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The Scharr family of Ocean Springs, Mississippi had its domestic origins in west central Wisconsin. There is a high degree of certitude that two Scharr brothers from Wurtemberg in southwestern Germany, John Scharr (1827-1860+) and Ulrich Scharr (1828-1877+), settled here between 1858 and 1862. John Scharr’s family made its way west to Pepin, Wisconsin via Illinois and New Jersey, while Ulrich Scharr appears to have come directly to Wisconsin and acquired land at Nelson, Wisconsin. Nelson is only seven miles east of Pepin, which is situated on the Mississippi River. It would be Joseph U. Scharr (1874-1954), a son of Ulrich Scharr, who would lead his young family south to Mississippi before 1920.(1860 Wisconsin Federal Census, M653R1426, p. 48)
Ulrich Scharr (1828-1881) and Phillipine Wentz Scharr (1837-1921), both natives of Germany, were the parents of twelve children, eight who survived into the 20th Century. Ulrich Scharr came from Wurtemberg while Phillipine Wentz was born in Bavaria(Hasloch, Reinpfale). By 1857, the Scharr family was residing in Nelson, Buffalo County, Wisconsin where Mr. Scharr farmed. This area of west central Wisconsin, which borders on Minnesota, is still sparsely populated. In 1870, Ulrich Scharr possessed real estate valued at $1500 and his personal estate was worth $1200. The Scharr’s had five children at this time: John Scharr (1857-1944); Rosa Scharr (1862 -1935); Theodore Scharr (b. 1864); Louisa Scharr (b. 1866); and Pauline Scharr (b. 1869). (1870 Wisconsin Federal Census, M593R1704, p. 121) Ulrich and Phillipine had three more children: Minnie Scharr (1871 – 1954) m. Habersaat; Joseph U. Scharr (1874 – 1954); and Lillian “Lilly” Scharr (1877 – 1952).
In 1900, Mrs. Phillipine Scharr was a widow and domiciled at Nelson, Wisconsin. She had two children residing with her: Joseph Scharr, a railroad carpenter, and Lilly Scharr. Lilly suffered an injury as a child and remained with her mother, helping care for her until she passed in 1921.(1900 Wisconsin Federal Census, T623R1779, p. 165 and Donald Scharr, April 13, 2004)
[image made in 1947]
Joseph U. Scharr
In late 1918, Joseph Ulrich Scharr (1874-1954), a career railroad man, would leave the frigid cold winters of Wisconsin and North Dakota and relocate his family to the temperate climes of The South settling just north of Pass Christian, Harrison County, Mississippi. In 1919, the Scharrs found Ocean Springs, Mississippi-“The Land Where Dreams Come True”.(The History of Jackson County of Miss., 1989, p. 342)
On June 24, 1903, at Nelson, Wisconsin, J.U. Scharr had married a young school teacher, Lenora A. Zabel (1881-1962). She was a native of Wisconsin and the daughter of Ferdinand A. Zabel (1856-1938) and Alice Habersaat (1862-1936). By 1910, the J.U. Scharr family was residents of La Crosse, Wisconsin. Here Mr. Scharr made his livelihood as a railroad foreman with the Burlington Railroad.(1910 Wisconsin Federal Census, and The Gulf Coast Times, June 25, 1953, p. 1)
In 1914, the Scharr family relocated to a homestead in Dickinson, North Dakota. By 1918, the Scharr’s, at the encouragement of Joseph’s sister, Rosa Scharr Rohl of Pass Christian, Mississippi, decided to leave the hard life on the North Dakota plain for the Mississippi Coast. They arrived in Pass Christian late in the winter of 1918. In 1919, Joseph U. Scharr and his bride of sixteen years, Lenora A. Scharr (1881-1962), and their five children: Merrill F. Scharr (1904-1977); Ellen Scharr (1906-1996); Clair U. Scharr (1908-1972); Lucile Amy Scharr Webb (1910-2001) and Orwin Joseph Scharr (1914-2002), settled into the Daniel B. VanCourt home on Bowen Avenue in Ocean Springs. All the Scharr children were born in Wisconsin except Orwin J. Scharr, who was a native of Dickinson, North Dakota. (The Gulf Coast Times, June 25, 1953, p. 1)
Joseph worked as a foreman of a signal crew for the L&N Railroad until his retirement in 1940. He was active in the Masonic Lodge, serving as Most Worshipful Master and helped with the construction of the current Masonic Lodge now located on the corner of Government and Bellande. After retirement, Joe served one term as an alderman for the City of Ocean Springs.
