Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

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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 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 1980, Harroll D. Castle 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, 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 House run 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; the Vahle House on Washington at Calhoun was lost in a large conflagration, called “The Big Fire” in November 1916; the Shanahan 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.  In the summer of 1958, he worked with Dr. James Waddell at present day 822 Porter.  Dr. Smith began his own practice on the NE/C of Washington Avenue and Iberville Drive, when in October 1958 he acquired the former home of Mayor Frederick M. Weed (1850-1926), a native of Hinesburg, Vermont, from Martha O’Brien Minnemeyer (1883-1968).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 181, p. 583)

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

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

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

Dr. George F. Smith

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

Selling the lodge

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

Lovers Lane

In May 1950, Clendenin Baird Smith had sold her lot on Lovers Lane to Willis B. Boyd (1907-1957) for $6800.  She never did build on this tract which had been vacant since the December 1925 conflagration, which destroyed Oakroyd, the home of Miss Idelle Beaufort Watson (1857-1957).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 112, pp. 502-503)

Willis B. Boyd

            Willis “Bill” B. Boyd (1907-1957), the son of Richard W. Boyd and Nettie Ishbell, was born at Buffalo, Kentucky.  He married Rose Atkins.  While a resident of Ocean Springs and Lovers Lane, Bill Boyd made his livelihood in real estate and insurance.  Mr. Boyd expired on August 26, 1957, in the Larue community north of Ocean Springs.  His corporal remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery at Biloxi, Mississippi.(Bradford-O’Keefe Burial Bk. 41, p. 74)

            William Holmes, grandson of Robert Hays Holmes, and a former resident of Lovers Lane and long time citizen of Corpus Christi, Texas relates that Bill Boyd was an Army Colonel fond of Packard automobiles.  The Boyds had a son, David Boyd.(William Holmes, January 25, 2005)

During their occupation of 331 Lovers Lane, the Boyds erected a one story, side-gabled roof, wood-frame, house.  It was the first structure on the lot since the December 1925 fire, which consumed the home of Miss Idelle Beauchamp Watson (1857-1957). (The Jackson County Times, January 3, 1925, p. 3)

In November 1960, Clendenin Baird Smith (1903-1985) issued a quitclaim deed to Rose A. Boyd to correct a property description error.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 203, pp. 362-363).           

Rose A. Boyd

            Post World War II, Rose Atkins Boyd went to Japan as part of the American scheme to assist the defeated nation in its revitalization.  She participated in the financial program of the recovery effort.  Mrs. Boyd was pregnant in July 1951 and acknowledged  with a baby shower by Margaret Oxley St. John, the spouse of Colonel Adrian St. John (1891-1955), of Saint’s Retreat on the Ocean Springs-Vancleave Road.  It is believed that the newborn child was a boy called Kenneth.(The Daily Herald, July 23, 1951, p. 5)

            In April 1962, Rose A. Boyd, the widow of Willis B. Boyd, was domiciled in Washington D.C., when she conveyed her Lovers Lane real estate to Ellen W. Mead.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 221, p. 296) 

Ellen W. Mead

            Ellen Wassall Mead (1894-1981) was born at Chicago on August 29, 1894, the daughter of Dr. Joseph W. Wassall (d. 1909) and Grace Runnion (d. 1919).  Dr. Wassall was a dentist and traveled to Russia as the personal dentist of the Czar.  Grace R. Wassall was a songwriter and chanteuse.  Some of her music, which was published by the John Church Company of Cincinnati, Ohio is: “A Shakespeare song cycle” (1904); “Concerning Love”; “Early”, and “Late”.(John Anderson, January 5, 2005)

As Grace R. Wassall was a career woman, Ellen’s early care at Chicago was given to Agnes Cooke Hellmuth (1862-1919), the mother of Marjorie Hellmuth Grinstead (1882-1933), and grandmother of Patricia “Pat” Grinstead Anderson (1907-1973), the wife of Peter Anderson (1901-1984) and Agnes “Sissy” Grinstead Anderson (1909-1991), the spouse of Walter “Bob” Anderson (1903-1965).  The younger Grinstead girls grew up with Ellen Wassall, whom they called “Ell”, and she became their “almost sister”.(Mary Anderson Pickard, January 28, 2005 and Maurer, 2003, p. 45)

Parker Earle

In 1890, at Benton Harbor, Michigan, Agnes C. Hellmuth, the widow of Gustavos Stewart Hellmuth, married Parker Earle (1831-1917), the widower of Melanie Tracey Earle (1837-1889).  At Ocean Springs, Parker Earle, a native of Vermont, was a horticulturist, land speculator, and involved townsman.  Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart (1840-1925), a pioneer citizen of the town, said, “the first step toward civic improvement (at Ocean Springs) was the initial work of shelling the streets, undertaken by Mr. Parker Earle, an intelligent and progressive citizen”.

Parker Earle and family were obviously impressed with coastal Mississippi for in July 1884, Charles T. Earle (1861-1901), his son, purchased twenty-five acres situated on the Fort Point Peninsula, known as the “Stuart Orange Grove” from Elizabeth McCauley (1840-1925) and W.R. Stuart (1820-1894).  The event was chronicled by an announcement in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star on May 2, 1884:

            Col. W.R. Stuart has sold, so we have been informed, his orange grove on the Back Bay of Biloxi to Mr. Parker Earle of Cobden, Illinois.  Mr. Earle is chief of the horticultural department of the World’s Exposition.

Here, the Earle family erected an estate home called “Bay View”, which in 1902 became the domicile of Anna Louise Fitz Benjamin (1848-1938), the widow of David M. Benjamin (1834-1892), of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  For at least half a century, the Fort Point Peninsula was known by the moniker, “Benjamin’s Point”.  

Circa 1893, Parker Earle left Ocean Springs for Roswell in the Pecos River Valley of the New Mexico Territory in the wake of the collapse of his land holdings and Earle Farm, later Rose-Money Farm, at Ocean Springs.  The general feeling is that the Earle family financial misfortunes were caused by their efforts to raise fruit and vegetables in seasons, which turned out to be disastrous to that business, and the Panic of 1893.  The Panic of 1893 was created by the uneasy state of the British securities market in 1890.  Separated, Mr. Earle and Agnes Hellmuth Earle’s divorce was finalized in February 1897, at Berrien County, Michigan.

Bay View

            After her divorce from Parker Earle, Agnes C. Hellmuth remained at Bay View, her home on the Fort Point Peninsula.  Sarah Deuel Cooke (1839-1904), her mother, the widow of Theodore W. Cooke, came from Chicago to assist with her two young daughters.  Here Agnes made her livelihood running a boarding house for patrons, primarily from Chicago in the winter and New Orleans in the summer months.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 235)

            In April 1902, Mrs. Anna L. Benjamin acquired Bay View, the former twelve-acre estate of Parker Earle from Sarah Deuel Cooke.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 24, p. 319) 

 

Family Tradgedies

On September 18, 1909, Dr. J.W. Wassall who maintained dental offices in the Windy City drowned in Lake Michigan.  He was sailing near Racine, Wisconsin when his demise occurred.   Several years later, his widow married Thomas L. Chadbourne (1871-1938), a Chicago born attorney, who in 1902 founded a New York law firm that is extant as Chadbourne & Parke LLP.  This legal entity has ten international offices and nearly one thousand attorneys.( The Chicago Daily Tribune, Sept. 20, 1909, p. 1 and coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/53/chadbourne.html)

Miss Ellen Wassall was legated $50,000 by her father’s estate.  She became a participant in proceedings instituted by her father’s relatives to make Mrs. Agnes L. Hellmuth her legal guardian.  Mrs. Hellmuth had capably managed Dr. Wassall’s household for three years.  Ellen preferred the companionship of the housekeeper to that of her mother, now the wife of Thomas L. Chadbourne (1871-1938), of  New York.”   During the guardianship proceedings, Ellen commented to a Chicago reporter, who was covering the trial: “I am going to stay with Auntie. My father did not want me brought up under the influence of Mrs. Chadbourne,” from whom Dr. Wassall had divorced a few years earlier.(The Chicago Daily Tribune, September 24, 1909 and Maurer 2003, p. 45)

In addition, Ellen Wassall was stricken with a natal malady, which left her handicapped.  Pat Grinstead Anderson, Ells’ “almost sister”, wrote of her condition: “Through some miserable doctor’s fault there was an injury at birth which has made her a little lame and she hasn’t always complete control of her hands.”(Maurer, 2000, p. 101)

 

Oldfields

            In 1905, William Wade Grinstead (1864-1948), a Harvard educated attorney and the husband of Marjorie Hellmuth, acquired “Lewis Sha”, the 1845 A.E. Lewis plantation at Gautier, Mississippi.  Mr. Grinstead, whose journey South from Chicago to restore his health, not only found a lovely wife at Ocean Springs but also became a gentleman farmer who raised pecans and livestock on the Mexican Gulf.  Circa 1908, Ellen Wassall and Agnes Cooke Hellmuth came to live with the Grinsteads at Oldfields.  It was here in the late 1920s, that Pat and Sissy Grinstead met the Anderson boys from the fledgling Shearwater Pottery and commenced the complex Anderson family legacy at Ocean Springs.(History of JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.    , p., Ms., 1989, p. 47 and Maurer, 2003 ,p. 45)

In 1919, the Grinstead family relocated to Sewickley, Pennsylvania when Mr. Grinstead gained employment with the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh.  They returned to Oldfields for the summer months.  In 1941, Bob Anderson and family with an aged and ailing W.W. Grinstead began their seven-year occupation of Oldfields.  Mr. Grinstead expired here in 1947.(Anderson, 1989, p. x and Maurer. 2003, p. 207)

 

Wassall’s cultural interests   

            Dr. Christopher H. Maurer, now Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Modern Foreign Language and Literature at prestigious Boston University, who is an authority on Andersonia, i.e. the life and times of the creative descendants of George Walter Anderson (1861-1937) and Annette “Mere” McConnell Anderson (1867-1964), relates the following concerning the cultural interests of Ellen Wassall Mead (1894-1981):

 

            Throughout her life, Miss Wassall’s cultural interests were extraordinarily wide, including Eastern art, travel, theater, and architecture. She was well educated and, in 1924, accompanied Patricia and Agnes Grinstead abroad to study in France. She took a lively interest in the debate over Civil Rights in the South, was an avid reader, especially of Shakespeare, and an early admirer of the art and writing of Walter “Bob” Anderson, who painted her portrait and whose “Horn Island Logs” she helped to publish. Through Edwards Park and Henry Mead, over the course of her life she came into contact with some notable figures from the world of medicine and philosophy, including the medical researcher Helen Taussig, the psychiatrist Adolf Meyer, Alfred North Whitehead and John Dewey, some of whose personal papers (letters to Mead’s father George Herbert Mead) she donated to the University of Chicago.

 

            Mary Anderson Pickard remembers Ellen Wassall Mead’s cultural pursuits in concordance with Maurer’s:“Ellen was well educated and went abroad to study in France.  She accumulated a fine library and was well read, especially in regards to English poetry and Shakespeare.  Ellen’s interests were cultural and varied.  She enjoyed the theatre, oriental art, and architecture.”(Mary Anderson Pickard, January 28, 2005)

Henry Mead

In the 1930s, Ellen Wassall spent time in and around Baltimore, Maryland, probably with the Grinstead Vaughan family, maternal relatives of William W. Grinstead.  In 1937, Bob Anderson of the Shearwater Pottery at Ocean Springs was admitted to the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at Baltimore, with the aid of Dr. Edwards A. Park, a friend of Ellen Mead.  During Bob Anderson’s treatment, Ellen met and fell in love with Dr. Henry Mead, a Chicago physician, who was studying psychiatry at Phipps under Dr. Adolph Meyer.  Circa 1938, they married.(Maurer, 2003, p. 114 and Mary Anderson Pickard, January 28, 2005)        

Henry and Ellen Mead lived in Ellicott City, Maryland, a Baltimore suburb and later relocated to Winder’s Point on Maryland’s eastern shore.  Here, despite Ellen Mead’s physical disability, they enjoyed sailing and the other amenities of coastal living.  Henry Mead passed on while a resident of Maryland.(Mary Anderson Pickard, January 28, 2005)  

Ocean Springs

In April 1962, the widowed Ellen Wassall Mead joined her “almost sisters” at Ocean Springs, Mississippi when she acquired the Lovers Lane domicile of Rose A. Boyd, the widow of Willis B. Boyd.  Mrs. Boyd was a resident of Washington D.C. at the time of the conveyance to Mrs. Mead.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 221, p. 296)  

Hurricane Camille

            Mrs. Henry Mead spent Hurricane Camille in her home on Biloxi Bay.  She was accompanied by Sissy” Grinstead Anderson (1909-1991).  Mrs. Anderson read her late husband’s prose about his experience during Hurricane Betsy in September 1965.  Walter “Bob” I. Anderson (1903-1965) was on Horn Island when the tropical tempest hit the Gulf Coast.(The Ocean Springs Record, September 4, 1969, p. 2)

An idiosyncrasy of Ellen W. Mead was that she placed mousetraps on her furniture to discourage her dog from using it.  Ellen expired on July 6, 1981 at her residence at Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  No further information.(Thomas P. Crozat, November 21, 2004)

“Birdwood” and the Anderson family

In April 1983, the Estate of Ellen W. Mead conveyed 331 Lovers Lane to Agnes “Sissy” GrinsteadAnderson (1909-1991), “her almost sister”.  Leif Anderson (b. 1944), the daughter of Bob and Sissy Anderson lived in her mother’s Lovers Lane domicile with her two children, Moira Halsey A. Miller (b. 1965) and Ivan A. Philippoff (b. 1972), for about eight years.  The Andersons came to call their Lovers Lane domicile “Birdwood”.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 40,891 and  JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1074, p. 570)

Leif Anderson-Leila Haller

Leif Anderson is well known in the dance and literary world.  As a child she aspired to the ballet and after graduating from Ocean Springs High School in 1962, she commenced her studies at New Orleans with Leila Haller (1903-1986), a master ballet instructor.  Leila Haller studied the ballet at Paris with an exclusive ballet school.  She danced with the Paris Opera Ballet and founded the Loyola Ballet School.  When Leila retired from dancing in the fall of 1978, she was replaced by Gayle Pamelee.(Loyola Today, April 16, 1999)

At New Orleans, Leila had married Fred A. Wulff Jr. (1898-1974), the son of Fred A. Wulff (1872-1957) and Bernadine Burkhardt.  Fred practiced law, and was a civic leader and businessman.  He was also the manager of the L.E. Jung and Wulff, manufacturers of liquors and cordials.  He was a member of several carnival organizations and for many years served as one of the four captains for the Rex parade.(The Daily Herald, March 15, 1974, p. 2)

Leila Haller’s sister-in-laws were Bernadine Wulff (1899-1992) and Vera A. Cook (1906-1992).  Bernadine Wulff was blessed with natural acting ability and this combined with her trained voice led to many opera and musical theater roles in New York and Chicago from 1924 into the mid-1930s.  She chose the stage name “Berna Deane”.  Her sister, Vera Adelaide Wulff Cook (1906-1992), was also a talented chanteuse.  When the Depression came, they found theatrical work difficult to obtain and joined together as the “Deane Sisters”, performing on radio in New York and Chicago.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, pp. 399-400) 

In August 1928, Bernadine Wulff had acquired MissLaBama, (1899-1992), the former Alabama pavilion at the 1884 World Cotton Exposition in New Orleans, which had been shipped on a barge to Ocean Springs by W.B. Schmidt (1823-1901) to be used as a music hall for his children.  Jan Walker now owns the former Wulff cottage at present day 243 Front Beach Drive.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 61, pp. 570-571)

Lelia Haller used MissLaBama, as a weekend retreat.(Nelicia Checkley Cook, March 2, 2000)

Airth

In September 1964, Leif Anderson performed at the Martha Graham studio in New York City.  She lived in New Orleans where she had a dance studio on Magazine Street.  In 1977, Leif developed “Airth”, a philosophy which manifests itself in an interpretive dance form characterized by its free flowing movements generated spontaneously within the performer who seeks to equalize the atmosphere and earth, breath, body and spirit within himself.  Based on natural principals, “Airth” allows one to achieve greater freedom of movement.( The Ocean Springs News, September 3, 1964, p. 1 and The Sun Herald  April 9, 1995, p. G-1)

In the early 1980s, Leif Anderson and children returned to New York City where they lived for several years.  Here Leif became immersed in the dance, writing, and teaching.  She was lauded by dance critics in the Big Apple for“her ability to transport her audience and invites (them) to share the ecstatic experience.”   In 1986, Leif wroteDancing With Airth.  The introduction was fortified with her poetry, line drawings, and quotes by Isadora Duncan (1878-1927).(The Ocean Springs Record, June 30, 1983, p. 7 and August 4, 1994, p. 6 )

Leif Anderson returned to Ocean Springs in the 1980s and has taught “Airth” and performed it for the public.  In the late 1980s, she held instructions in the Ocean Springs Senior Citizens building and has performed in the Community Center and in recent years for WAMA.(The Ocean Springs Record, June 15, 1989, p. 6)

Shearwater

            In January 1992, Leif Anderson had a home cum dance studio-creative center built in the Shearwater compound by Ken Snider, local contractor, from plans conceived by architectural Professor Edward Pickard, her then brother-in-law, and conceptual architect for the WAMA project.  After the completion of her Shearwater home, she moved from 331 Lovers Lane.  Here Ms. Anderson has continued the creative process with her painting, drawing, sculpture, writing, and music.

John G. Anderson

John Grinstead Anderson (b. 1947) was conveyed the Boyd-Mead place in September and December 1995, by Leif Anderson, William Anderson, and Mary Anderson Pickard, legatees of Agnes G. Anderson.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.1078, p. 172, p. 174, and p. 176).

John G. Anderson is well educated having earned degrees in biology and psychology from the University of Mississippi.  At the University of Miami, John completed a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Medicine.  In March 1979, he married Sandra Nell Hall (b. 1946) under the Ruskin Oak.  They have a son, Joshua I. Anderson (b. 1980).  Today, John divides his time between Lovers Lane and Miami and is active in the management of Realizations, the marketing outlet for reproductions of his father’s renowned artwork.

This concludes the history of the Decker-Anderson place situated at 331 Lovers Lane.

LOT 4-Section 24, T7S-R9W

The history of Lovers Lane presented thus far has been concentrated in the ten-acres more or less in the SE/C of Section 24, T7S-R9W and Section 25, T7S-R9W.  This incipient site of initial settlement took advantages of the same topographic features that Iberville and his Canadian and French cohorts found in April 1699- high land on sparkling Biloxi Bay and relatively deep water near shore.  The rest of the Lovers Lane story takes place on the land to the north.  Again affluent people from New Orleans were the primary occupants erecting summer homes on large estates to escape the summer heat and the “black vomit”, the yellow fever virus, which was transmitted by mosquitoes that plagued residents of the Crescent City from summer well into fall.

