats in Biloxi Bay.  Two Yankee gunboats, USS Cowslip and USSNarcissus, after negotiating the shallows in the Bay went far up the Tchoutacabouffa River.  They destroyed salt works, boats, and ferries along their intrusive wake.  Confederate forces scuttled a schooner in Fort Bayou, when threatened by launches from the USS Vincennes.(The New Orleans Weekly Times June 18, 1864)           

19th Century Settlements

Since the land deed records of the Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court have been destroyed twice by fire in the years 1837 and 1875, there is a paucity of early land conveyance recordings in Jackson County, which makes it difficult to impossible to abstract older properties without breaks in the title chain.  A land deed of May 1854, that was recorded in the Jackson County Chancery Court is elucidating in that it indicates that Joseph R. Plummer and spouse possessed the entire Fort Point Peninsula as early as May 1853.  At this time, Mary G. Plummer conveyed Lots 4-5-6 of Section 24, T7S-R9W and Section 25, T7S-R9W, composed of 437.35 acres more or less and 60 acres in Section 19, T7S-R8W to Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1891) and “Narcis” Martin.  I believe that “Narcis” Martin is in fact, Warrick Martin.  Dr. Austin and Martin built the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1853 and this lovely structure appears to be the catalyst for the 1854, changing of the name of our fair village from Lynchburg Springs to “Ocean Springs”.  Plummer’s possession of the entire Fort Point Peninsula is corroborated somewhat by the adjudication in Wren v. Wren, et al, May 1851, in (The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 12 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, pp. 299-300)  

Warrick  Martin

Warrick 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, Warrick 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.

The Connecticut Yankee-Joseph R. Plummer and the “Brick House”

Since Madame Baudrau’s home was situated in Section 25, T7S-R9W, near the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club, there is a high degree of certitude that Joseph R. Plummer (1804-1870+) was the first 19th Century inhabitant of the Fort Point Peninsula.  Joseph R. Plummer was born in Connecticut.  He was in Jackson County for the Federal Census of 1840.  It is believed that Plummer married Mary G. Porter (1808-1878), the sister of Martha Porter Austin(1818-1898), the spouse of Dr. William G. Austin.  The Porter family had its roots in Giles, County, Tennessee.  Porter Street is named for this early clan.  At Ocean Springs, J.R. Plummer made his livelihood as a farmer, land speculator, and land agent. 

By the late 1850s, J.R. Plummer’s land holdings on the Fort Point Peninsula had been reduced by sales from the entire area to a sixteen-acre parcel in the southeast corner of Lot 4, T7S-R9W.  His residence was situated here facing the Bay of Biloxi and was known as the “Plummer Brick House”.  Eventually, we will trace the “Plummer Brick House” tract to its present owner, Jolean Hornsby Guice, who has possessed this beautiful Biloxi Bay land since November 1971. 

Regarding brick as a construction material in this region, it was rare until Hanson Alsbury, probably the first Caucasian to settle on the present day Shearwater Pottery tract on Biloxi Bay, acquired what may have been an old brick works established earlier by the Morin (Moran) family at Back Bay, now known as D’Iberville.  By 1849, William G. Kendall and Robert B. Kendall, two Kentucky born brothers, were making firebricks on Back Bay.   Three of Biloxi’s oldest extant homes, the Toledano-Tullis House, familiarly known as the “Tullis-Toledano House” on Beach Boulevard, the Rogers House, also called “The Old Brick House” on Bayview Avenue, and Mary Mahoney’s Old French House, were all built with Kendall brick, which was manufactured between 1849 and 1853. 

Kendall brickyard

William Gray Kendall (1812-1872) was born in Gallatin County, Kentucky.  He came to New Orleans via Carroll County, in north central Mississippi.  In 1835, W.G. Kendall married Mary Philomela Irwin (1817-1878), the daughter of John Lawson Irwin and Martha Mitchell (1793-1831).  Mr. Irwin was at one time Speaker of the House of the Mississippi State legislature.  Mary P. Kendall was born on February 5, 1817 at the Puck-shonubbee Plantation, her father’s home, in Carroll County, Mississippi.  She died at Ocean Springs on January 17, 1878.(The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 4, April 1946, pp. 292-293)        

In the Crescent City, William Gray Kendall practiced law with the firm of Kendall & Howard, domiciled at 13 St. Charles Avenue.  Mr. Kendall was postmaster at Biloxi in 1853 and at New Orleans in 1854.  He was also engaged in other entrepreneurial ventures.  In January 1846, he purchased a fifty-acre tract of land in Section 30, T7S-R8W with 800 feet fronting on the Bay of Biloxi from A.H. Donaldson.  On this beautiful, high ground facing Deer Island to the south, he built a residence, icehouse, and school.  The parcel had an 800 feet fronting on the Bay of Biloxi.  Here Mr. Kendall erected a home.  It burned in 1894, when owned by Abraham F. Marks (1870-1939).( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 63, pp. 14-15 and The Pascagoula-Democrat Star, June 14, 1894, p. 3)

Today the old Kendall Estate is situated on Shearwater Drive between the Shearwater Pottery and the E.W. Blossman Estate, and owned by George Dickey Arndt, John White, Nancy White Wilson, and Donald Scharr, essentially the second generation heirs of John Leo Dickey (1880-1938) and spouse, Jennie Woodford (1879-1969), natives of Niles, Michigan, who acquired these captivating acres in June 1922, from Magdalena Grob Clasen Hanson (1845-1929), the widow of Mr. Clasen and Christian Hanson (1845-1914).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 51, pp. 544-545).

            Probably W.G. Kendall’s largest enterprise was the Biloxi Steam Brick Works at present day D’Iberville, Mississippi, which prospered from 1849 until July 1853, when a fire damaged the facility.  Here, on the north shore of the Back Bay of Biloxi, W.G. Kendall used slave labor to produce clay bricks fired in a steam-powered kiln.  Over 160 slaves labored here, making Kendall the largest slaveholder in Harrison County, at this time.  The annual production from the Kendall brickyard was 10 million bricks valued at $60,000. (Mississippi Coast Historical & Genealogical Society-1992, pp. 88-89)

The Daily Crescent ran an article titled, “Biloxi Fire Brick” on July 30, 1850.  It stated the following:  Specimens of the above describe BRICKS may be seen in the new Custom House; a block of buildings on Race Street built by Washington Jackson & Co.; the residence of Mr. Wright, of the firm Wright, Williams, & Company on University Place; the residence of Mr. Steven of the firm Fisk & Steven on Dauphine Street; the residence of Mr. Payne, of the firm of Payne & Harrison, in Lafayette; five large three story dwellings of Mr. Peter Conrey Jr., on Apollo Street.  Mr. E. Shiff’s three shops on Camp Street, and one on Poydras Street, and the stores of Holmes & Mile, now going up on Poydras Street.

Brickyard wharf

It is interesting to note that on the 1851 Biloxi Bay map created by surveyors and cartographers employed by the U.S. Coast Survey, the forerunner to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, there is a “Brick Yard Wharf” situated at the foot of present day Jackson Avenue.  This implies that firebricks were being manufactured near here.  It is known that in August 1846, Robert B. Kendall had acquired Lot 2, Lot 3, and Lot 5 of the partition of the Widow LaFontaine tract, which consists of Section 37, T7S-R8W, and strikes west to east from present day Martin Avenue to General Pershing and north to Government Street.   It is not known if bricks manufactured here were utilized to construct J.R. Plummer’s “Brick House” on the Fort point Peninsula.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 548-549)

Oaklawn Place

In September 1859, Joseph R. Plummer sold his place on the Fort Point Peninsula fronting Biloxi Bay to Isaac Randolph (1812-1884) of New Orleans and relocated to the present day Gulf Hills area.  He called his plantation here Oaklawn Place.  Oaklawn Place consisted of about 400 acres situated in Section 18, T7S-R8W and Sections 13 and 24 of T7S-R9W.  It flanked present day North Washington Avenue for about one mile, southeast of its intersection with Old Le Moyne Boulevard and included that area of Gulf Hills along Old Fort Bayou from the west end of Arbor Circle eastward to a point about 1350 feet west of the Shore Drive-North Washington Avenue intersection.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 204-205)

  The Plummer residence was probably situated in the vicinity of the present day W.E. Applegate Jr.-Colonel George E. Little Home at 13605 Paso Road.  During the J.R. Plummer tenure, citrus and fruit orchards were cultivated at Oak Lawn.

After the demise of Joseph R. Plummer, his widow married Albert G. Buford of Water Valley, Mississippi.  Mr. Buford had been wedded in June 1856, at Yalobusha County, Mississippi to Mrs. E.S. Luck.  Mary Plummer Buford relocated to her husband’s residence in Water Valley. 

In August 1878, Mary Plummer Buford came to Ocean Springs to check on Oaklawn Place, which she had sold in October 1874, to J.M. Roberts, his wife, Sallie A. Roberts, and C.H. Williams of Lauderdale County, Mississippi, for $4000.  Mrs. Buford had financed the balance-$2500.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 2, pp. 231-233) 

Madame Buford arrived at Biloxi from Water Valley via train, and then to Ocean Springs via sailboat.  Ocean Springs was under a yellow-fever quarantine and only the mail car was allowed in by rail.  While on this mission, she contracted the dreaded Yellow Jack and died at Ocean Springs in September 1878.  She and A.G. Buford exchanged approximately 40 letters between August 2, 1878 and her death on September 15, 1878.  These letters are well preserved and in the possession of Wally Northway, a descendant of A.G. Buford.  Mr. Northway resides at Jackson, Mississippi.  Copies of these missives for public utilization are in the JXCO, Ms. Archives at Pascagoula, Mississippi.  A.G. Buford of Water Valley, Mississippi married Delphine Lewis in Jackson County, on April 13, 1880.

Isaac Randolph

The first person to acquire the “Plummer Brick House” was Isaac Randolph (1812-1884) a resident of New Orleans.  He was married to Elmina Randolph (1814-1867).  They were the parents of three children: John F. Randolph (1838-1888); Elizabeth Randolph (1852-1911) married William Kirkpatrick; and Nellie S. Randolph (1856-1901).  No further information.(Tombstone-Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, NOLA)  

In April 1866, Mr. Randolph sold his Bay front residence on the Fort Point Peninsula to Emma Brooks of New Orleans for $3500.  In the warranty deed, the Randolph property was described as:   

A certain tract of land containing five acres more or less together with the brick dwelling….and situated, lying, and being at Ocean Springs in the County of Jackson and State of Mississippi, the same being known as the “Plummer Brick House”.  It is bounded on the north by J.R. Plummer, south by the lands of Andrew Allison,(which were acquired from Plummer in 1859), east by a road 60 feet wide, and west by the Gulf of Mexico.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 205-207)           

Emma Brooks

Emma Brooks (1823-1878) was born and reared in Indiana.  Circa 1839, she married M.D.F.H. Brooks (1812-1876), a native of Tennessee.  They were the parents of: Elizabeth Brooks (1840-1860+); Emma Brooks (1842-1860+); John S. Brooks (1844-1860+); Alice Brooks (1848-1860+); James Brooks (1851-1860+0; and William Brooks (1864-1860+).  Circa 1843, the Brooks family relocated from Indiana to Tennessee.  They arrived at New Orleans circa 1851.  Here, M.D.F.H. Brooks was the proprietor of a boarding house in the 3rd Ward, which was staffed by eight servants.  At the time of the, Mr. Brooks was worth $12,000.(1860 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, M653-R417, p. 40?).

In July 1874, Emma Brooks conveyed her dwelling known as the “Plummer Brick House Place” and five acres of land more or less, to George B. Ittmann, a resident of the Crescent City.  The consideration was $7000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 208-209)

George B. Ittmann

George Bernard Ittmann (1836-1893) was a native of Darmstadt, Germany.  He immigrated to America and settled at New Orleans.  Here, Herr Ittmann met and married Marie Therese Trosclair (1842-1885).  They had at least one child: Marie Thecla I. Gilly (1864-1910+). In 1890-1891, George B. Ittmann operated a saloon.  His New Orleans addresses were 158-160 Gravier and 400 Ursuline.(Soard’s, NOLA, 1890-1891 Directory)

     According to Kermit Hoffpauir, his wife, the great granddaughter of George B. Ittman, the following is known about her family: Jacob Ittman was from Darmstadt, the Black Forest (Hessian) region of Germany. They were not Prussian. Both George Ittman and Jacob Ittman were partners in a wholesale "grocery" warehouse and had their wharf on the  Mississippi River. Additionally, they had a nice chunk of several of the major banks in New Orleans.Such connections landed my wife's great grandfather as a VP of a merchant bank out of Connecticut (which Whitney Bank was a shareholder).  He managed the New Orleans branch which oversaw their investments in Central America and the Caribbean (Cuba) much of which was banana and sugar cane plantations. They were also major shareholders of American Cities Company which owned the utilities and streetcars in New Orleans, Hot Springs, Memphis, Nashville and Birmingham as well as the utility company which had all the service in the Houston area. 

      It appears that George B. Ittmann had a brother, Jacob Ittmann (1840-1906), who married Louisa Hebel (1845-1919).  Jacob Ittmann was born in Prussia and made his livelihood as a locksmith in the Crescent City.(1870 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, M593-R524, p. 161)

      In August 1891, several years before his demise, George B. Ittman conveyed his Ocean Springs home situated on the Fort Point Peninsula to his daughter, Marie T. Gilly.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.12, p. 619)           

Marie Thecla Gilly

       By June 1900 Marie Thecla Ittman Gilly (1865-1930), now a widow, was residing on the Fort Point Peninsula on the site of the old “Plummer Brick House”.  She took in boarder to provide sustenance for her growing family who were attending the local public school.  On June 1, 1885, Marie T. Ittmann had married Paul Armand Gilly (1862-1894) at New Orleans.  He was the son of Adolphe Gilly (1834-1881) and Rosa A. Maxent Gilly (1841-1925).  Their three children all born in New Orleans were: Harry J. Gilly (1886-1957); Marie Virginia Gilly (1888-1974); and Paul A. Gilly Jr. (1890-1963).(1900 Jackson County, Mississippi Federal Census, T623-R812, p. 148b)

Biloxi

       In December 1902, the widowed, Marie T. Gilly, appeard to be having financial difficulties as she had to borrow $600 from James J. McLoughlin of New Orleans.  Her Ocean Springs residence provided collateral for the loan and was repaid with 6% interest by mid-January 1904.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 25, pp. 497-499) 

    Before July 1904, the Gilly family had relocated to 918 Reynoir Street in Biloxi.  Here Mrs. Gilly operated a grocery store to provide for her family.  In 1905, she advertised in the Biloxi City Directory as follows:

 

MRS. M.T. GILLY

Groceries

No. 918 Reynoir Street

You will always find my stock in a clean and sanitary condition.  When you want things to help in table attractiveness, come here.  For your accommodation and convenience I have recently added Confectioneries, Fruits, and Pop.

                                                                              (1905 Biloxi City Directory, 1905, p. 11)

    By 1911, Harry J. Gilly, was employed as a house carpenter while Paul A. Gilly was an employee of The Daily Herald.(1910 Harrison County, Mississippi, Federal Census, T624-R740, p. 214b)

Harry J. Gilly

Harry John Gilly (1886-1957) was born at New Orleans on June 24, 1886.  In December 1910, he married Dora Mae Pettys (1892-1965), a native of Wilson, Michigan.  They were the parents of three children: Velma Thecla Gilly (1911-1911), Nellie May Gilly (b. June 1913), and Vernon K. Gilly (b. July 1918).  The Gillys resided on Main Street in Biloxi.  From his initial occupation as a house carpenter, Harry J. Gilly became employed with United Gas as a meter reader.  Dora M. Gilly was very active in the civic and social scene in Biloxi.  She was named Outstanding Citizen in 1952, by the Biloxi Lions Club.  The corporal remains of Harry J. Gilly and spouse were interred in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery at Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, December 8, 1910, p. 8 and December 12, 1957, p. 2 and September 1, 1965, p. 2)

Virginia M. Gilly

Virginia Marie Gilley (1888-1974) was born at New Orleans on January 22, 1888.  In April 1909, she married Ernest A. Moran (1884-1919), the son of Joseph Moran IV (1841-1914) and Catherine Abbley (1849-1929).  Later, Virginia Gilly Moran married Mr. Ortega of Houston, Texas.  She expired at Houston, Texas in January 1974.(The Daily Herald, April 15, 1909, p. 1)

Paul A. Gilly 

Paul Armand Gilly Jr. was born at New Orleans on January 10, 1890.  In February 1911, he married Loretta Seymour (1891-1956), the daughter of Pliny A. Seymour (1852-1902) and Melinda Quave (1855-1896).   Loretta and Paul were the parents of: Velma M. Gilly (1911-1969); Earl B. Gilly (1911-1911); Robert J. Gilly (1913-1982); Paul A. Gilly II (1915-2001); Aston Gilly (1918-1918); Wilfred G. Gilly (1921-1983); Shirley G. Cooper (1925-2003); Shannon J. Gilly (b. 1925); Jeanette M. Gilly (1926-1926); Jeanette T. Gilly (1926-1926); Jack L. Gilly (1929-1987); Jill Gilly (1929-1936); infant Gilly (1930-1930); James Kenneth Gilly (1931-1993); and Doriss A. “Peggy” Gilly (1933-2001).(Lepre, 2001, pp. 280-281)

In June 1921, Paul A. Gilly acquired a lot of land on the east side of Reynoir Street between Elder and Bradford Street from Jeff Davis Mulholland (1861-1930).  This would be the Gilly familial home for many decades.  Paul A. Gilly worked for The Daily Herald in various capacities for sixty-two years.  He retired in 1964 while mechanical superintendent for the publishing company.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 131, p. 410 and The Daily Herald, July 2, 1963, p. 2)

In July 1904, Marie T. Gilly sold her Lovers Lane home to Martin P. Julian (1860-1936) of New Orleans for $2000.  Edwin Martin Westbrook (1858-1913), local realtor, handled the sale for Mrs. Gilly.  Mr. Julian planned to use his place described as “one of the prettiest on the beach”as his summer home.(The Progress, July 30, 1904, p. 4 andJXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 28, pp. 414-415) 

Marie Thecla  Ittmann Gilly passed intestate on October 31, 1930 in Harrison County, Mississippi.  No further information.(Harrison County, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 44026-July 1961)

Martin P. Julian

Martin Paul Julian (1860-1936), called Paul, was born at New Orleans, the son of Martin Pierre Julian (1823-1888) and Gracieuse LeBlanc (1831-1883).  Paul’s father was born in France and his mother a native of the Bayou State.  Martin Pierre Julian taught French and French Literature at the University of Louisiana, the forerunner of Tulane University.  In addition to M. Paul Julian, Martin Pierre and Gracieuse LeBlance Julian were the parents of: Octavia Julian (1856-1880+); Ernestine Julian (1858-1880+); Edouard Julian (1861-1880+), a cotton exchange clerk; Emile (1863-1880+), a cigar store clerk; Alice Julian (1866-1880+); and Octave Julian (1871-1880+).(Biog.  and Hist. Memoirs of La., 1892, p. 112 and 1880 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, Louisiana)

At the age of twenty, M. Paul Julian was living with his parents at 34 Annette and clerking for Bayne and Renshaw, attorneys-at-law, in the Crescent City.  In September 1886, he married Marie Blanche Develle (1864-1900+), the daughter of Louis Dominique Develle (1820-1885) and Ernestine M. Jaoquet (1828-1909).  Mr. Develle was a broker in New Orleans.  Paul and Blanche D. Julian were the parents of: Henry Edward Joseph Julian (1887-1972); Marie Blanche Julian (1889-1892); Martin Paul Julian Jr. (1890-1895); and Edward William Julian (1894-1976).  By 1900, M. Paul Julian was also a broker and the family resided on Rocheblave Street in the Crescent City.(Soard’s, NOLA, 1881Directory and 1900 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census, T623R573, p. 93)

In 1911, Mr. Julian was the president of the Acme Industrial Life Insurance and sick Benefit Association at New Orleans.(Soard’s, NOLA, 1911Directory)

From his Biloxi Bay front home, M. Paul Julian enjoyed the excellent fishing grounds adjacent to the L&N Railroad bridge.  He would row from his pier just ½ mile to an oyster shell reef and wet a line.  Here he usually caught large numbers of fish.  His record catch occurred in late July 1915, Mr. Julian landed over one hundred fifty of these delicious Piscean creatures in a morning outing.  The previous week he had caught sixty fish.(The Ocean Springs News, July 29, 1915, p. 1)

Unfortunately, the Julian pier was victimized by a strong windstorm in early July 1915.  It also downed trees, damaged pecan grafts, interrupted electrical and telephone service, but in general left Ocean Springs with minimal damage.  Oddly, the bathing pier of Martin P. Julian was the only one wiped out by the storm.(The Ocean Springs News, July 8, 1915, p. 1)

In mid-June 1916, Henry J. Julian, the Deputy Superintendent of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New Orleans and family arrived at “Breezy Point”, to spend the summer.  His children: Kenneth, Dorothy, and Edward Earl Julian.(The Ocean Springs News, June 15, 1916, p. 1)

Edward William Julian (1894-1976) married Jessie Lee Miller of Ocean Springs at Gulfport in November 1924.  The couple honeymooned in New Orleans and Texas.(The Daily Herald, November 8, 1924, p. 7) 

In August 1925, Martin Paul Julian and Blanche Develle Julian of New Orleans conveyed their Fort Point Peninsula residence to Robert H. Holmes and Mary C. Holmes.  The consideration was $37,500 and the property described as being on the “West side of Plummer Avenue.”  The Jackson County Times reported the sale price as $38,000.  George E. Arndt (1857-1945), local realtor, handled the transaction.  It was assumed that the Holmes family would refurbish their acquisition on the Bay of Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 56, p. 425 and The Jackson County Times, July 18, 1925, p. 3)

Robert Hays Holmes and Marybelle Colquhoun Holmes with Mary Hays Holmes Hopkins, their granddaughter.

Robert Hays Holmes (1869-1949) was born at New Orleans, the son of Judge William Holmes and Jennie Cage.  He was a Tulane graduate and initially entered the insurance business.  Before his retirement to the Mississippi Coast in 1919, Mr. Holmes made his livelihood as a cotton and stockbroker at New Orleans and New York.  He was very prominent in the social life in the Crescent City, and could boast of membership in the Boston Club, Pickwick Club, and the Delta Duck Club.  In retirement, R.H. Holmes was active in the arts as a painter and composer of poetry.  He also enjoyed hunting and fishing.  Robert H. Holmes passed on December 19, 1949 at Holmcliffe, his Lovers Lane estate at Ocean Springs.  His remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park Cemetery at Biloxi, which Mr. Holmes had founded in the early 1930s.(The Daily Herald, December 20, 1949, p. 1)

Circa 1906, Robert H. Holmes married Marybelle Colquahoun Holmes (1887-1969), a native of Canton, Mississippi.  After Mr. Holmes’ death on Lovers Lane, Mary C. Holmes, moved to Corpus Christi, Texas.  She resided here until 1966, when she relocated to Vicksburg to live with her son, Colonel R. Hays Holmes Jr. (1907-ca 1991)  Norman Holmes, her younger son, lived nearby at Sylvialand.  After her demise in late August 1969, Mrs. Holmes, a Presbyterian, was laid to rest besides her husband in Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, September 1, 1969, p. 2)

Holmhaven-Biloxi

In September 1919 and January 1920, Robert H. Holmes and Mary C. Holmes acquired two large parcels of land on West Beach at Biloxi from Jessie P. Watson and J.R. Pratt respectively.  These tracts situated in Section 35, T7S-R10W, became the residence of the Holmes family and was called “Holmhaven”.  In July 1925, “Holmhaven” was conveyed to Herbert G. Shimp of Chicago, Illinois.  It appears that the Holmes clan then relocated to New Orleans (HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 124, pp. 501-502, Bk. 127, p. 34 and Bk. 151, p. 376) 

Holmcliffe-Plummer Brick House

Holmcliffe, a Spanish Colonial Revival structure, was commenced for Robert Hays Holmes at present day 325 Lovers Lane, in November 1929, by Joseph A. Wieder (1877-1960), local contractor. The Holmes family was in residence near the Edgewater Hotel in West Biloxi at the time.(The Jackson County Times, November 30, 1929)

 J.K. Lemon Jr. (1914-1998), local historian and entrepreneur, was told by Mr. Wieder that when the foundation for Holmcliffe was dug, they discovered an old brick foundation, which was believed to have been that of the “Plummer Brick House”.(J.K. Lemon-1998) 

Buena Vista Hotel

In 1924, Robert H. Holmes participated in the founding of the Buena Vista Hotel at Biloxi.  His collaborators were: John W. Apperson (1862-1939), Alfred F. Dantzler (1870-1945), George Quint, and Milton Anderson.(The Daily Herald,

Dorothy Dix visit

In January 1931, Dorothy Dix, the nom de plum of Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer (1861-1951) of NOLA, America's highest paid and most widely read female journalist of her time, spent the weekend with the Holmes on Lovers Lane.(The Daily Herald, January 19, 1931, p. 2)

Ford Agency

In 1932, R.H. Holmes and sons acquired the Ford motorcar agency at Biloxi. They incorporated as the Holmes Motor Company in April 1932.  Their Ford Agency was relocated from Lameuse Street and the L&N Railroad to the northeast corner of Howard Avenue and Caillavet Street.  In October 1933, the Holmes Motor Company had a curious demonstration in their Lameuse Street showroom to demonstrate the chassis and springs strength of their automobiles.  One Ford had 3400 pounds of lumber placed on its top.(The Daily Herald, October 10, 1933, p. 3)

Mr. Holmes sold the business to the Pringle-Reagan Motor Company.  This organization was led by the Pringle brothers, L.V. Pringle Jr. (1902-1974), Robert H. Pringle (1904-1981), Thomas N. Pringle (1906-1970), and Victor B. Pringle (1909-1977).  Their other partners were a cousin, Frank Pringle (1909-1957), and Dewey Reagan.(Harrison Co., Ms. Charter Bk. 52, p. 123 and The Daily Herald, June 2, 1935, p. 2)

R. Hays Holmes Jr.

Robert Hays Holmes Jr. (1907-ca 1991), called Hays, was a graduate of the Gulf Coast Military Academy.  In March 1926, he married Leticia Hayward, the granddaughter of W.B. Hayward and niece of Mrs. J.T. Stewart of Gulfport.  She had been a student at Gulf Park College in Long Beach, Mississippi.  The couple had a son, William H. Holmes (b. 1929).  After their divorce, Leticia H. Holmes moved to California and had minor movie roles.(The Daily Herald, March 20, 1926, p. 6)

Circa 1932, Hays Holmes married Henriette Goudeau (1908-1934) of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  She was the daughter of Lionel A. Goudeau and Henriette Barbe.  Mrs. Holmes expired on March 14, 1934, after surgery at the Biloxi Hospital.  She was survived by infant daughter, Mary Hays Holmes Hopkins (b. 1933) and William H. “Billie” Holmes, a stepson.  Her remains were interred in the family vault in the Biloxi Cemetery.(The Jackson County Times, March 17, 1934, p. 3)

R. Hays Holmes later married Sylvia S. Shaffer of Vicksburg.  His children remained in Ocean Springs with their grandparents at Holmcliffe.   Robert H. Holmes built a stable on the property and acquired a horse for his granddaughter, Mary Hays H. Hopkins.  Her early riding experiences led to her lifelong love of horses.  Today, she teaches riding to handicapped individuals at her Hopping H Ranch near Vicksburg.  Mrs. Hopkins is recognized as an equestrian authority and has judged many horse shows throughout the nation.  Billie Holmes graduated with the Class of 1947 from Ocean Springs High School.  He is a successful boat dealer in Corpus Christi, Texas.(Mary Hays H. Hopkins, September 21, 2004)

Before WWII, R. Hays Holmes was the assistant adjutant general of the State of Mississippi.  In 1945, Hays had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was Chief of Special Service for the Fifteenth United States Army.(The Jackson County Times, June 2, 1945, p. 1, c. 4)

Norman Holmes

Norman Holmes married Miss Dinkelspiel at New Orleans on March 17, 1928.  They resided at New Orleans.  Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Holmes, also of New Orleans, were at Biloxi at the time of the nuptials and had been frequent guests of the Buena Vista Hotel.(The Daily Herald, March 26, 1928, p. 2)

On January 1, 1933, Norman Holmes married Marjorie Dukate of Biloxi at the Hersey House in Gulf Hills.  She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Dukate.  After high school graduation, Marjorie attended Miss Mason’s School for Girl’s and Young Women, “The Castle”, at Tarrytown, New York.  She was the Queen of the 1933 Biloxi Mardi Gras and Bidwell Adams her King.(The Daily Herald, March 24, 1933, p. 2)

Norman Holmes was residing at Sylvialand, near Vickburg, Mississippi at the time of his mother’s death in August 1969.  According to his niece, Mary Hays Holmes  Hopkins of Vicksburg, Norman is in his nineties and lives in Texas.  No further information.

Almost ten years before her demise in late August 1969, Mary C. Holmes conveyed Holmcliffe to F. Dudley Jones, in February 1959.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.  85, pp. 151-153)

F. Dudley Jones

Dr. Frank Dudley Jones (1907-1985), called Dudley, was born at Aiken, South Carolina on June 5, 1907, the son of Dr. Frank D. Jones and Mary Catherine Wyman Jones.  In 1928, he completed his undergraduate work at the Presbyterian College and Medical School in Clinton, South Carolina, and was a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston.  In 1935, Dudley Jones became a physician during the Depression years and found his way into the medical profession via the military working at Civilian Conservation Corps camps and WPA sites.  Circa 1937, while stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas near El Paso, he met his future wife, Virginia Kirkpatrick (1910-1983), at a polo match.  Miss Kirkpatrick had been born at Ripley, Tennessee on December 13, 1910.  Their first son, Kirk Jones, arrived in 1938, and Scott Jones was born in 1940.(The Daily Herald, June 12, 1985, p. A-2 and Scott Jones, September 27, 2004)

The Kirkpatrick family had relocated to El Paso, when Virginia K. Jones was a small child.  Her father founded Tri-States Motors and was the Ford dealer for West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  Unfortunately, like many American entrepreneurs the Depression devastated the Kirkpatrick family fortunes.  Mr. Kirkpatrick was a personal friend of Edsel Ford and occasionally hosted him and other Ford executives for cougar hunts in the mountains of West Texas.(Scott Jones, September 27, 2004)

Dr. Dudley Jones spent the years of WW II in North Africa and in the China-Burma-India Campaign in Southeast Asia.  He commanded field hospitals for triage and the evacuation of wounded American and allied soldiers. After the conflict, Dr. Jones retuned to Texas and was billeted at a military hospital in San Antonio.  His family spent the war years at Austin.  Before he retired from the U.S. Army, Dr. Jones and family was stationed at Miami and Kansas where he was discharged in the late 1940s.  His military awards included the World War II Victory with one Bronze Star and the American Defense Service Medal.  Dr. Jones continued to serve his country in the National Guard until his 1967 retirement as a Lt. Colonel.(The Daily Herald, June 12, 1985, p. A-2 and Scott Jones, September 27, 2004)

F. Dudley Jones was employed as a physician with a large railroad, possibly the Southern Pacific, at Lordsburg, New Mexico when he accepted a position at with the Gay Clinic at Biloxi, Mississippi in 1950.  Dr. Jones had met Dr. Elmer D. Gay, a member of the Gay Clinic medical staff while in the military.(Scott Jones, September 28, 2004)

Gay Clinic

The Gay Clinic was led by Doctors Fred Shinn Gay (1879-1953), his spouse, Dr. Emma von Greyerz Gay (1878-1972), a German Swiss immigrant, and Elmer D. Gay (1906-1980), a nephew educated in Chicago.  Their medical clinic was founded at Biloxi in 1942 and it was situated on Briarfield Avenue in west Biloxi.  Their practice was renowned for its treatment of bronchial asthma.  The Gay treatment consisted primarily of a “red-colored” medicine, vitamins, and relief agents.  After a month, the efficacious effects of Dr. Gay’s formulated medicine usually resulted in a complete cure from the dreaded wheezing cough of asthma.(The Daily Herald, August 29, 1972, p. 2 and Down South, June-July 1951, p. 19)           

Ghostly tales

Much of the previous information on the Dr. Dudley Jones family was kindly provided by Scott Jones, his son, who is now retired in Ocean Springs.  Scott was an outstanding athlete at Biloxi High School and was awarded a football scholarship to Mississippi State University in 1959.  In an interview, Scott Jones related that their Lovers Lane home had been vacant for many years before they relocated here from Kensington Drive at Biloxi in 1959.  Vines had grown up the exterior walls to the fascia of the structure.  Wesley Balius, a Biloxi carpenter, made exterior and interior repairs to the edifice for Dr. Jones. 

Prior to the Jones’ occupation, an anecdotal tale about the R.H. Holmes place was circulating in the community describing it as “haunted”.  As previously stated, Mary C. Holmes had relocated to Corpus Christi after her husband’s demise in 1948.  She left large mirrors on the walls which when viewed through the windows appeared to have surreal images of “people” moving in them. 

With his background in construction and engineering, Scott was impressed with the oil furnace heating system of their new home on Biloxi Bay.   

In December 1963, Dr. F. Dudley Jones conveyed his Lovers Lane residence to J.J. Sims and Myrle Sims.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 249, p. 536)

Dr. F. Dudley Jones expired at Biloxi, Mississippi circa June 10, 1985. His corporal remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery in Biloxi.  His wife preceded him in death at El Paso, Texas passing on there in December 1983.(The Daily Herald, June 12, 1985, p. A-2)

J.J. Sims

Although not verified, it is believed that J.J. “Bugs” Sims and spouse, Myrle Sims, lived at Bay Springs, Mississippi.  Further speculation is that Mr. Sims livelihood was entrepreneurial in nature and that his primary business was timber and real estate.  During Camille in August 1969, the Sims lost a very wonderful Quercus virginiana, live oak tree, to this killer hurricane.  No further information.(Ethylene Connor, September 26, 2004 and Jo H.  Guice, September 28, 2004)

In November 1971, Mrs. Myrle Sims conveyed 325 Lovers Lane to Jolean H. Guice of Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 415, p. 47)   

Jolean H. Guice

Jolean “Jo” Hornsby Guice (1927-2010), a Pennsylvania native, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Reese Hornsby of Biloxi.  She married Jacob Davis Guice (1915-2009) in the Presbyterian Church at Biloxi on June 25, 1946.  Jacob D. Guice was born at Biloxi the son of William Lee Guice (1887-1971), a native of Jonesville, Louisiana and Lee Dicks Guice (1892-1961), who hailed from Natchez, Mississippi.  Jacob and Jo H. Guice have four children: Jacob D. “Jake” Guice Jr., William Lee “Billy” Guice III; Virginia 'Ginger' Guice, and Lee Dicks Guice.(The Daily Herald, June 27, 1946 and Jo H. Guice, September 28, 2004)

Jacob D. Guice (1915-2009) comes from an old Southern family who has practice the law in a highly regarded manner for multi-generations.  His father, W. Lee Guice, was born in Jonesville, Louisiana and began his distinguished law career at Biloxi in 1908, when he commenced the firm of Rushing & Guice.  W. Lee Guice’s legal education resulted from self-study in the New Orleans Public Library and in the office of an attorney in Panama. In February 1912, W. Lee Guice married Lee Dicks Guice.  They were the parents of eight children: Martha G. Harrison (b. 1913); Jacob D. Guice (1915-2009); William Lee Guice II (1918-1942); Stephen L. Guice (b. 1920); Miriam G. Howell (b. 1922); Daniel Guice (b. 1925); John D.W. Guice (b. 1931) and Saul Guice (b. 1937).(The Daily Herald, April 22, 1971, p. 1)

Jacob D. Guice was admitted to the Mississippi State Bar Association in 1938.  He had matriculated to Tulane at New Orleans and was a 1936 honor graduate of that distinguished college.  Mr. Guice finished Yale law school in 1939.  He practiced law at Biloxi for a short time before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1941.  He was discharged in 1945 as a Captain following WW II.(The Daily Herald, January 7, 1947)  

DeGuise

The Jacob D. Guice family refers to their lovely estate on Biloxi Bay as DeGuise, a former spelling of the family name, which is believed to have originated in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.  Mrs. Jo H. Guice has much knowledge of her home and related that it was designed in 1929, for Robert H. Holmes (1869-1949) by Carl E. Matthes (1896-1972), a Chicago born architect, who found the Mississippi Coast during his service during WW I.  Mr. Matthes designed such Biloxi landmarks such as: Buena Vista Hotel; Tivoli Hotel; Biloxi City Hospital; Biloxi Public Library; First United Methodist Church; Mary L. Michel school; and the Biloxi High school.(The Daily Herald, August 29, 1972, p. 2)

Jolean Guice also corroborates the tale of Scott Jones that DeGuise is haunted!  Mrs. Guice calls her resident spook, Captain John.  She also believes that the small cottage situated north of her home was the only structure on the property when Mr. Holmes acquired it from Martin Paul Julian (1860-1936) in August 1925.    

Jolean Hornsby Guice expired at Ocean Springs, Mississippi on November 21, 2010.  She was preceded in death by Jacob Davis Guice, her spouse of sixty-three years, who passed on August 23, 2009.  Their corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi City Cemetery.(The Sun Herald, August 25, 2009, p. A4 and November 23, 2010, p. A4)                 

This concludes the history of the Plummer Brick House property, probably the first settlement on the Fort Peninsula since Fort Maurepas in 1699.

The Bishop Keener Place-“Cherry Wild”

In July 1839, Edward Chase of St. Louis through his local agent, George A. Cox (1811-1887), sold John C. Keener Lots 10, 11, and 13 of Block 14 of the Culmseig Map of 1854.  Here in Section 25, T7S-R9W, on the Back Bay of Biloxi between the L&N RR tracks and the line dividing Section 24 and Section 25, Bishop John Christian Keener(1819-1906) built a summer residence, which he called “Cherry Wild”.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 6, pp. 477-478)   

By 1879, Ocean Springs was the home of several other prominent Methodist ministers earning it the moniker, “the little city of prophets”.  Among these religious leaders were: Dr. J.B. Walker (1817-1897), Brother R.B. Downer (1837-1912), and Brother Joseph Nicholson (1811-1886).  The Methodist circuit preacher, Reverend Inman W, Cooper, was residing with Colonel W.R. Stuart (1820-1894), a retired sugar and cotton broker from New Orleans, who at this time resided on the Fort Point Peninsula.(The New Orleans Christian Advocate, August 14, 1897)

John Christian Keener

John Christian Keener (1819-1906) was born on February 7, 1819 at Baltimore, Maryland.  At present, little is know of his early life, but A.B. Hyde in The Story of Methodism gives good biographical information on Bishop Keener up to 1873.  J.C. Keener was consecrated as the thirteenth Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, probably in 1870.  He passed at his New Orleans residence on January 19, 1906, in the arms of Dr. E.L. McGehee, after suffering a heart attack.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, January 20, 1906, p. 1)

Dr. Keener had married Mary Anna Spencer (1821-1903), a native of Easton, Maryland.  They had at least five children: Mary K. Wilkinson (1843-1894), Emma Holcombe Keener (1846-1896), Sarah Louisa Keener (1851-1869), John O. Keener (ca 1855- 1898), and Samuel S. Keener (ca 1857-1912+).

The 1880 Federal Census of Jackson County, Mississippi reveals the following about the Keener family.  Their two daughters, Mary K. Wilkinson (1844-1894) and Emma H. Keener (1846-1886), were both born in Alabama, and were residing with their parents in Ocean Springs, at this time.  Mrs. Wilkinson had two children, Christian Keener Wilkinson (1872-1885) and Mary Kenner Wilkinson (1874-1918).  The Wilkinson children were born at Louisiana, probably New Orleans.  Bishop Keener also had two servants, John Ellis (1840-1880+), a black man, and Kate Merkel (1851-1880+), a white woman of Prussian descent.

Cemetery records indicate that a Sarah Louisa Keener (1851-1869) died at Ocean Springs on June 13, 1869, and her remain were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery.  There is a high degree of certitude that she was a daughter of Bishop Keener.(Bellande, 1992, p. 93)

Mary Anna Keener, the family matriarch, passed at the family residence in New Orleans on September 26, 1903.  Her demise left the Bishop in a deep depression.  It was reported in The Progress, the local journal, that he had been ill since her passing, but had rallied lately despite his feeble condition and old age.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 29, 1903, p. 5 and The Progress, April 2, 1904)

Upon his demise in January 1906, Bishop Keener’s corporal remains were placed in the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 at New Orleans.  His wife, two daughters, and several grandchildren occupy the Keener Tomb in this historic cemetery.

The Bishop’s sons

Bishop J.C. Keener also had two sons who followed his calling into the Methodist ministry: Dr. John O. Keener and Reverend Samuel Spencer Keener. 

John O. Keener

John Ormand Keener (ca 1855-1898) married Phala H. Mathews, the daughter of the Reverend John Mathews of the Crescent City, in the Carondelet Street Methodist Church at New Orleans, on May 27, 1879.  His father performed the ceremony.  John O. Keener expired on December 31, 1898 at Greensboro, Alabama.(The New Orleans Christian Advocate, June 15, 1879 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 13, 1899).

Samuel S. Keener

Samuel Spencer Keener (ca 1857-1912+) married Anna Boatner, a native of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, in October 1880.  Annie B. Keener died at New Orleans on September 5, 1906.  Her remains were interred at Crowley, Louisiana.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 11, 1906, p. 4.)

Samuel S. Keener remarried Evelyn Wright.  They were residing at Monroe, Louisiana, when he sold his father’s home at Ocean Springs in 1912.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 37, pp. 623-624).

Bishop Kenner’s succession

The Will and Succession of John Christian Keener are very informative.  He resided at 1007 Dublin Street in Carrollton, Louisiana, then a suburb of New Orleans.  Bishop Keener indicated that he had a great love for his children, when he wrote in his will on March 11, 1902: "have been blessed in My children, My three sons have been a power for good and have greatly honored their parents and the family; My daughters have been the elect of God."  Bishop John C. Keener legated his estate to his siblings, children and spouses, and grandchildren.  His specific legatees were: siblings-Sophie L. Mount and Mary Clare Keener; children-Samuel S. Keener and Phala M. Keener, widow of son John O. Keener; grandchildren-Mary Wilkinson, daughter of W.C. Wilkinson of Crystal Springs, Mississippi.  Her mother, Mary K. Wilkinson was deceased by 1903 and Ella Keener, daughter of Samuel S. Keener and Anna Boatner.  In addition, Bishop Keener's legacy provided $500 towards funding a legal defense against proponents who advocated the relocation of the Centenary College of Louisiana from Jackson, Louisiana.  Obviously, this cause failed as Centenary College is now situated at Shreveport, Louisiana.(Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans, Cause No. 78,285-May1906).