Joseph passed away at his home on November 4, 1954. Lenora remained active in the Ocean Springs Methodist Church until her death in January 1962. The Scharr’s were buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
In June 1924, Joseph U. Scharr acquired a large home on Cox Avenue, present day 816 Church Street from George L. Friar (1869-1924). The consideration was $1950. Originally constructed without wiring for electrical service, Joseph wired the house to provide his family with the modern convenience of electricity. This two and one-half story, wood frame house has a pyramidal roof. The one story porch features three bays supported by turned posts, brackets, balustrade, and hip roof. The paired, second floor windows integrate with the square, attic lights to create an effect topped by a gable.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 54, pp. 67-68, Donald Scharr, April 12, 2004, and Berggren, 1986, pp. 1-2)
The J.U. Scharr home was probably built in 1905, by Dr. O.L. Bailey (1870-1938) in Lot 5-Block 52 of the Cox Map of 1872. This tract has seventy-five feet on Church Street and runs one hundred thirty-five feet east-west. Lot 5-Block 52 was originally acquired by Maria A. Carver from George A. Cox (1811-1887) in November 1883 for $253. She conveyed it to Dr. Bailey for $400 in April 1905. Dr. Bailey then sold the parcel to Emma Arndt Meyers (1866-1924+) in December 1905 for $1100, indicating that a structure may have been erected during Dr. Bailey’s ownership.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 8, p. 727, Bk. 29, p. 470)
In late January 1892, The Biloxi Herald announced that: “The VanCleave Hotel has been sold to Mr. Meyers of Pass Christian. It is intended to add another wing to the building”.(The Biloxi Herald, January 30, 1892, p. 1)
It can be ascertained from the Jackson County Land Deed Records that Mrs. Emma Arndt Meyer of Ocean Springs paid R.A. VanCleave and his wife, Eliza, $3300 for the hotel on December 14, 1891. The sale excepted the furniture, beds, bedding, dining room furniture, and kitchen furniture.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, p. 157)
Emma A. Meyer ’s brother, George E. Arndt (1857-1945), had come to Ocean Springs in 1881, from Rodney, Mississippi and established himself as a hard working businessman. He owned and operated the Paragon Saloon at Washington and Robinson across the street from her hotel, which was situated on the present day site of the Salmagundi gift shop. In March 1924, Mrs. Meyer was a resident of Los Angeles.(The Jackson County Times, March 1924, p. 5)
The Scharr family owned and maintained their Church Street home until after the demise of Lenora Zabel Scharr in January 1962. Her heirs conveyed the home to Noah I. Johnson and Geraldine Johnson in February 1964. In June 1999, Noah I. Johnson sold the old Scharr home to Walter T. Bolton.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 253, p. 267 and Bk. 1178, p. 637)
Children of J.U. and Lenora Z. Scharr
Merril F. Scharr
Merril Ferdinand Scharr (1904-1977) was born March 29, 1904 at Lacrosse, Wisconsin. On April 23, 1927, he married Mary Elizabeth Josey (1905-1990) at the home of L.A. Darsey (1849-1929), the Methodist minister at Ocean Springs. Miss Myrtle Souque of Mobile was bridesmaid and Clair U. Scharr was his brother’s best man. The newly weds honeymooned in Mobile.(The Daily Herald, May 9, 1927, p. 4 and JXCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 17, p. 417)
Mary Elizabeth Josey was a native of Laurel, Maryland, and the daughter of Elias B. Josey and Pharoah Lewis Josey. Their children were: Mary M. Scharr Hayes (1929– 2000) and Brenda Fair Scharr (b. 1945) married Thomas E. Bounds III (b. 1944).