William R. Buddendorf

One of the earliest deeds of trust recorded in Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W was between two New Orleanians,William R. Buddendorf (1821-1874) and John Arrowsmith (1808-1882).  In December 1869, William R. Buddendorf mortgaged to John Arrowsmith Lot 4, consisting of one hundred sixty acres, less ten acres in the SE/C of Lot 4 for $6000.  Mr. Buddendorff had a residence and pier as exhibited in legal descriptions of the property.  In October 1870, Elizida E.F. Buddendorf, the spouse of W.R. Buddendorf, as a party to the mortgage released her right of dower under the laws of the State of Mississippi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 353-355)   

William R. Buddendoff was a native of Stettin, Prussia.  He arrived at New Orleans in 1827.  Circa 1844, Mr. Buddendorf had married Ezilda E.F. Benetaud (1823-1917), a native of France or Louisiana.  They were the parents of twelve children: William Buddendorf (1845-1870+), Robert Buddendorf (1847-1870+), George Buddendorf(1849-1870+), Mary Buddendorf (1851-1870+), John Buddendorf (1854-1870+), Louise Buddendorf (1857-1870+), Anna Buddendorf (1858-1870+), Bertha Buddendorf (1858-1870+), Anselm Buddendorf (1862-1870+),Ezilda BuddendorfEmma Buddendorf (1864-1870+), and Cecelia Buddendorf (1865-pre 1876).  All the Buddendorf children were born in Louisiana with the exception of Emma was born in Mississippi, probably at the Buddendorf residence on the Fort Point Peninsula.

W.R. Buddendorf made his livelihood as a shipbroker.  His three eldest sons, William, Robert, and George Buddendorf, were clerks in the family enterprise.  Mr. Buddendorf had a net worth of $9000 in 1870.  His real estate was valued at $8000.  At the time of his demise in 1874, William R. Buddendorf resided at 381 Annunciation Street, near Josephine.(The Daily Picayune, February 20, 1874

John Arrowsmith

             John Arrowsmith(1808-1882) was born at Manchester, England.  He came to New Orleans circa 1828.  Mr. Arrowsmith resided at 98 Urquhart Street between Frenchmen and Elysian Fields.(The Daily Picayune, July 31, 1882

John Arrowsmith, a land developer, owned Faubourg Jackson at New Orleans.  It consisted of all the land fronting on City Park Avenue from Bayou St. John to St. Patrick’s Cemetery.  He also owned a short train line from the Old Basin, which ran the length of Orleans Street to the Bayou St. John Cemetery.  It failed after a few years because the $3.00 fee for transporting caskets and funeral parties made it non-competitive after St. Louis No. 3 opened on Esplanade.  No fees were charged here and it was only a few blocks away.(Chase, 1979, p. 151 and Mary M. White, New Orleans, Louisiana)

George A. Faunee

John Arrowsmith must sold or traded his W.R. Buddendorf mortgages of $6000 on his Fort Point Peninsula property to George A. Faunee of New Orleans for in May 1874, Mr. Faunee assigned his rights and mortgages in Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W to  Dennis Redmond (1824-1906?), Adeline A. Staples (1829-1902), and Martha B. McCauley (1816-1887).  As his compensation, Mr. Faunee acquired a parcel of land in New Orleans from Miss McCauley, which was valued at $700 and situated in the square bounded by Tonti, Rocheblave, Columbus and Kerelec Streets.  Mr. Faunee was paid $800 in cash by Redmond and Staples.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, p. 146) 

 

Division of Lot 4

In December 1874, the three parties, Martha B. McCauley, Adeline A. Staples, and Dennis Redmond divided and partitioned Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W, less the ten acres in the SE/C.  The author has chosen to call the three divisions of Lot 4, Lot 4-NorthLot 4-Central, and Lot 4-South.  A discussion of each follows:

Lot 4-North

This area of the Fort Point Peninsula has been known as Spanish PointBreezy PointBenjamin Point, and presently, Fort Point.

Dennis Redmond (1824-1906?) selected Lot 4-North.  The boundaries of his parcel were defined in the partition agreement as: north by the waters of Fort Bayou; east by said bayou and the line running through the middle of a large marsh; south and west by the waters of the Back Bay of Biloxi said tract being generally known as the“Point” and “Spanish Point” being at present unimproved and having not been specially surveyed.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, p. 215-218)

Prior to his association with Ocean Springs, Dennis Redmond, an Irishman, had resided at Utica, New York and Augusta, Georgia where 'Fruitland', his home and gardens, were established.  The old Redmond place is now the clubhouse for the Augusta National Golf Course, home of the "Masters", played each April by world class golfing professionals. Redmond had married Mary Ann Porter in June 1843, at Herkimer County, New York.   At Utica, New York in the 1850s, he made his livelihood as a printer. Dennis and Mary Ann Porter Redmond had three children who were born in New York.  Two survived into adulthood: Cornelia K. Redmond (1845-1877+) m. W.P. Crawford and Mary G. Redmond (1848-1877+) m. Hugh H. Colquith.  The Redmonds separated in June 1867.  Dennis Redmond was also was editor of the Southern Cultivator, an agricultural journal.  The Redmond family left Georgia for NOLA in the 1860s and by the 1880s, Dennis Redmond was situated at Jacksonville, Florida.  he expired here in 1906 or 1908(1850 Oneida Co., New York Federal Census M432-563, p. 453A and 1860 Richmond, Co., Georgia Federal Census, M653_135, p. 26, ED 119, e-mail from Philip Herrington, UVA, Charlottesville, Va. February 2010, and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 14-A-September 1877)           

Lot 4-Central

Martha B. McCaulay selected Lot 4-Central.  Its areal extent was agreed upon in the partition agreement with Redmond and Staples as: bounded on the north by the middle of a large marsh, and the waters of Fort Bayou; east by Fort Bayou and lands of Mrs. Staples; south by lands of Mrs. Staples; and southwest and west by the Back Bay of Biloxi.  The McCaulay tract was surveyed by Mr. Cland?, surveyor of Jackson County, Mississippi, and believed to contain about 25 acres.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 215- 218)

Martha B. McCaulay, nee Jones, was married in August 1834 to Hamilton McCaulay at Madison County, Mississippi.  They were the parents of Elizabeth McCaulay Stuart (1840-1925).(Madison Co., Ms. Marriage Record Bk. E, p. 161)

Lot 4-South

Adeline A. Staples (1829-1902) selected Lot 4-South.  This parcel was given the following boundaries in the partition deed of December 1874: north by the lands of Miss Martha B. McCauley; east by Fort Bayou and the east boundary line of fence of the tract; southeast by the boundary line fence and land formerly belonging to Randolph and to Brooks; south and southwest by the waters of the Back Bay of Biloxi; west by the Back Bay of Biloxi; and northwesterly by the land of McCauley.  Mrs. Staples also received “all dwellings and buildings, etc. now standing on the place when purchased from George A. Faunee”.  Her tract was not surveyed.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 215-218)

Litigation

In the litigation, JXCO, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 8, “A.A. Staples v. William R. Buddendorf” et al filed in February 1876, the defendants are listed as: William Buddendorf, Robert Buddendorf, George Buddendorf, Mary Buddendorf, Ezilda Buddendorf and minor children: John Buddendorf, Louise Buddendorf, Anna Buddendorf, Bertha Buddendorf, Emma Buddendorf, Ezilda Buddendorf, and Ansel Buddendorf.  The adult heirs of William R. Buddendorf were liable for his mortgage of $7661.43 on Lot 4, excepting the ten acres in the SE/corner.  The Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi ordered payment to the complainant within twenty days or the land would be sold to the highest bidder.  On July 1, 1876, Alonzo D. Sheldon (1832-1903) was the highest bidder and paid Commissioner John E. Clark of the Jackson County Chancery Court, $2500 for the lands of Redmond, Staples, and Miss McCauley.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 2, pp. 224-225) 

Alonzo D. Sheldon

Alonzo D. Sheldon (1832-1903) was born at Herkimer County, New York.  In 1852, he relocated to Canton, Mississippi.  At the age of twenty-five years, he wedded Ellen Morrison Jenks (1834-1912) of Troy, New York.  They had a son, Charles M. Sheldon (1866-1880), who expired at Ocean Springs in mid-November 1880.  Charles was an intelligent youth and well-like by those acquainted with him.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 26, 1880, p. 3 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 27, 1903, p. 3)

Alonzo D. Sheldon’s place on the Fort Point Peninsula, which was acquired in July 1876, was lauded in late July 1879, as follows:  Colonel A.D. Sheldon’s orange grove, at the mouth of Fort Bayou, two miles from our depot, is looking in very fine condition, trees growing, and in a few years he will have a large increase.  It is worth a trip from New York or any of the large cities to Ocean Springs just to ride down the lake or bay shore to see Col. Sheldon’s beautiful orange grove, house and improvements…(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 25, 1879, p. 3)

Railroad agent

During the War of the Rebellion, Alonzo D. Sheldon served Mississippi, his adopted State, with distinction.  During Reconstruction he initiated Pullman service from New Orleans to Canton, Mississippi with the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad.  In 1868, Sheldon was appointed City Ticket Agent for the NO, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad.  In 1872, the Illinois Central extended its rails south to the Gulf of Mexico when it made a traffic agreement with the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad, to Canton, Miss. and the Mississippi Central Railway north to Jackson, Tennessee.  Mr. Sheldon retired to Ocean Springs from his railroad career at New Orleans in 1885.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 27, 1903, p. 3)

There is the possibility that a local lad, Alonzo S. Westbrook (1892-1918), the son of Edward Martin Westbrook (1858-1913) and Harriette Clark Westbrook (1857-1913), was named for Alonzo D. Sheldon.  Mr. Westbrook was employed by the L&N Railroad at Biloxi, when he died from tuberculosis at the young age of twenty-six years.  He was the cashier at the freight depot.

In June 1886, Alonzo D. Sheldon sold Lot 4-North to John Thorn (1839-1891) of New Orleans.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 8, p. 118)

The Cedars-Conamore

What we know today as Conamore, the lovely estate of Mrs. Ethelyn MacKenzie S. Connor and her daughter, Patricia C. Joachim, at present day 317 and 319 Lovers was originally the home of Alonzo D. Sheldon.  In February 1889, George Bernard Ittmann (1836-1893) of New Orleans and a native of Germany sold a lot to Ellen M. Sheldon off the north portion of his land, which is now DeGuise, the estate of Jacob and Jolean Hornsby Guice.  The Sheldons called their Queen Anne style edifice, “The Cedars”.  It is a two-story frame structure with a cross gable roof.  The façade has three bays with an enclosed screen porch with a bell cast hip roof and sawn brackets.  A circular gazebo, which is now enclosed has a mansard roof and is attached to the southeast corner of the structure.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 10, p. 544 and Berggren, 1986, p. 1)

            Alonzo D. Sheldon expired at Ocean Springs on November 20, 1903.  His corporal remains were sent to the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou for internment. 

In April 1904, Ellen M. Sheldon (1834-1912) conveyed “The Cedars” to Jennie E. Carson (1838-1899+).  At this time, we are going to take a detour on Lovers Lane and report on a home, which Mrs. Sheldon had built after the sale of present day “Conamore”(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 30, pp. 135-136)

 

The Austin Spring Lot

In May 1910, the widow, Ellen M. Sheldon, acquired the Austin Spring Lot from Joseph A. Wieder (1877-1960), a local building contractor.  The consideration was $384.  The Austin Spring Lot consists of Lots 26-28 of Block 16 (Culmseig Map), Section 25, T7S-R9W, on the northwest corner of Cleveland and Martin at present day 527 Cleveland Avenue.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, p. 622)

In the land deed records of Jackson County, Mississippi, this tract of land is referred to as the "Austin Spring Lot" and derived this nomenclature because it was possessed by members of the Austin family of New Orleans from 1874 until 1904.  The land is on a topographically high northwest-southeast striking ridge approximately twenty feet above sea level.  There were probably springs to the south of this land. Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1894), a native of Somerset County, Maryland, and his wife, Martha E. Porter (1818-1898), from a notable family at Giles County, Tennessee, began purchasing land at Ocean Springs in the late 1840s.  They moved from Yazoo County, Mississippi to New Orleans circa 1844.  Here Dr. Austin practiced medicine and became an authority on yellow fever.  He built the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1853.  It was located south of Cleveland and west of Jackson Avenue on an approximate eight-acre parcel of land, which is known as the Hotel Tract.  The village of Ocean Springs derived its name from Dr. Austin's hotel in 1854, when it rejected Lynchburg Springs as its designation.

In March 1874, John E. Austin (1840-1878), called Edward, bought the Lots 27 and 28 of Block 16 (Culmseig Map) for $500 from George A. Cox (1811-1887) who was acting as land agent for Edward Chase of St. Louis, Missouri.  Edward Austin was the eldest son of Dr. Austin.  He was a well-known sailor and owned a yacht called the Xiphias.  Austin expired in August 1878, from yellow fever at New Orleans.  The Austin Spring Lot remained in the Austin family until 1904.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 4, pp. 520-522 and Bk. 28, p. 164)

 

E.M. Sheldon home

It is known with a high degree of certitude that Ellen M. Sheldon built her home on the northwest corner of Cleveland and Martin Avenue in July 1910, as The Ocean Springs News announced:

 

Mrs. A.D. Sheldon is erecting a handsome residence on the lot recently purchased by her on Martin Avenue.  Martin Avenue, by the way promises to build up considerably during the coming year.  We know of several new homes to be built along that thorofare (sic) during this fall and winter.(The Ocean Springs News, July23, 1910)

 

The Sheldon home was surveyed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in 1986 and describe as follows:

 

One-and-one-half story, wood frame house with a side gable roof.  Five-bay undercut gallery with box columns.  Two hip-roofed dormers.  Five bay facade, center entrance with transom and sidelights.  Wings extends to west.  Colonial Revival.  Circa 1920.  Contributing.

 

Mrs. Sheldon bequeathed her home to Miss Rebecca Morrison (d.1916) and Mrs. Martha C. Brown (1837-1921).  They were probably her sisters and were residence of Adrian, Michigan.  After the death of Mrs. Brown on March 30, 1921, Katherine Bird, possibly her daughter, became the legal owner when Theodore Bechtel (1863-1931), the executor of Mrs. Sheldon's estate deeded it to her.  Katherine Bird was also a resident of Adrian in Lenawee County, southwest of Detroit, Michigan.  She sold the Sheldon home to Cara Jeanette Pattison (1864-1956) for $2500 in May 1925.(Jackson County, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 3121, August 1911 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 51, pp. 17-18 and Bk. 55, p. 223)

 

Loveland

Miss Cara J. Pattison resided in this home, which she called “Loveland” with her spinster sisters, Elizabeth Kemp Pattison (1864-1943) and Annie Pattison (1870-1957), and bachelor brother, Charles Ernest Pattison (1867-1940), known as “Bulldog” Pattison.  “Loveland” was their mother’s maiden name.

The Pattisons were natives of Brooklyn, New York.  Their parents were William James Pattison (1827-1897) and Caroline Loveland (1842-1901), also New Yorkers.  They settled at New Orleans where Charles E. Pattison was in the importing business with his brother, Alfred Taylor Pattison (1862-1930).  At Ocean Springs, C.E. Pattison was in the real estate and insurance business.  He was a judge in the Justice of the Peace Court from 1936 until his demise.(The Daily Herald, December 30, 1940, p. 3)

Loveland remained in the Pattison family until October 1994, when Jerry L. Pelham acquired it.  Jerry and Margaret I. “Peggy” Pelham came to Ocean Springs from Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He sold his Florida-based, property and casualty, insurance agency, and purchased several hamburger restaurants in this region. 

 

Pelham Building

In May 1997, Jerry Pelham moved his Krystal hamburger operations into the second story of his new, 3600 square-foot, building on Government and Cash Alley.  Lady Di's, a floral gallery, which opened in June 1997, is situated in the east half of the edifice.  In the fall of 1997, Peggy Pelham opened an art gallery in the west half of the building. 

In February 1996, the Pelhams acquired from the Ocean Springs Lumber Company the old Phil J. Weider (1887-1985) property on the northwest corner of Government at Cash Alley and contracted with Anchor Realty and Daniel Jalanivich to erect a new structure here.  Demolition of the derelict Wieder-Engbarth garage building commenced in September 1996.  New construction to replicate the timeworn and termite-tasted, former Wieder treasure began in December 1996.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1080, p. 560)

The old Sheldon-Pattison house on Cleveland Avenue was acquired by the Cole family of New Orleans in 2003.

After a short visit off “The Lane” to visit the “new” home of Ellen M. Sheldon on the northwest corner of Cleveland and Martin we return to Lovers Lane to resume the chronology of the Sheldon-Connors estate, now called “Conamore”.

            Mrs. Sheldon expired at Ocean Springs on April 26, 1912.  Her corporal remains were interred juxtaposed those of Colonel A.D. Sheldon in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.  As previously reported, Mrs. Sheldon conveyed the “Cedars” her Lovers Lane, estate to Jennie E. Carson of Chicago in April 1904, for $4000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 30, pp. 135-136)

 

Jennie E. Carson

Jennie E. Carson (1838-1905) was the widow of John B. Carson (1835-1892), who was born in Pennsylvania.  She was probably a New Hampshire native.  Mr. Carson was a prominent railroad manger in the Midwest.  In 1880, the Carsons were domiciled at Quincy, Adams County, Illinois.  At this time, Quincy was a major Illinois city situated on the Mississippi River about 300 miles southwest of Chicago.  During his railroad career, he was affiliated with the following rail lines: Michigan Southern Railway; New York Central; Wabash & Western; Hannibal & St. Joseph; Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy; Louisville, New Albany, & Chicago; Chicago & Western Indiana; and the Chicago Belt Line.  John B. Carson was an extremely affluent gentleman.  He was associated with the construction of the Express Building at Chicago.  It was a multi-storied structure with rental totaling $90,000 annually.  Mr. Carson also owned and erected the Columbia Theatre in the Windy City.  He and his spouse, Jennie E. Carson, often wintered at Biloxi, Mississippi.(The Biloxi Herald, January 9, 1892)

           

New Chicago

            In May 1890, John B. Carson was an 8% owner in a syndicate headed by John B. Lyon (1829-1904) of Chicago.  Mr. Lyon was the father of Katharine Bacon Lyon (1864-1964), who in June 1892 married Robert W. Hamill (1863-1943), treasurer of the Lyon Company at Chicago, Illinois.  In the 1920s, Mr. Hamill founded the Hamill Farm at Fontainebleau.(The Chicago Sun Times, August 27, 1964

These Chicago investors had committed a maximum of $125,000, and authorized John B. Lyon to purchase the Alfred E. Lewis Estate tract, which was located in southern Jackson County, Mississippi between Ocean Springs and Gautier.  Although the land lay on the Mississippi Sound, the price was not to exceed $5.75 per acre.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Book 11, p. 301)

The A.E. Lewis tract, which consisted of approximately 16,000 acres of timberland, was a portion of the lands formerly granted to French Colonial adventurer, Jean Baptisite Baudreau (1671-1762), dit Graveline.  His great granddaughter, Margaret  Baudreau (1785-1863), had married A.E. Lewis (1782-1830) in 1811.  Mr. Lewis was a Virginian, who had practiced law at Mobile before arriving at Pascagoula circa 1810. 

