On Saturday, January 3rd, the Castelaro , a fine schooner was launched at Point Caddie. It was built by Marsh Ridgeway for Messrs. Lopez & Co., and is intended to be used in the oyster business. She is a fine craft, and the builder deserves credit for the workmanship manner in which the craft is built. Wine flowed freely and the launch will long be remembered. By May 1880, Castelaro was employed in bringing oysters from outside and planting them on the bedding grounds of Lopez & Dukate. These gentlemen intend to keep well supplied with oysters, and be ready to meet the demand when the trade opens again.(The Pascagoula-Democrat-Star, "Biloxi Items", January 30, 1880, p. 3 and May 21, 1880, p. 3)
Captain John Boardman was running the Relief, a steamer, to Ship Island from Biloxi for daily excursionist. The steamer left Biloxi at 9:00 a.m. Visitors were given two hours to visit Fort Massachusetts and the Ship Island Lighthouse before returning to the mainland. A new Mathushek piano was on board the vessel for those who enjoyed music. The Relief could also be chartered to make trips to other points along the Coast at reasonable rates.(The Biloxi Herald, June 28, 1890, p. 4 and July 19, 1890, p. 4)
The old Keno has come back beating the Baucalache and May H this week. The Keno is a 16-foot, round-bottom, cat boat and is the fastest of her size on the Coast having won 51 races of 56 sailed.(The Biloxi Herald, June 20, 1891, p. 4)
Captain Charles T. Tuero (1834-1909), the well-known boat builder, has just finished a beautiful cat-rigged boat which was launched yesterday on Back Bay. The Nina is the name of the new craft, which is 26 feet [at the] keel, 11 feet, 4 inches beam, with a draught of only 18 inches. The Nina was for sale in December 1895.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, October 22,1892, p. 4 and December 4, 1895)
In May 1894, the new, 18-foot catboat, Rosina, built by Frank Taltavull (1851-1930) was for sale by Wallace Montross of the Montross Hotel. Asking price $65.(The Biloxi Herald, May 26, 1894, p. 8)
In early May, a sloop is launched and rigged at W.N. Johnson’s Shipyard in Biloxi and sailed to Southern Yacht Club as Joanne.(The Biloxi Herald, May 2, 1896, p. 8 and The Daily Picayune May 11, 1896)
Frank Taltavull (1851-1930) well-known Back Bay ship buildrer has moved his plant to Deer Island.(The Biloxi Herald, August 22, 1896, p. 8)
Nydia, a 30-foot, cabin sloop with a 9-foot beam and built by William Nels Johnson (1861-1914) of Biloxi, Mississippi was at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans and owned by John A. Rawlins (1867-1944). The vessel was built with oak frames and planked with 7/8 inch, choice cypress.(The Biloxi Herald, May 8, 1897, p. 5)
The Lillie W was launched on September 2, 1899 at the Johnson Shipyard on Back Bay for James S. Wentzell (1857-1936).(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 3, 1899, p. 8)
Fabacher's yacht, Semper Idem, is here for the regatta.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, August 26, 1900, p. 14)
Two Frank Taltavull (1851-1930) built vessels, the schooner, A. Gerdes and Brother, and the steam tug, Julius Elbert, became involved on May 29, 1901. Captain Antoine V. Bellande (1829-1918) was in command of the schooner in the Mississippi Sound en route to Ocean Springs. The seven-man crew was below preparing for bed with a green sailor at the helm. The weather roughened and his inexperienced allowed the vessel to capsize. Captain Bellande and his crew were found by the Julius Elbert clinging to their stricken ship. They were rescued and having lost all their possession to the sea.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, May 29, 1901)
The Taltavull shipyard on Back Bay launched a large schooner for Lopez & Dukate on October 1st. Yet to be named, the vessel was 62 feet in length with an 18-foot beam. This was the second schooner built for them this year by Taltavull.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, October 1, 1901, p. 8)
Tony Copaitich of Biloxi drowned when his skiff capsized on the Pass Christian reef. He was working for the Dunbar Canning Company of Bay St. Louis from the Belle Casino with Captain Toney Bunicich at the helm.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, March 29, 1902, p. 4)
Joe Fountain's Viola Rose was launched at North Biloxi in early September.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 3, 1903, p. 6)
Biloxi's boat carpenters built 21 large vessels in 1903. Among them were: Julia L. for Lopez & Dukate by W.N. Johnson; Henry for Martin Fountain Sr. by Martin Fountain Sr.; Cayuga for William Gorenflo by Louis Gorenflo; Mayflower for Martin Fountain by martin Fountain; Noretta L. for Lopez & Dukate by W.N. Johnson; Wilda L. for Lopez & Dukate by W.N. Johnon; Anna K. for Lopez & Dukate by Lopez & Dukate; Kangaroo for August A. Bellias Jr. by P.B. Hand; Cairo for E.C. Joullian by E.C. Joullian; Ollie Ford for Foster Brothers by Mike Frazer; Oxalis for E.C. Joullian by E.C. Joullian; Oneida for William Gorenflo by Louis Gorenflo; Louisiana for G.W. Dunbars Sons by W.N. Johnson; Intrepid for G,W. Dunbar Sons by W.N. Johnson; Edna D. for G.W. Dunbar Sons by W.N. Johnson; Clara L. for Arnaud Lopez by Frank Taltavull; Elbert D. for W.K.M. Dukate by W.N. Johnson; Nemesis for Elder & Bradford by W.N. Johnson; Viola Rose for Joseph Fountain by M.J. Caperal.(The Daily Herald, November 17, 1903, p. 6)
Southern Yacht Club Commodore, John A. Rawlins, sold Nydia to A. Baldwin Wood (1879-1956) in December.(The Daily Picayune, December 14, 1904, p. 12)
In 1905, the Taltavull & Rerecich Shipyard was in operation at 402 East Back Bay Avenue. It was sold by Bernard Taltavull to George Melvin in August 1908. Casimero Rerecish (1858-1918) was an 1896 Austrian (probably Croatian) immigrant.(HARCO, Ms. Chattel Bk. 10, p. 216.)
