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Let us now return to the life of Antoine V. Bellande. It is generally believed he settled in Ocean Springs about 1851. In New Orleans, he purchased a Baltimore built schooner, John Randolph, and took it to Pascagoula where he embarked in the lumber business transporting south Mississippi timber to Galveston, Texas for export. During the early years of the Civil War, Captain Bellande ran the Union blockade for the Confederacy making many trips to Cuba for cargoes of food, tobacco, paper, gin, and munitions. It was a lucrative business. He once had $20,000 worth of Cuban tobacco stored in Biloxi. It was stolen from him, but he later caught the guilty party. It has been reported that Bellande completed his last voyage with Southern contraband just three days before Farragut captured New Orleans in April 1862, eliminating it as a blockade running port. His schooner was commandeered and he found himself transporting brick from New Orleans to Ship Island for the completion of Fort Massachusetts. Work on the island fort had commenced in 1856 by the United States, and was interrupted by a hurricane in 1860. A Confederate force seized the outpost in January 1861. Union forces recaptured Ship Island in September 1861.
(l-r) Antoine V. Bellande (1829-1918), Mary Catchot Bellande (1860-1931), Eva Camba Chance (1880-1914), John M. Dunn (1853-1932), and Elizabeth Catchot Camba Dunn (1854-1927). Courtesy of Walter F. Camba Jr. (1912-1999)