The heirs of Alfred E. Lewis were his widow, Ann Farrington Lewis (1821-1901), his surviving children, Eugenie Lewis Orrell (1850-1932); Kate Lewis Staples (1859-1930); A.E. Lewis Jr. (1862-1933), the “Artesian Prince” who built the Artesian House, a hostelry on the southwest corner of Jackson and Porter, and also owned the water system at Ocean Springs; Frank H. Lewis (1865-1930); and Mathilde A. Staples (1858-1928+), the widow of his son, Robert Walter Lewis (1857-1886). 

We shall soon learn of the estates and relationships between the Staples-Lewis-Poitevent families who were an integral part of the history of “The Lane”.  

 

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported the A.E. Lewis land sale on January 2, 1891, as follows:

           

The site now known as New Chicago, at West Pascagoula (formerly the Colonel A.E. Lewis tract), was sold by John B. Lyon, trustee to The Gulf of Mexico Land and Improvement Company, of Chicago, for one million dollars.  This is, up to date, the largest real estate transfer ever made in any of the southern or piney woods counties.(p. 3)

John B. Lyon, John B. Carson, and Addison Ballard were respectively, president, vice-president, and secretary of The Gulf of Mexico Land and Improvement Company, a Mississippi corporation.   Mr. Lyon envisioned that this company would erect a large resort and hotel on the Mississippi Sound.  It was to be called Belle Fontaine Park.  The resort area was surveyed and platted by E.W. Morrill in December 1890.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Book 12, pp. 158-161)

 

Belle Fontaine Beach edifice

John B. Carson purchased two hundred-twenty acres of land at Belle Fontaine Beach from the Gulf of Mexico Land & Improvement Company in April 1891.  Here he planned to build the first structure at the John B. Lyon development.  Unfortunately, he expired on January 4,1892, while at the Hotel Metropole in Chicago.  The grounds were being cleared for his winter home at Belle Fontaine when Carson passed on.  The Carson edifice at Belle Fontaine was designed and built by John R. Harkness & Sons of Biloxi.  John Rankin Harkness (1827-1903), a native of Amherst, Massachusetts, had commenced his contracting business at Biloxi in 1868.( .(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Book 12, pp. 409-410 and Dyer, 1895, “Biloxi”) 

The two-story Carson residence cost $5000 and was shingled from the ground to the cone.  Mr. Harkness and his family and friends occasionally sailed to the construction site, often referred to as “New Chicago”, for a days outing.  J.R. Harkness & Sons completed the Carson home in October 1892.(The Biloxi Herald, April 9, 1892, p. 4, July 30, 1892, p. 4, and September 28, 1892, p. 4)

 

Fire

Mrs. Jennie E. Carson resided in her Belle Fontaine home until it was destroyed by a large conflagration on April 14, 1899.  Mrs. Parker Hellmuth Earle (1862-1919) and Mrs. Farmer were visiting her when the fire occurred.  After the blaze, Mrs. Carson relocated to Ocean Springs where she was a houseguest of Mrs. Earle, the future grandmother of Mrs. Peter Anderson (1906-1973) and Mrs. Walter I. Anderson (1909-1991).(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 21, 1899).

           

Demise

            Jennie E. Carson expired at Chicago in 1905 sometimes between April 1st and July 26th.  In her will of March 30, 1905, she requested that her home at Ocean Springs, which was the only one that she possessed, be sold as soon as possible after her death and the proceeds divided between J. Oakley Carson, a bachelor domiciled at Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Nellie Carson Lubeck of Geneva, Illinois.  They were also appointed co-executors of her estate, but refused to accept.   The court appointed Charles H. Hamill as  executor of Mrs. Carson’s estate.  In July 1905, Charles H. Hamill sold “The Cedars” to Julia O. Rodriguez of New Orleans for $4875.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 30, pp. 136-138).

            Nellie Carson Turner and William Jay Turner of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania gave Julia O. Rodriguez a quitclaim deed to this property in July 1905.  It appears that Nellie Carson Lubeck married W.J. Turner after Jennie E. Carson’s will was written in late March 1905.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 30, pp. 138-139)           

Julia O. Rodriguez

Julia Oser Rodriguez (1854-1918) was a native of Louisiana and the wife of Dr. Edward J. Rodriguez (1859-1938), a dentist, of New Orleans, whom she had wedded in 1883.  Dr. Rodriguez’s father was Spanish and Julia’s parents were German immigrants.  The Rodriguez family resided on Esplanade Avenue at New Orleans with their four children: Walter Rodriguez (1884-1900+), Albert Rodriguez (1886-1900+), Edward Rodriguez (1889-1900+), and Rene Rodriguez.(1900 Federal Census-Orleans Parish, La. T623R572, ED 57, p. 25A)

The Rodriguez family was no stranger to Lovers Lane.  In 1895, they had acquired the Edward L. Israel-Dr. Eldon D. McClain place, now called “Rebel Oaks”, at present day 343 Lovers Lane from Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933) and spouse, Julia Johnson Lewis (1861-1933).  Mr. Lewis was known as the “Artesian Prince”, as he supplied the community with potable water.  He was also the proprietor of the Lewis Building, which became known as the Artesian House, an inn and later apartment house, situated at the southwest corner of Porter and Jackson Avenue.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 67-68)

Julia O. Rodriguez conveyed the A.E. Lewis estate to Spencer H. Webster (1845-1926) in April 1906.  She sold ‘The Cedars” to Annie H. McVay (1850-1921) for $7500 in April 1907.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 31, p. 128 and Bk. 32, p. 341)

Annie H. McVay

Annie Huntington McVay (1850-1921), a native of Pennsylvania, was the wife of Charles Butler McVay (1845-1923), also from the Key Stone State.  In 1870, the McVays were residents of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, were Charles was a banker and later president of the Pittsburgh Trust Company, and had a net worth of $60,000.  Prior to 1900, Annie and Charles B. McVay had seven children, but only the following are known to the author: Irene McVay (1867-1870+), Admiral Charles B. McVay Jr. (1868-1949), Annie McVay (b. 1870), William Q. McVay(1876-1920+), and Mrs. George Rice. (1870 Federal Census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania-M593R1295, p. 432, 2nd Ward)  

After the Civil War, Charles B. McVay provided financial support for a struggling US Naval Academy.  As we shall see, Charles B. McKay Jr., his son, and grandson, Charles B. McVay III (1898-1968), were graduates of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland and had long and exciting naval careers culminating in the rank of Admiral.(Stanton, 2001, p. 48)

It is interesting to note that William “Billie” Wade Grinstead (1864-1948), a Harvard educated lawyer, who had met Marjorie Hellmuth (1882-1933) at her mother’s Lovers Lane residence, Bay View, and subsequently married her and became the father of Patricia “Pat” Grinstead Anderson (1907-1973), the wife of Peter Anderson (1901-1984) and Agnes “Sissy” Grinstead Anderson (1909-1991), the spouse of Walter “Bob” Anderson (1903-1965), was also in banking at Pittsburgh where he was a trust officer with the Union Trust Company of Pittsburgh, the bank of Andrew W. Mellon (1855-1937).  In 1905, William Wade Grinstead (1864-1948), acquired “Lewis Sha”, the 1845 Alfred E. Lewis plantation at Gautier, Mississippi, and renamed it Oldfields.  It is not known with any degree of certitude that Mr. Grinstead and Charles B. McVay were business associates or that  “Billie” Grinstead was responsible for the McVays settling at Ocean Springs.

After retirement from the presidency of the Pittsburgh Trust Company, Charles B. McVay, rarely if ever, spent the summer months at their Lovers Lane estate.  They elected to go to the cooler climes in the East or upper Midwest.  In January 1911, the McVay family was at Annapolis, Maryland when they arrived here to open their home for the duration of the winter.  Annie and Charles B. McVay vacationed at their home in Eagle River, Wisconsin for the summer of 1911, and brought their daughter and granddaughter from Omaha, Nebraska to enjoy the fall at Ocean Springs.  In later years, the McVays would alternate living between Ocean Springs and their home at Sewickley, Pennsylvania.(The Ocean Springs News, January 14, 1911 and October 7, 1911, p. 5)

Rear Admiral C. B. McVay Jr.

Rear Admiral Charles Butler McVay Jr. (1868-1949) was born on September 9, 1868 at Edgeworth, Pennsylvania.  He was an 1890 graduate of the US Naval Academy.  During the Spanish-American War (1898), Ensign McVay served aboard the USS Amphitrite, a double-turret monitor.  They patrolled the waters off Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Key West and participated in the shelling of San Juan in May 1898.(Who Was Who in America, V. II, 1966, p. 362)

In 1900, Lt. McVay was situated at the naval depot at Tompkinsville, Staten Island, New York aboard theUSS Amphitrite.  He had been married in 1897, and listed his residence as Sewickley, Pennsylvania.(1900 Federal Census, USS Amphitrite-T623R1842, p. 1A)

In 1908, after serving as a navigator aboard USS Hartford and USS Alabama and a tour at the US Naval Academy, Commander McVay was given command of the USS Yankton.  In 1909, Lieutenant Commander McVay, was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia, as the USS Yankton had just returned from an around the world cruise with the Great White Fleet.(Who Was Who in America, V. II, 1966, p. 362 The Ocean Springs News, February 20, 1909, p. 5)

The USS Yankton was a patrol yacht, built in 1893 as Penelope by Ramage & Ferguson, Leith, Scotland.  It was acquired by the Navy in May 1898 and renamed Yankton and commissioned USS Yankton, 16 May 1898 at Norfolk, Virginia.  The vessel was decommissioned 27 February 1920 at New York.  She was sold 20 October 1921 and broken up in the summer of 1930 at Boston, Massachusetts.  USS Yankton had a displacement of 975 tons; length-185 feet; beam-27 ½ feet; draft-13 feet 10 inches; speed- 14 knots; complement-78; armament-six 3 pounders and two Colt machine guns.(hhtp://www.navsource.org/archives/12/130088.htm)

The Great White Fleet

The Great White Fleet sent around the world by President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt from December 16, 1907, to February 22, 1909, consisted of sixteen new battleships of the Atlantic Fleet. The battleships were painted white except for gilded scrollwork on their bows. The Atlantic Fleet battleships only later came to be known as the "Great White Fleet."  The fourteen-month long voyage was a grand pageant of American sea power. The squadrons were manned by 14,000 sailors. They covered some 43,000 miles and made twenty port calls on six continents. The fleet was greatly impressive, but technically outdated, as the first few dreadnought battleships had already entered service, and the first dreadnought for the US Navy, South Carolina, was fitting out. The two oldest ships in the fleet, USS Kearsarge and USS Kentucky, were obsolete and unfit for battle; and two others, USS Maineand USS Alabama, had to be detached at San Francisco, California because of mechanical troubles. (http://www.answers.com/topic/great-white-fleet)

During WW I, Charles B. McVay Jr. served as commander aboard three vessels:  USS SaratogaUSS New Jersey, and USS Oklahoma.  In late December 1919, his brother, Captain William Q. McVay, came to Ocean Springs to visit his parents and rest.  It was his first vacation since WW I had began.  While recovering, Captain McVay played golf, hunted and fished.  In January 1920, he reported to New Orleans to direct the business of the US Shipping Board.(Who Was Who in America, V. II, 1966, p. 362 and The Jackson County Times, December 20, 1919, p. 5)

China

After the Great War, Charles V. McVay Jr. served as a commander in the Yangtze Patrol.  At this time, the United States with Japan and the major European nations, had garrisons in Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin. U.S. Navy gunboats regularly patrolled the Yangtze River to protect foreigners during a turbulent period when China had no effective central government.  In 1929, Charles V. McKay Jr. was promoted to Admiral and given commander-in-chief of the Asiatic Fleet.  He retired from the Navy in October 1932 and expired on October 28, 1949.  His corporal remains were interred in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.(Who Was Who in America, V. II, 1966, p. 362 )

Rear Admiral Charles B. McVay III

Rear Admiral Charles Butler McVay III (1898-1968), like his father, matriculated to the US Naval Academy and graduated with the Class of 1919.  Prior to WW II, he served aboard twelve naval vessels in the Atlantic and Pacific.  Charles B. McVay III assumed his first command in November 1944, when he was selected to captain theUSS Indianapolis.(Stanton, 2001, p. 48)

USS Indianapolis

Shortly after midnight on the night of July 30, 1945, during the closing days of World War II, the United States Navy heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine.  Of the 1,196 crew members, only 316 survived the attack and subsequent five-day ordeal adrift at sea, the rest of the crew dying from battle wounds, drowning, shark attacks, exposure, or lack of food and water, making the sinking of theIndianapolis worst sea disaster in United States naval history.

Following the rescue of the surviving crew members, the commanding officer of the Indianapolis, Captain Charles Butler McVay III, who survived the sinking and the ordeal at sea, was charged with `suffering a vessel to be hazarded through negligence' and was convicted by a court-martial of that charge, notwithstanding a great many extenuating circumstances, some of which were not presented at the court-martial trial.  He is the only Captain in the history of the US Navy to command a combat vessel, which was sunk by enemy fire, and subsequently face a court-martial.  

Captain McVay had an excellent record throughout his naval career before the sinking of the Indianapolis. He had an excellent combat record throughout World War II that included participation in the landings in North Africa and award of the Silver Star for courage under fire earned during the Solomon Island campaign while serving as Executive Officer aboard the USS Cleveland.

CONAMORE

Like many before her, Eudolie Perrin Connor (1890-1957) had heard of the efficacious and medicinal properties of the subsurface water at Ocean Springs.  She suffered with a renal condition, and found relief from the artesian water obtained from a deep well near the L&N Depot on Robinson Street.  It is believed that these subsurface waters contained mineral salts, which were found to be deleterious to the boilers of steam trains, which they were produced for.  Serendipitously, the well water was found to have salubrious effects on those with physical ailments who imbibed regularly.  Mrs. Connor called her Queen Anne cottage and surroundings "Conamore", which integrates a portion of her married name, "Connor", and "amore", Italian for love.  The Connors have truly loved their exquisite home and grounds, as well as Ocean Springs, since their first glimpse in the 1920s.  Lewis and Eudolie had rented a summer cottage for three prior to their acquisition from the Heirs of Charles Butler McVay (1845-1923) in September 1924.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 169 and p. 171)

In May 1936, the Widow Eudolie Perrin Connor, conveyed her Lovers Lane estate Joseph E. Blum of Orleans Parish, Louisiana.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 69, p. 5)

Joseph E. Blum

Joseph E. Blum (b. 1896) was the brother-in-law of Eudolie P. Connor as he was married to her sister, Lucille M. Perrin (1891-1982).  Mr. Blum was one of the founders of Latter & Blum, now a regional real estate firm, which he founded in 1916 with Harry Latter (1893-1930+), a 1905 English immigrant.  In November 1914, Harry Latter married Anna G. Shuskan (1896-1930+), a Louisiana native whose father was Russian.  In 1930, the Latter family resided on Newcomb Boulevard.(1930 Orleans Parish, La. Federal Census-R811, p. 32A, ED 236)

In 1986, the Latter family sold the firm to chairman, Robert Merrick.  Arthur Sterbcow is the company president. With 20 branch offices in Louisiana and Mississippi and almost 1,000 agents, Latter & Blum had a 2000 sales volume of $1.7 billion.

In May 1946, Joseph E. Blum conveyed Conamore to Pat Connor.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 93, pp. 424-425)

Donald “Pat” L. Connor

 Donald Lawrence Connor (1912-1982), called Pat, was born at New Orleans, Louisiana in 1912.  His parents were Lewis Sylvester Connor Sr. (1884-1934) a native of Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Eudolie Una Perrin (1890-1957) of New Orleans.  Pat Connor had two brothers, Lewis S. Connor Jr. (1909-1983) and John Perrin Connor (1911-1966). In May 1941, Pat Connor married a New Orleans born widow, Ethelyn MacKenzie Shaffner (b. 1916), the daughter of Charles P. MacKenzie and Ethel Bertheaud.  Pat Connor, Phillipe "Phil" Shaffner, and Ethelyn MacKenzie had been friends during their college days in New Orleans.  Pat Connor attended Loyola University where he studied business administration and played football, basketball, tennis, and swam.  At this time, Pat Connor made his livelihood as an insurance safety engineer and casualty insurance payroll auditor for U.S.F.& G.  Pat and Ethelyn Connor had three children born in the Crescent City: Ethelyn Patricia Joachim (b. 1942), Ethel Bertheaud Connor (1944-1944), and Donald L. Connor, Jr. (b. 1945).  With Phillip M. Schaffner (b. 1934) and Charles H. Schaffner (b. 1936), her sons from her marriage with Parisian Phillippe Val Louis Schaffner (1908-1936), a sugar chemist, Pat and Ethelyn M. Connor moved permanently to Ocean Springs in June 1946.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 170)

Ocean Springs

            At Ocean Springs, Pat Connor continued his employment with U.S.F.& G. at New Orleans until 1950, when he became an independent insurance payroll auditor.  He was a charter member of both the New Orleans and Southwest Louisiana Insurance Auditors Association.  In 1963, Pat Connor began his active civic life when he was appointed to the Ocean Springs Planning Commission.  He later served on the Jackson County Planning Commission (1967) and Gulf Regional Planning Commission (1967).  Connor became Ocean Springs first full time mayor upon his election in 1969.(History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p 170)           

Mayor Connor

During his first term as mayor, Pat Connor led the citizens of Ocean Springs through some of their darkest days while recovering from the fury of Hurricane Camille in August 1969.  He lost a bid for a second mayoral term in 1973, by sixteen votes to Tom Stennis.( The Ocean Springs RecordApril 19, 1973, p. 1 and p. 10)

            Mayor Connor served another successful term as chief executive of the city from 1977-1981.  Unfortunately, Ocean Springs experienced Hurricane Frederic in September 1979 during this time.  Connor continued to support the historical aspects of Ocean Springs by appointing a historic preservation commission and securing a Federal grant to build the Marble Springs replication on Iberville Drive.(The Ocean Springs RecordMarch 17, 1977, p. 1)           

Historic Colonial site

In 1973, the Connor family demonstrated their love for the history of Ocean Springs, when they allowed archaeologist from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to trench across their fabulously landscaped property.  Although not successful in finding Fort Maurepas (1699-1702), the archaeological survey did reveal a large feature. Radio carbon dating of charred posts from the structure indicated it to be 1755 AD, (plus or minus 55 years) in age. Several faience shards, gunflints, and a Colonial brick were discovered on the Connor property.  In addition, Mrs. Ethelyn Connor has three, seven-pound cannon balls that were found by her sons on the beach in front of her home.( Hilliard, 1974, pp. 6-7 and Ethelyn M. Connor, July 1995)

In August 1892, a "mystery ship" was come upon by a young oysterman, Henri Eugene Tiblier Jr. (1866-1936), in the Bay of Biloxi, on an oyster reef known locally as "the rock pile".  The "rock pile" was located about a quarter mile in a southwest direction from the residence of retired railroad agent, Alonzo Sheldon (1832-1904), once called "The Cedars" and now known as "Conamore. The Maggie, a schooner owned by Jose Suarez (1840-1912), a Spanish immigrant residing in the Bayou Porto area, served as the salvage vessel for the Tiblier operation on the "rock pile".  They recovered from the derelict vessel the following items:  non-indigenous stones and boulders, which were probably ballasts for the vessel; firm brick; iron braces; block and tackle; four cannons; cannon balls; muskets; gunpowder; bung; and the scabbard of an officer’s sword.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 23, 1892, p. 2)

The Mayor passes

Pat Connor died on April 30, 1982, while trimming leaves in his yard at Conamore.  Six days earlier, he had been the first grand marshal of the 1699 Historical Committee Parade.  Pat Connor was very active in civic affairs.  He was a member of the following organizations:  Gulf Coast Municipal Association (president), Optimist Club (charter member-president), Rotary Club, American Legion, 1699 Historical Committee (charter member and vice-president), Ocean Springs Jaycees (honorary member), Friends of Walter Anderson, Walter Anderson Players (charter member), Boy Scout Troop 210 (treasurer), Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestra Association, and the Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church.  Among the many awards received during Connor's life were:  Ocean Springs Intra Club Outstanding Adult Citizen Award (1973-1974), Grand Marshall Firemen’s Day Parade (1978), Jaycette President's Award (1979), and first Grand Marshall of the 1699 Historical Committee Parade (1982).(The Ocean Springs Record,  May 6, 1982, p. 2)

Mayor Pat Connor has been memorialized by several organizations in the city.  The Ocean Springs Police Association donated an oil portrait of him to be hung at City Hall.  A plaque at Marble Springs Park set by the Ocean Springs Garden Club states the following about Pat Connor: "A man whose enthusiasm and dreams for preserving Ocean Springs history and heritage were only overshadowed by his faith that it could be done".

