Interesting Things

By Ray L. Bellande

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Bridges and Ferries


image made April 20, 2012

After Hurricane Katrina destroyed what remained of the 1930 Biloxi Bay War Memorial Bridge, which had been used as a 'fishing bridge' since the four-lane, 1962 Biloxi Bay Bridge had been completed.  In the fall of 2011, construction crews began clearing the concrete wreckage of the old fishing pier, but left the original piers as the foundation of a new fishing bridge.

The Point Cadet fishing pier was dedicated on April 30th.  Mayor Holloway recommended that the new facility be named in honor of Nicholas "Corky" Hire (b. 1922), a local fisherman of Croatian ancestry.(The Sun Herald, April 30, 2013, A3 and May 1, 2013, p. A2)




The Sun Herald, “", April    , 2013, p. A.

The Sun Herald,  "”, May 2013, p. A.


BACK BAY FERRY SYSTEM and 1901 and 1927, and 1975 BACK BAY BRIDGES

[with notes on Cedar Lake and Biloxi River Bridges]

As one can document from the public records of Harrison County, Mississippi, and journals of the period 1843-1901, there was a public ferry system operating from Biloxi to the village of Back Bay (D'Iberville) as early as 1843.  This ferry system probably operated intermittently through the years, and terminated in 1901, with the completion of a wooden bridge across the Back Bay of Biloxi.

No physical description of the ferry or ferries can be found in the literature, nor have any photographs been discovered to provide a visual concept of their form.  It is known that they were apparently large enough to transport people, carriages, wagons, and animals. The mode of ferry locomotion in the early days is unclear, but one might assume that manual poling or pulling of the vessel through the shallow waters of Back Bay was the primary method.  Nap Cassibry in "Echos From The Past" presents the Mississippi Legislative Act (Chapter LXXXVII of 1866) to establish a steam ferry across the Back Bay of Biloxi.  Dudley Andrews (1895-1982) in an oral history given to Murella Powell on June 24, 1981 in Biloxi was asked some questions about crossing Back Bay.  This dialogue follows:

How did you get across the Bay?

In boats.  You see we all had little skiffs with sails.  I got one out there I built and not long ago just to show a fella how they looked and how you skull a boat---you see---instead of rowing with two oars we take one big oar and put it in a socket in the back and we had a twist that was like a propeller and you'd go faster that way than  you would pulling with two and you could stand up and see where you were going.  And you could skull across the Bay in no time. And when you hit the beach throw the anchor out, pull the oar in and go do your business----come back and everything was there---nobody would steal it.  And you'd skull back home.

What about when they----was there any kind of ferry or anything?

Yes, they had a ferry.  They ran the ferry from Lameuse Street to about where that end of the marsh is.  Where the old bridge used to land on the other side.  And they'd pull it across.  You see, you had to pull it and it would slide through----they could take a horse and buggy and a few people.  But that didn't operate too long.  They built the bridge.  And the bridge was an old time one and it was narrow and it was noisy at night.  It kept everyone awake.  So then somebody devised the idea that if they laid the planks on an angle it would rattle the ends of the boards that way.  And so that was a big improvement--when they laid the second deck you could go to sleep at night.  Other wise you'd hear every horse and  buggy on that thing.  Bam-bam-bam---all night!  But that all happened in my time---the bridge building---the end of the ferry---and stuff like that.

Did the ferry have a name?

 I don't know.

     The earliest indication of the Back Bay ferry is found in the Minutes of the Boardof Police of Harrison County, Book 1, p. 42.  At its regular meeting on August 7, 1843, it was ordered by the board:  that there be and there is hereby established a public ferry in the rear of the village of Biloxi, across the Back Bay of Biloxi to start from the end of the road commonly called "Lameuse Road" on the property now owned by William C. Seaman, Esquire and to cross the said Back Bay in the most direct and convenient ways, and the said W.C. Seaman, Esq. on his entering into a bond in the sum of two hundred dollars conditional according to law shall have the right to charge the following rate of ferriage and no more, to wit:


          For foot passengers             25 cents

          For man and horse              50 cents

          For one horse cart               75 cents

          For a two horse carriage     1 dollar

          For neat cattle                     12 1/2 cents each

          For hogs or sheep                 6 1/4 cents each


William C. Seaman

William Christopher Seaman (1801-1844) was a native of New York and settled in Jackson County, Mississippi about 1819.  He reared a family in northwest Jackson County with his wife, Catherine Sheffield.  Seaman was very active in local and state government.  He served as Justice of the Peace (1822-24), was elected to the Mississippi State Legislature (1827), and was chosen a delegate from Jackson County to the

MississippiConstitutional Convention (1832).  He was President of the Board of Police in Jackson County (1841-1842).

The Seaman family moved to Biloxi about 1842 and settled on the south shore of Back Bay on land purchased from Rene Lameuse (1788-1883) in October 1841.  He became Clerk of Court for Harrison County.  While residing on Lameuse Road and Bay View Avenue, he saw the need and opportunity for a ferry across the Back Bay of Biloxi.  Unfortunately, W.C. Seaman died on November 23, 1844.


There was a hiatus of twenty two years until the Back Bay Ferry is mentioned in the historical record.  The occasion came as an application from John Steele, an Irish immigrant and widower, who married Sarah Wells, herself a widow of James Dowdle.  John Steele's father-in-law, Berry Wells, had moved to Mississippi from his birth state, Kentucky, about 1837 with his family.  The Wells Family settled in Section 5, T7S-R9W on the Tchoutacabuffa River.  Berry Wells operated a ferry on that river, and later moved to Back Bay where he leased in 1857, the Foretich Store.  John Baptiste Foretich (1813-1875) had married his daughter, Rebecca Wells,  in 1855.

At its February 1866 Term, the Board of Police of Harrison County recorded in its Minute Book Number 2, page 201 the following:  John Steele having this day applied to the Board of County Police to have a public ferry established across the Back Bay of Biloxi where the public road crosses the same landing from the town of Biloxi to Red Creek and elsewhere.  It is therefore ordered, adjudged, and decreed by the Board of County Police that a public ferry be and the same is hereby established across the Bay of Biloxi at the place known as the Back Bay Ferry and it appearing to the satisfaction of the Board that the said John Steele is the owner of the soil on the northern shore of said Back Bay at one of the points where the boats or other water craft will land.

It is therefore ordered, adjudged, and decreed by the Board that the said John Steele his heirs and assigns have the exclusive privilege of said ferry so established on the Back Bay of Biloxi for the space of one half mile east and west of his residence on the northern bank of the Back Bay and one half east and west on the south side of said Bay from where the Lameuse Street touches said Bay for and during the period of ten years from this day.  It is further ordered by the said Board that the said John Steele his heirs or assigns shall within three months from this day provide and keep good and sufficient boats, flats, or other water crafts proper and necessary for the use of said ferry and the convenience of travelers.

It is further ordered that the said John Steele give bond in the final sum of one thousand dollars with two good securities conditions as required by law to the satisfaction of said Board, written three months from this day and that the said John Steele his heirs and assigns shall receive the rates of toll to be paid hereafter by the Board of County Police.

At its June Term 1866, the Board of County Police approved the bond and securities filed by John Steele as directed by the Board at its February 1866 Term (Book 2, p. 204).  During this term, the Board also established ferriage rates across the Back Bay of Biloxi recorded in Book 2, p. 205 of the Minutes of the Board of County Police.         

These ferriage rates are as follows:

          For foot passengers                              20 cents

          For man and horse                               75 cents

          For horse and cart                                1 dollar

          For horse and carriage                         1 dollar 50 cents

          For two horses and wagon                   2 dollars

          For four horses and wagon                  3 dollars

          For cattle per head single                    1 dollar

          For cattle per head drive                     40 cents

          For sheep per head drive                     25 cents



Two events occurred after John Steele was granted his ferry rights to operate on Back Bay by the Board of County Police.  The first was an act passed by the Mississippi State Legislature on October 24, 1866 (Chapter LXXXVII).  It authorized James Fewell to operate a steam ferry boat across the Back Bay of Biloxi.  James Fewell was a Virginian millwright who settled in Handsboro about 1855.  He served as Mayor of Biloxi during the Civil War.  Chapter LXXXVII read as follows:

AN ACT to authorize James Fewell to establish a Steam Ferry across the Back Bay of Biloxi, in Harrison County.

SECTION 1.  Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Mississippi, That the said James Fewell, his administrators and assigns, be, and they are hereby authorized and empowered to erect, build, and put into operation a good and substantial Steam Ferry Boat, to be used and run across the Back Bay of Biloxi, at or near a point known as the Back Bay Ferry.

SECTION 2.  Be it further enacted, That the said James Fewell, his administrators and assigns, shall commence and complete said steam ferry within three years from the passage of this act, and shall build the same of substantial materials, with good sound boilers, engine and machinery, and of sufficient size to accommodate the traveling community, with secure railing all round.

SECTION 3.  Be it further enacted, That it shall not be lawful for any person or persons, whomsoever except James Fewell, his executors, administrators or assigns, to build, erect, or put up any steam ferry boat, for the purpose of landing or shipping freight or passengers, goods, wares or merchandise, horses, carriages, cattle, carts, wagons, or any thing else within that portion of the Back Bay, extending from the mouth of Bernard's Bayou, known as Cranes's Neck; from thence down said Bay to Point Caddy, and from thence to Biloxi, to which extent the exclusive privilege of building and erecting of a steams ferry boat is hereby granted to James Fewell, his administrators, executors, or assigns, for the space of twenty years from the passage of this act.

SECTION 4.  Be it further enacted, That any person or persons, in violation of this act, shall build, erect, and put up any steam ferry boat within the limits herein mentioned, for the purpose of landing or receiving passengers, or freight of any kind or description, shall forfeit and pay the sum of one hundred dollars for each and every offense, to the said James Fewell, his heirs or assigns, recoverable before any court having competent jurisdiction; and in addition to such recovery as foresaid, the person or persons liable to said James Fewell, his administrators, executors or assigns, in an action for damages.

SECTION 5.  Be it further enacted, That the said James Fewell, his administrators, or executors or assigns, shall receive such rates of ferriage as shall be fixed from time to time by the Mayor and Selectmen of the town of Biloxi; and should he demand and receive more than the rates fixed by said Mayor and Selectmen as foresaid, he shall be liable to the person or persons so charged, in an action of damages before any court having com-etent jurisdiction.

SECTION 6.  Be it further enacted, That this act shall not be so construed as to interfere with the charter granted to John Steel, by the Board of Police of said county, and that all acts or parts which may come in conflict with this act, be and the same is hereby repealed, and this act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.

APPROVED, October 30, 1866.



The second event was an instrument between John Steele and Ramon Quave which is undated.  The contents follow:

The State of Mississippi

 Harrison County

I John Steel of the county and state aforesaid, do hereby acknowledge that for a valuable consideration, I have this day transferred, sold, conveyed, and delivered to Raymond Quave, all of my right, title and interest, assigned to the ferry known as John Steels Ferry and hereby said Quave is hereby clothed with all the rights and privi-ledges granted to me by the Board of Police of said  county under the written charter.  John Steel

This document was provided to the Archives of the Biloxi Public Library by Wallace Quave, the great grandson of Pierre Quave (1833-1864).  Pierre Quave operated a dry goods store on Back Bay from 1857-1862.  He closed the store on April 12, 1862 to join the Confederate Army during the Civil War.  Pierre Quave died at Mobile during that war.  His son, Ramon Quave (1852-1908), after the death of his father in 1862 was thrust into the position of supporting his widowed mother and siblings.  His obtaining the position of ferryman enabled the Quave family to survive and prosper.  For Ramon Quave it was the birth of an entrepreneurial career.  He went on become a ship carpenter, shipyard owner, merchant, sheep rancher, and large land owner at Back Bay and Seymour as it was later called.  In his obituary of October 3, 1908, it is suggested that Ramon Quave be called the father of the village of Seymour (D'Iberville) because of his friendship and benevolence to that community.                        

From the Journal of the Pierre Quave Store also provided to the Library Archives by Wallace Quave, there are several entries relating to ferriage across the Back Bay of Biloxi.  They are as follows:


          each person crossing ferry both ways                     30 cents


          one cart crossing ferry                                             50 cents

          one horse crossing ferry                                           50 cents

          one person crossing ferry                                         15 cents



          one man crossing ferry                                             30 cents

          one head of beef crossing ferry                                 50 cents

          one head of sheep crossing ferry                              35 cents

          ferrage two horses                                                    1 dollar

          six head of beef ferrage                                            3 dollars

          one horse ferrage                                                      50 cents

          two horses ferrage                                                    1 dollar

It would appear that prior to John Steele obtaining a ferry charter from the Board of County Police (1866), Pierre Quave was involved in the Back Bay ferry system.  Also one could speculate that the Steele ferry was a manual operation as the James Fewell grant from the Mississippi State Legislature (1866) specified steam ferry boat. 

On May 13, 1868, John and Sarah Steele purchased a tract of land on Back Bay from the State of Mississippi.  It is described from the deed records of Harrison County as:  the Mill Property consisting of 65 acres in Section 18 T7S-R9W.  This tract was two arpents fronting on the north side of the Bay of Biloxi by 35 arpents more or less in depth between parallel lines, Joseph Moran to the west, John L. Henley to the north, and Pierre Quave to the east.(Harrison Co., Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, p. 95) 

This site became known as Steele's Landing.  John Steele probably built a store here as he is listed as a retail grocer in the US Census of 1870.  From this information, one might infer that Ramon Quave received his assignment for the ferry rights from John Steele in 1868.  In August 26, 1871, the Steeles sold their Back Bay property to Henry Peychaud of New Orleans.  The same day they with Robert Delauney and Jules Saujon rented the land from Peychaud with John L. Henley acting as his agent.  When Peychaud died about 1886, his heirs could not make an equitable settlement of the property among themselves, and a law suit resulted, Edward Peychaud, et al vs Blanche Dupre, et al.  The probate court ordered the tract to be sold on December 23, 1886 at public outcry by the Sheriff, Florian Seal, at the court house door of Harrison County to the highest bidder for cash.

Casimir Harvey bought this property on November 12, 1887.  At the site, he built a home, shipyard, and operated a dry goods store and barroom.  The area was still called Steele's Landing as late as 1892, although John Steele probably died before 1880.  A reporter for The Biloxi Herald in the March 8, 1890 issue of that paper commented:  Casimir Harvey's store is the first place that one strikes (when departing the ferry), and it is one that everybody can feel at home at.  He carries a good stock of groceries and general merchandise as well as aship chandlery.  Casimir has a tamed wild goose, and it is a beauty for its kind.  This web-footed customer follows Cass around like a dog, and when Cass is annoyed too much with its company he says:  "Go home and don't make a goose of yourself".  The goose goes.

W.L. Covel

In January 1890, W.L. Covel (1837-1926) a native of New York and a resident of Biloxi since 1886 applied for and was granted a ferry license from the Board of County Police.  Mr. Covel was a civil engineer, real estate developer, and landlord in Biloxi.  At its Special November Term 1890, the Harrison County Board of Police ordered: that the ferry license granted  to W.L. Covel on the 7th day of January 1890 for the ferry on Back Bay of Biloxi for five years be and is hereby extended for the term of ten years from said 7th day of January1890.  It is further ordered that the rates of toll to be charged on said public ferry so licensed are hereby fixed as follows, to wit:

          for foot passengers                                               10 cents each

          for one horse vehicle...........                                 25 cents each

          for two horse vehicle...........                                 40 cents

          for four horses or oxen to wagon                         60 cents

          for horses or cattle in droves                               12 cents each

          for sheep or hogs in droves                                   5 cents each

                   Minute Book 4, p. 70.


The Back Bay ferry, which ran in the early 1890s was called the Jennie, and was a steam tug.  An advertisement in The Biloxi Herald of April 12, 1890 said:

The Steamer "JENNIE"

Captain Goudrau

Leaves daily every hour from 7 o'clock A.M. To 5

o'clock P.M. from the foot of Reynoir Street to Back Bay.

Fare 5 cents.

The Jennie was described as a fast little craft with excellent accommodations and makes the trip across the bay in excellent time.  Unfortunately, the October Hurricane of 1893 saw the demise of the Jennie.  The Daily Picayune of October 1, 1893 reported that it went adrift and sank during the fierce storm.  A steam ferry, the Sam, probably replaced the lost Jennie.

     At its November Term 1891, the Board of County Police recorded the following in Book 4, page 159 of its Minutes:

On reading and filing the petition of the Biloxi Back Bay Ferry and Bridge Company endorsed by citizens of this county, for license and authority to establish a steam ferry for public use at a point designated in said petition to wit:  Across the Back Bay of Biloxi, between the foot of Reynoir Street on the south side of said Bay and Quave's Landing on the north side and it appearing that the owners of the soil of said landings assent to said petition, it is therefore hereby ordered that said Biloxi Back Bay Ferry and Bridge Company, be and is hereby authorized and a license is hereby granted to said company, to establish and keep a steam ferry between the points designated, for and during the term ten years from this day, on said Company entering into bond in the sum of five hundred dollars conditioned as required by law, said bond to be approved by the Clerk of   this Board.  It is further ordered that the following rates of toll to be charged on said ferry and are hereby fixed as follows, to wit: 

          footman one way                                                                      10 cents             

          footman round trip                                                                  15 cents

          man and horse one way                                                           20 cents

          one horse and four wheel carriage and driver                       30 cents

          one horse and two wheel cart with driver                              30 cents

          two horses or oxen vehicle with driver                                    50 cents

          horses in droves of five and upwards                                      20 cents each

          horses in droves less than five                                                 25 cents each

          cattle in droves of five and upwards                                        20 cents each

          cattle in droves of less than five                                               25 cents each

          sheep, goats, calves, or hogs in droves of ten or more..           5 cents each

          sheep, goats, calves, and hogs in droves less than ten head   7 1/2 cents each

Near the termination years of the 19th Century, mention of the Back Bay ferry in The Biloxi Herald is sporadic.  The following articles were taken from this journal:

December 2, 1893

Casimir Harvey’s new ferry boat, the Shrimp, has made its first trip.  The rope or skiff ferry has changed hands.  Captain Ed Richards now handles the oars.(p. 1)

July 1896?

The ferryboat Sam, which was badly damaged by fire several months ago, has been completely repaired and put in first-class condition and will resume the ferry service? On Back Bay early next week.  The ? will be in charge of the same old crew with Capt. Young in command.(p. 8)

March 20, 1897

            Owing to a lack of patronage the ferry boat that plied between Back Bay Biloxi, and north Back Bay has been taken off.  This will be a serious inconvenience to those who have been accustomed to use this route.  What is really wanted is a bridge, and the quicker our people take hold of this matter, the better it will be for the interests of Biloxi.(p. 8)    

July 10, 1897

We the undersigned members of the family of Captain James Smith Young take this method of returning our heart felt thanks to Captain Sam Shaw of the ferry boat Sam  for kindness extended in our late bereavement and especially for the use of the ferry free of charge for conveying the body across the bay.  Captain Fritz Abbley, Mrs. Sara R. Abbley, Eliza Holley, Wilhemena Fountain, Euginios Seymour, Louisa Stiglets, and William Young.(p. 8)

Captain Sam Shaw (1861-1904) was born in Palmer, Massachusetts.  His father was A.J. Shaw (1830-1866) also from Palmer.  A.J. Shaw married Angeline Wells (1840-?) in 1858.  She was a daughter of river ferryman, Berry Wells. They appear to have spent the Civil War years at Palmer, Massachusetts. In 1893, Sam Shaw was a dealer in groceries, feed, hardware, tinware, and tobacco at his store at Back Bay.   The steam ferryboat Sam was probably named for Sam Shaw.  At the time of his death, he was in the livery business in Biloxi, which was also his residence.

