Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

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W.G. Kendall-Arndt Family Cemetery - Old Ocean Springs

 

Shearwater Area Old Ocean Springs

LOCATION: At the former private residence of George E. Arndt Jr. (1909-1994) which is located at 112 Shearwater Drive.  This small burial ground is situated in the southwestern portion of Section 30, T7S-8W on the shoreline east of the Shearwater Pottery.

 

HISTORY: William Gray Kendall (1812-1872) came to Mississippi about 1840 from Kentucky, his birth state.  He married in 1835, Mary Philomela Irwin (1817-1878).  She was born on February 5, 1817, at her father’s plantation, Puck-shonubbee, in Carroll County, Mississippi.(The La. Historical Quarterly, 1945, pp. 292-293) 

By training W.G. Kendall was a lawyer, but he was also actively engaged in real estate and brick making.  In January 1846, he purchased a 50-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, ice

house, and school for his children.  Today, this property is divided and owned by the children of Ruth Scharr (Hansen-Dickey House) and George E. Arndt.  It lies between

the Shearwater Pottery and the Blossman Estate.

William Gray Kendall and his wife were the parents of nine children:  John I. Kendall (1841-1898), Anola Philomela Kendall (1843-1899), William Gray Kendall II (1847-1885), Kate Emma Kendall (1849-1897), Mary Lusk Kendall (1851-1902), Robert David Kendall (1853-1877), Sigur Lusk Kendall (1857-1877), and Benjamin G. Kendall and Catherine Anne Kendall who died in childhood.  Little is known of their lives except that they resided at New Orleans after reaching maturity and never married with the exception of John I. Kendall, who married Mary E. Smith.(The Louisiana Historical Quarterly, Volume 29, No. 2, April 1946, p. 293) 

At Ocean Springs, in order to educate his children and possibly those of his neighbors, W.G. Kendall built a schoolhouse just east of their residence.  According to George E. Arndt Jr. (1909-1994), who resided on the former schoolhouse lot, the octagonal shaped building had a hewn log base with each side about eight feet in length.  The structure was twenty feet across the middle.  In 1938, Arndt added a bedroom and kitchen, and lived in it until he built his present edifice in 1950.  Hurricane Camille destroyed the "schoolhouse" in 1969.

            Although the original Kendall home was probably destroyed by fire, two indications of the Kendall presence remain on the land today.  The most conspicuous is the "ice house".  The icehouse is a brick and mortar structure with a front gable roof.  The floor is also brick.  The dimensions of the building are:  width-12 feet, height-14 feet, and length- 17 feet.  The icehouse has a volume of approximately 2350 cubic feet.  It is postulated that natural ice was shipped during the winter and early spring down the Great River from the Great Lakes region to New Orleans, and thence to the Mississippi coast where it was utilized to prevent food spoilage.

Additional evidence of Kendall occupation is a small gravesite northeast of the original residence.  Here two indecipherable, marble gravestones (22"x37") are located

under a large oak tree.  A clue to the identity of one of the graves is given when W.G. Kendall conveyed his estate to Mrs. Eliza Heerman of New Orleans on June 5, 1866.  An excerpt from this deed follows:

 

.....contain about 50 acres more or less including all dwelling houses, out houses, stables, gardens, lots, orchards, and fixtures of every kind there unto appertaining with the exclusive right-of-way to the road crossing the Bayou aforesaid and known as the "Mill Dam Road" and the growing crops on the premises reserving 10 feet square of ground embracing the grave of Ben Gray Kendall. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 63, pp. 14-15)

After G.E. Arndt Jr. was killed in an automobile accident on April 22, 1994, at Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, his son, Dickey Arndt placed a marble marker on the property under the live oak, which also shades the Kendall graves.  The Arndt marker reads as follows:

 

GEORGE E. ARNDT

 

 

REFERENCES:

 

Mississippi Coast Historical and Genealogical Society, "Moran-Kendall Brickyard (North Biloxi)",