Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

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The Death of Marie H. Bellande and Forced Heirship

 

The untimely death of Marie Harvey Bellande at the age of 54 years on March 17, 1894, was the catalyst for the migration of the family from the Reynoir Street homestead.  She was buried at the Old Biloxi Cemetery in the Bellande family plot.

Her only daughter, Maria Ida, called Ida had according to family lore, eloped with a St. Louis railroad man named Edward Emile Gossow.  According to Ruth Bellande Ragusin, Captain Bellande did not approve of Gossow, and was opposed to their marriage on December 7, 1893.  After the death of Madame Bellande, Antoine refused to share his wife's estate with the Gussows.  The defiant act was countered by a law suit, Harrison County Chancery Court Cause No. 710-Gossow vs. Bellande et al.

On February 8, 1895, the court rendered a decree.  I could not find the actual court record, but could deduce from the available documents that the court forced the sale of the Marie Bellande Estate.  This estate was composed primarily of the land on Reynoir Street.  On April 1, 1895, E.S. Hewes, a special commissioner, sold the land for $5954.  The proceeds were divided as follows:  Antoine V. Bellande-$2137.73, Ida B. Gossow, the complaintant, $637.73, the Bellande sons, $637.73 apiece, Ford & Ford, the attorneys, $500, and $127.57 went for taxes.

From April 1895, to September 1899, many land conveyances between the Bellande men, Bellande men and William P. Kennedy, and other grantees concerning the Reynoir Street property were recorded in the Harrison County Courthouse.  The net result of these transactions was that the Bellande interest in the property was transferred eventually to William P. Kennedy (1873-1951) and Annie Chiapella (d. 1937) by the beginning of the 20th Century.  Kennedy built a hotel on his property at the corner of Reynoir and West Railroad across the street from the L&N Depot about 1901.  In addition to the hotel, the building had offices, a bar, and a restaurant.  I remember the building as a teenager as Sue's Pharmacy was located there.  It is a disaster that this historic area of Biloxi was lost to urban renewal.  The L&N Depot, the lovely oak filled park south of the Depot, and the Old Hotel District (the Chiapella's also built a hotel) along Reynoir have vanished.  These wonderful sites have been replaced by parking lots and ugly contemporary buildings.  The Kennedy Hotel was removed in the early 1960s?

 

A New Bride For The Captain

On October 21, 1896, Captain Antoine Bellande married Mary Anne Catchot of Ocean Springs at Saint Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church in that city.  Mary Anne Catchot (1860-1931) was the daughter of Antonio Catchot (1828-1885) and Elizabeth Hoffen (1838-1916).  Antonio was a Spaniard emigrating from Menorca in the Balearic Islands.  Catchot arrived at Ocean Springs about 1850.  He was a pioneer in the oyster industry and may have started the first oyster house on the coast.  An oyster shop was a small building about 20 feet square situated on pilings and utilized as a place to open and sell oysters.  It might be considered a precursor to a seafood factory.  The Catchot oyster shop was located at the foot of Jackson Avenue in the vicinity of the present day Ocean Springs Seafood of the Earl Fayard family.

Antonio Catchot married Elizabeth Hoffen about 1854.  She was born in Bremen, Germany and had come to the United States about 1853.  Their children were: Elizabeth Catchot Camba Dunn (1854-1927), Joseph S. Catchot (1858-1919) called Joe Tony, Mary Catchot Bellande (1860-1931), and Antonio Catchot Jr., (1868-1952) who was known as Toy.

Mary Catchot's sister, Elizabeth, married Francis Henry Camba (1853-1885) of New Orleans at Jackson County, Mississippi on September 22, 1877.  He may have been the son of Frank Camba (pre-1869) and Rosalia Oser. She remarried Cornelius S. Cole at NOLA in January 1869.

F.H. Camba and Elizabeth Catchot had a son, Walter Frank Camba (1878-1960) born at Ocean Springs.  The Cambas lived at New Orleans where Frank made his livelihood as a paying teller in a local bank.  In May 1880, he ran off with Mary Anne Catchot abandoning Elizabeth and her baby.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 21, 1880, p. 3)

Mary Anne Catchot had a child born out of wedlock with Frank H. Camba, named Eva Louise Catchot (1880-1914).  Eva L. Catchot married Issac Clayton Chance of Rome, Georgia at Ocean Springs in March 1911.  In October of that year, a daughter, Mary Etheline Chance, was born.  The Chances later lived at Ashville, North Carolina.  Eva C. Chance died at her home located at No. 68 Church Street in Ashville on November 4, 1914.  Her remains were sent to Ocean Springs for burial in the Evergreen Cemetery on Fort Bayou.(The Ocean Springs News, November 14, 1914, p. 2)

After Frank H. Camba died in the insane asylum at Jackson, Louisiana in December 1885, Elizabeth Catchot Camba married John M. Dunn (1853-1932), a native of Bay St. Louis, at the St. Alphonsus Roman Catholic Church in Ocean Springs in October 1887.

Walter F. Camba grew up in New Orleans were he worked for the Illinois Central Railroad for forty-six years retiring in August 1940.  He had married Grace Hunt at Fort Philip, Louisiana on April 22, 1903.  Miss Eva Catchot was a bridesmaid in his wedding.  He later married Mary Ellen Glavin (1880-1957) of New Orleans.  The Cambas had at least three children: Mercedes C. Schmid (1909-1987), Walter Frank Cambe Jr. (1912-1999), and Mrs. Paul Schriber.  Most of the Cambas are entombed in the Metairie Cemetery (Glavin-Section 26).  John M. Dunn died July 29, 1932, and is buried with his wife, Elizabeth who predeceased him on June 13, 1927, in the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs.

Mary Catchot Bellande sold a lot at present day 525 Rayburn Avenue in Ocean Springs to Walter F. Camba as recorded in Book 76, pp. 431-432 of the Record of Deeds of Jackson County, Mississippi on June 11, 1924.  It is believed that he used the cottage here as it as a retreat from New Orleans.  Guy F. Walker II resides here today.

In 1900, Antoine Bellande and Mary were residents of Ocean Springs.  A son, Edward Antoine Bellande, had been born in 1897.  At the time of Edward's birth, Captain Bellande was 67 years of age, and his wife 37 years old.  Living with them on Jackson Avenue were Mary's daughter, Olivia Catchot; Walter F. Camba; her brother, Joseph Catchot; and her mother, Elizabeth Hoffen Catchot.(1900 Jackson Co., Ms. Federal Census)

            The Pascagoula Democrat-Star announced on September 24, 1897, that Captain A. Bellande was appointed the official fumigator for Ocean Springs.  The town was besieged by a yellow fever epidemic at this time, and Bellande's duties were to disinfect and fumigate places where yellow fever deaths had occurred.

On May 29, 1901, The Biloxi Daily Herald reported that Captain Bellande almost lost his life in the Mississippi Sound.  He was in command of the schooner, A. Gerdes and Brother, in route to Ocean Springs.  The seven-man crew was below preparing for bed.  The weather was rough and a green sailor was in charge of the watch.  His inexperience in boathandling allowed the A. Gerdes and Brother to capsize.  Bellande and the crew were found clinging to their stricken vessel by the steamer, Julius Elbert.  They were rescued having lost all of their possession to the sea.  Their derelict schooner had been built by Frank Taltavull (1851-1930).(The Biloxi Daily Herald, May 29, 1901, p. 1)