October 14, 1898

The Back Bay ferry boat will make regular trips next Sunday as an experiment and if business justifies the service will be continued regularly hereafter.(p. 8)

November 12, 1898

The steamer "Sam" is now being run across Back Bay at regular intervals of half an hour, commencing at 7 o'clock in the morning and running until five in the evening.  On Sunday the regular schedule will be made, and you can cross and recross with the greatest ease and comfort.  It is a great convenience, as the people across the Bay can come to Biloxi and find a good market for their produce, while our townspeople can enjoy a pleasant trip across the Bay, on business or pleasure bent.  The ferry enterprise should be encouraged by all, as it fosters trade relations with neighbors across the Bay that are mutually valuable to both them and us.(p. 3)

October 10, 1899

The steam ferry boat, Sam, will until further notice make regular trips across Back Bay on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday with Captain William Young in command and James Eckston, engineer.(p. 8)    

Captain William Young (1849-1911) was the son of James Smith Young (1818-1897), a native of Cape May, New Jersey.  James Smith Young was a mariner and owner of the schooner, Adelia, out of Back Bay.  William Young owned the Greenwood Pavilion, the social center of the Back Bay community.  His wife was Mary Quave (1854-1928) affectionately called "Aunt Sissy".  She was the sister of Ramon Quave.  Mary Quave is an integral part of the history of Back Bay as she served the area as a midwife, country doctor, and postmaster of Seymour.

October 31, 1899

The ferry boat Sam will make regular trips Wednesday and Saturday for the accomodation of persons wishing to visit the cemetery, but will not run on Sundays until further notice.(p. 8)

During its fifty-eight years of existence, the Back Bay public ferry system served well the citizens of both sides of the Bay.  It provided an aqueous path for travel, and was an artery for the exchange of ideas, produce, goods, and supplies between two developing communities.



Nap L. Cassibry, II, Early Settlers and Land Grants at Biloxi, Volume II, (Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society-Special Issue 5, November 1986), p. 82.

Nap L. Cassibry, II, "Echos From The Past", Chapter LXXXVII, Session Law of the State of Mississippi For 1866.

Brother Jerome Lepre, GulfCoast Genealogy-The Santa Cruz Family,(Lepre: New Orleans-1990) p. 73.

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, (Lewis Printing Service: Pascagoula, Mississippi- Lewis Printing Service-1989), pp. 343-344.

The Pierre Quave Store Journal(1857-1862), Biloxi Public Library Archives, Murella Hebert Powell, Historian.

Land and Deed Records of Harrison County, Mississippi (Harrison County Chancery Clerk's Office-Gulfport, Mississippi)

The Biloxi Herald, “Back Bay Items”, December 2, 1893.

The Biloxi Daily Herald"A Bridge Needed", July 23, 1898, p. 1.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “City News” January 6, 1901,

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “City News” January 10, 1901.

US Census Records 1840-1880.


1901 BACK BAY BRIDGE [wooden]


The Biloxi and Back Bay Bridge Company was chartered on June 2nd.(Harrison Co., Ms. Charter Bk. 2, p. 186)

The Biloxi Daily Herald, "A Bridge Needed", July 23, 1898, p. 1.

The bridge company has driven a row of temporary pilings across Back Bay in preparation to building the substructure for the new span.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, January 6, 1901)

Mr. [Lionel S.] Leversedge* (1853-1918) of the Missouri Bridge and Iron Company, contractor of the Back Bay Bridge, is in Biloxi to facilitate and accelerate the construction of the new span.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, January 10, 1901, p. 8)

* Lionel S. Leversedge was born in England.  He was a Civil Engineer and in 1910 was living at Fort Worth, Texas with Mable ? (1870-1936), also English and his second wife.  Thy married circa 1909.  Mr. Leversedge was proprietor of the Leversedge Bridge and Iron Works at Fort Worth when he declared voluntary bankruptcy in Federal Court.  He listed liabilities at $13,958 and assets of $8200.  The family moved to Dallas, Texas in 1916 and Lionel passed here in October 1918.  He had built the Jennings Avenue viaduct and the 7th Street bridge at Fort Worth.  Mabel, a registered nurse,  relocated to Austin, Texas and she died here on May 4, 1936.

On July 31, 1901 the Bridge Committee of the City of Biloxi consisting of Percy L. Elmer, James B. Chinn, and Ed Glennan examined the Back Bay Bridge structure and found the workmanship of the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company very excellent.  They recommended to Mayor Swetman that the bridge be accepted.  The formal opening of the bridge was August 3, 1901 and marked the termination of the public ferry system across the Back Bay of Biloxi.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, July 1901, p. 8)

On August 1, 1901-Bridge accepted by Biloxi City Council, but will not be delivered until paid for!( The Biloxi Daily Herald, August 1, 1901, p. 1)


The Biloxi Daily Herald"A Bridge Needed", July 23, 1898, p. 1.

The Biloxi Daily Herald"Deep water and a Bridge", January 17, 1899, p. 8.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Leversedge files bankruptcy petition”, May 25, 1913.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “Jennings Avenue viaduct builder is dead”, October 26, 1918



1907 Road to Back Bay

Henry Krohn, road overseer, commenced construction of a new road from the Tchoutacabouffa River to Back Bay in September.(The Daily Herald, September 22, 1907 and September 22, 1947, p. 1)




The Daily Herald,                          September 22, 1907.

The Daily Herald, “40 Years Ago”, September 22, 1947.



(see The Daily Herald, “Tchouticabouffa Bridge Contract”, May 13, 1908.



The Harrison County Board of Supervisors ordered that a bridge be built built over the Biloxi River at the LorraineFerry.(The Daily Herald, February 9, 1912, p. 1)




Contract let in August 1925.  $326,000 to A.M. Blodgett, Inc. (see The Jackson County Times, “Contract Let for Back Bay Bridge”, August 8, 1925)

The Jackson County Times, “Biloxi Bridge Well Underway”, October 24, 1925, p. 1.

Dedicated on January 12, 1927.(see The Daily Herald, “Mammoth Celebration to Mark Bridge Completion”, December 30, 1926, p. 1)

Mayor William A. Dever of Chicago to speak at Biloxi Bridge celebration.(The Daily Herald, January 6, 1927, p. 1)




The Daily Herald, "Back Bay Bridge moves nearer with latest contract”, August 13, 1972, p. E-9.

Dedicated June 22, 1975.(see The Daily Herald, June 26, 1975, p. 1)



Has there been a more negative, news dominating, water-transecting artery on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the past decade as the Popp’s Ferry Bridge and Causeway, which spans the upper reaches of Biloxi’s Back Bay?   I think not.  Until West Biloxi began to show signs of growth and development in the 1960s, the Popp’s Ferry Bridge was little more than a remote and rural link to the ‘outback’ of scattered homesteads, fish camps, and pecan orchards west of North Biloxi (D’Iberville) and Cedar Lake.  The development of the Sunkist Country Club in 1953 and the continued growth of KAFB at Biloxi probably were the greatest catalysts in promoting long term real estate growth in the area.

Popp’s Ferry was a private enterprise from its inception until it was acquired by Harrison County, Mississippi in February 1916.  The ferry transported people, livestock, and vehicles across seven hundred feet of open water from an unimproved public road which lead north of Pass Christian Road, now called Pass Road.  From here one had to traverse on an unimproved road through marshy terrain for about three thousand feet to what was called the “Nick Holley’s cut-off and or Nick Holley’s Bridge”, a slough or bayou of about fifty to one hundred feet in width, which was spanned by a wooden bridge.  In later times, the span across Nick Holley’s cut-off became known as ‘the Burnt the traverse across the Back Bay of Biloxi at Popp’s Ferry.(USGS 15’ Topographic Map ‘Biloxi’-1954. photo revised 1970 and 1976)

Present day Popp’s Ferry is a neighborhood and road situated in west Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi in Section 15 and Claim Section 37, T7S-R10W.  The neighborhood is a west striking peninsula bounded on the north by the Tchoutacabouffa River; on the west by the Tchoutacabouffa River and Biloxi River; on the south by Big Lake, a large body of water at the head of the Back Bay of Biloxi and at the confluence of Bayou Bernard, the Biloxi River, and the Tchoutacabouffa River; and on the east by Popp’s Ferry Road and Riverview Drive.  Within this 450-acres there are many land subdivisions: Barrett (1949), Ancient Oaks (1966); Sunkist Manor (1966); On-The-Green (1985); North Country Club Estates (1986); Lopez Point (1986); Greenleaf (1987); Beau Chenes Estates (1999); and the Sunkist Country Club, a golf course and social organization, which was founded in 1953.

Elevations in the Popp’s Ferry section range from sea level to twenty-feet above mean sea level. 

Popp’s Ferry and Calvin Taylor

Popp’s Ferry was named for John F. Popp (1835-1918), a Danish immigrant and retired lumber merchant from New Orleans, who lived nearby in retirement and operated a late 19th Century, ferry landing on the Bridge”.  One then had another three hundred feet of unimproved road through marshy terrain until ‘dry land’ and another unimproved public road was met, which completed upper reaches of the Back Bay of Biloxi.  There is some degree of certitude that this ferry landing was commenced much earlier by Calvin Taylor (1806-1883+).  Calvin Taylor, a native of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, was a saw mill proprietor and domiciled at Handsboro, Harrison County, Mississippi.  He operated saw mills on Bayou Bernard and the Back Bay of Biloxi.

In September 1859, Mr. Taylor joined with Gordon Meyers (1827-1859+), a native of New York, and acquired a sawmill from Michael Laughter (1816-1859+) for $1350 on the south side of Biloxi Bay described as: Commencing at a point  on the south side of the Biloxi Bay in the center of fractional Section 23, T7S-Rl0W, that is a point equally distant from the .east and west lines of said Section 23, thence running due south 70 rod (1155 feet), thence west 56 rod and 9 feet (933  feet), thence due north to Biloxi Bay, thence eastward with the bay shore to the place of beginning and containing twenty acres more or less…….together with the steam mill sawmill thereon and all the engines and machinery in the ? , also all the buildings and improvements.(Harrison County, Mississippi Land Deed Book 9, p. 32).

Calvin Taylor had relocated from New England to Yazoo County, Mississippi in 1826.  By 1845, he had settled at Buena Vista (Handsboro) and formed a partnership with Gordon Davis also from New England.  Their small steam sawmill on Bayou Bernard was unprofitable due to the over production of lumber and deals for their primary market, New Orleans. The business failed about 1852. When Taylor joined Gordon Myers in about 1854, one of their first acquisitions was a planning mill at Bayou Bernard. This purchase gave them an important advantage over other mills in that dressed lumber brought a better price than rough lumber. Finished lumber also weighed less and therefore was less expensive to ship to market.  In addition to the Laughter Mill, Taylor & Myers purchased part of the Samuel Fowler (1810-1858) property which consisted of five Negro slaves, a saw, and a planning mill.  This acquisition made them the largest lumber producer in Harrison County. In 1860, Taylor & Myers had a gross income of $48,000. They employed twenty-five workers in mill functions turning out 3,000,000 board feet of rough lumber and 1,700,000 board feet of finished lumber.(Hickman, 1962, pp. 34-39)

Taylor’s Ferry

In June 1883, John F. Popp acquired from Calvin Taylor for $200 a small tract of land on the south shore of the Back Bay of Biloxi in Section 22 and Section 27, T7S-R10W.  This land deed implied that Calvin Taylor had a ferry landing on this lot. (Harrison County, Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 19, p. 471)

The 1883 land conveyance from Taylor to Popp corroborates that Taylor’s-Popp’s Ferry was privately owned and not under the aegis of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors until February 1916.  It is interesting to note that even as early as the spring of 1914, after Lamey’s Bridge on the Tchouticabouffa River was completed for $6300 by the Austin Brothers of Atlanta, Georgia, Popp’s Ferry was the only ferry operation in Harrison County.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 12, p. 207 and The Daily Herald,  March 23, 1914, p. 1)

John F. Popp

John F. Popp (1835-1918) was born in November 1835 in Denmark.  He immigrated to America in 1856 and settled at St. Louis, Missouri.  John F. Popp came down the Mississippi River to New Orleans after the Civil War.  Here circa 1867, he met and married Mary Frances Grant (1845-1910).  She was born at Pensacola, Florida the daughter of William M. Grant (1818-1870+), a Scotsman, and Frances Grant (1823-1870+), a native of Pennsylvania.  William Grant had arrived in New Orleans circa 1847 and became a lumber merchant in the Crescent City.(The Daily Herald, September 14, 1918, p. 3 and Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census M593_519, p. 17, img. 34)

In 1865, John F. Popp became associated with Mr. Grant as a lumber dealer and apparently took over the business after W.M. Grant’s demise.  Mr. Popp’s lumber enterprise consisted of a mill and lumber yard at the New Basin and Liberty Street in the Crescent City.  In the 1870s, he was importing lumber and milled products via steamboat and schooner from Florida and Harrison and Hancock County, Mississippi to his New Basin operation.  Mr. Popp retired a wealthy man to his west Biloxi estate in 1895.(The Daily Herald, February 15, 1915, p. 1 and The New Orleans Times, February 15, 1876, p. 2 and April 23, 1878, p. 2)

Popp’s Place

In October 1878,John F. Popp acquired for $600, about two-hundred acres in Section 15 and Claim Section 37 of T7S-R10W from the Heirs of Charles Holley (1805-1857) and Ursule Fayard Holley (1818-1860+): Charles M. Holley and Mary E. Cooper Holley; Elam R. Blackwell (1829-1896) and Burissa T. Holley Blackwell (1841-1899); David Saucier and Alice Holley Saucier; George Levy Holley and Malinda Bounds Holley; and Jane Holley Swetman and Quitman [Thomas A.] Swetman.  When William Q. Swetman came of age in May 1879, he sold his interest in this tract to Mr. Popp for $100.  The one-acre, Holley family cemetery in the southwest corner of Popp’s land was excluded from this conveyance.  Charles Holley had acquired this 200-acre tract from Donald McBean et ux in October 1850.(Harrison County, Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 16, p. 389, Bk. 16, p. 392, and Bk. 5, p. 371)

The Holleys

Charles M. Holley (1805-1857) was a native of New York and made his livelihood as a sailor.  In 1850, his real estate in Harrison County was valued at $2000.  Nicholas Holley (1810-1870), his brother and also a New Yorker, was a neighbor and built wooden boats.  Before the Civil War, Nicholas Holley had a personal estate of $900 and real estate valued at $8000.  He acquired the 160-acre, ‘Stringer tract” for $525 from Joseph I. Stringer in December 1847.  It was situated in Section 15, T7S-R10W.(1850 and 1860 Harrison Co., Mississippi Federal Census M432_ 372, p. 104, img. 210 and M653_581, img. 454 and Harrison County, Land Deed Bk. 3, p. 487)

Elam R. Blackwell family

There is some degree of certitude that Elam R. Blackwell (1829-1896) was the son of Morris Blackwell (1798-1860+) and Nancy Blackwell (1793-1860+) who were natives of South Carolina and North Carolina respectively.  Elam’s brothers may have been ? Blackwell (1822-1850+), a woodcutter, and Anderson H. Blackwell (1826-1850+), a wood cutter.  In 1850, the Blackwells were living in Harrison County, Mississippi on the north side of the Back Bay of Biloxi.(1850 Federal Census, Harrison Co., Mississippi M432-372, p. 107, img. 216 and M432_372, p. 88, img. 178)

In April 1856, Elam R. Blackwell married Burissa T. Holley (1841-1899), the daughter of Charles M. Holley (1805-1857) and Ursule Fayard (1820-1860+), at Harrison County, Mississippi.  Their known children are: Albert G.B. Blackwell (1858-1860+); Elam N. Blackwell (1859-1860); Mary B. ‘Minnie’ Blackwell (1863-1885) m. William T. Norton; Joseph Blackwell (1867-1936); Charles M. Blackwell (1867-1932) m. Missouri Brasher (1862-1951); and Katie Lee Blackwell (1872-1872).

In January 1859, Elam R. Blackwell for $4500 acquired about one hundred and thirty-six acres in Section 15 and Section 16, T7S-R10W from Robert C. Saffold (1823-1891).  This tract had frontage on the Tchoutacabouffa River and Biloxi River and had been the site of the Toomer & McGuire sawmill between 1849 and 1852.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 5, p. 241, Bk. 7, p. 391 and Bk. 9, p. 113, and Bellande, 1992, pp. 32-34)

In July 1875, E.R. Blackwell had to jump into the Tchoutacabouffa River near his home at Mill Point to rescue his young grand? baby.  She had been seized by a alligator while in the arms of her mother?  The baby was saved with no physical harm.(The Star of Pascagoula,  July 31, 1875, p. 3)    

Sunkist-Holley-Blackwell Cemetery

Sunkist-Holley-Blackwell Cemetery-was founded on the banks of Big Lake in 1857, when the Charles M. Holley (1805-1857) family occupied this area later called ‘Sunkist Place’.  This small family burial ground has survived vandalism, abandonment, and the ravages of nature on the former John F. Popp (1835-1918) estate.  Today it has been incorporated into the landscape of the Beau Chenes Estates Subdivision.  Image by Ray L. Bellande-September 2008.

Sunkist-Holley-Blackwell Cemetery

As previously stated, when the Heirs of Charles M. Holley conveyed their land in Section 15 and Claim Section 37 of T7S-R10W to John F. Popp, they retained one-acre in the southwest corner as the Holley family burial ground.  Charles M. Holley had died on May 21, 1857 and was the first to be interred here on the high bluff overlooking Big Lake.  In the 1980s, Julia Cook Guice researched the Holley family and cemetery.  In her report archived in a vertical file at the Biloxi Public Library History and Genealogy Center, the following is generally taken per se, but some spelling and word phrasing were edited at the author’s discretion.


Mrs. Ashton [Virginia] C. Barrett (1904-1997), owner of the adjacent property to the cemetery, commented that she used to regularly see members of the Blackwell family (locally and from New Orleans) come out to the cemetery on Sunday to maintain the area.  She also said that it has been more than a year since anyone has been to the cemetery.  The thick growth in the area confirms this.

According to Mrs. Barrett, youngsters using a tree overlooking the Biloxi River nearby as a swing are responsible for much of the vandalism in the cemetery.  This includes: perimeter fence and posts broken and uprooted; gravesites used as picnic tables; two headstones broken; attempts to break into gravesites; gravesite perimeter footing broken on several graves; the possibility that one headstone is missing on one grave, and the strong indication that an eight gravesite exists, but unmarked.


The Holley Cemetery is located about seventy-five feet from the banks of the Biloxi River [Big Lake].  The view from the cemetery is to the southwest with a panorama that includes the Biloxi River, Back Bay of Biloxi [Big Lake] and the Jack Watson electrical power generating plant.  The area of the Holley Cemetery is rectangular in shape, with the north-south side measuring fifty-seven feet and the east-west side measuring forty feet.  A four-foot gate (now destroyed) opened into the cemetery and was situated near the southwest corner of the burial plot.  The area in and around the cemetery is thick with undergrowth.  An azalea bush near the center of the cemetery beautifies the area.  The two broken headstones can be repaired with a steel plate backing, although several pieces will be missing from one of them. 


            Charles M. Holley (1805-1857) was the first to be interred in this cemetery in May 1857.  He was fifty-one years old when he died.

            E.R. Blackwell (1829-1896) was the patriarch of the Blackwells buried here.  He was sixty-seven years of age at his demise and the fourth of his clan to be buried in the Holley Cemetery.  E.R. Blackwell was twelve years older than Burissa T. Holley, his spouse, and preceded her in death by nearly 2 ½ years.

            Burissa Holley Blackwell (1841-1899) was the last of Blackwell family interred here.  She passed on January 13, 1899 and was fifty-eight years old at her death.