The Sarah Kennedy, a Biloxi schooner, recently built by Martin Fountain departed for the Louisiana marshes on her maiden voyage.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, December 28, 1905, p. 1)
Losses to Back Bay shiyards from the September 1906 Storm were as follow: Martin Fountain-$500; Bernard Taltavull-$400; and John Brander-$300. The Goldbug, a schooner owned by Peter Eskald sank in front of the ways of Brander's Shipyard.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 28, 1906, p. 1)
J.C. Brander & Son Boat Builders was founded on Back Bay near Main Street in 1906.
A late September storm caught several Biloxi boats shrimping in the Louisiana marshes. Those driven ashore were: the William Coates owned by Tony Rosetti and Dauntless of Louis Gorenflo. Other boats in the area were: Henry M.; Nels Johnson, and Indian Girl of the Barataria Canning Company; Wilda L. and Elbert D. of Lopez & Dukate; Jolly Traveler owned by Willie Bullock; and Dorenza of Henry Diaz.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 30, 1907, p. 1)
The new schooner, Volunteer, built by Casmir J. Harvey for Louis Gorenflo measures 48.8 feet x 17.9 ft x 3.4 ft and 15 tons gross.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, August 12, 1908, p. 2)
The power boat Jerry owned by Dunbars, Lopez & Dukate and two days out of Morgan City, Louisiana sank in 70 feet of water in the Gulf of Mexico while headed for Biloxi with 4000 cases of oysters. The Jerry was a duplicte of the Tom. The was 80-feet long and its twin-screws were powered by two 35-HP Globe engines. The Jerry was mained by Captain R.F. Gillen, master; Robert Nurse, enginneer; Julius Collins, cook; and George Foretich of Morgan City and Peter Harvey of Biloxi. The crew rowed a lifeboat to the Ship Shoal Light.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, May 14, 1909, p. 8)
J. Covacevich completed the Ernestine D, a gasoline screw, for Ulysse Desporte. It was measured in September 1909 as follows: length=51.5 feet; beam=17.8 feet; and depth=3.8 feet. The vessel's displacement was 19 gross tons and 10 net tons.(The Daily Herald, September 9, 1909, p. 4)
The September 1909 Hurricane destroyed seven schooners and three men drowned at Bay St. Louis when the watercraft were driven by strong windsy and trapped against the L&N RR Bridge and smashed. Reported lost were: Clementine running for U. Desporte with Charles Lanston at the helm and Adam Kosczky drowned; running for Lopez & Dukate; J.J. Cowart owned by Bernard Taltavull lost with two negro crewmen; Faultless owned by Mrs. Dulion; Margaret Kennedy owned by Kennedy & Kennedy with Captain J. Christ and working for Desporte; Sidonis, L.D. Byrd owner, and sailed by Cook Seymour; Fannie ?, V. Simonich, owner, running for Desporte, and the Champion working for Charles Torch proprietor of the Peerless Seafood factory at Bay St. Louis which was severely damaged.(The Daily Herald, September 24, 1909, p. 3)
In September 1911, John Jelusich (1871-1945) was captain of the Apache and was working in the Louisiana marsh near White Grass Island for the Gorenflo factory when his crew discovered the corpse of a young man tied to a stake. They believed the body was placed there to be retrieved by Parish officials.(The Daily Herald, September 6, 1911, p. 8)
In early July, the Eveline Desporte recently built by Anson Holley (1882-1967) for Ulysses Desporte ran a trial race with the Jennie Johnson, a similar schooner. The Holley-built, Biloxi schooner did well and when fitted with top sails should be competitve in sailing races.(The Daily Herald, July 8, 1912, p. 8)
Marine News-William Gorenflo sold Gladiola, a schooner, to Louis Gorenflo; New licnse issued to the Mercedes Baltar, owned by Martin Fountain Jr.; Rigging of the G. Frentz was changed from schooner to gasoline screw. George D. Long, master, and Edgar S. Balthrope, owner; Schooner Ida May H.-Matteo Surdich (1886-1973), master; Schooner, Clara LaCoste-Raymond Barber, master; and Gladiola-Frank Perez, master.(The Daily Herald, March 7, 1913, p. 1)
Marine News-Schooner Ethel sold by D.A. Ramsay to Chris Lawrence and Walter H. Latimer. Austrian Girl sold by Nick Skermetti (sic) to Marco and John Skermetti (sic). Change of Masters: Schooner Winchester-Lewis Ryan; Schooner Velma B-John Gabriel; Schooner Austrian Girl-Rudolph Santa Cruz; Schooner Annie Strong-John Jelusich; Schooner Eva Foster-Paul Fountain; Schooner Reflector-John Tapper; Schooner Lillie W-W.H. Williams; Schooner New Design-Tony Stanovich; Schooner Ethel-Emil Carron; Schooner Ruthie-Stip Mihojevich; Schooner Pawnee-Tony Rosetti; Schooner Foucher D.-Francis Ryan; Schooner Alina-P.J. Trochessett. Gas screw Tom-Harry Chatham; Gas screw Peerless-Perry Winchester; and Gas screw Mabel Nelson-Joseph Fountain. License renewals: Gas screws, Osage and Mattie J. and Sea Lion, a schooner barge.(The Daily Herald, April 13, 1913, p. 2)
John Charles Brander (1843-1913), native of Nova Scotia and Biloxi resident since 1906, passed at his home at 421 Copp Street in June 1913. He came to Biloxi from Pascagoula, Mississippi where was engaged in shipbuilding.(The Daily Herald, June 16, 1913, p. 8)
William Nels Johnson (1861-1914), Biloxi's master boatwright, died at NOLA on June 26th. Johnson had relocated to NOLA circa 1909 and built boats in the Crescent City.(The Daily Herald, June 26, 1914, p. 1)
On July 2nd, Augustus ‘Gussie’ Fountain (1883-1926) registered his newly built Clara Fountain, a fishing schooner, with Lewis E. Curtis, U.S. Deputy Collector of Customs. The large vessel was named for Gussie’s spouse, Clara Noble (1887-1939). The Clara Fountain was 53.7 feet long; 18 feet at the beam; and 14 feet deep. It went to work for the Foster-Fountain Packing Company who already had the schooners, Mercedes Baltar and Leroy in their fishing fleet.(The Daily Herald, July 3, 1915, p.8)