Many of Mayor Connor's civic endeavors in historic preservation and environmental concerns have been perpetuated by his loving wife, Ethelyn, and daughter, Dr. Patricia C. Joachim. 

In late May 2005, Ethelyn MacKenzie Shaffner Connor (b. 1916) was recognized with the Life Time Achievement Award presented to her by the Mississippi Urban Forest Council and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for her commitment and work to protect and plant trees at Ocean Springs over a period of thirty years.(The Ocean Springs Record, June 2, 2005, p. A1)

Connor Subdivison

In March 1978, Donald “Pat” L. Connor and Ethelyn M. Connor created the Connor Subdivision from their Conamore Estate.  Four lots were formed from the 1.9-acre parcel.  Upon the demise of Pat Connor in late April 1982, Ethelyn M. Connor inherited Conamore.(JXCO, Ms. Plat Bk. 15, p. 45, JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. P-157-1983, and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 772, p. 197)

LOT 1

In December 1977, Pat and Ethelyn M. Connor had conveyed Lot 1 of the Connor Subdivision to their daughter and son-in-law, Patricia Connor Joachim and Francis “Joe” J. Joachim.  On Lot 1, which has 100 feet fronting on the Back bay of Biloxi, rests “The Cedars”, the old Alonzo D. Sheldon home, which was renamed “Conamore” by Eudolie Perrin Connor (1890-1957) in 1924.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 615, p. 219)

 Patricia Connor and Joe Joachim, the son of John Shappert Joachim (b. 1916) and Rose Navarro Joachim (1916-1999), married in March 1964 and were the parents of two children: R. Craig Joachim (b. 1965) and Brian Joachim (b. 1967).  Divorcing in 1990, Joe Joachim quitclaimed his interest in Lot 1 and Conamore.  Ms. Joachim resides here today at 317 Lovers Lane.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 172 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 960, p. 933)

Patricia C. Joachim, a native of the Crescent City, has been a force in local education since she commenced teaching at Oak Park Elementary in 1976.  After completing her Masters in Education from USM, she moved into educational management accepting positions at Fernwood Jr. High and Central Elementary in Gulfport.  Patricia taught advanced educational courses at USM-Long Beach for several years and was acting department chair for the educational leadership when she accepted the post of assistant school superintendent for the Ocean Springs School District.  Ms. Joachim received her Doctorate of Education for USM in 1998.(Patricia C. Joachim, April 2, 2005)

 

Lot 2

            Lot 2 of the Connor Subdivision has 79 feet fronting on the Back Bay of Biloxi.  It is the site of a cottage, which was probably built by Alonzo D. Sheldon circa 1889, as quarters for his staff of domestics.  This small edifice has been occupied by Ethelyn M. Connor since 1978.  She conveyed it to Donald L. Connor Jr. in December 1998.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1161, p. 9)

Donald L. Connor Jr. was born at New Orleans in December 1945.  He is a 1965 graduate of Notre Dame High School, now called Mercy Cross.  Donald matriculated to Mississippi State University and was in the incipient computer science program at this institution.  He completed the degree requirements for computer science with emphasis on business and electrical engineering in 1969.  In January 1976, Donald L. Connor Jr. married Elizabeth “Sassy” Tuberville (b. 1941), a Flordia native.  They are the parents of three children: Ellen E. Connor (b. 1976); Elizabeth E. Connor (b. 1979); and Emily E. Connor (b. 1980).  Donald L. Connor Jr. has made his livelihood primarily as a computer systems analyst and real estate broker.  He resides in Metairie, Louisiana.(The History of Jackson County, Ms., 1989, p. 172)

 

Lot 3

Lot 3 of the Connor Subdivision was conveyed to Patricia Connor Joachim by Ethelyn M. Connor in December 1998.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1161, p. 7)

Lot 4

            Donald L. Connor Jr. is the property owner of Lot 4.  He was conveyed this tract by Ethelyn M. Connor in December 1998.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1161, p. 9)

            This concludes the history of “The Cedars-Conamore” situated at 317 and 319 Lovers Lane.  The author appreciates the work of Joanne G. Anderson who wrote several articles for the Donald L. Connor family in The History of Jackson County, Mississippi published in 1989, by the Jackson County Genealogical Society.

The Point

As you may recall, we took a detour to discuss the history of “The Cedars-Conamore”.  We now return to complete the chronology of that area of the Fort Point Peninsula known as Spanish PointBreezy PointBenjamin Point, and presently, Fort Point

On July 1, 1876, Alonzo D. Sheldon (1832-1903) was the highest bidder and paid Commissioner John E. Clark of the Jackson County Chancery Court, $2500 for the lands of Redmond, Staples, and Miss McCauley situated in Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9E, less 10 acres in the SE/C.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 2, pp. 224-225) 

The author has chosen to call the three divisions of Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W, less 10 acres in the SE/C:Lot 4-NorthLot 4-Central, and Lot 4-South.  A discussion of each follows:

LOT 4-North

John Thorn

Alonzo D. Sheldon sold Lot 4-North to John Thorn (1838-1891) of New Orleans in June 1886.  John Thorn was the son of John Thorn (1804-1853), an engineer who had been born in England.  His mother was a German immigrant, Caroline Thorn (1820-1850+), who had six children.  All the Thorn children were born in Louisiana, except Jesse Thorn (1831-1850+), who was a native of Scotland.  In 1850, the Thorn family was domiciled in Lafayette, a suburb of New Orleans, situated in Jefferson Parish.(1850 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Census, M432R232, p. 181)

In 1863, John Thorn married Laura Trust (1842-1883).  Like her spouse, she was born in Louisiana of an English father.  Laura and John Thorn had three children: Carrie A. Thorn Hobson (1865-1930+) married John B. Hobson (1859-1930); Mattie Thorn (1867-1880+), and Charles Behan Thorn (1872-1955).  The Thorn family resided at 508 St. Charles Avenue.  In 1880, John Thorn made his livelihood in the Crescent City as a merchant.(1880 Orleans Parish Federal Census, T9R463, p. 394A, ED 71)

“Many Oaks”

Captain Charles Thorn (1839-1887), the brother of John Thorn, possessed what is now a part of “Many Oaks”, the present day 315 Front Beach Drive estate of Mary C. Zala Jensen.  He and spouse Hattie LongshoreThorn (1839-1888) resided at 235 Jackson Street in New Orleans.  They acquired a large tract of land west of the Ocean Springs Hotel in May 1882 from a New Orleans shipping agent, William Goldenbow (1827-1888), andCaroline Robin deLogny Goldenbow (1830-1860+), his spouse.  John Thorn financed the transaction.  Hattie L. Thorn’s only child died in infancy and upon her demise her nephew and legatee, Noah Wells Longshore Sr. (1866-1942), inherited her waterfront estate.  In July 1893, he sold it to Ulysse B. Dugas of Klotzville, Assumption Parish, Louisiana,(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 6, pp. 78-80, JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 1334-1888, and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 15, p. 121).

John Thorn expires on “The Point”

John Thorn deeded his Fort Point Peninsula tract to his son, Charles Behan Thorn in December 1890.  He was at his residence on “The Point” at Ocean Springs, when he died from an attack of pleurisy on February 6, 1891.  Charles B. Thorn and his son-in-law, John B. Hobson, were with him at the fatal hour.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, p. 190 and The Biloxi Herald, February 21, 1891

Charles B. Thorn

             Charles Behan Thorn (1872-1955) was known in the banking and civic circles of his native New Orleans.  Returning from an education at the University of Virginia, Mr. Thorn entered the brokerage firm of Fairchild & Hobson.  He later entered the cotton brokerage business as Thorn & Maginnis.  Mr. Thorn served as vice president of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange until he became a vice president of the Interstate Trust & Banking Company.  He was also active in the Boy Scout movement and established the New Orleans Council of Boy Scouts.(Kendall, 1922, p. 1163 and 1910 Orleans Parish Federal Census, T624R520, p. 32A) 

In July 1894, Charles B. Thorn and some of his cohorts of New Orleans were cruising on the yacht, Agnes,and moored at Biloxi.  Also aboard the vessel were: A.R. Littlejohn, P.E. Hellewege, R. Woeste, F.B. Craig, Foster DeBuys, H.S. Pond, and E.N. Kearney.(The Biloxi Herald, July 14, 1894, p. 8)

In June 1911, Charles B. Thorn married Janet Ford, a Louisiana native whose parents were from Virginia and New Jersey respectively.  She bore him three children: Charles B. Thorn II (1912-2000); J. Codman Thorn (1916-1920+); and William Thorn (1918-1920+). 

           In December 1894, Charles B. Thorn sold his residence on the Point to Christian Hanson (1865-1914).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 16, p. 124) 

Stansbury and buried gold

            During the tenure of the Thorn family on The Point of the Fort Point Peninsula, they may have had a caretaker in their employ by the name of Stansbury.  His presence here was noted in the summer of 1891, as follows: Mr. Stansbury is erecting enclosures for a turtle farm near the Point.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 10, 1891, p. 3)

In Broken Pot (ca 1936), an unpublished manuscript preserved in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History at Jackson, Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936) relates an anecdote told to him by Alphonse Beaugez (1860-1942) concerning Mr. Stansbury.  Schuyler Poitevent of whom we shall learn much more about in the future additions of this essay was the son of Captain Junius Poitevent (1837-1919), called June, and May Eleanor Staples (1847-1932).  He was a gentleman scholar who lived on Lovers Lane and wrote extensively of the French and Spanish Colonial history of this region.  Schuyler Poitevent was the first to collect and catalog Colonial artifacts and to recognize the physical evidence that Fort Maurepas had been situated on The Lane.  

            Alphonse Beaugez’s tale was phonetically documented Schuyler Poitevent as follows:  He told me, about “Stansberry” or something like that who lived down on the extreme point of Spanish Camp, where the Bay and Bayou come together.  It seems that Old Man Antoine Ryan (now I don’t know which Antoine this one was---since there were a number) and some other Old Fellow whose name now escapes me, as I wrote hastily, were fishing down near the Point.  I presume they were cast netting, and were thirsty.  So, they landed and went to “Stansberry's” house to ask for a drink of “freshwater”. 

            “They come to the front and they see nobody, it all shut up; so they go around the house to the back door, and there they find that fellow Stansberry; and w’en he see ‘em, he was one surprise man, him.  “You know w’at he was doing?  He was counterfeiting!”  “Wey saw him sitting there with his molds and dies and he was making counterfeit gold money, jus like I tell you.”

            When he see them, he say:  “W’at you want, you?”  “And Old Man Antoine, him, he say:  “I ax your pardon.  No more we come to beg a drink of fresh water.”  “Go round the front of de house, say that Stanisberry”.  I give you freshwater you.  “And they go around the front of de house, and that Stanisberry fellow jump up quick and hid all his counterfeiting and give them freshwater at the front of de house.  “What become of him?” I asked.  “Was he ever arrested?”  “Non!  They arrest him not.  He’s been dead a long time”.   “I gon’ tell you one ting: There be plenty of gold n’ at dat fellow bury on dat Point!  Me, I wish I could find it!”

“No good”, I said.  “It’s just counterfeit.  You’d go to jail!”.  “Counterfeit!” exclaimed the Old Man.  “You don’t understand you.  That was good gold w’at he was making him, that Stanisberry!”

            Then the truth dawned on me.  Time and facts work together.  You will remember that following the California Gold Rush, private issues of gold coins appeared in the United States.  There was no law against it and quite a number of private firms minted their own coins, coins which today command a high value among coin collectors; and what this fellow “Stanisbury” may probably have been doing in 1850 or thereabouts was privately minting some gold which he had brought back from California.  At least I believe the veracity of Uncle Alphonse’s story.  He also told me about “Indian Hill” west of Biloxi where some Indians are buried.(Chapter XI-Old Fort Maurepas)

Christian C. A. Hanson

As previously related, Christian Charles August Hanson (1845-1914) acquired the Charles Behan Thorn (1872-1922+) estate in December 1894.  Hanson was a native of Denmark and had immigrated to America in the early 1860s.  Mr. Hanson made his livelihood as a shipmaster making trading trips to Cuba from the port of New Orleans before becoming a cotton clerk for Lehman, Stern & Company.  He later entered the cotton brokerage business for himself with Herman Leopold at 817 Perdido Street. (The Ocean Springs News, July 18, 1914, p. 5 andSoards 1904 New Orleans City Directory, p. 423)

In March 1871 at Orleans Parish, Louisiana, Christian C. A. Hanson married Magdalena “Lena” Grob Clasen (1835-1929), whose parents were from Bremen, Germany.  She was the widow of Henry Clasen (1814-1870).  Lena Grob Clasen Hanson had a daughter, Sophia Louisa Clasen  (1852-1911) who in June 1875 married Theodore Hatry (1850-1896), the son of Theodore Hatry (1810-1867) and Anna Maria Metger (1825-1889) of New Orleans.  They had at least six children: Gustav T. Hatry (1876-1913); Christian A. Hatry (1879-1949); Louis E. Hatry (1880-1903); Anna Magdalena Hatry (1885-1957); Laurence N. Hatry (b. 1888), and Gustave T. Hatry (d. 1913).  The Hatry family resided on Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans.(Jackson County Chancery Court Cause No. 5224). 

 

Lawrence Hanson

Christian C. A. Hanson’s uncle, Lawrence N. Hanson (1823-1900), had acquired property at Ocean Springs as early as April 1872, when he purchased Lots 2, 3, 4, and 5 of the Austin Tract (H.A. Boudousquie Survey-March 1872) from Martha Porter Austin (1818-1898).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 12, pp. 632-633)

In January 1873, L.N. Hanson bought a Greek revival cottage situated at present day 520 Jackson Avenue and now possessed by Ross and Sharon Webber Dodds.  It had been in the families of Sheldon W. Widmer (1883-1961) and son, John K. Widmer (1916-1993), for over forty years before the Dodds acquired it in late 2003.

Lawrence N. Hansen was born in Denmark.  He immigrated to New Orleans were he made his livelihood as a mariner while domiciled in the Crescent City.  In 1853, he married Sophia Brown? (1834-1910+), a native of Hanover, Germany.  She may have been a relation of Alminia Brown Bellman (1851-1881), the wife of Charles W. Bellman (1841-1885).  They both appear to have lived on Jackson Avenue in the 1880s.  Captain Hansen expired at present day 520 Jackson Avenue on October 15, 1900.  His remains were interred in the Metairie Cemetery.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 19, 1900)

 

Bayou vintner

Another Danish relative of Christian C. A. Hanson may have been the old wine maker, Thomas Hanson (1810-1900), who married Mary Ryan (1828-1900).   They resided across Old Fort Bayou in present day Gulf Hills.  Thomas Hanson operated a sawmill here for many years and was renown for his Scuppernong grapes, which he cultivated in his ¼ acre vineyard.  Thomas Hanson made about five hundred gallons of wine each year. For the holiday season of 1884-1885, Captain Hanson had 300 gallons of wine for sale at $2.00 per gallon.(The Biloxi Herald, April 2, 1892, p. 1 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 5, 1884)

At this time, Ocean Springs also had another vintner of note, merchant, Frederick Buettner (1826-1903), a native of Saxony, Germany.  Unlike, Captain Hanson, Herr Buettner utilized the Hebermont, Concord, and Cartly grapes, as well as the native, Scuppernong, to produce his wines.(The Biloxi Herald, September 10, 1892, p. 1)                   .

 

Breezy Point

            The Christian C. A. Hanson home on “The Point” that he acquired in December 1894 from Charles Behan Thorn was called “Breezy Point”.  Its location in the immediate area was described in detail by a reporter for The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of July 1, 1898, as follows:

 

            At the confluence of Fort Bayou with Back Bay.  The view upon the Bay and Bayou is worthy of the artist’s pencil.  No Italian scene could be fairer.  This lovely Southern home with its elegant furnishings suggests rest and comfort.  The inviting apple orchard with its fruit well developed deserves more than a passing notice.  The new barn and fences attest to the thrift of this genial Southern gentleman.

 

            The one and one-half story, Christian C. A. Hanson house faced Biloxi Bay and had front and side galleries, which caught cooling afternoon sea breezes from the Mexican Gulf.  The Hanson family utilized their Fort Point Peninsula edifice as a summer home to escape the heat and humidity of New Orleans.  It was considered one of the most elegant summer homes in Ocean Springs.(The Progress, June 25, 1904, p. 4)

 

The fire

             The “Breezy Point” of Christian C. A. Hanson burned in late June 1904.  Lena Grob Clasen Hanson and Christian A. Hatry, her grandson, were at the house when the conflagration commenced in the kitchen.  The firemen were able to save the furniture and some of the outbuildings.  At the time, Christian C. A. Hanson was in Mount Clements, Michigan for his health.  The Hanson home was valued at $6000, but was insured for just $4000.(The Progress, June 25, 1904, p. 4)

Sale on “The Point”

Probably extremely disappointed and depressed by this calamity, Captain Hanson sold his property on the Fort Point Peninsula to Anna L. Benjamin (1848-1938).  Mrs. Benjamin, the affluent widow of lumber baron, David M. Benjamin (1834-1892), from Milwaukee, integrated Hanson’s estate into her expanding property on the peninsula called, “Shore Acres”.  Eventually, she would acquire over 70 contiguous acres and the area would become known as “Benjamin Point”.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 25, 1904 and Ocean Springs Record, November 4, 1993)

Jackson Avenue

Obviously, Christian C.A. Hanson loved Ocean Springs.  In June 1905, about a year after the fire, which had destroyed “Breezy Point”, he purchased the home of Sophia Hanson (1834-1910+), his aunt, the widow of Lawrence N. Hanson.  Her domicile was situated at present day 520 Jackson Avenue.  Lawrence N. Hanson had died in their Jackson Avenue home on October 15, 1900.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 29, p. 599 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 19, 1900)

 Certainly one of our oldest domiciles, the Lawrence N. Hanson Greek revival cottage is known as the Hanson-Verrette House and now owned by Ross and Sharon Weber Dodds.  Sophia Hanson had relocated from Ocean Springs to New Orleans and lived in the Christian C.A. Hanson residence there, after her husband’s demise.  She rented her Jackson Avenue home.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 26, 1900)

Bay View-Shadowlawn

In April 1906, Christian C. A. Hanson acquired for $3000 a large tract of land on Biloxi Bay from Abraham F. Marks and Anna Marks.  Here at present day 112A Shearwater Drive, circa 1907, it is believed that Mr. Hanson erected “Bay View”, a Prairie style home.  The Hanson family utilized “Bay View” as a retreat from the Crescent City.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 31, pp. 144-145)

Until his health declined, Christian C. A. Hanson and spouse resided at 1224 Marengo Street in New Orleans.  This handsome residence was sold and the Hansons elected to spend their final retirement years at “Bay View”, one of their Ocean Springs houses. (Ocean Springs NewsJuly 18, 1914).