            Minnie Blackwell Norton (1863-1865), Elam N. Blackwell (1859-1860), and Katie Lee Blackwell (1872-1872) were three of the children of E.R. Blackwell and Burissa T. Blackwell and all were interred in the Holley Cemetery.

            There is a strong possibility that another gravesite exists between the graves of E.R. Blackwell and that of his wife, Burissa Holley Blackwell.  The hump-like surface plus the unusual spacing separating the head of the Blackwell family and his wife, suggests this possibility, as all the other gravesites are closely aligned with one another.

            The unmarked gravesite slab and cement cap suggests that it was completed long after the others.  Virginia Anderson Barrett was not positive of the date, but she believed that someone was interred in the Holley Cemetery within the last two years.

Recent developments

 The present day Sunkist-Holley-Blackwell Cemetery is located in Lot 1 and a part of Lot 2 of the Beau Chene Estates Subdivision at 2330 Beau Chene Drive, Biloxi, Mississippi 39532.  The area of this historic, family cemetery has been reduced from its original size of one-acre to .05 acres with dimensions of 61 feet by 43 feet by 56 feet by 39 feet.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chancery Court 2nd JD Land Plat Bk. 15, p. 50)

The author began visiting the Holley Cemetery in 1992, when the Ashton C. Barrett family was in possession of the burial ground and surrounding acreage.  At this time, it was still ‘hidden’ by underbrush, small shrubs and trees.  With the passing of Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990) in November 1990, Virginia Anderson Barrett (1904-1997), Patricia B. Milam, and Ann B. Hancock, his widow and daughters and owners of the Ashton C. Barrett Residuary Trust began vending large residential lots in the immediate vicinity of the Holley Cemetery.  Specifically in November 1996, these ladies sold Jeffrey H. O’Keefe, John C. Griffith, Tom C. Harvey, and the Elderberry Corporation four lots ranging in size from 3.07 acres to 4.83 acres.(Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Land Deed Bk. 302, pp. 162-168)

Beau Chene Estates Subdivision

In July 1998 the Beau Chene Estates Subdivision, a 19-Lot Subdivision was platted by Dana R. Parsons of Stone Investment Company, Jeffrey O’Keefe, John C. Griffith, and Tom C. Harvey.  This upscale development on Big Lake has very modern and large, expensive homes.  As previously mentioned, the Holley Cemetery is situated in Lot 1 and a part of Lot 2 of this development.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chancery Court 2nd JD Land Plat Bk. 15, p. 50)

Un bon home et une bonne femme

Mr. and Mrs. John F. Popp were very receptive to tourists visiting their beautiful home and grounds.  They were extremely charitable to their neighbors and other less fortunate in the region.  Some examples of their generosity to the Coast community follow:  In July 1904, John F. Popp gave the Confederate veterans at Beauvoir at milk cow when they were without one.(The Daily Herald, July 13, 1904, p. 5)

Before her death in 1910, Mrs. J.F. Popp had donated funds to build an operating room in the Charity Hospital at Biloxi.  This donation was to memorialize Frances Grant, her mother.  The operating room opened for surgery in early August 1911.(The Daily Herald,  August 8, 1911, p. 8)

Mrs. J.F. Popp was an annual contributor to the “poor children’s tree”, a toy and gift fund established by The Daily Herald to provide indigent children with Christmas presents.  The charity would raise about $175 during its Yule fund drive and distribute Christmas joy to the poor on the city park near the L & N Depot.(The Daily Herald, December 23, 1919, p. 6)

Rural mail route

In April 1908, Biloxi postmaster, James C. Tyler (1872-1910+), announced that he and Edgar S. Balthrope (1873-1939) had mapped a rural mail route covering about thirty-one miles to provide postal service to those families living north of the Back Bay of Biloxi and in the Tchoutacabouffa region.  They had traveled the area by horse and buggy to acquire signatures of these denizens.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, April 21, 1908, p. 1)

This proposed rural mail route was described as follows:  The rural mail carrier starting from the Biloxi post office will go west and leave the city by the Pass Christian road.  He will travel along this road to near what is known as the Collin’s place and will then turn south to the beach.  He will drive west along the beach past Mr. Watson’s and to Beauvoir.  The Beauvoir mail is now handled from Gulfport, the Gulfport route coming up to that point, but by previous agreement made with the Gulfport postmaster and through Senator Money, this is to belong to Biloxi.  After delivering the Beauvoir mail the carrier will start north along Dahlgren Avenue to the Back Bay.  He will cross Back Bay at Popp’s Ferry and Mr. Popp has promised that the crossing there will be at his expense.  Shortly after crossing Popp’s the route turns to the northeast along a new road and strikes the Tchouticabouffa (sic)at Morris’ Ferry [now Cedar Lake] or what is now the Vinnie post office.  Here again the crossing will be made by promise of Mr. Morris without expense to the government.

From Morris’ Ferry the route proceeds west and then southwest along the new road to Moccasin Point.  From Moccasin Point the carrier will turn sharply back to the north to Reed’s Store.  This will bring him near Woolmarket.  Whether he shall go to Woolmarket or not has not been positively settled, but the chances are that he will, as the people of Woolmarket are anxious to have a rural delivery.  From Woolmarket the route proceeds east to Campbell’s Cross Roads, from the southeast to John Krohn’s and then again northeast to the Tchouticabouffa [sic]River, which is crossed at Lamey’s Ferry [now Lamey’s Bridge].  From there the route continues east past Johnson’s still and thence south to E.S. Balthrope’s on the [Big Ridge Road]ridge, then west along the [Big Ridge Road]  ridge road to the new road, down the new road to a point north of the Jack Farish place and then southeast to the village of Seymour [now D’Iberville] and across the Back Bay bridge into Biloxi.  The route is thirty-one miles in length.  The carrier will make the trip every day and be allowed eight hours in which to make it.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, April 21, 1908, p. 1)

Popp controversy

The proposed rural mail route to those areas north of Biloxi’s Back Bay was delayed when John F. Popp became entangled in an imbroglio with the Biloxi postal officials over his mail delivery.  In his verbal agreement to provide free ferriage to the rural mail carrier, he asked that his mail be delivered to the east gate of his property.  Government officials related to Postmaster Tyler that Biloxi carriers could only deliver Popp’s mail to a posting box placed where his private road joined the public road, and denied his wish to have it posted at his east gate.  This stalemate ended with the Postal Service yielding to John F. Popp and rural mail delivery began across the Back Bay of Biloxi in the summer of 1909.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, April 21, 1908, p. 1, March 10, 1909, p. 2, April 30, 1909, p. 4 and July 26, 1909, p. 2)

Mrs. Popp expires

Mary Frances Grant Popp became ill at her home on Big Lake and had to be moved for immediate medical treatment to the Biloxi Sanitarium of Dr. Hyman M. Folkes (1871-1926).  She died here on July 18, 1910.  In addition to John F. Popp she left two spinster sisters, Isabel Grant (1847-1944) and Rebecca Grant (1853-1928), and William Grant (1850-1910+), her brother.  Mrs. Popp’s corporal remains were taken to New Orleans for interment in the Metairie Cemetery.(The Daily Herald, July 19, 1910, p. 1)

Near the end of his occupation of his country estate, John F. Popp had transformed his rural property into what was described: “as located at a good elevation above the bay, the grounds and building the most beautiful in Southern Mississippi.”  Here he entertained and accepted visits from winter tourists who were motored by launch the twelve miles from Biloxi.  Mr. Popp presented the visiting ladies with bouquets of camellias or other blooming seasonal flowers upon their arrival. 

Au revoir

John F. Popp sold his Biloxi estate “with love and affection” to his sister’s-in-laws, Isabel Grant and Rebecca Grant, in November 1910.  They all returned to New Orleans and resided at 3405 St. Charles Avenue.  In November 1914 while in Covington, Louisiana Mr. Popp suffered a mild stroke which paralyzed his right side.  He recovered to wed his sister-in-law, Rebecca Grant (1853-1928), on February 23, 1915.(Harrison County, Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 95, p. 34. and The Daily Herald, November 28, 1914  and February 15, 1915, p. 1)

John F. Popp died in the Crescent City on September 13, 1918.  After his passing, Rebecca Grant Popp and Isabel Grant remained on St. Charles Avenue.  Rebecca Grant Popp expired at New Orleans on February 1928.  Isabel Grant (1847-1944) lived to the very old age of ninety-seven expiring in April 1944.(The Daily Herald, September 14, 1918, p. 1and  Orleans Parish, Louisiana 1920 and 1930 Federal Census T625_623, p. 4B, ED 215 and R809, p. 12A, ED 202)

The Grant sisters had sold the old Popp Place for $20,000 to George W. Haynes in October 1914.  The conveyance included all improvements and all moveable or immoveable property, furniture, and furnishings.(Harrison County, Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 109, p. 295)

Popp's Place

Popp’s Place-situated on a high bluff on the northeast shore of Big Lake,  a large body of water at the head of Biloxi’s Back Bay and the receptacle for the fresh waters of the Biloxi River, the Tchoutacabouffa River, and Bayou Bernard, was first inhabited by the Holley family.  John F. Popp (1835-1918) located here from New Orleans in the late 1870s and built a large retirement home.  The Popp family vended their estate to George W. Haynes (1885-1920+) from Tiptonville, Lake County, Tennessee.  During his occupation of the former J.F. Popp estate, Mr. Haynes called it ‘Sunkist Place’, an appellation that remained with the area until recent times when it became known simply as ‘Sunkist’, acquired from the golf course and country club.

Recreational area-fishing, swimming, and picnics

The early settlers of the Popp’s Ferry district soon discovered that the fishing along the margins of the marshes flanking Big Lake and the deep channel was exceptionally good.  Here the brackish waters of Biloxi’s Back Bay met the fresh water of the Tchouticabouffa River and Bayou Bernard and especially in the fall, large catches of redfish and speckled sea trout are common.  Perch, bream, shellcrackers, and green trout [small and large mouth bass], as well as sheephead, are always potentially at the end of a fisherman’s wet line in the fecund waters.  In the spring of 1915, the use of seines or any other net was prohibited by the statutes of Harrison County above Popp’s Ferry in the Biloxi River and Tchouticabouffa River and tributaries.  Cast nets were permitted in March, April, and May.(The Daily Herald, April 12, 1915, p. 1)    

Fishing at Popp's Ferry in the 1950s

      From the C.C. ‘Tex’ Hamill “Down South” Magazine Collection archived at MGCCC Perkinston, Mississippi.  Courtesy of Charles L. Sullivan, Professor Emeritus and Archivist at MGCCC Perkinston campus.

In the Biloxi newspaper of the early 20th Century, some of the fish catches and other outdoor activities reported at Popp’s Ferry were as follows:            

            Fishing solo in a skiff, Joseph Saujon (1871-1945) caught seventy-seven red fish at Popp’s Ferry.  Some of them weighed about ten pounds.  Peter Quave (1863-1936) also made large catches.  Mr. Saujon sold his catch to people from Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, May 13, 1904, p. 6)

            In late April 1912, Charles W. Wachenfeld (1868-1936), manager of the T.P. Dulion Mercantile Company of Biloxi, arranged for a picnic at the Popp Place.  Aboard Captain Fisher’s houseboat for this day outing were: Misses Jennie, Ellen, and Stella Gillen; Rose, Camille, and Elvira Lizana; Annie and Katie Hannon; Amelia Kennedy; Leona Wells; Isabel Brodie; Silvia, Gladys, and Jessie Wachenfeld; and the remainder of the store employees, management, and friends: Gus Wachenfeld, Jack Joachim; Henry Thensted (1895-1950); Louis Lizana; Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Kennedy; and Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Wachenfeld.(The Daily Herald, April 29, 1912, p. 8)

           A fishing party at Popp’s Ferry caught fifty specks, one red, several bass, and sheephead.  A nearby boat hauled in nine reds.(The Daily Herald, October 17, 1910, p. 8)

A five-foot alligator was hit by the motorcar of fishermen as they approached the Popp’s Ferry landing.  The reptile was in pursuit of several pigs when it was struck by the vehicle and escaped into the marsh.(The Daily Herald, July 26, 1912, p. 3)

            Ed Taylor and A.G. Ospinach caught one hundred sixty-six fish in two days at Popp’s Ferry.  They were primarily green trout and sheephead.(The Daily Herald, October 30, 1914, p. 6)

            Tarpon are not only found in the Biloxi Channel where schools chasing mullet often leap from the water near the Biloxi Yacht Club, but are also seen in the waters of the Back Bay, Tchoutacabouffa River, Biloxi River, and in the vicinity of Popp’s Ferry.  Captain Alfred Bosarge is known as the champion tarpon fisherman of the Gulf Coast.(The Daily Herald, September 3, 1915, p. 1)        

            An observer in early November 1916 reported thirty-four automobiles, as well as many wagons, and buggies that had transported eager anglers to the Popp’s Ferry landing.(The Daily Herald, November 6, 1916, p. 4)

            Shrimp are plentiful and good speckled trout and red fish catches are being made at Popp’s Ferry and bayou Bernard.(The Daily Herald,  August 27, 1918, p. 4)

            The Woodmen of the World planned a picnic on Labor Day for their eight to eighteen year old, male auxiliary members.(The Daily Herald,  August 26, 1916, p. 4)

          Many families of Biloxi prefer to swim in the brackish water at Popp’s Ferry rather than the Gulf.  The water there is also of sufficient depth for diving.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, August 20, 1918, p. 3)

Popp’s Ferry fish camps

Joseph C. ‘J.C.” DeLamarre (1855-1931), a former Biloxi City Marshal and ferry tender, was probably the first to open a simple fish camp operation at Popp’s Ferry.  He was here between 1919 and 1921.  J.C. DeLamarre had been in the bar and restaurant business at Biloxi.  He opened the White Elephant on the corner of Pass Christian Street [now Howard Avenue] and Main Street in April 1891.  J.C. DeLamarre also had a local baseball squad called the ‘White Elephants’.  His brother, Emile DeLamarre (1871-circa 1893), called ‘Melo’, also had a team, the ‘Sporting Dudes’.  Melo challenged the White Elephants to a ‘friendly’ game of baseball in June 1892.  Melo was captain and catcher of his Biloxi nine.(The Biloxi Herald, April 4, 1891, p. 4 and June 25, 1892, p. 4)

J.C. DeLamarre married Rosa M. Trahant (1867-1896) at New Orleans in June 1887.  She expired at their home on Magnolia Street in Biloxi on February 29, 1896.  Mr. DeLamarre was City Marshal at the time of her demise.(The Biloxi Herald, February 29, 1896, p. 1)

After the death of his spouse, J.C. DeLamarre wedded Annie Brewer Coleman (1887-1930) from Tylertown, Mississippi.  She had a son, Robert H. Coleman who resided in Gulfport.  After his fish camp closed, J.C. DeLamarre was employed at the Great Southern Golf Club in Gulfport from 1921 to 1928, and was superintendent of the Naval Reserve Park at Biloxi until his retirement.  Annie Brewer Coleman DeLamarre died at Gulfport in late May 1930.  J.C. DeLamarre expired on May 4, 1931 and his corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi Cemetery.( The Daily Herald, May 31, 1930, p. 6 and May 5, 1931, p. 8)

Big Lake Fishing Camp

In 1928, W. Latimer was operating a fishing camp on Big Lake.  It was described as, "under the beautiful moss covered tress with cool breezes......Big Lake was one of the coolest and best fishing ground on the Coast".  The Fourth of July was a popular time for visitors to come from as far as Hattiesburg, Laurel, and Memphis to fish and picnic on the shore of Big Lake/(The daily Herald, July 6, 1928, p. 8)

By 1939, there were two fish camps at Popp’s Ferry.  The Popp’s Ferry Fish Camp was operating on the south side of Back Bay and east side of present day Popp’s Ferry Road, which was gravel-surfaced at this time.  Across the Popp’s Ferry Bridge, on the north side of Back Bay was the Hill Top Fishing Camp.(Mississippi Gulf Coast, 1939, p. 124)

Wicks’s Fishing Camp

In December 1938, Eric E. Wickstrom (1898-1988) acquired an option and lease purchase agreement from Edward L. Brady (1867-1939), spouse of Erena Lopez (1883-1940), on a fifteen-acre tract southeast of ‘Sunkist Place’ formerly Popp’s Place.  The consideration was $100 and $1400 to purchase.  Mrs. Brady was the sister of Julius M. Lopez (1886-1958), who had acquired ‘Sunkist Place’ in October 1925 for $80,000 from Marjorie Raggio and Mrs. B.J. Walker of New Orleans.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 153, p. 509)

Edward L. Brady was a native of Ohio and became a jeweler and retail merchant.  Before arriving at Biloxi after 1900, he had worked in the jewelry industry at Memphis and Newbern, Tennessee.  In March 1908, he opened a retail jewelry store at 415 Howard Avenue.  W.C. Duncan of Natchez, Mississippi was his associate.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, March 11, 1908, p. 1 and 1900 Federal Census Dyer, Co., Tennessee, T)

In June 1945, the Wickstroms acquired this tract from Jessie L. Lewis and Julia L. Lewis.  Here on the banks of Big Lake near the ‘Little Popp’s Ferry Bridge’, formerly called the Burnt Bridge, Mr. Wickstrom founded Wick’s Fishing Camp.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 290, p. 186)

Eric E. Wickstrom was a native of California, probably Los Angeles County.  His parents were late 19th Century immigrants from Sweden.  E.E. Wickstrom married Juliette D’Aquin (1899-1985), a native of New Orleans.  They had a son, John Gordon Wickstrom (1925-1986) who married Flora Marina G. Wickstrom.  In their retirement, the Wickstrom relocated to Laredo, Texas to live near their son and grandchildren.  They expired in Texas.

Wick's Fish Camp

Wick’s Fishing Camp-was situated on Big lake.  It was contiguous with and southeast of ‘Sunkist Place’, the former J.F. Popp’s place.  The Wickstrom family operated here until the late summer of 1963 when Barney J. ‘Buddy’ Byrd (1930-2008) leased the property.  He and Lionel Byrd Sr. (1909-1996), his father, ran the fish camp, a bar room, and trailer park.  Buddy acquired the Wickstrom property in 1971 and vended it to Robert King Barq in November 2000.[L-R: Fred Miles (1914-1989) and Barney J. ‘Buddy’ Byrd (1930-2008)]

 Credit: “Down South”, Jan.-Feb. 1964, p. 10.  From the C.C. ‘Tex’ Hamill “Down South” Magazine Collection archived at MGCCC Perkinston, Mississippi.  Courtesy of Charles L. Sullivan, Professor Emeritus and Archivist at MGCCC Perkinston campus.

Barney J. Byrd

In October 1963, Barney J. ‘Buddy’ Byrd (1930-2008), William J. Meyers, Bud’s Mobile Homes Inc., and Lionel Byrd Sr. (1909-1996), Buddy’s father, took a thirty year lease on the Wickstrom property, which included Wick’s Fishing Camp.  This lease was surrendered by the lessees in August 1968 and a new lease was taken immediately by Buddy Byrd for twenty-five years with an option to purchase the Wickstrom property at 751 Barrett Road.  The rent was $6000 per year.  Mr. Byrd and Nora Webster Byrd, his wife, acquired the Wickstrom tract in December 1971.  Mr. and Mrs. Wickstrom retained a life estate in the tract.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 523, p. 220A, Bk. 523, p. 224, Bk. 615, p. 400, Bk. 615, p. 404, Bk. 615, pp 407-412 and Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Land Deed Bk. 23, p. 543)

Here on the banks of Big Lake, Lionel Byrd Sr. and Buddy Byrd ran the fishing camp, a bar room, and trailer park.  Buddy was an entrepreneur involved in many commercial ventures on the Coast and including the B.J. Helicopter Service at Los Angeles.  He expired on June 19, 2008 at Gulfport.(Down South, Jan.-Feb. 1964, p. 10 and The Sun Herald, June 21, 2008, p. A4)

Buddy Byrd and spouse sold his commercial land at Popp’s Ferry to Robert King ‘Bones” Barq and Margaret E. Nofsinger Barq in November 2000.(Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Land Deed Bk. 362, p. 582)

 The Fishing Arena

This creative ‘fish hole’ was opened in the spring of 1961 at Popp’s Ferry.  It was a large, air-cooled, indoor venue from which patrons for $2 a day could sit and fish within seconds of a bait shop, snack bar, and dining room.  The roof of the structure had a large deck and quaint lounge. Hayto Enterprises planned to erect four more of  these novel ‘fish holes’ at sites in Alabama, Florida, and Texas.  Courtesy of Charles L. Sullivan, Professor Emeritus at MGCCC Perkinston campus, and archivist and conservator for the C.C. ‘Tex’ Hamill “Down South” Magazine Collection at MGCCC in Perkinston, Mississippi.

