Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

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Rupp Family

RUPP

Robert W. Rupp (1857-1930) was born May 10, 1857, in Germany, the son of John Frederick Rupp and Anna-Maria Glaser.  In the early  1880s, probably at Chicago, he married Paulina Thiem (1857-1945), a native of Wayside, Wisconsin.  They were the parents of three children: Henricha Rupp Erickson (1881-1927) married Frederick Erickson, Lilly Alice Rupp Schrieber (1889-1972) married Frederick Adolph Schrieber (1871-1944), and Robert W. Rupp II (1893-1958) married Lenora Messenger (1894-1961), a native of London, England.  The Rupp family arrived at Ocean Springs in early December 1905, from Chicago.  They found temporary quarters at Shannondale, the estate of Dr. Harry Shannon, which comprised present day Fort Bayou Estates.  The Rupps planned to erect a new house on their forty-acres, the SW/4 of the SW/4 of Section 24, T7S-R8W.(Lurline Schrieber Hall, November 30, 2000, The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 15, 1905 and  The Daily Herald, October 4, 1927, p. 12)

Mr. Rupp had acquired his homestead acreage northeast of Ocean Springs for $500, from Charles L. Snyder (1877-1963) in January 1904.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 27, p. 514)

 

   

Robert Rupp (1857-1930) and Catherine Cunningham Colligan (1900-1955) with baby, Louise Colligan Wilberts(b. 1921) at L&N Depot Ocean Spring, Mississippi circa 1922. [Courtesy of Melanie Wilberts Dayries]

Robert Rupp and Pauline Thiem Rupp (1857-1945).[image made at the Petro Studio, Reynoir Street, Biloxi, Mississippi.  Courtesy of Sissy Catoir, Brusly, Louisiana]

Move to town

In June 1909, Mr. Rupp bought for $200, Lots 1 and 2 in Block 2 of the Alto Park Addition from Mrs. M.E. Curtis and Emma Rudd Powell (1860-1936).  Here on Ward Avenue, the Rupps built a home, which is extant at present day 506 Ward.  The Rupp’s daughter, Lilly A. Schrieber, purchased Lot 3, just north of her parents in February 1929, from Vina Connor, the widow of Hamilton Connor (1854-1929), a retired gunsmith, from Louisville, Kentucky.  Ashley Schrieber (1919-2001), her son, resided here at 508 Ward Avenue, until his demise in 2001.  Robert “Bobby” Schrieber, Ashley’s nephew, inherited the home and meticulously restored it with the skill and patience of the master carpenter and painter that he is.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 62, p. 206 and Bk. 34, p. 553)           

Fort Maurepas marker

In May 1933, F. Adolph Schrieber (1871-1944), Robert W. Rupp’s son-in-law, penned a letter from Madisonville, Louisiana where he was employed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service, to Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936) at Ocean Springs.  Mr. Poitevent was a scholar with a strong interest in French Colonial history.  Schuyler Poitevent resided at “Bay Home” on Lovers Lane, which he believed to be the site of Iberville’s, Fort Maurepas.  Mr. Schrieber’s words follow:

Dear Mr. Poitevent

I am in receipt of your valued letter of May 21st and contents-notes.  Now about my letter to Mr. Lee about a stone or slab which I mention in my letter to Mr. Lee.  When I was keeper of the Chandeleur light station back in 1909, Mr. Rupp was caretaker of the W.B. Schmidt place, and when I would come in for mail and supplies, & etc. I would go see the old folks as I married his daughter.  So one day while we were at the dinner table he said well I am working out in front, and there must have at some time been another house on this place because I have dug up some pieces of old brick not like the ones that we have here.  And I also found a stone with some markings on it, so I went up with him and I looked at the stone and took it home with me.  And it is there some place yet.  And when I come over I will find it, and show same to you.  I was seeing to get permission from the owner of the Schmidt place to set it in concrete right where it was found.  The Markings on the stone is thus.

COLONIEe FRANCOISES

1699

Pe Le Moyne

Sr De Irbvl

L.P.           P.L.

The stone is about 8 to 10 inches, nearly square, about two inches thick, rough, looks like marble.  ……Now when I come home if you won’t mind, we will go over the place where Mr. Rupp dug up these old relics and see if we can find some of the old tile as I can go very close to the spot, that is, if the old oak is still there on the bluff, as its now 20 years since I have been there.  Things may have changed a bit.

I am very respectfully yours,

F.A. Schrieber, Madisonville, Louisiana

 

Rupp’s Rule

Robert W. Rupp was elected Marshal of Ocean Springs in 1920.  His salary ranged from $90.00 per month in 1921 to $102 per month in 1929.  In January 1929, Marshal Rupp’s bond was set at $16,500, which was 25% of the tax collection from the former year. (The Jackson County Times, May 14, 1921, p. 5 and TOS, Ms. Minute Book (11-1-1929 to 11-6-1934), p. 1 and p. 28)

Occasionally, the local journal was the forum for Marshal Rupp to get his message to the community.  In June 1920, he admonished motorcar operators to observe and obey the laws of the town in regards to vehicular speed.  Rupp specifically sighted negligent driving as being too commonplace.  He threatened financial loss by having the Mayor issue fines, particularly for speeding.(The Jackson County Times, June 5, 1920, p. 5)