In August, Fred Moran completed a 30-foot, motor launch for Dunbars, Lopez and Dukate to be used to tow vessels at their Brunswick, Georgia factory.(The Daily Herald, August 4, 1915, p. 2)
The American Girl sank with a load of oysters near Half Moon Island, St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana in mid-December. Captain Peter Parker was fishing for the Desporte Brothers. He was accompained by Captain James Parker, master of the New Resident when the incident occurred. The Eccentric, a gasoline boat, was sent to salvage the oyster catch, but she also sank. The American Girl was raised and working again in short time.(The Daily Herald, December 18, 1915, p. 1, Decemebr 23, 1915, p. 2 and December 30, 1915, p. 2)
In June, the following schooners and thier masters were listed by the Deputy Collector of Customs: Ida May H.-Luka Kuljis; Esther Redding-Walter Seymour; Evelyn Desporte-Vincent Gospodonivich; Wonder-Jake Rosetti; Marvel-Sam Marinovich; Mercedes Baltar-Geroge Misko (1878-1971); Ocean Queen-Martin Fountain Jr.; Anne Mabey-Joe Benezue; Edna D.-James Spindler; Margerie D.-license renewed; Commanche-Peter Wescovich; Lillian C.-J.S. Creel; Irma D. [gasoline screw]-Rudolph Santa Cruz; Algonquin-Delmas Lattimer; Mettle-Arnie Blodenich; Regina Edna-Frank Barhonvich; American Girl-Joe Kriss; Apache-Eugene Tiblier; Clara Fountain-Augustus 'Gussie' Fountain (1883-1926); Valley Redding-John Cox; and Winiford B. Hudson Johnson.(The Daily Herald, June 10, 1916, p. 3)
In December, J.D. 'Jackie-Jack' Covacevich (1875-1962) completed the Young Champion for John Sumich of NOLA. The vessel was a gasoline screw 50.3 feet long; 15.5 feet at the beam; with a depth of 3.8 feet and valued between $3000 and $4000 dollars.(The Daily Herald, December 18, 1916, p. 3)
The International Shipbuilding Company was chartered in January by Henry Piaggio (1874-1921) of Gulfport; Barney E. Eaton (1878-1944) of Gulfport; and D.R. McInnis of Orange, Texas.(The Daily Herald, February 3, 1917, p. 2)
Lewis E. Curtis, Deputy Collector of Customs, said that at least fifty boats have been built in Biloxi shipyards in the last two months. The majority of these vessels were constructed for the sea food industry. Among those building watercraft in Biloxi were: Francis Brander (1886-1965); Martin Fountain; Jacob D. 'Jackie-Jack' Covacevich (1875-1962); Isham Brazier; Henry Brazier; Anson Holley (1882-1967); and the Moran shipyard. These new vessels are usually 25 to 30 feet in length and average about $200 per boat.(The Daily Herald, January 31, 1917, p. 1)
The Brander Shipyard is negotiating with the U.S. Goverment to build a submarine chaser every two months. The 130-ton vessels would be 110 feet long, 15 feet at the beam with a depth of 14 feet.(The Daily Herald, April 5, 1917, p. 1)
The Biloxi Shipyard and Box Factory was chartered in June 1917 by Francis Brander (1886-1965). Mrs. J.C. [Emma] Brander (1862-1925), and J. Frank Stuard (1866-1941) of Gulfport.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chattel Bk. 18, p. 379)
Lewis E. Curtis, deputy collecor of customs, measured the Sarah Ford, a schooner built by Anson Holley (1882-1967) for Mrs. J.I. Ford of Pascagoula as: 28 gross tons and 17 tons net; 58 feet long with a 19.4-fot beam; and depth of 3.8 feet. The vessel has been leased to the C.B. Foster Packing Companty to be used for shrimp and oyster haresting. The Seafood Company has four schooners being built by the Biloxi Shipyard and Box Factory, which will between $1800 and $2300. The Fountain Brothers are building a schooner for themselves and Anson Holley is constructing another schooner for Mrs. J.I. Ford.(The Daily Herald, July 7, 1917, p. 5 and July 12, 1917, p. 1)
In 1917, the Seafood Company built four Biloxi schooners for their fishing fleet. These four, nearly identical watercraft were constructed on Biloxi’s Back Bay at the Biloxi Shipyard and Box Factory. The first three boats were: I. Heidenheim, H.E. Gumbel, and Louis Goldman. The fourth schooner was called Anna May. Their measurements were as follows: length-54.5 feet; breadth-18.8 feet; depth-4.4 feet; gross tonnage-28 tons; and net tonnage-19 tons.(The Daily Herald, September 13, 1917, p. 3)
Russell Barnes, a Biloxi author, model builder and schooner historian, relates that these four boats “were designed by Jackie Jack Covacevich and were built right along side each other at the Biloxi Shipyard and Box Factory owned by the Branders. These were a bit different from the traditional Biloxi schooner in that they were all spoon bowed instead of clipper bowed. Otherwise they were fairly typical centerboard schooners. On the admeasurement papers I found in the National Archives, Jackie Jack is listed as the builder on two of the schooners, I. Heidenheim and L. Goldman, while Francis Brander is listed as the builder on the other two, Anna Eve and H.E. Gumbel. It is fairly obvious that Jackie Jack cut the half model and lofted the boat himself. He then created the templates for each piece of the hull frame and then cut four copies of everything so that four schooner could be simultaneously and to the exact same measurements.” (e-mail February 29, 2010)
In September, Anson Holley completed the Edna May for the C.B. Foster Packing Company. The vessel was measured by Lewis E. Curtis, US Deputy Collector of Customs as followes:length=56.3 feet; beam=19.4 feet; hold depth=4.2 feet.(The Daily Herald, September 18, 1917, p. 3)
In January 1918, International Shipbuilding Company at Pascagoula had four vessels of which the frames were nearly completed. They were driving piling to construct a new set of ways. International was building a company town on its land as fast as materials could be procured. The housing erected was for their employees.