The Fishing Arena

The Fishing Arena was commenced in the spring of 1961 by Leroy Hay (1917-1977) and George Totton (1915-1976), who were residents of Phoenix, Arizona.  They formed a Mississippi corporation called Hayto Enterprises to operate an indoor, air conditioned, fishing venue in a 5250 square-foot building costing $100,000.  The Fishing Arena was moored on Big Lake just north of the Popp’s Ferry Bridge on the west side of the causeway.  Inside the structure were three fishing wells of 480 square-feet each surrounded by comfortable chairs from which for $2 patrons could fish all day and night in an insect free, cooled environment with access to a bait shop, snack bar, and dining room.  For those who enjoyed fresh air and a beautiful sunset, there was the Roof Garden on the top of the building with the Hideaway Bar, a cozy venue serving spirituous beverages.  For Hayto Enterprises, this was the first of five planned fishing arenas.  There other sites were selected for: NOLA, Mobile, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Port Arthur, Texas.(Down South, May-June 1961, p. 11)           

 ‘Sunkist Place’ and George W. Haynes

In October 1914, Rebecca Grant Popp (1853-1928) and Isabel Grant (1847-1944)   sold the old Popp Place for $20,000 to George W. Haynes.  The conveyance included all improvements and all moveable or immoveable property, furniture, and furnishings.  George William Haynes (1885-1920+) came to the Coast from Tiptonville, Lake County, Tennessee.  During his occupation of the J.F. Popp estate, he called it ‘Sunkist Place’, an appellation that has remained with the area.  In time, the region has became known simply as ‘Sunkist’, acquired from the golf course and country club, which was probably named by Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990), the last owner of ‘Sunkist Place’ and a founder of the Sunkist Country Club with W.E. ‘Bill’ Beasley (1888-1963).(Harrison County, Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 109, p. 295 and The Daily Herald,                                        )

George W. Haynes had married Lillian A. Harris (1882-1930+), a widow or divorcee, and the mother of James C. Harris (1902-1930+) and Bessie Lee Harris (1904-1930+).  George W. Haynes was staying at the Montross Hotel at Biloxi in September 1914, making arrangements to sell the timber from the Popp tract.  He had plans to significantly improve ‘Sunkist Place’ by clearing one hundred-sixty acres of timber land to increase the amount of cultivated ground for fruit trees and raising livestock.  Mr. Haynes and his family were to relocate from Tiptonville in October.  G.W. Haynes was particularly interested in growing pecans and oranges and raising poultry at ‘Sunkist Place’.  He also owned several farms in Tennessee.(The Daily Herald, July 17, 1914, p. 5, July 18, 1914, p. 1, July 22, 1914, p. 5, and September 16, 1914, p. 2)

By January 1916, George W. Haynes had acquired a young herd of cattle and fenced between two and three hundred acres of pasturage.  He offered to lease lands of his neighbors for additional grazing, if they would fence it.  Mr. Haynes also had fine hogs and was one of the largest strawberry farmers in the area.  His future plans were to build a dipping vat and brand his cattle.(The Daily Herald, January 7, 1916, p. 5)

Movie Studio and hotels

Carl Leech (1870-1920+) of Lawrence, Kansas while a guest at ‘Sunkist Place’ began to promote the idea of establishing the Dixie Film Manufacturing Company, a plant and studio for the production of motion picture film on the Haynes’ place.  He was impressed with buildings and grounds as the future site for this fledgling industry.  Mr. Leech contacted the Pathe Company of New York with his ideas and aspirations.  From Federal census data, it appears that Carl Leech was a professional theater actor.  He was domiciled in Birmingham, Alabama in 1920.(The Daily Herald, March 18, 1915, p. 1)

By April 1915, Carl E. Leech’s dream of a movie studio on the Haynes’ property was still viable as L.A. Boening, president of United States Cinematography in Chicago, and D.W. McKinney, Chicago producer, were expected to arrive in Biloxi in the near future to make a movie.  The Dixie Film Company was to be capitalized at $100,000 and shares in the company were being sold in Gulfport, Biloxi, and other Gulf Coast municipalities.  In addition, a 10,000 square-foot studio was to be erected on ‘Sunkist Place’ by Chris Champion at of Biloxi and Miss Moyne M. Morrison (1888-1910+) of New York and Paul English of Chicago, both actors, were contacted to act in the movie to be directed by Carl E. Leech.  Miss Morrison, a native of Lawrence, Kansas, had married Carl E. Leech in 1909.  (The Gulfport Advocate, April 10, 1915, p. 2)

 As of early May 1915, interest in a film studio at Sunkist Place had progressed as the Haynes family had been contacted by A.M. Anderson, the agent for a woman who desired to acquire 4 1/2 acres from the Haynes.  She aspired to have a forty-room hotel built near the studio which was under construction. (The Gulfport Advocate, May 8, 1915, p. 8)

Shelling road for naught?

In early 1914, H.E. Latimer, Biloxi road contractor, was awarded to shell the road from Pass Christian Road to Popp’s Ferry.  This route is well-used and important to the local commerce and traffic.(The Daily Herald, January 5, 1914, p. 2)

1915 Hurricane

Strong gusts from the 1915 Hurricane on September 29, 1915 broke the moorings of the ferry at Popp’s Landing and delivered it in a damaged state, into Fritz Creek, three miles to the northwest.  George W. Haynes, ferry proprietor, had his ferry operating across Back Bay in late December 1915.  The local sentiment was that the County was going to erect a bridge to replace the ferry in the near future.(The Daily Herald, December 11, 1915, p. 2)

County ferry short-lived

The Harrison County Board of Supervisors acquired all ferry rights to Popp’s Ferry from George W. Haynes in February 1916.  In this transaction, the County was conveyed: “the landing on[the]south side [Bay of Biloxi] and including all flats, ropes, and appurtenances belonging to said ferry and all ferry rights.”  At this time, Popp’s Ferry was declared a free public ferry.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 12, p. 207)

In April 1916, Joseph Rusk (1865-1947) was appointed “keeper of Popp’s Ferry”.  His job was described as: “to give his personal attention both day and night to the operation of such ferry and to exercise all reasonable care and diligence in crossing persons and vehicles in safety and not necessarily delay any person the use of such ferry and he is in all respect to perform duties of such ferryman and keep said ferry flat and landing and appurtenances in good order and condition at all times.”  Joseph Rusk was paid $25 per month for these services.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 12, p. 263)

Joseph Rusk resigned his position as ferry keeper and was replaced in October 1916 by Joseph C. DeLamarre (1855-1931).  Dutch Caldwell was made keeper of the Tchoutacabouffa Bridge at this time.(The Daily Herald, October 20, 1916, p. 1)           

Blind tiger

In the interim, between Joseph Rusk’s resignation and the hiring of Joseph C. DeLamarre, a character by the name of John Lind moved into the ferry keeper’s house.  Mr. Lind began operating a ‘blind tiger’, or ‘speak easy’, from the ferry landing.  He was reported to Marshal A.W. Loposer at Handsboro.  When law enforcement officers searched Lind’s residence they discovered twenty-five decks of playing cards and a pool table.  His cache of illegal alcohol was discovered on the periphery of a nearby swamp.  It consisted of two casks of beer; twenty-four, half pints of I.W. Harper whiskey; six quart bottles of Cascade; and two dozens pints of beer, which had been iced down in buckets.  John Lind was brought to Biloxi and later released when he posted a $500 bond.  The liquor was taken to Handsboro by lawmen.(The Daily Herald, July 22, 1916, p. 1)

Contraband alcohol continued to be smuggled and sold in Harrison County and the Popp’s Ferry area appears to be a preferred destination for these illicit activities.  In March 1917, Chief of Police R.M. Randolph and Officer Peter Bellande (1871-1933) seized a wagon loaded with eight casks of Cook’s Beer and a gallon of wine and arrested Frances Barthes (1888-1942).  It was presumed by local law enforcement officials that a schooner had transported the liquor to Biloxi from New Orleans and that it was being transported to Popp’s Ferry for retail sale.  Judge F.W. Elmer Jr. fined Mr. Barthes $100 and court cost.(The Daily Herald, March 13, 1917, p. 3)

1922 “Booze Raid”

In January 1922, what was described as “the biggest raid since the one under the direction of the late Sheriff James C. Elmer, when County officials swooped down upon violators of the law, who were said to be operating saloons after the Prohibition law went into effect”, Federal, Harrison County, and Biloxi police officials confiscated twenty cases of illegal alcohol valued at $1700 along the road the road leading to the main thoroughfare of Popp’s Ferry.  This ‘booze’ cache was only a portion of the 110 cases that had been stolen from a vessel anchored near Dog Keys by a band of Biloxi ‘pirates’.(The Daily Herald, January 16, 1922, p. 1)

This crime was reported by Captain Clarence Webster of the oyster schooner, Annie Mackie, employed by the Desporte Packers.  Captain Webster had met the liquor-laden, vessel, allegedly sailing from Cuba for Mexico, in the Louisiana marshes where he was oystering.  The liquor boat was lost and in dire need of provisions.  Captain Webster directed them to Biloxi where they were to replenish their watercraft.  While anchored near Dog Keys, the Cuban vessel was boarded by a band of armed men from Biloxi who were in command of a motor boat.  The ‘pirates’ had the crew load their speed boat and fled the scene for their lair on the upper reaches of Back Bay at the Jackson Club near Popp’s Ferry.  Law enforcement officials tracked the ‘pirates’ to Popp’s Ferry region where they confiscated about thirty-six cases of contraband liquor.  Six of the alleged ‘pirates’ were arrested and jailed.  They were later tried in the legal system for fully and unlawfully conspiring to commit the crime of being in the unlawful possession intoxicating liquors, whiskey and Champagne, by conspiring together to bring whiskey into the State of Mississippi, and have unlawful possession of the same within the State.(The Daily Herald, January 16, 1922, p. 1)

1919-last ferry

During its February 1919 term, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors abandoned that part of Popp’s Ferry Road from Pass Christian Road north to the ferry landing on Back Bay.  Supervisor J.C. Batton (1869-1943) was ordered to sell at the best price, the ferry keeper’s quarters and other appurtenances and materials used in the daily operation of Popp’s Ferry.  He was to report the results of his success back to the Board.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 15, p. 17)

Joseph C. DeLamarre, ferry tender, remained at the ferry landing and opened a fishing camp.  In September 1919, he married Annie Coleman of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.  J.C. DeLamarre stayed at Popp’s Ferry until 1921, when the County lost a law suit to W.H. Rich (1885-1971) and W.B. Swain of Gulfport and he and the County ordered to vacate the land by Chancery Court Chancellor Griffith.  The denizens of the Popp’s Ferry and North Biloxi region had hoped that the judiciary would allow the ferry landing to have remained under the aegis of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors.  It was believed that if the Back Bay Bridge from North Biloxi, now D’Iberville, to BiloxI were closed by a fire or hurricane that a ferry could be placed into service at Popp’s Ferry in short order.(The Daily Herald, September 19, 1919, p. 2. February 18, 1921, p. 1, and March 2, 1921, p. 6)

Haynes sale-Sarah E. Cannon

In July 1916, George W. Haynes sold ‘Sunkist Place’ to Sarah E. Cannon (1861-1920+), also known as Elizabeth, the spouse of Henry A. Cannon (1840-1918) of Memphis, Tennessee.  Sarah E. Cannon, nee Rembert, was a native of Arkansas.  She married Foster D. Talley (1832-pre-1910), a Memphis based salesman and bore him five children.

After the demise of Mr. Talley, Sarah Rembert Talley married Harry A. Cannon, a widower, who farmed in Shelby County, Tennessee.  Mr. Cannon’s wife had died before 1900 and left him with nine children.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 116, p. 116, 1900 Shelby Co., Tennessee Federal Census T623-1598, p. 13B, ED 93 and T623_1599, p. 9A, ED 104, and 1910 S Shelby Co., Tennessee Federal Census T624_1521, p. 7A, ED 224)

In the fall of 1917, Mr. and Mrs. Harrison M. Spain and Foster D. Talley Jr. (1891-1917+), Mrs. Cannon’s son, spent some vacation time at ‘Sunkist Place’.  They enjoyed the fine fishing at Popp’s Ferry and returned to their Memphis homes in late October.  At this time, Mr. and Mrs. Cannon also left for their domicile near Memphis and to conduct business.(The Daily Herald, October 22, 1917, p. 3)

Harrison M. Spain (1882-1978) owned H.M. Spain & Company, a timber value estimating business, at Memphis.  In 1918, he employed T. Watkins Cannon (1892-1979), a son of Harry A. Cannon, as a timber cruiser.  Harry A. Cannon expired intestate at Memphis in May 1918.  Mrs. Cannon moved to Clayton, Union County, New Mexico to live with Sarah T. Taylor (1895-1920+), her daughter, who had married Livingston Taylor (1885-1920+), a Tennessee lawyer.  She conveyed ‘Sunkist Place’ to Permelia G. Newborn in March1920.  The Heirs of Harry A. Cannon quitclaimed their interest at Popp’s Ferry to her in December 1919.  They were as follows: Henry H. Cannon (1878-1920+); Charles Devereux Cannon (1883-1920+); Susie Cannon Fargason; T. Watkins Cannon (1892-1979); W. Dunlap Cannon (1895-1920+); and Virginia C. Doan (1898-1920+).(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 128, p. 30 and Bk. 128, p. 28)           

Permelia G. Newborn

In 1930, Permelia G. Newton (1878-1930+), a Tennessee native, was a resident of Memphis and domiciled on Overton Street.  She was the wife of Joseph L. Newborn (1872-1930+), a farmer.  No further information.(1930 Shelby Co., Tennessee Federal Census R2275, p. 29A, ED 75)

Mrs. Newton vended ‘Sunkist Place’ in April 1920 to William Pritchard for $22,500.  The sale included all furniture, implements, and personal property excepting two family pictures and three paintings.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 128, p. 31)

William Pritchard

William Pritchard (1876-1923) resided at Memphis, Tennessee where he was a lumber company executive.  He was a native of the Volunteer State and of English and Welsh heritage.(1920 Shelby Co., Tennessee Federal Census T625_1764, p. 5B, ED173)

With his demise imminent, William Pritchard in December 1922 arranged a life estate in his Big Lake property at Popp’s Ferry and conveyed such to J.M. Coleman, trustee, who was to convey ‘Sunkist Place’ after his death to Mrs. Burton John Walker, the daughter of William Pritchard.  Mr. Walker expired at Memphis on April 23, 1923 and Mrs. Walker acquired title to his Harrison County tract in June 1923.  She then sold a one-half interest in Sunkist Place’ to Marjorie Raggio (1883-1930+), the spouse of John A. Raggio (1878-1930+).(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 138, p. 31, Bk. 138, p. 277, and Bk. 138, p. 278) 

Cogan’s petition

In August 1924, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors heard the petition of Gordon W. Cogan (1879-1930+) to re-open the public road running north from the Pass Christian Road across Back Bay at what is known as Popp’s Ferry to where it intersects  the public road leading from Biloxi to Woolmarket.  A committee was appointed to examine and view the proposal and report to the Board at its next convening.  Mr. Cogan farmed in the area and was the proprietor of the Hill Top Fishing Camp on Bug Lake.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 18, p. 368, 1930 Harrison Co., Mississippi Federal Census R1146, 15B, ED 7)


Mrs. Burton John Walker and Marjorie Raggio were both residents of New Orleans.  Marjorie Raggio (1883-1941+) was a native of Missouri.  Circa 1920, she married John A. Raggio (1878-1941+), a native of Memphis and of Italian immigrant parents.  Marjorie had been married previously and had two sons, Burton Elder Raggio (1911-1933) and William Raggio (1913-1930+), who were adopted by John A. Raggio.  Together they had two daughters, Margaret Raggio (1920-1930+) and Elizabeth Raggio (1922-1930+).  Elizabeth was born in Mississippi, possibly at ‘Sunkist Place’.

Marjorie Raggio and Mrs. Burton John Walker sold ‘Sunkist Place’ to Julius M. Lopez in October 1925 for $80,000.  Mr. Lopez paid $1999 at closing and took a deed of trust obligating him to four notes of $20,000.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 153, p. 509 and Trust Deed Bk. 66, p. 103)



Julius M. Lopez and Belle Markey Lopez

[L-R: unknown, J.M. Lopez; Belle M. Lopez; unknown; and unknown]

Julius M. Lopez

Julius M. Lopez (1886-1958) was the son of Lazaro ‘Laz’ Lopez (1850-1903), a native of Spain, and Julia Dulion (1857-1918).  He was reared at Biloxi and attended St. Stanislaus College at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.  In December1907, Julius married Belle Markey (1887-1946), a native of New Orleans, in the Nativity B.V.M. Catholic Church at Biloxi.  Miss Markey was the daughter of Benjamin F. Markey (1866-1910+) and Grace Selma Neams (1868-1900).  Mr. Markey was an embalmer and managed the Coast Livery and Undertaking Company at Biloxi.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, December 12, 1907, p. 2 and Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census T623 571, P. 1A, 3rd Ward)

Julius and Belle M. Lopez were the parents of two children: Julius M. Lopez II (1908-1990) and Kathryn Lopez (1911-1984) m. Charles Dennery Wambsgans (1911-1990). 

Seafood magnate

At Biloxi, J.M. Lopez was active in the seafood industry and was an avid sailor and yachtsman.  Laz Lopez Sr., his father, was an entrepreneur and a pioneer seafood canner at Biloxi.  The first Biloxi seafood operation was located at the head of Reynoir Street on Back Bay.  In March 1883, it became the Biloxi Canning Company, but was originally called The Lopez, Elmer and Company.  The Lopez, Elmer and Company was organized in 1881, with a capital stock of $8,000 by Lazaro Lopez (1850-1903), F. William Elmer (1847-1926), W.K.M. Dukate (1853-1916), William Gorenflo (1844-1932), and James Maycock (1826-1892).

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported on December 30, 1881, that the company was placing its canning machines in the factory.  The proprietors had over one hundred, local, white men, and boys on the payroll.  They were employed as follows: forty-four openers, forty-five men manning fifteen boats, twenty or more canners and wharf men.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 30, 1881, p. 3)

Julius and Lazaro Joseph Lopez (1877-1918), his brother, pursued their livelihoods in the canning industry with Lopez, Dunbar’s Son & Company; Lopez & Dukate; Dunbars, and Lopez & Dukate; et al.   