Christian C. A. Hanson died at “Bay View”, now called Shadowlawn, on July15, 1914.  His remain were interred in the Metairie Cemetery.  Mrs. Magdalena Hanson sold her wonderful home and surrounding acreage to John Leo Dickey (1880-1938) and Jennie Woodford Dickey (1879-1969) of New Orleans on June 21, 1922.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 51, pp. 544-545).

In October 2004, Shadowlawn, after over eighty years in the Dickey family was sold by Nancy A. White Wilson, the granddaughter of Leo and Jennie Dickey, and spouse, William C. Wilson Jr., to William J. Mitchell and Joan Mitchell of Montgomery, Alabama.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1358, p. 759)

520 Jackson Avenue

Mrs. Magdalena Grob Clasen Hanson (1835-1929) legated her home at 520 Jackson Avenue to her grandchildren, Christian A. Hatry (1879-1949) and Anna Magdalena Hatry (1885-1957), who took possession in November 1929.  Upon the demise of Anna Magdalena Hatry in November 1957, the former Hanson domicile became the property of Mary Stella Smith Verrette in March 1958.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5224-1919 and Cause No. 14192-1958)

Mary Stella Smith Verrette (also spelled Verrett), was the servant of Miss Hatry. Stella had two children who would often accompany Miss Hatry to Ocean Springs. The Verrette children would play with the Lawson children next door.  Miss Anna Hatry educated the Verrette children.  The daughter of Mary Stella Verrette, Jacqueline Verrett, received her doctorate degree in biochemistry from Fordham University.  She wrote a book, Eating May Be Hazardous to Your Health (Simon & Schuster), which warned of the effects of additives, dyes, and substitutes used in food.  Mrs. Verrette's son is a Roman Catholic priest. 

In March 2004, the Hanson-Verette House was vended by John K. Stephens, the grandson of Harriett Crawford Widmer (1916-2000) and John “Jack” K. Widmer (1916-1993), to Sharon W. Dodds and Ross Dodds.  This charming, Greek Revival cottage had been in the Widmer family since August 1959, when it was acquired by Harriette Knox Widmer (1893-1964) and Sheldon “Buck” H. Widmer (1883-1961) from Mrs. Verrette.    Shortly after their acquisition of the Hanson-Verrette House, the Dodds began a well-planned and extensive renovation, which continues today.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1335, p. 535 and Bk. 191, p. 5)

 

Lot 4-Central

As previously stated, Martha B. McCauley (1816-1887), in the December 1874 partition of Lot 4, Section 24, T7S-R9W, less the ten acres in the SE/C, with Adeline A. Staples and Dennis Redmond selected what the author has subjectively defined as Lot 4-Central.  In the tri-party pact, the areal extent of Martha B. McCauley’s lands were described as: bounded on the north by the middle of a large marsh, and the waters of Fort Bayou; east by Fort Bayou and lands of Mrs. Staples; south by lands of Mrs. Staples; and southwest and west by the Back Bay of Biloxi.  The McCaulay tract was surveyed by Mr. Cland?, surveyor of Jackson County, Mississippi, and believed to contain about 25 acres.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, p. 216)

In July 1876, Martha B. McCauley lost her lands to Alonzo D. Sheldon (1832-1903) in the litigation, JXCO, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 8, “A.A. Staples v. William R. Buddendorf et al” filed in February 1876.  Mr. Sheldon was the highest bidder in a Sheriff’s sale and paid Commissioner John E. Clark of the Jackson County Chancery Court, $2500 for the lands of Redmond, Staples, and Miss McCauley.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 2, pp. 224-225)           

W.R. Stuart and Elizabeth M. Stuart

In September 1877, Alonzo D. Sheldon conveyed the lands formerly held by Martha B. McCauley to her daughter, Elizabeth “Lizzie” McCauley Stuart (1840-1925), the wife of William R. Stuart (1820-1894), for $833.40.  Elizabeth was the daughter of Hamilton McCauley and Martha B. Jones McCauley.  Her parents were wedded in August 1834 at Madison County, Mississippi, her birthplace.  Lizzie’s siblings were: William McCauley (1836-1850+); Robert W. McCauley (1837-1912); and Martha McCauley (1842-1860+).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 2, pp. 599-600, Madison Co., Ms. MRB E, p. 161, and 1850 Madison Co., Ms. Federal Census, M432_376, p. 166)

W.R. Stuart and wife were paramount individuals in the history of Ocean Springs.  Colonel W.R. Stuart was a very successful businessman at New Orleans where he prospered as a sugar and cotton broker.  William R. Stuart was born on November 18, 1820, near Centerville, Kent County, Maryland, the son of William R. Stuart and Ariana Frazier.  Both Stuart’s grandfathers were Scot immigrants to Maryland.  In 1840, young W.R. Stuart made his way by water from West Virginia to Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he met Colonel Nolan Stewart.  W.R. Stuart was invited into the Stewart home and studied commerce and business from his benefactor.(Goodspeed, 1891, p. 863) 

By 1850, W.R. Stuart was a resident of West Baton Rouge Parish Louisiana where he was a planter.  At this time, Stuart owned fifty-nine slaves and owned real estate valued at $20,000.(W. Baton Rouge Parish, La. 1850 Federal Census, RM432_229, p. 244 and 1850 Slave Schedule W. Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana) 

New Orleans

W.R. Stuart relocated to New Orleans where he made his livelihood in sugar and cotton trading.  In November 1858 at Madison County, Mississippi, he married Elizabeth McCauley Cimby who was born September 23, 1840 in Madison County, Mississippi.  As previously stated she was the daughter of Hamilton McCaulay and Martha B. McCauley, a native of North Carolina.

Civil War

Colonel W.R. Stuart’s title “Colonel” was strictly respectful and not military. In March 1862, he enlisted at New Orleans in the Confederate Guards Regiment, Volunteer State Troops Militia Infantry as a private in Company G.  He was immediately transferred by Governor Thomas O. Moore (1804-1876) to serve with Major General Mansfield Lowell, CSA, for the defense of New Orleans and its approaches.(Confederate Research Sources, Vol. 3, p. 731)

Ocean Springs farmer and stockman

Mr. and Mrs. W.R. Stuart retired from New Orleans to Ocean Springs circa 1877, and raised oranges, merino sheep and engaged in bee culture on the Fort Point Peninsula.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 24, 1878, p. 3)

In mid-1879, Colonel Stuart lost his desire to engage in citrus farming on the Fort Point Peninsula and began to devote most of his time to sheep culture as presented by the journal de jour:  Next to Col. Sheldon’s is W.R. Stuart’s orange grove.  For water protection he and Sheldon have the best from Mobile to New Orleans, but Col. Stuart has the “pure merino sheep” fever now so high that his grove is neglected and he wishes to sell it.  He says merino bucks will sell, wool also, when oranges will not. (The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 25, 1879, p. 3

Sheep

To demonstrate W.R. Stuart’s strong interest in sheep ranching in the vicinity of Ocean Springs, the following extractions from The Pascagoula Democrat are presented by year:

1878

W.R. Stuart sold sheep to Albert Ulman at Bay St. Louis where Mr. Ulman had a factory to produce woolen goods.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 31, 1878, p. 2)

            Last Monday, Col. W.R. Stuart of Ocean Springs, sold to Colonel A. E. Lewis four pure-blood Merinoes (sic).  As evidence of the value of the pure bloods as compared with the natives we want no better recommendation that the fact that this veteran in sheep raising is investing in improved breeds.  Col. Stuart has a few more for sale at reasonable prices, and those wishing to improve their flocks should apply to him soon.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 14, 1878)

            Col. Dennet of the Picayune, has been spending several days here as a guest of W.R. Stuart.  Speaking of W.R. Stuart suggests sheep, as he is so enthusiastic over his fine Merinos.  We examined a very fine buck this week that he was shipping to Col. J. Walkast, Bay St. Louis, who is largely interested in sheep raising, and has tow Merino bucks imported from Spain.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 28, 1878, p. 3)

No abatement of sheep farm interest.  Several more farms will be started next spring, some of Col. W.R. Stuart’s stock being engaged for that purpose.  Stock sheep can be purchased in any number desired, range price from $2 to $2.50 per head.  Experience of others demonstrates the fact that no failures can occur, and in this instance all who propose to engage in the pursuit have sufficient ability and capital to insure success.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 28, 1878, p. 3)

1880

Capt. R.L. Henderson, the popular sheriff of Lauderdale County, knows what pays.  He has ordered one of Col. W.R. Stuart’s finest merino bucks.  Capt. Henderson has many friends in our town, who know him either personally or by reputation.  Let’s hear from Tom Taylor, Esq., next.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 16, 1880, p. 3)

The Jackson Comet of last Saturday has the following to say of our Ocean Springs sheep king: “Col. W.R. Stuart, of Ocean Springs, is doing splendid work for Mississippi.  He is devoting himself to the introduction, rearing and propagation of pure breeds of stock, and has made a fine success of the business.  He now has on hand and offers for sale pure merino sheep.  At all the stock fairs in Mississippi last year Col. Stuart was a conspicuous exhibitor, and came out with honors and premiums.”(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 13, 1880, p. 3)

Col. W.R. Stuart has returned from Nashville, and has secured a few more very fine merino bucks.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 23, 1880, p. 3)

We recently received a letter from our friend a friend containing this sentence: “We find many people eager to invest in property on your beautiful lake coast, and think there will be quite an influx if proper –inducements are offered.”  This is but a sample of the many letters that we are constantly receiving.  Colonel Stuart daily receives communications from all parts of the land from parties desiring information about sheep raising and the adaptability of this country for that business.  Recently two gentlemen from Virginia spent some time here as guests of Col. S., and made a through inspection of the surrounding country, with the view of establishing and extensive sheep ranch.  They were charmed.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 30, 1880, p. 3)

Our old friend Colonel W.R. Stuart, of Ocean Springs, is still alive and wide awake upon the subject of merino sheep as will be seen by his advertisement in another column.  No man in South Mississippi has done more to advance the value of sheep and wool than Col. Stuart, who by his energy and tact has induced sheep raisers to invest in the best of all sheep for our Southern country-the merino.  We advise all who wish to improve their flocks to invest a few dollars in this improved sheep.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 14, 1880)

 

 

Gulf Coast

SHEEP FARM!

THOROUGHBRED MERINOS

the only kind suited to this climate, constantly for sale.

Young Bucks and Ewes

of superior quality and undoubted purity, sold at reasonable prices.  Address

W.R. Stuart

Ocean Springs, Miss.

May 14, 1880

 

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 14, 1880, p. 3)

 

Col. Stuart is certainly doing good work in introducing pure merino sheep into our portion of the State.  Scarcely a day passes but we see him shipping them to all parts of the country, both by rail and steamboat.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 11, 1980, p. 3)

By invitation of Col. Stuart, your correspondent went out to his place last Saturday, especially to examine some very fine Spanish merino bucks that he has recently received from Illinois.  We don’t pretend to know anything about sheep, but they certainly are the handsomest merinos we ever saw.  He shipped some to Mr. Davis, the “wine king,” of Pass Christian last Monday.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 20, 1880, p. 1)

1880

Capt. R.L. Henderson, the popular sheriff of Lauderdale County, knows what pays.  He has ordered one of Col. W.R. Stuart’s finest merino bucks.  Capt. Henderson has many friends in our town, who know him either personally or by reputation.  Let’s hear from Tom Taylor, Esq., next.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 16, 1880, p. 3)

The Jackson Comet of last Saturday has the following to say of our Ocean Springs sheep king: “Col. W.R. Stuart, of Ocean Springs, is doing splendid work for Mississippi.  He is devoting himself to the introduction, rearing and propagation of pure breeds of stock, and has made a fine success of the business.  He now has on hand and offers for sale pure merino sheep.  At all the stock fairs in Mississippi last year Col. Stuart was a conspicuous exhibitor, and came out with honors and premiums.”(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 13, 1880, p. 3)

Col. W.R. Stuart has returned from Nashville, and has secured a few more very fine merino bucks.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 23, 1880, p. 3)

            We recently received a letter from our friend a friend containing this sentence: “We find many people eager to invest in property on your beautiful lake coast, and think there will be quite an influx if proper –inducements are offered.”  This is but a sample of the many letters that we are constantly receiving.  Colonel Stuart daily receives communications from all parts of the land from parties desiring information about sheep raising and the adaptability of this country for that business.  Recently two gentlemen from Virginia spent some time here as guests of Col. S., and made a through inspection of the surrounding country, with the view of establishing and extensive sheep ranch.  They were charmed.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 30, 1880, p. 3)

Our old friend Colonel W.R. Stuart, of Ocean Springs, is still alive and wide awake upon the subject of merino sheep as will be seen by his advertisement in another column.  No man in South Mississippi has done more to advance the value of sheep and wool than Col. Stuart, who by his energy and tact has induced sheep raisers to invest in the best of all sheep for our Southern country-the merino.  We advise all who wish to improve their flocks to invest a few dollars in this improved sheep.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 14, 1880)

 

 

Gulf Coast

SHEEP FARM!

THOROUGHBRED MERINOS

the only kind suited to this climate, constantly for sale.

Young Bucks and Ewes

of superior quality and undoubted purity, sold at reasonable prices.  Address

W.R. Stuart

Ocean Springs, Miss.

May 14, 1880

 

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 14, 1880, p. 3)

 

 

            Col. Stuart is certainly doing good work in introducing pure merino sheep into our portion of the State.  Scarcely a day passes but we see him shipping them to all parts of the country, both by rail and steamboat.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 11, 1980, p. 3)

            By invitation of Col. Stuart, your correspondent went out to his place last Saturday, especially to examine some very fine Spanish merino bucks that he has recently received from Illinois.  We don’t pretend to know anything about sheep, but they certainly are the handsomest merinos we ever saw.  He shipped some to Mr. Davis, the “wine king,” of Pass Christian last Monday.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 20, 1880, p. 1)

1883

Col. W.R. Stuart received per steamship, Milanesewhich arrived at New Orleans on the seventh of November, a herd of twelve Jersey heifers and cows.  The herd is among the finest Jerseys ever imported into this country.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 16, 1883, p. 3)

Stuart & Snyder

            The W.R. Stuart-W.R. Snyder partnership was called the Gulf Coast Sheep Farm.  In October 1880, W.R. Stuart and W.R. Snyder (1846-1919) of West Virginia acquired over 1000 acres in Section 25 and Section 26, T7S-R8W, Jackson County, Mississippi from Thomas W. Ellis (ca 1840-1904+) and Amanda Vickers Ellis (1837-1880+).  The consideration was $200.  The Stuart-Snyder tract consisted of all of Section 25 and the NW/4, W/2 of the NE/4, W/2 of the SE/4, and the E/2 of the SE/4 of Section 26, excepting 10 acres north of Davis Bayou and also 10 acres possessed by Mrs. Nancy Armstrong in the NE/4, NW/4 of Section 26.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 8, pp. 697-698)

            W.R. Snyder had gained experience-raising livestock in West Virginia and was considered an authority on sheep production.  These gentlemen were committed to purebred merino stock and were renown for their character and reliability.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 7, 1881, p. 3)   

 

Stuart & Snyder’s

Gulf Coast

Sheep Farm!

THOROUGHBRED MERINOS

the only kind suited to this climate, constantly for sale.

Young Bucks and Ewes

of superior quality and undoubted purity, sold at reasonable prices.  Address

W.R. Stuart & Snyder

Ocean Springs, Miss.

January 7, 1881

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 7, 1881, p. 2)


William R. Snyder

Circa 1867, William Rennick Snyder (1846-1919), a Virginian, married Ellen Matthew (1838-1901), also a native of The Old Dominion.  The Snyders had four children: Annie W. Snyder (1870-1918), Sadie C. Snyder (1873-1901), Charles L. Snyder (1878-1963), and Lacy Edward Snyder (1881-1918).  Only Lacy Snyder was born in Mississippi.(1900 Federal Census-JXCO, Ms.)