The Dierks-Blodget Company also at Pascagoula also had the frames for four ships nearly finished. The first vessel to be launched would be called the Pascagoula.(The Daily Herald, January 22, 1918, p. 2)
In January 1918, the Gulf Ship Company of Pascagoula acquired the shipyard of George Frentz (1841-1928) for $7500. Mr. Frentz had decided to sell because he had reached retirement age. The Gulf Ship Company was owned by A.F. Dantzler, B.G. Boaz, and H.H. Colle (1879-1955). The L.N. Dantzler Lumber Company owned fifteen vessels which could utilize this shipyard for overhauls and repairs.(The Daily Herald, January 22, 1918, p. 2 and January 30, 1918, p. 6)
Devitt-Clark Packing Company borrowed $25,000 from Charles Redding and listed their boats as follows: Schooners: Joe Lawrence; Ocean Queen; Henry Clark; and Lilly Rose. Barge: Black Box; Motor Boats: Sunny Boy; Zuzudora; Hunter; Cuba; and Cracker Jack; Trawlers: No. 1 thru No. 5; Skiffs-fifteen and nine large seines.(The Daily Herald, April 23, 1918, p. 5)
The Elizabeth Ruth, a 193-foot schooner, was launched on June 15th. Catherine Lopez, daughter of Julius Lopez had the honors. The large vessel was built on Back Bay by the Mississippi Shipbuilding Corporation and designed by Zona W. Carter (1879-1953), a Biloxi resident, and named for the daughter of Englishman William Hasketh Lever (1851-1925), Lord Lever, founder of soap manufacturers, Lever Brothers.(The Daily Herald, June 12, 1918, p. 1, June 15, 1918, p. 1. and June 17, 1918, p. 3)
In January, the Joseph Leopold, a four-masted, schooner built for J.F. Stewart of Gulfport was measure by Customs Agent Lewis Curtis as follows: length-180 feet; beam-38 feet; and depth-13 feet; gross weight-668 tons; net weight-573 tons.
The Joseph Leopold was built by J.D. Covacevich at the Biloxi Shipyard and Box factory on Back Bay.(The Daily Herald, January 23, 1919, p. 1)
In February, the first schooner built by the Biloxi Drydocks and Shipbuilding Company was sailed to Portugal with a cargo of lumber by Captain Frank Castanera for delivery. The vessel was 100 gross tons [700 net tons] and the first of seven contracted. The boatyard employed about 160 men and managed by Claude Daughdrill. H.D. Money was president of the company.(The Daily Herald, February 19, 1919, p. 1 and April 11, 1919, p. 1)
The second ship launched by the International Shipbuilding at Pascagoula was City of Biloxi, an auxuliary barkentine.(The Daily Herald, April 22, 1919, p. 1)
The following factory schooners were entered in the 1920 Annual Biloxi Regatta: C.B. Foster Packing Company: Edna May and the Sarah Ford. Dunbar-Dukate Company: Marjorie D and the Willie Ewing. Seafood Company: Louis Goldman, Henry Gumbel, and I. Heidenheim.(The Daily Herald, July 1, 1920, p. 3)
The Biloxi Shipyard and Box Factory filed for bankruptcy on June 15th. The end of the shrimp and oyster season as well as a declining market for boats and lumber were blamed for the approximate $23,000 insolvency of the company.(The Daily Herald, June 16, 1921, p. 8)
In July, the Frentz Shipyard had a large boat on the ways. The El Rito of New Orleans was in the yard for repairs.(The Daily Herald, July 26, 1921, p. 3)
Henry Piaggio (1874-1921), 1882 Italian immigrant from Genoa and founder of International Shipbuilding at Pascagoula, Mississippi, expired at Mississippi City, Harrison County, Mississippi on December 19, 1921. Margaret Piaggio (1878-1955, his Ohio born spouse, died on March 7, 1955. Their corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery at Gulfport.(The Daily Herald, December 20, 1921, p. 1)
Fred Moran's shipyard launched the Biloxi, a 41-foot, 11-foot beam, cabin cruiser for a NOLA cotton broker. The vessel had a 60-75 HP Scripps 6-cylinder engine, six pullman berths, and the capacity for fifty people. The Naomi, utilized in the supper tourist trade, was overhauled for Captain Ernest Moran Sr. Ojo Ohr was having a run-about built powered by a Pierce Arrow automobile engine capable of 20-25 miles per speed and planned to be raced in the July Biloxi Regatta.(The Daily Herald, June 20, 1922, p. 3)
The Silver Moon, a 53-foot pleasure craft built owned by Edwin L. Moran (1888-1951) and designed by Jack Covacevich (1875-1962), was launched in mid-June on Back Bay. It was powered by a 125 HP Sterling engine and was touted as the fastest pleasure boat on the Mississippi coast. The Silver Moon was moored at the Riviera pavilion and had the capacity to carry an estimated 150 passengers to the barrier islands.(The Daily Herald, June 22, 1951, p. 10)
On the eve of July 5, 1925, the Isle of Caprice resort opened for business. Fun seeking tourists departed for the resort from landings at the Biloxi Yacht Club, White House, Riviera Pavilion, and Wachenfeld’s Pier. The Silver Moon, commanded by Ed L. Moran (1888-1951), the brother of A.P. ‘Fred’ Moran (1897-1967) of Ocean Springs, Jolly Jack, Charles Redding, and Margaret provided transportation. In the new pavilion, music was made by the Buena Vista Orchestra.(The Daily Herald, July 6, 1925, p. 3)