Yachtsman and boat racer

Circa 1907, Julius M. Lopez contracted with the Pope Boat Company of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin to build a motor yacht.  The vessel called Colin was launched in June1908 and reached Biloxi in July 1908.  Mr. Lopez brought his new craft down the Mississippi River accompanied by Edward Brady (1867-1939) and Erena Lopez Brady (1883-1940), his brother-in-law and sister, and Walter Hunt (1887-1961).  Colin was almost forty feet in length with a 7 ½ foot beam, and drew a little over two feet of water.  It could travel 25 mph driven by its 50 HP Davis engine.  Colin made her local debut at the 9th Annual Biloxi Regatta held on July 22, 1908.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, July 6, 1908, p. 1 anf July 23, 1908, p. 1)

J.M. Lopez was a life member of the BYC and served as commodore in 1914-1915 and rear commodore in 1919-1920.  He was an avid supporter of motor boat racing on the Mexican Gulf.  (The Daily Herald, December 27, 1919, p. 2 and June 27, 1921, p. 3)


Belle L at Pass Christian, July 12, 1913     
The Belle L-was owned by Julius M. Lopez (1886-1958) of Biloxi.  Mr. Lopez, a Biloxi entrepreneur and owner of 'Sunkist Place' fromOctober 1925 until June 1931, was also a racing boat aficionado. Jack Covacevich of Point Cadet built the Belle L, a 30-foot racer, in 1911.  She competed in many of the GCYA Regattas along the Mexican Gulf and waslauded as follows: "There is nothing in the Gulf that can near equal it [ Belle L] in speed."   Leo E. Ohr (1890-1970), the son of George E. Ohr (1857-1918), the 'Mad Potter of Biloxi', and amechanical genius, was the engineer and sometimes pilot of the Belle L. The Belle L is picture here in mid-July 1913 at the Pass Christian Regatta.  She had no competition that day, but Mr. Lopez was presented a finesilver cup for exhibiting Belle L at the regatta.

Motorboat racing

At Biloxi in July 1909, Julius M. Lopez introduced the Waterspout, the first of his racing speed boats, to vie in Gulf Coast competition.  This swift, thirty-foot craft was built by Jack Covacevich and was powered by a 65 HP gasoline engine.  Its first race was against Blue Wing, the twenty-five foot and 29 HP, speed boat of Ernest L. Jahncke (1877-1933+) of New Orleans.  Waterspout was much quicker than Blue Wing, but did not finish the contest as her pump outlet failed and she began taking on water.(The Daily Herald, July 23, 1909, p. 1)

By the July 1911 Biloxi Regatta, J.M. Lopez had changed the name of the Waterspout theVirginShe was pitted against the Jub Jub andKitesy, both Lousiana based boats.  Kitesy was declared winner by default as her competitors dropped out due to mechanical issues.(The Daily Herald, July 10, 1911, p. 1)

Also in July 1911, Julius M. Lopez introduced a new watercraft to the GCYA motor boat racing circuit when he launched a thirty-foot, motor boat powered with a 40 HP engine.  This hydroplane style speedster was built by Jack Covacevich and christened Belle L, honoring Belle Markey Lopez, the spouse of J.M. Lopez.  The Belle L would soon become known as one of the fastest racers in the entire southeast.(The Daily Herald, July 14, 1911, p. 1)

At the July 1912, Biloxi Regatta, Belle L was opposed by the Humpty-Dumpty, a mahogany, one-step hydroplane owned by Ernest Lee Jahncke of the Crescent City.  Jack Covacevich and Leo E. Ohr aboard the Belle L won the contest by two minutes over the ten mile race course.  Captain Jahncke planned to have a large engine installed in his hydroplane to be more competitive against the Belle L.(The Daily Herald, July 20, 1912, p. 1)

Leo E. Ohr

Julius M. Lopez often had Leo E. Ohr as the engineer or pilot of the Belle L.  Leo Edgar Ohr (1890-1970) was one of the four surviving children of George Edward Ohr Jr. (1857-1918), the ‘Mad Potter of Biloxi’ and Josephine Gehring (1868-1930), a native of Gretna, Louisiana.  On January 22, 1926, Leo married Mamie Catchot (1890-1961), a native of Ocean Springs, and the daughter of Antonio “Toy” Catchot (1868-1952) and Adelia Mon (1876-1948). (Lepre, 1991, p. 243 and HARCO, Ms. MRB 37, p. 522)

As early as 1913, Leo E. Ohr was in the automotive garage and machine business.  With Otto T. Ohr (1895-1982), his brother, he commenced The Ohr Boy’s Garage at 411 Delauney Street, now G.E. Ohr Boulevard, just north of their familial domicile and on the site of his father’s famous Pot-Ohr-E.(Biloxi City Directory, 1913-1914, p. 180) 

In April 1915, Leo E. Ohr obtained the Harley-Davidson franchise on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  He rode the streets of Biloxi on his new twin cylinder Harley-Davidson as a demonstrator for interested customers.(The Daily Herald, April 26, 1915, p. 2)

By 1922, Leo had changed the name of his business to the Ohr Garage and by 1927, added “and Machine Works” to this title.  As late as 1949, he remained the proprietor of the Ohr Machine Shop.  In 1958, Leo E. Ohr was renting rooms at 208 Lameuse Street.(Biloxi City Directory, 1922-1923, p. 162, ibid. 1927, p. 158, ibid, 1949, p. 480, ibid. 1958, p. 64)

Some notices of Leo E. Ohr (1890-1970) and his association with J.M. Lopez (1887-1958) follow:

The Belle L is having her engines tested by Leo E. Ohr at his machine shop.  Mr. Lopez is preparing his swift craft for the summer racing season.(The Daily Herald, May 12, 1913, p. 8)

At the Biloxi Regatta in early July 1917, Leo E. Ohr and Fred Moran ran the Belle L for Mr. Lopez against Casey Jones of Gulfport.  They were victorious over the 18 mile race course and won the $50 prize.(The Daily Herald, July 6, 1917, p. 1)

In July 1919, Leo E. Ohr and Charles Webber piloted the Belle L to a win over Lady Fish in a 15 mile test in the waters off of Biloxi.  Julius M. Lopez announced after the victory that he planned to sell the Belle L.(The Daily Herald, July 11, 1919, p. 1)

Lopez lands

Julius M. Lopez began acquiring acreage in the Popp’s Ferry section of west Biloxi in April 1909, when he bought the old Elam R. Blackwell (1829-1896) homestead consisting approximately136 acres in Section 15/16, T7S-R10W.  It was vended to him for $2000 by Morris G. Blackwell.  Prior to 1851 and before the Blackwell occupation, which commenced here in1859, this tract had been the site of a large steam saw mill situated near the confluence of the Tchoutacabouffa and Biloxi Rivers.  This sawmill was identified as the “Chattagobouef” on the US Coast Survey Map of 1851 (1:10000) and in conveyance deeds the phrase “Old Mill Chimney” is used as a reference point to describe the boundaries of this large parcel of land.  It was one of more than twelve steam sawmills operating in the Biloxi Bay region at this time.  For many years, this property was referred to locally as ‘Mill Point’ and later ‘Lopez Point’.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 90, p. 278 and The New Orleans Daily Crescent, June 19, 1849, p. 2)  

The Lopez Point parcel on the Tchoutacabouffa River was an outstanding location for a sawmill since it was near the terminus of these two large rivers and their tributaries as they discharged into the upper reaches of the Back Bay of Biloxi.  The Biloxi River was joined by Fritz Creek, Mill Creek, and the Little Biloxi River while the Tchoutacabouffa River supplied the fresh waters of Parker Creek, Howard Creek, Cypress Creek, Bayou Costapia, and Tuxachanie Creek to its drainage area.  The integrated watershed of these two rivers was approximately 640 square miles and consisted of almost 400,000 acres of longleaf pine, cypress and assorted hardwoods.  Trading schooners easily reached the “Chattagobouef” sawmill from the open Mexican Gulf waters.(Bellande, February 1994, p. 31)  

Tchoutacabouffa retreat

Here on the east bank of the Tchoutacabouffa River, Julius M. Lopez built a bungalow and established a holiday resort in the vicinity of the former sawmill and Blackwell homestead.  The Lopez family entertained throughout the year with their guests enjoying the excellent fishing and hunting found in the waters and woods of the immediate area.  It was not unusual for the Lopez family to have out-of-state visitors here, especially from Louisiana and Illinois.(The Daily Herald, January 30, 1914, p. 2)

Some of the Lopez Point property remained in the family and in March 1986, Anne Davis Lopez, Charles D. Wambsgan (1911-1990), the spouse of Kathryn Lopez (1911-1984), et al platted the Lopez Point Subdivision northwest of the Sunkist Country Club.  In 1994, the author investigated Lot 6 and Lot 7 of this land subdivision along South Shore Drive and found old bricks and rusted iron both indicators of the remains of the Old Mill Chimney and sawmill machinery from the “Chattagobouef” mill of the early-mid 19th Century.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chancery Court Land Plat Bk. 11, p. 14)

Sunkist Place burns

‘Sunkist Place’, the old John F. Popp estate on Big Lake was destroyed by fire in late May 1931 when in the possession of Julius M. Lopez.  It was once a show place of the Coast with its manicured grounds and regal setting on the high bluff overlooking the mouth of the Tchoutacabouffa River.  The loss was estimated at several thousand dollars.(The Daily Herald, June 1, 1931)

Shortly after the destructive conflagration, Julius M. Lopez, obviously a casualty of the Great Depression lost “Sunkist Place’ to creditors in June 1931.  W.T. Moore, trustee, conveyed the property back to Marjorie Raggio and Mrs. Burton Walker, both residents of New Orleans.  They paid $5000 for the land.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. Bk. 190, p. 354)

First Popp’s Ferry Bridge-1928

In the summer of 1927, sealed bids were received by the Harrison County Board of Supervisors for the erection of a span across the Back Bay of Biloxi at Popp’s Ferry.  The bridge when completed was over seven hundred feet in length and eighteen feet wide.  The floor of the Popp’s Ferry span was constructed of creosoted pine planks, four inches in thickness and one foot wide.  Its white banister railings were three feet tall and protected vehicular and pedestrian traffic from accidentally exiting the structure.  In contrast with the ebony structure, the white railing provided a sharp distinction in this very picturesque, sylvan region of the upper Back Bay region.(The Daily Herald, April 28, 1928, p. 1)

The bid of $41,777 by the Austin Brothers Bridge Company of Atlanta, Georgia was accepted by the Board in July 1927.  Their finished span was accepted by the Harrison County Board of Supervisors in May 1928.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 21, p. 69 and pp. 139-141 and Bk. 22, p. 36)

In mid-December 1928, the initial span to cross the Back Bay of Biloxi at Popp’s Ferry opened for traffic.  The final cost for the bridge was more than $60,000.  The construction was supervised by Walter Nixon Sr. (1895-1960), the elected Supervisor representing the citizens of Harrison County Beat One.  The U.S. I-110 Back Bridge linking D’Iberville with Biloxi was named for Walter Nixon Sr. upon its dedication in June 1975.(The Jackson County Times, December 22, 1928, p. 1 and The Daily Herald, June 26, 1975, p. 1)

Charles Johnson may have been the first bridge tender.  He resigned and was replaced by H.F. Switzer in March 1929.  The salary for this position was $35 per month. (Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 22, p. 510)

1928 spring flood

The new Popp’s Ferry Bridge was damaged in early June 1928 by high water flowing from the Tchoutacabouffa-Biloxi River watersheds.  About seventy feet of the creosoted, timbered span was washed away north of the draw by the force of the swift, water-driven driftwood pushing against the pilings.  The resulting debris accumulated in the marsh downstream from the structure.  Walter Nixon, Beat One Supervisor, estimated that repair costs for the damaged Popp’s Ferry Bridge would approach $15,000.  Wyatt Hawkins, Harrison County highway engineer, estimated $200,000 in damages to bridges, bridge approaches, and road beds resulting from the recent rampage s of the County’s rivers, creeks, and bayous.(The Daily Herald, June 7, 1928, p. 1)

Alonzo B. Desporte, Biloxi builder, was awarded the $6397 contract to make repairs to the new Popp’s Ferry span.  The Mobile Steel Company provided $3685 worth of steel and the Gulfport Creosoting Company supplied treated, wooden pilings valued at $1235 for the project.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 22, pp. 141-143 and p. 208)

1941 repairs and span reconfiguration

In 1941, an application had been made to the War Department for funds to reconstruct the Popp's Ferry Bridge.  In early June 1941, Christian A. Thompson of Biloxi and Hugh Bourgeios of Gulfport were paid $174 and $2459 respectively for test pilings and steel to repair both the Handsboro Bridge and Popp's Ferry Bridge.  E. Dewey Lawrence, Harrison County Beat One Supervisor, announced that the WPA was going to relocate the Popp's Ferry Bridge  swing span 185 feet north of its present location to provide a 75-foot horizontal clearance and a 10-foot vertical clearance when closed.  He expected this work to commence in forty-five days.(The Daily Herald, June 2, 1941, p. 8)

Raggio-Walker Sale

As previously mentioned shortly after the fire that destroyed ‘Sunkist Place’, Julius M. Lopez lost “Sunkist Place’ to creditors in June 1931.  W.T. Moore, trustee, conveyed the property back to Marjorie Raggio and Mrs. Burton Walker, both residents of New Orleans.  They paid $5000 for the land.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. Bk. 190, p. 354)

Madames Raggio and Walker sold ‘Sunkist Place’ to Victor B. Pringle in January 1941.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Bk. 236, p. 597)

Victor B. Pringle

Victor Boyd Pringle (1909-1977) was born at Biloxi, Mississippi on July 3, 1909, the son of Lee Vernon Pringle (1866-1938), a native of Semmes Chapel, Mobile County, Alabama, and Victoria Voltz (1885-1935), who was born at Perdido, Florida, the daughter of Robert M. Voltz and Elizabeth King of Selma and Montgomery, Alabama respectively.  L.V. Pringle came to Biloxi in 1908, probably from Latonia, Jackson County, Mississippi where he was associated with the Latonia Turpentine Company and Union Naval Stores of Mobile.  These organizations were naval stores manufacturers and dealers in general merchandise.  In 1901, Mr. Pringle served as postmaster at Latonia, which is about 12 miles northwest of Semmes Chapel, Alabama.

L.V. Pringle invented a turpentine cup, which was manufactured by the Pringle Cup Company in Daisy, Tennessee.  In 1902, the Chattanooga Pottery Company of Daisy, Tennessee was formed by the Consolidated Naval Stores Company, to manufacture clay cups.  Consolidated Naval Stores was formed by the merger of seven Florida and Georgia factorage houses also in 1902.  They had offices in Savannah, Jacksonville, and Pensacola.  It is very probable that the Pringle Cup Company was a name only and that the clay cups were manufactured by the Chattanooga Pottery Company.

In addition to his naval stores operations in Mississippi, Mr. Pringle had turpentine and rosin at Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana.  He was vice-president of the Gillican-Chipley Company of New Orleans for fifteen years and held the same position with the Pringle-Gay Turpentine Company.  L.V. Pringle also had his own real estate company and held large personal land holdings.

Lee V. Pringle expired on October 8, 1938.  He and many family members are interred at the Biloxi Cemetery.(The Daily Herald, October 9, 1938, p. 3)

Circa 1934, Victor B. Pringle married Margaret Woodley (1911-1997), a Virginia native, and the daughter of Joseph Woodley (1879 to pre-1930) and Bertha Woodley (1880-1970) of Tarboro, North Carolina.  Mr. Woodley was the superintendent of a peanut plant while Bertha Woodley was a sales lady in a department store.  Dr. James Woodley (1907-pre-1977) was her only sibling.  Victor and Margaret were the parents of Margaret V. Flowers (1935-2005) and Victor B. Pringle Jr. (1939-2009).(1920 and 1930 Edgecombe Co., North Carolina Federal Census T625_1296, p. 14B, ED 5 and R1688, p. 17B, ED 2)

In his youth, Victor B. Pringle was accidentally shot by Stephen Gorenflo in late November 1919 while hunting on West Beach at Biloxi.  The blast tore away the lower part of his right leg.  Drs. James E. Wallace, W.T. Bolton, and G.F. Carroll of the Wallace Infirmary tried in vain to save his damaged limb.  Mr. Pringle was later fitted with a prosthesis.(The Daily Herald, November 28, 1919, p. 1 and November 29, 1919, p. 4)

Victor B. Pringle was a 1933 law school graduate of Ole Miss.  He practiced law at Biloxi, but was also very active in the civic, business and social affairs of his native city.  Victor was a member of the American Bar Association and the Harrison County Bar Association and Biloxi Port Commission attorney.  He was chairman of the board of the Biloxi Housing Authority from 1953 to 1974 having been appointed to this board in 1940 and a member of the Perkinston Junior College Board of Trustees.  Victor’s business acumen saw him a vice president of the following: Home Milk Products; Pringle Brothers Motors Inc.; Avelez Hotel; and sec.-treasurer of the Westergaard Boat Works.  Socially, his activities included: the Biloxi Yacht Club [Commodore 1954] and Elks Club.  

Victor B. Pringle expired at Biloxi in late October 1977.  His corporal remains were interred at the Southern Memorial Park Cemetery in west Biloxi.  His spouse passed on April 2, 1997.  Mrs. Pringle was also buried in this Biloxi cemetery.(The Daily Herald, November 1, 1977, p. 2 and The Sun Herald, April 3, 1997, p. C2)

It appears that Victor B. Pringle sold ‘Sunkist Place’ to Ashton C. Barrett in May 1944 without any development following the following the fire of may 1931.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Bk. 264, p. 347)

Beau Chene Estates and the Holley-Blackwell Cemetery

With the passing of Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990) in November 1990, Virginia Anderson Barrett (1904-1997), Ann B. Hancock and Patricia B. Milam, his widow and daughters respectively and owners of the Ashton C. Barrett Residuary Trust, began vending large residential lots in the immediate vicinity their former home and the Holley-Blackwell Cemetery. Specifically in November 1996, these ladies sold Jeffrey H. O’Keefe, John C. Griffith, Tom C. Harvey, and the Elderberry Corporation four lots ranging in size from 3.07 acres to 4.83 acres. In July 1998 the Beau Chene Estates Subdivision, a 19-Lot Subdivision was platted by Dana R. Parsons of Stone Investment Company, Jeffrey O’Keefe, John C. Griffith, and Tom C. Harvey. This upscale development on Big Lake has very modern and large, expensive homes. This image viewed to the NW towards the former site of 'Sunkist Place' and the A.C. Barrett home site depicts the Holley-Blackwell Cemetery and an example of the fine structures situated within Beau Chene Estates.   Digital image by Ray L. Bellande-November 2008.