            In February 1912, Samuel Spencer Keener, a resident of Monroe, Louisiana, and the executor of the estate of his father, Bishop J.C. Keener, sold “Cherry Wild” for $3000 to Dr. William A. Porter and Pearl Dickinson Porter, residents of St. Louis, Missouri.  The Porters called their future retirement home on Biloxi Bay, “While-A-Way Lodge”.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 37, pp. 623-624)

Dr. Porter and “While-A-Way Lodge”

 Dr. William A. Porter (1850-1921) was born at Elderton, Pennsylvania the son of the Reverend Byron Porter, a Presbyterian minister, and Agnes B. Rankins.  He was educated in Pennsylvania matriculating to Westminister College at New Wilmington and receiving his medical training at the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia.  From 1872-1875, Dr. Porter served on the staff of the London Hospital and in late 1875, completed advanced medical instructions in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.(JXCO, Ms. WPA, 1936-1937, p. 437)    

Retiring from the medical profession, Dr. Porter relocated to Ocean Springs permanently in 1915 from St. Louis, Missouri where he had achieved national fame as a specialist in ear and throat diseases.  Additionally, Dr. Porter had been active working to prevent tuberculosis in the adolescent population of St. Louis and his work had an international impact.  In April 1922, he was honored posthumously by the St. Louis Board of Education for his great service to humanity when they named a new open air school for him there at Arlington and Natural Bridge Avenues.( The Ocean Springs News, May 20, 1915, p. 3 and The Jackson County Times, April 22, 1922, p. 1)

            During WWI, Dr. Porter was active in volunteer work with the American Red Cross and in promoting the sale of Liberty Bonds.  Ironically, his associate in local bond drives, Charles B. Ver Nooy (1860-1921), the vice president and treasurer of the Illinois Brick Company of Chicago, expired several days before the demise of Dr. Porter.(The Daily Herald, November 14, 1921, p.1)

Gentleman farmer

In retirement, Dr. William Porter enjoyed agrarian activities on many levels at While-A-Way Lodge.  As early as the winter of 1915, he had planted his West Beach place solid with citrus where there had not been a pecan, fig, or pear tree.  By May 1915, Dr. Porter was harvesting beans.  In addition, he had watermelons, peas, cabbage, potatoes, and waist high corn growing at his Lovers Lane estate.  The good doctor’s attempt to commercially raise the spineless cactus was less successful.(The Ocean Springs News, Local News, February 4, 1915 and May 20, 1915, p. 3)

Bath House

            In the spring of 1915, the Porter’s erected a new bathhouse on their pier.  It was described as small, but of good design.  Very individualistic with its pergola roof, the red and green structure presented an esthetic sight, even to the most casual observer.(The Ocean Springs News, April 29, 1915, p. 3)

Demise

Unfortunately, Dr. Porter’s halcyon retirement years in Ocean Springs were relatively short as he expired at While-A-Way Lodge on November 13, 1921. His corporal remains were passed through the Presbyterian Church and interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.  In September 1922, after probate, Mrs. Pearl Porter, the sole legatee of Dr. William Porter, was granted possession of their Lovers Lane house and real estate.  While-A-Way Lodge was valued at $3000 while the remainder of Dr. Porter’s fortune consisted of about $7000 in bonds and mortgages.(The Daily Herald, November 14, 1921, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 4234-September 1922)

Pearl Dickinson Porter

Pearl Dickinson Porter (1862-1943) was born at East Pawpaw, Illinois, the daughter of Silas T. Dickinson and Leah Beebe.  She had lived at Schenectady, New York and St. Louis, Missouri before retiring here with her spouse, Dr. William Porter.  Pearl D. Porter, affectionately known as “Auntie Pearl”, was active as a Sunday school teacher in the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs.  Before her nuptials, she had been a missionary in St. Louis.  At Ocean Springs, in addition to her multi-tasking church work, Pearl Porter was active in the Woman’s Club, Ladies Tourist Club, Red Cross, and assisted in the British War Relief program.  Mrs. Porter expired while a resident of 18 Martin Avenue, now 418 Martin, the Austin-Shaw-Winklejohn house.  Like her beloved husband, Mrs. Porter’s corporal remains were passed through her beloved Presbyterian Church on Ocean Avenue and sent to eternal rest in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.  She and Doctor Porter were childless.(The Jackson County Times, May 4, 1943, p. 1)

Dr. Porter’s brothers

Dr. William Porter had two brothers, the Reverend E.L. Porter and Byron Porter, who visited him at Ocean Springs.  The Reverend E.L. Porter spent most of his adult life as a missionary in the Punjab area of what is now Pakistan.  In 1909, he became president of Gordon College at Rawalpindi.  Reverend Porter spent January 1918 at Ocean Springs with Dr. Porter before joining his family at Wooster, Ohio. In January 1934, the Reverend Porter again visited Ocean Springs to Mrs. Porter on his way to Florida.  He spoke to the community on the Hindu religion at a forum held in the public school auditorium.   Money collected for his talk was for the benefit of the Ladies Aid of the local Presbyterian Church.(The Jackson County Times, January 12, 1918, p. 5 and January 6, 1934)

  Byron Porter (1863-1938), Dr. Porter’s brother, came to live with his widowed sister-in-law, Pearl D. Porter, at Ocean Springs in 1930.  Byron’s health was regarded as poor since he had to resign from his railroad position in 1923.  He expired at Ocean Springs in August 1938, and his corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery.  He was survived by a brother, the Reverend E.L. Porter, a missionary stationed in India.(The Jackson County Times, August 20, 1938)

The fire

            On March 5, 1931, While-Away Lodge caught fire.  The structure was not totally destroyed, but was damaged to the extent that Mrs. Porter vacated it.  She received $1380 from her insurer.  The roof was later repaired at a cost of $350.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933)

            It is interesting to note that The Daily Herald reported on the conflagration and referred to Mrs. Porter’s Lovers Lane estate as “the old Bishop Keanor (sic) Place” corroborating somewhat that ‘While-A-Way Lodge’ was indeed the original “Cherry Wild” of Methodist Bishop John C. Keener (1819-1906) of New Orleans.  In addition to fire damage, Mrs. Porter’s home was also severely harmed by the water utilized to extinguish it.  Mr. and Mrs. Hawley were with Pearl Porter at the time of the March fire.(The Daily Herald, March 5, 1931, p. 2)

 

Northern visitors

            Pearl D. Porter had two female relatives who played an important part in her life at Ocean Springs.  They were Alfrata Clute Bellus (1853-1933+), the daughter of Eve Beebe Clute (1827-1850+), a first cousin of Mrs. Porter, and her niece, Bessie A. Dickinson Hawley (1884-1984), a Missouri native, who was the granddaughter of Leah Beebe Dickinson (1837-1850+).  The Beebe family was natives of Guilderland, Albany County, New York, now a suburb of Albany, the State capital.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933 and Albany County, NY, 1850 Federal Census RM432474, p. 374)

Bessie D. Hawley

Circa 1918, Bessie A. Dickinson (1884-1984), Mrs. Porter’s niece, married Wesley Deloss Hawley (1887-1956), a native of Plymouth, Indiana.  In 1920, the Hawleys resided at New Orleans where W.D. Hawley was a director of the Citizen’s Finance Banking Company.  His company was eager to establish client-customer relationships in the larger Mississippi coast towns.(The Jackson County Times, April 24, 1920, p. 5)

            There is a high degree of certitude that W.D. Hawley met his future wife, Bessie A. Dickinson, in St. Louis.  They were both residents of this Mississippi River city in 1910.  Wes Hawley was living in a boarding house and employed in a livery stable, while Bessie was residing with Dr. Porter on North Vandeventer Avenue.(1910 Missouri Federal Census, T624R823, pt. 1, p. 237A and T624R819, pt 2, p. 8A)

            In February 1922, shortly after the mid-November 1921, demise of Dr. Porter the W.D. Hawley family relocated to Ocean Springs and began to care for Mrs. Porter in her old age.  The Hawleys promised to maintain While-A-Way Lodge, harvest the pecan crop, attend to the grounds, and cater to boarders.  In return for these duties, Mrs. Porter agreed that upon her death, While-A-Way Lodge would be legated to the Hawleys.  In time, Mrs. Porter became unhappy with the Hawleys and in early 1931, she left her Biloxi Bay estate to rent a home on Bowen Avenue and later relocated to18 Martin Avenue, which she let from George E. Arndt (1857-1945).  At this time, Wesley and Bessie D. Hawley remained in Mrs. Porter’s house and claimed it by virtue of her oral declaration and adverse possession.  They locked the gate and portal doors to prevent Mrs. Porter or Alfrata C. Bellus for entering Mrs. Porter’s estate.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933)

In the 1930s, Bessie D. Hawley worked as the cashier in the A.C. Gottsche Store on Washington Avenue and later candled eggs for the United Poultry Producers across the street from the Gottsche market.  She expired at the age of one hundred years at Dighton, Kansas where she had gone to reside with her sisters, Pearl D. Finkerbinder, the spouse of Crowell Finkerbinder (1881-1970) and Belle D. Smith.(Walterine V. Redding, October 4, 2004)

            Wesley D. Hawley died at Ocean Springs in early December 1956.  He and Mrs. Hawley were residing at 516 Dewey Avenue at this time.  His corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Daily Herald, December 7, 1956, p. 2)

Alfrata C. Bellus

In November 1916, Alfrata C. Bellus relocated from St. Louis to live with the Porter’s at While-Away Lodge.  She was a retired educator from Schenectady, New York.  Mrs. Bellus did not stay permanently with the Porter family, but in February 1924, she began to spend six months of the year here to avoid the cruel New York winter.    Alfrata did this until 1931, with the exception of 1929-1930.  In Schenectady, New York she was domiciled with the family of Clute J. Franklin. (The Jackson County Times, November 14, 1916, p. 5 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933)

            In January 1931, Mrs. Bellus assumed a $3000 mortgage owed by her cousin, Pearl D. Porter, since September 1924, to the Ocean Springs State Bank on While-A-Way Lodge.  In July 1931, the Ocean Springs State Bank foreclosed on the mortgage of Mrs. Porter’s because she failed to maintain her insurance in the amount of no less than $3000 on her Biloxi Bay home.  Alfrata C. Bellus acquired While-A-Way Lodge for $2500 in the 19131foreclosure sale.(JXCO, Ms. Land Trust Deed Bk. 15, pp. 106-107, and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 64, pp. 391-393)

            It appears that Mrs. Alfrata C. Bellus evicted the Hawleys from While-A-Lodge as she averred in subsequent litigation that Mr. Hawley was destroying the property by cutting down trees to pasture stock animals.  His animals were grazing over the beautiful landscaping that Dr. Porter had spent his retirement years to develop.  Dr. Porter’s  favorite LaFrance roses were well liked by the animals. In addition Wes Hawley was collecting over $600 for the annual pecan crop.  Another point of strife between the two parties occurred after the March 1931 fire, when the Hawleys prohibited Mrs. Porter from removing her furniture and an oil painting of her beloved spouse. (JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933)

L&N Railroad

            In July 1935, Alfrata C. Bellus quitclaimed While-A-Way Lodge to Mrs. Pearl D. Porter.  Pearl D. Porter sold her old home site on Biloxi Bay to the L&N Railroad for $2800 in August 1937.  At this time, Spencer H. Webster (1846-1930+) lived to the north and Henry L. Girot (1886-1953) to the east.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 70, p. 206 and p. 268)

            While-A-Way Lodge was probably demolished after the L&N acquired the Porter property.  Their railroad tracks may have been moved onto this tract, thus ending almost a century occupation on this site by Bishop J.C. Keener and Dr. William Porter.

The Reverend Joseph B. Walker Place

            Like many of the higher social order at New Orleans, the Reverend Joseph Burch Walker (1817-1897), a most important minister of the Methodist Church and resident of New Orleans, owned and maintained a summer home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Reverend Walker’s property was situated on the Back Bay of Biloxi at Ocean Springs, and was in his possession from August 1854 until April 1891.  His estate was contiguous and south of Bishop J.C. Keener’s place, “Cherry Wild”, which later became Dr. William and Pearl D. Porter’s “While-A-Way Lodge”.  In present day geography, the Reverend J.B. Walker homestead was situated on the former site of Allman’s Restaurant, which was finally demolished in the summer of 2004.  This property is now proposed as a marina and restaurant by a group of New Orleans speculators. 

            Reverend Walker began acquiring land at Ocean Springs when he purchased for $1000, Lot 4 of Block 17 of the Culmseig Map of 1854, from Edward Chase in August 1854.  In July 1855, Walker added land in Lots 1-3 in Block 17 to his bay front residence. These tracts were acquired for $200, from George A. Cox (1811-1887), a local real estate speculator.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 12, pp. 327-328 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 12, pp. 329-330)

Joseph B. Walker  

            Some of the information concerning Joseph Burch Walker (1817-1897) was gleaned from his autobiography “A Sketch of My Life”, which was written in 1887, from his notes of twenty-five years.  Walker’s original manuscript is in the possession of Mary Kibbe, his great granddaughter, a resident of Montrose, Alabama.  A transcribed copy of “A Sketch of My Life” was given to the author by Mark Freeman of Garland, Texas, another descendant of Dr. Walker.

            Joseph Burch Walker was born at Washington D.C. on January 2, 1817 to Joseph Culbertson Walker and Bartella Powell.  His father was born near Carlisle, Pennsylvania and his mother a native of Loudon County, Virginia.  In November 1844, Joseph B. Walker married Rebecca Jane Ridley (1827-1902), the daughter of Robert Ridley and Sarah Houston, a native of Williamson County, Tennessee.  Their nuptials occurred at Canton, Madison County, Mississippi.

Joseph B. Walker and Bartella P. Walker were the parents of three children: William Walter Walker (1846-1915+) who married Julia Kennon Jayne; Mary Ann Walker (1848-1888) who married Restora M. Fauquier (1843-1901), a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana; and Sallie Bartella Walker (1851-1915+) who married M.A. McClaugherty (1831-1915).

            After a peripatetic childhood, as his family had resided in Virginia and Alabama, the family of Joseph C. Walker settled on a farm in northern Tennessee.  Previously, the elder Walker had contracted to carry the U.S. mail on horse back in Alabama.  During this time, they were domiciled at Cahaba, then the State capital of Alabama.  They relocated to Montevallo, Alabama later.

Ministering

Joseph B. Walker became a Methodist minister and was licensed to preach in Tennessee on October 4, 1836.  He was initially appointed to the Dickson Circuit, which encompassed the counties of Montgomery, Davidson, Williamson, Maury and Dickson.  These political units are situated between the Cumberland and Duck Rivers.  Here, the young Reverend Walker served two circuits and eight stations during his ten-year tenure.

            In his written word, Joseph B. Walker relates his initial experience as a circuit riding Methodist preacher operating in the wooded, rolling country southwest of Nashville, Tennessee.

             The church was a small, four-square log house, without a chimney or stove or anything to keep the cold air from passing through the cracks save some rough clapboards.  One of the congregation told me sometimes after this,  “that they had talked of a chimney or stove, but he had opposed it, for he always contended that if they had religion enough they should need no fire at church to keep warm.”

            At this first appointment, I met my colleague and Senior preacher, Reverend Johnson Lewis.  He insisted that I should preach.  It was a sore cross to make the effort, and with trembling reluctance, I undertook it, and miserably failed of course.  I sat down deeply mortified, and ashamed to look anyone in the face.  My Senior saved the fortunes of the day with song and exhortations, and a class meeting.

New Orleans

            In December 1846, the Reverend Joseph B. Walker was assigned to New Orleans.  He served the Methodist community of the Crescent City at several churches until General Benjamin F. “Beast” Butler (1818-1893) and his Union forces occupied the city in 1862, during the Civil War.  Walker and family fled to Port Gibson, Mississippi where he ministered to a congregation there.

Galveston

            After the War of the Rebellion, Reverend Walker and family returned to New Orleans.  They were posted here until 1871, when the Methodist Church transferred him to the Texas Conference.  The Walkers were sent to Galveston to minister to the congregants of St. John’s Church.  In 1875, Reverend Walker returned to New Orleans and the Louisiana Conference and remained here until his retirement.

Ocean Springs

            By 1880, Joseph B. Walker and spouse were permanent residents of Ocean Springs.  The history of the local Methodist church recorded the following about Reverend Walker:  In its earlier history, the Ocean Springs church enjoyed unusual privileges in ministerial services.  Dr. J.B. Walker, as a young preacher known well and favorably to earlier Tennessee Methodists, then pastor of a New Orleans church, had a summer home in Ocean Springs.  It was located on the Bay between the present highway and the L&N Railroad.  A preacher of real power, his services to the Ocean Springs church were given freely, were of the highest order.  Bishop John C. Keener also had a summer home in Ocean Springs.  It was located directly across the railroad from the J.B. Walker property and was later the home of Dr. and Mrs. William Porter.

“Pecan Grove”

On February 26, 1880, the Reverend J.B. Walker acquired 320 acres from John G. Land of Harrison County, Mississippi for $1500.  The Walker tract was described as the S/2 of the SW/4 of Section 4, the NE/4 of NE/4 of Section 8, the NE/4 of NW/4 of Section 9, and SW/4 of Section 9 all in T7S-R11W.  This property is located in the Orange Grove community of North Gulfport, just north of the Ms. Highway 49 and U.S. Interstate 10 intersection.  These contiguous tracts would become Reverend Walker’s “Pecan Grove”.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 69-70)

Demise

In early February 1897, the Reverend Walker died at "Pecan Grove", his farm and dairy, north of Gulfport on the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad.  His remains were transported by rail to Ocean Springs for internment in the Evergreen Cemetery.  It is appropriate that his long time friend and fellow clergyman, Bishop J.C. Keener, conducted the burial services at the gravesite.(The Biloxi Daily HeraldMarch 6, 1897, p. 4)

Joseph B. Walker was eulogized in The Daily Picayune of February 27, 1897 as follows:  Dr. Walker was one of the oldest and most eminent ministers of the church.  In his solid, earnest, untiring career, he had been entrusted with the most important charges of the church and had been uniformly popular, beloved and successful.  He commanded the devoted admiration of all whom he brought in contact. To the vast membership which has at one time or another been of his flock, to his innumerable friends, his name was a synonym of greatness of heart and loyalty to high purposes and aims.  As a worker he was tireless, and his heart appeared to be filled with all the keen instinct, which makes a man appreciative of and appreciated by his fellow-men.  As a preacher he was a true follower of the gentle Philosopher, bringing ever by word and precept the sunshine of love for fellow mortals.  His lofty idealism adapted itself to all the conditions and circumstances of life, and made his own full of native splendor, unobtrusive, and the so grander.

As a pulpit orator, he was always forceful.  His rhetoric seemed to find its deepest source of inspiration and felicity from his earnestness.  He used to begin his sermons in slow, earnest speech, as if weighing his speech with his thought.  As he progressed, and subject warmed his thought, his earnestness increased until at times his eloquence became an impassioned prayer in its intensity.

      Rebecca Jane Walker passed on April 30, 1902.  She rest eternally with her spouse, Dr. Joseph B. Walker, Sarah Houston Ridley (1798-1897), her mother, and daughter, Mary Ann Walker Fauquier (1848-1888), in the Walker family burial plot on Old Fort Bayou.  “Pecan Grove”, which at this time consisted of 240 acres, was vended in May 1903 for $5000.(HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Will Bk. 2, pp. 218-221)

Dr. Edmund A. Murphy

            On April 3, 1891, the Reverend Joseph B. Walker had conveyed a part of Lot 2 Lot 3 and a part of Lot 4 of Block 17 of the 1854 Culmseig Map, which was the site of his Biloxi Bay residence and Ocean Springs estate, to Dr. Edmund Andrew Murphy (1837-1898) of New Orleans for $2500.  The rest of the Walker estate lands, the remainder of Lot 4 and Lot 5, were vended to Jessie Robertson Tebo (1853-1918), the wife of Albert G. Tebo (1848-1929), in February 1890.  The Tebos owned a large estate called “Bayview”, which was immediately south of Reverend Walker in the vicinity of the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, pp. 74-76 and Bk. 12, pp. 330-331)                   

            Dr. Murphy came to Ocean Springs following the October 1893 Hurricane to inspect the repairs that were performed on his damaged Bay front home.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 27. 1893. p. 3)

            In March 1897, Dr. E.A. Murphy conveyed Lots 2-4 in Block 17 of the 1854 Culmseig Map of 1854, for $3000 to Arthur A. Maginnis Jr., Albert G. Tebo, William B. Schmidt, and Charles W. Ziegler.  These gentlemen were all affluent men of commerce from the Crescent City and already had a vested interest in real estate at Ocean Springs.  The Pascagoula newspaper reported this event as: The beach residence of Dr. A. E. (sic) Murphy was bought by Mrs. A.G. Tebo of New Orleans for $3000.  The property will be held as a hotel site.”  The newspaper report did not corroborate the facts, which is a common error in journalism.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 18, pp. 121-122 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 26, 1897, p. 3)

           

Maginnis, Tebo, Schmidt, Ziegler and Kuhn-The Big Five

We will sidetrack from the history of Lovers Lane slightly to investigate the continuation of this affluent neighborhood to the southeast.  At this time from Martin Avenue northwestward along the Front Beach at Ocean Springs, were the great estates of several entrepreneurs from New Orleans.  From the Reverend Dr. Joseph B. Walker tract which was the first residence with access to Lovers Lane and preceding along the water front to Martin Avenue were the manors of: Arthur Ambrose Maginnis Jr. (1846-1901), Albert G. Tebo (1848-1929), William B. Schmidt (1823-1901), Charles M. Ziegler (1865-1936), and John J. Kuhn (1848-1925).

 

Maginnis family

The Maginnis family at New Orleans was synonymous with cottonseed oil and cotton mills.  Arthur A. Maginnis Sr. (1815-1877), a native of Maryland, was the pioneer in the making of cottonseed oil at the Crescent City, when in 1856 he commenced the A.A. Maginnis' Cotton Seed Oil & Soap Works.  It is very probable that during the post-Bellum years and 1875, Arthur Ambrose Maginnis and or his son, A.A. Maginnis Jr. purchased several lots in Block 17 of the Culmseig Map of 1854, in Section 25, T7S-R9W.  Here on a high bluff, on the west beach, with over six hundred feet of water front acreage, between present day Hillendale and McNamee, the Maginnis family erected a large mansion and several outbuildings. 

            C.E. Schmidt (1904-1988) in his Ocean Springs French Beachhead (1972), describes the Maginnis estate as"along the Bay front East of Hillendale, and back to Porter Street.  There was also a smaller house on the front, and servant cottages on Porter".(p. 121)

      John Henry Maginnis (1843-1889), a brother of A.A. Maginnis Jr., lost his life at Ocean Springs on July 4, 1889, when struck by lightning.  At the fatal moment,  was preparing to dive into the bay from the Maginnis pier.  There is a stained-glass window dedicated to his memory in the Trinity Church at New Orleans.(The Trinity Record, November 1924, p. 6)

Albert G. Tebo

Albert G. Tebo (1848-1929) was a native of Port Gibson, Mississippi.  He was the secretary-treasurer of the John P. Richardson & Co., a large dry goods concern at New Orleans.  Mr. Tebo resided at 1320 7th Street in the Crescent City with his spouse, Jessie R. Tebo, the daughter of Frederick Wing (1814-1895) and Mary A. Drabble Wing (1823-1894).  Frederick Wing had built a summer home at Ocean Springs in 1853. 

In January 1887, the Wing family donated the land for the building of the 1st Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs on Ocean Avenue, which was utilized until August 1995 when the new church building was placed in service.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 18, 1895, p. 3)

            The Tebo family began their settlement on Front Beach in October 1888, when they acquired the estate lands of the Montgomery clan of New Orleans.  In October 1888, Frances Minor Montgomery, the widow of Edward Montgomery (1833-1870+), conveyed parts of Lots 6 and 7 and all of Lots 8-10 of Block 17-Culmseig Map of 1854 to Albrt G. Tebo and Jessie R. Tebo.  As previously mentioned, the Tebo estate was situated northeast of the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 9, pp. 492-494)

In 1870, Edward Montgomery was a store clerk living with Myra F. Minor (1804-1870+), a native of Tennessee.  At this time, Judge Harold H. Minor (1837-1884) also a native of Tennessee and his spouse, Virginia Doyal Minor (1844-1903), and their children were residents of Ocean Springs.  Their daughter, May Virginia Minor (1866-1910), married Hiram F. Russell (1858-1940) in June 1887.  One of their daughters Ethel Russell (1899-1957) became the wife of A.P. “Fred” Moran (1897-1967), the patriarch of our prestigious Moran family.(1870 Federal Census of Orleans Parish, La.-M593R524, p. 520)

In April 1889, Mrs. Tebo acquired additional land from Joseph B. Walker in Block 16 and Block 17-Culmseig Map of 1854, which was north and west of their original acquisition.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 10, pp. 124-125)

William B. Schmidt

           William B. Schmidt (1823-1901) was a German immigrant who his fortune at New Orleans in the wholesale grocery business, Schmidt & Ziegler, with his brother-in-law, Francis M. Ziegler (1818-1901).  By 1900, Schmidt & Ziegler had expanded to eleven stores.  The firm was also the pioneer in New Orleans international trade initiating commerce with South and Central America.  Both the Schmidt and Ziegler families owned summer homes at Ocean Springs west of the Ocean Springs Hotel, which they had acquired circa 1865.  Schmidt became established on the front beach in 1878-1879, when he purchased Lots 16 thru 25 in Block 16 of the Culmseig Map of 1854 from George A. Cox (1811-1887) and Julia Ward (1830-1894+).  He called this property "Summer Hill".  Schmidt's holdings were of estate proportions with over seven hundred feet on the bay front.  Although the well-manicured grounds, small lakes, cottages, and outbuildings of the W.B. Schmidt era at Ocean Springs have long disappeared, the old Schmidt residence at 227 Beach Drive and the former music hall of his children at 243 Beach Drive are extant.   

Charles W. Ziegler

Charles W. Ziegler (1865-1936), a son of F.M. Ziegler and president of Schmidt & Ziegler after the demise of the founders of the company, owned a home at Ocean Springs called "Lake View".  It was located west of the Schmidt estate on Lots 17, 18, and 19 of Block 17 of the Culmseig Map of 1854.  The Ziegler residence acquired in May 1894, was modest in comparison to that of W.B. Schmidt.  In 1895, Charles Dyer in Along The Gulf 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.

Charles W. Ziegler sold "Lake View" to Dillwyn V. Purington (1841-1914), and his wife, Jennie Barnes (1846-1933) in February 1906.  Mr. Purington was retired from the lumber and brick business at Chicago.  They called their place "Wyndillhurst".  In August 1926, Katherine Ver Nooy (1863-1953) became the owner of this property.  The home is believed to have been destroyed by fire in the 1940s.  The Purington place was located at present day 221 Front Beach.

J.J. Kuhn

      John J. Kuhn (1848-1925) was a resident of New Orleans when he acquired the Taylor place in October 1888, from Mrs. J.T. Taylor of Meridian, Mississippi for $1900.  Situated just west of Martin Avenue, the Kuhn estate had 300 feet on the Bay in Lots 27-29 of the Culmseig Map of 1854.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 9, p. 453)

The Kuhn family had a summer home at Ocean Springs on the front beach.  Charles Dyer in Along The Gulf(1895) described their property as:  The estate of Mr. John J. Kuhn is a perfect dream of loveliness.  The quaint little cottage sits some distance from the road, which is connected with the residence by a long walk, on either side of which there is a beautiful pond filled with lilies, and is crossed here and there with antic rustic looking bridges.  The house which is a very neat cottage with slanting roof and dormer windows, sits on the side of a hill, in the center of a beautiful garden, and is surrounded by numerous shade trees, and from the effects of the pond, has an appearance of being on an island.

City water

In February 1898, Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933) sold his local water works system to John J. Kuhn (1848-1925) of New Orleans for $5000 cash.  Lewis became known as the "Artesian Prince" because he furnished free water to the citizens of Ocean Springs for four public fountains (drinking troughs for horses).  He also supplied water freely for fighting fires.  Mr. Lewis erected a hostel on the southwest corner of Jackson and Porter, which became known as the Artesian House.  Mr. Kuhn received a twenty-five year contract from city council to furnish water to the citizens of Ocean Springs on March 3, 1898.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 18, 1898, p. 3 and The Minutes of the Town of Ocean Springs, July 4, 1893 and January 2, 1894)

In January 1906, J.J. Kuhn sold his water works business to the Peoples Water Works for $3180.  The Peoples Water Works, owned by local businessmen, John D. Minor (1863-1920), president; F.M. Dick (1857-1922), vice president; B.F. Joachim (1853-1925), 2nd vice president; H.F. Russell (1858-1940), treasurer; Joseph Kotzum (1842-1915), manager; and E.W. Illing, (1870-1947), secretary.(The Pascagoula Democrat-StarJanuary 5, 1906, p. 3)

Tragedy

While at their summer estate in late August 1899, tragedy struck the Kuhn family.  "Etta" Kuhn (1885-1899), the teenage daughter of J.J. Kuhn drowned while swimming off the family pier.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 1, 1899)

Glengariff

The Kuhn family maintained their beach summer residence until they sold it to Captain Francis O' Neill (1849-1936) in July 1914, for $5000.  Francis O’Neill was the retired general superintendent of the Chicago Police force.  He called his estate, "Glengariff", after a small Irish resort near his birthplace on the Emerald Isle.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 40, pp. 474-475)

Ice and shrimp

             Between November 1898 and April 1900, C.W. Ziegler, W.B. Schmidt, and A.A. Maginnis Jr. conveyed their interest in the Dr. Joseph B. Walker place to A.G. Tebo and spouse, Jesse R. Tebo, for $1700.( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 9-10, Bk. 21, pp. 332-333, and Bk. 21, pp. 394-395)

            In March 1902, the Tebo family sold the Walker place to J.W. Stewart (1855-1918), a Moss Point druggist, who held it for a short while, before vending it to Sydney J. Anderson (1867-1917) and Louis A. Lundy (1876-1941) for $4500, in May 1902.  Messrs. Anderson and Lundy, both from New Orleans, organized the Ocean Springs Electric Light and Ice Company, which acquired the Walker tract from them in March 1903.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 24, p. 440, Bk. 25, pp. 514-515, and Bk. 26, pp. 143-144)

Hence, the old Joseph B. Walker domicile gave way to progress and circa 1903, an ice plant was erected.  In August 1904, The Progress, the local journal, reported "the ice factory is running day and night with full force, on account of the large increase in the demand for ice.  Nearly all the ice boats which go to the Louisiana Marsh are now taking ice at the factory wharf.  This is indeed good news to the citizens as well as the factory owners".(The Progress, August 27, 1904, p. 4)

The ice plant primarily served the thriving seafood industry.  In September 1927, it was sold to Edgar P. Guice (1899-1971).  Guice was operating his Ocean Springs Ice & Coal Company on Jackson Avenue at this time.

The city government of Ocean Springs granted the privilege of erecting a cannery near the ice factory to L. Morris McClure (1884-1940) and L.A. Lundy on December 8, 1914.  The Ocean Springs Packing Company opened for business in early March 1915.  The original plant cost $2500, and was financed with local capital.  It had a 60-75 barrel capacity.  The owners stated that it would keep $8.50 in Ocean Springs for each barrel of shrimp canned.  Otherwise, that money would have gone to Biloxi canners.  When fully operational, Lundy’s cannery would have the capacity to process vegetables for canning.(The Ocean Springs News, March 18, 1915, p. 2)

Gulf City Caning Company

In 1934, E.W. Illing Jr. (1895-1978) took over the Lundy factory and changed the name of the business to the Gulf City Packing Company.  The plant commenced operations on September 18, 1934 with sixty people employed to pick shrimp.  It had the most modern equipment and sanitary conditions of any factory on the Mississippi coast. 

During the shrimp season, Mr. Illing employed about one hundred people and approximately eighty in the period of the oyster harvest.  The annual payroll amounted to about $8000, which went into the local economy.  The Gulf City Packing Company was still operating in 1936.

            By 1940, it is believed that all canning activity had ceased at the installation.  With the demise of Monsieurs Lundy and McClure in the early 1940s, Mrs. Louis A. Lundy took control of the cannery acreage. 

            L.G. Moore of Biloxi leased the plant in January 1941, from E.W. Illing.  The County dredge deepened the channel to the plant in order to facilitate the unloading of shrimp and oysters at the plant’s wharf.(The Daily Herald, January 27, 1941, p. 8)

Through the years the Lundy family had made other commercial leases on this valuable tract, which fronted over 400 feet on highway US 90, near the Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bridge.  Some of the lessees through the years were: Joseph J. Kersanac (1938-1943), Charles Hendry (1940), Pete Lowry (1950-1952), James M. Swanzy, Jr. (1952), and Paul Allman (1954-1979). 

Kersanac’s

In 1939, Joseph J. Kersanac (1908-1943), a native of Bay St. Louis, opened a restaurant called Kersanac's Snug Harbor.  He also sold Texaco gas and oil.  On April 1, 1939, Kersanac announced that he was demolishing the present building "to make room for a new, larger and more modern one".  The food serving operation never shut down as Kersanac offered "curb service" during construction of the his new structure.  The new building was wood framed and had living quarters on the second floor.(The Jackson County Times, April 1, 1939 and The Daily Herald, August 23, 1943, p. 6)

Pete’s Lounge

            Leland “Pete” Lowery (1914-1955), a native of Grenada, Mississippi, came to Ocean Springs with his family from Gulfport after WW II.  They had earlier resided in the Delta region of northwest Mississippi.  As early as July 1947, Mr. Lowery was operating Dale’s Place in the former J.J. O’Keefe Home situated on the northeast corner of Porter and Jackson.(Donnie L. Beaugez, August 1998 and The Jackson County Times, July 26, 1947)

  It appears that Pete Lowery left Dale’s Place in early 1949, and moved across the street to the Neville Byrd property situated on the northwest corner of Porter and Jackson.  Here he commenced a business called Pete’s Lounge.  Lowery’s place featured nightly dining and dancing with music by Toby Gunn on the Hammond organ and the Dixie Land Band.  Adam “Frenchie” Bourgeois (1914-1987), the bar tender, later opened his West Porter establishment, Frenchie’s Fine Foods.  Lowery also had a drive-inn restaurant with curb service.  A barbecue pit was located near the Cosper Courts, now Dale Cottages.  The Lowery family also resided here as there were two apartments on the site.(The Jackson County Times, June 10, 1949 and July 1, 1949, p. 10 and Donnie L. Beaugez, August 1998) 

In late September 1950, Leland “Pete” Lowery left this location and opened a Pete’s Lounge on Highway 90 on the west side of the War Memorial Bridge in the former Kersanac’s Snug Harbor building of J.J. Kersanac.  Pete Lowery made significant improvements to the property.  The exterior and interior of the structure was repainted, the rear of the building was excavated to create a circular driveway and space for patron curb service, and adequate rest room facilities were installed.  Local artist, Charles Kuper, painted jungle scenes in the Cocktail Lounge.  Jo Selzer of New Orleans was hostess.(The Gulf Coast Times, September 22, 1950, p. 1)     

In relocating to Highway 90, Pete Lowery had taken a four-year lease from Mrs. May W. Lundy (1885-1951+).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 124, pp. 394-396)

In January 1951, Pete Lowery suffered a heart attack, and spent several months recovering.  It appears that he may have decided to retire from the restaurant business as in October 1951, Pete Lowery sub-leased the property known as Pete’s Lounge to Edwin L. Matheny (1920-1987).  Mr. Matheny took an option to buy Lowery’s equipment and fixtures in Mrs. Lundy’s building.(The Gulf Coast Times, January 19, 1951, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 124, pp. 397-400)

            It is known that Pete Lowery went back into the lounge business as he was operating Pete’s Lounge in West Biloxi in December 1953.(The Gulf Coast Times, December 10, 1953, p. 1)

Allman’s Restaurant

In October 1954, Paul W. Allman (1917-2000), a native of Eldon, Iowa, and former Morrison's Cafeteria manager, opened Allman's Dining Room in the building, which formerly housed the Sea Breeze, a lounge, on the highway.  Allman's eatery prospered by maintaining high quality food, providing excellent service, and utilizing modern innovations like air conditioning.  Allman's was the first air-conditioned restaurant in Jackson County.

In September 1961, Paul and Arlene Inga McLaughlin Allman (1918-2007), a native of Toronto, South Dakota,  bought the 4.41-acre Lundy triangular tract situated between the L&N Railroad right-of-way and US Highway 90 with a  336 frontage on Biloxi Bay.  They erected a new building after Hurricane Camille had destroyed the old Kersanac building of 1939.  The new restaurant became known as Allman’s Restaurant and Lounge. In May 1979, the Allman family sold their tract and eatery to Jeanette Dees Weill, the widow of Adrian Weill (1903-1971), a Biloxi realtor.  The consideration was $240,000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 649, p. 450)

Jeannete D. Weill

In the May 1979 acquisition, Jeanette Dees Weill (1916-2002), a native of Alabama, also acquired the use of the name Allman’s Restaurant and Lounge.  In December 1986, Jacqueline W. Bernstein, Jolene W. Aultman, and Donna W. Green, Conservators and daughters of Jeanette D. Weill, sold the former Allman tract to Loris C. Bridges.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 649, p. 454 and Bk. 875, p. 475 and p. 478)

Loris C. Bridges

Loris C. Bridges, a former Jackson, Mississippi real estate developer and land speculator, aspired to build a marina on her bay front lot.  She had owned and operated the Gulf Hills resort from August 1981 until January 1983.  In May 1987, her company, Bridgeport, Inc., acquired a twenty-five year lease from Jackson County, Mississippi on the old US Highway 90 Bridge, which was completed in 1929 and replaced by the present span, which opened for traffic in May 1962.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 887, p. 352)

Unfortunately, Mrs. Bridges failed to complete her marina and the Weill family reacquired their property in a trustee sale executed by Sanford R. Steckler, a Biloxi attorney, in April 1989.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 936, p. 120 and p. 124)

Weill Heirs Inc.

    In February 1993, David A. Wheeler, as Guardian Ad Litem of Jeanette D. Weill, conveyed the Weill property to Weill Heirs, Inc.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1012, p. 209)

Loris C. Bridges

In October 1994, Loris Cayce Bridges acquired a lease from Weill Heirs, Inc.. Jolene W. Aultman, president and Donna Weill, secretary.  The old Allman’s Restaurant building was utilized as the office for Bridgeport Marina, a project thought still viable by Mrs. Bridges.  Again Mrs. Bridges failed to attract investors and her proposed marina project was never commenced.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1051, p. 628)

Grand Marina

            In the summer of 2004, investors again are speculating that a marina can be situated on the former 19th Century home site of the Reverend Joseph B. Walker.  Grand Marina, a project consisting of 120-unit condo, restaurant, and marina to accommodate 400 vessels, is now in the offing.  The old Allman’s Restaurant building was also demolished in the summer of 2004, in the anticipation of new construction.(The Bay Press, October 22, 2004, p. 10)

     This concludes the history of the Reverend Joseph Burch Walker tract.

 

Allison-Parkinson-Palfrey Place

     What is now generally known as the Parkinson or Palfrey Place had its origins with the Allison family of New Orleans. This exceptionally fine summer retreat is situated on Biloxi Bay in US Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W, and is extant at present day 335 Lovers Lane.  The Palfrey Place is now in the possession of the Thomas P. Crozat family, formerly of the Crescent City.

     The Allison family began their settlement here as summer residents in the late 1850s, on an approximately twelve acre parcel, which was subsequently divided into two additional tracts between 1874 and 1879, by virtue of conveyances to other families from the Crescent City namely those of: Edward L. Israel (1836-1891) and Charles F. Hemard (1828-1888).

Andrew Allison

      In September 1859, Joseph R. Plummer (1804-1870+), the original settler on the Fort Point Peninsula, sold for $1000, 10.69 acres more or less to Andrew Allison (1818-1873) of New Orleans.  The Allison tract was southeast of Issac Randolph (1812-1884) and north of Bishop John C. Keener (1819-1906), a Methodist clergyman also from the Crescent City.  Mr. Allison purchased additional contiguous land to the south from George A. Cox, the local land agent of Edward Chase of St. Louis, in June 1860.  This parcel was described as “a part of Lot 10 in Block 14”.  Mr. Chase received $100 for his land, which appears to have had an area of about 2.60 acres more or less. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 160-164)

     Andrew Allison was a native of Ayreshire, Scotland and had been a resident of the South since 1849.  He made his livelihood as a pharmacist and resided on Baronne Street in New Orleans.  Andrew Allison had married Mary Bolls (1827-1900+), the daughter of Matthew Bolls (1788-1863) and Mary Smyley (d. 1867).  She was a native of Claiborne County, Mississippi.  Her father was a planter and the son of John C. Bolls (1745-1831), an Irish immigrant, who had married Martha Jane Elliot (ca 1768-pre 1831) in North Carolina.  Her siblings were: Emeline B. Shaw (d. 1853), Martha Jane B. Watson (1818-1836), and John Bolls (1822-1833).  Emeline Bolls Shaw had married the Reverend Benjamin Shaw, a native of Rhode Island, and minister in the Presbyterian Church.  Reverend Shaw arrived in New Orleans in the 1830s where he was the editor of The Protestant Courier.(The Daily PicayuneJanuary 11, 1873, p. 4 and Bio. And Hist. Memoirs of La., Vol. 2, 1892, p. 379)

Oakland College-Alcorn State University

     John C. Bolls, one of the earliest settlers and planters of the Natchez District was a founder in 1830 of Oakland College, a Presbyterian school to educate white males, which was situated on his land.  It closed when the War of the Rebellion commenced in 1861.  As it did not open after the conflict, the Presbyterian college was sold to the State for the education of its African-American citizens. After Congress passed the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1862, the Mississippi Legislature in 1871 used funds generated through the Morrill Land-Grant Act to establish an institution for the education of African-American youth.  In 1878, it became known as Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1974, it was renamed Alcorn State University by the Legislature.

Coming home

     Andrew Allison and Mary Bolls Allison were the parents of nine children of which five survived into the 20thCentury.  Sometime, after Mr. Allison’s demise at New Orleans in 1873, Mary returned to her native Mississippi.  In 1900, Mary B. Allison was residing in Beat 5 of Madison County, Mississippi in the household of her son-in-law, Ray Thomas Jr.  No further information.(1900 Federal Census Madison County, Mississippi, T623R819, p. 332)           

Hugh Allison

     In August 1867, Andrew Allison conveyed for $3000 his twelve-acre estate on Back Bay to Hugh Allison(1825-1881), probably his brother.  The conveyance was described as lying between the Reverend Mr. Keener’s and that formerly known as the Plummer Brick House property.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 164-165)

     Hugh Allison was also born in Scotland.  He was the husband of Eliza Kate Wing (1842-1879), the daughter ofFred Wing (1814-1895) and Mary A. Drabble (1823-1894).  Her sister, Jesse R. Wing (1853-1918) was married toAlbert G. Tebo (1848-1929), and as previously mentioned, were estate owners on Front Beach at Ocean Springs in the vicinity of the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.  Hugh Allison made his livelihood as a cotton commission merchant in the Crescent City.( Bio. And Hist. Memoirs of La., Vol. 2, 1892, p. 463)

    Hugh and Eliza K. Allison conveyed their 12 acre estate to Mary B. Allison in August 1870 for $3000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 165-166). 

PARKINSON

     In June 1875, Mary B. Allison sold her 6.41-acre estate to Eugenia Bodley Parkinson (1827-1898), a resident of New Orleans for $4000.  Mrs. Parkinson was the wife of Franklin B. Parkinson (1819-1896), who was born at Natchez, Mississippi, the son of Robert Parkinson (1790-1850+), a native of Pennsylvania, and Margaret Parkinson (1800-1850+).  Robert Parkinson had two sisters: Cecelia Parkinson (1827-1850+) and Laura F. Parkinson (1828-1850+).  In 1850, he made his livelihood as a clerk probably at New Orleans, as his family residence was situated in nearby Jefferson Parish, Louisiana in Ward 2 of the Lafayette area.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 479-481, The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 4, and 1850 Federal Census, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana-M432R232, p. 140)

       In 1857, Franklin B. Parkinson had married Eugenia Bodley, a native of Baltimore, Maryland.  She had a brother, Thomas B. Bodley who lived in Jackson, Mississippi with his wife, Charlotte G. Coleman Bodley.  When the Civil War commenced, Franklin B. Parkinson and family were domiciled in the 11th Ward of New Orleans.  He joined the Confederate ranks with A.D. Parkinson, who may have been a relative.(1860 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, La., p. 871 and The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 4)

  Franklin B. Parkinson and Eugenia B. Parkinson were the parents of three children: Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Parkinson (1859-1930), Mary Eugenia “Mollie” Parkinson (1862-1902) and Robert Parkinson (1864-1925). 

Civil War military service records indicate Franklin B. Parkinson enlisted in Company B, Orleans Guards, Louisiana Military Regiment on March 8, 1862.  He was immediately transferred by Governor T.O. Moore to a unit for the local defense of the City of New Orleans, commanded by Major General Mansfield Lovell, CSA.(Booth, 1984, p. 73).

In the summer of 1895, the family of William Woodward, an art professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, took a long holiday at the Parkinson place.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 23, 1895, p. 3)

F.B. Parkinson expired on October 24, 1896.  Mrs. Eugenia Parkinson followed him in death on August 26, 1898.  Their corporal remains were interred in the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 at New Orleans.

Benjamin F. Parkinson

Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Parkinson nor his sister or brother married.  In 1900, B.F. Parkinson was a resident of Peter’s Avenue, Ward 14 of New Orleans.  In his home were his siblings, Mary Eugenia “Mollie” Parkinson (1862-1902) and Robert Parkinson (1864-1925), as well as their servant, Ellen Perry (1850-1900+).  Both of the Parkinson men were employed in the insurance business.(1900 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, La., Roll 575, Bk. 2, p. 3)

After the demise of their parents, the Parkinson children inherited their Ocean Springs estate on Lovers lane and the Fort Point Peninsula.  In August 1902, several years after the demise of his mother, B.F. Parkinson acquired the one-third interest of his brother, Robert Parkinson.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 25, pp. 492-495)

In June 1907, B.F. Parkinson added to his estate by acquiring 60 acres of land across Lovers Lane in Lot 5, Section 24, T9S-R7W, from the A.A. Maginnis Land Company for $2000.  This tract would later become known as Cherokee Glen, when possessed by another New Orleans native, Henry L. Girot (1886-1953).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, p. 462) 

 

Ocean Springs Poultry Farm

At Ocean Springs, B.F. Parkinson (1859-1930) called his avocation, the Ocean Springs Poultry Farm.  When he came over from New Orleans, the L&N train would stop where Porter Street intersected the railroad tracks and let him off.  It was a short walk to his residence on Biloxi Bay.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004)

In January 1906, the Ocean Springs Poultry Farm was under the management of Mr. Winslow.  Mr. Parkinson’s chickens won several awards at the Mobile poultry breeders exhibition in January 1906.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 12, 1906, p. 3)

In May 1906, a fire destroyed the barn on the Parkinson place.  The loss was estimated at approximately $1,000 and the structure was uninsured.  Destroyed in the conflagration were: grain, exhibition chicken coops, tools and implements.  Fortunately, Mr. Parkinson lost only four of his prize chickens.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 18, 1906, p. 3)

In 1910, B.F. Parkinson was living at Ocean Springs with his cook, Bell Riley (1887-1910+), yardman, Solomon Carter (1881-1910+), and his wife, Fannie Carter (1886-1910+).  Listed as an orange nursery.  He was not at Ocean Springs for the 1920 or 1930 Federal Census.(1910 Federal Census, Jackson County, Ms., T624R744 p. 1A)

 

Parkinson’s wharf

            Like most turn of the Century residents of the Fort Point Peninsula, Frank Parkinson had a fishing pier, which was destroyed by storms decades ago.  Unlike the others, his was preserved in verse by local realtor and historian, J.K. Lemon Jr. (1914-1998).  The following rhyme was related to Mr. Lemon by James A.Carter (1875-1947) known as Jim Carco, as he was the stepson of Eugene Carco (1830-1900) and Ann Baker Carter Carco (1850-1927).  Jim Carco made his livelihood as a pecan grafter.  Theodore Bechtel (1863-1931), local pecan grower and nurseryman, lauded Carco as the best of his grafters.  In later life, Carco was custodian of the R.W. Schluter (1890-1966) place, which was situated along the Inner Harbor north of the Shearwater Bridge.(J.K. Lemon Jr., May 1994)

 

I went down to the Parkinson’s Wharf

                        I made one throw and they all ran off

                        And I roll my pants to my knee

                        And I chased them mullets to the Rigolets

                                   

                        I went down to the Parkinson’s Wharf

                        I made one throw and they all ran off

                        I rolled my pants up to my ass

                        And I chased them mullet through the Biloxi Pass

 

Insurance

B.F. Parkinson was in the insurance business at New Orleans and Ocean Springs. In 1914, at Ocean Springs, he had an agency with George E. Arndt (1857-1945).  They operated as Arndt & Parkinson-Fire and Tornado Insurance.(The Ocean Springs News, February 7, 1914

B.F. Parkinson after many years with the Home Insurance Company founded the Fire Insurance Patrol circa 1920.  He was president and secretary of this organization at the time of his demise.  In New Orleans, Parkinson was once active in the St. John Rowing Club.  He expired at New Orleans on April 24, 1930.  Mr. Parkinson’s corporal remains were interred in the family tomb at the Lafayette No. 1 Cemetery on Washington Avenue in New Orleans.(The Times Picayune, April 25, 1930, p. 2

M.A. Phillips from Hancock County was the administrator of the B.F. Parkinson estate, which was valued at $4845.  Edith Ingleharte was his cook at time of demise.