On December 3, 1921, Marshal Rupp stated that he would commence tax collections on a daily basis at H.F. Russell’s store, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.(The Jackson County Times, December 3, 1921, p. 5)

In May 1922, Marshal Rupp reminded the town that street and dog taxes were owed.  At this time, there was a tax on male dogs of $1.00.  Bitches were untaxed, but were prohibited from running the streets.  The Marshal stated that he would exterminate any female dog captured on city streets.  Citizens were required to pay a street tax of $3.00.(The Jackson County Times, May 20, 1922, p. 1)

In December 1924, Marshal Rupp, who also acted as street commissioner, commenced the placement of gravel on Washington Avenue.  The street committee had scheduled several carloads of gravel to arrive ten days apart.  This procedure would continue until the town’s thoroughfares were in acceptable condition.(The Jackson County Times, December 13, 1924, p. 5)

In October 1925, Rupp told the parents of pupils in the public school to restrict them from loitering on the school grounds and in the school building, post-school hours, and particularly on Saturday.  He admonished that the unruly conduct that has taken place on school property must cease.(The Jackson County Times, October 3, 1925, p. 5)

Henry M. Piaggio-Speed Merchant

A story remembered and told about Marshall Rupp, who rode a bike through Ocean Springs while upholding law and order, concerned Mr. Henry M. Piaggio (1874-1921).  Piaggio, a native of Genoa, Italy, was one of the founders of the International Shipbuilding Corporation at Pascagoula.  He lived in Mississippi City and drove to Pascagoula to work.  Piaggio built the Merry Mansion, but died before it was completed.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, pp. 25-26.)

Henry M. Piaggio's chauffer always exceeded the speed limit of 15 MPH while traveling through the city limits of Ocean Springs.  Naturally, Marshall Rupp couldn't catch them on his bicycle.  Frustrated he devised a plan to arrest the elusive pair.  He set a speed trap for Piaggio at Vermont, now M.L. King Jr., and Government Street.  As the pair was observed to be exceeding the speed limit when they drove through the trap of Rupp, he blew his whistle and demanded that they pull over.  When Marshall Rupp told Piaggio that he was "under arrest for speeding", Piaggio asked, "What is the speed limit?". Marshall Rupp proudly replied, "fifteen miles per hour and you were going thirty".  "How much is the fine?", Mr. Piaggio asked impatiently.  An elated Rupp told him that it was fifteen dollars.  Calmly, Henry M. Piaggio handed Marshall Rupp a wad of green backs and boasted, "Here's thirty dollars.  I'll be coming back through here this afternoon!" (J.K. Lemon, July 1997).

Rupp, the Poet

The following poem has been attributed to Robert W. Rupp.  His philosophy is universal, n’est pas?(The Jackson County Times, May 26, 1923, p. 4)

If you want to live in the kind of town

That’s the kind of a town you like,

You needn’t slip your clothes in a grip

And start on a long, long hike

You’ll find elsewhere what you left behind

For there’s nothing really new,

It’s a knock at yourself when you knock your town,

It isn’t your town,

Its you.

 

Granddaughter Comes To Ocean Springs

Because it was difficult to get to a school of higher education from their remote lighthouse location in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, Mrs. Lilly A. Schriber sent Rachael Schrieber to live with her grandparents on Ward Avenue, in 1927.  Rachael attended the Ocean Springs Public School and was one of the eleven graduates of the Class of 1929.(Lurleen Schrieber Hall, November 30, 2000, The Daily Herald, July 2, 1927, p. 2 and June 3, 1929, p. 2)

Night Policeman

In 1929, the Board of Aldermen and Mayor decided to eliminate the position of night policeman.  At this time, Arthur D. Webber (1879-1941) held this position, which paid him $100 per month.  A petition was circulated throughout the town to reinstate the duties of the night policeman.  Over two-hundred voters, businessmen, and citizens signed the document with a special appeal coming from Postmaster J.P. Edwards on behalf of night patrons of the post office.  The night policeman’s post was restored by the Town Fathers on May 20, 1929.(The Jackson County Times, May 25, 1929, p. 3 and TOS, Ms. Minute Book (11-1-1929 to 11-6-1934), p. 28)

 In May 1929, Marshal Rupp requested a temporary relief of his duties because of an illness.  Night policeman, Arthur D. Webber, replaced Mr. Rupp as acting Marshal.(The Jackson County Times, May 25, 1929, p. 3)

Resignation-Election

Robert W. Rupp resigned the office of Marshal on August 6, 1929.  A special election was held to replace him on August 20, 1929.  Maurice F. Heath (1879-1945) and Arthur D. Webber competed for the job.  Mr. Webber out-polled Mr. Heath 203 votes to 77 votes.  Heath took the position of night policeman.  Both men received $100 per month for their services to the town.(TOS, Ms. Minute Book (11-1-1929 to 11-6-1934), pp. 37-38)

Robert W. Rupp expired on August 26, 1930.  He had been in poor health for a year and suffered a paralytic stroke in mid-August.  Mr. Rupp was a man of character.  He was eulogized as “optimistic, tolerant of the weaknesses of others, charitable to those in distress and to his family the soul of kindness”.  His corporal remains were sent to the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou. (The Daily Herald, August 27, 1930, p. 1 and The Jackson County Times, August 30, 1930, p. 1)