In 1930, Merril F. Scharr worked for the L&N Railroad as a signalman. Merril was the first operator of Texaco station on Washington and Porter, which had been built by Fred S. Bradford and Russell Carver. In February 1949, he acquired the Pan-Am Station on Government Street with Mr. Josey. It was owned by P.J. Wieder (1887-1985). (The Daily Herald, October 26, 1977, p. 2 and The Ocean Springs Record, March 5, 1992, p. 3 and The Jackson County Times, February 4, 1949, p. 1)
Merril F. Scharr passed on October 24, 1977 in Ocean Springs. Mary E. Scharr expired April 5, 1990. Both were interred in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery in Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, October 26, 1977, p. 2 and April 6, 1990, p. C-2)
Ellen L. Scharr
Ellen Loretta Scharr (1906-1996) was born April 5, 1906, at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. She graduated from Ocean Springs High School with the Class of 1924. Her classmates were: Rebecca Danenhower, John P. Edwards II, Bernard “Bennie” P. Seymour (1907-1969), and Arlene White (1907-2000). Shortly after graduation, Miss Ellen Scharr left for the Normal School at Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She completed the two-year course.(The Daily Herald, June 7, 1924, p. 5)
In August 1941, Ellen L. Scharr married James Lundy Clarke Jr. (1892-1961), the son of James L. Clarke and Charlotte V. Richards.(HARCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 52, p. 602)
James L. Clarke Jr. was reared on East Porter and attended local schools. His father was a local contractor and built several homes on Porter between Bellande and Kotzum before 1930. James L. Clarke Jr. was peripatetic by nature and worked for the L&N Railroad. His niece, Lurline Schrieber Hall, remembers that her Uncle Jim worked in Pensacola, Hammond, Louisiana, and California before returning to Ocean Springs to marry Ellen L. Scharr who was the cashier at Gottsche’s Thrifty-Nifty at this time. (Lurline S. Hall, February 15, 2004)
Before WWII, Ellen and James L. Clarke Jr. settled in Redondo Beach, California. Here she was employed in clerical work associated with the shipping industry. In California, Mr. Clarke was a butler for two retired silent movies stars, Norma Talmadge (1893-1957) and Constance Talmadge (1897-1973). A third sister, Natalie Talmadge (1895-1969), married comedian Buster Keaton (1895-1966).(Lurline S. Hall, February 15, 2004 and The Livingston Enterprise, April 29, 1996)
James Lundy Clark Jr. expired at Long Beach, California on August 19, 1961. His corporal remains were shipped to Ocean Springs and given a Methodist burial in the Evergreen Cemetery.(The Daily Herald, August 21, 1961, p. 2)
In January 1964, Ellen married Raymond C. Easton (1885-1977) at Long Beach, California. She had been introduced to him by several cousins who lived in Montana.
Mr. Easton was born May 10, 1895 at South Haven, Minnesota, the son of Alexander C. Easton. Following military service during WWI, Raymond settled at Gardiner, Montana where he was employed at Yellowstone National Park. He had married Amanda Stave (c. 1907-1963) at Livingston, Montana in 1927. Mr. Easton retired as acting postmaster at Gardiner, Montana in 1957. He and Ellen relocated to Livingston, Montana in 1970. He expired here in the fall of 1977. Ellen S. Easton died April 1996, at Livingston, Park County, Montana.