(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5265-June 1930)  

 

1934 Dwyer letter

            In September 1934, a letter was published in The Jackson County Times by John J. Dwyer addressed to the Editor.  Dwyer’s return address was 40 Wall Street, New York, N.Y.  The missive was seeking the heirs of Franklin B. Parkinson (1819-1896) and Eugenia Bodley Parkinson (1827-1898).  They were entitled to the sum of $20,000.  At this time with the Great Depression raging in America, this was an unimaginable amount of money.  No further information.(The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 4)

   

Cherokee Glen and Farm

In March 1923, B.F. Parkinson Jr. had sold the old Maginnis 60-acre tract in US Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W to Henry L. Girot (1886-1953) and his wife, Mabel E. Judlin Girot (1890-1956), for $4000.  Mr. Girot, a retired tailor, from New Orleans envisioned himself a gentleman farmer and aspired to make his livelihood here growing pecans and raising poultry on this land.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 52, p. 558)

Immediately Mr. Girot began to make improvements to his property.  In order to gain access to his land, dynamite was utilized to clear an impenetrable barrier of thickly, overgrown, foliage consisting primarily of the Cherokee rose vine.  It was thusly, the Cherokee rose, which gave its name to Cherokee Glen.(Beryl Girot Riviere, March 14, 2002)

One of Henry L. Girot’s first business ventures at Ocean Springs was the development in his neighborhood of a subdivision, Cherokee Glen.  It was situated in Section 24, T7S-R9W, on the west side of Ocean Springs.  In May 1926, he received approval from the Board of Aldermen of his sixty-acre platting, which was bounded on the north by Old Fort Bayou, on the east by the land that was adversely possessed by O.D. Davidson (1872-1938) and would become the Davidson Hills Subdivision in March 1956, on the south by Porter, and on the west by Lovers Lane.(The Jackson County Times, May 22, 1926, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Land Plat Bk. 1, p. 93)

 

The Palfrey Place

              In May 1931, the B.F. Parkinson estate sold his summer residence on the historic Bay of Biloxi Bay to Ralph Palfrey (1898-1972) and his mother, Mrs. Herbert A. Palfrey (1870-1966), nee Jessie C. Handy and wife of Herbert A. Palfrey (1866-1921), for $4700.  Herbert A. Palfrey was the son of George Palfrey (1829-1880+) and Gertrude E. Wendell (1835-1868) of New Orleans.  His grandfather, Henry William Palfrey, and grandmother, Mary Bloomfiled Inskeep (d. 1887), were both natives of Massachusetts.  The Palfrey family can trace their heritage to John Howland (1599-1673), a member of the London Company, who signed the Mayflower Compact at Cape Cod in 1620.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 64, pp. 318-319 and Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004 )

 

George Palfrey

              In 1850, George Palfrey was a student at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.  By 1870, he was a widower and rearing his three children in the Crescent City: Arthur Palfrey (1858-1880+); Walter Wendell Palfrey (1860-1880); and Herbert Palfrey (1866-1921).  A daughter, Minnie Tallman Palfrey (1862-1866) had passed several years before her mother’s demise in 1868.  George Palfrey made his livelihood as a real estate agent in 1870.(1870 Federal Census Orleans Parish, La., M593R524, p. 386)

              It appears that George Palfrey circa late 1870 married his sister-in-law, Augusta M. Wendell (1833-1915), a native of New York.  They had one child, an infant who expired in September 1871.  In 1880, George Palfrey was a broker, while his eldest son, Arthur Palfrey, was jeweler.  After George died, Augusta lived with the Herbert Palfrey family.  Herbert was a stationery merchant and printer in New Orleans.(1880 Federal Census Orleans Parish, La., T9R463, p. 390c and Palfrey tomb Lafayette Cemetery No. 1-NOLA)

            In early February 1890, Herbert Palfrey married Jessie C. Handy in Orleans Parish, Louisiana.  Jessie Handy Palfrey was the sister of Captain Ellis Handy (1891-1963).  They were the children of Thomas H. Handy and Josephine Campbell.  Thomas H. Handy, an artillery veteran of the Civil War who fought gallantly at Fort St. Phillip, Vicksburg, and received a life-crippling wound at Fort Donaldson, was the Civil Sheriff of New Orleans during Reconstruction.(The Daily Herald, March 21, 1958)

 

Ellis Handy

            Captain Ellis Handy was named for Governor Ellis of Louisiana.  He joined the Canadian forces mobilized to fight Germany in Western Europe during WW I.  He met Janet Eleanor More (1891-1961) of Hamilton, Ontario, and they married upon his return from Europe in 1919.  Their children all born at Ocean Springs were: Ann Elizabeth “Polly” Handy (b. 1921), Dr. Thomas H. Handy (b. 1922), Mary H. Lemon Wilson (b. 1924), and Janet H. Lackey (b. 1929). 

After the Great War, Ellis Handy relocated to Ocean Springs.  His family had vacationed here since his childhood, and Handy like so many from the Crescent City, became enamored with the charm and pace of life here.  Captain Handy made his livelihood as the proprietor of The Builder’s Supply Company, a lumber and building materials yard, situated on Old Fort Bayou in the vicinity of present day, Aunt Jenny’s Catfish House.  B.F. Joachim Sr. (1853-1925) and partners had started the business in 1905.  Before his demise in 1925, Mr. Joachim had acquired the outstanding stock of the company.  His legatees conveyed the Builder’s Supply Company to Captain Ellis Handy in June 1925 for $5500.  The sale included: sheds, machinery, and improvements.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 55, pp. 629-630)

            In 1949, during his retirement years, Ellis Handy joined as associate editor, The Gulf Coast Times, the successor to The Jackson County Times.  He wrote a weekly column, “Know Your Neighbor” from July 8, 1949 until November 25, 1949.  W.H. Calhoun suggested that the articles be written since Ocean Springs had a goodly number of interesting people whose biographies might draw readers’ interests, and that it was a way for people to get to know each other.  People featured in Handy’s most masterful essays were: John Willis Clayborn Mitchell (1871-1952), Henry Girot (1887-1953), Fred J. Ryan (1886-1943), Antonio J. Catchot (1864-1954), John E. Catchot (1897-1987), Alfred Edwin Roberts (1874-1963), William T. Dunn (1919-1990), Joseph L. “Dode” Schrieber (1873-1951), A.P. “Fred” Moran (1897-1967), Fred Bradford (1878-1951) and family, George Washington Smith (1857-1953), the VanCleave family, the Davis family, the Bilbo family, the Shannon family, and the Albert C. Gottsche Store. 

            For a historian or genealogist, Handy’s compositions are a powder magazine of information, especially concerning the 19th Century at Ocean Springs and environs.  These papers are preserved in the JXCO, Mississippi Chancery Court Archives at Pascagoula, and available from Betty Clark Rodgers or Lois Castigliola , archivists.  Captain Ellis handy also penned, “When Fear Dies” (circa 1945).  It is an account of his WWI experiences and awaits publication.

 

Jessie Handy Palfrey

            Jessie Handy Palfrey (1870-1966) and her clan began coming to Ocean Springs in the late 1890s for rest and recreation. She and Herbert Palfrey, her husband, were still growing their family in the Crescent City where they were in the stationery business.     

            Their children were: Gertrude Palfrey (1890-1983); Campbell Palfrey (1894-1970); Wendell Palfrey (1896-1956), a local realtor and developer; Ralph Palfrey (1898-1972), the husband of Marguerit Sullivan (1903-1980); Leila Palfrey Crozat (1902-1967), the spouse of Auguste J. Crozat II (1899-1984) of New Orleans; and Ruth PalfreyDunwody (1904-1985), the wife of Archibald B. Dunwody (1898-1976) of Sun City, Florida. 

            Prior to acquiring the F.B. Parkinson place at Ocean Springs in May 1931, the Palfrey family had a summer home at Long Beach, Mississippi.  When Jessie Handy Palfrey and Ralph Palfrey bought the old Allison-Parkinson structure, it was in deplorable condition and demolishing by neglect.  In fact, the Palfreys had local builder, Charles W. Hoffman (1889-1972), construct a two-story structure on the site, north of the old house for their immediate occupancy.  The Palfreys refer to this building as the “apartment”.  After they began to utilize the old Parkinson place, they began to let the “apartment” to locals and people from New Orleans.( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 64, pp. 318-319 and Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004)              Initially, Mrs. Jessie H. Palfrey insisted that no wire screens be put on the front gallery, but relented in the 1940s.  The family slept under mosquito bars until then.  Mrs. Palfrey would also bring Lena Moore, her servant from New Orleans.  Her original home was on the Elsewhere Plantation near Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.  Later Lena came to live with Ralph and Marguerit S. Palfrey in the 1960s.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004)

Mrs. Jessie Handy Palfrey expired on December 24, 1966.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Palfrey family tomb in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 22, 2004)

 

Gertrude Palfrey

In March 1937, Jessie Handy Palfrey conveyed her interest in the family estate at Ocean Springs to Miss Gertrude Palfrey (1890-1983), her daughter.  Miss Palfrey attended Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans and graduated with the Class of 1912, of which she was the Class Secretary.  She taught school at New Orleans.  Miss Palfrey passed on in October 1983.  Her corporal remains rest eternally in the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Crescent City.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 69, pp. 644-645 and Anita Y. Crozat, November 22, 2004)

 

1934 wedding

             Thanksgiving Day 1934, Miss Ruth Palfrey married Archibald B. Dunwody at the home of Ralph and Marguerit Palfrey in Ocean Springs.  The Reverend W.I. McInnis of the Presbyterian Church performed the nuptial ceremony.  Close friends and some relatives were in attendance.  Archie Dunwody, a Georgia native, was a graduate engineer of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University.  He made a career in the food processing industry designing machinery.(The Daily Herald, December 1, 1934, p. 2 and Thomas P. Crozat, November 22, 2004)

 

Ralph and Marguerit Palfrey

           Ralph Palfrey (1898-1972) was a printer from New Orleans and married to Marguerit Sullivan (1903-1980).  In the late 1890s, his father, Herbert A. Palfrey, had started a stationery and print shop, Palfrey-O’Donnell, which was located on Camp Street in the Crescent City.  In 1973, the business then called, Palfrey, Rodd, and Pursell Company Limited, relocated to Tchoupitoulas Street.  When sold in the early 1990s, the Palfrey family business was known as PRP.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004)

         Ralph Palfrey was an Army veteran of WWI, a member of the American Legion, and Masonic Order.  He resided at Ocean Springs forty-one years.(The Daily Herald, August 2, 1972, p. 2)  

Mrs. Marguerit Palfrey was known in the local community as a very charitable lady.  She was active in the Ocean Springs Woman’s Club, Red Cross, and managed the nursery of St. Paul’s Methodist Church.(Lemon-1998 and The Ocean Springs News, October 1, 1964, p. 1)

          In late September 1964, the Ralph and Marguerit Palfrey were awarded by the VFW Mark Seymour Post No. 5699, their Auxiliary Outstanding Citizens Award.  For more than thirty years, the Palfreys had participated in community welfare work.  Recently, they had been a salient force in providing indigent, multiracial children with clothing and basic life necessities for school and Christmas.  In addition, Marguerit Palfrey was cited for her 2,000 plus hours donated at the VA Hospital, during the past year.  The Lovers Lane couple were also active in the “I Am Your Neighbor Club”, the Jackson County Cancer Society, and were donators of flowers and services to the sick and confined of the community.(The Ocean Springs News, October 1, 1964, p. 1)

            Ralph Palfrey also owned a one-half interest in the old “Pabst Place”, on Hensaw Road, which is now the Bienville Place Subdivision, in Section 26, T7S-R8W.  He was a partner with his brother, Campbell Palfrey Sr. (1894-1970).  They acquired the 110-acre tract from Florence Hunt Wright and H.L. Hunt in August 1948. Mrs. Elizabeth Smith Pabst began acquiring land in this area in August 1879, from Stephen Starks.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 103, pp. 11-15, JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 8, pp. 583-584).

             After Ralph died, Henry Brooks, her gardener, assisted Marguerite S. Palfrey with her daily chores and shopping.  Mrs. Palfrey later relocated to the Villa Maria retirement community on Porter Street.  She had two sisters, Edna S. Graham of Covington and Mrs. Gordon McHardy of New Orleans. The corporal remains of both Ralph and Marguerit S. Palfrey were buried at the Southern Memorial Park cemetery in Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, January 3, 1980, p. A-2) 

 

Wendell Palfrey

Although Wendell Palfrey (1896-1956) was never a resident of Lovers Lane, or an owner of the Palfrey place, he resided in the area for over a decade and was an important part of the commerce of Ocean Springs between 1945 and 1955.  Wendell was born on July 23, 1896 at New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Herbert A. Palfrey (1866-1921) and Jessie Campbell Handy (1870-1966).  He married Mary Frances “May” Cole Palfrey (1900-1992).

            Wendell Palfrey grew up in the family stationery and printing on Camp Street in New Orleans where he worked in sales.  In 1920, he left New Orleans for Memphis, Tennessee where he commenced his career in the real estate business.  He and May came to Ocean Springs in 1945 from Memphis, Tennessee to sell real estate at Gulf Hills where he also settled in May 1946.  Circa 1948, Mr. Palfrey moved his real estate and general insurance office to Washington Avenue.  In September 1951, he relocated across the street to present day 626 Washington Avenue, which had been utilized by local jeweler, Frank C. Buehler (1909-1985).(The Gulf Coast Times, September 13, 1951, p. 1)

    In November 1946, Mr. Palfrey advertised in The Jackson County Times, as follows:

           

Gulf Hills

Nature’s Supreme Gift for Happy Homes

Offers 450 Landscaped Homesites

At from $600 to $4,000 Terms

 

PALFREY REALTY CO.

 

C. Roy Savery-Sales Representative

Phone 4281          Ocean Springs, Ms.

 

 

Subdivisions

            Wendell Palfrey and spouse developed several subdivisions during their tenure here.  Among them were: Palfreyville in Section 18, T7S-R8W (1946); Maryville, in Section 23, T7S-R8W; Morningside (1947); Palfreyville No. 2 in Section 13, T7S-R9W (1950); Palfrey’s Claremont in Sections 14 and 23 of T7S-R8W; and Palfrey’s Dixie in Sections 14-23, T7S-R8W (1955).

 

1954 US Post Office

In December 1953, Wendell Palfrey commenced construction on a building situated on the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Robinson Street, which he leased to the U.S. Postal Service. The lot and structure cost $27,500.  It was completed by E.T. Hoffis, general contractor, in June 1954, and turned to Oscar T. Davis (1894-1963), postmaster of Ocean Springs.  The old Palfrey structure is extant as Salmagundi, a gift boutique, which operates here today at 922 Washington Avenue.  The local post office, when supervised by Postmaster Orwin J. Scharr (1914-2002), relocated from the Palfrey building in June 1966, to 900 Desoto Avenue, as the new structure almost tripled the area of the former one on Washington Avenue. The new US Post Office on Desoto and Jackson was dedicated on June 19th.(The Gulf Coast Times, December 10, 1953, p. 1 and January 13, 1954, p. 14, and The Ocean Springs Record, June 23, 1966, p. 1)

Demise

      Wendell Palfrey expired at Biloxi in late April 1956.  While at Ocean Springs, he was very active in civic and commercial affairs.  Mr. Palfrey was a member of the Louisiana Lodge Fraternal and Arch Masons; Gulfport Consistory Knights Templar, Hamasa Temple Shrine; Rotary Club; Coast Underwriters Association; Descendants of the Mayflower Society; Son of the American Revolution; and Camellia Club.  He had been past president of the Biloxi-Pascagoula Real Estate Board and organizers of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Palfreys corporal remains were cremated at Birmingham, Alabama and sent to New Orleans for internment.(The Daily Herald, April 25, 1956, p. 2)

            May Cole Palfry expired at Gulfport, Mississippi on May 29, 1992.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Ocean Springs Record, June 4, 1992, p. 7)

 

Thomas P. Crozat

In January 1980, Miss Gertrude Palfrey sold her interest in the Palfrey estate to Thomas P. Crozat, her nephew.  Mr. Crozat acquired the remaining interest in his grandmother’s estate from his cousin, Campbell Palfrey Jr.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 670, p. 34 and Thomas P. Crozat, November 22, 2004)

Thomas P. Crozat (b. 1927), a native of New Orleans, who is a retired Stanolind, now BP-Amoco, geologist and commercial printer from New Orleans resides on the place today with his lovely spouse, Anita Yancey Crozat, a native of Memphis.

This concludes the history of the Allison-Parkinson-Palfrey tract at 335 Lovers Lane.

 

 

The Edward L. Israel-McClain Place

In June 1874, when Mary Bolls Allison (1827-1900+) subdivided her large lot overlooking Biloxi Bay and sold 2.60 acres off the southern end described as Lot 10 of Block 14, to Edward L. Israel (1836-1891), a New Orleans steamboat man and yachtsman, it commenced the occupation and chronology of another homestead on the Fort Point Peninsula.  Bishop J.C. Keener resided south of the Israel tract.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, p. 503) 

            Today, this property is owned by Dr. Eldon D. and Dixie A. McClain and called Rebel Oaks.  The Israel-McClain place is situated at 343 Lovers Lane.  Its history follows:

 

Edward L. Israel

Edward L. Israel (1836-1891) was born in Mississippi of an English father and New York mother.  He had married Anna ? Israel (1838-1880+), a native of Washington D.C.  The Israels had a daughter, Olivia Israel (1863-1880+), a Virginia native.(Fenerty and Fernandez, Volume  , 1991, p.    )

Very little is known about the Israel family during their residency on the Fort Point Peninsula.  A reporter for a local journal commented that Edward L. Israel kept a span of fast iron gray horses to transport his carriage through the streets and lanes of Ocean Springs.  His pleasure was fast horses and boats.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 9, 1880, p. 3)

 

Yachtsman

Mr. Israel was well known in Gulf Coast yachting circles.  He was the owner of the winning boats in the first, third, and fourth classes races at the June 1878 Mississippi Coast Regatta.  Edward Austin (1840-1878), son of Dr. W.G. Austin (1814-1894), won the second class aboard, Xiphias.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 28, 1878

At the Mississippi City regatta held in July 1879, E.L. Israel’s first-class yacht, Lady Emma, was scheduled to sail a match race against A. Brewster’s, Susie S.  Israel planned to use John Carney of Mobile to pilot his vessel.  Mr. Brewster was to compete himself.  He had recently won two races and was favored to beat Lady Emma at Mississippi City.  A. Brewster waged $2000, while Mr. Israel exposed $1000 for the match race.  The railroad had set a $1.00 special excursion round-trip rate from New Orleans to Mississippi City.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 27, 1879, p. 3)

In May 1880, Edward Israel was preparing to enter four boats in the regatta at New Orleans.  By July 1880, he was considering sending one of his racing sailboats to compete in New York. (The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 21, 1880., p. 3 and July 9, 1880, p. 3)

 Captain Israel sailed match races for the Southern Yacht Club at New Orleans against eastern yacht clubs in 1883.(Schieb, 1986, p. 36) 

Edward L. Israel (1836-1891) sold his home at Ocean Springs and 2.60 acres to Henry Clay Mendenhall (1847-1915) in September 1880.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 634-635) 

 

Henry Clay Mendenhall

The H.C. Mendenhall may have utilized their Biloxi Bay residence as a summer and weekend retreat and maintained their primary home at Mobile, Alabama.

Henry Clay Mendenhall (1847-1915) was born on January 18, 1847, at Westville, Mississippi, the son of James Bogan Mendenhall (1812-1882) and Winifred Anne Dunlap (1821-1887), both natives of North Carolina.  In October 1887, H.C. Mendenhall married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Darrah Bonsal (1850-1933), a native of Norfolk, Virginia, and the daughter of John W. Bonsal and Elizabeth D. Skinner.  Their children were: Henry Bonsal Mendenhall (1870-1900+), Ernest Dunlap Mendenhall (b. 1873), and a daughter Elizabeth Case Mendenhall (1885-1968), the wife of Charles Grady Parlin (1880-1940). 

 

Elizabeth C. Parlin

Elizabeth Case Mendenhall (1885-1968) was born in Mississippi.  She married Charles Grady Parlin (1880-1940), a native of Apalachicola, Florida.  He was the son of Charles Henry Parlin from Maine and Cornelia Grady, a native of Florida.  The Parlin family came to Ocean Springs in 1921 from Mobile where their four children were born:   Henry Grady Parlin (1912-1984), Elizabeth Parlin (b. 1915), Clay M. Parlin (1918-1969), and Charles D. Parlin (1920-1978).  At Ocean Springs, Charles Grady Parlin was in the real estate business.

            The Parlins resided at present day 545 Front Beach Drive, the Parlin-Martin House.  Their original home here was destroyed by fire on December 16,1922.  A new structure was erected on the site by the Charles Grady Parlin family in 1923.  It was acquired by Albert B. Austin (1876-1951) in June 1940.(The Jackson County Times, December 23, 1922, p. 5, c. 4)

 

Mobile

Henry Clay Mendenhall made his livelihood as an agent for the Southern Express Company at Mobile, Alabama.  In the 1890s, the family resided at 1037 Government Street in Mobile, but appear to have relocated to Ann Street by 1900.  Here Henry Clay and Lizzie Mendenhall resided with their son, Henry B. Mendenhall, an express clerk,  and spouse, Fannie E. Mendenhall (1875-1900+), and their two children Henry L. Mendenhall (1894-1930+) and Lawrence B. Mendenhall (1896-1900+).(1900 Mobile County, Ala. Federal Census, T623R32, ED 110, p. 8A)

            It is interesting to note that Henry L. Mendenhall (1894-1930+), the grandson of Henry C. Mendenhall, was living at Yonkers, Westchester County, New York in 1930, and making his livelihood as a telegraph clerk.  His wife, Elise W. Mendenhall, was a native of North Carolina.(1930 Westchester County, N.Y. Federal Census, R166, ED 66)

           

New Beach Hotel

It appears that after retiring from railroad express business at Mobile, that Henry Clay Mendenhall may have returned to Ocean Springs to manage the New Beach Hotel for Dr. Dr. Jasper J. Bland (1850-1932) a native of Deasonville in Yazoo County, Mississippi.  In 1891, Dr. Bland had 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), a New Orleans industrialist, 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)

Dr. Bland purchased the Edwards property from Special Commissioner, F.H. Lewis, for $5500 in August 1899.  He had the James D. Edwards domicile enlarged and converted to a fine hostelry, the Beach Hotel.  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".  (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 248-250.

Henry Clay Mendenhall expired at Mobile, Alabama on May 31, 1915.

Lizzie B. Mendenhall expired at Ocean Springs October 3, 1933.  Her corporal remains were passed through the Episcopal Church at Ocean Springs before being sent to the Pine Crest Cemetery at Mobile, Alabama for internment.(The Daily Herald, October 5, 1933, p. 2)

In September 1890, H.C. Mendenhall sold his home on Biloxi Bay, which he called “Mendenhall”, to Julia Johnson Lewis (1861-1933), the spouse of Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933).(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 12, pp. 96-97)

           

Alfred E. Lewis

Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933), called Fred, was the son of Colonel Alfred E. Lewis (1812-1885) and Anne Farrington (1821-1901).  Colonel Lewis, a pioneer settler of Jackson County, was active in politics, commerce, and farming.  He served in the Mississippi State Legislature from 1850-1852, and was Sheriff for fourteen years.  Colonel A.E. Lewis also built Lewis Sha, his plantation home at present day Gautier.  It was renamed, Oldfields, by the W.W. Grinstead family during their occupancy in the early 20th Century.(The History of Jackson County, Mississippi-1989, p. 265) 

Two of the Colonel A.E. Lewis children, Robert W. Lewis (1857-1886) and Katherine Lewis (1859-1930), married children of Mrs. Adeline A. Staples (1837-1901), an earlier settler of the Fort Point Peninsula.  They were Frederick Staples (1852-1897) and his sister, Mathilde A. Staples (1858-1928+).

Fred Lewis, like his father, was a businessman.  At Ocean Springs, he was active in real estate and founded the local water works system, which he sold to J.J. Kuhn (1848-1925) of New Orleans in 1898.  Lewis supplied the village with water from an artesian well bored to about 500 feet.  In July 1893, he agreed to furnish water at no cost to the citizenry of Ocean Springs for four public fountains and later gave free water for fire fighting purposes.  For his generosity, Fred Lewis was given the moniker, “Artesian Prince”.  In 1891, he built a two-story, wood frame, commercial structure on the southwest corner of Jackson Avenue and Porter.  It was originally known as the “Lewis Building”, but later became the “Artesian House”.  The Artesian House operated primarily as an inn or apartment house until 1936, when it was demolished for lumber salvage.

(Bellande, 1994, pp. 75-82)                                                                                       

            Fred and Julia Lewis adopted an Alabama born child, Marguerite Lewis (1890-1961).  She married Frank Raymond (1883-1952).  They owned the Pines Hotel from 1925-1929.  It was located on the southwest corner of Washington Avenue and Ocean Avenue before it burned in May 1932.(Bellande, 1994, p. 138 and p. 139)

Until 1895, Fred Lewis resided north of the railroad bridge on the Bay of Biloxi in a home called “Mendenhall”.  In that year, the Lewis home was sold to Julia Oser Rodriguez (1860-1918) of New Orleans.  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.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 67-68 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 1, 1905, p. 3)

 

Julia O. Rodriguez

Julia Oser Rodriguez (1860-1918) was the spouse of Dr. Edward J. Rodriguez (1856-1936), a New Orleans dentist, who she wedded in 1880.  Like her spouse, Julia Oser, was a native of Louisiana born of German immigrants parents.  Dr. Rodriguez’s parents were natives of Spain and Louisiana respectively.  The Rodriguez had six children, but only four survived into the 20th Century: Walter Rodriguez (1884-1900+); Albert Rodrigues (1886-1900+); Edward Rodriguez (1889-1900); and Rene Rodriguez (1890-1900+).(1900 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census-T623R572, ED 57, p. 25A)

The two youngest Rodriguez children were known as “Toosie” and “Lovie”. (Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 26, 1906.

            In 1910, the Rodriguez family resided on Esplanade Street in New Orleans.(1910 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census-T624R521-Book 2, 6th Ward, p. 72A)

Julia O. Rodriguez conveyed her Fort Point Peninsula estate to Spencer H. Webster in April 1906.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 31,p. 128) 

 

Webster Place [circa 1908?]

[photo by Roy Bland courtesy of John Sharp, Carthage, Mississippi]

Spencer H. Webster

Spencer H. Webster (1845-1926) was born at Forestville, Chautauqua County, New York on July 10, 1845.  His parents were Milton Webster (1810-1870+), a native of Connecticut, and Mary H. Hibbard (1820-1870+), who was born at Vermont.  By 1870, Milton Webster had moved the family from New York to River Falls, Pierce County, Wisconsin.  He farmed here.(1870 Pierce County, Wis. Federal Census, M593R173 , p. 379) 

Spencer H. Webster married Isabell Rambo in August 1876.  After her demise, he wedded Margaret Ann Pixley, (1860-1943) in 1890.  S.H. Webster appears to have had  no children with either spouse.

In 1900, Spencer H. Webster was residing at Grand Tower, Jackson County, Illinois.  He operated a farm here on the east bank of the Mississippi River southwest of Carbondale, Illinois.  At Ocean Springs, Mr. Webster also considered himself a farmer.(1900 Jackson County, Illinois Federal Census, T624R293, p. 173A and 1910 Jackson County, Mississippi Federal Census, )

           

Fire

A fire destroyed the Spencer H. Webster home on the Fort Point Peninsula in March 1916.  They saved all their furniture and personal possessions, but the conflagration couldn’t be halted because of the lack of water for the fire engine.  Neighbors, Dr. William A. Porter (1850-1921) and Thomas E. Dabney (1885-1970) were the first on the scene.  In March 1917, about a year after the conflagration, S.H. Spencer conveyed his land on the Fort Point Peninsula to his spouse.  It appears that the Websters built a new domicile after the fire.(The Ocean Springs News, March 16, 1916, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 61, p. 44)

 

Demise

            Spencer H. Webster died on July 26, 1926 at Ocean Springs.  His corporal remains were sent to the National Cemetery at Mobile, Alabama for internment.  Mr. Spencer was a Civil War Veteran.(The Jackson County Times, July 31, 1926, p. 3)

 

Margaret A. Webster

            Margaret Ann Webster (1860-1943) was born on November 22, 1860, at West Salem, Illinois, the daughter of George Pixley and Claressa Jones.  While a resident on The Lane, she amused the neighborhood children with her performing squirrels.  They were cages in a ten-foot by ten-foot enclosure.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 2004 and Nuwer, 1983) 

In her will written in late 1942, Margaret A. Webster legated her estate and real property to Charles O. Pixley (1869-1951), her brother formerly of Ainsworth, Nebraska, and to her two sisters, Laura J. Renfro (1863-1943+) of Pocatello, Bannock Co., Idaho and Ida E. Hastings (1857-1948) of North Hollywood, Los Angeles Co., California.  Mrs. Webster requested in her last testament that my home property to be sold within two years or a soon as the price of $5000 can be obtained and during which period my brother Charles Pixley is to occupy said premises without the payment of rent but he shall take care of the taxes and repairs due thereon.”  In addition to her real property, Margaret A. Webster left her siblings about $4400 in stocks and cash.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 6827-March 1943)

            Mrs. Webster expired at Ocean Springs on March 1, 1943.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Daily Herald, March 4, 1943, p. 6)

In September 1943, Mrs. Laura J. Renfro and Ida E. Hastings quitclaimed their interest in their sister’s Biloxi Bay estate to Charles O. Pixley, their brother.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 84, pp. 351-352)

 

Charles O. Pixley

            Charles Oscar Pixley (1869-1951), the brother of Margaret Ann Webster, was a native of West Salem, Illinois.  Most of his adult life was lived in Ainsworth, Brown County, Nebraska as a farmer and retail grocer.  Circa 1890, Charles had married Laura E. Pixley (1859-pre-1930+).  She was a native of Iowa and did not bear him children.(1900 Brown County, Nebraska Federal Census, T623R917, p8; 1920 Brown County, Nebraska Federal Census; and 1930, Brown County, Nebraska Federal Census, R1266 ED 1)

            Circa 1932, Charles O. Pixley, a widower, came to the Mississippi Gulf Coast probably settling at Biloxi, to be near Mrs. Webster, his aging widowed sister.  It appears that he took a wife, Anna May Pixley, during this time.  Mr. Pixley and his wife resided at the Biloxi Community House where they were caretakers.  He expired at the Biloxi Hospital on July 26, 1951.  Mr. Pixley’s remains were sent to Ainsworth, Nebraska after services for him were held at the First Methodist Church of Biloxi on July 23, 1951.(The Daily Herald, July 23, 1951, p. 2)

In January 1945, Charles O. Pixley and Anna May Pixley of Harrison County, Mississippi conveyed their Fort Point Peninsula estate to Elmer Williams for $4000. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 88, pp. 314-315)

           

Elmer Williams

Elmer Williams (1898-1985) was born at Biloxi, Mississippi to Carroll “Cal” Williams (1864-1959) and Anna Cox Williams (1876-1941).  In 1920, he with Charles DeJean and Frank Bosarge commenced the DeJean Packing Company.  His brother, Carroll “Peck” Williams (1900-1977), joined the firm as a partner in later years, and in time, the two became sole owners of the corporation.  In April 1923, Elmer married Cornelia Champagne (1906-1983), a native of Charenton, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, in the St. Michael’s Catholic Church.  They were the parents of two daughters: Anna Mae Williams Favret (1924-1997) and Mercedes Williams Hall (b. 1925).(The Daily Herald, April 4, 1923, p. 3 and March 25, 1953, p. 7 and The Ocean Springs Record, January 31, 1985, p. 6)

            Elmer Williams was a candidate for Mayor of Biloxi in 1953.  He ran on the tenet that “there is no reason why a city or other public sub-division cannot and should not be administered on sound American business principles.”  Mr. Williams expired on January 29, 1985.  His corporal remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park Cemetery at Biloxi.  Cornelia preceded Elmer in death passing on in October 1983 at her home at 309 Front Beach Drive in Ocean Springs.(The Daily Herald, March 25, 1953, p. 7 and The Ocean Springs Record, January 31, 1985, p. 6)

            Elmer and Cornelia Williams never lived in their Lovers Lane home, but acquired it for their daughter, Anna Mae Favret.  In October 1945, Elmer Williams conveyed title to his Lovers Lane property to Anna Mae Williams Favret et al.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 92, pp. 369-370)

           

Anna Mae W. Favret

Anna Mae Williams Favret (1924-1997) was born at Biloxi on January 10, 1924.  She was reared on Howard Avenue in Biloxi’s eastern most neighborhood, ubiquitously known as “The Point”.  Anna Mae was a 1941 graduate of the Sacred Heart Academy.  In February 1944, she married Robert “Bob” Benedict Favret (1913-1979), a native of New Orleans.  He was the son of Lionel Francis Favret (b. 1878) and Marie Erath Favret (b. 1880).  Lionel F. Favret was a prominent building contractor in the Crescent City.  The Favrets built many of the Roman Catholic sanctuaries in New Orleans and also the Roosevelt Hotel, now Fairmont Hotel.(The Sun Herald, April 16, 1997, p. C-2 and Mercedes W. Hall, December 5, 2004)

In November 2004, Bob Favret’s brother, Lionel J. Favret Sr. (1911-2004) died at New Orleans.  He was a graduate of Holy Cross High School and attended Notre Dame University, where he was a member of the football and track teams, and Tulane University. Lionel joined his family's construction business. Among his projects were the Blue Plate Building, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, Cabrini High School, St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church and many other schools, churches and office buildings.(The Times Picayune, November 5, 2004)

Anna Mae and Bob Favret had two children: Cornelia “Connie” Ann Favret (b. 1944) and Elmer Favret (1946-1947).  Connie Ann was Queen of the Krewe of Zeus, a New Orleans Mardi organization, in January 1963.  Like her mother, she attended Sacred Heart in Biloxi where she was active in the marching band.(The Daily Herald, January 24, 1963)

Doing their occupancy of the old Webster place, Elmer Williams had the area in front of the Favrets dredged deeper.  He also had chicken houses erected.(Mercedes W. Hall, December 6, 2004)

Anna Mae Favret expired on April 14,1997 in Ocean Springs.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi City Cemetery.(The Sun Herald, April 16, 1997, p. C-2)

In April 1949, Robert B. Favret conveyed their Biloxi Bay home to R.G. Cooper and spouse, Dorothy M. Cooper, for $19,000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 97, p. 9)

 

R.G. Cooper

            R.G. and Doris M. Cooper were from Kentucky.  Bernelle Dressell Babcock, domiciled in Metairie, Louisiana and a former owner of 343 Lovers Lane, relates that R.G. Cooper had formerly worked for the Bridgeport Brass Company, probably at Indianapolis, Indiana.  It is believed that during the tenure of the Cooper family that the moniker “Rebel Oaks” was applied to the property.  Mr. Cooper enjoyed skeet shooting in Biloxi on Point Cadet.  No further information.(Mrs. B. D. Babcock, December 6, 2004 and T.P. Crozat, December 7, 2004)

 

Rebel Oaks

            The following short essay “The Rebel Oaks” was written in August 1983, by an eighth grade student in the class of Deanne Stephens Nuwer, now Dr. Nuwer, and a history professor at USM-Gulfcoast:

 

The Rebel Oaks

            Rebel Oaks, a lovely alley of live oaks, is located on Lovers Lane and overlooks the Back Bay of Biloxi.  The site and present house are owned by Mrs. Emma Dressel.  The house and grounds are carefully tended by a caretaker.

            The present day house is a new structure.  Previously, however, there was a small, russet cottage located on the property.  It was owned by Mrs. Webster in the 1920’s.  Mrs. Webster had a 10’ x 10’ cage of performing squirrels that did tricks.  Local children enjoyed watching squirrels.

            The original deed to the site was signed by our seventh President, Andrew Jackson.  He had won the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, and he traveled the Natchez Trace, so that he was familiar with the Southern land.

 

(from: Ocean Springs, Mississippi-A Look at the Beautiful Past of a Beautiful City(Eighth Grade Class of Deanne Stephens Nuwer: Ocean Springs, Mississippi-1983)

 

In October 1949, R.G. Cooper sold “Rebel Oaks” to Emma R. Dressel of New Orleans for $23,750.  “the conveyance included certain furnishings, furniture, and fixtures located on the premises, a list of which has been made and agreed upon by the grantor and grantee.”.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 110, pp. 177-178)

 

Emma R. Dressel

            Emma Robbert Dressel (1897-1982) was the daughter of Frederick W. Robbert (b. 1875) and Louise “Lu” Pons (1874-1928).  She married Bryce Ernest Dressel (1896-1950) who was born at New Orleans, the son of Harry J. Dressel (1867-1910+) and Elizabeth Heimberger Dressel (1867-1940).  Harry J. Dressel was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio.  His parents were natives of Saxony. Elizabeth H. Dressel came from Indiana.  Her father was also a German immigrant.  In 1910, Mr. H.J. Dressel made his livelihood as the superintendent of the streetcar railroad in the Crescent City.  Bryce E. Dressel had a brother, Harry J. Dressel Jr. (1900-1920+).(1870 Hamilton Co., Ohio-T9R1026, p. 586, ED 147 and 1910 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, T624R529, p. 154 and Bernelle D. Babcock, December 6, 2004)

Bryce E. Dressel made his livelihood at New Orleans in the small engine retail business.  He sold lawn mowers and later acquired the Mercury Outboard Motor franchise for the Crescent City.  Bryce and Emma Victoria Robbert were married in Orleans Parish, Louisiana in June 1919.  This blessed union resulted in three daughters: Leverne Emma Dressel (b. 1920) married William North (1918-1989); Brycelaine Dressel (b. 1923) married John Brigham Jr.; and Bernelle A. Dressel (b. 1925) married Henry G. Babcock (b. 1926).  William North and spouse had two sons, Bryce and Donald North.  The Brigham’s of Millbrae, California had a son, Mike, and two daughters, Sharon and Bonnie, while the Babcocks of Metarie had Mark and Brycelaine Dressel.(The Gulf Coast Times, November 24, 1950, p. 8 and Bernelle D. Babcock, December 14, 2004)

 

            The grounds of Rebel Oaks were cared for through the years by Bernest Brooks.  Irene Brooks, his wife, also worked for the Dressels.         

 

1953 wedding

On June 13, 1953, Bernelle Alois Dressel married Henry G. Babcock on the grounds of Rebel Oaks.  The nuptials were held under the auspices of the Lutheran Church.  The grounds of Rebel Oaks were cared for through the years by Bernest Brooks.  His brother Henry Brooks performed a similar service for the Palfrey family to the north of the Dressel place.(Bernelle D. Babcock, December 1, 2004)

In July-August 1950, Bernelle had gone on an extensive, six weeks tour of Latin America.  She traveled by steamship to Buenos Aires, Argentina and flew to Chile to sail the Pacific.  She was met at Galveston, Texas by her parents in late August 1950.  Grandson, Bryce North, accompanied them to Texas.(The Gulf Coast Times, August 25, 1950, p. 5 and Bernelle D. Babcock, December 1, 2004)

 

New house

Circa 1965, Mrs. Emma R. Dressel demolished the old Spencer H. Webster residence and built a modern two-story, side gable-roofed, brick veneered wood frame structure, which was situated west of the Webster place and closer to Biloxi Bay.  The Dressel house was built in the “Southern Colonial” style and featured a five bay, shed-roofed portico maintained by large columns.  The central entrance has fan and sidelights.  A swimming pool was built southwest of the structure.(Breggren, 1986, p. 1)

 

Outbuildings

During the Dressel occupation of 343 Lovers Lane, in addition to the new house, a concrete block cottage and beach house were erected.  The cottage was built for Mrs. Dressel’s father, Frederick W. Robberts.  He was ill at this time and traveled with a nurse.

The beach house was built below the low bluff near the shoreline of Biloxi Bay for Lloyd Henry Robbert, the bachelor brother of Mrs. Emma R. Dressel.  He used it rarely.  After Bryce E. Dressel had a stroke and was partially paralyzed, he would sit on the gallery of the beach house and relax in his rocking chair and enjoy the marine vista and his grandchildren playing in the sand.  The grandchildren when hungry would often take a skiff to Biloxi and eat poor-boys at Rosetti’s, now called the Schooner on “The Point”.(Bernelle D. Babcock, December 1, 2004)

The beach house structure was damaged during tropical cyclone, Camille, in August 1969.  Subsequently, the derelict building was demolished.  Camille’s tidal surge came to the swimming pool, but did not enter the main house to the delight of the Dressels.(Bernelle D. Babcock, December 1, 2004)

 

Sale

In October 1974, Emma Robert Dressel, heir of Bryce E. Dressel, sold her Ocean Springs estate to her three daughters: Leverne Emma Dressel North of Transylvania County, North Carolina; Bernelle Alois Dressel Badcock of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; and Brycelaine Dressel Brigham of Butte County, California.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 513, p. 337)

 

Eldon D. McClain         

            In September 1989, Dr. Eldon D. McClain and spouse Dixie A. McClain, acquired Rebel Oaks from Brycelaine D. Brigham of Butte County, California, Leverne Emma Dressel North of Transylvania County, North Carolina, and Bernelle Alois D. Badcock of Metairie, Louisiana.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 943, p. 762)

            Eldon D. McClain (b. 1941) was born at Topeka, Kansas.  He was reared in a peripatetic family as his father traveled throughout the Midwest pursuing a career in agricultural sales.  Eldon finished high school in rural Illinois where he met his future bride, Dixie A. Richardson (b. 1944), a native of Miles City, Montana.  Dixie was reared in Illinois.  Her father fought in the South Pacific with the 5th Marine Division at Iwo Jima and was captured by a Life Magazine photographer as his landing craft approached the beach on the morning of the February 19, 1945 invasion.  Dixie is an alumnus of Northern Illinois University at DeKalb, Illinois.

In 1960, Eldon D. McClain matriculated to Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois and finished medical school there in 1968.  In 1973, he completed his post-graduate medical specialty in pathology in the Windy City.  Dr. Eldon D. McClain served several years in the U.S. Army stationed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.   Post-military service, he found employment at the Craven Medical Center in New Bern, North Carolina.  In 1979, Dr. McClain, Dixie, and their three sons relocated to Ocean Springs settling off East Beach.  He worked as a pathologist at the Howard Memorial Hospital in Biloxi and continues in this capacity today at the Biloxi Regional Medical Center.

            Prior to settling into their Biloxi Bay residence, the McClains realized that improvements were in order.  They hired Walter T. “Buzzy” Bolton, a local architect, to assist them with design and refurbishment plans.  Eldon and Dixie wanted to capture more of the incredible marine vista that was available to them, but not being fully realized because of the present architecture.  Bolton achieved their goal with multiple windows and the addition of a great room with a vaulted ceiling on the bayside of their home.  The foyer ceiling was also heightened.  The swimming pool was eliminated and that former area converted into a large, open, landscaped patio.  Jerry Morgan contracted the work for the McClains while Katie Tynes was retained for interior design consultations.    

            Upon entering the live oak traced drive into Rebel Oaks from Lovers Lane, one is struck with the pulchritude of the natural surroundings.  Large oaks, magnolia, cypress, and pecans form a moderately dense canopy, which filters sunlight to nourish the well-landscaped gardens of azaleas, hydrangeas, and lilies.  Mondo grass is appropriate and used to create verdant borders along the drives.  To the delight of their northern neighbor, Thomas P. Crozat, there is also persimmon tree on the estate.  The McClains take delight in their gardening activities and are capably assisted by Kathy Barnes. Striper, the family cat, provides friendly company for visitors.

 

Dr. Porter place

In April 1992, Dr. Eldon McClain acquired the contiguous 5.9-acres to the south of Rebel Oaks, the former Dr. William Porter place, from CSX Transportation Inc.  CSX is the surviving company of the 1982 merger of the L&N Railroad and the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad.  The railroad has possessed this tract since 1937.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 994, p. 66 and Bk. 70, p. 268)

            This concluded the chronology of the Israel-McClain tract at present day 343 Lovers Lane.

 

Charles F. Hemard Tract

The Charles F. Hemard homestead on the Fort Point Peninsula at Ocean Springs was created from the 3.40 acre Allison parcel in June 1879, when Elizabeth W. Allison (1842-1879) and her husband, Hugh Allison (1825-1881) sold their tract to Charles F. Hemard (1828-1888) for $350.  The Hemard parcel was north of the B.F. Parkinson lot and south of the Captain Brooks Place and had a front of two hundred forty eight feet on Biloxi Bay.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 214-215)

The Charles F. Hemard tract was further divided in November 1914, when possessed by Miss Alice de Armas (1853-1922+) who vended a lot to J.D. Decker (d. 1934).  These present day properties are 331 Lovers Lane, the Hemard-Anderson tract, and 329 Lovers Lane, the De Armas-Baker place.  They will be discussed separately.