Ashton C. Barrett

Ashton Chichester Barrett (1901-1990) was born at Edwards, Mississippi to Judge Thomas H. Barrett and Minnie Chichester.  Mr. Barrett’s family relocated to Gulfport when he was an infant.  They were domiciled on East Beach Drive in Gulfport.  Ashton C. Barrett received is education in the Gulfport public school system and at Ole Miss.  He made his livelihood as a haberdasher and operator of a dry cleaning business at Gulfport and Biloxi.(The Sun Herald, November 16, 1990. p. B2)

Ashton C. Barrett married Virginia Turley Anderson (1904-1997) in Gulfport in June 1926.  They were the parents of two daughters: Virginia Ann Barrett (b. 1929) m. Joe Mack Hancock in April 1952 and Patricia Frances Barrett (b. 1933) m. Emmette Milam in December 1953.(Harrison Co., Ms. MRB 38, p. 194, 89, p. 277, and Bk. 96, p. 158)

Ashton C. Barrett was active in the business, social, sporting and political fabric of the Gulf Coast community.  He was a founder of the Young Men’s Business Club, the Gulfport Gridiron Club, and the Cat Island Hunting and Fishing Club.  Mr. Barrett worshiped at the First Baptist Church of Gulfport and a 32nd degree Mason and Shriner.  He was also Chairman of the Easter Seal Foundation.  His political endeavors brought him to Senator James O. Eastland (1904-1986), who he served as campaign and financial chairman.  President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) appointed Mr. Barrett to the Federal Maritime Commission.  He served this body under five presidents and was vice chairman.(The Sun Herald, November 16, 1990. p. B2)

Ashton C. Barrett expired at Gulfport, Mississippi on November 15, 1990.  Virginia Anderson, his spouse of sixty-four years also died in Gulfport on January 27, 1997.  Their corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery at Gulfport, Mississippi.(The Sun Herald, November 16, 1990. p. B2 and January 29, 1997, p. C2)

Barrett builds

Circa 1946, Ashton C. Barrett erected a log cabin on the former site of ‘Sunkist Place’.  Prior to the building of this wooden shelter, Mr. Barrett and his family and their friends would spend weekends camped on the banks of Big Lake in a large tent.  He and his wife had a masonry home built here about 1952.  These structures were removed in the 1990s with the sale of lots and the platting of the Beau Chenes Subdivision.(Mrs. Roy Anderson II, of Gulfport, Mississippi on June 13, 2009)

With the passing of Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990) in November 1990, Virginia Anderson Barrett (1904-1997), Patricia B. Milam, and Ann B. Hancock, his widow and daughters and owners of the Ashton C. Barrett Residuary Trust began vending large residential lots in the immediate vicinity of the Holley Cemetery.  Specifically in November 1996, these ladies sold Jeffrey H. O’Keefe, John C. Griffith, Tom C. Harvey, and the Elderberry Corporation four lots ranging in size from 3.07 acres to 4.83 acres.(Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Land Deed Bk. 302, pp. 162-168)

Beau Chene Estates Subdivision

In July 1998 the Beau Chene Estates Subdivision, a 19-Lot Subdivision was platted by Dana R. Parsons of Stone Investment Company, Jeffrey O’Keefe, John C. Griffith, and Tom C. Harvey.  This upscale development on Big Lake has very modern and large, expensive homes.  As previously mentioned, the Holley Cemetery is situated in Lot 1 and a part of Lot 2 of this development.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chancery Court 2nd JD Land Plat Bk. 15, p. 50)

This vintage image of the 2nd Popp’s Ferry Bridge was made in the 1950s and replaced the original 1928 span.  This bascule-type, structure was erected by the W.R. Fairchild Company of Hattiesburg, Mississippi for about $163,000.  After many delays, the new bridge was informally dedicated and opened to public traffic on April 11, 1953.  E. Dewey Lawrence (1898-1962), Beat One Supervisor, cut the ribbon.  Courtesy of Charles L. Sullivan, Professor Emeritus at MGCCC Perkinston campus, and archivist and conservator for the C.C. ‘Tex’ Hamill “Down South” Magazine Collection at MGCCC in Perkinston, Mississippi.

2nd Popp’s Ferry Bridge

In July 1949, the Harrison County Board of Supervisors approved the plans of G.R. Boddie, County engineer, for the erection of a bascule-type, bridge to cross Popp’s Ferry on the same foot print of the 1928 span.  Sealed bids were received from J.P. Ewing, Inc. of Mobile, Alabama and W.R. Fairchild of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  W.R. Fairchild was awarded the $163,000 contract in September 1949.  Other contracts were bid on for the fender pilings and superstructure.  The Board of Supervisors appointed Fred Harris as bridge keeper in January 1950 with a salary of $65 per month.  In March 1951, Supervisors Oscar F. Cassibry, J.J. Hayden, and W. Luther Blackledge inspected the work of W.R. Fairchid on the approaches to the span.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Board of Supervisor’s Minute Bk. 47, pp. 512-514; Bk. 48, p. 14 , p. 202, and p. 571; Bk. 49, p. 524; and Bk. 51, pp. 102)

Dedication day

After many delays, the new, $340,000 Popp’s Ferry Bridge was informally dedicated and opened to public traffic on April 11, 1953.  E. Dewey Lawrence (1898-1962), Beat One Supervisor, cut the ribbon.  A formal dedication was planned for a later date.  The finished concrete, span was 807 feet long with a 22-foot concrete, road bed.  On the same day, the new ‘Burnt Bridge’, located one-half mile north of the new Back Bay crossing, was also dedicated.  The swing span from the 1928 Popp’s Ferry Bridge was ferried to the Burnt Bridge site, widened and utilized in the span across what had informally been called ‘Nick Holley’s cut-off’.(The Daily Herald, April 13, 1953, p. 1)          

Sunkist Country Club

William E. ‘Bill’ Beasley (1881-1963) and Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990), founded the Sunkist Country Club shortly after the opening of the new Popp’s Ferry Bridge in April 1953.  This eighteen-hole golf links is situated north of Popp’s Ferry Road on 128-acres of land formerly owned by Mr. Barrett  Sunkist Country Club was incorporated in Harrison County, Mississippi June 1953 by Ashton C. Barrett, William E. ‘Bill’ Beasley, Robert R. Buntin (1895-1966), and Victor B. Pringle (1909-1977).  The original clubhouse depicted in this image is intact although interior re-configurations have been made through the years.  The swimming pool was recently filled with soil.   From the C.C. ‘Tex’ Hamill “Down South” Magazine Collection archived at MGCCC Perkinston, Mississippi.  Courtesy of Charles L. Sullivan, Professor Emeritus and Archivist at MGCCC Perkinston campus.




Sunkist Country Club

With the vision and diligence of William E. ‘Bill’ Beasley (1881-1963) and Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990), the Sunkist Country Club came to fruition shortly after the completion of the new Popp’s Ferry Bridge.  This eighteen-hole golf links is situated north of Popp’s Ferry Road on 128-acres in Section 15, T7S-R10W.  Sunkist Country Club  was incorporated in Harrison County, Mississippi June 1953 by Ashton C. Barrett, William E. ‘Bill’ Beasley, Robert R. Buntin (1895-1966), and Victor B. Pringle (1909-1977).

Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990) and Virginia Anderson Barrett (1904-1997) sold two parcels of land totaling 128-acres in Section 15, T7S-R10W north of Popp’s Ferry Road to William E. ‘Bill’ Beasley (1881-1963), president of Golf Course Incorporated, in July 1953(Harrison Co., Ms. Land Deed Bk. 370, p. 428)

In February 1954, Golf Course Incorporated sold the golf course situated on about 120-acres to Sunkist Country Club Incorporated.  Mr. Beasley also gave a five-year lease to the Sunkist Country Club on 8.8-acres where the country club house was situated.( Harrison Co., Ms. Chattel Deed Bk. 149, p. 112, Harrison Co., Ms. Land Deed Bk. 378, p. 528, and Harrison Co., Ms. Land Deed Bk. 378, p. 525)

In May 1953, W.E. Beasley, the course developer, Marcel ‘Mickey’ Bellande (1909-1982), Joseph ‘Joe’ Lawrence (1902-1975), and Giles H. Peresich (1918-1985) were the first foursome to tee off on the Sunkist links.  The formal opening came in late October 1953, when over six hundred members and guests were present at the culmination of four days of initial club activities.  Ashton C. Barrett (1901-1990) presented William E. Beasley, the Father of Sunkist Country Club, a plaque and portrait of himself to be hung in the clubhouse.  Mr. Beasley conceived the idea for the private golf club and had worked the past two years for its completion.  His portrait remains in the clubhouse foyer until this day.(The Daily Herald,  May 16, 1953 and October 27, 1953, p. 1)

Frank I. Steidle (1915-2007), the first golf professional at the club shot a 64 in November 1957 to break the initial course record.(The Daily Herald, November 19, 1954, p. 27)

The Sunkist Country Club was reorganized in July 1967 by Elton Pitts, James B. Rouse, Charles A. Gillis, George Altbach, Fred Huebner, A.J. Ingrassia, Alton L. Bellande (1912-1970), James C. Brashier, Jennings Camet, Roswell Kimball, Robert Parrish, and Dr. James Smith.(502, p. 202)


1968 Collision

Marine collision damages Popp's Ferry Bridge on April 10, 1968.

Popp’s Ferry Bridge and Camille-1969

Hurricane Camille, which struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast late in the night of August 17, 1969, damaged the electrical system of the Popp’s Ferry Bridge temporarily negating the operation of the draw.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard ordered that this salient transportation artery be opened with all celerity for vehicular traffic, effectively closing it to marine operations.  The Popp’s Ferry Bridge was temporarily opened for automobile traffic on August 26th.  Supervisor Arlan L. Robinson (1934-2005) of Harrison County Beat 5 estimated that repairs to the bridge would be finished by August 30th, less than two weeks after the violent tempest.(The Daily Herald, August 27, 1969, p. 1)


Hurricane Katrina, which inundated large sections of the low-lying Mississippi Gulf Coast in late August 2005, also severely damaged the Popp’s Ferry Bridge.  Nineteen sections of the concrete decking of the span, the draw, and walkway were affected by the late summer tempest.  After some issues with the bid process, Key Constructors of Madison, Mississippi were awarded a $7.65 million contract to repair the Popp’s Ferry Bridge on October 18, 2005.  Work commenced on October 24th  and was completed on December 23, 2005 earning Key Constructors a $500,000 bonus for completing the work before February 1, 2006.(The Sun Herald, December 24, 2005, p. A1)

New bridge?

On November 4, 2008, Biloxi city engineers presented the City Council with a plan to erect a new bridge at Popp’s Ferry with a 55-foot clearance.  This would allow most of the current marine traffic to pass without opening the draw reducing openings to about twice each week to accommodate larger vessels.  The plan also called for increasing Popp’s Ferry Road to five lanes.  As presented, this project would cost $76.5 million, require the demolition of sixty-nine homes, and take about ten years to complete.(The Sun Herald, November 5, 2008, p. A2)

March 2009 barge accident

On the morning of March 20, 2009, the Cheryl Stegbauer, a tugboat owned by Southern Towing of Memphis and pushing eight laden barges, hit the Popp’s Ferry Bridge collapsing concrete pilings and dropping two-ninety-foot sections of the well-traveled bridge into Back Bay.  One barge was sunk and another partially submerged by the falling concrete spans.  Miraculously no one was injured and Marge Johnson, the bridge tender related that the incident ‘was like being in an earthquake’.  Her truck did fall into the water.(The Sun Herald, March 21, 2009, p. A1 and p. A2 and March 23, 2009, p. A1)


Although owned by the City of Biloxi, repairs to the Popp’s Ferry Bridge were taken over by MDOT.  It awarded a contractto Joe McGee Construction Company of Lake, Newton County, Mississippi for $2,061,494.  They agreed to have the damages corrected and the bridge in temporary operation by April 28, 2009.  As an incentive to finish early, Joe McGee agreed to a $75,000 per day bonus.  Failure to meet this commitment would result in a $75,000 penalty.  Final completion of the damaged structure was anticipated by June 5, 2009.(The Sun Herald, March 24, 2009, p. A1, April 11, 2009, p. A1 and April 22, 2009, p. A11)

The Newton County based construction company had the Popp’s Ferry Bridge operational on April 25th, three days ahead of schedule.  Pedestrians were not allowed on the Popp’s Ferry Bridge until workmen completed the new railings in mid-June.  Mayor A.J. Holloway of Biloxi praised MDOT Commissioner Wayne Brown and the construction company for their timely and efficient restoration of the span.(The Sun Herald, April 26, 2009, p. A2 and June 11, 2009, p. A1)


Survey crews working and doing preliminary surveys for the widening of Popps Ferry Road from Pass Road for 2.6 miles to Riverbiew Drive near the Margaret Sherry Library and a new bridge across Back Bay at Popps Ferry.(The Sun Herald,June 14, 2013, p. A2)


Ray L. Bellande, Mississippi Gulf Coast History and Genealogy Society, ‘The Laughter Mill’, Volume     No.   ,              199  .

Ray L. Bellande, Mississippi Gulf Coast History and Genealogy Society, ‘Toomer-McGuire Sawmill’, Volume 28, No. 1, February 1994.

Ray L. Bellande, Mississippi Coast History and Genealogy Society, “Toomer-McGuire Sawmill-Chattagobeuf”, Volume 28, No. 1, February 1992.

Julia Cook Guice, Harrison County Marriages: Book 1 (July 1841) to Book 12 (November 1899), (City of Biloxi, Mississippi-1978?).

Julia Cook Guice, Mississippi Coast History and Genealogy Society, “Sunkist Place”, Volume 23, No. 1, February 1987, p. 21 and p. 25.

Julia C. Guice, “Sunkist Cemetary (sic), Biloxi Public Library History and Genealogy Department, unpublished in vertical files-‘Holley Family’..

Nollie Hickman, Mississippi Harvest, Lumbering in the Longleaf Pine Belt (1840-1915), (The Paragon Press: Montgomery, Alabama-1962).

Mississippi Gulf Coast Yesterday 1699 and Today 1939, Federal Writers’ Project in Mississippi Works Progress Administration, (Gulfport Printing Company: Gulfport, Mississippi-1939).

Lu Hartley Morehead, Old Spanish Trail Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, (The Dixie Press: Gulfport, Mississippi-1958).


Down South, ‘It’s fun fishing at the Fishing Arena [advertisement with map], Volume 11, No. 3, May-June 1961.

Down South, ‘Fishin’ was never easier than this’, Volume 11, No. 3, May-June 1961.

Down South, ‘Fishing in Devil’s Elbow [photo caption], Volume 14, No. 1, January-February 1964.

Way Down South, “Sunkist Place [image and caption], Volume 3, No. 2, July 17, 1926, (Gulfport Printing Company-Gulfport, Mississippi).

Chancery Court Causes

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 244, “The Estate of Nicholas Holley”, August 1870.

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 471, “The Estate of John Holley”, December 1889.

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 4706, “W.B. Swain et W.H. Rich v. Herman Bailey et al”, July 1915.

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 6317, “W.H. Rich and W.B. Swain v. Joe DeLamarre and Harrison County, Mississippi”, February 1921.

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 8375, “Edward Brady et al v. Joeph Mathurin, Mrs. Mary A. Latimer, B.A. Richards, S.L. Richards, and Mrs. Annie R. Richards”, February 1926.

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court 2nd Judicial District Cause No. P 825-B, “The Estate of Juliette D’Aquin Wickstrom”, October 1986.

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court 2nd Judicial District Cause No. P 1877-B, “The Estate of Ashton C. Barrett”, December 1992.

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court 2nd Judicial District Cause No. P 2848-B, “Ex parte Flora Marina G. Wickstrom Beneficiary of the Last Will and Testament of Eric E. Wickstrom”, January 1995.


The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Board of Supervisors”, November 11, 1893.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Board of Supervisors”, September 16, 1900.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Fishing some at Popp’s Ferry”, May 13, 1904.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Mississippi Coast and County News”, July 13, 1904.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Quarantine line moved”, August 26, 1905.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Popp’s Ferry to Golden Gate”, August 26, 1905.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Weddings-Lopez-Markey”, December 12, 1907.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “A little gem in itself”, March 1, 1908.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Biloxi’s rural mail route”, March 10, 1908.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Launch Colin has arrived”, July 6, 1908.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Delay in rural route”, March 10, 1909.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Biloxi Personals”, April 9, 1909.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Looks favorable for rural route”, April 30, 1909.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, Waterspout innovation in South”, July 23, 1909.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “First rural route to be established”, July 26, 1909.

The Biloxi News, "Popp's Ferry span planned by Supervisors says Nixon", March 28, 1926.

The Daily Herald

The Daily Herald, “Mrs. John F. Popp is dead”, July 19, 1910.

The Daily Herald, “Improvements for County roads”, September 28, 1910.

The Daily Herald, “Fishing good at Popp’s Ferry”, October 17, 1910.

The Daily Herald, “No law against speeding motorcycles”, June 12, 1911.

The Daily Herald, “Operating room at hospital completed”, August 8, 1911.

The Daily Herald, “Enjoyable picnic for Dulion clerks”, April 29, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “Ran over ‘gator’ with automobile”, July 26, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi boats participate in the annual regatta of Pass yachtmen”, July 13, 1913.

The Daily Herald, “Shelling road to Popp’s Ferry”, January 5, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Local News Paragraphs”, February 5, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Brutal assault on old trapper at Popp’s Ferry”, March 18, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Only one ferry in County now”, March 23, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Popp property goes to Tennessee citizen”, July 17, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Tiptonville man will cultivate oranges, pecans”, July 18, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “To clear timber from land”, July 22, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Here to close deal for timber”, September 16, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Makes good catches at Popp’s Ferry”, October 30, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “J.F. Popp is ill at Orleans home”, February 15, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “To manufacture moving pictures at Popp’s Ferry”, March 18, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Cast nets to be prohibited during March April and May north of Popp’s Ferry”, April 12, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Mr. and Mrs. Julius M. Lopez”, January 30, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “J.F. Popp weds sister-in-law”, November 28, 1914.

The Daily Herald, “Ferry boat to be resumed”, December 11, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Stock industry to be developed”, January 7, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “Beer and whiskey found by officer’s at Popp’s Ferry”, July 22, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “Boy’s auxiliary to have outing”, August 26, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “DeLamarre keeper at Popp’s Ferry”, October 20, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “Mobs at Popp’s Ferry yesterday”, November 6, 1916.

The Daily Herald, “John F. Popp is dead”, September 14, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “Fishing good Bayou Bernard and Popp’s Ferry”, August 27, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “Wagon load beer taken in charge”, March 13, 1917.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi local news paragraphs of interest”, October 22, 1917.

The Daily Herald, “DeLemarre (sic)-Coleman”, September 19, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi youth accidentally shot”, November 28, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “Victor Boyd Pringle improved”, November 29, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “Poor children’s tree tomorrow”, December 23, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “Important decision in Chancery Court tomorrow”, February 18, 1921.

The Daily Herald, “Harrison County loses its case”, March 2, 1921.

The Daily Herald, “Erroneous impression concerning Popp’s Ferry”, March 3, 1921.

The Daily Herald, “Large number of life members”, June 27, 1921.

The Daily Herald, “Popp’s Ferry affords good swimming”, August 20, 1921.

The Daily Herald, “Alleged pirates operate on booze boat causing biggest raid in years”, January 16, 1922.

The Daily Herald, “Popp’s Bridge is completed”, July 5, 1927.

The Daily Herald, “Popp’s Bridge is completed”, April 18, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “County’s bridge damage is estimated at $200,000”, June 7, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “Latimer’s Fishing Camp”, July 6, 1928.

The Daily Herald, “Fire destroys Sunkist”, June 1, 1931.

The Daily Herald, “Contract let to repair Popp's Ferry, Handsboro bridges”, June 2, 1941.

The Daily Herald, “New Popp’s Ferry bridge opened to public Saturday”, April 13, 1953.

The Daily Herald, “First foursome?”, May 16, 1953.

The Daily Herald, “Praise Beasley for promotion of Sunkist Club”, October 27, 1953, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Stiedle sets new course record at Sunkist”, November 19, 1954.

The Daily Herald, “Know Your Coast”-Popp’s Ferry, July 5, 1956.

The Daily Herald, “Julius Lopez Sr. taken by death; Rites on Friday”, January 9, 1958.

The Daily Herald, “Everybody is talking [advertisement for the Fishing Arena], June 30, 1961, p. 24.

The Daily Herald"Marine collision?", April 16?, 1968, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, "New and larger Popp's Ferry Bridge is aim", June 15, 1968, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Bay span opened Tuesday”, August 27, 1969.

The Daily Herald, “Victor Pringle Sr. dies”, October 31, 1977.


The Gulf Coast Times,“Popp’s Ferry Bridge formally opened”, April 16, 1953.

The Gulfport Advocate, “Dixie Film promoters say industry will expand here”, April 10, 1915.

The Gulfport Advocate, “Two hotels contemplated for the Back Bay section”, May 8, 1915.