Clair U. Scharr
Clair Ulrich “Cus” Scharr (1908-1972) was born February 12, 1908, at LaCrosse, Wisconsin. After his graduation from Ocean Springs High School, he was the only graduate in his class, young Scharr enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. In February 1934, he was stationed at Port au Prince, Haiti and had graduated from the power boat motor school and was studying mechanical engineering. On October 29, 1939, Clair married Eunice Garlotte (b. 1918), the daughter of Raymond Garlotte (1895-1963) and Ernestine Seymour (1902-1992) of Fontainebleau. The newly weds made their home on Porter Avenue in Ocean Springs. Clair and Eunice divorced, but remarried in April 1944, in the Baptist Church.(The Daily Herald, February 20, 1934, p. 6 and November 6, 1939, p. 6 JXCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 30, p. 122 and 41, p. 19)
In May 1953, Clair U. Scharr married Hilda Friar (1911-1987), the daughter of Robert A. Friar (1878-1948) and Elizabeth C. Wolf (1885-1919). The nuptials were held at St. Paul’s Methodist church. Hilda taught school in the Ocean Springs public school system.(JXCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 71, 69 and The Gulf Coast Times, may 16, 1953)
In July 1957, Clair U. Scharr married Irja M. Malstrom (1911-1990), a native of Viborg, Finland, and the daughter of Vaino Waldemar Malstrom and Esther Charlotte Sundman. Irja was a resident of Kenner, Louisiana. The couple resided 608 Magnolia Avenue in Ocean Springs. (JXCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 92, p. 496)
Clair U. Scharr expired on August 4, 1972. He was survived by his daughter, Kay Scharr Sprayberry. Mr. Scharr’s corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery in Ocean Springs.(The Daily Herald, August 4, 1972, p. 2)
After the death of Clair U. Scharr, Irja M. Scharr married Luther H. Tarbox (1907-1978), a native of Camden County, North Carolina, in December 1968, in the Presbyterian Church. They relocated to Houma, Louisiana where they both died.(JXCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 111, p. 431)
Lucile Amy Scharr
Lucile Amy Scharr (1910 -2001) was born at LaCrosse, Wisconsin on September 22, 1910. Prior to her marriage, Miss Scharr had been a telegraph operator for Western Union at several of their Mississippi stations. Lucille married John Webb (1902-1998), the son of Charles Webb (1876-1965) and Delia Smith (1882-1932), at the Baptist parsonage at Ocean Springs in early May 1935. The Reverend J.E. Barnes officiated with Ellen Scharr and Merril Scharr, her siblings, serving as their attendants.(The Daily Herald, May 10, 1935, p. 5)
Lucille A. Webb and John Webb were the parents of three children: Jon Dwain Webb, Ann Darlene W. Batia, and Reed Scharr Webb. John Webb grew up in the Fort Bayou community, which was focused around the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. He made his livelihood as a barber in Ocean Springs. In September 1929, he and Mr. Fairley, a neighbor from north of Old Fort Bayou, commenced the Sanitary Barber Shop in the O.D. Davidson building on Washington Avenue.(The Jackson County Times, September 14, 1929, p. 2)
Lucile S. Webb expired at Ocean Springs on July 20, 2001. John Webb preceded her in death as he passed on October 6, 1998. Both were interred in the Crestlawn Memorial Park cemetery in Ocean Springs.(The Sun Herald, July 24, 2001, p. A-5 and October 8, 1998, p. A-11)
Orwin J. Scharr
Orwin Joseph “Little Cus” Scharr (1914-2002) was born in Dickinson, North Dakota on April 14, 1914. He graduated from Ocean Springs High School with the Class of 1932. In March 1933, Orwin enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and went to Parris Island, South Carolina for basic training. From July 1933 to June 1936, Orwin was assigned to the U.S.S. Texas. In February 1934, Pvt. 1st Class Scharr was selected to a U.S. Naval Academy preparatory training class while aboard the U.S.S. Texas. During a portion of his sea duty, Orwin was joined on the U.S.S. Texas by his brother, Clair U. Scharr, a fellow Marine. Virginia Thompson Lee (1901-1986) writing for The Jackson County Times, related of the Scharr brothers reunion aboard the naval dreadnaught: “we extend best wishes for a BIG AND BETTER time, as TWO SCHARR’S can cause twice as much fun as ONE.” (The Daily Herald, February 20, 1934, p. 6 and Jackson County Times, September 29, 1934, p. 2)
While on the U.S.S. Texas, Orwin and Clair U. Scharr were the recognized ship champions in wrestling and boxing, respectively, representing the U.S.S. Texas when in port. Orwin was also a member of the U.S.S. Texas’s fleet championship whaleboat racing crew.(Donald Scharr, April 12, 2004)
Orwin J. Scharr returned to Ocean Springs after his military service. In January 1940, he married Elinor Wright (1913-1953) in St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Ocean Springs. The newly weds made their initial home in the Bosse Cottage at present day 316 Jackson Avenue upon returning from their up state honeymoon.(JXCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 30, p. 309)
Elinor Wright was a native of Whittier, California and the daughter of John C. “Jack” Wright (1879-1941) and Florence Hunt (1875-1961). Haralson Lafayette “H.L.” Hunt (1889-1974), the Texas oil tycoon, was her uncle. Elinor and her family came to Ocean Springs from southern Illinois, in 1919, where her father operated at dairy and pecan orchard in what is now the Maurepas Landing Subdivision.