 

Hemard-Anderson Tract

Charles F. Hemard

Charles Francois Hemard (1828-1888) was a native of Lorraine, France and a resident of New Orleans.  In 1850, Jean-Baptiste Hemard, his father, was a dairyman in the Crescent City and as a teen Charles sold bread.  He was one of six children all natives of France.(1850 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census, M432R236, Ward 7, p. 358) 

By 1880, Charles F. Hemard was a cotton merchant in the Crescent City.  At New Orleans in March 1851, he had married a French lady, Catherine Fersing (1835-1900+).  She had immigrated from France in 1847, and bore him seven children of whom two survived into the 20th Century: Michel F. Hemard (1853-pre 1880); Alfred Charles Hemard (1855-1888+); Ernest J. Hemard (1858-1891+); Charles J. Hemard (1860-1900+); Louis Hemard (1862-pre 1880); Alphonse Hemard (1864-pre 1880); and Edward Charles Hemard (1866-1900+) married Anna Margaret Meissner.(1873-1900+)  

In 1880, Ernest and Charles Hemard worked in a cotton press while their younger brothers were at school.  They resided in Ward 2, Enumeration District 12, which is bounded by Franklin, Thalia, Magnolia, and Julia Street.  The Civil District Court at New Orleans declared Ernest J. Hemard insane in February 1891.(CDC Orleans Parish, La. Div. B, Cause No. 25,031-September 1888 and Fenerty and Fernandez, Volume II, 1991, p. 292)

           

Demise                      

Charles F. Hemard expired from heart failure at his Ocean Springs home on September 21, 1888.  His corporal remains were sent to New Orleans for burial in the St. Roch Cemetery.  The remainder of the Hemard family were interred in the Greenwood Cemetery at New Orleans.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 415-April 1891 and Thelma Hemard Heckert)

In June 1899, the Heirs of Charles F. Hemard, Catherine Hemard, a widow, Edward C. Hemard, and Charles F. Hemard conveyed their father’s Fort Pont Peninsula estate to Albert de Armas for $1000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 109-110)

 

Albert de Armas

Albert de Armas (1835-1915) was born at New Orleans, the son of Felix Nicolas Nicassio de Armas (1796-1839) and Isabella Alpuente (1805-1889).  Felix N.N. de Armas immigrated to America entering the port of New Orleans in 1822, probably coming from the Canary Islands. 

Albert de Armas made his livelihood as a commerce clerk and architect.  He was the uncle of Rita de Armas Marquez (1851-1909) and Alice de Armas (1853-1922+).    From Federal Census data, it appears that Albert and Alice de Armas were in the household of Frank Marquez (1840-1914), from the time of the marriage of Mr. Marquez to Rita de Armas in April 1874, until the death of Marquez in August 1914.(Orleans Parish 1880 Federal Census, 7th Ward, ED 462, p. 607)

In 1891, Albert de Armas was secretary of the Swamp Land Reclamation Company in the Crescent City.  By 1900, he was a commerce clerk and resided on Elysian Fields Avenue with Frank Marquez, his nephew-in-law, the Civil Sheriff of Orleans Parish, Louisiana.(Soard’s 1891 NOLA Directory and 1900 Orleans Parish Federal Census, T623R572, ED 64, p. 146)

In 1910, Albert de Armas was domiciled on Lovers Lane and listed his occupation as farmer.  He resided with Frank Marquez, a widower, and his spinster niece, Alice de Armas.(1910 Jackson Co., Ms. Federal Census, T624R744, pt. 1, p. 113)

Albert de Armas expired on December 16, 1915 at St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. 

In February 1900, Albert de Armas had conveyed his Biloxi Bay home to Frank Marquez (1840-1914) for $1000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 21, p. 130)

 

Francisco Marquez

It is not known if the Hemard place burned or deteriorated, but in April 1900, the Ocean Springs reporter for the Pascagoula weekly journal noted that “a fine residence is being erected on the Hemard place north of the railroad on the beach, which will be occupied by a citizen of New Orleans for a summer home”.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 6, 1900, p. 3)

That citizen of the Crescent City was Francisco “Frank” Marquez (1840-1914), a native of New Orleans and the son of Francisco Marquez and Margaritha Llambias, both Spanish immigrants.  His siblings were: Marguerita Pamela Marquez (b. 1842); Bartholome Marquez (b. 1844); Simon Marquez (b. 1847); Ricardo Marquez (b. 1849); Philomena Carmen Marquez Valle (1851-1928) married Mr. Valle; Cesaire Baldmer “Baldomero” Marquez (1854-1923) married Amelia Delvaille; and Edward Joseph Marquez (1856-1927) married Carlotta Patti (1871-1937).  

 

Civil War

            When the Civil War commenced, young Frank Marquez enlisted in Gustave LeGardeur’s Battery, a part of the Orleans Guard Battery A, which was formed in July 1863 by detaching those members of the 10th Missouri Artillery Battery who had previously served in the Orleans Guard Artillery and forming this new company, which was a part of the Army of Tennessee.  LeGardeur’s Battery received the guns of the Chestatee (Georgia) Artillery Battery upon its arrival at Charleston, South Carolina in November 1863.  It was armed with two 6-lb. smoothbores and two 12-lb. howitzers from April 2, 1864 to May 3, 1864.  It was armed with four 12-lb. Napoleons and two 3.5" Blakelys on January 6, 1865.  LeGardeur’s Battery fought at: Chickamauga, Georgia (1863); Chattanooga Siege, Tennessee (1863); Fort Johnson and Battery Simkins (1864); Bentonville, North Carolina (1865); and Averasboro, South Carolina (1865).

(www.acadiansingray.com/Orleans%20Gd.%20Batt.htm)

 

Louisiana Lottery Company

"The people of Louisiana have a compulsion for gambling unequaled anywhere in the world that my travels have taken me," wrote C.C. Robin, a nationally acclaimed 19th century writer. "Their compulsion for gambling is only equaled by their compulsion for alcoholic beverages."

 

Returning to the Crescent City after the War of the Rebellion, Frank Marquez  married Miss Rita de Armas in April 1872 and began to practice law.  He became a member of the Louisiana State legislature and was a zealot in his effort to rid the state of gambling.  Marquez was successful in the eradication of the Louisiana Lottery Company.(The Jackson County Times, August 15, 1914, p. 5)

  In 1868, the Louisiana Lottery Company had opened for business after Charles T. Howard of New Orleans and his New York capitalist friend, John A. Morris, were successful in getting a 25-year monopoly to operate a lottery from the administration of Republican Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth (1846-1931), whose “Carpetbagger”, Reconstruction reign has been described as Louisiana’s most corrupt. 

For several years profits from the Louisiana lottery were slim to non-existent.  Competition from other states was fierce. In fact, Howard and Morris were seriously considering throwing in the towel.  But along came Dr. Maxmilian A. Dauphin, an Irish political exile. Dauphin took a small job with the Louisiana State Lottery and guaranteed its success.  Dr. Dauphin realized that dramatic publicity guaranteeing the honesty of the operation was the key to its success. In 1877, he drew two well-known heroes of the Confederacy, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard (1818-1893) of Louisiana and Gen. Jubal A. Early (1816-1894) of Virginia, into the organization. For their services as commissioners and supervisors of drawings, they each received $30,000 a year. (clarionherald.org/20030101/stall.htm)

The Louisiana Lottery became the largest in the country, with tickets sold nationwide. The owners of the Company worked out an arrangement with the state government. In exchange for donating a comparatively small sum of $40,000 a year for 25 years to the Charity Hospital of New Orleans, the Company kept the rest of their revenues, tax-free. 

By 1890, 45 percent of all New Orleans postal receipts were lottery related. Lottery business coming through the mail hit $25 million a year, tax-free. Finally, Congress passed a law prohibiting the use of the mail for the transmission of lottery-related business. It was to be the lottery's deathblow.  By 1892, the Louisiana State Lottery had drawn it final number. In its 24 years, not one person ever won the $600,000 prize. A New Orleans barber did win $300,000 for a half-ticket.(Clarion Herald, January 1, 2003)

 

Civil Sheriff

In 1890, when the Orleans Parish Levee District was organized, Frank Marquez (1840-1914) served as the secretary to its Board of Commissioners.(Goodspeed, 1891, Vol. II, pp. 35-36)

In the mid-1890s, Frank Marquez participated in the election reform movement at New Orleans and was associated with the Citizens League.  In 1896, he was elected Civil Sheriff of Orleans Parish and fought to install populous candidates on the ballot.  While serving the people of Orleans Parish, his character and integrity were recognized by attorneys, the business community, and many others with whom he met.  When his term as Civil Sheriff ended, Frank Marquez retired to his estate on Biloxi Bay.(The Jackson County Times, August 15, 1914, p. 5)

 

Ocean Springs

In 1910, Frank Marquez, Albert de Armas (1835-1915), and Alice M. de Armas were residing at Ocean Springs at their Fort Point Peninsula residence.  Mr. de Armas lists his occupation as farmer.  At this time, Frank Marquez was a stockholder in the Builder’s Supply Company a lumberyard situated on Old Fort Bayou which vended lumber, shingles, molding, brick, and associated building products.  It was managed by B.F. Joachim (1847-1925), also a stockholder and native of the Crescent City.(1910 Jackson Co., Ms Federal Census, T624R744, pt. 1, p. 113)

Alphonse Buisson (d. 1914), a Creole from New Orleans, worked on the Marquez place.  Buisson killed himself in mid-February 1914, after marital problems.  The suicide took place at the residence of his brother.(The Ocean Springs News, February 14, 1914, p. 5)

When Frank Marquez expired at Ocean Springs on August 12, 1914.  He was survived by two brothers, Baldermo Marquez and Edward Marquez, and a sister, Carmen M. Valle, the widow of Louis Auguste Valle (1843-1905).  Frank Marquez legated his estate to his sister-in-law, Alice M. de Armas (1853-1922+).  At the time, she resided in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, and was at Ocean Springs in May 1916.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 3377-August 1914, The Jackson County Times, August 15, 1914, p. 5 and The Daily Herald, May 30, 1916)

 

Alice M. de Armas

Alice Marie de Armas (1853-1922+) was born at New Orleans in 1853, the daughter of Felix de Armas (1827-1860+) and Laure de Armas (1831-1894).   She was the granddaughter of Felix Nicolas Nicassio de Armas (1796-1839) and Isabella Alpuente (1805-1889).  Felix N.N. de Armas immigrated to America entering the port of New Orleans in 1822, probably coming from the Canary Islands. 

In 1860, Alice de Armas was domiciled in her grandmother’s home with her father, a notary, her mother, and siblings, Rita de Armas and Emma de Armas.  Her uncle, Albert de Armas (1835-1915), a clerk, also lived with his mother.  Another sister, Marie Isabella Laure de Armas (b. 1851), probably died in a yellow fever epidemic as she was not alive in 1860.(1860 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, M656R419)

 

Subdividing the lot

In November 1914, Miss de Armas sold for $4000, a lot with 192 feet on Biloxi Bay and 180 feet on Porter consisting of 2.25 acres carved from the original 3.40 acre Charles F. Hemard tract.  She retained 84 feet and the Frank Marquez house on the north lot.  In September 1920, Miss de Armas conveyed it to Edward Marquez (1856-1927), the brother of her brother-in-law, Frank Marquez, for $2500.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 41, pp. 65-66 and Bk. 48, pp. 515-516) 

Miss Alice M. de Armas owned a home on Beauregard Lane, present day Catchot Place, until 1922.  She sold it to Mr. Fabian and relocated to 1009 St Ann Street in New Orleans.  Alice de Armas also possessed other property in the Jerome Ryan tract in the vicinity of Martin Avenue, which she conveyed to W.S. VanCleave (1871-1938)  in March 1923..(The Jackson County Times, April 8, 1922 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 52, p. 524-525)

 

Edward J. Marquez

Edward Joseph Marquez (1856-1927) was reared at New Orleans.  He married Carlotta Patti (1871-1937), a native of New York.  Her father was Portuguese and mother a native of Louisiana.  They had no children.  After Edward Marquez passed at Ocean Springs, on October 17, 1927, his corporal remains were sent to the Crescent City for internment in the St. Louis No. 3 on Esplanade Avenue.(The Daily Herald, October 18, 1927, p. 2

 

Carlotta P. Marquez

After her husbands demise, Carlotta P. Marquez inherited their Lovers Lane home and a $10,000 in cash as well as stocks, bonds, and a building at New Orleans rented to the Rocca-Mestayer Lumber Company. Edward J. Marquez left the remainder of his estate to his sister, Carmen Marquez Valle (1985-1928), the widow of Louis Auguste Valle (1843-1905).(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5014-December 1924)

Carlotta’s mother, Eugenie Patti (1848-1924), passed at Ocean Springs in April 21, 1924.(The Jackson County Times, April 1924, p. 5 )  

Carmen M. Valle passed on February 29, 1928, while a resident of Ocean Springs.  She was living with Mary Newman Murphy (1870-1942), at present day 619 Porter, the Whitney-Smith House.  Mrs. Valle’s corporal remains were interred in New Orleans at the St. Louis No. 3 Cemetery on Esplanade.  Her legatees were Father J.H. Chauvin and Mrs. Walter A. Lawson, a niece.  Mrs. Valle left an estate valued at $4600, including four lots in Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5023-March 1928 and The Daily Herald, March 2, 1928, p. 2). 

            In May 1933, Carlotta Patti Marquez conveyed the old Frank Marquez home on Lovers Lane to F.L. Strawn for $2150.  She died in January 1937.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 77, pp. 49-50) 

 

F.L. Strawn

F.L. Strawn, spouse Martha Strawn, and their daughter came to Ocean Springs very likely from Sangamon County, Illinois where he had extensive farming interests.  Springfield, the State capital, is also the County seat of Sangamon County, Illinois.  While a resident of Lovers Lane, F.L. Strawn continued his entrepreneurial interests as he acquired a large tract of land on West Porter where he either acquired or built tourist courts.  The Strawn tourist courts were situated in Lots 7-12, and pts of Lots 13 and 14, and Lot 15 in Block 4 of the Schmidt Park Subdivision.  Block 4 is bounded on the north by Porter, east by Williams, and South by Howard.(The Jackson County Times, March 10, 1945, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Plat Bk. 1, p. 83)

 

Ocean Springs Tourist Park

F.L. Strawn had acquired his tourist court tract from Jean Taylor formerly Jean Taylor Lough in February 1938.  He sold the tourist courts to Martin Weick (1891-1971) of Chicago in March 1945.  In later years, the Strawn resort cottages were called the Ocean Springs Tourist Park.  This entity was owned by Harry L. Losch Jr. (1911-1965) and Clairetta Wiegartz Losch.  The Losch family was from Pennsylvania, probably Williamsport, home of the Little League World Series. (The Jackson County Times, March 10, 1945, p. 1, c. 2 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 71, p. 92, Bk. 88, p. 420-422, and Bk. 148, p. 465-468)

            Although I have a paucity of biographical information on F.L. Strawn, I do offer some information on Robert E. Strawn, also with Illinois ties, who appears to be a resident of Ocean Springs in 1936.  R.E. Strawn’s parents-in-law, seem to be Albert R. Greenwalt (1865-1930+) Agnes W. Greenwalt (1870-1930+), an English lady, and his nephew-in-law, Ralph Greenwalt (1912-1996).  In 1930, the Greenwalts were domiciled at Manchester, Scott County, Illinois.  Scott and Sangamon Counties are only about eighteen miles apart.  No further information.(1930 Scott Co., Illinois Federal Census, R560, ED 10)            

            In March 1945, F.L. Strawn sold his Lovers Lane estate to Frank M. White (1912-1984) for $6300.  Florence W. Humphrey (1883-1976), the spouse of Victor Grant Humphrey (1885-1942), of the Gulf Agency handled the real estate sale transaction.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 89, pp. 158-159 and The Jackson County Times, March 10, 1945, p. 1, c. 2)

 

Frank M. White

Frank Mark White (1912-1984) had come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1939, probably from Florida.  He was an electrical engineer with the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in Pascagoula.  Mr. Smith was born on November 5, 1912 in Georgia, the son of Robert E. White (1871-1941+) and Maglolin White (1880-1930+), both Peach Tree State natives.  In August 1941, Frank married Nina Lois Cox (1914-1984+) in a Baptist ceremony at Pascagoula.  She was the daughter of B.E. Cox and Emma Cox of Perkinston, Mississippi.(JXCO, Ms. MRB 34, p. 151)

Frank M. White and his two siblings, Robert E. White Jr. (1908-1984+) and Martha M. White Hart (1910-1984+) were reared in rural Georgia, as his father was a farmer.  In 1920, the White family were living in Military District 1007 in Sumter County, which is situated in southwestern Georgia.(1920 Sumter Co. Ga. Federal Census, T625R278, ED 110, p. 5A)

By 1930, the White family had relocated to Tampa City, Florida.  At this time, Frank M. White made his livelihood as a shipping clerk.  His father continued in the agricultural field as a gardener.(1930 Hillsborough Co., Fla. Federal Census, R318, E.D. 18) 

            Frank M. White expired on March 27, 1984, at Moss Point, Mississippi.  His wife, two daughters, Mary White Hood and Janette White Weigle, and a son, F. Mark White Jr., survived him.  Mr. White’s corporal remains were interred in the Serene Memorial Gardens at Moss Point, Mississippi.(The Mississippi Press, March 27, 1984, p. 2-A)

            F.M. White conveyed his Lovers Lane home to Edward M. Lindsay and Lydia P. Lindsay in September 1945.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 91, pp. 85-86 and p. 593). 

 

Edward M. Lindsay

            I have no biographical information on this family.

Edward M. Lindsay and Lydia P. Lindsay conveyed their Lovers Lane property to Marvin W. Thompson for $10,000, in April 1947.  At this time, George E. Arndt Jr. (1909-1994) surveyed the Lindsay lot and ascertained its dimensions to be: seventy-nine feet on Biloxi Bay and four hundred seventy five feet deep with eighty six feet on Lovers Lane.  Affidavits to the “actual, open, notorious, exclusive continuous occupancy of the Edward Marquez home” was made by Albert C. Gottsche (1873-1949), Frank E. Schmidt (1877-1954), and Antoinette Johnson Schmidt (1880-1956).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 96, pp. 481-486)

 

Marvin W. Thompson

Marvin W. “Tommy” Thompson was a veteran of World War I and World War II.  In August 1937, Tommy married Jane O’ Quinn, a native of Mississippi.  Their nuptial took place at Chicago.  They were childless.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 16519-June 1962) 

Tommy Thompson was commissioned in 1942 and left the USAF as a Lt. Colonel.  Colonel Thompson also had an extensive career in appliances and radio having familiarity with RCA, Majestic, Norge, and Stewart-Warner products.  In March 1949, he became manager of Combel’s Appliance Store on West Howard Avenue in Biloxi.  M.W. Thompson had formerly been the advertising manager for The Gulf Coast Times.(The Gulf Coast Times, April 1, 1949, p. 10)

            In October 1950, the Thompson home became the site of a Ham Radio station.  A tree in front of the house was removed to install Tommy’s radio antenna. His automobile license was W5RXA, which reflected his call number.(The Gulf Coast Times, October 13, 1950, p. 7)

            In August 1960, Tommy and Jane O. Thompson conveyed their Lovers Lane home to John Callan.  The Thompson’s relocated to Gulf Hills and resided at 20 Holly Road.  They divorced in September 1962.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 200, p. 480, JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 16519-June 1962, and Pat F. Gottsche Weaver, December 23, 2004)

 

John Callan   

            John Callan (1891-1980) was born at New Orleans on May 15, 1891 at New Orleans, the son of Dr. John Callan (1862-1923), born at New Orleans of Irish immigrant parents, and Elizabeth Carmel Johnson (1864-1947), also from the Crescent City.  His parents were married at New Orleans in October 1887.  Their other children were: Mary Callan Meyers (1888-1920+) married Edgar Vick Meyer (1886-1964); and Nicholas Callan (1890-1920+).

            John Callan made his livelihood as an engineer and spent some time in Tennessee.  While a resident of Lovers Lane, a waterspout hit his house and ripped off some of the siding.  Mr. Callan expired on November 5, 1980 at Ocean Springs.  Mr. Callan left a sizeable estate to his nephews: John C. Meyer (1919-1985) and Frank J. Meyer both of Kenner, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana and the heirs of Edgar Vick Meyer Jr. (1912-1981): Mani Archibald; Mary Louise Meyer; Margaret Mary Meyer; Michael Callan Meyer; John Nicholas Meyer; Francis X. Meyer; Mary Kathleen Meyer; Peter Camillus Meyer and Kathleen Elizabeth Meyer.(Beryl Girot Riviere, March 2002 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 39578-1980).

            In November 1981, the Estate of John Callan conveyed his Lovers Lane estate to Milton H. Bush for $77, 500. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 722, p. 657)

 

Milton H. Bush

            Milton Henry Bush (b. 1927) was born the son of Marvin G. Bush and Flossie Helen Bush (1905-1993) at Inland Township, Benzie County, Michigan, which is situated southwest of Traverse City, Michigan.  While a resident of Lovers Lane, Milton made his livelihood as the owner of TRC Recreation Inc., Topper City Enterprises, which was situated at 1137 East Beach Boulevard in Biloxi.  Mr. Bush sold campers, motor homes, and travel trailers.

In May 1982, Milton H. Bush sold his home on Lovers Lane to Iris Westbrook Bush in May 1982, (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 768, p. 160)

            Apparently Milton H. Bush and Iris N. Westbrook divorced as in August 1982, he married Peggy Ann McFalls (b. 1950), the daughter of George T. Harrington and Mildred Lois Smith (1920-1980), in Harrison County, Mississippi.  They divorced in June 1983.  Milton then married Marvis Loy Bosarge Baggett (b. 1941), a native of Mobile.  No further information.(HARCO, Ms. MRB 24, p. 529 and JXCO, Ms. MRB 149, p. 475)    

            Iris N. Bush, also known as Iris N. Westbrook conveyed her Biloxi Bay home to Harroll D. Castle and Jeanette R. Castle in July 1982.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 739, pp. 121-122)

           

Harroll D. Castle

             Harroll Dean Castle (b. 1937), a 1962 graduate of USM, arrived at Ocean Springs in the fall of 1971, from Laurel, Mississippi.  He was born at Eupora, Mississippi and hired to replace Kenneth W. Kemmerly (1928-1975), as President and CEO of the First National Bank of Jackson County.  Harroll D. Castle had married Jeanette Rayner of Laurel.  They were the parents of three children: Melanie C. Girot (b. 1961), Mandy Castle (b. 1962), and Harroll D. Castle Jr. (b. 1970).(The Ocean Springs Record, November 4, 1971, p. 1)

             Harroll and Jeanette R. Castle built a new home on Lovers Lane in 1982-1983.  The old Frank Marquez home was demolished by Ernest W. Pettis Sr. (1919-1991) to erect this edifice.(Beryl Girot Riviere, March 14, 2002)

 

First National Bank of Ocean Springs (Jackson County)

The First National Bank of Ocean Springs was organized in June 1967 after the Comptroller of Currency in the Capitol approved their charter.  The principals in the bank were: E.W. Blossman (1913-1990), W.C. Gryder III (1928-1999), Anthony van Ryan (Ryn) (1899-1980), J.C. “Champ” Gay (1909-1975), Samuel L. Zanca (1919-1991), William T. Dunn (1919-1990), Naif Jordan (1907-1993), G.E. Egeditch (1907-1987), J.K. Lemon Jr. (1914-1998), Dr. Frank O. Schmidt (1902-1975), Richard M. Davis, Oscar Jordan, Frank T. Pickel (1912-1982), and Thomas L. Stennis (b. 1935).  The bank opened for business in late November 1968, in a Claude H. Lindsley (1894-1969) designed structure situated on the northwest corner of Washington Avenue and Desoto.  Earl Jones, a native of Columbus, Mississippi, was the first president of this local bank.( The Ocean Springs Record, June 29, 1967, p. 1 and March 14, 1968, p. 3)

 

Harroll D. Castle

             In late 1971, when Harroll Dean Castle joined the First National Bank of Ocean Springs it had just changed its name to the First National Bank of Jackson County and had assets of about $8 million.  It was also building a branch office in Pascagoula.  In late 1977, the bank acquired the Biloxi branch of the Southern National Bank and the named of the Ocean Springs based bank became the First National Bank of the South.  In February 1979, Harroll D. Castle was named Chairman of the First National Bank of the South.  In 1980, he acquired controlling interest in the First National Bank of the South, which by 1984 had assets of $88 million.  Mr. Castle also possessed a majority interest in the Pine Belt Capital Corporation, which owned the Hattiesburg based Pine Belt Federal Savings and Loan.(The Ocean Springs Record, February 22, 1979, p. 3 and October 4, 1984, p. 1)

 

Bank mergers

      In November 1984, one of the largest bank mergers ever contracted on the Mississippi Gulf Coast occurred when the First South National Corporation, Harroll D. Castle, president; the First National Bank of the South, Kenneth D. Ross, chairman and CEO; the First State Bank of Gulfport, William A. Wiltshire, chairman; and the Metropolitan National Bank of Biloxi, John R. Conry, president, merged to form the Metropolitan National Bank.  The new bank had assets of $138 million and eleven branches.(The Ocean Springs Record, November 29, 1984, p. 1)

      In February 1990, an agreement in principal was reached between the Metropolitan Bank and Hancock Bank, which allowed Hancock to acquire the Metropolitan National Bank, a subsidiary of the Metropolitan Corporation.  G.H. English, CEO of Metropolitan, said, "this combination will add to the quality and convenience of our banking services to the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast".  The merger took place in June 1990, after all Federal banking agencies approved the Hancock acquisition which cost them $6,750,000. The Ocean Springs RecordFebruary 15, 1990, p. 1 and June 14, 1990, p. 6)

 

The clock       

The clock on the old Ocean Springs State Bank, which had been installed in its 1955 remodeling was removed on December 11, 1990, for refurbishing and cleaning before installation on the new Hancock Bank quarters in the former Metropolitan Bank building.  This action by the Hancock Bank created a small furor as members of Main Street and the Historic Ocean Springs Association (HOSA) protested the action.  These local civic organizations felt that the clock would be out of character on the former Metropolitan Bank building, which was to become the site of the Hancock Bank at Washington and Desoto.(The Ocean Springs Record, December 13, 1990, p. 1)

 

The Bay House

In March 1981, Jeanette R. Castle, the spouse of Harroll D. Castle, commenced “The Bay House”, a ladies retail apparel shop, at 711 Church Street.  The Castle family erected a building here in 1980.  This structure now houses the Mississippi Power Company. (The Ocean Springs Record, November 12, 1981, p. 9)

 

King Castle

On Mardi Gras Day 1983, Harroll D. Castle ruled the 57th Annual Biloxi Mardi Gras as King D’Iberville.  His Queen was Melissa Janell Schloegel of Gulfport, now Mrs. Andrew Marion, and a resident of the Seapointe Subdivision on the Fort Point Peninsula.(The Ocean Springs Record, February 17, 1983, p. 1)

           

Sale

In July 1990, Harroll D. Castle conveyed his Lovers Lane home to the Charter Bank.  The Castle family relocated to the Florida Panhandle.  In recent years, Mr. Castle has been president of the Acclaim Corporation of Northwest Florida headquartered in Destin.  The company owns and leases the Acclaim Corporate Plaza located on Crystal Beach Drive.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 960, p. 669)

In December 1990, the Resolution Trust Corporation, Conservator for the Charter Bank sold the Castle home to Stephen W. Baker for $395,000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 971, p. 442)

 

Stephen W. Baker

            Stephen William Baker, MD is a practitioner in the fields of internal and cardiology medicine with offices in Harrison and Hancock Counties.  No further information.

            This concludes the history of the Charles F. Hemard- Stephen W. Baker tract, now known as 329 Lover Lane.

 

The Decker-Anderson Place

The Decker-Anderson place at present day 331Lovers Lane came into existence in November 1914, when Miss Alice M. de Armas (1853-1922+) of New Orleans, sold a lot off the southern portion of the Frank Marquez tract to J.D. Decker.  The Decker tract had 192 feet on Biloxi Bay and 180 feet on Lovers Lane and contained 2.25 acres between F.B. Parkinson and Miss de Armas.  While their home on the Spanish Point was being renovated, the Decker family rented “Three Oaks” on Ward Avenue.( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 41, pp. 65-66 and The Ocean Springs News, December 13, 1914, p. 1)

The J.D. Decker family had been coming to Ocean Springs from Wilmette, Illinois for several years as winter tourists.  Mr. Decker commented about his settling here as follows:

 

The first time I came to Ocean Springs I never had any idea of coming back again.  But I did you see.  I finally saw that this was the place for us to live.(The Ocean Springs News, December 13, 1915, p. 1)

 

By mid-April 1915, the Decker’s expected to move into their home.  It had been completely remodeled and was described as one of the “handsomest residences in our community”.(The Ocean Springs News, April 8, 1915, p. 3)

 

Local telephone operators commented that: J.D. Decker never says, when telephoning, “Connect me with----”.  He says, “Joint my ear with so and so”.(The Ocean Springs News, Local s News, February 4, 1915)

            The Decker family tenure at Ocean Springs was relatively short as in February 1916, J.D. Decker conveyed his Fort Point Peninsula home to Harvey H. Germain (1867-1920+).  Mr. Decker expired at Los Angeles, California on March 17, 1934.  No further information.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 42, pp. 228-229 and The Jackson County Times, March 31, 1934, p. 3)

           

Harvey H. Germain

Harvey H. Germain (1867-1920+) and his wife, L. Rebecca Germain (1867-1920+), were natives of Wisconsin. Her parents were English.  In 1915, Harvey H. Germain was an official of the Rock Island Rail Road and resided at Chicago, when he bought the 35-acre Newcomb property across Fort Bayou.  It was described as a model orchard.(The Ocean Springs News, December 30, 1915, p. 1)      

Harvey H. Germain had two daughters: Nebraska born Elah Germain Kulp (1886-1920+), the spouse of Harley D. Kulp (1880-1929), a native of Topeka, Kansas and Jennie C. “Peggy” Germain Martin (1902-1925+), a Chicago native and the wife of C.L. Martin.  Elah G. Kulp appears to have a different mother than Peggy who is the daughter of L. Rebecca Germain.  In 1920, Mr. Germain made his livelihood as a farmer.  The Kulp family of Kansas was in residence with the Germains on Lovers Lane at this time.(1920 Jackson Co., Ms. Federal Census-T623R500, ED 158, p. 8A)

 

Although Harvey H. Germain had acquired the Decker place in February 1916, with the intent to retire at that time to the Fort Point Peninsula, WWI interrupted his plan.  In May 1919, he and daughter, Elah G. Kulp, were in Ocean Springs and staying at the Eglin House on Washington Avenue.  They were waiting for the family furniture to arrive from Chicago in order to move into their home on Lovers Lane.  Mrs. Germain and Peggy, her young daughter, were in residence at Chicago waiting for the school term to end before relocating to Ocean Springs.  In late June 1919, Mrs. Germain and Peggy Germain finally arrived here.  They had visited relatives in Wisconsin and Nebraska before heading South to reunite with Harvey H. Germain in Ocean Springs.(The Jackson County Times, May 24, 1919, p. 5 and July 5, 1919, p. 5)

The Germains were Episcopalian.  In May 1922, the third series of solver teas for the St. John’s Episcopal Church was held at the home of Mrs. H.H. Germain.(The Daily Herald, May 13, 1922, p. 5)

 

Peggy Germain

On April 2, 1925, Peggy Germain, married C.L. Martin at Gulfport.  He was the assistant manager of the Buena Vista Hotel at Biloxi.  Mr. Martin, a New Orleans native, was in business at Ocean Springs until the Biloxi hotel opened on July 4, 1924.  This fine hostelry was founded by John “Jack” Wright Apperson (1862-1939); Robert Hays Holmes (1869-1949), who in November 1929, built and resided at Holmcliffe, a Spanish Colonial Revival structure, at present day 325 Lovers Lane; A.F. Dantzler (1870-1945); George Quint; and Milton Anderson.  The newly wed Martins made their home in Biloxi.  Peggy Germain was a pianist and chanteuse and had attended high school at Biloxi.  In June 1921, she sang and played at the piano recital of Mrs. William Mingee at the Firemen’s Hall.  Her songs ranged from classical to popular.  In 1923, Miss Germain had been chosen as the first sponsor of a Mississippi coast American Legion Post.  She was selected by the Emile Ladnier Post No. 42 of Ocean Springs.(The Jackson County Times, June 18, 1921, p. 3, The Daily Herald, June 20, 1923, p. 1,  and April 4, 1925, p. 3)

           

New hotel?

            In the spring of 1926, H.H. Germain & VanCleave, local realtors, were soliciting stockholders to organize a $200,000 hotel company.  They aspired to erect a new hotel at Ocean Springs.  Colonel Jack Apperson of the Buena Vista in Biloxi had accepted their project ideas with alacrity and was to speak favorably on it to the Ocean Springs Rotary Club at its June meeting.  By late May 1926, Germain & VanCleave had raised $60,000 in capital.  It appears that this venture failed.(The Jackson County Times, May 29, 1926, p. 1)

            At this time, Ocean Springs had at least five structure which were available for short or long term accommodations: The Pines Hotel of Frank J. Raymond (1883-1952) on lower Washington Avenue; The Eglin Houserun by Miss Annie O. Eglin (1881-1963) in the central business district; Dr. H.B. Powell’s (1867-1949) Bayou Inn-on Old Fort Bayou at Washington; the French Hotel of J.H. Edwards (1893-1950) on Front Beach and Martin Avenue; and the White House owned by John L. Dickey (1880-1938) and W.J. Hardke (1877-1932) on Jackson at Porter diagonally opposite the J.J. O’Keefe (1859-1911) residence. 

The first two decades of the 20th Century had been cruel to the hostelry business at Ocean Springs.  The Ocean Springs Hotel, the Grande dame of the town, situated on Jackson Avenue near Cleveland had burned in May 1905; also in 1905, E.W. Illing (1870-1947) demolished the Illing House, his father’s 1870 inn, to build cottages and an airdome, a open air theater to show silent movies, which evolved into the Illing’s Theatre; the O’Keefe Boarding House on Jackson and Porter was sold in 1910 to Samuel Backous (1855-1921) and moved to present day 2122 Government Street; theVahle House on Washington at Calhoun was lost in a large conflagration, called “The Big Fire” in November 1916; theShanahan Hotel, also on Washington and Calhoun and situated in present day Little Children’s Park, opposite the Vahle House, was destroyed on Christmas Eve 1919, by fire.  Less than a year later in October 1920, H.F. Russell (1858-1940), saw his Commercial Hotel, located on Washington and Robinson opposite the Farmers and Merchant State Bank, succumb to flames.(Bellande, 1994, p. 15 , p. 43-44, p. 65,  p. 111, p. 88, and p. 58 )    

           

Tragedy

A tragedy struck the Germain family in August 1929, when Harley D. Kulp (1880-1929), the son-in-law of H.H. Germain drowned in the Kansas River at Camp Mattingly, near Topeka, Kansas.  He was swimming with his daughter, Mary Louise Kulp (1921-1930+), when the swift current overcame them.  Harley was able to tow his daughter within her swimming ability to reach the safety of the shore.  He lost his life as he had exhausted himself in the struggle and sank to his death.  Harley Kulp was well known in Topeka’s business community as he was in the real estate and building and loan business.  He was survived by Elah Germain Kulp, his spouse, and two daughters, Althine Kulp and Mary Louise Kulp, and his mother, Mary C. Gillette.  Mr. Kulp had lived in Ocean Springs for several years and had worked in the Crescent City.(The Jackson County Times, September 14, 1929, p. 1)

            In March 1923, Harvey H. Germain and Louise R. Germain conveyed their Lovers Lane home to Idelle B. Watson for $7500.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 53, pp. 32-33). 

 

Idelle B. Watson

Idelle Beaufort Watson (1857-1957) called her new residence on Lovers Lane, Oakroyd.  She was born on November 8, 1857 to James and Elizabeth Watson in a covered wagon when the Watson family reached Richmond, Indiana.  Miss Watson was educated in the Friends Boarding School, a Quaker institution at Richmond, Indiana, which evolved into Earlham College.  She led a diverse life as she applied her education and intelligence as a writer, teacher, and world traveler.  She was a member of the League of American Pen Women and among the magazines that she wrote for was The Reader’s Digest.  Many of Idelle’s trips to Europe were as a tour guide leading her clients to the various art and cultural sites of the Old World.  She was well qualified for this position, as she had resided in Germany for forty years and in Dresden established a finishing school for young women, which was seized during WWI.  In addition, Idelle had command of nine languages.  Miss Watson was a confidant of Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941) and was provided safe haven while she was domiciled in Germany during the Great War.  During her tenure in Europe, Miss Watson had lectured in art museums and galleries in Paris, Athens, and Constantinople, now Istanbul.(Thompson, 1974, p. 641, The Jackson County Times, December 6, 1924, The Daily Herald, September 25, 1926, p. 2, and The Ocean Springs News,November 15, 1956, p. 4)

           

Granitz family

Mrs. Watson was responsible for the Emil A. Granitz family immigrating to Ocean Springs from Germany.  He was her manservant and gardener while she resided on Lovers Lane in the 1920s.  Emil A. Granitz (1882-1965) was born in Dresden, Germany.  In April 1907, he married Helene Meinhardt (1885-1970), the daughter of Hermann Meinhardt and Alma L. Schuster and a native of Crimitschau, Germany.  They had a son, George Hermann Granitz (1909-1981) who made his livelihood at Keesler AFB as a Civil Service employee. 

In addition to his gardening, Emil A. Granitz worked for the United Poultry Producers and retired in 1952, while Mrs. Granitz was the custodian of the Ocean Springs Public School and also operated the cafeteria there for fourteen years.  Her food was well prepared and delicious.  With her characteristic hair in heavy braids, she often sat and knitted sweaters while observing the children playing on the school ground.(The Ocean Springs News, April 4, 1957, p. 1 and Walterine V. Redding, August 14, 2002)  

In June 1926, Emil A. Granitz acquired the caretaker’s cottage, which was built by H.L. Girot (1886-1953) for Harold I. Illing (1897-1959) and spouse, Edith Flowers Illing (1902-1984), who oversaw the Girot place before their home at present day 400 Lovers Lane was erected in 1925.  The Granitz cottage in the Cherokee Glen Subdivision was relocated to Block C-Lot 10, at present day 1107 West Cherokee.(Beryl Girot Riviere, March 14, 2002)

 

Holiday fire

In late December 1925, Mrs. Watson’s home on Lovers Lane was completely destroyed by fire, as a shortage of water rendered the fire engine impotent.  Only recently, she had shipped her furniture and some personal items from Europe.  Despite the confusion and angst of the fire, a large amount of fine china, books, and furniture were salvaged from the burning building.  She carried a $4,000 insurance policy on the property.(The Jackson County Times, January 3, 1925, p. 3)

 

Greenwood Lodge- the Irvine place

            In May 1925, Idelle B. Watson had acquired a tract on the west side of Cemetery Road, now Sunset, in Section 19, T7S-R8W, from James Irvine and James E. Irvine (1858-1923+), local building contractors.  In January 1926, she bought from L. Morris McClure (1884-1940), the A.E. Brewer parcel, a lot contiguous and south of the Irvine tract, which fronted on Iberville and Cemetery Road.  The consideration was $2100.  Together, the two parcels were about 1.1 acres in area.  Miss Watson used the appellation, Greenwood Lodge, for her Iberville-Cemetery Road edifice.  It is very likely that she boarded tourists and visitors in her home.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 55, p. 433 and Bk. 57, pp. 463-464 and The Jackson County Times, December 5, 1925, p. 3)

            Miss Watson had the James Irvine home moved south and closer to Iberville.  Mr. Irvine was a Canadian and had built homes in his native land, Michigan, and most recently at Chicago where the Irvine family had resided before relocating to Ocean Springs.  The Pace-Weldon Cottage at 207 Washington Avenue was also built by James Irvine & Son.  Today, C.H. “Hank” Roberts, D.D.S. owns the old Irvine-Watson home at 1201 Sunset on the rounded “corner” of Iberville and Sunset.(Ocean Springs-1915 and J.K. Lemon-1998)

 

Notes from European adventures

In early July 1926, Miss Watson landed at Cherbourg, France and met her summer touring party.  The group departed company in Southampton, England in late August.(The Daily Herald, September 25, 1926, p. 2)

In June 1931, Idelle B. Watson left Ocean Springs for New York City to meet her touring party of thirty people.  They were sailing for Europe where Miss Watson would lead them on a summer foray of the Continent.(The Daily Herald, June 18, 1931, p. 4)

In June 1935, Miss Watson left Ocean Springs in her private touring bus to meet eight students in Indiana.  They motored to New York City to embark on an eight-country, six-week tour of Europe.  Her touring bus was also shipped to Europe.(The Jackson County Times, June 22, 1935, p. 3)

 

            In 1935, Miss Watson advertised her touring business as follows:

 

Idelle B. Watson’s Travel Service

Is fully equipped to handle all travel business in any part of the world

Let us solve your travel problems

No expense to you

Address: Greenwood Lodge, Iberville Avenue

Ocean Springs, Miss.

 

(The Jackson County Times, November 7, 1935)

 

 

            In early September 1937, Miss Watson arrived at Ocean Springs after four months touring Western Europe.  She came home on the steamer Hamburg, which landed at New York City.  En route to Ocean Springs, Idelle spent some time with Mrs. Clark, a cousin, in Charlotte, North Carolina.(The Jackson County Times, September 4, 1937)

 

Depression woes

In 1935, Mrs. Watson lost her property on Lovers Lane to T.W. Milner, receiver for the Farmers & Merchants State Bank who held a deed of trust on the property.  She owned the bank $6814.  In January 1936, Fred Taylor, Commissioner, sold Miss Watson’s land to the Farmer’s & Merchants State Bank for $800.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5750-November 1935 and  JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 68, pp. 492-493)

In October 1936, T.W. Milner, receiver of Farmers & Merchants State Bank sold the Watson place on Lovers Lane to Henry “Hank” E. Lemoine (1891-1981).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 69, p. 409)

 

Departure

            In August 1954, Miss Idelle B. Watson, at the age of ninety-eight years, sold her Iberville-Sunset properties to Marie Evans and Mary Alice Pickich.  Ms. Pickich acquired her home while Marie Evans purchased the northern lot.  Miss Watson had just finished a correspondence course in journalism from Yale University making all A’s.  Idelle Beaufort Watson, a grand lady, celebrated her 100th natal anniversary in a retirement home.  She expired on July 24, 1957.  No further information.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 142, p. 588 and Bk. 142, p. 561, Thompson, 1974, p. 641, and The Ocean Springs News, November 15, 1956, p. 4)

 

Henry F. Lemoine

Henry F. Lemoine (1891-1981), called Hank, was born at New Orleans, the son of Henry W. Lemoine (1853-1910+) and Alice O. Hyatt (1856-1910+), whose father was an immigrant from England.  Hank’s father was employed as a bookkeeper for A.W. Hyatt, a stationary store the Crescent City.  Between 1910 and 1920, Hank Lemoine married Inez Lemoine (1893-1974), also a Louisiana native, of Irish descent.  By 1920, the newly weds had left New Orleans for the Windy City where he made his livelihood as a manager in the shade manufacturing industry,(Cook, Co., Illinois 1920 Federal Census, T625R311, p. 165, 9th Ward and 1890-1891 NOLA City Directory)

Anecdotal history relates that although the Lemoines acquired land on Lover Lane, they never built a home here.  The lot had remained vacant since the Watson fire of late December 1925.  From a snippet in the local journal, it appears that the Lemoines visited Ocean Springs and knew their neighbors and enjoyed fishing with them: Hank Lemoine, Norman Holmes, Margie Holmes, Sally Girot Williams, and Inez Lemoine went fishing at Graveline, and caught 73 speckled sea trout, and 8 redfish.(The Jackson County Times, March 7, 1936, p. 3)

            When Henry E. Lemoine conveyed his Lovers Lane property to Mrs. George K. Smith III in November 1945, he and Inez were domiciled at 306 Foster Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas.  It appears that they had relocated here possibly from Chicago before December 1939, as they came to Ocean Springs from Corpus Christi for a visit with Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hays Holmes at this time.  Mrs. Smith paid $6000 for the Lemoine lot on Lovers Lane. (The Jackson County Times, December 9, 1939, p. 4 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 93, pp. 332-333)

            In Corpus Christi, Texas, Henry Lemoine went into business with Norman Holmes, the son of Robert Hays Holmes (1869-1949) and Marybelle Colquahoun Holmes (1887-1969), their former neighbors on Lovers Lane.  Hank and Norman Holmes were the proprietors of a Barq’s Root Beer bottling franchise for many years, until they sold out to Pepsi Cola.  The Lemoines both expired in Corpus Christi.  Inez in August 1974 and Hank Lemoine in March 1981.(Barbara Holmes-November 2004)

 

Clendenin B. Smith

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.(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 (b. 1925) 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)

 

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 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 

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

 

           

Lt. Hutchins and the Mercury-1772

            In September 1772, the Mercury, an English naval vessel, was caught in storm at the mouth of Mobile Bay and blown westward to the Samphire Islands off the Louisiana coast, where she was beached.  Lt. Thomas Hutchins (1730-1789) and crew left the Pensacola area in the Elizabeth, an open schooner, in late September, in search of theMercury and her party of about twenty men. On the 27th of September, he was at Mme. Boudreau’s place on Biloxi Bay.  There is a high degree of certitude that this is the same Mme. Bodron’s at Old Biloxi on the Gauld Map of 1768.(Rea, 1990, pp. 56-58)  

            The identity of Madame “Bodron” has not been ascertained at this time, but she is probably a descendant or spouse of a descendant of Jean-Baptise Baudrau (1671-1761), a French Canadian solder of fortune called Graveline, who came to Fort Maurepas with  Iberville in 1700.  He remained and settled permanently in what became in December 1812, Jackson County of the Mississippi Territory.  Today, his descendants from daughter, Magdeline, and her spouse, Pierre Paquet, number in the thousands.  Graveline's granddaughter, Catherine Louise Baudreau (1742-1806+), wedded Joseph Bosarge (1733-1794), a native of Poitiers, France in 1763, founding another large Gulf Coast family.(Lepre, 1983)

 

Bernardo Galvez and the Spanish Period

            In 1779-1780, English garrisons were attacked by the Spanish and American forces from New Orleans, which resulted in the loss of Baton Rouge, Natchez, and Mobile.  During the Spanish campaign against Mobile, it is postulated by some that a “Spanish Camp” existed on the Fort Point Peninsula.  The term has been passed on and exists in land deed records in the area.