The Snyder family arrived in Jackson County, Mississippi between 1879 and 1881, from Radford, Virginia.  They settled at “Fruitland”, a plantation they developed  on Old Fort Bayou in Section 13, T7S-R8W, about 6 miles east of Ocean Springs.  Mr. Snyder in addition to his toil as a stockman made his livelihood as a farmer and a land speculator and realtor in Jackson County, Mississippi.  His letterhead read as follows: Wm. R. Snyder   SOUTHERN LANDS  George Culver, manager

In 1905, Colonel Snyder ran a large advertisement in a regional industrial and agricultural magazine promoting real estate in this area.  Part of his sales promotion follows: “I regard the surroundings of Ocean Springs and Jackson County as the most attractive in the entire Gulf Coast region.  It is the highest point between New Orleans and Mobile.   The soil is fertile, easily tilled and retains moisture during the prolonged dry season……We can raise any cop you of the North know, save wheat, with profit.  We can get two, three and at times four crops from the same acre in a single year.  We can work outdoors 365 days each year.  We can catch all the delicious fish we wish at our very doors.  No oysters in the world excel ours; we get them for a song when we do not wish to gather them for ourselves.  We can pick our own oranges grown on our own trees all winter.  This is written January 10th, 1905.  Roses are in bloom at my window as I write.  My neighbors are gathering the delicious Satsuma orange and they will gather more in February.  DON’T YOU WANT TO JOIN US?  WRITE ME.  YOUR OBEDIENT SERVANT, WM. R. SNYDER.(North & South, Jan.-Feb. 1905, V. III, Nos. 9-10, p. 26)

Boscobel Dairy (1912-1914)

The Boscobel Dairy was owned by Thomas E. Dabney (1885-1970) and situated at "The Field", a dairy and pecan orchard near Lovers Lane in present day Cherokee Glen.  Dabney was reputed have had one of the finest herds in the State.  Mr. Dabney came to Ocean Springs in 1912, as editor and publisher of The Ocean Springs News.(The Ocean Springs NewsDecember 10, 1914, p. 1)  

In December 1914, Dabney sold his dairy to Charles Snyder (1877-1963).   The conveyance included nine cows, cream separator, utensils, and good will.  Snyder already was in the dairy business with a herd of twelve cows.  By November 1915, Charles Snyder leased his dairy to B.J. Rhodes.  Rhodes from New York was living at Grand Isle, Louisiana.  He was wiped out by the October 1915 Hurricane there and came to Ocean Springs with his family of five girls (7 to 18 years) to start anew.(The Ocean Springs News, November 4, 1915, p. 1)

In August 1925, Thomas E. Dabney sold “The Field” at Ocean Springs to Walter S. Lindsay (1888-1975) and Catherine Benjamin Lindsay (1889-1958) of Milwaukee.  The Lindsays kept horses on this land.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 56, pp. 293-294 and Beryl Girot Riviere, August 26, 2002)

The Presbyterian Church

In June 1886, the Presbyterians of Ocean Springs who had been congregating for their services in the local Baptist Church decided to erect their own sanctuary.  At the organizational meeting at the home of Mrs. Louisa Burling Bartlett (1823-1889) on Washington Avenue, in July 1886, W.R. Snyder was appointed chairman.  He was also appointed to a committee of three to solicit contributions of materials for the construction of the church.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, p. 62)

Gun smoke in Belle Fontaine

In May 1894, W.R. Snyder and his nephew went to retrieve a cow that they alleged had strayed into the pasture of Dr. Daniel P. Russell (1836-1898+), a land speculator and veterinarian, residing at Belle Fontaine.  When Dr. Russell objected to his trespassing, Snyder fired a shot at the doctor and it passed through his hat.  Dr. Russell filed a charge, which alleged that Mr. Snyder had attempted to murder him.  In late May 1894, following the alleged attack by Colonel Snyder, Dr. Russell was at Ocean Springs for a meeting of the local Masonic lodge.  His demeanor was reported “as serene as usual.” (The Biloxi Herald, June 2, 1894, p. 8 and June 2, 1894, p. 8)

In December 1894, a jury found W.R. Snyder guilty of assault and battery.  He was fined $1000 and sentenced to three months in jail.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 1, 1894, p. 3)

By April 1895, a petition was being circulated locally seeking a pardon for Colonel Snyder.  It was generally well accepted and many signatures were collected.  With the pardon petition in hand, Colonel Newcomb Clark of Ocean Springs and M.A. Dees of Moss Point accompanied Colonel Snyder to Jackson to beseech Governor Stone.  Snyder was forgiven by the Governor and returned home jubilantly.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 26, 1895 and May 10, 1895)

D.P Russell and Belle Fontaine

I have really drifted far and away from Lovers Lane with this look at the lives of W.R. Snyder and now Dan P. Russell.  Both men were players of their time and deserve a few paragraphs, which with I will continue to entertain you.  Dan P. Russell was born at New York and settled in northwestern Iowa as early as 1867.  By 1880, he and his family were domiciled at Livermore, Humboldt County, Iowa where Mr. Russell made his livelihood as a hotelkeeper.  The peripatetic life style of D.P. Russell is corroborated by the fact that his three children, Herman Russell (1862-1880+), Murry D. Russell (1865-1898+), and Luretta ? Russell (1867-1880+), were born in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa respectively.(1880 Federal Census Humboldt Co., Iowa, T9_344, p. 539B, ED 128)

At Ocean Springs, Dr. D.P. Russell was active in commerce and real estate.  As early as 1891, he was operating several commercial businesses in town.  He occasionally went to Colorado to observe his mining interests.  By 1897, Dr. Russell had relocated to Saucier, north of Gulfport.  Here he was affiliated with the Biloxi Export and Lumber Company.(The Biloxi Herald, November 14, 1891, p. 8, April 24, 1897, p. 8 and  June 30, 1898, p. 8)

From depositions given in Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 3336, "H.F. Russell v. Calvin Seymour, et al", March 1914, the following information was revealed concerning D.P. Russell and son, Murry D. Russell, in the Belle Fontaine area.  The Russells were agents for the Heirs of St. Cyr Seymour (1788-1845) and Marie-Josephe Ryan Seymour (1786-1876) who still possessed the original Seymour family settlement situated in Section 5, T8S-R7W, Jackson County, Mississippi. 

H.F. Russell (1858-1940), the plaintiff in the case and no relation to D.P. Russell, testified that D.P. Russell, called Doc Russell, and the father of M.D. Russell, was the agent for the owners in the 1890s.  Between 1895 and 1901, the virgin timber was cut or worked off the property by the timber crews of Doc Russell.

            John Webb testified to the Chancery Court that D.P. Russell lived on the Seymour land and had logs cut and charcoal burned there during his occupancy.  Webb stated that "he (D.P. Russell) lived on what they call the Seymour place".  Russell built a house, barn, and a structure for his teamsters to occupy.  John Webb further averred that this was the same site that Richmond Spradley later resided on commencing in 1895 or 1896.  Webb also revealed that there were hundreds of charcoal kilns on the property.  The average kiln produced about 350 barrels of charcoal.  When asked if he ever knew of any Seymours living on the tract, John Webb replied negatively.  He did say that"there was an old man living there once, that we called Uncle Baptiste".  Webb did not know with any degree of certitude that this man, Uncle Baptiste, was Jean-Baptiste Seymour (1811-1887), the son of St. Cyr Seymour.

Thomas E. Ramsay (1845-1934), who owned the Seymour tract with H.F. Russell (1858-1940) from 1902 to 1909, testified that Mr. Spradley was the tenant of M.D. Russell and that he resided on the land for about eleven years.  Ramsay said that Spradley built one or two houses and "raised some mighty fine sugar cane and potatoes".

   

Past bad blood

Prior to W.R Snyder taking a shot at Daniel P. Russell in May 1894, the two men had already been involved as business partners, which resulted in litigation in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi in 1892 titled, Cause No. 413, “Snyder v. Russell.  In this legal matter, William R. Snyder sued Dr. D.P. Russell and his brother, H.J. Russell, a resident of Bloomington, Illinois.  Colonel Snyder alleged that he had been a partner first with D.P. Russell and later with the Russell Brothers to sell the A.E. Lewis lands consisting of about 16,000-acres and livestock at Belle Fontaine.  The Russells averred that their relationship in this venture with Snyder ended abruptly in March 1890, when the second option to acquire the Lewis tract expired.

             In November 1889, D.P. Russell went to Chicago to find a buyer for the A.E. Lewis lands at Belle Fontaine.  Here he entered into a contract with H.T. Coffee, a real estate broker in the Windy City.  When Russell exhausted his funds, he sought financial backing from his brother, H.J. Russell of Bloomington, Illinois.  The first option on the Lewis lands expired in February 1890.  The three men bought an extension to March 15, 1890.  When this agreement expired, the Russell brothers assumed that W.R. Snyder was no longer a partner in the A.E. Lewis land promotion.                         

            In June 1890, H.J. Russell sold at Mobile seven hundred head of cattle, two thousand five hundred head of sheep, and two hundred head of hogs to H.J. Wilson.  The consideration was $4500.  Mr. Russell had acquired these livestock herds from the Heirs of A.E. Lewis in January 1890.  H.J. Russell had liens in the amount of $4465 on these animals.

     Also in June 1890, the heirs of Alfred E. Lewis (1812-1885), who was the son of Edwin Lewis and Margaret Baudreau, sold the Lewis tract to H.J. Russell for $80,000. The heirs of Alfred E. Lewis were his widow, Ann Farrington Lewis (1821-1901), his surviving children, Eugenie Lewis Orrell (1850-1932), Kate Lewis Staples (1859-1930), A.E. Lewis Jr. (1862-1933), and Frank H. Lewis (1865-1930), and Mathilde A. Staples (1858-1928+), the widow of his son, Robert Walter Lewis (1857-1886). (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Book 11, pp. 194-197)

      H.J. Russell then turned the Lewis tract to John Bacon Lyon (1829-1904) of Chicago.  On October 24, 1890, Trustee, John B. Lyon, conveyed the Lewis tract to the Gulf of Mexico Land and Improvement Company for $1,000,000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, pp. 205-208 and Bk. 12, pp. 41-45) 

      The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported this event on January 2, 1891, as follows:  The site now known as New Chicago, at West Pascagoula (formerly the Colonel A.E. Lewis tract), was sold by John B. Lyon, trustee to The Gulf of Mexico Land and Improvement Company, of Chicago, for one million dollars.  This is, up to date, the largest real estate transfer ever made in any of the southern or piney woods counties.(p. 3, c. 3)

Hamill Farm

             A portion of the A.E. Lewis tract became the Hamill Farm at Belle Fontaine.  It was founded by Robert W. Hamill (1863-1943), the son-in-law of J.B. Lyon circa 1915.  The Hamill farm, called Fontainebleau Farm, was located primarily in Section 31, T7S-R7W and Section 6, T8S-R7W. Here the Hamill Corporation also had a store and offices for their timber and naval stores operations.  The offices were erected and the store enlarged in February 1929.(The Daily Herald, February 4, 1929, p. 2)

German-Swedish Settlement

            Regardless of his former business and personal relations with D.P. Russell, Colonel W.R. Snyder continued his personal mission of promoting the Ocean Springs area to the outside world.  In December 1901, at the invitation of W.R. Snyder, General Axtell F. Dreutzer of Chicago, one of the most prominent Swedish Americans in America, and Louis H. Jacob, a leader of the German Americans, came to Ocean Springs to meet with Colonel W.R. Snyder.  They were seeking a colony site for about two hundred German families situated near Chicago, Illinois.  The Germans were truck farmers had grown tired of the severe climate there.  It was believed that more money could be made in the South because of its milder climate.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 20, 1901)

W.R. Snyder Subdivision

In May 1907, W.R. Snyder divided a portion of his “Fruitland” estate situated in the NE/4 of the SW/4 and the W/2 of the SE/4 of Section 13, T7S-R8W, on Old Fort Bayou into four lots, which he platted as the W.R. Snyder Subdivision.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Surveyors Record Bk. 1, p. 79)

The Stewart C. Spencer family was the first to settle here acquiring Lots 1-4 in February 1908.  Stewart C. Spencer (1867-1959) and Francesca Spencer Howard (1911-1971), his daughter, conveyed their four lots in the W.R. Snyder Subdivision to Edmo E. Merkel (1897-1984), a Mississippi native, and spouse, Mary E. Jackson Merkle from Indiana, in July 1957.  They were domiciled at Willamette, Illinois at the time of purchase.  The Merkles had taught public school at Chicago in the 1930s.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1, pp. 262-263 and 168, pp. 577-579 and 1930 Illinois Federal Census, R481, p. 6A, Ed 1506)

Real estate booklet

In April 1910, Colonel W.R. Snyder published a booklet titled, “The Mississippi Gulf Coast, Its Possibilities, Its Advantages”.  The Ocean Springs News, the local journal printed it for Snyder.(The Ocean Springs News, April 23, 1910)

William R. Snyder expired at the Shanahan Hotel in March 1919.  His corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou, joining his wife, Ellen Matthews Snyder, who passed at her Ocean Springs home, “Fruitland”, in April 1901.(The Jackson County Times, March 15, 1919 and The Pascagoula Democrat Star, April 2, 1901)

Fruitland-Pine Oaks

In November 1948, Dr. John Dryden Davenport (1893-1965), the nephew of Charles Dryden (1860-1931), the King of the baseball writers and long time vacationer at Ocean Springs, acquired in “Fruitland”, the old W.R. Snyder place and surrounding 10.66 acres from his heirs: Charles L. Snyder Sr. (1877-1963), Mildred Snyder, Charles L. Snyder Jr., Louise Clark Snyder (1891-1981), W.C. Snyder, and Katheryn E. Snyder, a single woman.  Dr. Davenport called his estate “Pine Oaks”.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 104, pp. 1-7)

Ridge View Acres

In May 1973, Mabel Z. Davenport and her son, John Dryden Davenport Jr., conveyed “Pine Oaks” to Big Ridge Properties Inc.-James P. Green, president. The Dr. Davenport property was platted in August 1975, as the Ridge View Acres Subdivision with twenty-eight.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 463, p. 181 and JXCO, Ms. Plat Bk. 14, p. 47)

Oak Ridge

In August 1975, Harry J. Geller (1905-1977), a native of Egg Harbor City, New Jersey, and spouse, Marie Kertz Geller (1905-1995), acquired Lot 25 of the Ridge View Estates, upon which the old W.R. Snyder home was now situated.  Mr. Geller, a retired baker, and spouse had relocated to Ocean Springs from Coral Gables, Florida where he was active in African violet growing.  The Geller referred to their domicile as “Oak Ridge” at 7716 Davenport Lane.( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 539, p. 599  and The Daily Herald, January 28, 1977, p. A2)

Harry J. Geller and spouse, Eleanor Geller, and Marie T. Geller conveyed “Oak Ridge” to Ronald O. and Melissa H. Fries in December 1991.  Eric Graham and spouse acquired the old Snyder Place from the Fries in December 2002 and demolished it shortly thereafter.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 987, p. 399 and Bk. 1291, p. 636)

Back to the “Lane”

After that whirlwind tour through the life of W.R. Snyder and D.P. Russell, we will return to the Fort Point Peninsula and continue with the life of Colonel William R. Stuart and his contributions to our local economy through his endeavors in his commercial endeavors-sheep raising and pecan culture.

Pecans

Colonel W.R. Stuart established at Ocean Springs in 1875, his incipient pecan orchards, which led to him being honored later in life as “the father of pecan culture in the South.”  It was an astute observation by Stuart at Scranton, now Pascagoula, that a particular pecan tree there was bearing large crops of rich, full pecans from a large “paper” shell.  The seeds for this “super” tree were was acquired in Mobile in 1874 by J.R. Lassabe and cultivated by him in his yard at Pascagoula.  By the time, the tree was bearing prolifically it was called the “Castanera” after Captain Eugene Castanera who had bought the Lassabe place.  Captain Castanera was postmaster at Moss Point from 1882-1885. Amelia Castanera (1905-2000), his granddaughter, married John A. O’Keefe (1891-1985), the brother of Miss Mary Cahill O’Keefe for whom the newly renovated 1927 Ocean Springs Public School has been named.(History of JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.    , p., Ms., 1989, p. 19)

 From the “super” tree, Colonel Stuart and John Keller grafted others and began the development of the Stuart pecan, which was offered commercially circa 1892.  At the acme of his pecan culture, Colonel Stuart had a pecan bearing orchard of 1500 trees, and thousands of nursery seedlings.  Professor Reid of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and considered the national field expert for nut culture said of the Stuart pecan: “is adapted to a larger area of the country than any other nut that has been propagated up to the present time.  Stuart pecan trees that bear one hundred fifty pounds of nuts, which are sold at one dollar per pound, are nothing unusual.  An extensive business in the shipment of nursery trees has been developed from Virginia to California, and the nuts grown in this big orchard are shipped principally to Chicago and St. Louis and other Midwestern cities.”(Ocean Springs-1915, p. 23)

Colonel Stuart also shipped some of his fine Mississippi pecans overseas.  In November 1890, after returning from a trip to Georgia, a large volume of his pecans were sent by rail to San Francisco for loading on a steamship for Melbourne, Australia.  Also in 1890, W.R. Stuart was named as the originator of the Stuart and the Van Deman pecan varieties by the US Department of Agriculture.(The Biloxi Herald, November 8,1890, p. 4 and Goodspeed, Vol. II, 1891, p. 863)

Circa 1891, The Atlanta Constitution quoted Colonel Stuart as follows:   I began (to cultivate pecans) at fifty-six years of age.  I am now seventy-one, and make more money out of pecans than I do out of cotton.  The young man in the South ought to think of this.  There is unlimited money in pecan culture in the South, and I am anxious to see our people plant pecan trees just as they do apple or peach trees.  They will make the South rich.”

McCauley-Stuart Tract-the move to town

In March 1881, the W.R. Stuart and spouse acquired for $1000, 12.5 acres in the NE/C Lot 1, Section 30, T7S-R8W, 2.21 acres in Section 29, T7S-R8W, and 191 acres in Section 20, T7S-R8W, from Mrs. Stuart’s mother, Martha B. Jones McCauley (1816-1887).  In present day geography, this 12.5-acre parcel in Section 30, that was platted in April 1889 from a survey by E.W. Morrill (1839-1910), which is called “The Stuart Tract”, is bounded on the north by Government Street, on the east by Pine Drive, on the south by Stuart Avenue, and on the west by Magnolia.  It includes the Forest Hills Subdivision and the newly created Mulberry Place Subdivision, as well as that block to the west of Magnolia bounded by Government, Ward and Porter, which encompasses the 1927 Public School, now the Mary Cahill O’Keefe Cultural Center and the N.E. Taconi School and playground.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 6, pp. 70-71 and Bk. 13, p. 167)

Martha B. Jones McCauley had acquired these tract in August 1871 from Edward Toby.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. D, pp. 207-208)

The relocation of Colonel Stuart and Lizzie Stuart from the Fort Point Peninsula to the Stuart tract on Government Street, then County Road, was announced as follows:  Col. W.R. Stuart has sold, so we have been informed, his orange grove on the Back Bay of Biloxi to Mr. Parker Earle of Cobden, Illinois.  Mr. Earle is chief of the horticultural department of the World's Exposition.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star,  May 2, 1884, p. 3)

The actually sale of W.R. Stuart’s Lovers Lane tract to Parker T. Earle (1837-1917) occurred in July 1884.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 7, p. 166)

In March 1889, H.H. Curtiss built an east-west road between his property and that of Colonel Stuart to the north.  This thoroughfare was originally called Curtiss Avenue, but later took on the nomenclature of W.R. Stuart.  It remains blessedly “Stuart Avenue” today.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 10, p. 527)

Martha B. J. McCauley

Martha B. Jones McCauley was born in North Carolina, probably Warren County.  She was the daughter of Judith B. Jones (1780-1860), a native of Warren County, North Carolina.  From tombstones in the Old Iron Cemetery and Federal Census data in Madison County, Mississippi it can be deduced that Judith B. Jones and family relocated to Madison County, Mississippi after 1820.  The relationship of Judith B. Jones and the Reverend Hill Jones (1771-1816), also native to Warren County, North Carolina and interred near her in the Old Iron Cemetery, is not clear to the author.(Wellington, 1997, p. 668)

In August 1834, Martha B. Jones married Hamilton McCauley.  They were the parents of: William B. McCauley (1835-1860); Robert W. McCauley (1837-1912); Elizabeth McCauley Stuart (1840-1925) married W.R. Stuart (1820-1894); and Martha McCauley (1842-1850+).(Madison Co., Ms. MRB E, p. 161 and Madison Co., Ms. 1850 Federal Census, M434_376, p. 166)