J.K. Lemon (1914-1998) fondly remembers the day the Wright family drove into town from the north. He was a five-year old, towhead lad living at 16 Iberville Drive. Jack Wright stopped in front of the Lemon home to ask James K. Lemon (1870-1929) directions to their new property. Their touring car had an Illinois license plate and was inundated with road dust, as this was the era when unpaved roads were the norm. That evening Mrs. Lemon went to the Wrights' home with some vegetable soup she had prepared especially to welcome them to town. Being Yankees of sorts, they weren't accustomed to having large beef chunks in their "vegetable" soup. They called it "animal soup"! Regardless, the Wrights got a glimpse of good Southern hospitality the Lemon way.(J.K. Lemon, October 1991)
After completing her studies at Ocean Springs High School in 1931, Elinor Wright matriculated to Whitworth College, at Brookhaven. She continued her studies at Wesleyan University and the University of Illinois where she received her master’s degree. Elinor returned to Ocean Springs to teach history at the public high school. In 1939, she wrote the script for the first enactment of the Iberville Landing pageant celebrated in Ocean Springs.(The Gulf Coast Times, February 14, 1953, p. 1 and Donald Scharr, April 12, 2004)
Orwin and Elinor W. Scharr were the parents of: David O. Scharr (b. 1941); Andrew J. Scharr (b. 1943); and Roberta Elinor “Robin” Scharr Allen (b. 1947).
Elinor Wright Scharr expired at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans on February 14, 1953, after an extended duel with cancer. Her corporal remains were interred in the Southern Memorial Park cemetery at Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, February 14, 1953, p. 4)
Orwin J. Scharr commenced his employment with the US Postal Service at Ocean Springs in 1940. He had worked briefly as a signalman for the L&N Railroad after being discharged from the Marine Corps in the late 1930s. Mr. Scharr was officially appointed Postmaster at Ocean Springs on September 25, 1964, the 22nd person to hold this post since 1853. During his tenure, the new US Post Office on Desoto and Jackson was dedicated on June 19, 1966. Postmaster Scharr retired from the postal system in April 1969.(The Sun Herald, August 9, 2002, p. A-9, The Ocean Springs News, October 1, 1964, p. 1 and The Ocean Springs Record, June 23, 1966, p. 1)
Orwin J. Scharr was an exceptional human being. His love of Ocean Springs and its history was second to none. One of Orwin’s passions was to chronicle the past of the Methodist community in Ocean Springs from its 19thCentury commencement. He had joined St. Paul’s United Methodist Church as a teen and served as its treasurer for forty years. In addition, Orwin belonged to McLeod Masonic Lodge No. 424 F. & A.M. holding the office of Most Worship Master and treasurer during his sixty-year association.(The Sun Herald, August 9, 2002, p. A-9)
Community service was another aspect in the active life of Orwin J. Scharr. He served four terms on the Ocean Springs School Board from 1962 until 1981. Circa 1967, Orwin succeeded Dr. James Waddell as president of the school board when the popular local physician retired from this august body. During Scharr’s dedicated tenure on the local school board the town grew and the school system expanded proportionately. A new high school and Greyhound Stadium were completed in 1965; a new junior high school was built in 1974; the Pecan Park and Magnolia Park Elementary School plants were finished respectively in 1967 and 1969.(The Sun Herald, August 9, 2002, p. A-9)
Ruth Y. Dickey White Scharr