 

The “Spanish Camp”-1780

            Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936) in Broken Pot (ca 1936), gives a plausible explanation for the mysterious“Spanish Camp” which possibly existed on the Fort Point Peninsula in the late 18th Century.  To quote Poitevent:

 

            I do not know what became of the Old Fort (Fort Maurepas).  After the headquarters were moved to the present town of Biloxi, the cannons were doubtlessly moved over there and the Old Fort was abandoned.  I suppose it went the way of all old forts and fell into decay and since it was of wood it rotted down and in time produced good dewberries and blackberries.  Of course, the property remained the King’s and therefore was not subject to settlement.  I presume it continued vacant; and after the British took possession in 1763-1764, why its vacancy became more apparent.  Still it was known as the “old fort” and when the Spanish in New Orleans ousted the British from Natchez in 1779, the Spanish governor moved to attack Mobile.  He was defeated in his move by a storm.  He withdrew his demoralized shipwrecked army from Mobile Bay and reorganized a part of his force here at the Old Fort.  Part of the Spaniards camped here, while the reorganization of the force in New Orleans was underway, and the place thereafter came to be known as “Spanish Camp”.(Chapter XI, “Old Fort Maurepas)

 

Josephine Bowen Kettler

Circa 1933, while composing Broken Pot, Schuyler Poitevent interviewed Josephine Bowen Kettler (1845-1933+), then a resident of Lyman, Harrison County, Mississippi.  She had arrived at Ocean Springs in 1846, with her parents, the Reverend Philip P. Bowen (1799-1871) and Mrs. Bowen, from Enterprise, Mississippi.   Josephine B. Kettler told Mr. Poitevent about her ante-Bellum days at Ocean Springs. Their conversation concerning the “Spanish Camp” was recorded as follows:

 

Kettler

“There was a place where we children used to go to pick blackberries.  It was sort of a clearing where there had once been an old fort and there was a lot of old brick scattered about and cannon balls, and the blackberry vines grew as high as this.”

(Mrs. Kettler measured waist high from the ground)

 

Poitevent

            “This place is sometimes called ‘Spanish Camp’.”

 

Kettler

            “So, this is ‘Old Spanish Camp’, is it?  Well, it has changed, for in those days there were no homes here; and we children when we would come to pick berries would sometimes wade on the beach, and there was an old cannon sticking breech up out there in the Bay and when the tide was out and the water was low we could see it and we used to chunk at it and throw sticks and shells at it; and I guess it is out there yet.”

(Poitevent, 1933)

 

Early Census

            During the rule of England and Spain, several records of inhabitants in West Florida, as the Mississippi Gulf Coast was a part, were taken by local authorities in service of these foreign powers.  In October 1764, Major Robert Farmer of the 34th Regiment made a list of those inhabitants of Mobile who swore allegiance to King George III (1738-1820) of England.  From this list, I believe the following were residents of the present day Mississippi-Alabama Gulf Coast: Hugo Krebs; Simon Favre; Nicholas Ladner; William Favre; Jean-Baptiste Necaise; John-Baptise Baudrau; Jean Favre; Francois Favre; Bartholew Grelot; Marianne Favre; Nicholas Carco; and Joseph Bosarge.(Strickland et al, 1995, p. 22)

            On January 1, 1786, Spanish authorities at Mobile took a census of the residents under their jurisdiction.  I interpret from the census of that time, that the following people were present day Mississippi Gulf Coast residents of Spanish West Florida: Madame Gargaret, widow; Nicholas Christian Ladner and wife; Joseph Moran and wife; Jean-Baptise Fayard and wife; Louis Fayard and wife; Mathurin Ladner, widower; Jacques Ladner and wife; Jean-Baptise Favre and wife; Madame Baudrau, widow; Joseph Krebs and wife; Francis Krebs and wife; Madame Krebs, widow; Hugo Krebs and wife; Augustine Krebs and wife; Madame Peter Krebs, widow; Nicholas Carco and wife; Peter Fayard and sister; Joseph Bosarge and wife; and Madame Favre, widow.(Strickland et al, 1995, p. 25)

            The population of Mobile in 1785 was 746 people.(Hamilton, 1910, p. 331)

 

Madame Baudrau-a mystery

      As previously stated, the George Gauld Map of 1768 depicted a Madame Bodrons, probably Madame Baudrau (Would you expect a Scot to know how to spell a French Canadian name?), living in Section 25, T7S-R9W, near the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.  Madame Baudrau, a widow, again appears in the Spanish Census of 1786.  This woman has been a puzzle to some local historians, especially related to the location of Fort Maurepas (1699-1702).

In December 1812, an Elizabeth Baudrau conveyed a track of land in present day D’Iberville, Mississippi to my great-great grandfather, Louis Arbeau Caillavet (1790-1860), a native of the Opelousas Post, Louisiana, and the husband of Marguerite Fayard (1787-1863) of Biloxi.  She was the daughter of Jean-Baptiste Fayard Jr. (1752-1816) and Angelique Ladner (1753-1830), early Biloxi residents.  In the deed description, the five-arpent tract is stated as“situated on the Old Fort River.”  When L.A. Caillavet sold a portion of this land in November 1832 to a gentleman from New Orleans it was referred to as “a piece of land under the name BOISFORT CANADIEN.”   “Boisfort Canadien” translates from the French language as “Canadian wood fort”.  Does this imply that Fort Maurepas was situated in present day D’Iberville on the Back Bay of Biloxi?(Lepre, 1984, p. 62-63 and Cassibry, 1987, pp. 577-578)

The mystery of Madame Baudrau intensifies when one notes that the land claim in July 1823 of Woodson Wren, a resident of Natchez, to the 1782 Spanish land grant of Littlepage Robertson, which consisted of the entire Fort Point Peninsula, Section 24 and Section 25, T7S-R9W, states that “the place now claimed by Woodson Wren, situated on the northeast side of the Bay of Biloxi, adjoining the Vieux Fort (Old Fort)….”(American State Papers, Vol. 4, 1994, p. 764)    

            Even with these interesting alternate sites for Fort Maurepas, the archaeological and cartographic data indicate rather conclusively that Fort Maurepas, the Old French Fort, was situated in the vicinity of the former June Poitevent (1837-1919) property on Lovers Lane in Section 24, T7S-R9W, not in Section 25, T7S-R9W.

 

Littlepage Robertson-Spanish Land Grant

We can assume that Madame Baudrau was living at Ocean Springs without a land grant or title from a foreign government.  Therefore, the first legal settler of the Fort Point Peninsula was Littlepage Robertson, sometimes spelled Robinson.  In June 1782, shortly after the expulsion of the English from this area, Littlepage Robertson was granted land at present day Ocean Springs by the Spanish civil and military governor of West Florida, Don Henrique Grimarest, who was posted at Mobile.  Robertson’s grant included Section 24 and Section 25 of T7S-R9W, which is the entire Fort Point Peninsula and the southern part of Gulf Hills, north of Old Fort Bayou.  Here affidavits by Pierre Carco and Susan Fayard in August 1829, reveal that Littlepage Robertson settled on the Fort Point Peninsula with his family a few years after the Spanish captured Mobile.  He remained here and cultivated the land until his children reached maturity.(American State Papers, Vol. 4, 1994, p. 764)

            Little is known of Littlepage Robertson or his family.  His movements can be traced in The American State Papers, which discusses land grants and claims in early America.  It appears that before Littlepage Robertson settled on the Mississippi Gulf Coast circa 1782, that he had resided on a Spanish land grant of one League Square donated by the Commandant of Nacogdoches in the “neutral territory” on Bayou Bain or Boine.  This grant was seven leagues west of the town of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Robertson remained here about twelve years growing corn, raising stock, etc.(American State Papers, Vol. 3, 1994, p. 236 and Vol. 4, p. 113)

In November 1812, John Brown testified that in 1799, Littlepage Robertson settled on 640 acres on the right bank of Bayou Vermilion in the County of Attakapas, below Little Bayou.  Robertson remained and cultivated this land until 1804.  This testimony was refuted by Theodore Broussard, but Michel Pevoto related that Robertson settled one and one-half leagues Little Bayou.  The lands in these depositions are situated in southwest Louisiana in the Lafayette-St. Martinsville region.  By 1799, the children of Littlepage Robertson would have reached maturity corroborating the 1829 depositions of Pierre Carco and Susan Fayard.(American State Papers, Vol. 3, 1994, p. 205)

           

19th Century

 

The Republic of West Florida-Jackson County

            The Colonial Period ended in 1810, when this region, then still a part of Spanish West Florida, declared itself the independent Republic of West Florida.  By early 1811, the Republic was added to the Territory of Orleans.  On December 12, 1812, Jackson County of the Mississippi Territory came into existence. Mississippi was admitted into the Union of the United States of America in March 1817.(The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, 1989, p. 1)

Obviously, this was a time when there was a paucity of people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  In fact, when Dr. Flood, the representative of Governor Claiborne of the Orleans Territory, was dispatched to the Mississippi coast to hoist the flag of the United States in January 1811, he found the population between the Pearl River and Biloxi to be about four hundred people chiefly French and Creoles.  Dr. Flood in his report to Governor Claiborne wrote:

 

proceeded to the Bay of Biloxi, where I found Mr. Ladnier (Jacques), and gave him the commission (Justice of the Peace).  He is a man of excellent sense, but can neither read or write, nor can any      inhabitants of the bay of Biloxi that I can hear of. They are, all along this beautiful coast, a primitive people, of mixed origin, retaining the gaiety and politeness of the French, blended with the abstemiousness and indolence of the Indian.  They plant a little rice, and a few roots and vegetables, but depend on subsistence chiefly on game and fish.  I left with all these appointees copies of the laws, ordinances, etc.  But few laws will be wanted here.  The people are universally honest.  There are no crimes.  The father of the family or the oldest inhabitant, settles all disputes......A more innocent and inoffensive people may not be found.  They seem to desire only the simple necessities of life, and to be let alone in their tranquility.  I am greatly impressed with the beauty and value of this coast.  The high sandy lands, heavily timbered with pine, and the lovely bays and with a delightful summer resort.  For a cantonment or military post, in consideration of the health of the troops, this whole coast is admirably fitted. (Claiborne, 1978, pp. 306-307)

 

Woodson Wren

            In 1812, Littlepage Robertson conveyed the lands of his Spanish Land Grant at present day Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which included the entire Fort Point Peninsula, to Woodson Wren (1779-1855).  Mr. Wren was born on June 20, 1779, in Fairfax County, Virginia, the son of Vincent Wren and Tabitha Crenshaw.  In 1805, he married Mary Grant (1787-1857), the daughter of John Grant and Mary Mosely, and a native of Lafayette County, Kentucky.  Woodson and Mary Grant Wren reared a large family during their residency in Louisiana and Mississippi: Mary Wren (b. 1806); Orleana Wren (b. 1808); Sarah Wren (1810-1886+) married John P. Walworth (1798-1883); Elizabeth Wren (1812-1870); John Vincent Wren (b. 1814); Woodson Wren II (1818-1835); Catherine Wren (1820-1896) m. James Rainey (1810-1876); William Wren (1823-1858+); Burrus Wren (b. 1825); Samuel Cartwright Wren (1826-1828); and Samuel Woodson Wren (1830-1851+).  In addition, Mary Grant Wren lost six children while birthing, which included two sets of twins, between 1816 and 1822.(American State Papers, Vol. 4, 1994, p. 764 and homepages. roots-web.com/~pettit/HTML/d0002/g0000043.html)

            In 1813, the Wren family was domiciled at Baton Rouge, Louisiana in a red- framed house near the town jail.  Here Woodson Wren was the proprietor of a “stand”.  

A “stand” was a place of public accommodation—sort of a bed-and-breakfast for the traveling public, except dinner was also provided.  Some of them were also taverns.  At this time, Woodson Wren borrowed money from Cornelius Baldwin. Two slaves, Bill age 43, a blacksmith, and Lydia, his wife, age 30, served as collateral for the loan.(The Washington Republic, May 25, 1813, p. 4, MiMi Miller, August 19, 2004,  and Strickland, 1999, p. 94)

Woodson Wren practiced medicine at Natchez, Mississippi as early as 1828.  In March 1828, Dr. Wren’s “large and substantial building” survived a conflagration, which commenced on First North Street from the stables of the Jefferson Hotel.(Kerns, 1993, p. 82)

Mr. Wren served as Clerk of Court for Adams County, Mississippi and was also the postmaster.  In addition, Wren was helped organize the Masonic Lodges in Mississippi.  He passed at Port Gibson on April 9, 1855, while Mary Grant Wren died at Natchez in 1857.  Dr. Wren’s corporal remains were laid to rest in the Natchez City Cemetery.(The Mississippi Free Trader, April 7, 1837, p. 3, The Natchez Daily Courier, April 10, 1855, p. 2,  Dr. Stratton’s Diary, and American State Papers, Vol. 4, p. 764)

Mary Grant Wren’s estate was probated in December 1858.  Her will provided that John P. Walworth (1798-1883), the executor of her estate, invest $1000 in real estate or stocks for children, Catherine Wren Rainey and William Wren.  Elizabeth Wren was bequeathed $500 to be used by her for an excursion to Virginia or others efficacious springs to benefit her health.  The rest of Mrs. Wren’s legacy was to be divided among her children.(Adams Co., Ms. Chancery Court Will Bk. 3, p. 108)

In May 1833, Woodson Wren, a resident of Natchez, Mississippi, made a land and slave conveyance to Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright, also of Natchez.  The consideration for Wren’s 640 acres in Wilkinson County, Mississippi, his lands on the east side of the Bay of Biloxi at present day Ocean Springs, which included all of the Fort Point Peninsula, and seven females slaves was valued at $8524.  Dr. Wren was indebted to Cartwright for this amount.(Southern District Chancery Court Cause No. 43-May 1851, Mississippi City, Ms.)

 

Alice Walworth Graham

It is interesting to note that Alice Walworth Graham (1905-1994), a great-great granddaughter of Woodson Wren and Mary Grant Wren and great granddaughter of Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright and Mary Wren, became a well-known Southern fiction writer.  Her great grandfather, John P. Walworth (1798-1883), was born at Aurora, New York.  He made his livelihood in Natchez as a merchant-planter and was Mayor.  The Burn, a circa1836 Greek Revival structure at present day 712 North Union Street, was the Walworth family residence.  Most of the published literary works of Alice Walworth Graham are romance novels set on Natchez plantations: Lost River (1938); The Natchez Woman (1950); Romantic Lady (1952); Indigo Bend (1954); and Cibola.  Mrs. Graham’s three historical romance novels situated in England are: Vows of the Peacock (1955), Shield of Honor (1957), and The Summer Queen (1973).  (www.lib.lsu.edu/special/findaid/4295.htm) 

Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright

            Samuel Adolphus Cartwright (1793-1868) was born November 30, 1793 in Fairfax County, Virginia.  As a young man, he matriculated to the University of Pennsylvania to pursue the study of medicine.  Dr. Cartwright commenced his medical practice at Huntsville, Alabama before relocating in the early 1820s, to Natchez.  Here in 1825, he married Mary Wren (c. 1810-1898), the daughter of Woodson Wren and Mary Grant.  Dr. Cartwright served this Mississippi River community for over twenty-five years before settling down stream to New Orleans in 1848.  During the War of the Rebellion, he was commissioned by the Confederate military to enhance the sanitary living conditions of rebel troops bivouacked at Port Hudson and Vicksburg.  Dr. Cartwright’s medical research of yellow fever, cholera infantum, and Asiatic cholera was awarded several medals and prizes, and Cartwright’s treatments for these diseases have been utilized in military and civilian hospitals.(www.famousamericans.net/samueladolphuscartwright/ )        

            In 1851, Dr. Cartwright published Report on the diseases and physical peculiarities of the Negro race.  This divisive treatise written to validate slavery reported Cartwright’s discovery of several mental illnesses unique to the Black race.  One disease called Drapetomania was purported by Dr. Cartwright as to result in “blacks to have an uncontrollable urge to run away from their masters.”  The cure was to beat the devil out of the “sick” slave.  Another of his “diseases” was Dysaesthesia Aethiopis, which was recognized by disobedience, disrespectful dialect, and work refusal.  Cartwright’s treatment for this “mental ailment” was extreme toil to energize blood flow to the brain in order to liberate the mind.(www.as.ua.edu/ant/bindon/ ant275/presentations/Race_and_Health.pdf )

Dr. Cartwright expired at Jackson, Mississippi on May 2, 1868.

            In December 1850, Samuel A. Cartwright (1793-1868) and Mary Wren Cartwright (c 1810-1898), his spouse, domiciled at New Orleans, for the consideration of $2000, conveyed and quitclaimed their rights, title and interest in about 205-acres being Section 25, T7S-R9W and Lot 6 of Section 24, T7S-R9W, Jackson County, Mississippi to Elizabeth Wren of Natchez, Mississippi.(Southern District Chancery Court Cause No. 43-May 1851, Mississippi City, Ms.)

Elizabeth Wren

            Elizabeth Wren (1812-1876) was the daughter of Woodson Wren and Mary Grant Wren.  She was born at St. Martinville, Louisiana and expired at New Orleans in February 1880.  There is the probability that Woodson Wren and Littlepage Robertson were at St. Martinville, then situated in Attakapas County, when Wren acquired in 1812, the Spanish land grant of Robertson at Ocean Springs. 

In June 1844, Woodson Wren was issued a land patent from the Federal Government for Section 25 and Lot 6 of Section 24, T7S-R9W, Jackson County, Mississippi.  This action initiated litigation in the Southern District Chancery Court at Mississippi City, Mississippi in May 1851 as: Cause No. 43-Elizabeth Wren of Natchez v. Woodson Wren of Natchez; Joseph Plummer of Jackson County, Ms.; Samuel A. Cartwright (NOLA), and John Black of Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana.  Samuel A. Cartwright had sold this same land to Miss Wren in December 1850, as previously mentioned.  In the bill of this lawsuit, Elizabeth Wren asked that the land conveyances on the Fort Point     

Peninsula between Woodson Wren and John Black be declared null and void and that Joseph Plummer be perpetually separated from this land and pay her any rents or profits that he acquired from them.  It was adjudicated in this litigation that the deed from Samuel A. Cartwright to Woodson Wren, which included the Fort Point Peninsula was “uncertain, informal, and void of law and in equity and no good.”  The deed from Dr. Cartwright from Elizabeth Wren was also voided.  It appears that Joseph Plummer was awarded title by his adverse possession of the area.

Other land patents on Fort Point

In addition to Woodson Wren’s June 1844 land patent for Section 25, T7S-R9W and Lot 6 of Section 24, T7S-R9W, the Federal Government issued land patents to John Black for Lot 4 situated in Section 24, T7S-R9W in February 1837.  Lot 5 was patented to Arthur Bryant in September 1846.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 62, pp. 263-264, Bk. 249, p. 246, and Bk. 59, p. 444-445)

Early hurricanes

            The Fort Point Peninsula, other than the high central ridge traversed by Lovers Lane, is for the most part at or near sea level.  This salient fact makes its perimeter very susceptible to inundation from storms, gales, and hurricanes.  The higher ground is relatively safe and accounts for the preservation of many 19th Century structures.  The Colonial settlers reported that at least ten tropical cyclones struck this region between the Florida Panhandle and the delta of the Mississippi River.(Sullivan, 1986, p. 135)

1722 September Storm

Of the Colonial era tempests, the one that may have directly affected the Fort Point Peninsula was the 1722 September Storm.  Jean-Baptise de la Harpe (1683-1765), a French soldier who served in the Louisiana Colony from 1718 until 1723, kept a journal during his tenure here.  He wrote on September 11, 1722:  A hurricane began in the morning, which lasted until the 16th.  The winds came from the southeast passing to the south and then to the southwest.  The hurricane  caused  the destruction of beans, corn, and more than 8,000 quarts of rice ready to be harvested.  It destroyed most of the houses in New Orleans with the exception of a warehouse built by M. Pauger.  The warehouse of Fort Louis (present day Biloxi) containing a large quantity of supplies was overturned to the great satisfaction of its keepers.  The accident freed them from rendering their accounts.

            The Espiduel, three freighters, and almost all of the boats, launches, and pirogues perished.  The Neptuneand the Santo-Cristo, which had been repaired according to the orders of the commissioners, were entirely put out of service.  A large supply of artillery, lead and meats, which had been for a long time in a pincre, were lost near Old Biloxi (which was situated on the Fort Point Peninsula).  The French had neglected to unload the ship for more than a year.  They were also worried about three ships anchored at Ship Island and the Dromadaire, which had been sent to New Orleans loaded with a supply of pine wood, which have cost the company more than 100,1000 livres.(La Harpe, 1971, pp. 214-215)

            Some historians believe that the “mystery ship” discovered by Henri Eugene Tiblier Jr. (1866-1936) in August 1892 on an oyster reef known locally as “the rock pile” had been sunk in the 1722 September Storm.  The “rock pile” is situated in the Bay of Biloxi about ¼ mile southwest of “Conamore”, the home of Dr. Patricia Conner Joachim, at present day 317 Lovers Lane.  This derelict vessel has yielded many artifacts to salvagers and archaeologist, the most notable being the four, highly oxidized, cannon bores embedded in concrete in front of the Santa Maria del Mar, retirement residency, on East Beach Boulevard in Biloxi.  I have always wondered why these “treasures” have been allowed to “rot” here for the last seventy-three years?(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 23, 1892, p. 2)

            Another hypothesis for the sinking of the small French vessel off Lovers Lane is that it was the victim of an accidental conflagration.  In January 1700, Sieur de Sauvole (ca 1671-1701), an ensign appointed by Iberville as commandant of Fort Maurepas, related the following in his journal: Returning from the ships of M. d’Iberville, where I have been to receive the orders, we have noticed, before having put to land, our little traversier on fire, which was impossible to extinguish, being already too advanced, besides this, there were several barrels of powder, which, in a little time have had their usual effect.  This accident has been caused by two bunglers who having been to work on board, have left there a lighted fuse which has occasioned this loss; I am inconsolable, because of the need we had of it.(Higginbotham, 1969, p. 41)

Bernard Roman’s Hurricane

            This 1772 September tempest was named for Bernard Romans (ca 1720-1774+), a Dutch scientist, who journeyed along the Mexican Gulf Coast from 1771-1773, and related his observations of this strong hurricane as follows: At Mobile every thing was in confusion, vessels, boats, and loggs (sic) were drove up into the streets a great distance, the gullies and hollows as well as all the lower grounds of this town were so filled with loggs (sic), that many inhabitants got the greatest part of their yearly provision of firewood there….the greatest fury of it (the hurricane) was spent on the neighbourhood (sic) of the Pasca Ocolo (Pascagoula) river; the plantation of Mr. Krebs there was almost totally destroyed, of a fine crop of rice, and a large one of corn were scarcely left any remains, the house were left uncovered, his smith’s shop was almost washed away, all his works and outhouses blown down; and for thirty miles up a branch of this river is called cedar river, there was scarce a tree left standing, the pines blown down or broke, and those which had not intirely (sic) yielded to this violence, were so twisted, that they might be confused with ropes; at Botereaux’s (Baudrau’s) cow pen, the people were about six weeks consulting on a method of finding and bringing home their cattle……(Romans, 1961, pp. 3-4)

18th Century 

            Between 1812 and the beginning of the 20th Century, there were at least nine hurricanes that affected the area between West Florida and the Atchafalaya Basin.  The July 1819 Storm was devastating to the Biloxi area.  The Fort Point Peninsula was probably not occupied at this time, but the LaFontaine family was probably residing in an area located somewhere between present day Front Beach Drive-Washington Avenue-Calhoun and Dewey Avenue.  Witnesses at Biloxi report that this tempest inundated Cat Island and the Biloxi Peninsula to the extent that a schooner sailed through the village from the beach into Back Bay.(The New Orleans Daily Crescent, September 22, 1860, p

There were six hurricanes to strike the Mississippi Gulf Coast between August 1852 and November 1860.  In fact, three tropical tempests came ashore here between August 10, 1860 and September 14, 1860.  There is very little information concerning Ocean Springs as regards these storms due to its small population, which made for few structures to destroy. One can only infer from the reports issued at Biloxi about the local damage and destruction, which for the most part consisted of the loss of wharves, piers, bathhouses, and an occasional structure.  Debris, driftwood, and displaced watercraft are also an integral part of the hurricane disaster scenario.(Sullivan, 1986, p. 135)

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)

The Cheniere Caminada Storm of 1893

The 1893 October Strom, referred to by historians as the Great October Storm or the Cheniere Caminada Storm, struck the Mississippi coast slightly west of the Alabama state line on the morning of October 2, 1893.  Winds in excess of 100 mph and rainfalls of up to eight inches were recorded at many coastal towns.  The highest official storm surge reported in Mississippi was 9.3 feet at Deer Island where forty cattle were drowned and their carcasses deposited at the Biloxi lighthouse along with timbers of boats, saloons, oyster houses and piers.

On October 1, 1893, the tempest first struck the coast of southeast Louisiana.  Here winds in excess of 130 mph and a storm surge of 15 feet generated from the waters of Barataria Bay and Caminada Bay drowned 1,650 people from the population of 1,800 persons living on Cheniere Caminada, a small fishing community, near Grand Isle. 

After exiting Caminada Bay, the Great October Storm moved rapidly northeast inflicting heavy damage to the fishing fleet working the fecund waters of the east Louisiana marshes northwest of Breton Sound.  It is estimated that hundreds of sailors died here from drowning during the tempest or from exposure during the days following the aftermath of the storm.  Along the turbulent path to its Mississippi landfall, the Great October Storm destroyed the U.S. Marine Hospital, Quarantine Station, and lighthouse at Chandeleur Island.

Local damage

Regrettably for the beachfront inhabitants at Ocean Springs who remembered the gale of mid-August 1888, the approaching hurricane would soon make them forget that blow.  The damage in 1888 generally amounted to lost piers, bathhouses, breakwaters, and some trees.  The Daily Picayune of August 24, 1888, reported destruction to the wharves and bath houses of: The Ocean Springs Hotel, Mrs. Julia Ward, Mrs. Julia Egan, John Cunningham, Mrs. Illing, Mr. Hemard, Bishop Keener, Reverend Dr. Joseph B. Walker, and Ralph Beltram.  The grand lawn of the Arthur Ambrose Maginnis Jr. estate, west of the W.B. Schmidt estate, was strewn with fallen trees.  Schmidt lost a portion of his breakwater.  Narcisse Seymour, who operated a fish house and saloon at the foot of Washington Avenue, lost both during the high tides and wind of the raging blow.(The Daily PicayuneAugust 22, 1888, p. 2)

The Gillum Hotel (originally the Van Cleave Hotel) located on the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Robinson Avenue, opposite the L&N depot, was badly shaken by the heavy winds.  It had to be repainted.  Mrs. Adele H. Gillum gave up her lease on the hostel, which was owned at the time by Mrs. Emma Arndt Meyer (1866-1924+).  Gillum and her daughter, Effie, moved to New Orleans in January 1894.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 6, 1893, p. 2)

The L&N Railroad

First reports of the 1893 Hurricane destruction at Ocean Springs indicated that the most severe devastation occurred when the L&N Railroad bridge across the Bay of Biloxi was washed away.  Hurricane force winds drove a 200-foot section of the structure into the Back Bay of Biloxi.  The floundering rail span wreaked havoc on boats, wharves, and seafood plants on the shore of the bay along the Biloxi peninsula.  Mr. Jack Sheppard, the bridge tender's assistant, was drowned. 

When the first train reached Ocean Springs from Mobile on October 11th, it carried sixty bridge repairmen.  The townspeople were furious with the L&N for not carrying their mail.  The local postmaster had to row to Biloxi in a skiff to get the mail.  Although four schooners and several steamboats landed at Ocean Springs via New Orleans, their captains had been denied access to the town’s mail.(The Biloxi Herald, October 21, 1893, p. 4)

Martime victims

The town became very concerned when the Alphonsine, a fishing schooner, commanded by Captain Paul Cox was overdue.  The vessel had been shrimping in the Louisiana Marsh.  The people of Ocean Springs and others of the coast were relieved on October 13, when Father Aloise Van Waesberghe of St. Alphonsus reported to the editor of The Pascagoula Democrat-Star that Paul Cox (1867-1942), Ed Mon (1843-1920), Van Court, and Ladnier have returned to Ocean Springs from Breton Island where they spent the days following the hurricane.  The men survived on two croakers a day while they dug their beached schooner, Alphonsine, out of its quartz trap.

The Rubio brothers, Paul Fergonis (1861-1893) and Frank Fergonis (1865-1893), also known as Guiatan (Cajetan) or probably Gaetano brothers, of the Bayou Puerto settlement, were fishing in the Louisiana marshes aboard the schooner, Young Amercia, and were caught by the hurricane.  The tempest dismasted their vessel and drove it aground at Southwest Pass.  Both men were lost at sea.(The Biloxi Herald, October 7, 1893, p. 1)

The Civil War (1861-1865)

            Ocean Springs basically slept through the Civil War years.  Hunger and pestilence were the greatest inconveniences suffered by those who remained in the village. With the exception of a brief visit from a contingent of marines and sailors from the USS Hartford in March 1862, and an occasional soiree for officers at the John Brown House on Fort Bayou, the town was relatively free from Union intrusions. 

            If you were residing on the Fort Point Peninsula during the war years, you might have witnessed the June 1864 Union Navy raiding party crossing the tidal flats in Biloxi Bay.  Two Yankee gunboats, USS Cowslip and USSNarcissus, after negotiating the shallows in the Bay went far up the Tchoutacabouffa River.  They destroyed salt works, boats, and ferries along their intrusive wake.  Confederate forces scuttled a schooner in Fort Bayou, when threatened by launches from the USS Vincennes.(The New Orleans Weekly Times June 18, 1864)

19th Century Settlements

Since the land deed records of the Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court have been destroyed twice by fire in the years 1837 and 1875, there is a paucity of early land conveyance recordings in Jackson County, which makes it difficult to impossible to abstract older properties without breaks in the title chain.  A land deed of May 1854, that was recorded in the Jackson County Chancery Court is elucidating in that it indicates that Joseph R. Plummer and spouse possessed the entire Fort Point Peninsula as early as May 1853.  At this time, Mary G. Plummer conveyed Lots 4-5-6 of Section 24, T7S-R9W and Section 25, T7S-R9W, composed of 437.35 acres more or less and 60 acres in Section 19, T7S-R8W to Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1891) and “Narcis” Martin.  I believe that “Narcis” Martin is in fact, Warrick Martin.  Dr. Austin and Martin built the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1853 and this lovely structure appears to be the catalyst for the 1854, changing of the name of our fair village from Lynchburg Springs to “Ocean Springs”.  Plummer’s possession of the entire Fort Point Peninsula is corroborated somewhat by the adjudication in Wren v. Wren, et al, May 1851, in (The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 12 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, pp. 299-300)

Warrick  Martin

Warrick 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, Warrick 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.

The Connecticut Yankee-Joseph R. Plummer and the “Brick House”

            Since Madame Baudrau’s home was situated in Section 25, T7S-R9W, near the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club, there is a high degree of certitude that Joseph R. Plummer (1804-1870+) was the first 19th Century inhabitant of the Fort Point Peninsula.  Joseph R. Plummer was born in Connecticut.  He was in Jackson County for the Federal Census of 1840.  It is believed that Plummer married Mary G. Porter (1808-1878), the sister of Martha Porter Austin (1818-1898), the spouse of Dr. William G. Austin.  The Porter family had its roots in Giles, County, Tennessee.  Porter Street is named for this early clan.  At Ocean Springs, J.R. Plummer made his livelihood as a farmer, land speculator, and land agent. 

By the late 1850s, J.R. Plummer’s land holdings on the Fort Point Peninsula had been reduced by sales from the entire area to a sixteen-acre parcel in the southeast corner of Lot 4, T7S-R9W.  His residence was situated here facing the Bay of Biloxi and was known as the “Plummer Brick House”.  Eventually, we will trace the “Plummer Brick House” tract to its present owner, Jolean Hornsby Guice, who has possessed this beautiful Biloxi Bay land since November 1971. 

Regarding brick as a construction material in this region, it was rare until Hanson Alsbury, probably the first Caucasian to settle on the present day Shearwater Pottery tract on Biloxi Bay, acquired what may have been an old brick works established earlier by the Morin (Moran) family at Back Bay, now known as D’Iberville.  By 1849, William G. Kendall and Robert B. Kendall, two Kentucky born brothers, were making firebricks on Back Bay.   Three of Biloxi’s oldest extant homes, the Toledano-Tullis House, familiarly known as the “Tullis-Toledano House” on Beach Boulevard, the Rogers House, also called “The Old Brick House” on Bayview Avenue, and Mary Mahoney’s Old French House, were all built with Kendall brick, which was manufactured between 1849 and 1853.        

Kendall brickyard

William Gray Kendall (1812-1872) was born in Gallatin County, Kentucky.  He came to New Orleans via Carroll County, in north central Mississippi.  In 1835, W.G. Kendall married Mary Philomela Irwin (1817-1878), the daughter of John Lawson Irwin and Martha Mitchell (1793-1831).  Mr. Irwin was at one time Speaker of the House of the Mississippi State legislature.  Mary P. Kendall was born on February 5, 1817 at the Puck-shonubbee Plantation, her father’s home, in Carroll County, Mississippi.  She died at Ocean Springs on January 17, 1878.(The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Vol. 29, No. 4, April 1946, pp. 292-293)        

In the Crescent City, William Gray Kendall practiced law with the firm of Kendall & Howard, domiciled at 13 St. Charles Avenue.  Mr. Kendall was postmaster at Biloxi in 1853 and at New Orleans in 1854.  He was also engaged in other entrepreneurial ventures.  In January 1846, he purchased a fifty-acre tract of land in Section 30, T7S-R8W with 800 feet fronting on the Bay of Biloxi from A.H. Donaldson.  On this beautiful, high ground facing Deer Island to the south, he built a residence, icehouse, and school.  The parcel had an 800 feet fronting on the Bay of Biloxi.  Here Mr. Kendall erected a home.  It burned in 1894, when owned by Abraham F. Marks (1870-1939).( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 63, pp. 14-15 and The Pascagoula-Democrat Star, June 14, 1894, p. 3)

Today the old Kendall Estate is situated on Shearwater Drive between the Shearwater Pottery and the E.W. Blossman Estate, and owned by George Dickey Arndt, John White, Nancy White Wilson, and Donald Scharr, essentially the second generation heirs of John Leo Dickey (1880-1938) and spouse, Jennie Woodford (1879-1969), natives of Niles, Michigan, who acquired these captivating acres in June 1922, from Magdalena Grob Clasen Hanson (1845-1929), the widow of Mr. Clasen and Christian Hanson (1845-1914).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 51, pp. 544-545).

            Probably W.G. Kendall’s largest enterprise was the Biloxi Steam Brick Works at present day D’Iberville, Mississippi, which prospered from 1849 until July 1853, when a fire damaged the facility.  Here, on the north shore of the Back Bay of Biloxi, W.G. Kendall used slave labor to produce clay bricks fired in a steam-powered kiln.  Over 160 slaves labored here, making Kendall the largest slaveholder in Harrison County, at this time.  The annual production from the Kendall brickyard was 10 million bricks valued at $60,000. (Mississippi Coast Historical & Genealogical Society-1992, pp. 88-89)

The Daily Crescent ran an article titled, “Biloxi Fire Brick” on July 30, 1850.  It stated the following: Specimens of the above describe BRICKS may be seen in the new Custom House; a block of buildings on Race Street built by Washington Jackson & Co.; the residence of Mr. Wright, of the firm Wright, Williams, & Company on University Place; the residence of Mr. Steven of the firm Fisk & Steven on Dauphine Street; the residence of Mr. Payne, of the firm of Payne & Harrison, in Lafayette; five large three story dwellings of Mr. Peter Conrey Jr., on Apollo Street.  Mr. E. Shiff’s three shops on Camp Street, and one on Poydras Street, and the stores of Holmes & Mile, now going up on Poydras Street.

Brickyard wharf

It is interesting to note that on the 1851 Biloxi Bay map created by surveyors and cartographers employed by the U.S. Coast Survey, the forerunner to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, there is a “Brick Yard Wharf” situated at the foot of present day Jackson Avenue.  This implies that firebricks were being manufactured near here.  It is known that in August 1846, Robert B. Kendall had acquired Lot 2, Lot 3, and Lot 5 of the partition of the Widow LaFontaine tract, which consists of Section 37, T7S-R8W, and strikes west to east from present day Martin Avenue to General Pershing and north to Government Street.   It is not known if bricks manufactured here were utilized to construct J.R. Plummer’s “Brick House” on the Fort point Peninsula.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 548-549)

Oaklawn Place

In September 1859, Joseph R. Plummer sold his place on the Fort Point Peninsula fronting Biloxi Bay to Isaac Randolph (1812-1884) of New Orleans and relocated to the present day Gulf Hills area.  He called his plantation here Oaklawn Place.  Oaklawn Place consisted of about 400 acres situated in Section 18, T7S-R8W and Sections 13 and 24 of T7S-R9W.  It flanked present day North Washington Avenue for about one mile, southeast of its intersection with Old Le Moyne Boulevard and included that area of Gulf Hills along Old Fort Bayou from the west end of Arbor Circle eastward to a point about 1350 feet west of the Shore Drive-North Washington Avenue intersection.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 204-205)

  The Plummer residence was probably situated in the vicinity of the present day W.E. Applegate Jr.-Colonel George E. Little Home at 13605 Paso Road.  During the J.R. Plummer tenure, citrus and fruit orchards were cultivated at Oak Lawn.

After the demise of Joseph R. Plummer, his widow married Albert G. Buford of Water Valley, Mississippi.  Mr. Buford had been wedded in June 1856, at Yalobusha County, Mississippi to Mrs. E.S. Luck.  Mary Plummer Buford relocated to her husband’s residence in Water Valley. 

In August 1878, Mary Plummer Buford came to Ocean Springs to check on Oaklawn Place, which she had sold in October 1874, to J.M. Roberts, his wife, Sallie A. Roberts, and C.H. Williams of Lauderdale County, Mississippi, for $4000.  Mrs. Buford had financed the balance-$2500.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 2, pp. 231-233) 

Madame Buford arrived at Biloxi from Water Valley via train, and then to Ocean Springs via sailboat.  Ocean Springs was under a yellow-fever quarantine and only the mail car was allowed in by rail.  While on this mission, she contracted the dreaded Yellow Jack and died at Ocean Springs in September 1878.  She and A.G. Buford exchanged approximately 40 letters between August 2, 1878 and her death on September 15, 1878.  These letters are well preserved and in the possession of Wally Northway, a descendant of A.G. Buford.  Mr. Northway resides at Jackson, Mississippi.  Copies of these missives for public utilization are in the JXCO, Ms. Archives at Pascagoula, Mississippi.  A.G. Buford of Water Valley, Mississippi married Delphine Lewis in Jackson County, on April 13, 1880.

Isaac Randolph

The first person to acquire the “Plummer Brick House” was Isaac Randolph (1812-1884) a resident of New Orleans.  He was married to Elmina Randolph (1814-1867).  They were the parents of three children: John F. Randolph (1838-1888); Elizabeth Randolph (1852-1911) married William Kirkpatrick; and Nellie S. Randolph (1856-1901).  No further information.(Tombstone-Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, NOLA)  

In April 1866, Mr. Randolph sold his Bay front residence on the Fort Point Peninsula to Emma Brooks of New Orleans for $3500.  In the warranty deed, the Randolph property was described as:

           

A certain tract of land containing five acres more or less together with the brick dwelling….and situated, lying, and being at Ocean Springs in the County of Jackson and State of Mississippi, the same being known as the “Plummer Brick House”.  It is bounded on the north by J.R. Plummer, south by the lands of Andrew Allison, (which were acquired from Plummer in 1859), east by a road 60 feet wide, and west by the Gulf of Mexico.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 205-207)

           

Emma Brooks

Emma Brooks (1823-1878) was born and reared in Indiana.  Circa 1839, she married M.D.F.H. Brooks (1812-1876), a native of Tennessee.  They were the parents of: Elizabeth Brooks (1840-1860+); Emma Brooks (1842-1860+); John S. Brooks (1844-1860+); Alice Brooks (1848-1860+); James Brooks (1851-1860+0; and William Brooks (1864-1860+).  Circa 1843, the Brooks family relocated from Indiana to Tennessee.  They arrived at New Orleans circa 1851.  Here, M.D.F.H. Brooks was the proprietor of a boarding house in the 3rd Ward, which was staffed by eight servants.  At the time of the, Mr. Brooks was worth $12,000.(1860 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, M653-R417, p. 40?).

In July 1874, Emma Brooks conveyed her dwelling known as the “Plummer Brick House Place” and five acres of land more or less, to George B. Ittmann, a resident of the Crescent City.  The consideration was $7000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 208-209)

 

George B. Ittmann

            George Bernard Ittmann (1836-1893) was a native of Germany.  He immigrated to America and settled at New Orleans.  Here, Herr Ittmann met and married Marie Therese Trosclair (1842-1885).  They had at least one child: Marie Thecla I. Gilly (1864-1910+). In 1890-1891, George B. Ittmann operated a saloon.  His New Orleans addresses were 158-160 Gravier and 400 Ursuline.(Soard’s, NOLA, 1890-1891 Directory) 

It appears that George B. Ittmann had a brother, Jacob Ittmann (1840-1906), who married Louisa Hebel (1845-1919).  Jacob Ittmann was born in Prussia and made his livelihood as a locksmith in the Crescent City.(1870 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, M593-R524, p. 161)

In August 1891, several years before his demise, George B. Ittman conveyed his Ocean Springs home situated on the Fort Point Peninsula to his daughter, Marie T. Gilly.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.12, p. 619)

           

Marie Thecla Gilly

By June 1900 Marie Thecla Ittman Gilly (1865-1930), now a widow, was residing on the Fort Point Peninsula on the site of the old “Plummer Brick House”.  She took in boarder to provide sustenance for her growing family who were attending the local public school.  On June 1, 1885, Marie T. Ittmann had married Paul Armand Gilly (1862-1894) at New Orleans.  He was the son of Adolphe Gilly (1834-1881) and Rosa A. Maxent Gilly (1841-1925).  Their three children all born in New Orleans were: Harry J. Gilly (1886-1957); Marie Virginia Gilly (1888-1974); and Paul A. Gilly Jr. (1890-1963).(1900 Jackson County, Mississippi Federal Census, T623-R812, p. 148b)                                    

           

Biloxi

In December 1902, the widowed, Marie T. Gilly, appeard to be having financial difficulties as she had to borrow $600 from James J. McLoughlin of New Orleans.  Her Ocean Springs residence provided collateral for the loan and was repaid with 6% interest by mid-January 1904.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 25, pp. 497-499) 

Before July 1904, the Gilly family had relocated to 918 Reynoir Street in Biloxi.  Here Mrs. Gilly operated a grocery store to provide for her family.  In 1905, she advertised in the Biloxi City Directory as follows:

 

 

MRS. M.T. GILLY

Groceries

No. 918 Reynoir Street

You will always find my stock in a clean and sanitary condition.  When you want things to help in table attractiveness, come here.  For your accommodation and convenience I have recently added Confectioneries, Fruits, and Pop.