The McCauley-Stuart house

It appears that Martha B. McCauley erected a domicile on what would become known as the W.R. Stuart tract sometimes after August 1871.  The origin and history of this structure was magnificently recorded in March 1957, by C.E. “Uncle Ernie” Schmidt (1904-1988), former Mayor and author of Ocean Springs-French Beachhead (1972) and numerous journal offerings chronicling our local history.   In 1956 or 1956, Ernest Schmidt was privy to an old scrapbook containing newspaper clippings from The Times Picayune of 1872, which was shortly after Martha B. McCauley had acquired her acreage along County Road, now Government Street, Magnolia, etc.  Mayor Schmidt was also very fortunate to have discovered entries in this amazing archival journal cum scrapbook dated at the end of 1871, which had purchase orders for the acquisition of building materials and labor cost.  To quote Schmidt:  It was almost like peeking thru the wall of time and watching purchase and delivery of lumber and bricks, shingles and paint and fencing, and seeing old Rudolph Pfeferle (1829-1894), the local builder for many years, and his crew of carpenters erecting this fine new home, which today is only a shabby remnant.  The old Stuart place is now Forest Hills subdivision or the land east of Magnolia and south of Government, which was then known as the County Road.  You can still see the two rows of massive live oaks and Magnolias which formed the customary approach to fine country homes, and to the east and west and rear of the home is the large orchard of pecans, which Col. Stuart started to cultivate in 1876….  Mrs. Stuart outlived the Colonel by many years, and those of us who are not so old, can remember the frail old lady, who in her lingering years was often driven in her old horse drawn brougham, when the weather was fine, down to the beach to watch the sunsets. ” (The Ocean Springs News, March 21, 1957, p. 2)

The Jones will and Tempy Stuart

In July 1857, Judith B. Jones (1780-1860) wrote her last will and testament while a resident of Madison County, Mississippi.  Her legatees were three daughters: Mary M. Whitehead; Martha B. McCauley married Hamilton McCauley; and Elizabeth W. Howcott (Haucott) married John B. Howcott (Haucott). In this instrument, is given the names of her Slaves: Tillar, a woman; William, a man; Wiley, a boy; Margaret, a small girl; Reuben, a man; Tom, a man; Tempy, a woman; Vincent, a man; Susan, a woman and her two children, Offa and Tanny; and John, a boy.(Madison Co., Ms. Chancery Court Will Bk. A, p. 315)

Is this Tempy, the Slave woman, in the legacy of Judith B. Jones, the one and the same that Stuart family lore relates was a wedding gift from Martha B. McCauley to her daughter, Lizzie McCauley, when she took William R. Stuart as her husband in November 1858, in Madison County, Mississippi?( Hunting for Bears-Madison Co., Ms., 1990, p. 233)

It has been alleged and accepted by Colonel W.R. Stuart’s Black descendants who reside primarily in New York today that their known ancestor, Alfred B. Stuart (1860-1928), was the son of W.R. Stuart (1820-1894) and Temple "Tempy" Burton (1821-1925), a native of Louisiana.  After slavery was abolished, Tempy Burton elected to remain with the Stuarts as their cook.  When she died in Ocean Springs on March 1, 1925, at the age of one hundred-four years, Tempy Burton had been with the late Mrs. Stuart for seventy years.(The Daily Herald, March 3, 1925, p. 3, c. 4)

Mrs. Elizabeth M. Stuart preceded Tempy Burton Stuart in death by about two months.  She provided for her former slave and near life companion in her will leaving Aunt Tempy Burton $500.(JXCO, Miss. Chancery Court Cause No. 4500-1925)

In addition to Alfred B. Stuart, Temple Burton Stuart had six children.  Three were alive in 1900.  A daughter, Violet S. Battle (1863-1933+), probably lived at Ocean Springs.  She is known to have been a nanny for the children of a Mrs. Jahnke who resided at New Orleans.  Other children of Tempy Burton Stuart were: Louis Stuart (1866-1877+), Warren Stuart (1867-1877+) and May Stuart (1869-1877+).(JXCO, Miss. 1877 Enumeration of Educable Children, p. 22)

The Stuarts and Methodism

W.R. Stuart and Lizzie McCauley Stuart supported the First Methodist Church at Ocean Springs, which was located on the north side of Porter near Washington Avenue and built in 1872.  In the spring of 1891, a writer for The New Orleans Christian Advocate visited Ocean Springs and gave a glowing report of the Methodist Church at this time:  The writer enjoyed a trip to Ocean Springs, on Saturday last, where he was elegantly entertained at the typical Methodist Southern home of Col. And Mrs. W.R. Stuart, both well known for their warm-heartedness and Christian hospitality.  Sister Stuart, who was for over twenty-seven years bedridden, has for the past six years slowly recovering, so that she is able, accompanied by her faithful nurse, to walk about the house and grounds.  Her patient, gentle submission to God’s will through all these years of trial have preached sermons to many.  God be praised for his loving kindness to our church for giving us such Methodists as Brother and Sister Stuart!

The congregation at the M.E. Church, South, Sunday morning, while not large, was very attentive, which was also true of the Sunday-school, superintended by Brother Shannon, a faithful local preacher.  The song service, conducted by Brother Wm. R. Stuart, was charming.  Mrs. Webb presided at the organ; a lady friend adding much to the music by playing the violin.

Ocean Springs is improving very fast.  Over ten new houses, mostly residences, are now being erected.  It is a delightful place to live in.  So thinks Bishop Keener, who selected this place for his summer home years ago.(The New Orleans Christian Advocate, April 23, 1891)

Mrs. Stuart willed many personal items and gifts to this local Methodist congregation.  Included among these personal items were her valuable bookcase and pictures.  Other gifts included: the three large, lancet, stain-glassed windows in memory of Bishop J.C. Keener (1819-1906), Colonel W.R. Stuart, and Mrs. Lizzie Stuart; a cash gift of $500 to secure a library for the Sunday school; a cash gift of $2000 to construct "The Lizzie McCauley Stuart Memorial Rooms", Sunday school class rooms.(The New Orleans Christian Advocate, November 19, 1925, p. 9)

The large stained glass windows in the St. Paul's United Methodist Church on Porter and Rayburn Avenue were legated in 1925, by Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart for the original 1900 church building on the same site.  They were installed in the 1962 sanctuary at the same location.(The Ocean Springs Record, July 10, 1997, p. 24)

The corporal remains of Colonel W.R. Stuart, Elizabeth McCauley Stuart, Tempy Burton Stuart, and Alfred B. Stuart are interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou at Ocean Springs.

Sale of the Stuart Tract

Before her demise in 1925, Elizabeth M. Stuart sold her 12.5 acres homestead on Government Street, the County Road.  In December 1913, she began conveyance of her town estate lands to William H. Howcott (1847-1927), a cousin, domiciled in the Crescent City, when he acquired Lots 2-13 of the Stuart Tract.( JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, p 609)  

Parsonage lot

In November 1891, entrepreneur, Albert Baldwin (1840-1911) of New Orleans, donated a lot, No. 14 in Block 1-Stuart Tract, on the northeast corner of Porter and Pecan Street (present day Ward Avenue) to be used as the site for the parsonage of the minister of the Ocean Springs Methodist Episcopal Church.  The Trustees of this church were: W.R. Stuart, John Keller, D.D. Cowan, and A.H. Shannon.  The lot and improvements were sold to B.F. Beevers by the Church, in March 1902, for $550.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, pp. 134-135 and Bk. 24, pp. 394-395).

Sale

The “Big Sale” came to W.H. Howcott in May 1922, when Lizzie Stuart for $8000, vended “all the land, lots, parcels or fractions of lots and land, known as the Stuart Homestead or my Home place, with all the building and improvement thereon, situated in the town of Ocean Springs, County of Jackson, State of Mississippi…..the Stuart Homestead and my Home place on the County Road, situated in Section 30, Township seven (7) South, Range Eight (8) West, and Lot One (1) of the Stuart tract, and any other property which may be owned by myself at present.  All cattle, horses, carriages, wagons, plows, farm implements of any and all kind, all nursery stock, pecan groves growing, lying and being upon said property above described; all household furniture of every kind and character, all books, pictures, linens owned by myself.  This sale intended to conveying to the said William H. Howcutt everything owned by myself at he present time-all lands, any and all houses or improvements thereon, the entire contents of the said houses, furniture, linens, pictures, dishes, crockery, silver, in fact any and all property, real and personal owned by myself at the present time EXCEPT: three portraits, one of my husband’s father, one of his brother and one of his brother’s wife, all of which hang in the parlor of my residence in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 54, pp. 501)

William H. Howcott

William H. Howcott (1847-1927) was born in July 1847, probably in Madison County, Mississippi.  His parents were probably natives of Warren County, North Carolina.  Circa 1875, Mr. Howcott settled at New Orleans where he made his livelihood as a merchant and land and timber agent while situated at 192 Common and also 217 Carondelet in the Crescent City.  He married Mary Edith Watt who had expired before 1900, very probably during the birth of her last child in 1891.  She bore him at least four children at New Orleans: Harley Howcott (1878-1900+); Edith Howcott (1882-1910+); William H. Howcott Jr. (1886-1907); and Gladys Howcott (1891-1920+).  William H. Howcott expired at New Orleans on December 12, 1927.(Orleans Parish, La. 1900 and 1920 Federal Census, T623_574, p. 10B, ED 112, Ward 11 and T625_625, p. 13, ED 193) 

William H. Howcott served as executor of the Estate of Elizabeth McCauley Stuart.  He was legated the remainder of her estate after all bequeathments and financial obligations were settled.  In addition to her gift of $500 to Tempy Burton Stuart (1821-1925), her cook and companion, Mrs. Stuart left $1000 to Mrs. Susie Jones of Atlanta, Georgia; $100 to Joe McCauley Jr.; and $100 to Mrs. Emma Miller Handy of Richmond, Virginia.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 4500-1925)

Daniel J. Gay

In October 1925, Daniel Judson Gay (1870-1949) acquired from W.H. Howcott most of the W.R. and Lizzie M. Stuart lands along present day Government Street.  The consideration was $26,000.  From the former Stuart properties here, Mr. Gay platted two subdivisions: The Colonel W.R. Stuart Subdivision in January 1926 and Forest Hills Subdivision in May 1926, which included the home of Mrs. W.R. Stuart.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 56, pp. 601-602 and JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Plat Bk. 1, p. 86 and Plat Bk. 1, p. 92)

Daniel Judson Gay (1870-1949), the son of John W. Gay and Salida Lanier, was born in Emanuel County, Georgia, which is governed from Swainsboro.  He came to Biloxi in 1902, from turpentine operations in Florida.  Gay married Lee B. Champlin (1884-1964) on December 8, 1903.  She was the daughter of Judge Zachary Taylor Champlin (1847-1924) and Virginia White Champlin of Handsboro.  The children of D.J. Gay and Lee B. Champlin were: Louise G. Dantzler Duncan (1904-1975+), Daniel J. Gay Jr. (1906-1964+), John “Champ” C. Gay (1909-1975), Edna G. Jenkins (1910-1975+), and Katherine G. Farrar (1915-1975+).  D.J. Gay taught school and was in the naval stores, banking, and realty business.  In 1905, Gay organized and was president of the Harrison County Bank of Biloxi.  It merged with the Peoples Bank in 1914.  Mr. Gay was president of the Peoples Bank for a number of years.  In 1910, Daniel J. Gay built the Gay Building on the southeast corner of Lameuse Street and Howard Avenue at Biloxi.  The Jett Brothers of Mobile made the lowest construction bid of $18,274.  The Harrison County Bank occupied the ground floor. The Peoples Bank acquired the Gay Building and occupied it in 1924.(The Daily Herald, August 2, 1910, p. 4)

D.J. Gay was locally involved in the naval stores business operating turpentine operations in Harrison and Jackson Counties.  His first partner was fellow Georgian, Charles B. Elarbee (1861-1917).  Gay later worked with George L. Robinson (1848-1919+) and Robert W. Hamill (1863-1943) of Chicago.  His son, J. Champlin “Champ” Gay, and brother, Edward C. Gay, also were associated with Gay in the turpentine business.  It is believed that E.C. Gay residing at San Antonio, Texas ran the family turpentine operation near Durango, Mexico between 1927 and 1932.  Champ Gay served his felloe citizens as Mayor of Ocean Springs from 1953-1961.

School-Church Philanthropist

Daniel J. Gay was a philanthropist.  In December 1926, the Gay Realty Company donated 2.20 acres from six lots in the Colonel W.R. Stuart Subdivision to the City of Ocean Springs for the erection of the 1927 Ocean Springs Public School on Government Street.  The Class of 1965 was the last to occupy the building as an instructional facility.  In the summer of 2002, Fletcher Construction Company commenced the enlargement, renovation, and refurbishment of the old school building.  This multimillion-dollar project was most capably supervised by Carl Germany, AIA.  The resulting improvements were dedicated as the Mary Cahill O’Keefe Cultural Center onSeptember 5, 2003.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 60, pp. 348-349 and The Ocean Springs Record, September 4, 2003, p. 1)

In March 1945, Mr. Gay also donated ground for the Triumph Church west of Denny Avenue.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 88, pp. 495-496).

Daniel J. Gay like many Americans lost his fortune during the Depression.  He never declared bankruptcy and paid his creditors.  In 1945, Mr. Gay moved to Tampa, Florida where his daughter, Louise Dantzler, resided.  He passed on here in early December 1949.  Mrs. Gay expired at Inverness, Mississippi in February 1964.  They are both interred in the Southern Memorial Park Cemetery at Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, December 5, 1949 and The Daily Herald, February 11, 1964, p. 2)           

Parker Earle

In July 1884, when Parker Earle (1831-1917) acquired the twenty-five acres on the Fort Point Peninsula known as the Stuart Orange Grove from Elizabeth McCauley (1840-1925) and W.R. Stuart (1820-1894), he was domiciled at New Orleans as the horticultural director of the New Orleans World Cotton Centennial Exposition (1884-1885).  (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 7, p. 166)

Parker Earle (1831-1917)

Parker Earle by the 1880s was one of the most widely known horticulturists in America.  He had just become the first president of the Mississippi Valley Horticultural Society, now the American Horticultural Society.  In 1876, he was a judge at the Centennial Exposition.  At the World Cotton Centennial Exposition in New Orleans, he organized and was responsible for the horticulture department.  It is interesting to note that W.B. Schmidt (1823-1900), an outstanding entrepreneur in the Crescent City, was vice-president of the organization in charge of the Cotton Centennial.  It is highly probable that Schmidt who owned the Ocean Springs Hotel on Jackson Avenue among other properties in the area invited the Earles to visit Ocean Springs, then a sleepy village on the Mississippi coast.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 7, p. 166)

In the late 1850s, Parker Earle, a young, well-educated Yankee, left the culture and security of New York, and went west to the corn and wheat country of Southern Illinois.  East of the village of South Pass (now Cobden), he bought land on the southern sunny slopes in the loess hill country.  At this locale, he planted orchards and began experimenting with a variety of small fruits and berries.  Some of the local farmers thought his ideas were radical, but excused his actions because "he had an overdose of book learning".  Undaunted by this parochial thinking and criticism, the young farmer continued his novel work and soon proved to all doubters the viability of growing fruit, especially strawberries in Southern Illinois. 

Parker Earle (1831-1917 was born at Mt. Holly, Rutland County, Vermont on August 8, 1831, the son of Sumner Earle and Clarissa Tucker Earle, who raised dairy cattle.  University educated in horticulture, Parker was a disciple of the great Boston horticulturist, Hovey, the Luther Burbank of his time.  At Dwight, Illinois in 1855, Parker Earle met and married Melanie Tracy (1837-1889) from Rochester, Ohio.  Mrs. Earle was an accomplished journalist having worked at various times for the Chicago InterOcean, the Rural New Yorker, and other northern newspapers.  In southern Illinois, Parker and Melanie Tracy Earle had three children come into the world: Franklin Sumner Earle (1856-1929), Charles Theodore Earle (1861-1901), and Mary Tracy Earle Horne (1864-1955).

John M. Tracy

Mrs. Parker Earle's parents, John Martin Tracy (1808-1843) and Hannah Maria Conant (1815-1896), were well-educated people from New England who settled in Ohio in 1831.  Mr. Tracy was an itinerant Methodist preacher and abolitionist lawyer.  He died in 1843 from pneumonia caught on a cold rainy night while he was risking his life to assist Negro slaves escape.  The widowed, Mrs. Tracy, began writing books and for newspapers to support her young family.  She became a national champion for women's rights and suffrage.  Among her books are: Woman As She Was, Is, and Should Be (1846), Philipia, or A Woman's Question (1886), and The Portrait of Michael Doyle(1886). 

In 1852, the widow Tracy married Colonel Samuel Cutler and moved to Dwight, Illinois.  Mrs. Cutler graduated from the Women's Medical College in 1869 with an M.D. degree She died at the age of ninety years at Ocean Springs and was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

 

The refrigerated railcar

With some of his crops, especially strawberries, Parker Earle always had a problem delivering them fresh to the large Chicago market 320 miles to the north.  The Illinois Central Railroad passed through Cobden, but the trains were slow and many efforts to ship highly perishable fruit were unsuccessful.  In the spring of 1866, Parker Earle designed and built several large wooden chests.  The chests were constructed from selected boards three layers thick.  After insulating and waterproofing, when sealed, the chests were almost airtight.  At the bottom of the chest, there was a chamber several inches deep for the storage of ice.  The remainder of the chest was filled with fresh strawberries.  In The Illinois Central Magazine (October 1928), an article on the genesis of the refrigerator car stated that Mr. Earle was so convinced of the idea that he had twelve chests ready when the berry season commenced.  Each wooden box was loaded with 200 quarts of choice berries and packed with 100 pounds of ice.  The initial consignment arrived at the South Water Street Market in Chicago in excellent condition and brought up to $2.00 a quart.  This unique idea was the beginning of the railroad refrigerator car.  Soon Parker Earle was sending fruit under refrigeration to the distant cities of Pittsburgh, New York, and New Orleans.

 

Agnes C. Hellmuth

After Melanie Tracey Earle died at Ocean Springs of heart disease in 1889, Parker Earle (1831-1917) married a young, Ohio born, widow, Agnes Cooke Hellmuth (1862-1919) at Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1890.  She had been married to a Canadian, Gustavos Stewart Hellmuth.  The Hellmuths had two children born in Canada, Agnes Marjorie (1882-1933) and Gustavos Theodore (1884-1975).  Marjorie Hellmuth would marry William Wade Grinstead (1864-1948), a Chicago attorney, of Kentucky birth.  In 1905, the Grinsteads purchased Lewis Sha, a West Indian styled plantation home built by A.E. Lewis in 1854 on the Mississippi Sound at Gautier.  They renamed it Oldfields.  At Oldfields, two of the Grinstead daughters, Patricia (1906-1973) and Agnes (1909-1991) met and would marry two of the Anderson boys from Ocean Springs, Peter (1901-1984) and Walter "Bob" (1903-1965).  These talented young artists with their brother, James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998), would build the Shearwater Pottery (1928) into an internationally recognized art complex.

Ocean Springs

At Ocean Springs, Parker Earle was a horticulturist, land speculator, and involved townsman.  Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart (1840-1925), a pioneer citizen of the town, once said, "The first step toward civic improvement (at Ocean Springs) was the initial work of shelling the streets, undertaken by Mr. Parker Earle, an intelligent and progressive citizen".