On January 21,1955, Orwin married Ruth Yvonne Dickey (1913-2000), the widow of Eugene Lamoreaux “Shorty” White (1913-1945). She was born at New Orleans on February 16, 1913, the daughter of John Leo Dickey (1880-1938) and Jennie Woodford Dickey (1879-1969). Orwin and Ruth were the parents of Donald Scharr (b. 1955). Her children with E.L. White were John White and Nancy White Wilson.(JXCO, Ms. Circuit Court MRB 81, 266)
Ruth Y. Dickey, discovered Ocean Springs in the early 1920’s when her parents acquired the Christian C.A. Hanson (1845-1914) home at present day 112A Shearwater Drive. Mr. Dickey named their summer home, Shadowlawn. By 1933, the family had moved permanently to Ocean Springs. Ruth was a 1933 graduate of Newcomb College in New Orleans. She received the silver plaque, the highest award offered at Newcomb. After she taught elementary school in Ocean Springs for three years, Miss Dickey relocated to the Crescent City to work as an assistant in the Tulane Library. In August 1941, Miss Dickey returned to Ocean Springs to marry Eugene “Shorty” White and to teach high school English. She became Head Librarian at Keesler Air Force Base in 1948, where she remained until her retirement in 1973. Ruth passed on August 22, 2000. Orwin Joseph Scharr expired on August 7, 2002. Both were buried in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(The Jackson County Times, March 22, 1941, p. 4 and The Sun Herald, August 23, 2000, p. A-8 and August 9, 2002, p. A-9)
Brian Berggren, Indian Springs Historic District, (Mississippi Department of Archives and History: Jackson, Mississippi-1986)
The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, “Joseph and Lenora Scharr”, (Jackson County, Mississippi Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Missisissippi-1989)
The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, June 7, 1924.
The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, May 9, 1927.
The Daily Herald, "Scharr in Marines", February 20, 1934.
The Daily Herald, “Webb-Scharr”, May 10, 1935.
The Daily Herald, “Scharr-Garlotte”, November 6, 1939.
The Daily Herald, “Schaar-Wright”, 1940.
The Daily Herald, “Mrs. Scharr Dies”, February 14, 1953.
The Daily Herald, “Schaar Funeral”, February 1953.
The Daily Herald, “Schaar-White”, 1954?.
The Daily Herald, “J.U. Scharr Dies”, November 9, 1954.
The Daily Herald, “James L. Clarke”, August 21, 1961.
The Daily Herald, “Clair Scharr”, August 4, 1972.
The Daily Herald, “Merrill (sic) F. Scharr”, October 26, 1977.
The Gulf Coast Times, “Death Takes Beloved Elinor Wright Scharr; Funeral Rites Held Monday”, February 14, 1953.
The Gulf Coast Times, “Hilda Friar Wed To C.U. Scharr”, May 16, 1953.
The Gulf Coast Times, “Mr. And Mrs. J.U. Scharr Celebrate Golden Wedding”, June 25, 1953.
The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, September 14, 1929.
The Jackson County Times, “The Column”, September 29, 1934.
The Jackson County Times, “Scharr’s Garage”, October 28, 1939.
The Jackson County Times, “Dickey-White”, March 22, 1941.
The Jackson County Times, “Pan-Am Service Station Sold By Phil Wieder”, February 4, 1949.
The Livingston Enterprise, Raymond C. Easton”, November 3, 1977.
The Livingston Enterprise, “Ellen S. Easton”, April 29, 1996.
The Ocean Springs News, “Mrs. Lenora Scharr”, January 18, 1962.
The Ocean Springs Record, “Mohler’s Goes Independent”, March 5, 1992.
The Sun Herald, “Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Scharr”, April 6, 1990.
The Sun Herald, “John Webb”, October 8, 1998.
The Sun Herald, “Ruth Dickey White Scharr”, August 23, 2000.
The Sun Herald, “Lucile Amy Webb”, July 24, 2001.
The Sun Herald, “Orwin J. Scharr”, August 9, 2002.