                                                                              (1905 Biloxi City Directory, 1905, p. 11)

 

By 1911, Harry J. Gilly, was employed as a house carpenter while Paul A. Gilly was an employee of The Daily Herald.(1910 Harrison County, Mississippi, Federal Census, T624-R740, p. 214b)

 

Harry J. Gilly

            Harry John Gilly (1886-1957) was born at New Orleans on June 24, 1886.  In December 1910, he married Dora Mae Pettys (1892-1965), a native of Wilson, Michigan.  They were the parents of three children: Velma Thecla Gilly (1911-1911), Nellie May Gilly (b. June 1913), and Vernon K. Gilly (b. July 1918).  The Gillys resided on Main Street in Biloxi.  From his initial occupation as a house carpenter, Harry J. Gilly became employed with United Gas as a meter reader.  Dora M. Gilly was very active in the civic and social scene in Biloxi.  She was named Outstanding Citizen in 1952, by the Biloxi Lions Club.  The corporal remains of Harry J. Gilly and spouse were interred in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery at Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, December 8, 1910, p. 8 and December 12, 1957, p. 2 and September 1, 1965, p. 2)

 

Virginia M. Gilly

            Virginia Marie Gilley (1888-1974) was born at New Orleans on January 22, 1888.  In April 1909, she married Ernest A. Moran (1884-1919), the son of Joseph Moran IV (1841-1914) and Catherine Abbley (1849-1929).  Later, Virginia Gilly Moran married Mr. Ortega of Houston, Texas.  She expired at Houston, Texas in January 1974.(The Daily Herald, April 15, 1909, p. 1)

 

Paul A. Gilly 

Paul Armand Gilly Jr. was born at New Orleans on January 10, 1890.  In February 1911, he married Loretta Seymour (1891-1956), the daughter of Pliny A. Seymour (1852-1902) and Melinda Quave (1855-1896).   Loretta and Paul were the parents of: Velma M. Gilly (1911-1969); Earl B. Gilly (1911-1911); Robert J. Gilly (1913-1982); Paul A. Gilly II (1915-2001); Aston Gilly (1918-1918); Wilfred G. Gilly (1921-1983); Shirley G. Cooper (1925-2003); Shannon J. Gilly (b. 1925); Jeanette M. Gilly (1926-1926); Jeanette T. Gilly (1926-1926); Jack L. Gilly (1929-1987); Jill Gilly (1929-1936); infant Gilly (1930-1930); James Kenneth Gilly (1931-1993); and Doriss A. “Peggy” Gilly (1933-2001).(Lepre, 2001, pp. 280-281)

In June 1921, Paul A. Gilly acquired a lot of land on the east side of Reynoir Street between Elder and Bradford Street from Jeff Davis Mulholland (1861-1930).  This would be the Gilly familial home for many decades.  Paul A. Gilly worked for The Daily Herald in various capacities for sixty-two years.  He retired in 1964 while mechanical superintendent for the publishing company.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 131, p. 410 and The Daily Herald, July 2, 1963, p. 2)

In July 1904, Marie T. Gilly sold her Lovers Lane home to Martin P. Julian (1860-1936) of New Orleansfor $2000.  Edwin Martin Westbrook (1858-1913), local realtor, handled the sale for Mrs. Gilly.  Mr. Julian planned to use his place described as “one of the prettiest on the beach”as his summer home.(The Progress, July 30, 1904, p. 4 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 28, pp. 414-415) 

            Marie Thecla  Ittmann Gilly passed intestate on October 31, 1930 in Harrison County, Mississippi.  No further information.(Harrison County, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 44026-July 1961)

 

Martin P. Julian

          Martin Paul Julian (1860-1936), called Paul, was born at New Orleans, the son of Martin Pierre Julian (1823-1888) and Gracieuse LeBlanc (1831-1883).  Paul’s father was born in France and his mother a native of the Bayou State.  Martin Pierre Julian taught French and French Literature at the University of Louisiana, the forerunner of Tulane University.  In addition to M. Paul Julian, Martin Pierre and Gracieuse LeBlance Julian were the parents of: Octavia Julian (1856-1880+); Ernestine Julian (1858-1880+); Edouard Julian (1861-1880+), a cotton exchange clerk; Emile (1863-1880+), a cigar store clerk; Alice Julian (1866-1880+); and Octave Julian (1871-1880+).(Biog.  and Hist. Memoirs of La., 1892, p. 112 and 1880 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, Louisiana)

At the age of twenty, M. Paul Julian was living with his parents at 34 Annette and clerking for Bayne and Renshaw, attorneys-at-law, in the Crescent City.  In September 1886, he married Marie Blanche Develle (1864-1900+), the daughter of Louis Dominique Develle (1820-1885) and Ernestine M. Jaoquet (1828-1909).  Mr. Develle was a broker in New Orleans.  Paul and Blanche D. Julian were the parents of: Henry Edward Joseph Julian (1887-1972); Marie Blanche Julian (1889-1892); Martin Paul Julian Jr. (1890-1895); and Edward William Julian (1894-1976).  By 1900, M. Paul Julian was also a broker and the family resided on Rocheblave Street in the Crescent City.(Soard’s, NOLA, 1881Directory and 1900 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census, T623R573, p. 93)

In 1911, Mr. Julian was the president of the Acme Industrial Life Insurance and sick Benefit Association at New Orleans.(Soard’s, NOLA, 1911Directory)

From his Biloxi Bay front home, M. Paul Julian enjoyed the excellent fishing grounds adjacent to the L&N Railroad bridge.  He would row from his pier just ½ mile to an oyster shell reef and wet a line.  Here he usually caught large numbers of fish.  His record catch occurred in late July 1915, Mr. Julian landed over one hundred fifty of these delicious Piscean creatures in a morning outing.  The previous week he had caught sixty fish.(The Ocean Springs News, July 29, 1915, p. 1)

Unfortunately, the Julian pier was victimized by a strong windstorm in early July 1915.  It also downed trees, damaged pecan grafts, interrupted electrical and telephone service, but in general left Ocean Springs with minimal damage.  Oddly, the bathing pier of Martin P. Julian was the only one wiped out by the storm.(The Ocean Springs News, July 8, 1915, p. 1)

            In mid-June 1916, Henry J. Julian, the Deputy Superintendent of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New Orleans and family arrived at “Breezy Point”, to spend the summer.  His children: Kenneth, Dorothy, and Edward Earl Julian.(The Ocean Springs News, June 15, 1916, p. 1)

Edward William Julian (1894-1976) married Jessie Lee Miller of Ocean Springs at Gulfport in November 1924.  The couple honeymooned in New Orleans and Texas.(The Daily Herald, November 8, 1924, p. 7) 

In August 1925, Martin Paul Julian and Blanche Develle Julian of New Orleans conveyed their Fort Point Peninsula residence to Robert H. Holmes and Mary C. Holmes.  The consideration was $37,500 and the property described as being on the “West side of Plummer Avenue.”  The Jackson County Times reported the sale price as $38,000.  George E. Arndt (1857-1945), local realtor, handled the transaction.  It was assumed that the Holmes family would refurbish their acquisition on the Bay of Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 56, p. 425 and The Jackson County Times, July 18, 1925, p. 3)

 

Robert H. Holmes

Robert Hays Holmes (1869-1949) was born at New Orleans, the son of Judge William Holmes and Jennie Cage.  He was a Tulane graduate and initially entered the insurance business.  Before his retirement to the Mississippi Coast in 1919, Mr. Holmes made his livelihood as a cotton and stockbroker at New Orleans and New York.  He was very prominent in the social life in the Crescent City, and could boast of membership in the Boston Club, Pickwick Club, and the Delta Duck Club.  In retirement, R.H. Holmes was active in the arts as a painter and composer of poetry.  He also enjoyed hunting and fishing.  Robert H. Holmes passed on December 19, 1949 at Holmcliffe, his Lovers Lane estate at Ocean Springs.  His remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park Cemetery at Biloxi, which Mr. Holmes had founded in the early 1930s.(The Daily Herald, December 20, 1949, p. 1)

            Circa 1906, Robert H. Holmes married Marybelle Colquahoun Holmes (1887-1969), a native of Canton, Mississippi.  After Mr. Holmes’ death on Lovers Lane, Mary C. Holmes, moved to Corpus Christi, Texas.  She resided here until 1966, when she relocated to Vicksburg to live with her son, Colonel R. Hays Holmes Jr. (1907-ca 1991)  Norman Holmes, her younger son, lived nearby at Sylvialand.  After her demise in late August 1969, Mrs. Holmes, a Presbyterian, was laid to rest besides her husband in Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, September 1, 1969, p. 2)

 

Holmhaven-Biloxi

In September 1919 and January 1920, Robert H. Holmes and Mary C. Holmes acquired two large parcels of land on West Beach at Biloxi from Jessie P. Watson and J.R. Pratt respectively.  These tracts situated in Section 35, T7S-R10W, became the residence of the Holmes family and was called “Holmhaven”.  In July 1925, “Holmhaven” was conveyed to Herbert G. Shimp of Chicago, Illinois.  It appears that the Holmes clan then relocated to New Orleans (HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 124, pp. 501-502, Bk. 127, p. 34 and Bk. 151, p. 376) 

 

Holmcliffe-Plummer Brick House

Holmcliffe, a Spanish Colonial Revival structure, was commenced for Robert Hays Holmes at present day 325 Lovers Lane, in November 1929, by Joseph A. Wieder (1877-1960), local contractor. The Holmes family was in residence near the Edgewater Hotel in West Biloxi at the time.(The Jackson County Times, November 30, 1929)

 J.K. Lemon Jr. (1914-1998), local historian and entrepreneur, was told by Mr. Wieder that when the foundation for Holmcliffe was dug, they discovered an old brick foundation, which was believed to have been that of the “Plummer Brick House”.(J.K. Lemon-1998)      

 

Buena Vista Hotel

            In 1924, Robert H. Holmes participated in the founding of the Buena Vista Hotel at Biloxi.  His collaborators were: John W. Apperson (1862-1939), Alfred F. Dantzler (1870-1945), George Quint, and Milton Anderson.(The Daily Herald,

 

Ford Agency

            In 1932, R.H. Holmes and sons acquired the Ford motorcar agency at Biloxi. They incorporated as the Holmes Motor Company in April 1932.  Their Ford Agency was relocated from Lameuse Street and the L&N Railroad to the northeast corner of Howard Avenue and Caillavet Street.  In October 1933, the Holmes Motor Company had a curious demonstration in their Lameuse Street showroom to demonstrate the chassis and springs strength of their automobiles.  One Ford had 3400 pounds of lumber placed on its top.(The Daily Herald, October 10, 1933, p. 3)

Mr. Holmes sold the business to the Pringle-Reagan Motor Company.  This organization was led by the Pringle brothers, L.V. Pringle Jr. (1902-1974), Robert H. Pringle (1904-1981), Thomas N. Pringle (1906-1970), and Victor B. Pringle (1909-1977).  Their other partners were a cousin, Frank Pringle (1909-1957), and Dewey Reagan.(Harrison Co., Ms. Charter Bk. 52, p. 123 and The Daily Herald, June 2, 1935, p. 2)

 

R. Hays Holmes Jr.

Robert Hays Holmes Jr. (1907-ca 1991), called Hays, was a graduate of the Gulf Coast Military Academy.  In March 1926, he married Leticia Hayward, the granddaughter of W.B. Hayward and niece of Mrs. J.T. Stewart of Gulfport.  She had been a student at Gulf Park College in Long Beach, Mississippi.  The couple had a son, William H. Holmes (b. 1929).  After their divorce, Leticia H. Holmes moved to California and had minor movie roles.(The Daily Herald, March 20, 1926, p. 6)

Circa 1932, Hays Holmes married Henriette Goudeau (1908-1934) of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  She was the daughter of Lionel A. Goudeau and Henriette Barbe.  Mrs. Holmes expired on March 14, 1934, after surgery at the Biloxi Hospital.  She was survived by infant daughter, Mary Hays Holmes Hopkins (b. 1933) and William H. “Billie” Holmes, a stepson.  Her remains were interred in the family vault in the Biloxi Cemetery.(The Jackson County Times, March 17, 1934, p. 3)

R. Hays Holmes later married Sylvia S. Shaffer of Vicksburg.  His children remained in Ocean Springs with their grandparents at Holmcliffe.   Robert H. Holmes built a stable on the property and acquired a horse for his granddaughter, Mary Hays H. Hopkins.  Her early riding experiences led to her lifelong love of horses.  Today, she teaches riding to handicapped individuals at her Hopping H Ranch near Vicksburg.  Mrs. Hopkins is recognized as an equestrian authority and has judged many horse shows throughout the nation.  Billie Holmes graduated with the Class of 1947 from Ocean Springs High School.  He is a successful boat dealer in Corpus Christi, Texas.(Mary Hays H. Hopkins, September 21, 2004)

Before WWII, R. Hays Holmes was the assistant adjutant general of the State of Mississippi.  In 1945, Hays had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel and was Chief of Special Service for the Fifteenth United States Army.(The Jackson County Times, June 2, 1945, p. 1, c. 4)

Norman Holmes

            Norman Holmes (b. 1910) married Miss Dinkelspiel at New Orleans on March 17, 1928.  They resided at New Orleans.  Mr. and Mrs. R.H. Holmes, also of New Orleans, were at Biloxi at the time of the nuptials and had been frequent guests of the Buena Vista Hotel.(The Daily Herald, March 26, 1928, p. 2)

            On January 1, 1933, Norman Holmes married Marjorie Dukate of Biloxi at the Hersey House in Gulf Hills.  She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Dukate.  After high school graduation, Marjorie attended Miss Mason’s School for Girl’s and Young Women, “The Castle”, at Tarrytown, New York.  She was the Queen of the 1933 Biloxi Mardi Gras and Bidwell Adams her King.(The Daily Herald, March 24, 1933, p. 2)

Norman Holmes and Marjorie D. Holmes had two daughters, Robin and jennie Holmes.  Robin Holmes m. Sam Lightner and they reside in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  Jennie Holmes m. William Clement Walker in 1968.  They reside in Des Moines, Iowa and are the parents of Wendy Sue Walker who is engaged to Mr. Batcheleder and will wed in May 2008.

According to his niece, Mary Hays Holmes  Hopkins of Vicksburg, Norman Holmes is in his nineties and lives in Texas.  No further information.

Almost ten years before her demise in late August 1969, Mary C. Holmes conveyed Holmcliffe to F. Dudley Jones, in February 1959.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.  85, pp. 151-153)

F. Dudley Jones

            Dr. Frank Dudley Jones (1907-1985), called Dudley, was born at Aiken, South Carolina on June 5, 1907, the son of Dr. Frank D. Jones and Mary Catherine Wyman Jones.  In 1928, he completed his undergraduate work at the Presbyterian College and Medical School in Clinton, South Carolina, and was a graduate of the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston.  In 1935, Dudley Jones became a physician during the Depression years and found his way into the medical profession via the military working at Civilian Conservation Corps camps and WPA sites.  Circa 1937, while stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas near El Paso, he met his future wife, Virginia Kirkpatrick (1910-1983), at a polo match.  Miss Kirkpatrick had been born at Ripley, Tennessee on December 13, 1910.  Their first son, Kirk Jones, arrived in 1938, and Scott Jones was born in 1940.(The Daily Herald, June 12, 1985, p. A-2 and Scott Jones, September 27, 2004)

            The Kirkpatrick family had relocated to El Paso, when Virginia K. Jones was a small child.  Her father founded Tri-States Motors and was the Ford dealer for West Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  Unfortunately, like many American entrepreneurs the Depression devastated the Kirkpatrick family fortunes.  Mr. Kirkpatrick was a personal friend of Edsel Ford and occasionally hosted him and other Ford executives for cougar hunts in the mountains of West Texas.(Scott Jones, September 27, 2004)

            Dr. Dudley Jones spent the years of WW II in North Africa and in the China-Burma-India Campaign in Southeast Asia.  He commanded field hospitals for triage and the evacuation of wounded American and allied soldiers. After the conflict, Dr. Jones retuned to Texas and was billeted at a military hospital in San Antonio.  His family spent the war years at Austin.  Before he retired from the U.S. Army, Dr. Jones and family was stationed at Miami and Kansas where he was discharged in the late 1940s.  His military awards included the World War II Victory with one Bronze Star and the American Defense Service Medal.  Dr. Jones continued to serve his country in the National Guard until his 1967 retirement as a Lt. Colonel.(The Daily Herald, June 12, 1985, p. A-2 and Scott Jones, September 27, 2004)

            F. Dudley Jones was employed as a physician with a large railroad, possibly the Southern Pacific, at Lordsburg, New Mexico when he accepted a position at with the Gay Clinic at Biloxi, Mississippi in 1950.  Dr. Jones had met Dr. Elmer D. Gay, a member of the Gay Clinic medical staff while in the military.(Scott Jones, September 28, 2004)

 

Gay Clinic

The Gay Clinic was led by Doctors Fred Shinn Gay (1879-1953), his spouse, Dr. Emma von Greyerz Gay (1878-1972), a German Swiss immigrant, and Elmer D. Gay (1906-1980), a nephew educated in Chicago.  Their medical clinic was founded at Biloxi in 1942 and it was situated on Briarfield Avenue in west Biloxi.  Their practice was renowned for its treatment of bronchial asthma.  The Gay treatment consisted primarily of a “red-colored” medicine, vitamins, and relief agents.  After a month, the efficacious effects of Dr. Gay’s formulated medicine usually resulted in a complete cure from the dreaded wheezing cough of asthma.(The Daily Herald, August 29, 1972, p. 2 andDown South, June-July 1951, p. 19)      

           

Ghostly tales

Much of the previous information on the Dr. Dudley Jones family was kindly provided by Scott Jones, his son, who is now retired in Ocean Springs.  Scott was an outstanding athlete at Biloxi High School and was awarded a football scholarship to Mississippi State University in 1959.  In an interview, Scott Jones related that their Lovers Lane home had been vacant for many years before they relocated here from Kensington Drive at Biloxi in 1959.  Vines had grown up the exterior walls to the fascia of the structure.  Wesley Balius, a Biloxi carpenter, made exterior and interior repairs to the edifice for Dr. Jones. 

Prior to the Jones’ occupation, an anecdotal tale about the R.H. Holmes place was circulating in the community describing it as “haunted”.  As previously stated, Mary C. Holmes had relocated to Corpus Christi after her husband’s demise in 1948.  She left large mirrors on the walls which when viewed through the windows appeared to have surreal images of “people” moving in them. 

With his background in construction and engineering, Scott was impressed with the oil furnace heating system of their new home on Biloxi Bay.   

            In December 1963, Dr. F. Dudley Jones conveyed his Lovers Lane residence to J.J. Sims and Myrle Sims.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 249, p. 536)

Dr. F. Dudley Jones expired at Biloxi, Mississippi circa June 10, 1985. His corporal remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery in Biloxi.  His wife preceded him in death at El Paso, Texas passing on there in December 1983.(The Daily Herald, June 12, 1985, p. A-2)

 

J.J. Sims

            Although not verified, it is believed that J.J. “Bugs” Sims and spouse, Myrle Sims, lived at Bay Springs, Mississippi.  Further speculation is that Mr. Sims livelihood was entrepreneurial in nature and that his primary business was timber and real estate.  During Camille in August 1969, the Sims lost a very wonderful Quercus virginiana, live oak tree, to this killer hurricane.  No further information.(Ethylene Connor, September 26, 2004 and Jo H.  Guice, September 28, 2004)

            In November 1971, Mrs. Myrle Sims conveyed 325 Lovers Lane to Jolean H. Guice of Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 415, p. 47)

           

Joelean H. Guice

Joelean “Jo” Ann Hornsby Guice (b. 1927), a Pennsylvania native, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A.R. Hornsby of Biloxi.  She married Jacob Davis Guice (b. 1915) in the Presbyterian Church at Biloxi on June 25, 1946.  Jacob D. Guice was born at Biloxi the son of William Lee Guice (1887-1971), a native of Jonesville, Louisiana and Lee Dicks Guice (1892-1961), who hailed from Natchez, Mississippi.  Jacob and Jo H. Guice have four children: Jacob D. “Jake” Guice Jr., William Lee “Billy” Guice III; Virginia Ann "Ginger" Guice, and Lee Dicks Guice.(The Daily Herald, June 27, 1946 and Jo H. Guice, September 28, 2004)

Jacob D. Guice comes from an old Southern family who has practice the law in a highly regarded manner for multi-generations.  His father, W. Lee Guice, was born in Jonesville, Louisiana and began his distinguished law career at Biloxi in 1908, when he commenced the firm of Rushing & Guice.  W. Lee Guice’s legal education resulted from self-study in the New Orleans Public Library and in the office of an attorney in Panama. In February 1912, W. Lee Guice married Lee Dicks Guice, the daughter of Stephen L. Guice (1859-1904) and Mattie Pipes (1859-1933).  They were the parents of eight children: Martha G. Harrison (b. 1913); Jacob D. Guice (1915-2009); William Lee Guice II (1918-1942); Stephen L. Guice (1921-2009); Miriam G. Howell (b. 1922); Daniel Guice (b. 1924) m. Margaret C. Barrett (b. 1927); John D.W. Guice (b. 1931) and Saul Guice (b. 1937).(The Daily Herald, April 22, 1971, p. 1)

            Jacob D. Guice was admitted to the Mississippi State Bar Association in 1938.  He had matriculated to Tulane at New Orleans and was a 1936 honor graduate of that distinguished college.  Mr. Guice finished Yale law school in 1939.  He practiced law at Biloxi for a short time before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1941.  He was discharged in 1945 as a Captain following WW II.(The Daily Herald, January 7, 1947)

           

1972 weddings

            In 1972, Lee Dicks and Virginia Ann 'Ginger' Guice became brides.  In January 1972, Lee Dicks Guice became engaged to Stephen Perkins of Natchez, Mississippi.  Their nuptial were held in the Guice home on April 1, 1972.(The Ocean Springs Record, January 27, 1972, p. 6 and April 3, 1972, p. 2)

           Also in April 1972, Ginger Guice married Charles Cleveland Clark of Jackson, Mississippi.(The Ocean Springs Record, April 20, 1972, p. 10)

DeGuise

The Jacob D. Guice family refers to their lovely estate on Biloxi Bay as DeGuise, a former spelling of the family name, which is believed to have originated in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France.  Mrs. Jo H. Guice has much knowledge of her home and related that it was designed in 1929, for Robert H. Holmes (1869-1949) by Carl E. Matthes (1896-1972), a Chicago born architect, who found the Mississippi Coast during his service during WW I.  Mr. Matthes designed such Biloxi landmarks such as: Buena Vista Hotel; Tivoli Hotel; Biloxi City Hospital; Biloxi Public Library; First United Methodist Church; Mary L. Michel school; and the Biloxi High school.(The Daily Herald, August 29, 1972, p. 2)

Jolean Guice also corroborates the tale of Scott Jones that DeGuise is haunted!  Mrs. Guice calls her resident spook, Captain John.  She also believes that the small cottage situated north of her home was the only structure on the property when Mr. Holmes acquired it from Martin Paul Julian (1860-1936) in August 1925.                     

            This concludes the history of the Plummer Brick House property, probably the first settlement on the Fort Peninsula since Fort Maurepas in 1699.

The Bishop Keener Place-“Cherry Wild”

            In July 1839, Edward Chase of St. Louis through his local agent, George A. Cox (1811-1887), sold John C. Keener Lots 10, 11, and 13 of Block 14 of the Culmseig Map of 1854.  Here in Section 25, T7S-R9W, on the Back Bay of Biloxi between the L&N RR tracks and the line dividing Section 24 and Section 25, Bishop John Christian Keener (1819-1906) built a summer residence, which he called “Cherry Wild”.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 6, pp. 477-478)   

By 1879, Ocean Springs was the home of several other prominent Methodist ministers earning it the moniker, “the little city of prophets”.  Among these religious leaders were: Dr. J.B. Walker (1817-1897), Brother R.B. Downer (1837-1912), and Brother Joseph Nicholson (1811-1886).  The Methodist circuit preacher, Reverend Inman W, Cooper, was residing with Colonel W.R. Stuart (1820-1894), a retired sugar and cotton broker from New Orleans, who at this time resided on the Fort Point Peninsula.(The New Orleans Christian Advocate, August 14, 1897)

 

John Christian Keener

John Christian Keener (1819-1906) was born on February 7, 1819 at Baltimore, Maryland.  At present, little is know of his early life, but A.B. Hyde in The Story of Methodism gives good biographical information on Bishop Keener up to 1873.  J.C. Keener was consecrated as the thirteenth Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, probably in 1870.  He passed at his New Orleans residence on January 19, 1906, in the arms of Dr. E.L. McGehee, after suffering a heart attack.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, January 20, 1906, p. 1)

Dr. Keener had married Mary Anna Spencer (1821-1903), a native of Easton, Maryland.  They had at least five children: Mary K. Wilkinson (1843-1894), Emma Holcombe Keener (1846-1896), Sarah Louisa Keener (1851-1869), John O. Keener (ca 1855- 1898), and Samuel S. Keener (ca 1857-1912+).

The 1880 Federal Census of Jackson County, Mississippi reveals the following about the Keener family.  Their two daughters, Mary K. Wilkinson (1844-1894) and Emma H. Keener (1846-1886), were both born in Alabama, and were residing with their parents in Ocean Springs, at this time.  Mrs. Wilkinson had two children, Christian Keener Wilkinson (1872-1885) and Mary Kenner Wilkinson (1874-1918).  The Wilkinson children were born at Louisiana, probably New Orleans.  Bishop Keener also had two servants, John Ellis (1840-1880+), a black man, and Kate Merkel (1851-1880+), a white woman of Prussian descent.

Cemetery records indicate that a Sarah Louisa Keener (1851-1869) died at Ocean Springs on June 13, 1869, and her remain were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery.  There is a high degree of certitude that she was a daughter of Bishop Keener.(Bellande, 1992, p. 93)

Mary Anna Keener, the family matriarch, passed at the family residence in New Orleans on September 26, 1903.  Her demise left the Bishop in a deep depression.  It was reported in The Progress, the local journal, that he had been ill since her passing, but had rallied lately despite his feeble condition and old age.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 29, 1903, p. 5 and The Progress, April 2, 1904)

Upon his demise in January 1906, Bishop Keener’s corporal remains were placed in the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 at New Orleans.  His wife, two daughters, and several grandchildren occupy the Keener Tomb in this historic cemetery.

 

The Bishop’s sons

Bishop J.C. Keener also had two sons who followed his calling into the Methodist ministry: Dr. John O. Keener and Reverend Samuel Spencer Keener. 

 

John O. Keener

John Ormand Keener (ca 1855-1898) married Phala H. Mathews, the daughter of the Reverend John Mathews of the Crescent City, in the Carondelet Street Methodist Church at New Orleans, on May 27, 1879.  His father performed the ceremony.  John O. Keener expired on December 31, 1898 at Greensboro, Alabama.(The New Orleans Christian Advocate, June 15, 1879 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 13, 1899).

 

Samuel S. Keener

Samuel Spencer Keener (ca 1857-1912+) married Anna Boatner, a native of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, in October 1880.  Annie B. Keener died at New Orleans on September 5, 1906.  Her remains were interred at Crowley, Louisiana.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 11, 1906, p. 4.)

Samuel S. Keener remarried Evelyn Wright.  They were residing at Monroe, Louisiana, when he sold his father’s home at Ocean Springs in 1912.(Jackson County, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 37, pp. 623-624).

 

Bishop Kenner’s succession

The Will and Succession of John Christian Keener are very informative.  He resided at 1007 Dublin Street in Carrollton, Louisiana, then a suburb of New Orleans.  Bishop Keener indicated that he had a great love for his children, when he wrote in his will on March 11, 1902: "have been blessed in My children, My three sons have been a power for good and have greatly honored their parents and the family; My daughters have been the elect of God."  Bishop John C. Keener legated his estate to his siblings, children and spouses, and grandchildren.  His specific legatees were: siblings-Sophie L. Mount and Mary Clare Keener; children-Samuel S. Keener and Phala M. Keener, widow of son John O. Keener; grandchildren-Mary Wilkinson, daughter of W.C. Wilkinson of Crystal Springs, Mississippi.  Her mother, Mary K. Wilkinson was deceased by 1903 and Ella Keener, daughter of Samuel S. Keener and Anna Boatner.  In addition, Bishop Keener's legacy provided $500 towards funding a legal defense against proponents who advocated the relocation of the Centenary College of Louisiana from Jackson, Louisiana.  Obviously, this cause failed as Centenary College is now situated at Shreveport, Louisiana.(Civil District Court, Parish of Orleans, Cause No. 78,285-May1906).

            In February 1912, Samuel Spencer Keener, a resident of Monroe, Louisiana, and the executor of the estate of his father, Bishop J.C. Keener, sold “Cherry Wild” for $3000 to Dr. William A. Porter and Pearl Dickinson Porter, residents of St. Louis, Missouri.  The Porters called their future retirement home on Biloxi Bay, “While-A-Way Lodge”.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 37, pp. 623-624)

 

Dr. Porter and “While-A-Way Lodge”

 Dr. William A. Porter (1850-1921) was born at Elderton, Pennsylvania the son of the Reverend Byron Porter, a Presbyterian minister, and Agnes B. Rankins.  He was educated in Pennsylvania matriculating to Westminister College at New Wilmington and receiving his medical training at the Jefferson Medical College of Philadelphia.  From 1872-1875, Dr. Porter served on the staff of the London Hospital and in late 1875, completed advanced medical instructions in Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.(JXCO, Ms. WPA, 1936-1937, p. 437)    

Retiring from the medical profession, Dr. Porter relocated to Ocean Springs permanently in 1915 from St. Louis, Missouri where he had achieved national fame as a specialist in ear and throat diseases.  Additionally, Dr. Porter had been active working to prevent tuberculosis in the adolescent population of St. Louis and his work had an international impact.  In April 1922, he was honored posthumously by the St. Louis Board of Education for his great service to humanity when they named a new open air school for him there at Arlington and Natural Bridge Avenues.(The Ocean Springs News, May 20, 1915, p. 3 and The Jackson County Times, April 22, 1922, p. 1)

            During WWI, Dr. Porter was active in volunteer work with the American Red Cross and in promoting the sale of Liberty Bonds.  Ironically, his associate in local bond drives, Charles B. Ver Nooy (1860-1921), the vice president and treasurer of the Illinois Brick Company of Chicago, expired several days before the demise of Dr. Porter.(The Daily Herald, November 14, 1921, p.1)

 

Gentleman farmer

In retirement, Dr. William Porter enjoyed agrarian activities on many levels at While-A-Way Lodge.  As early as the winter of 1915, he had planted his West Beach place solid with citrus where there had not been a pecan, fig, or pear tree.  By May 1915, Dr. Porter was harvesting beans.  In addition, he had watermelons, peas, cabbage, potatoes, and waist high corn growing at his Lovers Lane estate.  The good doctor’s attempt to commercially raise the spineless cactus was less successful.(The Ocean Springs News, Local News, February 4, 1915 and May 20, 1915, p. 3)

           

Bath House

            In the spring of 1915, the Porter’s erected a new bathhouse on their pier.  It was described as small, but of good design.  Very individualistic with its pergola roof, the red and green structure presented an esthetic sight, even to the most casual observer.(The Ocean Springs News, April 29, 1915, p. 3)

 

Demise

Unfortunately, Dr. Porter’s halcyon retirement years in Ocean Springs were relatively short as he expired at While-A-Way Lodge on November 13, 1921. His corporal remains were passed through the Presbyterian Church and interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.  In September 1922, after probate, Mrs. Pearl Porter, the sole legatee of Dr. William Porter, was granted possession of their Lovers Lane house and real estate.  While-A-Way Lodge was valued at $3000 while the remainder of Dr. Porter’s fortune consisted of about $7000 in bonds and mortgages.(The Daily Herald, November 14, 1921, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 4234-September 1922)

 

Pearl Dickinson Porter

Pearl Dickinson Porter (1862-1943) was born at East Pawpaw, Illinois, the daughter of Silas T. Dickinson and Leah Beebe.  She had lived at Schenectady, New York and St. Louis, Missouri before retiring here with her spouse, Dr. William Porter.  Pearl D. Porter, affectionately known as “Auntie Pearl”, was active as a Sunday school teacher in the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs.  Before her nuptials, she had been a missionary in St. Louis.  At Ocean Springs, in addition to her multi-tasking church work, Pearl Porter was active in the Woman’s Club, Ladies Tourist Club, Red Cross, and assisted in the British War Relief program.  Mrs. Porter expired while a resident of 18 Martin Avenue, now 418 Martin, the Austin-Shaw-Winklejohn house.  Like her beloved husband, Mrs. Porter’s corporal remains were passed through her beloved Presbyterian Church on Ocean Avenue and sent to eternal rest in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.  She and Doctor Porter were childless.(The Jackson County Times, May 4, 1943, p. 1)

 

Dr. Porter’s brothers

Dr. William Porter had two brothers, the Reverend E.L. Porter and Byron Porter, who visited him at Ocean Springs.  The Reverend E.L. Porter spent most of his adult life as a missionary in the Punjab area of what is now Pakistan.  In 1909, he became president of Gordon College at Rawalpindi.  Reverend Porter spent January 1918 at Ocean Springs with Dr. Porter before joining his family at Wooster, Ohio. In January 1934, the Reverend Porter again visited Ocean Springs to Mrs. Porter on his way to Florida.  He spoke to the community on the Hindu religion at a forum held in the public school auditorium.   Money collected for his talk was for the benefit of the Ladies Aid of the local Presbyterian Church.(The Jackson County Times, January 12, 1918, p. 5 and January 6, 1934)

  Byron Porter (1863-1938), Dr. Porter’s brother, came to live with his widowed sister-in-law, Pearl D. Porter, at Ocean Springs in 1930.  Byron’s health was regarded as poor since he had to resign from his railroad position in 1923.  He expired at Ocean Springs in August 1938, and his corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery.  He was survived by a brother, the Reverend E.L. Porter, a missionary stationed in India.(The Jackson County Times, August 20, 1938)

           

The fire

            On March 5, 1931, While-Away Lodge caught fire.  The structure was not totally destroyed, but was damaged to the extent that Mrs. Porter vacated it.  She received $1380 from her insurer.  The roof was later repaired at a cost of $350.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933)

            It is interesting to note that The Daily Herald reported on the conflagration and referred to Mrs. Porter’s Lovers Lane estate as “the old Bishop Keanor (sic) Place” corroborating somewhat that ‘While-A-Way Lodge’ was indeed the original “Cherry Wild” of Methodist Bishop John C. Keener (1819-1906) of New Orleans.  In addition to fire damage, Mrs. Porter’s home was also severely harmed by the water utilized to extinguish it.  Mr. and Mrs. Hawley were with Pearl Porter at the time of the March fire.(The Daily Herald, March 5, 1931, p. 2)

 

Northern visitors

            Pearl D. Porter had two female relatives who played an important part in her life at Ocean Springs.  They were Alfrata Clute Bellus (1853-1933+), the daughter of Eve Beebe Clute (1827-1850+), a first cousin of Mrs. Porter, and her niece, Bessie A. Dickinson Hawley (1884-1984), a Missouri native, who was the granddaughter of Leah Beebe Dickinson (1837-1850+).  The Beebe family was natives of Guilderland, Albany County, New York, now a suburb of Albany, the State capital.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933 and Albany County, NY, 1850 Federal Census RM432474, p. 374)

 

Bessie D. Hawley

Circa 1918, Bessie A. Dickinson (1884-1984), Mrs. Porter’s niece, married Wesley Deloss Hawley (1887-1956), a native of Plymouth, Indiana.  In 1920, the Hawleys resided at New Orleans where W.D. Hawley was a director of the Citizen’s Finance Banking Company.  His company was eager to establish client-customer relationships in the larger Mississippi coast towns.(The Jackson County Times, April 24, 1920, p. 5)

            There is a high degree of certitude that W.D. Hawley met his future wife, Bessie A. Dickinson, in St. Louis.  They were both residents of this Mississippi River city in 1910.  Wes Hawley was living in a boarding house and employed in a livery stable, while Bessie was residing with Dr. Porter on North Vandeventer Avenue.(1910 Missouri Federal Census, T624R823, pt. 1, p. 237A and T624R819, pt 2, p. 8A)

            In February 1922, shortly after the mid-November 1921, demise of Dr. Porter the W.D. Hawley family relocated to Ocean Springs and began to care for Mrs. Porter in her old age.  The Hawleys promised to maintain While-A-Way Lodge, harvest the pecan crop, attend to the grounds, and cater to boarders.  In return for these duties, Mrs. Porter agreed that upon her death, While-A-Way Lodge would be legated to the Hawleys.  In time, Mrs. Porter became unhappy with the Hawleys and in early 1931, she left her Biloxi Bay estate to rent a home on Bowen Avenue and later relocated to18 Martin Avenue, which she let from George E. Arndt (1857-1945).  At this time, Wesley and Bessie D. Hawley remained in Mrs. Porter’s house and claimed it by virtue of her oral declaration and adverse possession.  They locked the gate and portal doors to prevent Mrs. Porter or Alfrata C. Bellus for entering Mrs. Porter’s estate.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933)

In the 1930s, Bessie D. Hawley worked as the cashier in the A.C. Gottsche Store on Washington Avenue and later candled eggs for the United Poultry Producers across the street from the Gottsche market.  She expired at the age of one hundred years at Dighton, Kansas where she had gone to reside with her sisters, Pearl D. Finkerbinder, the spouse of Crowell Finkerbinder (1881-1970) and Belle D. Smith.(Walterine V. Redding, October 4, 2004)

            Wesley D. Hawley died at Ocean Springs in early December 1956.  He and Mrs. Hawley were residing at 516 Dewey Avenue at this time.  His corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Daily Herald, December 7, 1956, p. 2)

 

Alfrata C. Bellus

In November 1916, Alfrata C. Bellus relocated from St. Louis to live with the Porter’s at While-Away Lodge.  She was a retired educator from Schenectady, New York.  Mrs. Bellus did not stay permanently with the Porter family, but in February 1924, she began to spend six months of the year here to avoid the cruel New York winter.    Alfrata did this until 1931, with the exception of 1929-1930.  In Schenectady, New York she was domiciled with the family of Clute J. Franklin. (The Jackson County Times, November 14, 1916, p. 5 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933)

            In January 1931, Mrs. Bellus assumed a $3000 mortgage owed by her cousin, Pearl D. Porter, since September 1924, to the Ocean Springs State Bank on While-A-Way Lodge.  In July 1931, the Ocean Springs State Bank foreclosed on the mortgage of Mrs. Porter’s because she failed to maintain her insurance in the amount of no less than $3000 on her Biloxi Bay home.  Alfrata C. Bellus acquired While-A-Way Lodge for $2500 in the 19131foreclosure sale.(JXCO, Ms. Land Trust Deed Bk. 15, pp. 106-107, and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 64, pp. 391-393)

            It appears that Mrs. Alfrata C. Bellus evicted the Hawleys from While-A-Lodge as she averred in subsequent litigation that Mr. Hawley was destroying the property by cutting down trees to pasture stock animals.  His animals were grazing over the beautiful landscaping that Dr. Porter had spent his retirement years to develop.  Dr. Porter’s  favorite LaFrance roses were well liked by the animals. In addition Wes Hawley was collecting over $600 for the annual pecan crop.  Another point of strife between the two parties occurred after the March 1931 fire, when the Hawleys prohibited Mrs. Porter from removing her furniture and an oil painting of her beloved spouse. (JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause 5451-March 1933)

           

L&N Railroad

            In July 1935, Alfrata C. Bellus quitclaimed While-A-Way Lodge to Mrs. Pearl D. Porter.  Pearl D. Porter sold her old home site on Biloxi Bay to the L&N Railroad for $2800 in August 1937.  At this time, Spencer H. Webster (1846-1930+) lived to the north and Henry L. Girot (1886-1953) to the east.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 70, p. 206 and p. 268)

            While-A-Way Lodge was probably demolished after the L&N acquired the Porter property.  Their railroad tracks may have been moved onto this tract, thus ending almost a century occupation on this site by Bishop J.C. Keener and Dr. William Porter.

 

The Reverend Joseph B. Walker Place

            Like many of the higher social order at New Orleans, the Reverend Joseph Burch Walker (1817-1897), a most important minister of the Methodist Church and resident of New Orleans, owned and maintained a summer home on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Reverend Walker’s property was situated on the Back Bay of Biloxi at Ocean Springs, and was in his possession from August 1854 until April 1891.  His estate was contiguous and south of Bishop J.C. Keener’s place, “Cherry Wild”, which later became Dr. William and Pearl D. Porter’s “While-A-Way Lodge”.  In present day geography, the Reverend J.B. Walker homestead was situated on the former site of Allman’s Restaurant, which was finally demolished in the summer of 2004.  This property is now proposed as a marina and restaurant by a group of New Orleans speculators. 

            Reverend Walker began acquiring land at Ocean Springs when he purchased for $1000, Lot 4 of Block 17 of the Culmseig Map of 1854, from Edward Chase in August 1854.  In July 1855, Walker added land in Lots 1-3 in Block 17 to his bay front residence. These tracts were acquired for $200, from George A. Cox (1811-1887), a local real estate speculator.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 12, pp. 327-328 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 12, pp. 329-330)

           

Joseph B. Walker  

            Some of the information concerning Joseph Burch Walker (1817-1897) was gleaned from his autobiography “A Sketch of My Life”, which was written in 1887, from his notes of twenty-five years.  Walker’s original manuscript is in the possession of Mary Kibbe, his great granddaughter, a resident of Montrose, Alabama.  A transcribed copy of “A Sketch of My Life” was given to the author by Mark Freeman of Garland, Texas, another descendant of Dr. Walker.

            Joseph Burch Walker was born at Washington D.C. on January 2, 1817 to Joseph Culbertson Walker and Bartella Powell.  His father was born near Carlisle, Pennsylvania and his mother a native of Loudon County, Virginia.  In November 1844, Joseph B. Walker married Rebecca Jane Ridley (1827-1902), the daughter of Robert Ridley and Sarah Houston, a native of Williamson County, Tennessee.  Their nuptials occurred at Canton, Madison County, Mississippi.

Joseph B. Walker and Bartella P. Walker were the parents of three children: William Walter Walker (1846-1915+) who married Julia Kennon Jayne; Mary Ann Walker (1848-1888) who married Restora M. Fauquier (1843-1901), a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana; and Sallie Bartella Walker (1851-1915+) who married M.A. McClaugherty (1831-1915).

            After a peripatetic childhood, as his family had resided in Virginia and Alabama, the family of Joseph C. Walker settled on a farm in northern Tennessee.  Previously, the elder Walker had contracted to carry the U.S. mail on horse back in Alabama.  During this time, they were domiciled at Cahaba, then the State capital of Alabama.  They relocated to Montevallo, Alabama later.

           

Ministering

Joseph B. Walker became a Methodist minister and was licensed to preach in Tennessee on October 4, 1836.  He was initially appointed to the Dickson Circuit, which encompassed the counties of Montgomery, Davidson, Williamson, Maury and Dickson.  These political units are situated between the Cumberland and Duck Rivers.  Here, the young Reverend Walker served two circuits and eight stations during his ten-year tenure.

            In his written word, Joseph B. Walker relates his initial experience as a circuit riding Methodist preacher operating in the wooded, rolling country southwest of Nashville, Tennessee.

 

             The church was a small, four-square log house, without a chimney or stove or anything to keep the cold air from passing through the cracks save some rough clapboards.  One of the congregation told me sometimes after this,  “that they had talked of a chimney or stove, but he had opposed it, for he always contended that if they had religion enough they should need no fire at church to keep warm.”

            At this first appointment, I met my colleague and Senior preacher, Reverend Johnson Lewis.  He insisted that I should preach.  It was a sore cross to make the effort, and with trembling reluctance, I undertook it, and miserably failed of course.  I sat down deeply mortified, and ashamed to look anyone in the face.  My Senior saved the fortunes of the day with song and exhortations, and a class meeting.

 

New Orleans

            In December 1846, the Reverend Joseph B. Walker was assigned to New Orleans.  He served the Methodist community of the Crescent City at several churches until General Benjamin F. “Beast” Butler (1818-1893) and his Union forces occupied the city in 1862, during the Civil War.  Walker and family fled to Port Gibson, Mississippi where he ministered to a congregation there.

 

Galveston

            After the War of the Rebellion, Reverend Walker and family returned to New Orleans.  They were posted here until 1871, when the Methodist Church transferred him to the Texas Conference.  The Walkers were sent to Galveston to minister to the congregants of St. John’s Church.  In 1875, Reverend Walker returned to New Orleans and the Louisiana Conference and remained here until his retirement.

 

Ocean Springs

            By 1880, Joseph B. Walker and spouse were permanent residents of Ocean Springs.  The history of the local Methodist church recorded the following about Reverend Walker:

 

            In its earlier history, the Ocean Springs church enjoyed unusual privileges in ministerial services.  Dr. J.B. Walker, as a young preacher known well and favorably to earlier Tennessee Methodists, then pastor of a New Orleans church, had a summer home in Ocean Springs.  It was located on the Bay between the present highway and the L&N Railroad.  A preacher of real power, his services to the Ocean Springs church were given freely, were of the highest order.  Bishop John C. Keener also had a summer home in Ocean Springs.  It was located directly across the railroad from the J.B. Walker property and was later the home of Dr. and Mrs. William Porter.

 

“Pecan Grove”

On February 26, 1880, the Reverend J.B. Walker acquired 320 acres from John G. Land of Harrison County, Mississippi for $1500.  The Walker tract was described as the S/2 of the SW/4 of Section 4, the NE/4 of NE/4 of Section 8, the NE/4 of NW/4 of Section 9, and SW/4 of Section 9 all in T7S-R11W.  This property is located in the Orange Grove community of North Gulfport, just north of the Ms. Highway 49 and U.S. Interstate 10 intersection.  These contiguous tracts would become Reverend Walker’s “Pecan Grove”.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 69-70)

 

Demise

In early February 1897, the Reverend Walker died at "Pecan Grove", his farm and dairy, north of Gulfport on the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad.  His remains were transported by rail to Ocean Springs for internment in the Evergreen Cemetery.  It is appropriate that his long time friend and fellow clergyman, Bishop J.C. Keener, conducted the burial services at the gravesite.(The Biloxi Daily HeraldMarch 6, 1897, p. 4)

Joseph B. Walker was eulogized in The Daily Picayune of February 27, 1897 as follows:

 

Dr. Walker was one of the oldest and most eminent ministers of the church.  In his solid, earnest, untiring career, he had been entrusted with the most important charges of the church and had been uniformly popular, beloved and successful.  He commanded the devoted admiration of all whom he brought in contact. To the vast membership which has at one time or another been of his flock, to his innumerable friends, his name was a synonym of greatness of heart and loyalty to high purposes and aims.  As a worker he was tireless, and his heart appeared to be filled with all the keen instinct, which makes a man appreciative of and appreciated by his fellow-men.  As a preacher he was a true follower of the gentle Philosopher, bringing ever by word and precept the sunshine of love for fellow mortals.  His lofty idealism adapted itself to all the conditions and circumstances of life, and made his own full of native splendor, unobtrusive, and the so grander.

As a pulpit orator, he was always forceful.  His rhetoric seemed to find its deepest source of inspiration and felicity from his earnestness.  He used to begin his sermons in slow, earnest speech, as if weighing his speech with his thought.  As he progressed, and subject warmed his thought, his earnestness increased until at times his eloquence became an impassioned prayer in its intensity.

 

            Rebecca Jane Walker passed on April 30, 1902.  She rest eternally with her spouse, Dr. Joseph B. Walker, Sarah Houston Ridley (1798-1897), her mother, and daughter, Mary Ann Walker Fauquier (1848-1888), in the Walker family burial plot on Old Fort Bayou.  “Pecan Grove”, which at this time consisted of 240 acres, was vended in May 1903 for $5000.(HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Will Bk. 2, pp. 218-221)

 

Dr. Edmund A. Murphy

            On April 3, 1891, the Reverend Joseph B. Walker had conveyed a part of Lot 2 Lot 3 and a part of Lot 4 of Block 17 of the 1854 Culmseig Map, which was the site of his Biloxi Bay residence and Ocean Springs estate, to Dr. Edmund Andrew Murphy (1837-1898) of New Orleans for $2500.  The rest of the Walker estate lands, the remainder of Lot 4 and Lot 5, were vended to Jessie Robertson Tebo (1853-1918), the wife of Albert G. Tebo (1848-1929), in February 1890.  The Tebos owned a large estate called “Bayview”, which was immediately south of Reverend Walker in the vicinity of the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, pp. 74-76 and Bk. 12, pp. 330-331)                   

            Dr. Murphy came to Ocean Springs following the October 1893 Hurricane to inspect the repairs that were performed on his damaged Bay front home.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 27. 1893. p. 3)

            In March 1897, Dr. E.A. Murphy conveyed Lots 2-4 in Block 17 of the 1854 Culmseig Map of 1854, for $3000 to Arthur A. Maginnis Jr., Albert G. Tebo, William B. Schmidt, and Charles W. Ziegler.  These gentlemen were all affluent men of commerce from the Crescent City and already had a vested interest in real estate at Ocean Springs.  The Pascagoula newspaper reported this event as: The beach residence of Dr. A. E. (sic) Murphy was bought by Mrs. A.G. Tebo of New Orleans for $3000.  The property will be held as a hotel site.”  The newspaper report did not corroborate the facts, which is a common error in journalism.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 18, pp. 121-122 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 26, 1897, p. 3)

           

Maginnis, Tebo, Schmidt, Ziegler and Kuhn-The Big Five

We will sidetrack from the history of Lovers Lane slightly to investigate the continuation of this affluent neighborhood to the southeast.  At this time from Martin Avenue northwestward along the Front Beach at Ocean Springs, were the great estates of several entrepreneurs from New Orleans.  From the Reverend Dr. Joseph B. Walker tract which was the first residence with access to Lovers Lane and preceding along the water front to Martin Avenue were the manors of: Arthur Ambrose Maginnis Jr. (1846-1901), Albert G. Tebo (1848-1929), William B. Schmidt (1823-1901), Charles M. Ziegler (1865-1936), and John J. Kuhn (1848-1925).