The Jackson County Times, “$60,000 Popp’s Ferry Bridge opened”, December 22, 1928.

The Mississippi Press, “Popps Ferry Bridge Out”, March 26, 2009, p. 1.

The Mississippi Press, “Bridge brings couple together”, March 26, 2009, p. 1.

The New Orleans Daily Crescent, June 19, 1849.  

The New Orleans Time, “Maritime News-Arrivals at the New Basin”, February 15, 1876.

The New Orleans Time, “Maritime News-Arrivals at the New Basin”, April 23, 1878.

The Star of Pascagoula, “Blackwell child?”, July 31, 1875.

The Sun Herald

The Sun Herald, “Ashton Chichester Barrett”, November 11, 1990.

The Sun Herald, “Lionel Byrd Sr.”, November 18, 1996.

The Sun Herald, “Virginia Anderson Barrett”, January 29, 1997.

The Sun Herald, “Margaret Woodley Pringle”, April 3, 1997.

The Sun Herald, “Lionel Byrd Jr.”, December 16, 1998.

The Sun Herald, “Popp’s Ferry, [US Highway] 90 ready soon”, December 16, 2005.

The Sun Herald, “Arlan Lamar Robinson”, June 17, 2005.

The Sun Herald, “Unabridged joy”, December 24, 2005.

The Sun Herald, “Mr. Barney ‘Buddy’ Byrd”, June 21, 2008.

The Sun Herald, “Popp’s Ferry Road expansion and new bridge proposed”, November 5, 2008, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Road, bridge move ahead”, December 3, 2008, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge repairs may take a few months”, March 21, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “It’s out of commission for second time within 4 years”, March 21, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge tender says barge’s impact felt like earthquake”, March 21, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Congested roadways will get worse”, March 21, 2009, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Schools hope to minimize delays”, March 21, 2009, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Channel under damaged bridge closes”, March 21, 2009, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Mom, kids saw the bridge collapse in front of their van”, March 21, 2009, p. A3.

The Sun Herald, “Millionaire, tragedies are bridge’s history”, March 21, 2009, p. A3.

The Sun Herald, “Mayor wants bridge repaired in 60 days”, March 22, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Businesses hit by bridge closure”, March 22, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “The Bridges of Back Bay-Never Again!”, March 22, 2009, p. C2.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge hauled away in chunks”, March 23, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “On the fast track”, March 24, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Popp’s Ferry Bridge Disaster-Are 8 barges too much to handle on Back Bay?”, March 24, 2009, p. C4.

The Sun Herald, “Plans in works for repairing bridge”, March 27, 2009, p. A10.

The Sun Herald, “May is the goal”, April 1, 2009, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Tug master had crashed before”, April 3, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Pilot crashed before in Tenn.”, April 4, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge opening set for late April”, April 8, 2009, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Work begins on Popp’s Ferry bridge”, April 11, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “How troubled are the waters under the bridges of Back Bay”, April 15, 2009, p. C1.

The Sun Herald, “Workers burn midnight oil on bridge”, April 17, 2009, p. A7.

The Sun Herald, “Popp’s ferry Bridge work on schedule”, April 22, 2009, p. A11.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge crew works for THIS WEEKEND”, April 23, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge should open tonight”, April 25, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Beautiful bridge”, April 26, 2009, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Popp’s Ferry Bridge repairs-off and walking”, June 11, 2009.

The Sun Herald, "Popp's Ferry Road, bridge construction still years away", June 14, 2013, p. A2.


1926 Harrison County, Mississippi Tax Assessment Map, Section 16, T7S-R10W. p. 248 by R.C.S. Watson-Civil Engineer of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

1926 Harrison County, Mississippi Tax Assessment Map, N/2 Section 37, T7S-R10W, p. 247

1926 Harrison County, Mississippi Tax Assessment Map, S/2 Section 37, T7S-R10W, p. 268

USGS ‘Biloxi, Miss.’-1954, photo-revised 197o and 1976, 1 inch represents 2000 feet.

US Coast Survey   “Harbor and Back Bay of Biloxi” (1851), (1:10000) by W.E. Greenwell and W.M. Johnson.



Pre-opening 1962

(Courtesy of Elaine Ryan Miller)


    This US 90 Highway span, a four-lane bridge with a jack knife draw, the second to cross Biloxi Bay, was erected by the J.B. Michael Construction Company at a cost of $7,000,000.  Michael employed approximately 150 men to erect this structure.  About 50 men were employed at their concrete plant on Clay Point at Biloxi.  This bridge was dedicated on May 9, 1962.(The Daily Herald, March 26, 1959, p. 1 and June 8, 1961, p. 5 and The Ocean Springs News, May 3, 1962)

     George L. Lemon (b. 1908), an MDOT Civil Engineer who was reared at Ocean Springs, was prominent in the design and construction of this structure.  At the time, this span was the longest ever built by the State of Mississippi.(The Ocean Springs News, May 3, 1962)

(image made October 1990)

(image made September 2005)


Hurricane Camille 1969

     After Hurricane Camille in August 1969, the L&N Railroad commenced a passenger shuttle service between Pascagoula and Gulfport to alleviate automobile traffic resulting from the damage to the US Highway 90 Bridge across the Bay of Biloxi.  There were passenger stops at Ocean Springs, Biloxi, Keesler AFB, Beauvoir, and Mississippi City.  The cost was $.50 per trip.  The temporary rail service was terminated on September 19, 1969, after bridge traffic commenced on US 90 across Biloxi Bay.(The Ocean Springs Record, September 11, 1969, p. 1 and September 25, 1969, p.1)


Hurricane Katrina 2005




The Daily Herald, "Plan June Opening of Bids On New Bay of Biloxi Bridge", March 26, 1959, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, "Construction will await Bond sales", June 24, 1959, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, "New Bridge Is Half Complete, Contractor Says", June 8, 1962, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News, "Longest span built by State; savings noted", May 3, 1962, p. 2.

The Ocean Springs News, "Lemons prominent bridge history", May 3, 1962, p.

The Ocean Springs News, "Bridge dedication next Wednesday", May 9, 1962, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "L&N Ease Traffic by Passenger Shuttle", September 11, 1969.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Shuttlin off for good", September 25, 1969, p. 1.



1962 US Highway 90 Biloxi Bay Bridge

[Removal of the Katrina damaged 1962 US Highway 90 Bridge began in July 2006.  Core drilling to evaluate foundation conditions for the new span were in progress, as well.  Image made July 25, 2006 by Ray L. Bellande.]

         In mid-October, 2005 The Mississippi Renewal Forum, a team of national architects, planners, and public officials met in Biloxi with their local counterparts, to “redesign” the severely damaged and partially destroyed Mississippi Gulf Coast.  Andres Duany and James Barksdale oversaw the meetings at the Isle of Capri Hotel and Resort.  Mayor Moran and her board with local architects, Henry Hansell Furr and Dennis Cowart, were an integral part of these planning sessions.(The Sun Herald, October 17, 2005, p. A1)

When the planning sessions began to rebuild a new US Highway 90 bridge across Biloxi Bay to reunite Ocean Springs with Biloxi, Mayor Moran had extensive discussions with MDOT (Mississippi Department of Transportation) to assure that certain aesthetic and safety issues were met.  Her goal was for "a signature bridge,....beautiful, one that can be used for Ocean Springs postcards or the next 60 years."  Following one conference, Mayor Moran quoted that MDOT's first plans for rebuilding the bridge would have meant that "we ended up with a lot of concrete spaghetti on our beach, and that was not acceptable."  Ms Moran persuaded MDOT to add a protected pedestrian-bike lane, a promenade from the Ocean Springs Yacht Club to pass beneath the structure, decorative concrete and lighting, and landscaping.(The Sun Herald, November 8, 2005, p. A4)

On December 6, 2005, Wayne Brown, MDOT Southern District Commissioner, announced that MDOT would erect a six-lane, one hundred twenty-eight foot wide, bridge across Biloxi Bay.  Mayor Moran opposed this plan and favored a smaller, four lane span.  Ocean Springs was the only coast city to oppose the bridge because of its scale and fact that it was counter to a plan by New Urbanists to down size US Highway 90 to a pedestrian boulevard.  In support of Mayor Moran, the Board of Aldermen of Ocean Springs voted 4-3 to draft a letter to the Federal Highway Commission voicing opposition to the larger bridge.(The Sun Herald, December 7, 2005, p. A1 and p. A8)

In late December 2005, Mayor Moran wrote the Federal Highway Administration requesting MDOT's scheme for erecting a six-lane bridge across Biloxi Bay rather than a smaller span preferred by the City Council of Ocean Springs.  MDOT Executive Director Butch Brown replied to Moran's request: "I think it's unfortunate that Mayor Moran has taken this bridge  issue when indeed her community is actually in better shape than most on the Coast.  Her historic area and district are largely unaffected by the bridge.  She's tried to use the bridge to get other concessions."  The Biloxi City Council, Harrison County Board of Supervisors, and voted unanimously to erect the six-lane bridge.  Mayor Moran even lost support of her own county leaders as the Jackson County Board of Supervisors supported Brown's six-lane bridge.  She was lauded by the Board's president for extracting concessions from MDOT in the form of a bike path, decorative concrete, and unique lights.(The Sun Herald, December 23, 2005, p. A1 and p. A9 and The Sun Herald, December 29, 2005, p. A1)


A temporary solution to the Biloxi Bay crossing post-Katrina would be to run a ferry from Ocean Springs to Biloxi and back.  This was suggested at the Mississippi Renewal Forum held at Biloxi in October 2005.  Forum participants assigned to Ocean Springs created a hypothetical area called “The West End Landing”.  It would encompass that area around the OSYC property and the proposed new US Highway 90 span.  Here a ferry landing and trolley or rail stop could be located.(Miss. Renewal Forum, 2005, p. 48)

MDOT admitted that it had no experience with temporary ferry service.  Pacific Marine Technical Service of Bainbridge, Washington, a consulting group, was hired to study the feasibility of ferry service at Ocean Springs as well at Bay St. Louis.  A report was expected from the consultants at the end of April.(The Sun Herald, April 20, 2006, p. A2)

By early June 2006, Pacific Marine Technical Service had not finished its feasibility study for a ferry system for Biloxi Bay and the Bay of St. Louis to provide transportation crossings of these two waterways whose US Highway 90 bridges were rendered useless after the devastating storm surge of Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005.  Preliminary investigations indicate that the difficulty to operate a ferry near the existing roadway on both bays are many and varied.  Jim Moak, director of MDOT’s ports and waterways division, related that at present, the problems appear to be insurmountable.  Among the onerous conditions expected are: construction equipment for the new bridges will be situated in the immediate area of the most optimum ferry routes and dredging to remove storm debris and its deleterious effect on oyster reefs and other marine organism habitats along the proposed ferry routes.  At Ocean Springs, MDOT is studying an alternate location for the Biloxi Bay ferry, which would run from the Fayard Seafood site at the foot of Jackson Avenue to a landing on Point Cadet in east Biloxi.(The Sun Herald, June 7, 2006, p. A2)

In September 2006, bids were submitted for a ferry system to operate across the Bay of St. Louis from Henderson Point in Harrison County to Bay St. Louis in Hancock County.  MDOT took bids assuming that the Federal Highway Administration would pay all costs for the public ferry service.  MDOT required the following from perspective bidders: two vessel; each vessel must be capable of a least thirty-five vehicles;  ferries should operate at a minimum speed of 11.5 mph and maintain a 45-minute schedule; ferries should operate seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.; and the draft of the ferries will not exceed 5 ½ feet.(The Sun Herald, September 12, 2006, p. A5)

             In late September 2006, Hornblower Marine Services of New Albany, Indiana was awarded the contract to operate the ferry across the Bay of St. Louis.  Hornblower has two ferries running in Alabama, the Mobile Bay Ferry and the Gees Bend Ferry.  MDOT aspired that the company commence hauling motorcars at no cost to the patron by November 1st.  The Federal Highway Department Emergency Relief Fund will pay for the service.  Hornblower related that their twin ferry service could transport 748 motorcars daily across the Bay of St. Louis for approximately $30 dollars per vehicle.  The last traffic count in 2005 found that 19,000 cars crossed the U.S. 90 span each day between Henderson Point and Bay St. Louis.(The Sun Herald, September 20, 2006, p. A2 and September 25, 2006, p. A1)   

            Also in late September 2006, MDOT awarded two contracts for dredging, pile driving, and materials to erect ferry terminals on opposite sides of the Bay of St. Louis and roads to reach them.  The contracts were valued at more than $2.3 million dollars.(The Sun Herald, September 25, 2006, p. A1)   

Bridge height

          In early January 2006, Mayor Moran met with Federal and State officials to continue her campaign against the six lane span across Biloxi Bay.  She addressed the issue of the projected growth rate of traffic flow used by MDOT as the basis for the large structure.  Moran's consultants argued that MDOT had incorrectly interpreted the rate of increase by changing the traffic flow data, especially for the year 2004, when the daily traffic count on the U.S. 90 bridge actually decreased.  Another factor not previously considered in the bridge study was the fact that a drawbridge would be needed to allow large vessels built at the Trinity Yacht shipyard on the Industrial Seaway at Gulfport to gain access to the Gulf of Mexico via Biloxi Bay.  MDOT's plan for the new bridge called for no draw, but an 85-foot clearance for boats. (The Sun Herald, January 4, 2006, p. A2)

        By mid-January, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems also voiced its negativity for a bridge without a draw span.  They also have a fabrication plant on Industrial Seaway, which has plans to build composite masts and deckhouse superstructures for the USCG and US Navy.  A fixed height bridge across Biloxi Bay would limit their ability to build larger ship components, especially for the military. (The Sun Herald, January 19, 2006, p. A2)


            On January 13, 2006, technical proposals were submitted to MDOT for the erection of the new span across Biloxi Bay.  Companies that demonstrated an interest in this venture were: American Bridge-Hill Brothers, Orlando, Florida; GC Constructors, Kansas City, Missouri; and Granite Archer Western, Watsonville, California. .(The Sun Herald, January 13, 2006, p. A3)


By mid-January, the USCG had not approved the Biloxi Bay bridge as proposed by MDOT.  It was postulated that issues fielded during public hearings that had not been addressed were the salient reason that the USCG had not signed off on the bridge as presented.  The lack of a draw span which would prohibit high profile vessels from ingress-egress into the Back Bay of Biloxi by several industries located on the Harrison County Industrial Seaway was a serious issue not addressed in the MDOT initial proposal.  Wayne Brown, Southern District Highway Commissioner, commented that the addition of a draw would cost an additional $70 million to $80 million to the estimated $200 million dollar structure.  A year to a year and half delay in completion was expected if a new bridge had to be designed.  Some Harrison County representatives to the State Legislature and the Harrison County Development Commissioner expressed doubt about Commissioner Wayne Brown’s assessment of the time to redesign a bridge to meet the needs of the shipping industry on the Industrial Seaway.  One spokesman viewed it as a threat(The Sun Herald, January 21, 2006, p. A1 and January 25, 2006, p. A1)

Bid day

Only one bid was received by MDOT for the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge.  Granite Archer Western, a consortium of several construction companies, submitted a proposal of $275,900,000.  MDOT had estimated the cost at $200,000,000, which was obviously disappointing.  Granite Archer Western was also low bidder on the Bay of St. Louis Bridge, which received only two offers from contractors.(The Sun Herald, January 24, 2006, p. A1)

Boh Brothers Construction Company declined to bid on the Ocean Springs-Biloxi span because MDOT placed according to Boh Brothers, an onerous clause in the bid contract was added one week prior to bid opening.  The language in the addendum was interpreted to be “open ended” and Boh Brothers felt the risk was beyond their tolerance.(The Sun Herald, March 29, 2006, p. A4)

Temporary bridge?


An even larger span?

As a compromise with ship and yacht builders on the Industrial Seaway-Back Bay corridor and the Harrison County Development Commission, Butch Brown, director of MDOT, proposed to raise the height of the new bridge to 95 feet and dredge the channel beneath the structure to allow deeper draft vessels to utilize it.  The US Coast Guard had issued a permit for a bridge with a vertical clearance of 85 feet and horizontal of 150 feet clearance for boat traffic.  Governor Haley Barbour approved the MDOT compromise proposal, which was submitted to primarily appease Northrop Grumman and Trinity Yachts, both with shipbuilding facilities on the Industrial Seaway.  These industries were  proponents of a draw bridge.   The new specifications for the bridge could result in several months delay for the only bidder, Granite Archer Western, to redesign the span based on a height of 95 feet above the water.(The Sun Herald, February 22, 2006, p. A1 and p. A6)

Wayne Brown, Southern District Transportation Commissioner (SDTC), related that MDOT had several options in regards commencing construction of the new span across the Bay of Biloxi: award the contract based on the 85-foot design and try to negotiate with Granite Archer Western on a price for adding 10 more vertical feet or re-advertise the project with the 95-foot vertical clearance and accept a delay of several months for a new design and the possibility of additional bidders.  The final decision rested with MDOT’s legal staff and the Federal Highway Administration, who is financing most of the project.(The Sun Herald, February 22, 2006, p. A1 and February 28, 2006, p. A1)     


In early March, Wayne Brown, SDTC, announced that that MDOT had decided to re-bid the Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bridge based on the new specifications, i.e. 95-foot vertical clearance.  Those invited to submit bids were: GC Construction of Kansas City, Missouri, Yates/Hill of Philadelphia, Mississippi, and the initial bidder Granite Archer Western of Watsonville, California.  Granite Archer Watson stated that it if they won the new bid, the earliest that their company could initiate construction on the Biloxi Bay crossing would be September 2006, a delay of six months because of their work on the Bay of St. Louis span.  Commissioner Brown speculated that by August 2007, two lanes of traffic would be open on the new Ocean Springs-Biloxi span and that the bridge would be finished by June 2008.  Wayne Brown stated that technical proposals for the new span would be accepted on May 26th and cost proposals on June 6th.  It was anticipated that the cost proposal for the structure could exceed $300 million.(The Ocean Springs Record, March 9, 2006, p. A1 and The Sun Herald, April 8, 2008, p. A11 and May 26, 2006, p. A2)

On the appointed day in late May, three technical bid proposals were received by MDOT on the Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bay span: Granite Archer Western, Watsonville, California; GC Constructors, Kansas City, Missouri; and Yates/Hill Brothers, Philadelphia, Mississippi.  Harry Lee James, MDOT chief engineer, expects the wining bid will range between $275 and $325 million dollars.  The bridge contract will specify that two traffic lanes be open across the span in September 2007, and completion of the multilane structure by March 2008.(The Sun Herald, May 27, 2006, p. A2)         

On June 5, 2006, GC Contractors of Kansas City, Missouri submitted the winning bid of $338.6 million for the 95-foot high, replacement span across Biloxi Bay destroyed by Katrina in late August 2005. The completed structure will have six traffic lanes, four breakdown and emergency lanes, and a bicycle-pedestrian path.  GC Contractors planned to have two lanes open to traffic by mid-November 2007 and a completed bridge by late April 16, 2008.  Granite Archer Western, who is building the Bay St. Louis replacement bridge, bid $343.8 million dollars on the Biloxi Bay bridge.  Yates/Hill, a Mississippi company, bid $384.4 million dollars.(The Sun Herald, June 6, 2006, p. A1 and June 17, 2006, p. A3)

GC Contractors were formally contracted by MDOT to erect the Biloxi Bay span on June 6, 2006.(The Sun Herald, June 7, 2006, p. A2)

Draw inspection

In April 2006, tug boat captains navigating the Biloxi Channel and passing through the Ocean Springs-Biloxi span reported that one of the bascule leaves had shifted.  On April 17th, MDOT engineers inspected the bascules, which had been “frozen” in the up position since they were manually raised following the loss of electric power, which had occurred during Hurricane Katrina.  Their observations were that the bascules have not moved and that the vertical clearance for marine travel was safe.(The Bay Press, April 28, 2006, p. 3)


            The Katrina damaged Bay St. Louis Bridge was demolished in June 2006.  Approximately 100,000 tons of concrete refuse will be utilized to create artificial reefs in the Mississippi Sound and repair the damaged Square Handkerchief Shoals about three miles south of the derelict span.(The Sun Herald, June 10, 2006, p. A1)           

Demolition, removal, and dredging at Ocean Springs

[l-r: image August 2006; image September 2006 looking south; image November 2006]

Preliminary progress

In early July 2006, derrick barges began clearing the Katrina wrecked, US Highway 90 Bridge across Biloxi Bay.  Also a barge-mounted, core drill began soil borings at selected sites in Biloxi Bay for civil engineers to determine foundation properties.(Observation by Ray L. Bellande)    

Moran’s decorative accents rejected, BUT.............