In June, Captain Peter Skrmetti, master of the Pan American, a converted Biloxi schooner, made excursion trips to the Isle of Caprice and the other barrier islands. The vessel had a length of 66 feet with a 22-foot beam and a seating capacity of 200 and a maximum passenger capacity of 300. There was also a small dancing platform on the boat. It made two trips daily from Desporte’s Pier for the Isle of Caprice.(The Biloxi News, May 30, 1926, p. 1 and June 6, 1926, p. 20)
Captain Ernest L. Moran (1888-1951), son of Francis D. Moran and Elizabeth L. Vanderpool, and brother of A.P. Moran (1897-1967) of Ocean Springs, commanded the Iona Louise, a Biloxi charter boat. In September 1926, he announced that his vessel would discontinue daily trip to Ship Island. Instead, it would make the voyage to the Isle of Caprice departing at 1:45 P.M. from the Buena Vista and Biloxi Yacht Club piers. The Iona Louise left the islet at 6:00 P.M.(The Daily Herald, September 1, 1926, p. 2)
Additional marine transportation service to the Isle of Caprice was provided by the Silver Moon operated by Captain Ed Moran (1881-1951) and the Water Witch of Captain Foster Swetman (1893-1953).(The Biloxi News, May 30, 1926, p. 1)
The Altha of the Desporte Packikng Company returning from the oyster grounds of Louisiana ran aground in the fog near Ship Island. Captain Caanan and his five crewman swam to the island and were provided food and warm clothing by Ship Island lighthouse keeper, Captain Clarisse. The Altha lost about 0ne-half of her harvested oysters.(The Daily Herald, March 8, 1927, p. 1)
The Nonpareil, a large, excursion boat used in the Isle of Caprice passenger service by Walter H. 'Skeet' Hunt and Arbeau Caillavet, was receiving it final touches at the Brasher Shipyard in North Biloxi. Henry Brasher had removed the old superstructure and rebuilt the decks, a glass-enclosed cabin, and pilot house. Two new diesel engines were also installed. The refurbished vessel had a glass enclosed dance floor and the glass windows of the dance floor and passenger cabin could be raised and lowered depending on the weather and temperature. The old boat was a former government and pilot boat.(The Daily Herald, January 19, 1928, p. 2)
Jack Covacevich (1875-1962) will launch a new schooner on May 29th at his shipyard on Back Bay near Oak Street. The vessel was 57 feet long with a 18-foot beam and was built for the Biloxi Canning Company and is the 217th watercraft built in Biloxi by Mr. Covacevich and his two sons. The boat will be rigged for the Gulf Schooner Championship race to be held at the Biloxi Yacht Club in July.(The Daily Herald, May 28, 1929, p. 3)
Mike Halat (1879-1929) drowned in Lake Borgne when fell off the Arcadia run by Captain Steve Rodolfich. Halat's body was found near the Rigolets by Captain Vincent Kuluz of the Annie Long.(The Daily Herald, August 31, 1929, p.1)
The Mercedes Williams, a Biloxi launch, was captured near Galveston, Texas in April 1930 by the USCG and charged with engaging in illicit trade and failing to heave to when challenged after 14 shots were fired. The vessel was built Biloxi by Ed Lebatard and was licensed at Gulfport in September 1928 in the name of DeJean Packing Company. The Mercedes Williams was found stranded on a reef in Galveston Bay circa 1929 with liquor valued at $75,000 in her hold. The vessel was sold by the Federal government on December 23, 1929.(The Daily Herald, April 21, 1930, p. 2)
The Jennie Johnson, an auxiliary schooner, owned by Louis O. Johnson received fire damage amounting to $150 on April 20, 1930. Captain Hub Terrell was burned on his arm and torso from the fire which emanated from the ignition of gasoline vapors in the vessel’s cabin when Terrell lit a match. The Jennie Johnson had just returned from the outside oyster reefs with a hold laden with mollusks and was moored at the Johnson Canning Company wharf. Biloxi firemen were called to the vessel and performed admirably saving the boat and its cargo. The cabin was burned as well as some of the decking and the mainsail was badly damaged by the conflagration. (The Daily Herald, April 21 1930, p. 2
Whilomena, a power boat. owned by Marko Skrmetti of the Deer Island Fish & Oyster Company, and operated by Captain Henry Green, ran aground off West Beach between Fayard and Caillavet Streets.(The Daily Herald, May 6, 1932, p. 2)
In June, the Albatross, a $75,000, sailing yacht that had been designed and built for the USCG, was making daily trips to Ship Island from the Buena Vista pier. The recreation center on Ship Island owned by the Joe Graham Post of the American Legion at Gulfport, had a restaurant, casino, beer garden located on the parapet walls and in the interior of old Fort Massachusetts. There were also sleeping quarters in the fort.(The Daily Herald, June 26, 1934, p. 2)
On August 12, 1934, J.J. “Ben” O’Keefe (1894-1954) christened the ‘Big Ben O’Keefe’, a 40-foot fishing vessel, built for the Cruso Canning Company of William Cruso. The boat was built by Adolph Toche (1900-1988) at the Parker Shipyard on Back Bay and was the seventeenth of the Cruso fleet. Big Ben O’Keefe had a 17-foot beam and could haul 175 barrels of oysters. Captain Pete Wescovich chose to honor Mr. O’Keefe.(The Daily Herald, August 13, 1934, p. 8)
Adolph Toche commenced building boats on Biloxi's East Beach.