 

Maginnis family

The Maginnis family at New Orleans was synonymous with cottonseed oil and cotton mills.  Arthur A. Maginnis Sr. (1815-1877), a native of Maryland, was the pioneer in the making of cottonseed oil at the Crescent City, when in 1856 he commenced the A.A. Maginnis' Cotton Seed Oil & Soap Works.  It is very probable that during the post-Bellum years and 1875, Arthur Ambrose Maginnis and or his son, A.A. Maginnis Jr. purchased several lots in Block 17 of the Culmseig Map of 1854, in Section 25, T7S-R9W.  Here on a high bluff, on the west beach, with over six hundred feet of water front acreage, between present day Hillendale and McNamee, the Maginnis family erected a large mansion and several outbuildings. 

            C.E. Schmidt (1904-1988) in his Ocean Springs French Beachhead (1972), describes the Maginnis estate as"along the Bay front East of Hillendale, and back to Porter Street.  There was also a smaller house on the front, and servant cottages on Porter".(p. 121)

            John Henry Maginnis (1843-1889), a brother of A.A. Maginnis Jr., lost his life at Ocean Springs on July 4, 1889, when struck by lightning.  At the fatal moment,  was preparing to dive into the bay from the Maginnis pier.  There is a stained-glass window dedicated to his memory in the Trinity Church at New Orleans.(The Trinity Record, November 1924, p. 6)

 

Albert G. Tebo

Albert G. Tebo (1848-1929) was a native of Port Gibson, Mississippi.  He was the secretary-treasurer of the John P. Richardson & Co., a large dry goods concern at New Orleans.  Mr. Tebo resided at 1320 7th Street in the Crescent City with his spouse, Jessie R. Tebo, the daughter of Frederick Wing (1814-1895) and Mary A. Drabble Wing (1823-1894).  Frederick Wing had built a summer home at Ocean Springs in 1853. 

In January 1887, the Wing family donated the land for the building of the 1st Presbyterian Church of Ocean Springs on Ocean Avenue, which was utilized until August 1995 when the new church building was placed in service.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 18, 1895, p. 3)

            The Tebo family began their settlement on Front Beach in October 1888, when they acquired the estate lands of the Montgomery clan of New Orleans.  In October 1888, Frances Minor Montgomery, the widow of Edward Montgomery (1833-1870+), conveyed parts of Lots 6 and 7 and all of Lots 8-10 of Block 17-Culmseig Map of 1854 to Albrt G. Tebo and Jessie R. Tebo.  As previously mentioned, the Tebo estate was situated northeast of the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 9, pp. 492-494)

In 1870, Edward Montgomery was a store clerk living with Myra F. Minor (1804-1870+), a native of Tennessee.  At this time, Judge Harold H. Minor (1837-1884) also a native of Tennessee and his spouse, Virginia Doyal Minor (1844-1903), and their children were residents of Ocean Springs.  Their daughter, May Virginia Minor (1866-1910), married Hiram F. Russell (1858-1940) in June 1887.  One of their daughters Ethel Russell (1899-1957) became the wife of A.P. “Fred” Moran (1897-1967), the patriarch of our prestigious Moran family.(1870 Federal Census of Orleans Parish, La.-M593R524, p. 520)

In April 1889, Mrs. Tebo acquired additional land from Joseph B. Walker in Block 16 and Block 17-Culmseig Map of 1854, which was north and west of their original acquisition.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 10, pp. 124-125)

 

William B. Schmidt

           William B. Schmidt (1823-1901) was a German immigrant who his fortune at New Orleans in the wholesale grocery business, Schmidt & Ziegler, with his brother-in-law, Francis M. Ziegler (1818-1901).  By 1900, Schmidt & Ziegler had expanded to eleven stores.  The firm was also the pioneer in New Orleans international trade initiating commerce with South and Central America.  Both the Schmidt and Ziegler families owned summer homes at Ocean Springs west of the Ocean Springs Hotel, which they had acquired circa 1865.  Schmidt became established on the front beach in 1878-1879, when he purchased Lots 16 thru 25 in Block 16 of the Culmseig Map of 1854 from George A. Cox (1811-1887) and Julia Ward (1830-1894+).  He called this property "Summer Hill".  Schmidt's holdings were of estate proportions with over seven hundred feet on the bay front.  Although the well-manicured grounds, small lakes, cottages, and outbuildings of the W.B. Schmidt era at Ocean Springs have long disappeared, the old Schmidt residence at 227 Beach Drive and the former music hall of his children at 243 Beach Drive are extant.   

 

Charles W. Ziegler

Charles W. Ziegler (1865-1936), a son of F.M. Ziegler and president of Schmidt & Ziegler after the demise of the founders of the company, owned a home at Ocean Springs called "Lake View".  It was located west of the Schmidt estate on Lots 17, 18, and 19 of Block 17 of the Culmseig Map of 1854.  The Ziegler residence acquired in May 1894, was modest in comparison to that of W.B. Schmidt.  In 1895, Charles Dyer in Along The Gulf 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.

 

Charles W. Ziegler sold "Lake View" to Dillwyn V. Purington (1841-1914), and his wife, Jennie Barnes (1846-1933) in February 1906.  Mr. Purington was retired from the lumber and brick business at Chicago.  They called their place "Wyndillhurst".  In August 1926, Katherine Ver Nooy (1863-1953) became the owner of this property.  The home is believed to have been destroyed by fire in the 1940s.  The Purington place was located at present day 221 Front Beach.

           

J.J. Kuhn

      John J. Kuhn (1848-1925) was a resident of New Orleans when he acquired the Taylor place in October 1888, from Mrs. J.T. Taylor of Meridian, Mississippi for $1900.  Situated just west of Martin Avenue, the Kuhn estate had 300 feet on the Bay in Lots 27-29 of the Culmseig Map of 1854.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 9, p. 453)

 

The Kuhn family had a summer home at Ocean Springs on the front beach.  Charles Dyer in Along The Gulf(1895) described their property as:

 

The estate of Mr. John J. Kuhn is a perfect dream of loveliness.  The quaint little cottage sits some distance from the road, which is connected with the residence by a long walk, on either side of which there is a beautiful pond filled with lilies, and is crossed here and there with antic rustic looking bridges.  The house which is a very neat cottage with slanting roof and dormer windows, sits on the side of a hill, in the center of a beautiful garden, and is surrounded by numerous shade trees, and from the effects of the pond, has an appearance of being on an island.

 

City water

In February 1898, Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933) sold his local water works system to John J. Kuhn (1848-1925) of New Orleans for $5000 cash.  Lewis became known as the "Artesian Prince" because he furnished free water to the citizens of Ocean Springs for four public fountains (drinking troughs for horses).  He also supplied water freely for fighting fires.  Mr. Lewis erected a hostel on the southwest corner of Jackson and Porter, which became known as the Artesian House.  Mr. Kuhn received a twenty-five year contract from city council to furnish water to the citizens of Ocean Springs on March 3, 1898.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 18, 1898, p. 3 and The Minutes of the Town of Ocean Springs, July 4, 1893 and January 2, 1894)

In January 1906, J.J. Kuhn sold his water works business to the Peoples Water Works for $3180.  The Peoples Water Works, owned by local businessmen, John D. Minor (1863-1920), president; F.M. Dick (1857-1922), vice president; B.F. Joachim (1853-1925), 2nd vice president; H.F. Russell (1858-1940), treasurer; Joseph Kotzum (1842-1915), manager; and E.W. Illing, (1870-1947), secretary.(The Pascagoula Democrat-StarJanuary 5, 1906, p. 3)

 

Tragedy

While at their summer estate in late August 1899, tragedy struck the Kuhn family.  "Etta" Kuhn (1885-1899), the teenage daughter of J.J. Kuhn drowned while swimming off the family pier.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 1, 1899)

 

Glengariff

The Kuhn family maintained their beach summer residence until they sold it to Captain Francis O' Neill (1849-1936) in July 1914, for $5000.  Francis O’Neill was the retired general superintendent of the Chicago Police force.  He called his estate, "Glengariff", after a small Irish resort near his birthplace on the Emerald Isle.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 40, pp. 474-475)

 

Ice and shrimp

             Between November 1898 and April 1900, C.W. Ziegler, W.B. Schmidt, and A.A. Maginnis Jr. conveyed their interest in the Dr. Joseph B. Walker place to A.G. Tebo and spouse, Jesse R. Tebo, for $1700.( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 9-10, Bk. 21, pp. 332-333, and Bk. 21, pp. 394-395)

            In March 1902, the Tebo family sold the Walker place to J.W. Stewart (1855-1918), a Moss Point druggist, who held it for a short while, before vending it to Sydney J. Anderson (1867-1917) and Louis A. Lundy (1876-1941) for $4500, in May 1902.  Messrs. Anderson and Lundy, both from New Orleans, organized the Ocean Springs Electric Light and Ice Company, which acquired the Walker tract from them in March 1903.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 24, p. 440, Bk. 25, pp. 514-515, and Bk. 26, pp. 143-144)

Hence, the old Joseph B. Walker domicile gave way to progress and circa 1903, an ice plant was erected.  In August 1904, The Progress, the local journal, reported "the ice factory is running day and night with full force, on account of the large increase in the demand for ice.  Nearly all the ice boats which go to the Louisiana Marsh are now taking ice at the factory wharf.  This is indeed good news to the citizens as well as the factory owners".(The Progress, August 27, 1904, p. 4)

The ice plant primarily served the thriving seafood industry.  In September 1927, it was sold to Edgar P. Guice (1899-1971).  Guice was operating his Ocean Springs Ice & Coal Company on Jackson Avenue at this time.

The city government of Ocean Springs granted the privilege of erecting a cannery near the ice factory to L. Morris McClure (1884-1940) and L.A. Lundy on December 8, 1914.  The Ocean Springs Packing Company opened for business in early March 1915.  The original plant cost $2500, and was financed with local capital.  It had a 60-75 barrel capacity.  The owners stated that it would keep $8.50 in Ocean Springs for each barrel of shrimp canned.  Otherwise, that money would have gone to Biloxi canners.  When fully operational, Lundy’s cannery would have the capacity to process vegetables for canning.(The Ocean Springs News, March 18, 1915, p. 2)

 

Gulf City Caning Company

In 1934, E.W. Illing Jr. (1895-1978) took over the Lundy factory and changed the name of the business to the Gulf City Packing Company.  The plant commenced operations on September 18, 1934 with sixty people employed to pick shrimp.  It had the most modern equipment and sanitary conditions of any factory on the Mississippi coast. 

During the shrimp season, Mr. Illing employed about one hundred people and approximately eighty in the period of the oyster harvest.  The annual payroll amounted to about $8000, which went into the local economy.  The Gulf City Packing Company was still operating in 1936.

            By 1940, it is believed that all canning activity had ceased at the installation.  With the demise of Monsieurs Lundy and McClure in the early 1940s, Mrs. Louis A. Lundy took control of the cannery acreage. 

            L.G. Moore of Biloxi leased the plant in January 1941, from E.W. Illing.  The County dredge deepened the channel to the plant in order to facilitate the unloading of shrimp and oysters at the plant’s wharf.(The Daily Herald, January 27, 1941, p. 8)

Through the years the Lundy family had made other commercial leases on this valuable tract, which fronted over 400 feet on highway US 90, near the Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bridge.  Some of the lessees through the years were: Joseph J. Kersanac (1938-1943), Charles Hendry (1940), Pete Lowry (1950-1952), James M. Swanzy, Jr. (1952), and Paul Allman (1954-1979). 

 

Kersanac’s

In 1939, Joseph J. Kersanac (1908-1943), a native of Bay St. Louis, opened a restaurant called Kersanac's Snug Harbor.  He also sold Texaco gas and oil.  On April 1, 1939, Kersanac announced that he was demolishing the present building "to make room for a new, larger and more modern one".  The food serving operation never shut down as Kersanac offered "curb service" during construction of the his new structure.  The new building was wood framed and had living quarters on the second floor.(The Jackson County Times, April 1, 1939 and The Daily Herald, August 23, 1943, p. 6)

 

Pete’s Lounge

            Leland “Pete” Lowery (d. 1955), a native of Grenada, Mississippi, came to Ocean Springs with his family from Gulfport after WW II.  They had earlier resided in the Delta region of northwest Mississippi.  As early as July 1947, Mr. Lowery was operating Dale’s Place in the former J.J. O’Keefe Home situated on the northeast corner of Porter and Jackson.(Donnie L. Beaugez, August 1998 and The Jackson County Times, July 26, 1947)

  It appears that Pete Lowery left Dale’s Place in early 1949, and moved across the street to the Neville Byrd property situated on the northwest corner of Porter and Jackson.  Here he commenced a business called Pete’s Lounge.  Lowery’s place featured nightly dining and dancing with music by Toby Gunn on the Hammond organ and the Dixie Land Band.  Adam “Frenchie” Bourgeois (1914-1987), the bar tender, later opened his West Porter establishment, Frenchie’s Fine Foods.  Lowery also had a drive-inn restaurant with curb service.  A barbecue pit was located near the Cosper Courts, now Dale Cottages.  The Lowery family also resided here as there were two apartments on the site.(The Jackson County Times, June 10, 1949 and July 1, 1949, p. 10 and Donnie L. Beaugez, August 1998) 

In late September 1950, Leland “Pete” Lowery left this location and opened a Pete’s Lounge on Highway 90 on the west side of the War Memorial Bridge in the former Kersanac’s Snug Harbor building of J.J. Kersanac.  Pete Lowery made significant improvements to the property.  The exterior and interior of the structure was repainted, the rear of the building was excavated to create a circular driveway and space for patron curb service, and adequate rest room facilities were installed.  Local artist, Charles Kuper, painted jungle scenes in the Cocktail Lounge.  Jo Selzer of New Orleans was hostess.(The Gulf Coast Times, September 22, 1950, p. 1)     

In relocating to Highway 90, Pete Lowery had taken a four-year lease from Mrs. May W. Lundy (1885-1951+).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 124, pp. 394-396)

In January 1951, Pete Lowery suffered a heart attack, and spent several months recovering.  It appears that he may have decided to retire from the restaurant business as in October 1951, Pete Lowery sub-leased the property known as Pete’s Lounge to Edwin L. Matheny (1920-1987).  Mr. Matheny took an option to buy Lowery’s equipment and fixtures in Mrs. Lundy’s building.(The Gulf Coast Times, January 19, 1951, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 124, pp. 397-400)

            It is known that Pete Lowery went back into the lounge business as he was operating Pete’s Lounge in West Biloxi in December 1953.(The Gulf Coast Times, December 10, 1953, p. 1)

           

Allman’s Restaurant

In October 1954, Paul W. Allman (1917-2000), a native of Eldon, Iowa, and former Morrison's Cafeteria manager, opened Allman's Dining Room in the building, which formerly housed the Sea Breeze, a lounge, on the highway.  Allman's eatery prospered by maintaining high quality food, providing excellent service, and utilizing modern innovations like air conditioning.  Allman's was the first air-conditioned restaurant in Jackson County.

In September 1961, Paul and Arlene Inga Allman bought the 4.41-acre Lundy triangular tract situated between the L&N Railroad right-of-way and US Highway 90 with a  336 frontage on Biloxi Bay.  They erected a new building after Hurricane Camille had destroyed the old Kersanac building of 1939.  The new restaurant became known as Allman’s Restaurant and Lounge. In May 1979, the Allman family sold their tract and eatery to Jeanette Dees Weill, the widow of Adrian Weill (1903-1971), a Biloxi realtor.  The consideration was $240,000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 649, p. 450)

 

Jeannete D. Weill

In the May 1979 acquisition, Jeanette Dees Weill (1916-2002), a native of Alabama, also acquired the use of the name Allman’s Restaurant and Lounge.  In December 1986, Jacqueline W. Bernstein, Jolene W. Aultman, and Donna W. Green, Conservators and daughters of Jeanette D. Weill, sold the former Allman tract to Loris C. Bridges.

(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 649, p. 454 and Bk. 875, p. 475 and p. 478)

 

Loris C. Bridges

Loris C. Bridges, a former Jackson, Mississippi real estate developer and land speculator, aspired to build a marina on her bay front lot.  She had owned and operated the Gulf Hills resort from August 1981 until January 1983.  In May 1987, her company, Bridgeport, Inc., acquired a twenty-five year lease from Jackson County, Mississippi on the old US Highway 90 Bridge, which was completed in 1929 and replaced by the present span, which opened for traffic in May 1962.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 887, p. 352)

Unfortunately, Mrs. Bridges failed to complete her marina and the Weill family reacquired their property in a trustee sale executed by Sanford R. Steckler, a Biloxi attorney, in April 1989.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 936, p. 120 and p. 124)

 

Weill Heirs Inc.

            In February 1993, David A. Wheeler, as Guardian Ad Litem of Jeanette D. Weill, conveyed the Weill property to Weill Heirs, Inc.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1012, p. 209)

 

Loris C. Bridges

In October 1994, Loris Cayce Bridges acquired a lease from Weill Heirs, Inc.. Jolene W. Aultman, president and Donna Weill, secretary.  The old Allman’s Restaurant building was utilized as the office for Bridgeport Marina, a project thought still viable by Mrs. Bridges.  Again Mrs. Bridges failed to attract investors and her proposed marina project was never commenced.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1051, p. 628)

 

Grand Marina

            In the summer of 2004, investors again are speculating that a marina can be situated on the former 19thCentury home site of the Reverend Joseph B. Walker.  Grand Marina, a project consisting of 120-unit condo, restaurant, and marina to accommodate 400 vessels, is now in the offing.  The old Allman’s Restaurant building was also demolished in the summer of 2004, in the anticipation of new construction.(The Bay Press, October 22, 2004, p. 10)

            This concludes the history of the Reverend Joseph Burch Walker tract.

 

The  Allison Parkinson-Palfrey Place

What is now generally known as the Parkinson or Palfrey Place had its origins with the Allison family of New Orleans. This exceptionally fine summer retreat is situated on Biloxi Bay in US Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W, and is extant at present day 335 Lovers Lane.  The Palfrey Place is now in the possession of the Thomas P. Crozat family, formerly of the Crescent City.

The Allison family began their settlement here as summer residents in the late 1850s, on an approximately twelve acre parcel, which was subsequently divided into two additional tracts between 1874 and 1879, by virtue of conveyances to other families from the Crescent City namely those of: Edward L. Israel (1836-1891) and Charles F. Hemard (1828-1888).

 

Andrew Allison

In September 1859, Joseph R. Plummer (1804-1870+), the original settler on the Fort Point Peninsula, sold for $1000, 10.69 acres more or less to Andrew Allison (1818-1873) of New Orleans.  The Allison tract was southeast ofIssac Randolph (1812-1884) and north of Bishop John C. Keener (1819-1906), a Methodist clergyman also from the Crescent City.  Mr. Allison purchased additional contiguous land to the south from George A. Cox, the local land agent of Edward Chase of St. Louis, in June 1860.  This parcel was described as “a part of Lot 10 in Block 14”.  Mr. Chase received $100 for his land, which appears to have had an area of about 2.60 acres more or less. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 160-164)

Andrew Allison was a native of Ayreshire, Scotland and had been a resident of the South since 1849.  He made his livelihood as a pharmacist and resided on Baronne Street in New Orleans.  Andrew Allison had married Mary Bolls (1827-1900+), the daughter of Matthew Bolls (1788-1863) and Mary Smyley (d. 1867).  She was a native of Claiborne County, Mississippi.  Her father was a planter and the son of John C. Bolls (1745-1831), an Irish immigrant, who had married Martha Jane Elliot (ca 1768-pre 1831) in North Carolina.  Her siblings were: Emeline B. Shaw (d. 1853), Martha Jane B. Watson (1818-1836), and John Bolls (1822-1833).  Emeline Bolls Shaw had married the Reverend Benjamin Shaw, a native of Rhode Island, and minister in the Presbyterian Church.  Reverend Shaw arrived in New Orleans in the 1830s where he was the editor of The Protestant Courier.(The Daily Picayune,January 11, 1873, p. 4 and Bio. And Hist. Memoirs of La., Vol. 2, 1892, p. 379)

 

Oakland College-Alcorn State University

John C. Bolls, one of the earliest settlers and planters of the Natchez District was a founder in 1830 of Oakland College, a Presbyterian school to educate white males, which was situated on his land.  It closed when the War of the Rebellion commenced in 1861.  As it did not open after the conflict, the Presbyterian college was sold to the State for the education of its African-American citizens. After Congress passed the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1862, the Mississippi Legislature in 1871 used funds generated through the Morrill Land-Grant Act to establish an institution for the education of African-American youth.  In 1878, it became known as Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1974, it was renamed Alcorn State University by the Legislature.

 

Coming home

Andrew Allison and Mary Bolls Allison were the parents of nine children of which five survived into the 20thCentury.  Sometime, after Mr. Allison’s demise at New Orleans in 1873, Mary returned to her native Mississippi.  In 1900, Mary B. Allison was residing in Beat 5 of Madison County, Mississippi in the household of her son-in-law, Ray Thomas Jr.  No further information.(1900 Federal Census Madison County, Mississippi, T623R819, p. 332)

           

Hugh Allison

In August 1867, Andrew Allison conveyed for $3000 his twelve-acre estate on Back Bay to Hugh Allison(1825-1881), probably his brother.  The conveyance was described as lying between the Reverend Mr. Keener’s and that formerly known as the Plummer Brick House property.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 164-165)

Hugh Allison was also born in Scotland.  He was the husband of Eliza Kate Wing (1842-1879), the daughter of Fred Wing (1814-1895) and Mary A. Drabble (1823-1894).  Her sister, Jesse R. Wing (1853-1918) was married to Albert G. Tebo (1848-1929), and as previously mentioned, were estate owners on Front Beach at Ocean Springs in the vicinity of the present day Ocean Springs Yacht Club.  Hugh Allison made his livelihood as a cotton commission merchant in the Crescent City.( Bio. And Hist. Memoirs of La., Vol. 2, 1892, p. 463)

    Hugh and Eliza K. Allison conveyed their 12 acre estate to Mary B. Allison in August 1870 for $3000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, pp. 165-166). 

 

PARKINSON

In June 1875, Mary B. Allison sold her 6.41-acre estate to Eugenia Bodley Parkinson (1827-1898), aresident of New Orleans for $4000.  Mrs. Parkinson was the wife of Franklin B. Parkinson (1819-1896), who was born at Natchez, Mississippi, the son of Robert Parkinson (1790-1850+), a native of Pennsylvania, and Margaret Parkinson (1800-1850+).  Robert Parkinson had two sisters: Cecelia Parkinson (1827-1850+) and Laura F. Parkinson (1828-1850+).  In 1850, he made his livelihood as a clerk probably at New Orleans, as his family residence was situated in nearby Jefferson Parish, Louisiana in Ward 2 of the Lafayette area.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 479-481,The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 4, and 1850 Federal Census, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana-M432R232, p. 140)

In 1857, Franklin B. Parkinson had married Eugenia Bodley, a native of Baltimore, Maryland.  She had a brother, Thomas B. Bodley who lived in Jackson, Mississippi with his wife, Charlotte G. Coleman Bodley.  When the Civil War commenced, Franklin B. Parkinson and family were domiciled in the 11th Ward of New Orleans.  He joined the Confederate ranks with A.D. Parkinson, who may have been a relative.(1860 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, La., p. 871 and The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 4)

  Franklin B. Parkinson and Eugenia B. Parkinson were the parents of three children: Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Parkinson (1859-1930), Mary Eugenia “Mollie” Parkinson (1862-1902) and Robert Parkinson (1864-1925). 

Civil War military service records indicate Franklin B. Parkinson enlisted in Company B, Orleans Guards, Louisiana Military Regiment on March 8, 1862.  He was immediately transferred by Governor T.O. Moore to a unit for the local defense of the City of New Orleans, commanded by Major General Mansfield Lovell, CSA.(Booth, 1984, p. 73).

In the summer of 1895, the family of William Woodward, an art professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, took a long holiday at the Parkinson place.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 23, 1895, p. 3)

F.B. Parkinson expired on October 24, 1896.  Mrs. Eugenia Parkinson followed him in death on August 26, 1898.  Their corporal remains were interred in the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 at New Orleans.

 

Benjamin F. Parkinson

Benjamin Franklin “Frank” Parkinson nor his sister or brother married.  In 1900, B.F. Parkinson was a resident of Peter’s Avenue, Ward 14 of New Orleans.  In his home were his siblings, Mary Eugenia “Mollie” Parkinson (1862-1902) and Robert Parkinson (1864-1925), as well as their servant, Ellen Perry (1850-1900+).  Both of the Parkinson men were employed in the insurance business.(1900 Federal Census, Orleans Parish, La., Roll 575, Bk. 2, p. 3)

After the demise of their parents, the Parkinson children inherited their Ocean Springs estate on Lovers lane and the Fort Point Peninsula.  In August 1902, several years after the demise of his mother, B.F. Parkinson acquired the one-third interest of his brother, Robert Parkinson.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 25, pp. 492-495)

In June 1907, B.F. Parkinson added to his estate by acquiring 60 acres of land across Lovers Lane in Lot 5, Section 24, T9S-R7W, from the A.A. Maginnis Land Company for $2000.  This tract would later become known as Cherokee Glen, when possessed by another New Orleans native, Henry L. Girot (1886-1953).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, p. 462) 

 

Ocean Springs Poultry Farm

At Ocean Springs, B.F. Parkinson (1859-1930) called his avocation, the Ocean Springs Poultry Farm.  When he came over from New Orleans, the L&N train would stop where Porter Street intersected the railroad tracks and let him off.  It was a short walk to his residence on Biloxi Bay.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004)

In January 1906, the Ocean Springs Poultry Farm was under the management of Mr. Winslow.  Mr. Parkinson’s chickens won several awards at the Mobile poultry breeders exhibition in January 1906.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 12, 1906, p. 3)

In May 1906, a fire destroyed the barn on the Parkinson place.  The loss was estimated at approximately $1,000 and the structure was uninsured.  Destroyed in the conflagration were: grain, exhibition chicken coops, tools and implements.  Fortunately, Mr. Parkinson lost only four of his prize chickens.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 18, 1906, p. 3)

In 1910, B.F. Parkinson was living at Ocean Springs with his cook, Bell Riley (1887-1910+), yardman, Solomon Carter (1881-1910+), and his wife, Fannie Carter (1886-1910+).  Listed as an orange nursery.  He was not at Ocean Springs for the 1920 or 1930 Federal Census.(1910 Federal Census, Jackson County, Ms., T624R744 p. 1A)

 

Parkinson’s wharf

            Like most turn of the Century residents of the Fort Point Peninsula, Frank Parkinson had a fishing pier, which was destroyed by storms decades ago.  Unlike the others, his was preserved in verse by local realtor and historian, J.K. Lemon Jr. (1914-1998).  The following rhyme was related to Mr. Lemon by James A.Carter (1875-1947) known as Jim Carco, as he was the stepson of Eugene Carco (1830-1900) and Ann Baker Carter Carco (1850-1927).  Jim Carco made his livelihood as a pecan grafter.  Theodore Bechtel (1863-1931), local pecan grower and nurseryman, lauded Carco as the best of his grafters.  In later life, Carco was custodian of the R.W. Schluter (1890-1966) place, which was situated along the Inner Harbor north of the Shearwater Bridge.(J.K. Lemon Jr., May 1994)

 

I went down to the Parkinson’s Wharf

                        I made one throw and they all ran off

                        And I roll my pants to my knee

                        And I chased them mullets to the Rigolets

                                   

                        I went down to the Parkinson’s Wharf

                        I made one throw and they all ran off

                        I rolled my pants up to my ass

                        And I chased them mullet through the Biloxi Pass

Insurance

B.F. Parkinson was in the insurance business at New Orleans and Ocean Springs. In 1914, at Ocean Springs, he had an agency with George E. Arndt (1857-1945).  They operated as Arndt & Parkinson-Fire and Tornado Insurance.(The Ocean Springs News, February 7, 1914

B.F. Parkinson after many years with the Home Insurance Company founded the Fire Insurance Patrol circa 1920.  He was president and secretary of this organization at the time of his demise.  In New Orleans, Parkinson was once active in the St. John Rowing Club.  He expired at New Orleans on April 24, 1930.  Mr. Parkinson’s corporal remains were interred in the family tomb at the Lafayette No. 1 Cemetery on Washington Avenue in New Orleans.(The Times Picayune, April 25, 1930, p. 2

M.A. Phillips from Hancock County was the administrator of the B.F. Parkinson estate, which was valued at $4845.  Edith Ingleharte was his cook at time of demise.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5265-June 1930)

1934 Dwyer letter

In September 1934, a letter was published in The Jackson County Times by John J. Dwyer addressed to the Editor.  Dwyer’s return address was 40 Wall Street, New York, N.Y.  The missive was seeking the heirs of Franklin B. Parkinson (1819-1896) and Eugenia Bodley Parkinson (1827-1898).  They were entitled to the sum of $20,000.  At this time with the Great Depression raging in America, this was an unimaginable amount of money.  No further information.(The Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 4)   

Cherokee Glen and Farm

In March 1923, B.F. Parkinson Jr. had sold the old Maginnis 60-acre tract in US Lot 5, Section 24, T7S-R9W to Henry L. Girot (1886-1953) and his wife, Mabel E. Judlin Girot (1890-1956), for $4000.  Mr. Girot, a retired tailor, from New Orleans envisioned himself a gentleman farmer and aspired to make his livelihood here growing pecans and raising poultry on this land.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 52, p. 558)

Immediately Mr. Girot began to make improvements to his property.  In order to gain access to his land, dynamite was utilized to clear an impenetrable barrier of thickly, overgrown, foliage consisting primarily of the Cherokee rose vine.  It was thusly, the Cherokee rose, which gave its name to Cherokee Glen.(Beryl Girot Riviere, March 14, 2002)

One of Henry L. Girot’s first business ventures at Ocean Springs was the development in his neighborhood of a subdivision, Cherokee Glen.  It was situated in Section 24, T7S-R9W, on the west side of Ocean Springs.  In May 1926, he received approval from the Board of Aldermen of his sixty-acre platting, which was bounded on the north by Old Fort Bayou, on the east by the land that was adversely possessed by O.D. Davidson (1872-1938) and would become the Davidson Hills Subdivision in March 1956, on the south by Porter, and on the west by Lovers Lane.(The Jackson County Times, May 22, 1926, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Land Plat Bk. 1, p. 93)

The Palfrey Place

In May 1931, the B.F. Parkinson estate sold his summer residence on the historic Bay of Biloxi Bay toRalph Palfrey (1898-1972) and his mother, Mrs. Herbert A. Palfrey (1870-1966), nee Jessie C. Handy and wife of Herbert A. Palfrey (1866-1921), for $4700.  Herbert A. Palfrey was the son of George Palfrey (1829-1880+) and Gertrude E. Wendell (1835-1868) of New Orleans.  His grandfather, Henry William Palfrey, and grandmother, Mary Bloomfiled Inskeep (d. 1887), were both natives of Massachusetts.  The Palfrey family can trace their heritage to John Howland (1599-1673), a member of the London Company, who signed the Mayflower Compact at Cape Cod in 1620.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 64, pp. 318-319 and Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004 )

George Palfrey

In 1850, George Palfrey was a student at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.  By 1870, he was a widower and rearing his three children in the Crescent City: Arthur Palfrey (1858-1880+); Walter Wendell Palfrey (1860-1880); and Herbert Palfrey (1866-1921).  A daughter, Minnie Tallman Palfrey (1862-1866) had passed several years before her mother’s demise in 1868.  George Palfrey made his livelihood as a real estate agent in 1870.(1870 Federal Census Orleans Parish, La., M593R524, p. 386)

It appears that George Palfrey circa late 1870 married his sister-in-law, Augusta M. Wendell (1833-1915), a native of New York.  They had one child, an infant who expired in September 1871.  In 1880, George Palfrey was a broker, while his eldest son, Arthur Palfrey, was jeweler.  After George died, Augusta lived with the Herbert Palfrey family.  Herbert was a stationery merchant and printer in New Orleans.(1880 Federal Census Orleans Parish, La., T9R463, p. 390c and Palfrey tomb Lafayette Cemetery No. 1-NOLA)

 In early February 1890, Herbert Palfrey married Jessie C. Handy in Orleans Parish, Louisiana.  Jessie Handy Palfrey was the sister of Captain Ellis Handy (1891-1963).  They were the children of Thomas H. Handy and Josephine Campbell.  Thomas H. Handy, an artillery veteran of the Civil War who fought gallantly at Fort St. Phillip, Vicksburg, and received a life-crippling wound at Fort Donaldson, was the Civil Sheriff of New Orleans during Reconstruction.(The Daily Herald, March 21, 1958)

Ellis Handy

Captain Ellis Handy was named for Governor Ellis of Louisiana.  He joined the Canadian forces mobilized to fight Germany in Western Europe during WW I.  He met Janet Eleanor More (1891-1961) of Hamilton, Ontario, and they married upon his return from Europe in 1919.  Their children all born at Ocean Springs were: Ann Elizabeth “Polly” Handy (b. 1921), Dr. Thomas H. Handy (b. 1922), Mary H. Lemon Wilson (b. 1924), and Janet H. Lackey (b. 1929). 

After the Great War, Ellis Handy relocated to Ocean Springs.  His family had vacationed here since his childhood, and Handy like so many from the Crescent City, became enamored with the charm and pace of life here.  Captain Handy made his livelihood as the proprietor of The Builder’s Supply Company, a lumber and building materials yard, situated on Old Fort Bayou in the vicinity of present day, Aunt Jenny’s Catfish House.  B.F. Joachim Sr. (1853-1925) and partners had started the business in 1905.  Before his demise in 1925, Mr. Joachim had acquired the outstanding stock of the company.  His legatees conveyed the Builder’s Supply Company to Captain Ellis Handy in June 1925 for $5500.  The sale included: sheds, machinery, and improvements.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 55, pp. 629-630)

            In 1949, during his retirement years, Ellis Handy joined as associate editor, The Gulf Coast Times, the successor to The Jackson County Times.  He wrote a weekly column, “Know Your Neighbor” from July 8, 1949 until November 25, 1949.  W.H. Calhoun suggested that the articles be written since Ocean Springs had a goodly number of interesting people whose biographies might draw readers’ interests, and that it was a way for people to get to know each other.  People featured in Handy’s most masterful essays were: John Willis Clayborn Mitchell (1871-1952), Henry Girot (1887-1953), Fred J. Ryan (1886-1943), Antonio J. Catchot (1864-1954), John E. Catchot (1897-1987), Alfred Edwin Roberts (1874-1963), William T. Dunn (1919-1990), Joseph L. “Dode” Schrieber (1873-1951), A.P. “Fred” Moran (1897-1967), Fred Bradford (1878-1951) and family, George Washington Smith (1857-1953), the VanCleave family, the Davis family, the Bilbo family, the Shannon family, and the Albert C. Gottsche Store. 

            For a historian or genealogist, Handy’s compositions are a powder magazine of information, especially concerning the 19th Century at Ocean Springs and environs.  These papers are preserved in the JXCO, Mississippi Chancery Court Archives at Pascagoula, and available from Betty Clark Rodgers or Lois Castigliola , archivists.  Captain Ellis handy also penned, “When Fear Dies” (circa 1945).  It is an account of his WWI experiences and awaits publication.

Jessie Handy Palfrey

            Jessie Handy Palfrey (1870-1966) and her clan began coming to Ocean Springs in the late 1890s for rest and recreation. She and Herbert Palfrey, her husband, were still growing their family in the Crescent City where they were in the stationery business.     

            Their children were: Gertrude Palfrey (1890-1983); Campbell Palfrey (1894-1970); Wendell Palfrey (1896-1956), a local realtor and developer; Ralph Palfrey (1898-1972), the husband of Marguerit Sullivan (1903-1980); Leila Palfrey Crozat (1902-1967), the spouse of Auguste J. Crozat II (1899-1984) of New Orleans; and Ruth PalfreyDunwody (1904-1985), the wife of Archibald B. Dunwody (1898-1976) of Sun City, Florida. 

            Prior to acquiring the F.B. Parkinson place at Ocean Springs in May 1931, the Palfrey family had a summer home at Long Beach, Mississippi.  When Jessie Handy Palfrey and Ralph Palfrey bought the old Allison-Parkinson structure, it was in deplorable condition and demolishing by neglect.  In fact, the Palfreys had local builder, Charles W. Hoffman (1889-1972), construct a two-story structure on the site, north of the old house for their immediate occupancy.  The Palfreys refer to this building as the “apartment”.  After they began to utilize the old Parkinson place, they began to let the “apartment” to locals and people from New Orleans.( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 64, pp. 318-319 and Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004)              Initially, Mrs. Jessie H. Palfrey insisted that no wire screens be put on the front gallery, but relented in the 1940s.  The family slept under mosquito bars until then.  Mrs. Palfrey would also bring Lena Moore, her servant from New Orleans.  Her original home was on the Elsewhere Plantation near Houma, Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.  Later Lena came to live with Ralph and Marguerit S. Palfrey in the 1960s.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004)

Mrs. Jessie Handy Palfrey expired on December 24, 1966.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Palfrey family tomb in Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 22, 2004)

 

Gertrude Palfrey

In March 1937, Jessie Handy Palfrey conveyed her interest in the family estate at Ocean Springs to Miss Gertrude Palfrey (1890-1983), her daughter.  Miss Palfrey attended Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans and graduated with the Class of 1912, of which she was the Class Secretary.  She taught school at New Orleans.  Miss Palfrey passed on in October 1983.  Her corporal remains rest eternally in the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Crescent City.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 69, pp. 644-645 and Anita Y. Crozat, November 22, 2004)

 

1934 wedding

             Thanksgiving Day 1934, Miss Ruth Palfrey married Archibald B. Dunwody at the home of Ralph and Marguerit Palfrey in Ocean Springs.  The Reverend W.I. McInnis of the Presbyterian Church performed the nuptial ceremony.  Close friends and some relatives were in attendance.  Archie Dunwody, a Georgia native, was a graduate engineer of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, now Auburn University.  He made a career in the food processing industry designing machinery.(The Daily Herald, December 1, 1934, p. 2 and Thomas P. Crozat, November 22, 2004)

 

Ralph and Marguerit Palfrey

           Ralph Palfrey (1898-1972) was a printer from New Orleans and married to Marguerit Sullivan (1903-1980).  In the late 1890s, his father, Herbert A. Palfrey, had started a stationery and print shop, Palfrey-O’Donnell, which was located on Camp Street in the Crescent City.  In 1973, the business then called, Palfrey, Rodd, and Pursell Company Limited, relocated to Tchoupitoulas Street.  When sold in the early 1990s, the Palfrey family business was known as PRP.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 6, 2004)

         Ralph Palfrey was an Army veteran of WWI, a member of the American Legion, and Masonic Order.  He resided at Ocean Springs forty-one years.(The Daily Herald, August 2, 1972, p. 2)  

Mrs. Marguerit Palfrey was known in the local community as a very charitable lady.  She was active in the Ocean Springs Woman’s Club, Red Cross, and managed the nursery of St. Paul’s Methodist Church.(Lemon-1998 and The Ocean Springs News, October 1, 1964, p. 1)

          In late September 1964, the Ralph and Marguerit Palfrey were awarded by the VFW Mark Seymour Post No. 5699, their Auxiliary Outstanding Citizens Award.  For more than thirty years, the Palfreys had participated in community welfare work.  Recently, they had been a salient force in providing indigent, multiracial children with clothing and basic life necessities for school and Christmas.  In addition, Marguerit Palfrey was cited for her 2,000 plus hours donated at the VA Hospital, during the past year.  The Lovers Lane couple were also active in the “I Am Your Neighbor Club”, the Jackson County Cancer Society, and were donators of flowers and services to the sick and confined of the community.(The Ocean Springs News, October 1, 1964, p. 1)

            Ralph Palfrey also owned a one-half interest in the old “Pabst Place”, on Hensaw Road, which is now the Bienville Place Subdivision, in Section 26, T7S-R8W.  He was a partner with his brother, Campbell Palfrey Sr. (1894-1970).  They acquired the 110-acre tract from Florence Hunt Wright and H.L. Hunt in August 1948. Mrs. Elizabeth Smith Pabst began acquiring land in this area in August 1879, from Stephen Starks.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 103, pp. 11-15, JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 8, pp. 583-584).

             After Ralph died, Henry Brooks, her gardener, assisted Marguerite S. Palfrey with her daily chores and shopping.  Mrs. Palfrey later relocated to the Villa Maria retirement community on Porter Street.  She had two sisters, Edna S. Graham of Covington and Mrs. Gordon McHardy of New Orleans. The corporal remains of both Ralph and Marguerit S. Palfrey were buried at the Southern Memorial Park cemetery in Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, January 3, 1980, p. A-2) 

 

Wendell Palfrey

Although Wendell Palfrey (1896-1956) was never a resident of Lovers Lane, or an owner of the Palfrey place, he resided in the area for over a decade and was an important part of the commerce of Ocean Springs between 1945 and 1955.  Wendell was born on July 23, 1896 at New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Herbert A. Palfrey (1866-1921) and Jessie Campbell Handy (1870-1966).  He married Mary Frances “May” Cole Palfrey (1900-1992).

            Wendell Palfrey grew up in the family stationery and printing on Camp Street in New Orleans where he worked in sales.  In 1920, he left New Orleans for Memphis, Tennessee where he commenced his career in the real estate business.  He and May came to Ocean Springs in 1945 from Memphis, Tennessee to sell real estate at Gulf Hills where he also settled in May 1946.  Circa 1948, Mr. Palfrey moved his real estate and general insurance office to Washington Avenue.  In September 1951, he relocated across the street to present day 626 Washington Avenue, which had been utilized by local jeweler, Frank C. Buehler (1909-1985).(The Gulf Coast Times, September 13, 1951, p. 1)

    In November 1946, Mr. Palfrey advertised in The Jackson County Times, as follows:

           

Gulf Hills

Nature’s Supreme Gift for Happy Homes

Offers 450 Landscaped Homesites

At from $600 to $4,000 Terms

 

PALFREY REALTY CO.

 

C. Roy Savery-Sales Representative

Phone 4281          Ocean Springs, Ms.

 

 

Subdivisions

            Wendell Palfrey and spouse developed several subdivisions during their tenure here.  Among them were: Palfreyville in Section 18, T7S-R8W (1946); Maryville, in Section 23, T7S-R8W; Morningside (1947); Palfreyville No. 2 in Section 13, T7S-R9W (1950); Palfrey’s Claremont in Sections 14 and 23 of T7S-R8W; and Palfrey’s Dixie in Sections 14-23, T7S-R8W (1955).

 

1954 US Post Office

In December 1953, Wendell Palfrey commenced construction on a building situated on the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Robinson Street, which he leased to the U.S. Postal Service. The lot and structure cost $27,500.  It was completed by E.T. Hoffis, general contractor, in June 1954, and turned to Oscar T. Davis (1894-1963), postmaster of Ocean Springs.  The old Palfrey structure is extant as Salmagundi, a gift boutique, which operates here today at 922 Washington Avenue.  The local post office, when supervised by Postmaster Orwin J. Scharr (1914-2002), relocated from the Palfrey building in June 1966, to 900 Desoto Avenue, as the new structure almost tripled the area of the former one on Washington Avenue. The new US Post Office on Desoto and Jackson was dedicated on June 19th.(The Gulf Coast Times, December 10, 1953, p. 1 and January 13, 1954, p. 14, and The Ocean Springs Record, June 23, 1966, p. 1)

 

Demise

            Wendell Palfrey expired at Biloxi in late April 1956.  While at Ocean Springs, he was very active in civic and commercial affairs.  Mr. Palfrey was a member of the Louisiana Lodge Fraternal and Arch Masons; Gulfport Consistory Knights Templar, Hamasa Temple Shrine; Rotary Club; Coast Underwriters Association; Descendants of the Mayflower Society; Son of the American Revolution; and Camellia Club.  He had been past president of the Biloxi-Pascagoula Real Estate Board and organizers of the Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Palfreys corporal remains were cremated at Birmingham, Alabama and sent to New Orleans for internment.(The Daily Herald, April 25, 1956, p. 2)

            May Cole Palfry expired at Gulfport, Mississippi on May 29, 1992.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Ocean Springs Record, June 4, 1992, p. 7)

 

Thomas P. Crozat

In January 1980, Miss Gertrude Palfrey sold her interest in the Palfrey estate to Thomas P. Crozat, her nephew.  Mr. Crozat acquired the remaining interest in his grandmother’s estate from his cousin, Campbell Palfrey Jr.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 670, p. 34 and Thomas P. Crozat, November 22, 2004)

Thomas P. Crozat (b. 1927), a native of New Orleans, who is a retired Stanolind, now BP-Amoco, geologist and commercial printer from New Orleans resides on the place today with his lovely spouse, Anita Yancey Crozat, a native of Memphis.

This concludes the history of the Allison-Parkinson-Palfrey tract at 335 Lovers Lane.