 At a meeting called by MDOT and held in Biloxi on July 26th, Mayor A.J. Holloway of Biloxi; Frank Leach, District Four Supervisor-Jackson County; Bobby Eleuterius, District One Supervisor-Harrison County; and Donovan Scruggs, City Planner for Ocean Springs, and Mayor Connie Moran’s surrogate, to vote on accents for the $338.6 million dollar span across Biloxi Bay, Ms. Moran’s ideas for decorative elements on the bridge abutments was rejected 3-1.  Mayor Moran commented that Frank Leach had, “thrown Ocean Springs under the bus” for voting to have the abutments finished plain.  The options for decorative accents were a raised Fleur de Lys and several boat designs.  Donovan Scruggs commented post-vote that the choice to select none of the decorative proposals would create, “a nice concrete bunker.”  The group selected olive as the color for the exterior beams of the bridge and an off-white color for the bicycle-pedestrian path.  Mayor Holloway commented that Mayor Moran, “wants her way all the time.  She got her way on the walking and bicycle path, which cost us I don’t know how much more than to leave off, and I don’t think anybody will use it.”(The Sun Herald, July 27, 2006, p. A1)

In a press conference held two days after her proposed aesthetics for the new Biloxi Bay bridge were rejected by Mayor Holloway and Supervisors Leach and Eleuterius, Mayor Moran related that all of her design proposals were in the budget and that they would not retard the scheduled completion date.  Mississippi Transportation Commissioner, Butch Brown, had told Moran that he would consider her ideas on the Ocean Springs side of the span.(The Sun Herald, July 29, 2006, p. A1)

Mayor Moran made a public statement in early August 2006, relating that the City of Ocean Springs had negotiated with MDOT as early as September 2005 in regards the aesthetics of the new Biloxi Bay span.  A compromise was made between the two entities and the resulting design description was written on what became known as "the gold sheet."  The Gold Sheet was presented to to perspective bidders on the project, thus including the compromised aesthetic improvement requested by Ocean Springs in the budgeted bridge.  Moran was not particularly disturbed by the negativity of Mayor A.J. Holloway et al.  She told the public that, "The gold sheet as we are told time and time again, is really carved in stone.  That's what we negotiated on the front end that we were assured would be included in the bridge design project."  MDOT's Wayne Brown, Southern District Commissioner, stated that, "Ocean Springs got a great deal in the negotiations on the bridge.  They got an attractive.  It's going to have decorative lights.  It's going to have down lighting.  It is going to have a bike and pedestrian pathway.  It's going to have see through rails.  it will have an under trail where you can walk under the bridge.  The bridge was brought down to the ground at water's edge.  So Ocean Springs has been well treated by MDOT and also the Federal Highway Administration." (The Ocean Springs Record, August 3, 2006, p. A1)

By late August, the aesthetics of the planned Biloxi Bay span appeared to be solved, as Butch Brown, MDOT executive director and former Mayor of Natchez, agreed that MDOT would erect a wall on the Ocean Springs side of the structure that would surround the bridge abutment from the shoreline to the span.  This wall would be the locus for local artists to create a mosaic or some other creative design.  Mr. Brown said, "This is going to be the damnedest, most beautiful bridge you have ever seen.  Connie Moran is going to run up and give me a hug."(The Sun Herald, August 19, 2006, p. A3)

Viewers admonished

In late August 2006, MDOT requested that public viewing of the demolition of the old span and erection of the new Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bridge be restricted to certain areas at a safe distance from the construction sites on both ends of the span.  At Biloxi, designated “viewing sites” were the former J.L. Scott Marina parking lot adjacent to the Isle of Capri Casino and from Cadet Street.  At Ocean Springs, curiosity viewers were advised to observed from Front Beach Drive.(The Bay Press, September 1, 2006, p. 15)

December 2006

Steve Underwood, project director for GC Constructors, a joint venture of Massman Construction Company of Kansas City, Missouri; Kiewit Southern Company of Peachtree City, Georgia; Traylor Brothers of Evansville, Indiana; and Parson Transportation Group of Pasadena, California. announced in early December 2006, that the Biloxi Bay span was on schedule for the planned two-lane opening on November 13, 2007, with a completion anticipated in April 2008.  At this time there are about two hundred and twenty five people employed on the project.  This number will reach a maximum of three hundred.  One quarter of the pilings have been driven for the new bridge.  Twelve of the seventy-two piers have been completed.  Forty percent of the old bridge has been demolished and the ruins deposited south of Deer Island to construct artificial fishing reefs.(The Sun Herald, December 8, 2006, p. A2 and The Ocean Springs Record, January 18, 2007, p. A1)

On December 18, 2006, the first series of beams were set on piers on the Biloxi side of the Ocean Springs-Biloxi span.  Wayne Brown, Southern District Highway Commissioner, stated that the bridge construction appeared to be ahead of schedule.  Two lanes are anticipated to be open on November 13, 2007.(The Mississippi Press, December 19, 2006, p. A-4)

January 2007

By 1 January 2007, the westbound land from the Biloxi end of the span was progressing well as 41 of the 69 piers had been completed.  Also about half of the 2300 cubic yards of concrete that had been poured for the bridge piers in December 2006 was at the main span where the footing for Pier 53 and the columns and struts for Piers 52 and 53 were poured.  At Ocean Springs, the overpass crossing the CSX RR tracks was also the scene of much activity, as the north side of the U.S. Highway 90 eastbound embankment had been raised to its new grade level with fill dirt and the retaining wall to support it was in place.  Concrete piles and substructure work was also progressing well on the westbound lane of U.S. Highway 90 CSX RR crossing.( The Ocean Springs Record, January 18, 2007, p. A1)

In early February 2007, it was announced that the Ocean Springs-Biloxi bridge was on schedule to be open to one lane traffic on November 13th and to be completed by April 16, 2008.  The contractors are due a $5 million dollar bonus if the November deadline is accomplished or face a $100,000 per day penalty if they fail.  The first concrete deck pour was made on February 7th.  The concrete from the older bridge is being transported south of Deer Island to build an artificial fish reef and protect the south of the island from erosion.(The Sun Herald, February 8, 2007, p. A1)

By early May 2007, the most difficult iron work on the Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bridge had been accomplished as steel workers set beams across the highest elevation on the new span, i.e. across the ship channel.  The ship channel lies ninety-five feet below.(The Sun Herald, May 3, 2007, p. A1)

Bridge party

In early June, the city governments of Ocean Springs and Biloxi commenced planning for the projected November 13th Biloxi Bay bridge opening.  Mayor Connie Moran will call for designs and sketches from local artists for murals and mosaics to be utilized for free-standing panels to camouflage the bridge pilings on the north shore of the span.  Mayor A.J. Holloway of Biloxi and Frank Leach, District 4 Supervisor of Jackson County, selected a teal blue for the steel girder that supports the bridge railing.(The Sun Herald, June 4, 2007, p. A2)  

Early opening?

In mid-July, MDOT officials announced that “Absent of any unforeseen events, the bridge will be released to us on or by November 1.  We plan to open the bridge to the public on November 1.”  It is estimated that of the 85,000 motorcars using US Interstate 10, 35,000 of them would be using the new Ocean Springs-Biloxi span.(The Sun Herald, July 15, 2007, p. A1)

Art work

            The incipient concept for the 2007 span’s artwork is that copper plates from the 1962 Ocean Springs-Biloxi Bay Bridge will be etched with artists’ sketches and attached to the railing every quarter mile to of the bike and walking path.  In mid-August, a call to local artists was issued by Wayne Brown, MDOT’s Commissioner for its Southern Mississippi District.  He said, “It is my hope that the beautiful artwork by our talented local artists will encourage citizens and visitors to use the pedestrian walkway.”  Both the Mary Cahill O’Keefe Cultural Center at Ocean Springs and the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi are accepting artist’s proposals for the bridge.(The Sun Herald, June 4, 2007, p. A2 and August 17, 2007, p. A2)

Opening day



Bridge murals

            MDOT funded the City of Ocean springs to erect four free standing decorative panels near the OSYC and close to the base of the span’s southeast side.  In late February 2009, Mayor Moran and Wayne Brown, MDOT executive, introduced Elizabeth Veglia, a mosaic artist, as the director of the ‘bridge panel project’.  Artists were notified that designs with a coastal theme had to be submitted by March 28th(The Sun Herald, February 25, 2008, p. A3,  February 26, 2008, p. A3 and The Ocean Springs Record, February 28, 2008, p. A1)

                Local artists selected to submit designs to Ms. Veglia to create her four panel mosaic mural were: Christopher Inglis Stebly; Susie Ranager; Ching Walters; and Pat Odom.  Elizabeth Veglia, artist and project director, installed two of the mural panels in late October.  The completed four-panel work was dedicated on May 15, 2009.(The Ocean Springs Record, October 30, 2008, p. A3 and April 30, 2009, p. 4 and The Sun Herald, December 7, 2008, p. F1, and May 16, 2009, p. A5)

Doggie ban

            In September 2009, the Ocean Springs City Council voted unanimously to prohibit dogs on the Ocean Springs portion of the Biloxi Bay Bridge.  Owners of pets not removing the excrement dropped by their canines on the walkway was the salient reason for this action.  The doggy bag disposal station was removed and a “No Dogs” sign replaced it.  Biloxi continued to allow dogs on its side of the span.(The Sun Herald, September 17, 2009, p. A1)




 After Katrina: Rebuilding Lives and Infrastructure(MDOT: Jackson, Mississippi-2007).

Artists of the Gulf Coast-A Commemorative Coloring Book, (MDOT: Jackson, Mississippi-2007).

Biloxi Bay Bridge-Ribbon Tying Ceremony, (MDOT: Jackson, Mississippi-2007).

Mississippi Renewal Forum, Summary Report, (The Town Paper: Gaithersburg, Maryland-2005).


The Bay Press, “On building bridges [guest editorial by Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway], February 3, 2006, p. 1.

The Bay Press, “MDOT inspects drawbridge”, April 28, 2006, p. 3.

The Bay Press, “Bridge viewers restricted to certain areas”, September 1, 2006, p. 15.

The Bay Press, “Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge on schedule”, August 24, 2007, p. 1.

The Bay Press, “New bridge to feature local artwork”, August 24, 2007, p. 3.

The Bay Press, “Bridging the Gap”, Commemorative Section, October 25, 2007.

The Mississippi Press, “OS/Biloxi bridge project hits visible milestone”, December 19, 2006.

The Mississippi Press, “Celebration”, October 30, 2007, p. 1-A.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Bridge replacement process moves along", October 6, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Aldermen weigh second MDOT bridge plan", October 13, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Ferry still on city wish list pending bridge", November 3, 2005, p. A7.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Moran: Ocean Springs MDOT must unite", November 3, 2005, p. A4.

The Ocean Springs Record, "City OK may clear way for bridge", November 10, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "MDOT not listening to Ocean Springs bridge issues, Mayor says", November 10, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Group questions bridge", November 17, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "MDOT money woes cause bridge delay", December 1, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Brown defends MDOT's six-lane plans", December 8, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Bridge battles", January 5, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Studies of MDOT data take issue with six lanes", January 5, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Residents speak out, but board takes no action", January 5, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Six-lane bridge only option, Brown says", January 12, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Aldermen take on bridge plan tonight", January 12, 2006, p. A1.

 The Ocean Springs Record, "City acquiesces to six-lane bridge”", January 19, 2006, p. A1

The Ocean Springs Record, “City pursues temporary US 90 bridge”, February 9, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "MDOT to rebid bridge”, March 9, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "(Gene) Taylor touts safety factor of MDOT’s bridge plans”, May 18, 2006, p. A6.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Signature’ bridge pushed’, August 3, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Brrr-bridge”, January 18, 2007, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Bridge work on schedule”, June 14, 2007, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “City’s bridge party plans are under construction”, October 11, 2007, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Search for [Biloxi Bay Bridge celebration] money ends with success”, October 25, 2007, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Bridging the Gap”, Commemorative Section, October 25, 2007.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Students celebrate bridge”, November 1, 2007, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Bridge party details announced”, November 1, 2007, p. A3.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Postmark to commemorate bridge-opening milestone”, November 1, 2007, p. A3.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Murals come to life”, October 30, 2008, p. A3.

The Sun Herald

The Sun Herald, "Temporary ferry system under discussion", October 21, 2005, p. A10.

The Sun Herald, "Bridge will have extras", November 3, 2005, p. A8.

The Sun Herald, "Denyer: Megabridge not for O.S.", November 16, 2005, p. A9.

The Sun Herald, "History, future square off on design", December 1, 2005, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "'We can proceed' MDOT: Cities agree on bridge plan", December 7, 2005, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "Moran to oppose bridge in letter", December 7, 2005, p. A8.

The Sun Herald, "MDOT's bridge plan backed", December 14, 2005, p. A16.

The Sun Herald, "O.S. Mayor battles six-lane bridge, "December 23, 2005, p. A1. 

The Sun Herald, "Jackson County Supports 6 lanes, "December 29, 2005, p. A1. 

The Sun Herald, "He's (Wayne Brown) no poet, and he knows it, "December 29, 2005, p. A3. 

The Sun Herald, "Moran to meet about bridge", January 2, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, "U.S. 90 bridge project still in limbo", January 4, 2006, pA2.

The Sun Herald, "Bridge design may not fly", January 4, 2006, pA2.

The Sun Herald, "Bridge proposals to be submitted today", January 13, 2006, p. A3.

The Sun Herald, "Aldermen support six-lane bridge”, January 14, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "If you can’t raise the bridge”, January 19, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, "Drawbridge or no? Be prepared for delay”, January 21, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bids on bridges come in high”, January 24, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Threat or truth? ”, January 25, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Lifespan ”, February 3, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “MDOT’s way or the highway, it seems? ”, February 3, 2006, p. A10.

The Sun Herald, “Biloxi Bay bridge update”, February 3, 2006, p. A10.

The Sun Herald, “MDOT ups the ante to 95 feet”, February 22, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bid may be let Tuesday…or not”, February 23, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge’s fate lies with feds, attorneys”, February 28, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “MDOT eases up on bridge”, March 29, 2006, p. A4.

The Sun Herald, “Before and After [Katrina]-‘Biloxi Bay Bridge”, April 1, 2006, p. A8.

The Sun Herald, “Paving the way”, April 8, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “MDOT cautious on ferries”, April 20, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Biloxi Bay bridge coming”, May 16, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “MDOT gets three bridge bids”, May 27, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “K.C. firm wins bid on bridge”, June 6, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Ferry service sinking”, June 7, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Old bridge is making new reefs”, June 10, 2006, p. A1,

The Sun Herald, “Biloxi Bay bridge is on its way”, June 17, 2006, p. A3.

The Sun Herald, “None of the above’ wins out on bridge”, July 27, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Moran presses her case for nicer bridge", July 29, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "Moran, MDOT agree on pretty bridge", August 19, 2006, p. 3.

The Sun Herald, "Ferry work project bids come in high”, September 12, 2006, p. A5.

The Sun Herald, "MDOT set to let ferry contract”, September 20, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, "Cost of convenience”, September 25, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "Ferry expected this afternoon”, October 31, 2006, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "Ferry to set sail”, November 1, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, "Great day for a ferry ride”, November 2, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, "Bridge coming along”, December 8, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, "Bridge on schedule”, February 8, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "

The Sun Herald, "The missing link”, May 2, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "Going UP”, May 3, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "Commemorative Section”-‘Spanning history’, May 13, 2007, 15 pages.

The Sun Herald, “Biloxi-O.S. to start planning bridge party”, June 4. 2007. p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “MDOT planning bridge dedication”, June 6, 2007, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “One dead, one missing in bridge accident [Bay St. Louis], June 15, 2007.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge work [Bay St. Louis]halts, probe begins”, June 16, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge work  [Bay St. Louis] resumes today; names of injured not released”, June 19, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Expect ‘celebration to remember’”, June 24, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge may be open early”, July 15, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge on schedule”, August 17, 2007, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “Lighting to delay Bay [Bay St. Louis] bridge”, October 2, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Funding, logo for bridge fete OK’d”, October 10, 2007, p. A8.

The Sun Herald, “Moran calls on history in logo defense”, October 11, 2007, p. A9.

The Sun Herald, “Beam plunges off bridge into bay”, October 18, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Let’s cross this bridge when we come to it”, October 21, 2007, p. F4.

The Sun Herald, “Cause unknown for bridge beam fall”, October 22, 2007, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, “New bridge is already ‘tagged’”, October 27, 2007, p. A3.

The Sun Herald, “Political overtones for bridge opening”, October 28, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Reconnected [Commemorative Section], October 28, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Four days to go”, October 28, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Biloxi Bay Bridge/Past and Present”, October 28, 2007, p. A7.

The Sun Herald, “New bridge bends at both ends”, October 30, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge to open after day of parties”, October 31, 2007, p. A10.

The Sun Herald, “Ocean Springs events”, October 31, 2007, p. A10.

The Sun Herald, “Together again”, November 1, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “So much more than a bridge”, November 1, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge celebration highlights”, November 1, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Official MDOT events”, November 1, 2007, p. A8.

The Sun Herald, “Biloxi events”, November 1, 2007, p. A8.

The Sun Herald, “Ocean Springs events”, November 1, 2007, p. A8.

The Sun Herald, “Biloxi Bay Bridge is cause to celebrate”, November 1, 2007, p. C2.

The Sun Herald, “Open for business”, November 2, 2007, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge Opening: Biloxi, November 2, 2007, p. A6.

The Sun Herald, “The last missing link”, November 2, 2007, p. A6.

The Sun Herald, “Bridge Opening: Biloxi, November 2, 2007, p. A6.Biloxi

The Sun Herald, “Bridge Opening: Ocean Springs, November 2, 2007, p. A7.

The Sun Herald, “A day to celebrate the days ahead”, November 2, 2007, p. A7.


The Ocean Springs Record, “Bridge in final phase, artists called”, February 28, 2008, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Ocean Springs calls for submissions for bridge art”, February 25, 2008, p. A3.

The Sun Herald, “Four artists’ work sought for bridge”, February 26, 2008, p. A3.

The Sun Herald, “MDOT expects to open all lanes Monday”, April 3, 2008, p. A2.


The Ocean Springs Record, “Officials to dedicate mosaic bridge panels”, April 30, 2009, p. 3.

The Ocean Springs Record, “The Biloxi Bay Bridge and all things considered”, May 21, 2009, p. 3.

The Sun Herald, “Mayoral hopefuls [Moran-Walker] debate bridge”, May 24, 2009, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Symbol of unity shouldn’t divide Ocean Springs”, May 24, 2009, 2009, p. B2.

The Sun Herald, “OS bans dogs from bridge”, September 17, 2009, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Gazette, “Dog ban on bridge spurs comments”, September 24, 2009, p. 16.