About 100 boats were built at Biloxi in 1936. On Back Bay, Jules Galle built twelve boats. Among these, his ship carpenters built one for Visko Viskorich of Empire, Louisiana and one for John Mixad. At the Fred Moran boatyard Joe and Hypolite Fountain built the Golden Hope, a 45-foot trawler. At the foot of Holley Street Ursand A. Parker (1878-1960) launched a 57-foot lugger for John Evonich. On Lee Street near Back Bay, Benney Yeager and J.C. Yeager, his son, completed the Elda Louise, for James Powell and W.K. Skinner. A 40-foot trawler for Lyman Yeager was to be launched in ten days. J.C. Yeager was building a 26-foot trawler for himself. The Yeagers were starting a 42-foot craft for P.E. Lamey and a pleasure craft for W.G. Gerrard was being built. Oral 'Fatty Jack' Covacevich on Back Bay at the foot of Crawford Street launched the Eva Marie, a 53-foot fishing boat, for Grego Taliancich (1912-1988) and Matteo Taliancich of 3rd Street and working for the Kuluz Brothers. On EAST BEACH, the Toche Brothers boatyard situated between Cedar and Pine Street was the largest shipyard on the Mississippi Coast. Presently building three shrimp-oyster boats. Maitre Pitalo was expected his 49-foot boat in mid-September and about the same time, Mavar Fish & Oyster Company would get a 47-foot lugger. William Cruso had a two month wait for his 55-foot shrimp boat. The Toche Brothers had just completed the Buda, a 52-foot fishing boat for Peter Sekul, the Anna Williams, a 47-footer, for 'Peck' Williams, and the Antonia Margaret, a 52-foot boat, for the Mavar Fish & Oyster Company. Louis and Sydney Manuel built a work-pleasure vessel on the lawn of Louis Manuel on Roy Street. It was launched into Back Bay at Holley Street.(The Daily Herald, August 29, 1936, p. 1)
Collector Lewis Curtis, US Customs, registered the following boats at Biloxi in the first eight months of 1936: Annie L., Dudley Lang; Cecile, Miss Elizabeth Misko; Cal Williams, DeJean Packing Company; Doris M., Martin Fountain Sr.; Dorothy T., Mrs. H.M. Toche; Della Moore, Mr. and Mrs. L.B. Moore; Evelyn K., P.F. Pevrie of Gulfport; Iris-Beverly, Dubaz Brothers; Lucky Bill, Henry Green; Mary B., Mrs. Mary Braneki; Miss Roumania, John Cocojar; Milna, Philipich Brother; Progress, Arthur Baker; Pearl S., Pearl Stanovich; Pete Pitalo, Mateo Pitalo; Queen Mary, Antonio Pitalo; Rose, Joe Berry; Ronald Boy, Ophelia Williams; Rose Marie, Mrs. Lillian Krohn; Rose Mary, Roland Creel; Sea Queen, Ralph Baker; Silver King, John E. Graham of Coden, Alabama; Wallace S., Steve C. Sekul; Buda, Peter Sekul; Anna Williams, Carroll Williams Jr.; Anthony Boy, Tony Baricev; Antonia Margaret, Mavar Fish & Oyster Company; Eva Marie, Grego and Matthew Taliancich; Elda Louise, James F. Powell and William K. Skinner; and Golden Hope, Mrs. Agnes Fountain.(The Daily Herald, August 29, 1936, p. 1)
The DeJean Packing Company launched a new type vessel, the Eustis McManus . The boat was built at the Covacevich Shipyard and was 48-feet long with 15-foot beam and was powered by a 24 horsepower Lathrop engine.(The Daily Herald, November 2, 1936, p. 5)
The Pan American Clipper, a $15,000, diesel powered, excursion boat, recently completed by Toche Brothers Shipyard on East Beach, has been operating for several weeks between Biloxi and Ship Island with Captain Peter Skrmetta at the helm. The vessel was built for the Mavar Fish and Oyster Company and runs at 12 mph. The boats runs from her main landing at the foot of Delaunay Street [Baltar Pier?] and makes stops at the Buena Vista, Hotel Biloxi, and White House piers on its regular schedule of three trips daily.(The Daily Herald, March 30, 1937, p. 3, May 29, 1937, p. 6, and June 25, 1938, p. 3)
On June 19th, the Covacevich Ship Yard lauched the Seawanhaka II for Eddie Keep, a retired NOLA banker. The vessel was 30 feet in length with a 7 foot beam. Buckingham of Biloxi made the sails for the Marconi rigged sloop which was to compete in local regattas.(The Daily Herald, June 19, 1937, p. 6)
Francis Brander (1886-1965) launched the Catherine Pitalo for Alex Pitalo. The vessel was 54 feet long; 16.4 feet at the beam; and powered by a 36 horsepower Lathrop engine. This was the twelfth boat constructed at the Brander yard on Back Bay adjacent to the Southern Shell Packing Company factory. Mr. Brander and Willie Bowen are now laying the keel for a 54 foot by 16 foot power boat for John Mixad. They are also building a 40 foot by 12 foot vessel for T. Creel, which will be launched in ten days.(The Daily Herald, July 12, 1937, p. 5)
In September, the Covacevich Ship Yard began work on a new 64-foot yacht for E.W. Reed of Magnolia, Mississippi. The vessel to be called Mary Ellen II had a 17-foot beam and 5-foot draft and was powered by a 200 h.p. diesel. Mr. Reed sold the Mary Ellen to B.S. D'Aantonio. Captain Eddie Cannette will sail and maintain the vessel for E.W. Reed.(The Daily Herald, September 30, 1937, p. 2)
Ingalls Shipbuilding was organized by Robert Ingersoll Ingalls Sr. (1882-1951), Robert I. Ingalls Jr. (1906-1968), Monro Bannister Lanier (1887-1970), and W.R. Guest. The Ingalls' yard was situated at the mouth of the East Pascagoula River on the site of the 1917 International Shipbuilding yard of Henry Piaggio (1874-1921) et al.(The Daily Herald, February 25, 1959, p. s10)
On New Year's Day, Felix Olier (1907-1940), native of Lafayette, Louisiana, drowned when he fell from the Clara Lopez, owned by Jack Lopez and working for the Cruso Canning Company.(The Daily Herald, January 2, 1940, p. 1)
On February 7th, a fire at the J.D. Covacevich Shipyard on Back Bay, which was investigated by Alonzo L. Gabrich, police chief, and Evon Swetman, asst. fire chief, and determined to be arson caused $6000 damage to the hull and deck of a 64-foot, freight boat. The vessel was under construction for the Burwood Packing Company. The frame of a boat being built for Stamps Farrar, NOLA attorney, received about $100 from the conflagration.(The Daily Herald, February 8, 1940, p. 1)
The Seajoy Corporation was operating three vessels from the Riviera Hotel pier for deep-sea fishing, boat rides, and swimming parties to the barrier isalnds. Captain L. J. Herrman ran the Sea Queen, a 58-foot long, watercraft which could sleep fourteen. Two Chris Craft deluxe clippers were also used for charters.(The Daily Herald, May 13, 1940, p. 3)
August Carl Hartman (1912-1940) died suddenly on May 13th while aboard the June Rose, a 42-foot trawler owned by Laz Quave and Roy Rosalis. The vessel was located between Main Pass and Chandeleur Island when Hartman expired.(The Daily Herald, May 14, 1940)