 

 

The Edward L. Israel-McClain Place

In June 1874, when Mary Bolls Allison (1827-1900+) subdivided her large lot overlooking Biloxi Bay and sold 2.60 acres off the southern end described as Lot 10 of Block 14, to Edward L. Israel (1836-1891), a New Orleans steamboat man and yachtsman, it commenced the occupation and chronology of another homestead on the Fort Point Peninsula.  Bishop J.C. Keener resided south of the Israel tract.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, p. 503) 

            Today, this property is owned by Dr. Eldon D. and Dixie A. McClain and called Rebel Oaks.  The Israel-McClain place is situated at 343 Lovers Lane.  Its history follows:

 

Edward L. Israel

Edward L. Israel (1836-1891) was born in Mississippi of an English father and New York mother.  He had married Anna ? Israel (1838-1880+), a native of Washington D.C.  The Israels had a daughter, Olivia Israel (1863-1880+), a Virginia native.(Fenerty and Fernandez, Volume  , 1991, p.    )

Very little is known about the Israel family during their residency on the Fort Point Peninsula.  A reporter for a local journal commented that Edward L. Israel kept a span of fast iron gray horses to transport his carriage through the streets and lanes of Ocean Springs.  His pleasure was fast horses and boats.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 9, 1880, p. 3)

 

Yachtsman

Mr. Israel was well known in Gulf Coast yachting circles.  He was the owner of the winning boats in the first, third, and fourth classes races at the June 1878 Mississippi Coast Regatta.  Edward Austin (1840-1878), son of Dr. W.G. Austin (1814-1894), won the second class aboard, Xiphias.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 28, 1878

At the Mississippi City regatta held in July 1879, E.L. Israel’s first-class yacht, Lady Emma, was scheduled to sail a match race against A. Brewster’s, Susie S.  Israel planned to use John Carney of Mobile to pilot his vessel.  Mr. Brewster was to compete himself.  He had recently won two races and was favored to beat Lady Emma at Mississippi City.  A. Brewster waged $2000, while Mr. Israel exposed $1000 for the match race.  The railroad had set a $1.00 special excursion round-trip rate from New Orleans to Mississippi City.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 27, 1879, p. 3)

In May 1880, Edward Israel was preparing to enter four boats in the regatta at New Orleans.  By July 1880, he was considering sending one of his racing sailboats to compete in New York. (The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 21, 1880., p. 3 and July 9, 1880, p. 3)

 Captain Israel sailed match races for the Southern Yacht Club at New Orleans against eastern yacht clubs in 1883.(Schieb, 1986, p. 36) 

Edward L. Israel (1836-1891) sold his home at Ocean Springs and 2.60 acres to Henry Clay Mendenhall(1847-1915) in September 1880.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 634-635) 

 

Henry Clay Mendenhall

The H.C. Mendenhall may have utilized their Biloxi Bay residence as a summer and weekend retreat and maintained their primary home at Mobile, Alabama.

Henry Clay Mendenhall (1847-1915) was born on January 18, 1847, at Westville, Mississippi, the son of James Bogan Mendenhall (1812-1882) and Winifred Anne Dunlap (1821-1887), both natives of North Carolina.  In October 1887, H.C. Mendenhall married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Darrah Bonsal (1850-1933), a native of Norfolk, Virginia, and the daughter of John W. Bonsal and Elizabeth D. Skinner.  Their children were: Henry Bonsal Mendenhall (1870-1900+), Ernest Dunlap Mendenhall (b. 1873), and a daughter Elizabeth Case Mendenhall (1885-1968), the wife of Charles Grady Parlin (1880-1940). 

 

Elizabeth C. Parlin

Elizabeth Case Mendenhall (1885-1968) was born in Mississippi.  She married Charles Grady Parlin (1880-1940), a native of Apalachicola, Florida.  He was the son of Charles Henry Parlin from Maine and Cornelia Grady, a native of Florida.  The Parlin family came to Ocean Springs in 1921 from Mobile where their four children were born:   Henry Grady Parlin (1912-1984), Elizabeth Parlin (b. 1915), Clay M. Parlin (1918-1969), and Charles D. Parlin (1920-1978).  At Ocean Springs, Charles Grady Parlin was in the real estate business.

            The Parlins resided at present day 545 Front Beach Drive, the Parlin-Martin House.  Their original home here was destroyed by fire on December 16,1922.  A new structure was erected on the site by the Charles Grady Parlin family in 1923.  It was acquired by Albert B. Austin (1876-1951) in June 1940.(The Jackson County Times, December 23, 1922, p. 5, c. 4)

 

Mobile

Henry Clay Mendenhall made his livelihood as an agent for the Southern Express Company at Mobile, Alabama.  In the 1890s, the family resided at 1037 Government Street in Mobile, but appear to have relocated to Ann Street by 1900.  Here Henry Clay and Lizzie Mendenhall resided with their son, Henry B. Mendenhall, an express clerk,  and spouse, Fannie E. Mendenhall (1875-1900+), and their two children Henry L. Mendenhall (1894-1930+) and Lawrence B. Mendenhall (1896-1900+).(1900 Mobile County, Ala. Federal Census, T623R32, ED 110, p. 8A)

            It is interesting to note that Henry L. Mendenhall (1894-1930+), the grandson of Henry C. Mendenhall, was living at Yonkers, Westchester County, New York in 1930, and making his livelihood as a telegraph clerk.  His wife, Elise W. Mendenhall, was a native of North Carolina.(1930 Westchester County, N.Y. Federal Census, R166, ED 66)

           

New Beach Hotel

              It appears that after retiring from railroad express business at Mobile, that Henry Clay Mendenhall may have returned to Ocean Springs to manage the New Beach Hotel for Dr. Dr. Jasper J. Bland (1850-1932) a native of Deasonville in Yazoo County, Mississippi.  In 1891, Dr. Bland had 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), a New Orleans industrialist, 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)

Dr. Bland purchased the Edwards property from Special Commissioner, F.H. Lewis, for $5500 in August 1899.  He had the James D. Edwards domicile enlarged and converted to a fine hostelry, the Beach Hotel.  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".  (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 248-250.

Henry Clay Mendenhall expired at Mobile, Alabama on May 31, 1915.

Lizzie B. Mendenhall expired at Ocean Springs October 3, 1933.  Her corporal remains were passed through the Episcopal Church at Ocean Springs before being sent to the Pine Crest Cemetery at Mobile, Alabama for internment.(The Daily Herald, October 5, 1933, p. 2)

In September 1890, H.C. Mendenhall sold his home on Biloxi Bay, which he called “Mendenhall”, to Julia Johnson Lewis (1861-1933), the spouse of Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933).(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 12, pp. 96-97)

           

Alfred E. Lewis

Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933), called Fred, was the son of Colonel Alfred E. Lewis (1812-1885) and Anne Farrington (1821-1901).  Colonel Lewis, a pioneer settler of Jackson County, was active in politics, commerce, and farming.  He served in the Mississippi State Legislature from 1850-1852, and was Sheriff for fourteen years.  Colonel A.E. Lewis also built Lewis Sha, his plantation home at present day Gautier.  It was renamed, Oldfields, by the W.W. Grinstead family during their occupancy in the early 20th Century.(The History of Jackson County, Mississippi-1989, p. 265) 

Two of the Colonel A.E. Lewis children, Robert W. Lewis (1857-1886) and Katherine Lewis (1859-1930), married children of Mrs. Adeline A. Staples (1837-1901), an earlier settler of the Fort Point Peninsula.  They were Frederick Staples (1852-1897) and his sister, Mathilde A. Staples (1858-1928+).

Fred Lewis, like his father, was a businessman.  At Ocean Springs, he was active in real estate and founded the local water works system, which he sold to J.J. Kuhn (1848-1925) of New Orleans in 1898.  Lewis supplied the village with water from an artesian well bored to about 500 feet.  In July 1893, he agreed to furnish water at no cost to the citizenry of Ocean Springs for four public fountains and later gave free water for fire fighting purposes.  For his generosity, Fred Lewis was given the moniker, “Artesian Prince”.  In 1891, he built a two-story, wood frame, commercial structure on the southwest corner of Jackson Avenue and Porter.  It was originally known as the “Lewis Building”, but later became the “Artesian House”.  The Artesian House operated primarily as an inn or apartment house until 1936, when it was demolished for lumber salvage.

(Bellande, 1994, pp. 75-82)                                                                                       

            Fred and Julia Lewis adopted an Alabama born child, Marguerite Lewis (1890-1961).  She married Frank Raymond (1883-1952).  They owned the Pines Hotel from 1925-1929.  It was located on the southwest corner of Washington Avenue and Ocean Avenue before it burned in May 1932.(Bellande, 1994, p. 138 and p. 139)

Until 1895, Fred Lewis resided north of the railroad bridge on the Bay of Biloxi in a home called “Mendenhall”.  In that year, the Lewis home was sold to Julia Oser Rodriguez (1860-1918) of New Orleans.  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.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 67-68 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 1, 1905, p. 3)

 

Julia O. Rodriguez

Julia Oser Rodriguez (1860-1918) was the spouse of Dr. Edward J. Rodriguez (1856-1936), a New Orleans dentist, who she wedded in 1880.  Like her spouse, Julia Oser, was a native of Louisiana born of German immigrants parents.  Dr. Rodriguez’s parents were natives of Spain and Louisiana respectively.  The Rodriguez had six children, but only four survived into the 20th Century: Walter Rodriguez (1884-1900+); Albert Rodrigues (1886-1900+); Edward Rodriguez (1889-1900); and Rene Rodriguez (1890-1900+).(1900 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census-T623R572, ED 57, p. 25A)

The two youngest Rodriguez children were known as “Toosie” and “Lovie”. (Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 26, 1906.

            In 1910, the Rodriguez family resided on Esplanade Street in New Orleans.(1910 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census-T624R521-Book 2, 6th Ward, p. 72A)

Julia O. Rodriguez conveyed her Fort Point Peninsula estate to Spencer H. Webster in April 1906.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 31,p. 128) 

Spencer H. Webster

Spencer H. Webster (1845-1926) was born at Forestville, Chautauqua County, New York on July 10, 1845.  His parents were Milton Webster (1810-1870+), a native of Connecticut, and Mary H. Hibbard (1820-1870+), who was born at Vermont.  By 1870, Milton Webster had moved the family from New York to River Falls, Pierce County, Wisconsin.  He farmed here.(1870 Pierce County, Wis. Federal Census, M593R173 , p. 379) 

Spencer H. Webster married Isabell Rambo in August 1876.  After her demise, he wedded Margaret Ann Pixley, (1860-1943) in 1890.  S.H. Webster appears to have had  no children with either spouse.

In 1900, Spencer H. Webster was residing at Grand Tower, Jackson County, Illinois.  He operated a farm here on the east bank of the Mississippi River southwest of Carbondale, Illinois.  At Ocean Springs, Mr. Webster also considered himself a farmer.(1900 Jackson County, Illinois Federal Census, T624R293, p. 173A and 1910 Jackson County, Mississippi Federal Census, )           

Fire

A fire destroyed the Spencer H. Webster home on the Fort Point Peninsula in March 1916.  They saved all their furniture and personal possessions, but the conflagration couldn’t be halted because of the lack of water for the fire engine.  Neighbors, Dr. William A. Porter (1850-1921) and Thomas E. Dabney (1885-1970) were the first on the scene.  In March 1917, about a year after the conflagration, S.H. Spencer conveyed his land on the Fort Point Peninsula to his spouse.  It appears that the Websters built a new domicile after the fire.(The Ocean Springs News, March 16, 1916, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 61, p. 44)

Demise

Spencer H. Webster died on July 26, 1926 at Ocean Springs.  His corporal remains were sent to the National Cemetery at Mobile, Alabama for internment.  Mr. Spencer was a Civil War Veteran.(The Jackson County Times, July 31, 1926, p. 3)

Margaret A. Webster

Margaret Ann Webster (1860-1943) was born on November 22, 1860, at West Salem, Illinois, the daughter of George Pixley and Claressa Jones.  While a resident on The Lane, she amused the neighborhood children with her performing squirrels.  They were cages in a ten-foot by ten-foot enclosure.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 2004 and Nuwer, 1983) 

In her will written in late 1942, Margaret A. Webster legated her estate and real property to Charles O. Pixley (1869-1951), her brother formerly of Ainsworth, Nebraska, and to her two sisters, Laura J. Renfro (1863-1943+) of Pocatello, Bannock Co., Idaho and Ida E. Hastings (1857-1948) of North Hollywood, Los Angeles Co., California.  Mrs. Webster requested in her last testament that my home property to be sold within two years or a soon as the price of $5000 can be obtained and during which period my brother Charles Pixley is to occupy said premises without the payment of rent but he shall take care of the taxes and repairs due thereon.”  In addition to her real property, Margaret A. Webster left her siblings about $4400 in stocks and cash.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 6827-March 1943)

            Mrs. Webster expired at Ocean Springs on March 1, 1943.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Daily Herald, March 4, 1943, p. 6)

In September 1943, Mrs. Laura J. Renfro and Ida E. Hastings quitclaimed their interest in their sister’s Biloxi Bay estate to Charles O. Pixley, their brother.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 84, pp. 351-352)

Charles O. Pixley

            Charles Oscar Pixley (1869-1951), the brother of Margaret Ann Webster, was a native of West Salem, Illinois.  Most of his adult life was lived in Ainsworth, Brown County, Nebraska as a farmer and retail grocer.  Circa 1890, Charles had married Laura E. Pixley (1859-pre-1930+).  She was a native of Iowa and did not bear him children.(1900 Brown County, Nebraska Federal Census, T623R917, p8; 1920 Brown County, Nebraska Federal Census; and 1930, Brown County, Nebraska Federal Census, R1266 ED 1)

            Circa 1932, Charles O. Pixley, a widower, came to the Mississippi Gulf Coast probably settling at Biloxi, to be near Mrs. Webster, his aging widowed sister.  It appears that he took a wife, Anna May Pixley, during this time.  Mr. Pixley and his wife resided at the Biloxi Community House where they were caretakers.  He expired at the Biloxi Hospital on July 26, 1951.  Mr. Pixley’s remains were sent to Ainsworth, Nebraska after services for him were held at the First Methodist Church of Biloxi on July 23, 1951.(The Daily Herald, July 23, 1951, p. 2)

In January 1945, Charles O. Pixley and Anna May Pixley of Harrison County, Mississippi conveyed their Fort Point Peninsula estate to Elmer Williams for $4000. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 88, pp. 314-315)           

Elmer Williams

Elmer Williams (1898-1985) was born at Biloxi, Mississippi to Carroll “Cal” Williams (1864-1959) and Anna Cox Williams (1876-1941).  In 1920, he with Charles DeJean and Frank Bosarge commenced the DeJean Packing Company.  His brother, Carroll “Peck” Williams (1900-1977), joined the firm as a partner in later years, and in time, the two became sole owners of the corporation.  In April 1923, Elmer married Cornelia Champagne (1906-1983), a native of Charenton, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, in the St. Michael’s Catholic Church.  They were the parents of two daughters: Anna Mae Williams Favret (1924-1997) and Mercedes Williams Hall (b. 1925).(The Daily Herald, April 4, 1923, p. 3 and March 25, 1953, p. 7 and The Ocean Springs Record, January 31, 1985, p. 6)

            Elmer Williams was a candidate for Mayor of Biloxi in 1953.  He ran on the tenet that “there is no reason why a city or other public sub-division cannot and should not be administered on sound American business principles.”  Mr. Williams expired on January 29, 1985.  His corporal remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park Cemetery at Biloxi.  Cornelia preceded Elmer in death passing on in October 1983 at her home at 309 Front Beach Drive in Ocean Springs.(The Daily Herald, March 25, 1953, p. 7 and The Ocean Springs Record, January 31, 1985, p. 6)

            Elmer and Cornelia Williams never lived in their Lovers Lane home, but acquired it for their daughter, Anna Mae Favret.  In October 1945, Elmer Williams conveyed title to his Lovers Lane property to Anna Mae Williams Favret et al.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 92, pp. 369-370)           

Anna Mae W. Favret

Anna Mae Williams Favret (1924-1997) was born at Biloxi on January 10, 1924.  She was reared on Howard Avenue in Biloxi’s eastern most neighborhood, ubiquitously known as “The Point”.  Anna Mae was a 1941 graduate of the Sacred Heart Academy.  In February 1944, she married Robert “Bob” Benedict Favret (1913-1979), a native of New Orleans.  He was the son of Lionel Francis Favret (b. 1878) and Marie Erath Favret (b. 1880).  Lionel F. Favret was a prominent building contractor in the Crescent City.  The Favrets built many of the Roman Catholic sanctuaries in New Orleans and also the Roosevelt Hotel, now Fairmont Hotel.(The Sun Herald, April 16, 1997, p. C-2 andMercedes W. Hall, December 5, 2004)

In November 2004, Bob Favret’s brother, Lionel J. Favret Sr. (1911-2004) died at New Orleans.  He was a graduate of Holy Cross High School and attended Notre Dame University, where he was a member of the football and track teams, and Tulane University. Lionel joined his family's construction business. Among his projects were the Blue Plate Building, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, Cabrini High School, St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church and many other schools, churches and office buildings.(The Times Picayune, November 5, 2004)

Anna Mae and Bob Favret had two children: Cornelia “Connie” Ann Favret (b. 1944) and Elmer Favret (1946-1947).  Connie Ann was Queen of the Krewe of Zeus, a New Orleans Mardi organization, in January 1963.  Like her mother, she attended Sacred Heart in Biloxi where she was active in the marching band.(The Daily Herald, January 24, 1963)

Doing their occupancy of the old Webster place, Elmer Williams had the area in front of the Favrets dredged deeper.  He also had chicken houses erected.(Mercedes W. Hall, December 6, 2004)

Anna Mae Favret expired on April 14,1997 in Ocean Springs.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi City Cemetery.(The Sun Herald, April 16, 1997, p. C-2)

In April 1949, Robert B. Favret conveyed their Biloxi Bay home to R.G. Cooper and spouse, Dorothy M. Cooper, for $19,000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 97, p. 9)

R.G. Cooper

      R.G. and Doris M. Cooper were from Kentucky.  Bernelle Dressell Babcock, domiciled in Metairie, Louisiana and a former owner of 343 Lovers Lane, relates that R.G. Cooper had formerly worked for the Bridgeport Brass Company, probably at Indianapolis, Indiana.  It is believed that during the tenure of the Cooper family that the moniker “Rebel Oaks” was applied to the property.  Mr. Cooper enjoyed skeet shooting in Biloxi on Point Cadet.  No further information.(Mrs. B. D. Babcock, December 6, 2004 and T.P. Crozat, December 7, 2004)

Rebel Oaks

            The following short essay “The Rebel Oaks” was written in August 1983, by an eighth grade student in the class of Deanne Stephens Nuwer, now Dr. Nuwer, and a history professor at USM-Gulfcoast:

The Rebel Oaks

Rebel Oaks, a lovely alley of live oaks, is located on Lovers Lane and overlooks the Back Bay of Biloxi.  The site and present house are owned by Mrs. Emma Dressel.  The house and grounds are carefully tended by a caretaker. The present day house is a new structure.  Previously, however, there was a small, russet cottage located on the property.  It was owned by Mrs. Webster in the 1920’s.  Mrs. Webster had a 10’ x 10’ cage of performing squirrels that did tricks.  Local children enjoyed watching squirrels.

The original deed to the site was signed by our seventh President, Andrew Jackson.  He had won the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, and he traveled the Natchez Trace, so that he was familiar with the Southern land.(from: Ocean Springs, Mississippi-A Look at the Beautiful Past of a Beautiful City(Eighth Grade Class of Deanne Stephens Nuwer: Ocean Springs, Mississippi-1983

In October 1949, R.G. Cooper sold “Rebel Oaks” to Emma R. Dressel of New Orleans for $23,750.  “the conveyance included certain furnishings, furniture, and fixtures located on the premises, a list of which has been made and agreed upon by the grantor and grantee.”.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 110, pp. 177-178)

Emma R. Dressel

            Emma Robbert Dressel (1897-1982) was the daughter of Frederick W. Robbert (b. 1875) and Louise “Lu” Pons (1874-1928).  She married Bryce Ernest Dressel (1896-1950) who was born at New Orleans, the son of Harry J. Dressel (1867-1910+) and Elizabeth Heimberger Dressel (1867-1940).  Harry J. Dressel was a native of Cincinnati, Ohio.  His parents were natives of Saxony. Elizabeth H. Dressel came from Indiana.  Her father was also a German immigrant.  In 1910, Mr. H.J. Dressel made his livelihood as the superintendent of the streetcar railroad in the Crescent City.  Bryce E. Dressel had a brother, Harry J. Dressel Jr. (1900-1920+).(1870 Hamilton Co., Ohio-T9R1026, p. 586, ED 147 and 1910 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, T624R529, p. 154 and Bernelle D. Babcock, December 6, 2004)

Bryce E. Dressel made his livelihood at New Orleans in the small engine retail business.  He sold lawn mowers and later acquired the Mercury Outboard Motor franchise for the Crescent City.  Bryce and Emma Victoria Robbert were married in Orleans Parish, Louisiana in June 1919.  This blessed union resulted in three daughters: Leverne Emma Dressel (b. 1920) married William North (1918-1989); Brycelaine Dressel (b. 1923) married John Brigham Jr.; and Bernelle A. Dressel (b. 1925) married Henry G. Babcock (b. 1926).  William North and spouse had two sons, Bryce and Donald North.  The Brigham’s of Millbrae, California had a son, Mike, and two daughters, Sharon and Bonnie, while the Babcocks of Metarie had Mark and Brycelaine Dressel.(The Gulf Coast Times, November 24, 1950, p. 8 and Bernelle D. Babcock, December 14, 2004)

The grounds of Rebel Oaks were cared for through the years by Bernest Brooks.  Irene Brooks, his wife, also worked for the Dressels.       

1953 wedding

On June 13, 1953, Bernelle Alois Dressel married Henry G. Babcock on the grounds of Rebel Oaks.  The nuptials were held under the auspices of the Lutheran Church.  The grounds of Rebel Oaks were cared for through the years by Bernest Brooks.  His brother Henry Brooks performed a similar service for the Palfrey family to the north of the Dressel place.(Bernelle D. Babcock, December 1, 2004)

In July-August 1950, Bernelle had gone on an extensive, six weeks tour of Latin America.  She traveled by steamship to Buenos Aires, Argentina and flew to Chile to sail the Pacific.  She was met at Galveston, Texas by her parents in late August 1950.  Grandson, Bryce North, accompanied them to Texas.(The Gulf Coast Times, August 25, 1950, p. 5 and Bernelle D. Babcock, December 1, 2004)

New house

Circa 1965, Mrs. Emma R. Dressel demolished the old Spencer H. Webster residence and built a modern two-story, side gable-roofed, brick veneered wood frame structure, which was situated west of the Webster place and closer to Biloxi Bay.  The Dressel house was built in the “Southern Colonial” style and featured a five bay, shed-roofed portico maintained by large columns.  The central entrance has fan and sidelights.  A swimming pool was built southwest of the structure.(Breggren, 1986, p. 1)

Outbuildings

During the Dressel occupation of 343 Lovers Lane, in addition to the new house, a concrete block cottage and beach house were erected.  The cottage was built for Mrs. Dressel’s father, Frederick W. Robberts.  He was ill at this time and traveled with a nurse.

The beach house was built below the low bluff near the shoreline of Biloxi Bay for Lloyd Henry Robbert, the bachelor brother of Mrs. Emma R. Dressel.  He used it rarely.  After Bryce E. Dressel had a stroke and was partially paralyzed, he would sit on the gallery of the beach house and relax in his rocking chair and enjoy the marine vista and his grandchildren playing in the sand.  The grandchildren when hungry would often take a skiff to Biloxi and eat poor-boys at Rosetti’s, now called the Schooner on “The Point”.(Bernelle D. Babcock, December 1, 2004)

The beach house structure was damaged during tropical cyclone, Camille, in August 1969.  Subsequently, the derelict building was demolished.  Camille’s tidal surge came to the swimming pool, but did not enter the main house to the delight of the Dressels.(Bernelle D. Babcock, December 1, 2004)

Sale

In October 1974, Emma Robert Dressel, heir of Bryce E. Dressel, sold her Ocean Springs estate to her three daughters: Leverne Emma Dressel North of Transylvania County, North Carolina; Bernelle Alois Dressel Badcock of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; and Brycelaine Dressel Brigham of Butte County, California.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 513, p. 337)

Eldon D. McClain         

            In September 1989, Dr. Eldon D. McClain and spouse Dixie A. McClain, acquired Rebel Oaks from Brycelaine D. Brigham of Butte County, California, Leverne Emma Dressel North of Transylvania County, North Carolina, and Bernelle Alois D. Badcock of Metairie, Louisiana.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 943, p. 762)

            Eldon D. McClain (b. 1941) was born at Topeka, Kansas.  He was reared in a peripatetic family as his father traveled throughout the Midwest pursuing a career in agricultural sales.  Eldon finished high school in rural Illinois where he met his future bride, Dixie A. Richardson (b. 1944), a native of Miles City, Montana.  Dixie was reared in Illinois.  Her father fought in the South Pacific with the 5th Marine Division at Iwo Jima and was captured by a Life Magazine photographer as his landing craft approached the beach on the morning of the February 19, 1945 invasion.  Dixie is an alumnus of Northern Illinois University at DeKalb, Illinois.

In 1960, Eldon D. McClain matriculated to Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois and finished medical school there in 1968.  In 1973, he completed his post-graduate medical specialty in pathology in the Windy City.  Dr. Eldon D. McClain served several years in the U.S. Army stationed at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C.   Post-military service, he found employment at the Craven Medical Center in New Bern, North Carolina.  In 1979, Dr. McClain, Dixie, and their three sons relocated to Ocean Springs settling off East Beach.  He worked as a pathologist at the Howard Memorial Hospital in Biloxi and continues in this capacity today at the Biloxi Regional Medical Center.

            Prior to settling into their Biloxi Bay residence, the McClains realized that improvements were in order.  They hired Walter T. “Buzzy” Bolton, a local architect, to assist them with design and refurbishment plans.  Eldon and Dixie wanted to capture more of the incredible marine vista that was available to them, but not being fully realized because of the present architecture.  Bolton achieved their goal with multiple windows and the addition of a great room with a vaulted ceiling on the bayside of their home.  The foyer ceiling was also heightened.  The swimming pool was eliminated and that former area converted into a large, open, landscaped patio.  Jerry Morgan contracted the work for the McClains while Katie Tynes was retained for interior design consultations.    

            Upon entering the live oak traced drive into Rebel Oaks from Lovers Lane, one is struck with the pulchritude of the natural surroundings.  Large oaks, magnolia, cypress, and pecans form a moderately dense canopy, which filters sunlight to nourish the well-landscaped gardens of azaleas, hydrangeas, and lilies.  Mondo grass is appropriate and used to create verdant borders along the drives.  To the delight of their northern neighbor, Thomas P. Crozat, there is also persimmon tree on the estate.  The McClains take delight in their gardening activities and are capably assisted by Kathy Barnes. Striper, the family cat, provides friendly company for visitors.

Dr. Porter place

In April 1992, Dr. Eldon McClain acquired the contiguous 5.9-acres to the south of Rebel Oaks, the former Dr. William Porter place, from CSX Transportation Inc.  CSX is the surviving company of the 1982 merger of the L&N Railroad and the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad.  The railroad has possessed this tract since 1937.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 994, p. 66 and Bk. 70, p. 268)

            This concluded the chronology of the Israel-McClain tract at present day 343 Lovers Lane.

Charles F. Hemard Tract

The Charles F. Hemard homestead on the Fort Point Peninsula at Ocean Springs was created from the 3.40 acre Allison parcel in June 1879, when Elizabeth W. Allison (1842-1879) and her husband, Hugh Allison (1825-1881) sold their tract to Charles F. Hemard (1828-1888) for $350.  The Hemard parcel was north of the B.F. Parkinson lot and south of the Captain Brooks Place and had a front of two hundred forty eight feet on Biloxi Bay.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 214-215)

The Charles F. Hemard tract was further divided in November 1914, when possessed by Miss Alice de Armas (1853-1922+) who vended a lot to J.D. Decker (d. 1934).  These present day properties are 331 Lovers Lane, the Hemard-Anderson tract, and 329 Lovers Lane, the De Armas-Baker place.  They will be discussed separately.

 

Hemard-Anderson Tract

 

Charles F. Hemard

Charles Francois Hemard (1828-1888) was a native of Lorraine, France and a resident of New Orleans.  In 1850, Jean-Baptiste Hemard, his father, was a dairyman in the Crescent City and as a teen Charles sold bread.  He was one of six children all natives of France.(1850 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census, M432R236, Ward 7, p. 358) 

By 1880, Charles F. Hemard was a cotton merchant in the Crescent City.  At New Orleans in March 1851, he had married a French lady, Catherine Fersing (1835-1900+).  She had immigrated from France in 1847, and bore him seven children of whom two survived into the 20th Century: Michel F. Hemard (1853-pre 1880); Alfred Charles Hemard (1855-1888+); Ernest J. Hemard (1858-1891+); Charles J. Hemard (1860-1900+); Louis Hemard (1862-pre 1880); Alphonse Hemard (1864-pre 1880); and Edward Charles Hemard (1866-1900+) married Anna Margaret Meissner.(1873-1900+)  

In 1880, Ernest and Charles Hemard worked in a cotton press while their younger brothers were at school.  They resided in Ward 2, Enumeration District 12, which is bounded by Franklin, Thalia, Magnolia, and Julia Street.  The Civil District Court at New Orleans declared Ernest J. Hemard insane in February 1891.(CDC Orleans Parish, La. Div. B, Cause No. 25,031-September 1888 and Fenerty and Fernandez, Volume II, 1991, p. 292)           

Demise                      

Charles F. Hemard expired from heart failure at his Ocean Springs home on September 21, 1888.  His corporal remains were sent to New Orleans for burial in the St. Roch Cemetery.  The remainder of the Hemard family were interred in the Greenwood Cemetery at New Orleans.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 415-April 1891 and Thelma Hemard Heckert)

In June 1899, the Heirs of Charles F. Hemard, Catherine Hemard, a widow, Edward C. Hemard, and Charles F. Hemard conveyed their father’s Fort Pont Peninsula estate to Albert de Armas for $1000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 20, pp. 109-110)

Albert de Armas

Albert de Armas (1835-1915) was born at New Orleans, the son of Felix Nicolas Nicassio de Armas (1796-1839) and Isabella Alpuente (1805-1889).  Felix N.N. de Armas immigrated to America entering the port of New Orleans in 1822, probably coming from the Canary Islands. 

Albert de Armas made his livelihood as a commerce clerk and architect.  He was the uncle of Rita de Armas Marquez (1851-1909) and Alice de Armas (1853-1922+).    From Federal Census data, it appears that Albert and Alice de Armas were in the household of Frank Marquez (1840-1914), from the time of the marriage of Mr. Marquez to Rita de Armas in April 1874, until the death of Marquez in August 1914.(Orleans Parish 1880 Federal Census, 7thWard, ED 462, p. 607)

In 1891, Albert de Armas was secretary of the Swamp Land Reclamation Company in the Crescent City.  By 1900, he was a commerce clerk and resided on Elysian Fields Avenue with Frank Marquez, his nephew-in-law, the Civil Sheriff of Orleans Parish, Louisiana.(Soard’s 1891 NOLA Directory and 1900 Orleans Parish Federal Census, T623R572, ED 64, p. 146)

In 1910, Albert de Armas was domiciled on Lovers Lane and listed his occupation as farmer.  He resided with Frank Marquez, a widower, and his spinster niece, Alice de Armas.(1910 Jackson Co., Ms. Federal Census, T624R744, pt. 1, p. 113)

Albert de Armas expired on December 16, 1915 at St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. 

In February 1900, Albert de Armas had conveyed his Biloxi Bay home to Frank Marquez (1840-1914) for $1000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 21, p. 130)

Francisco Marquez

It is not known if the Hemard place burned or deteriorated, but in April 1900, the Ocean Springs reporter for the Pascagoula weekly journal noted that “a fine residence is being erected on the Hemard place north of the railroad on the beach, which will be occupied by a citizen of New Orleans for a summer home”.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 6, 1900, p. 3)

That citizen of the Crescent City was Francisco “Frank” Marquez (1840-1914), a native of New Orleans and the son of Francisco Marquez and Margaritha Llambias, both Spanish immigrants.  His siblings were: Marguerita Pamela Marquez (b. 1842); Bartholome Marquez (b. 1844); Simon Marquez (b. 1847); Ricardo Marquez (b. 1849); Philomena Carmen Marquez Valle (1851-1928) married Mr. Valle; Cesaire Baldmer “Baldomero” Marquez (1854-1923) married Amelia Delvaille; and Edward Joseph Marquez (1856-1927) married Carlotta Patti (1871-1937)

Civil War

            When the Civil War commenced, young Frank Marquez enlisted in Gustave LeGardeur’s Battery, a part of the Orleans Guard Battery A, which was formed in July 1863 by detaching those members of the 10th Missouri Artillery Battery who had previously served in the Orleans Guard Artillery and forming this new company, which was a part of the Army of Tennessee.  LeGardeur’s Battery received the guns of the Chestatee (Georgia) Artillery Battery upon its arrival at Charleston, South Carolina in November 1863.  It was armed with two 6-lb. smoothbores and two 12-lb. howitzers from April 2, 1864 to May 3, 1864.  It was armed with four 12-lb. Napoleons and two 3.5" Blakelys on January 6, 1865.  LeGardeur’s Battery fought at: Chickamauga, Georgia (1863); Chattanooga Siege, Tennessee (1863); Fort Johnson and Battery Simkins (1864); Bentonville, North Carolina (1865); and Averasboro, South Carolina (1865).(www.acadiansingray.com/Orleans%20Gd.%20Batt.htm)

Louisiana Lottery Company

"The people of Louisiana have a compulsion for gambling unequaled anywhere in the world that my travels have taken me," wrote C.C. Robin, a nationally acclaimed 19th century writer. "Their compulsion for gambling is only equaled by their compulsion for alcoholic beverages."

Returning to the Crescent City after the War of the Rebellion, Frank Marquez  married Miss Rita de Armas in April 1872 and began to practice law.  He became a member of the Louisiana State legislature and was a zealot in his effort to rid the state of gambling.  Marquez was successful in the eradication of the Louisiana Lottery Company.(The Jackson County Times, August 15, 1914, p. 5)

  In 1868, the Louisiana Lottery Company had opened for business after Charles T. Howard of New Orleans and his New York capitalist friend, John A. Morris, were successful in getting a 25-year monopoly to operate a lottery from the administration of Republican Gov. Henry Clay Warmoth (1846-1931), whose “Carpetbagger”, Reconstruction reign has been described as Louisiana’s most corrupt. 

For several years profits from the Louisiana lottery were slim to non-existent.  Competition from other states was fierce. In fact, Howard and Morris were seriously considering throwing in the towel.  But along came Dr. Maxmilian A. Dauphin, an Irish political exile. Dauphin took a small job with the Louisiana State Lottery and guaranteed its success.  Dr. Dauphin realized that dramatic publicity guaranteeing the honesty of the operation was the key to its success. In 1877, he drew two well-known heroes of the Confederacy, Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard (1818-1893) of Louisiana and Gen. Jubal A. Early (1816-1894) of Virginia, into the organization. For their services as commissioners and supervisors of drawings, they each received $30,000 a year. (clarionherald.org/20030101/stall.htm)

The Louisiana Lottery became the largest in the country, with tickets sold nationwide. The owners of the Company worked out an arrangement with the state government. In exchange for donating a comparatively small sum of $40,000 a year for 25 years to the Charity Hospital of New Orleans, the Company kept the rest of their revenues, tax-free. 

By 1890, 45 percent of all New Orleans postal receipts were lottery related. Lottery business coming through the mail hit $25 million a year, tax-free. Finally, Congress passed a law prohibiting the use of the mail for the transmission of lottery-related business. It was to be the lottery's deathblow.  By 1892, the Louisiana State Lottery had drawn it final number. In its 24 years, not one person ever won the $600,000 prize. A New Orleans barber did win $300,000 for a half-ticket.(Clarion Herald, January 1, 2003)

Civil Sheriff

In 1890, when the Orleans Parish Levee District was organized, Frank Marquez (1840-1914) served as the secretary to its Board of Commissioners.(Goodspeed, 1891, Vol. II, pp. 35-36)

In the mid-1890s, Frank Marquez participated in the election reform movement at New Orleans and was associated with the Citizens League.  In 1896, he was elected Civil Sheriff of Orleans Parish and fought to install populous candidates on the ballot.  While serving the people of Orleans Parish, his character and integrity were recognized by attorneys, the business community, and many others with whom he met.  When his term as Civil Sheriff ended, Frank Marquez retired to his estate on Biloxi Bay.(The Jackson County Times, August 15, 1914, p. 5)

Ocean Springs

In 1910, Frank Marquez, Albert de Armas (1835-1915), and Alice M. de Armas were residing at Ocean Springs at their Fort Point Peninsula residence.  Mr. de Armas lists his occupation as farmer.  At this time, Frank Marquez was a stockholder in the Builder’s Supply Company a lumberyard situated on Old Fort Bayou which vendedlumber, shingles, molding, brick, and associated building products.  It was managed by B.F. Joachim (1847-1925), also a stockholder and native of the Crescent City.(1910 Jackson Co., Ms Federal Census, T624R744, pt. 1, p. 113)

Alphonse Buisson (d. 1914), a Creole from New Orleans, worked on the Marquez place.  Buisson killed himself in mid-February 1914, after marital problems.  The suicide took place at the residence of his brother.(The Ocean Springs News, February 14, 1914, p. 5)

When Frank Marquez expired at Ocean Springs on August 12, 1914.  He was survived by two brothers, Baldermo Marquez and Edward Marquez, and a sister, Carmen M. Valle, the widow of Louis Auguste Valle (1843-1905).  Frank Marquez legated his estate to his sister-in-law, Alice M. de Armas (1853-1922+).  At the time, she resided in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, and was at Ocean Springs in May 1916.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 3377-August 1914, The Jackson County Times, August 15, 1914, p. 5 and The Daily Herald, May 30, 1916)

Alice M. de Armas

Alice Marie de Armas (1853-1922+) was born at New Orleans in 1853, the daughter of Felix de Armas (1827-1860+) and Laure de Armas (1831-1894).   She was the granddaughter of Felix Nicolas Nicassio de Armas (1796-1839) and Isabella Alpuente (1805-1889).  Felix N.N. de Armas immigrated to America entering the port of New Orleans in 1822, probably coming from the Canary Islands. 

In 1860, Alice de Armas was domiciled in her grandmother’s home with her father, a notary, her mother, and siblings, Rita de Armas and Emma de Armas.  Her uncle, Albert de Armas (1835-1915), a clerk, also lived with his mother.  Another sister, Marie Isabella Laure de Armas (b. 1851), probably died in a yellow fever epidemic as she was not alive in 1860.(1860 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, M656R419)

Subdividing the lot

In November 1914, Miss de Armas sold for $4000, a lot with 192 feet on Biloxi Bay and 180 feet on Porter consisting of 2.25 acres carved from the original 3.40 acre Charles F. Hemard tract.  She retained 84 feet and the Frank Marquez house on the north lot.  In September 1920, Miss de Armas conveyed it to Edward Marquez (1856-1927), the brother of her brother-in-law, Frank Marquez, for $2500.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 41, pp. 65-66 and Bk. 48, pp. 515-516) 

Miss Alice M. de Armas owned a home on Beauregard Lane, present day Catchot Place, until 1922.  She sold it to Mr. Fabian and relocated to 1009 St Ann Street in New Orleans.  Alice de Armas also possessed other property in the Jerome Ryan tract in the vicinity of Martin Avenue, which she conveyed to W.S. VanCleave (1871-1938)  in March 1923..(The Jackson County Times, April 8, 1922 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 52, p. 524-525)

Edward J. Marquez

Edward Joseph Marquez (1856-1927) was reared at New Orleans.  He married Carlotta Patti (1871-1937), a native of New York.  Her father was Portuguese and mother a native of Louisiana.  They had no children.  After Edward Marquez passed at Ocean Springs, on October 17, 1927, his corporal remains were sent to the Crescent City for internment in the St. Louis No. 3 on Esplanade Avenue.(The Daily Herald, October 18, 1927, p. 2

Carlotta P. Marquez

After her husbands demise, Carlotta P. Marquez inherited their Lovers Lane home and a $10,000 in cash as well as stocks, bonds, and a building at New Orleans rented to the Rocca-Mestayer Lumber Company. Edward J. Marquez left the remainder of his estate to his sister, Carmen Marquez Valle (1985-1928), the widow of Louis Auguste Valle (1843-1905).(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5014-December 1924)

Carlotta’s mother, Eugenie Patti (1848-1924), passed at Ocean Springs in April 21, 1924.(The Jackson County Times, April 1924, p. 5 )  

Carmen M. Valle passed on February 29, 1928, while a resident of Ocean Springs.  She was living with Mary Newman Murphy (1870-1942), at present day 619 Porter, the Whitney-Smith House.  Mrs. Valle’s corporal remains were interred in New Orleans at the St. Louis No. 3 Cemetery on Esplanade.  Her legatees were Father J.H. Chauvin and Mrs. Walter A. Lawson, a niece.  Mrs. Valle left an estate valued at $4600, including four lots in Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5023-March 1928 and The Daily Herald, March 2, 1928, p. 2). 

            In May 1933, Carlotta Patti Marquez conveyed the old Frank Marquez home on Lovers Lane to F.L. Strawn for $2150.  She died in January 1937.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 77, pp. 49-50)

F.L. Strawn

F.L. Strawn, spouse Martha Strawn, and their daughter came to Ocean Springs very likely from Sangamon County, Illinois where he had extensive farming interests.  Springfield, the State capital, is also the County seat of Sangamon County, Illinois.  While a resident of Lovers Lane, F.L. Strawn continued his entrepreneurial interests as he acquired a large tract of land on West Porter where he either acquired or built tourist courts.  The Strawn tourist courts were situated in Lots 7-12, and pts of Lots 13 and 14, and Lot 15 in Block 4 of the Schmidt Park Subdivision.  Block 4 is bounded on the north by Porter, east by Williams, and South by Howard.(The Jackson County Times, March 10, 1945, p. 1 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Plat Bk. 1, p. 83)

 

Ocean Springs Tourist Park

F.L. Strawn had acquired his tourist court tract from Jean Taylor formerly Jean Taylor Lough inFebruary 1938.  He sold the tourist courts to Martin Weick (1891-1971) of Chicago in March 1945.  In later years, the Strawn resort cottages were called the Ocean Springs Tourist Park.  This entity was owned by Harry L. Losch Jr. (1911-1965) and Clairetta Wiegartz Losch.  The Losch family was from Pennsylvania, probably Williamsport, home of the Little League World Series. (The Jackson County Times, March 10, 1945, p. 1, c. 2 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 71, p. 92, Bk. 88, p. 420-422, and Bk. 148, p. 465-468)

            Although I have a paucity of biographical information on F.L. Strawn, I do offer some information on Robert E. Strawn, also with Illinois ties, who appears to be a resident of Ocean Springs in 1936.  R.E. Strawn’s parents-in-law, seem to be Albert R. Greenwalt (1865-1930+) Agnes W. Greenwalt (1870-1930+), an English lady, and his nephew-in-law, Ralph Greenwalt (1912-1996).  In 1930, the Greenwalts were domiciled at Manchester, Scott County, Illinois.  Scott and Sangamon Counties are only about eighteen miles apart.  No further information.(1930 Scott Co., Illinois Federal Census, R560, ED 10)            

            In March 1945, F.L. Strawn sold his Lovers Lane estate to Frank M. White (1912-1984) for $6300.  Florence W. Humphrey (1883-1976), the spouse of Victor Grant Humphrey (1885-1942), of the Gulf Agency handled the real estate sale transaction.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 89, pp. 158-159 and The Jackson County Times, March 10, 1945, p. 1)

Frank M. White

Frank Mark White (1912-1984) had come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1939, probably from Florida.  He was an electrical engineer with the Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation in Pascagoula.  Mr. Smith was born on November 5, 1912 in Georgia, the son of Robert E. White (1871-1941+) and Maglolin White (1880-1930+), both Peach Tree State natives.  In August 1941, Frank married Nina Lois Cox (1914-1984+) in a Baptist ceremony at Pascagoula.  She was the daughter of B.E. Cox and Emma Cox of Perkinston, Mississippi.(JXCO, Ms. MRB 34, p. 151)

Frank M. White and his two siblings, Robert E. White Jr. (1908-1984+) and Martha M. White Hart (1910-1984+) were reared in rural Georgia, as his father was a farmer.  In 1920, the White family were living in Military District 1007 in Sumter County, which is situated in southwestern Georgia.(1920 Sumter Co. Ga. Federal Census, T625R278, ED 110, p. 5A)

By 1930, the White family had relocated to Tampa City, Florida.  At this time, Frank M. White made his livelihood as a shipping clerk.  His father continued in the agricultural field as a gardener.(1930 Hillsborough Co., Fla. Federal Census, R318, E.D. 18) 

            Frank M. White expired on March 27, 1984, at Moss Point, Mississippi.  His wife, two daughters, Mary White Hood and Janette White Weigle, and a son, F. Mark White Jr., survived him.  Mr. White’s corporal remains were interred in the Serene Memorial Gardens at Moss Point, Mississippi.(The Mississippi Press, March 27, 1984, p. 2-A)

            F.M. White conveyed his Lovers Lane home to Edward M. Lindsay and Lydia P. Lindsay in September 1945.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 91, pp. 85-86 and p. 593). 

Edward M. Lindsay

            I have no biographical information on this family.

Edward M. Lindsay and Lydia P. Lindsay conveyed their Lovers Lane property to Marvin W. Thompsonfor $10,000, in April 1947.  At this time, George E. Arndt Jr. (1909-1994) surveyed the Lindsay lot and ascertained its dimensions to be: seventy-nine feet on Biloxi Bay and four hundred seventy five feet deep with eighty six feet on Lovers Lane.  Affidavits