Parker Earle bought large tracts of undeveloped land in Jackson County in the name of the Winter Park Land Improvement and Live Stock Company.  At the zenith of its land holdings, this company owned over 15,000 acres primarily in the southwest area of the county.  Earle's interest in horticulture lead to the development of a commercial farm, the Earle Farm, about two and one half miles north of Ocean Springs.  He operated the farm with his two sons, Charles and Frank Earle.  Earle & Sons also owned a large sawmill on Fort Bayou where the Mill Site Subdivision is now located.

The Earle Farm

The Earle Farm property consisted of nearly 840 contiguous acres in Sections 7 and 18 of T7S-R8W and Section 12 of T7S-R9W.  Although the exact location of the cultivated eighty acres of the Earle Farm is unknown, they were probably located in the south half of Section 7 on a flat, well-drained, sandy terrace just south of the Big Ridge.  According to local journals, Earle & Son were shipping tomatoes, peaches, and grapes from 80 cultivated acres in the early 1890s.  Reporter Catherine Cole of The New Orleans Daily Picayune reported the following romantic description of the area on July 24, 1892:

             From Ocean Springs to Biloxi there is a most charming woodland drive of six miles.  You must cross the Bayou Fort in that wide-prowed, prosaic ferry that will persist in looking picturesque as it floats over the steel-gray unrumpled waters, holding their everlasting portrait of pine and rushes.  And then the horse ambled up the yellow hill under an arcade of loblollies, giving out their violet-like scent as the west wind bruises the long green needles, and you come in time to the Parker Earle vineyard, where grape gatherers are stepping by, holding on their shoulders huge round baskets filled with purple bloomy clusters, where, under a long shed at long benches, half a hundred young girls, scissors in hand, are a work placing the bunches into baskets for shipment to that fabulous Chicago of those riches and World's Fair, perhaps, they dream as they work.

The Earle Farm was sold at a Commissioner's Sale in May 1897 because the Winter Park Land Improvement and Live Stock Company failed to pay a mortgage to George S. Smith who had loaned the company $5000 in October 1894.  F.H. Lewis, the Special Commissioner, listed and sold the following property belonging to the company:

28 plows and cultivators, 8 harrows, 1 fertilizer scatterer, 3 seeders, 1 grindstone, 1 sulky hayrake, 1 mowing machine, 8 spades and shovels, 8 hand rakes, 2 axes, 2 jack screws, 2 scythes, 2 grub hoes, 4 2-horse wagons, 1 hand cart, 3 pumps, 1 bellows, 1 anvil, 3 blacksmith hammers, 1 iron kettle, 4 mules, 7 horses, all harness and gear, 9,750 fruit and vegetable boxes, all that part of Section 24 known as the Stewart tract belonging to the Winter Park Land Improvement and Live Stock Company and 5,635 acres of land in T6S-R8W, T7S-R8W, and T7S-R9W.    

     The purchaser, John B. Lyon, sold the Earle Farm to Joseph B. Rose of New York City in August 1897.  Mr. Rose's son, George Rose, would vend the farm property to Hernando Deveaux Money (1869-1936) in 1909.  These men left their names in the area as today two roads, Rose Farm and Money Farm, exist.( (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 18, pp. 347-348 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 35, pp. 299-301).

The Winter Park Lumber Company

The Winter Park Lumber Company was a co-partnership between Parker Earle (1831-1917), his sons, Franklin S. Earle (1856-1929) and Charles T. Earle (1861-1901), and V.R. Holladay.  In July 1891, when the Earle’s were packing vast quantities of Concord, Delaware, White Niagara, Herbemont, and Ives Seedling grapes, peaches, and LeConte pears on their farm, the Winter Park Lumber Company mill was located a mile to the north of their agricultural operation in the N/2 of the SE/4 of Section 6, T7S-R8W.  It was operating in a virgin forest, which had escaped the charcoal burners.  Just after the mill was set up and begin sawing timber, V.R. Holladay withdrew from the company dissolving the mutual partnership.(The Biloxi Herald, July 11, 1891, p. 4 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 24, 1891, p. 2)

            By late October 1891, the Earle mill was running at capacity.  Several schooners had taken cargoes of lumber and demand for finished lumber both locally and in other areas was good.  In fact, Parker Earle put his own ferry to cross Old Fort Bayou into service for utilization by the farm and mill.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 28, 1891)

Earle Ferry

In the fall of 1891, Parker Earle (1831-1917), and his sons, Franklin S. Earle (1856-1929) and Charles T. Earle (1861-1901), commenced their own ferryboat service across Old Fort Bayou to improve their business operations north of Ocean Springs.  Washington Avenue was shelled to the Earle ferry landing at the head of this main artery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Biloxi Herald, November 14, 1891, p. 8)

The Ocean Springs Lumber Company

When their logging and sawing operations were completed north of the Earle farm, the Winter Park Lumber Company moved to a site about one mile from Ocean Springs, on Old Fort Bayou.  In late October 1891, Mr. Earle and M.L. Ansley of Bay St. Louis had purchased from F.M. Weed (1850-1926), the “Yankee Mayor”, for $1500, a mill site of about thirty-three acres on the south side of Old Fort Bayou, in the E/2 of the E/2 of Section 19, T7S-R8W.  Here, in November 1891, the vicinity of the present day Millsite Subdivison west of Vermont Avenue, Winter Park set up their mill, planer, and other appurtenances.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, pp. 75-76 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 13, 1891, p. 2)

            The name of this new Earle saw milling endeavor with M.L. Ansley on the northeast side of Ocean Springs, was called the Ocean Springs Lumber Company, which had no relationship with the present day company of the same name.  It was incorporated at Ocean Springs in November 1891, with a capital stock of $15,000.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 13, 1891, p. 2)

By late February 1892, the Earle mill was is in operation, though not entirely complete.  Partner, M.L. Ansley (d. 1893), a resident of Bay St. Louis, moved to Ocean Springs and let the Wing House at present day 214 Washington Avenue.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 26, 1892, p. 2)

           

Tram railroad

A unique feature of this mill was its lumber tram to haul saw logs to the mill.  In November 1891, Parker Earle & Sons purchased a railroad locomotive, Jumbo No. 2, from the W. Denny & Company of Moss Point.  The Earle tram road began at Bayou Puerto and ran several miles inland to the company’s timber holdings.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 6, 1891, p. 3 and The Biloxi Herald, January 30, 1892, p. 1)

            In April 1893, the Earle’s acquired the Shay Patent Locomotive No. 434, a thirteen-ton vehicle, from the Lima Locomotive and Machine Company of Lima, Ohio and five No. 3 logging cars also built by the Lima Locomotive and Machine Company.  The Shay was designed with wide wheels to operate on wooden rails.  Wooden rails were cheaper and easier to transport than their steel counterparts.(JXCO, Ms. Chattel Mortgage Bk. 1, pp. 366-367 and Tony Howe)

           

Roads

            In April 1892, several new roads were being cut to the Ocean Springs Lumber Company mill on Old Fort Bayou.  One avenue ran east from Ocean Springs and the other came from the south.  George Washington Davis (1842-1914) and Frederick Mason Weed (1850-1926), a native of Hinesburg, Vermont, donated the land for the southern route.  This thoroughfare was called “Vermont” in honor of F.M. Weed, who became our “Yankee Mayor” and honorably served the citizens of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, from 1899-1910.  While a resident of Ocean Springs, Mr. Weed was also the L&N station agent, banker, and realtor.  He was buried at Milton, Vermont.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 22, 1892, p. 2)

Planning mill and kiln

In mid-May 1892, Franklin Earle related to the Biloxi journal that their planning mill and dry kiln were soon to be placed in operation.  Customer requests for dressed lumber could then be completed.  Simultaneously, the Ocean Springs Lumber Company had an urgent need for several freight schooners to transport their finished products to markets at New Orleans.  In early June 1892, the planer of the mill began producing dressed lumber.(The Biloxi Herald, May 21, 1892, p. 4 and The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 10, 1892, p. 2)

Like the other Earle family enterprises in the vicinity of Ocean Springs, this one also met financial disaster.  By late 1893, the Earle sawmill operation on Old Fort Bayou had new proprietors and was called the Gulf Lumber Company.

Sale

The sale of the Ocean Springs Lumber Company to a group from Chicago and Ashland County, Wisconsin headed by Edward Browne, Robert L. Chapin, J.W. Murray, and W.R. Sutherland is interesting in that the deed gives a description of the property, a portion of which became the Mill Site Subdivision.  At the sale on May 8, 1893 the following was sold by the Ocean Springs Lumber Company, Parker Earle, president:   Complete saw and planning mill and dry kiln plant together with pole and logging road, engines, cars, and all machinery and appliances used in or about or in any way appertaining to said saw and planning mill, dry kiln, and pole road together with all lands now owned by said corporation at and for the sum of $24,000. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. Book 14, pp. 577-578).

Gulf Lumber Company

            In January 1894, Edward Browne, Robert L. Chapin, J.W. Murray, and W.R. Sutherland sold their interest in the former Ocean Springs Lumber Company for $50,000.  The Gulf Lumber Company apparently failed as John Duncan Minor (1863-1920), Special Commissioner, sold a 2/3rd interest in the property to John Bacon Lyon (1829-1904) and a 1/3rd interest to E.J. Morris (1849-1899) in August 1895 for $4500.

The Ocean Springs Saw Mill Company

In October 1896, John B. Lyon sold a 1/3 interest in the Ocean Springs Lumber Company Property to William T. Hieronymous of St. Elmo, Alabama for $1000.  He immediately took over the former Ocean Springs Lumber Company and milling operations began in mid-November 1896.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 17, pp. 600-602, The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 30, 1896, p. 3 and November 20, 1896, p. 3)

In late November 1896, The Ocean Wave announced that J.B. Lyon, E.J. Morris, and Captain William Hieronymous were the proprietors of the Ocean Springs Saw Mill Company.  The local journal optimistically predicted that under this management team the enterprise would succeed and bring prosperity to the town.(The Ocean Wave, November 28, 1896, p. 1)

1897 Fire

In May 1897, the W.T. Hieronymus Mill was destroyed by fire creating a $10,000 loss for the owners.  There was no insurance on the facility and only the dry kiln and planer were spared from the conflagration.(The Biloxi Herald, May 29, 1897, p. 5)

Emmanuel J. Morris

In August 1897, E.J. Morris (1849-1899), a local realtor, acquired the 2/3rd interest of John B. Lyon and W.T. Hieronymus in their sawmill property on Old Fort Bayou for $2500. The tract became known as the E.J. Morris Lumber Company.  Mr. Lyon financed the sale to Morris and his untimely demise in January 1899 resulted in Lyon reacquiring the property in May 1899 for $1000 from J.I. Ford, trustee.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 18, p. 326-329 and Bk. 20, p. 59-61)

Leavell Subdivision

The former site of the Ocean Springs Lumber Company-Gulf Lumber Company on Old Fort Bayou lay vacant until 1939, when Lorna Carr Leavell (1892-1976), the spouse of James R. Leavell (1885-1974), the President of the Continental Illinois Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, platted the Leavell Subdivision in Section 19, T7S-R8W.  The Leavell’s resided at Lake Forest, Illinois, until 1948, when they retired to Ocean Springs, and took up permanent residency at “Doone Gate”, their Pointe-aux-Chenes domicile.  During his lifetime Mr. Leavell was valued for his banking knowledge and served on the board of directors of the following corporations and appointments: Armour and Company, Illinois Central Railroad, International Harvester, Gulf Life Insurance Company, Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation, Mississippi Agricultural & Industrial Board, Inter-American Relations for the State of Mississippi. He was a life trustee for Northwestern University, on the board of Governors of the University of Mississippi, and chairman of the finance committee for the Piney Woods Country Life School.(JXCO, Ms. Surveyor’s Record Bk. 1, p. 159 and The Daily Herald, June 1, 1948, p. 2 and January 27, 1949, p. 1)

In August 1937, Mrs. Leavell had acquired the 30-acre, sawmill tract from Marion Illing (1899-1993) for $930.  Miss Illing had bought the millsite in September 1936, from the Lyon Company, an Alabama corporation, and Robert W. Hamill (1863-1943), the son-in-law and successor to the financial empire of John Bacon Lyon (1829-1904), the Chicago entrepreneur.(JXCO, Ms. Surveyor’s Record Bk. 1, p. 159, JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 70, pp. 316-317 and Bk. 70, pp. 317-319)

Mrs. Leavell’s subdivision had a front of about 550 feet on Old Fort Bayou and ran south about 2300 feet along the west side of Vermont Avenue and extended about 400 feet south of Iberville Drive.  The Leavell Subdivision was composed of four large lots.  Lot 1 and Lot 2 ran north-south and fronted on Old Fort Bayou.  They were about   8-9 acres in area.  Lot 3 and Lot 4 ran east-west and fronted on Vermont Avenue.  They were about 7-8 acres in area.(JXCO, Ms. Surveyor’s Record Bk. 1, p. 159)

Lavendoone

Lavendoone was the name applied to a clubhouse or small community center, formerly at 20 Bayou Road and now 1119 Vermont that was erected for Lorna C. Leavell circa 1951.  The small structure was painted lavender and had a chartreuse door, which was centered with trump d’oeil violets.  James McConnell Anderson (1907-1998) painted a brightly colored mural in the living room.  The doors to each room were decorated with symbols representing their function.  Par example, the kitchen door has a French chef painted on it.(The Gulf Coast Times, January 31, 1952, p. 1)

Although Mrs. Leavell’s special building was sponsored by the Planters’ Club, it was available for utility by all organizations and individuals along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. An introduction to Lavendoone was held in late January 1952, when the Planters’ Club hosted a tea for the presidents of every civic organization at Ocean Springs.  Among those groups represented were: Chamber of Commerce; Board of Supervisors; Fireman’s Auxiliary; St. Ann’s Guild; Wesleyan Guild; Woman’s Club; Baptist Church Circle; and KAFB.(The Gulf Coast Times, January 31, 1952, p. 1)

The Ray Allen family

In September 1939, Lynnie Ury Allen (1877-1983), the wife of William “Ray” Raymond Allen (1877-1956), acquired Lot 1 and Lot 3 of the Leavell Subdivision from Mr. Lorna C. Leavell.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 73, p. 269-270)Ray Allen was born April 16, 1877, at Lexington, Kentucky, the son of Elijah Allen and Mary Jackson.  He became an attorney after completing his education at the University of Kentucky and the law school of Washington and Lee University.  Ray Allen married Lennie Ury (1887-1983), a native of Sulfur Springs, Texas.  They were the parents of two children: Miriam Allen Munroe (1909-1994) and William “Bill” Raymond Allen Jr. (1911-1985).(The Daily Herald, April 9, 1956, p. 2 and The Ocean Springs Record, August 25, 1983, p. 5)

In 1943, Ray Allen and Lynnie U. Allen settled at Ocean Springs.  Mr. Allen had practiced law in Oklahoma where he was the assistant attorney general for Oklahoma.  He joined the Sinclair Refining Company and resided in Chicago before relocating to Ocean Springs.  In July 1944, Mr. Allen hung his shingle in the law office of Charles E. Clark (1879-1945) on Washington Avenue.(The Jackson County Times, July 8, 1944, p. 1)

Millsite

After acquiring the Leavell Subdivision property, the Ray and Lennie Allen erected a small cottage near the present day intersection of Ray Street and Vermont.  Ray Street was named for Ray Allen.  Lennie and Ray Allen later built a concrete home on Lot 1 of the Leavell Subdivision.  It was designed by W.R. “Bill” Allen Jr., their son.  The Allen domicile fronted on Old Fort Bayou and was called “Millsite”, in respect for the former sawmill here of Parker Earle and others.(W.R. Allen III, July 9, 2005)

After the demise of Mrs. Lennie U. Allen, Miriam Allen Munroe and Charles L. Munroe Jr. conveyed “Millsite” to Charles Weems Jr. in September.  It was demolished and circa 1990, the Weems erected an edifice at present day 1229 Vermont.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 804, p. 242)

William R. Allen Jr.

William "Bill" Raymond Allen Jr. (1911-1985) was born at Muskogee, Oklahoma.  He was awarded a degree in architecture from Carnegie Tech (Pittsburgh) and a master of Architecture degree from the Harvard School of Design.  Prior to WW II, Allen worked as an architect at Dallas, Texas.  The World War II years took him to the Army and North Carolina where he met and married Cornelia King Marion (1922-1994), a native of Hickory.  The Allens had three children: William Ray Allen III (b. 1944), David Marion Allen (b. 1946), and Jon O'Blythe Allen (b. ca 1952).

At Ocean Springs, Bill Allen excelled as an architect and artist.  Among his designs which are familiar local sights are: the Elizabeth H. Keys High School addition (1958); East Elementary School (1958), now Oak Park Elementary School; the Ocean Springs High School (1966); the main complex building at the Jackson County Junior College (1964) at Gautier; and the Ocean Springs Municipal Library (1972).

In January 1965, Bill Allen won the Association of School Administrator's Honor Award for his Ocean Springs High School scheme.  He also did design work for Delta State University and the Mississippi School of Nursing at Jackson.  One of Allen's homes, "Windswept", erected for David Neely Powers (1890-1983) is highly visible on Washington and LaFontaine.

Blythe Subdivision

In April 1960, Lynnie U. Allen platted the Blythe Subdivision from a part of Lot 3 of the Leavell Subdivision in Section 19, T7S-R8W.  It was named for her granddaughter, Jon O’Blythe Allen, and consisted of six lots situated on the north side of Iberville Drive and west of Vermont.  It was developed by W.R. Allen Jr., her son.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Plat Bk. 5, p. 14)

Millsite Subdivision

After the demise of W.R. Allen Jr. in 1985, the executor of his estate conveyed his Allen family land north of Iberville Drive in Lot 2 and Lot 3 of the Leavell Subdivision, outside the Blythe Subdivision, to Maria C. Bargas, a graduate of the Tulane architectural school and the spouse of W.R. “Bill” Allen III, also an architect and grandson of Ray and Lynnie U. Allen.  In September 1986, W.R. “Bill” Allen III and Maria C. Bargas platted the 10.46 acre Millsite Subdivision in Section 19, T7S-R8W.  There are fourteen lots in this development.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Plat Bk. 17, p. 46)

“Bay View”-the Earle-Benjamin home

"Bay View" was the name given the eight-acre Parker Earle estate carved out of the south end of the W.R. Stuart land on the Fort Point Peninsula.  Here, probably after the World Cotton Centennial Exposition at New Orleans had ended in the summer of 1885, Bay View was built.  The Earle domicile was a large, raised, wood-framed structure with a hipped-roof, which featured a front gabled dormer with imbricated shingles and a tripartite, light.  The five-bay, undercut gallery also featured a hipped-roof and four-shuttered, four-over-four lights. It was dessed with perpendicular lattice.  An ornamental feature of the building was a two and one-half story lookout tower covered with imbricated shingles and a mansard roof.  Renowned Chicago architect, Louis H. Sullivan (1856-1924), utilized a tower structure for his