On June 8th, Ingalls Shipbuilding at Pascagoula launched the Exchequer, an 18,000 ton, an all-welded ship.(The Daily Herald, June 8, 1945, p. 1)
In early February, the Louis Goldman with Captain Joseph Spanner (1899-1980) at the helm caught fire and sank in the Biloxi Channel west of the Biloxi Lighthouse. The vessel valued at $4000 was enroute to the Pass Christian oyster reefs with a crew of six. It had left the Biloxi Canning Company on Back Bay. The captain and crew were rescued from the water by Nettie, a boat that also belonged to the Biloxi Canning Compnay.(The Daily Herald, February 3, 1941, p. 1)
Captain Eddie Ford and the Bonnie Yvonne, a power boat, again brought artifacts from a sunken vessel that he had disocvered fifteen miles south of Bay St. Louis in the St. Joe's Channel. Captain Ford had recovered in his trawl, a musket, 3" cannon balls, and other relics, which he brought to Biloxi.(The Daily Herald, February 12, 1941, p. 8)
Corbett Summerlin (1892-1941), native of Theodore, Alabama and crewman on the Lillian Holley which was run by Captain Joe Wilson, drowned on March 7th near the Southern Shell Fish Company factory on Back Bay.(The Daily Herald, March 8, 1941, p. 1)
WESTERGARD SHIPYARD [far left]
The Biloxi Port Commission accepted the $43,322 bid of general contractor, Currie & Corley of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to erect a steel building [$18,486] to be used as a boat plant at the foot of Holly Street [sic] on East Back Bay. Albert J. Ragusin was awarded the plumbing contract [$3549]; Ray V. Pisarich, electrical [$1522]; and roofing [$1365] to Biloxi Roofing and Sheet Metal.(The Daily Herald, April 16, 1941, p. 1)
Elmo Kates (1917-1941), son of Malisso Kates, drowned five miles southwest of Bay St. Louis when he fell from the Maybelle, a 12-ton, oyster schooner, working for the Johnson Canning Company. The crew consisted of Captain Jack Shoemaker, Walter Barnes, Carl King, and Edwin King.(The Daily Herald, April 21, 1941, p. 1)
Ernest Lee Jahncke (1877-1960), native of NOLA, former asst. Secretary of the Navy and former Biloxi summer resident and well-known Gulf Coast yachtman, has accepted the post of special representative of the Bureau of Ships, Gulf area, for the US Navy.(The Daily Herald, May 19, 1941, p. 8)
Ingalls launched the SS African Comet on June 28th. The $4,099,000 vessel was four hundred eighty-nine feet long, had a sixty-nine foot beam, and a twenty-seven foot draft. It was built for the American South African Lines.(The Daily Herald, June 14, 1941, p. 1)
A twelve mile match race between the Bill Cruso sailed by Larney Summerlin (1897-1955) for the C.C. Canning Company against the Cal Williams with Captain Thornton of Dejean Packing at the helm, was contested on August 11th. The two hour contested ended with the Bill Cruso winning by 20 seconds.(The Daily Herald, August 12, 1941, p. 5)
Ingalls Ship Building [A.J. Grassick, general manager] at Pascagoula contracted with the US Maritime Commission for $150,000,000 to build thirty-one ships in the next two years. The all-welded, steel vessels would be cargo, passenger, and a combination cargo-passenger ships and finished by the end of 1943.(The Daily Herald, September 13, 1941, p. 1)
In early September, the US Navy awarded Westergard Boat Works a contract to build two wooden vessels.(The Daily Herald, September 19, 1941, p. 1)
By mid-September, the 16-month efforts of the Biloxi Port Commission and from city officials and leading Biloxi citizens, were nearly realized with the completion of the Westergard Boat Works on Back Bay at the foot of Lee Street. I. Daniel Gehr (1895-1959), local architect supervised the construction of the warehouse, fabricating buiulding, loft and drafting buildings, general offices, and work sheds. The larger strutures were of fabricated steel construction with concrete foundations while the smaller buildings were modern, frame structures. Currie & Corley of Hattiesburg, Mississippi was the general contractor while other employed to erect the shipyard were: Iron Steel Products Company; Albert J. Ragusin-plumbing; Ray V. Pisarich, electrical; and roofing-Biloxi Roofing and Sheet Metal. The Jackson County dredge built the channel into the boatyard which had a 400-foot frontage on Back Bay.(The Daily Herald, September 20, 1941, p. 3)
In early October, a strike at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula was averted when AFL union welders walked off the job due to a disagreement in the pay scale. Shipyard management and the AFL union reached a quick agreement and the shipyard lost little time working on all-welded, cargo-passenger vessels for the American South African Line and the US Maritime Commission.(The Daily Herald, October 2, 1941, p. 1 and October 3, 1941, p.1)
On October 21st, Ingalls laid the keel for USS Monitor, the first of four submarine net layers, to be built at th eyard for $50,000,000. The vessels were about the same size as the C-3 cargo ships [496 feet in length with a 69-foot beam].(The Daily Herald, October 21, 1941, p. 1-article acclaimed that this was the first warship ever built in Mississippi)
The Westergard Boat Works laid the keel for a US Navy submarine chaser on October 21st. The second submarine chaser of the two boat Navy contract was commenced in early November 1941. Frederick D. Lawley (1878-1953), Boston naval architect, designed the vessels.(The Daily Herald, October 22, 1941, p. 1 and November 5, 1941, p. 1)
Ingalls launched the SS Pass Christian on November 20th. It was the 4th vessel named for a Mississippi Coast community. The SS Pass Christian was renamed USS Fred C. Ainsworth in 1943.(The Daily Herald, November 21, 1942, p. 1)
On December 1, 1942, the Westergard Boat Works was recognized again for its excellence in building boats and barges. 8th District Naval Headquarters awarded the plant with the Navy ‘E’ Pennant with two white stars. The boatyard was first lauded for its work in February 1942.(The Daily Herald, November 30, 1942, p. 6)
Ingalls launched the SS Sea Hound, an all welded cargo ship, on December 19th. It was the 17th C-3 ship vessel built. The SS Sea Eagle had been recently completed.(The Daily Herald, December 21, 1942, p. 1)
The USS Biloxi (CL-80) was launched 23 February at Newport News, Virginia by Katherine G. Braun (1892-1983), spouse of Biloxi Mayor, Louis E. Braun (1890-1951). Construction began 9 July, 1941.
In February 1943, the Heirs-at-Law of Claudia G. Vick Dacey (1869-1937) and Marguerite Dacey (1900-1942) , executed a one-year lease with an option to purchase to officials of the Westergard Boat Yard, William P. Kennedy II (1873-1951), Victor B. Pringle (1909-1977), Thomas N. Pringle (1906-1970), James W. Pringle (1914-1971) and W.B. Goodman, a co-partnership, on three tracts of land situated on Rhodes Point on the Back Bay of Biloxi. These three contiguous tracts which were bisected by Bayview Avenue ran north for over 800 feet to Back Bay and were for the part 185 feet in width. The lease ran from February 20, 1943 to February 20, 1944 and cost $1200 per year. If the option were executed during the lease period, the Dacey Heirs would sell their three parcels for $8000.(Harrison Co. Chancery Court Land Deed Bk. 255, p. 69)
SS Sea Darter, later renamed USS Henrico [APA-45]-image made during Vietnam era
Ingalls Shipbuilding at Pascagoula, Mississippi launched the SS Sea Corsair and SS Sea Darter on March 31, 1943.(The Daily Herald, March 30, 1943, p. 1)
On June 18th, Westergard launched its 2nd, composite oil barge. The $2,000,000 contract called for the construction of thirty oil barges to haul petroleum products from Texas-Louisiana to Jacksonville, Florida via the Intracoastal Waterway. The hydrocarbons were off-loaded to other barges for shipment to cities on the Atlantic Seaboard. The barges were 160 feet long, 34 feet wide, and 10 1/2 feet deep with the capacity for 6000 barrels. James W. Pringle was superintendent of the boatyard and Connie Collins supervised construction.(The Daily Herald, June 19, 1943, p. 1)
The USS Gulfport (PF-20), a 303-foot frigate, was launched on 21 August at the American Ship Building Company yard in Cleveland, Ohio. The vessel was christened by Mrs. John C. Chambers, nee Porter, of Gulfport, Mississippi, the ship's sponsor. Mrs. Pat Harrison Sr. was the matron of honor. During WWII, the vessel served convoy duty between America and North Africa. She was sold for scrap at Seattle, Washington in November 1947.(The Daily Herald, August 27, 1943, p. 1)
The SS Sea Owl was launched at Ingalls on October 29, 1943. (The Daily Herald, October 21, 1943, p. 7)
The Ingalls Ship Building Company at Pascagoula, Mississippi was praised for its war efforts by the director of the US Maritime Commission.(The Daily Herald, November 4, 1943, p. 3)
William L. Stallings (1895-1943), foreman at the Westergard Boat Works, died suddenly at his home on December 11th.(The Daily Herald, December 13, 1943, p. 2)
The SS Sea Perch was christened and launched at Ingalls on December 17, 1943.(The Daily Herald, December 16, 1943, p. 10)
Ingalls Shipyard at Pascagoula was awarded the Gold Star for its production.(The Daily Herald, December 20, 1943, p. 1)
In late February, Westergard Boat Works launched the USS Pehewah, a 110-foot Navy tugboat. Miss Elizabeth 'Betty' Eileen Burns sponsored the vessel. She was a 1940 BHS graduate and was secretary to Warren B. Goodman, purchasing agent for the boatyard.(The Daily Herald, February 25, 1944, p. 1)
Westergard Boat Works launched another 110-ft harbor tugboat on March 3rd. Betty Burns again broke the champagne bottle on the bow. About 75 workings days are required to fully equip these vessels before they are sent to NOLA for assignement.(The Daily Herald, March 2, 1944, p. 1 and March 4, 1944, p. 6)
Collen C. Scholtes (1917-1996), wife of L. Joseph Scholtes (1917-1994), Westergard Boat Works employee, launched another 110-ft Navy harbor tugboat in March. Two more boats expected to be launched next month.(The Daily Herald, March 20, 1944, p. 6)
On April 8, 1944, the A.W. Covacevich shipyard on Back Bay launched the Matthew Kuluz, a streamlined, cabin, type trawler, for the Kuluz Brothers. A 100 HP Caterpillar engine powered the vessel, which was 58-feet in length, had a 16-foot beam, and hold depth of 4 1/2 feet with the capcity of 180 barrels of shrimp. Marie Kuluz (b. 1933), daughter of Anthony Kuluz (1891-1956) and Annie Mozaro Kuluz (1901-1979), sponsored the shrimp boat. Covacevich has now has two boats under construction: a 52-foot trawler for the Biloxi Canning Company and a 55-foot vessel for Louis Thornton. Frank Broussard, Alex McCaleb, and Gene Ryan assisted A.W. Covacevich in the vessel's vonstruction.(The Daily Herald, April 10, 1944, p. 7)
Marjorie Mounger sponsored the USS Pitchlynn [YTB 283], a 110-foot, 400 ton, Navy harbor tugboat launched in May 1944 at the Westergard Boat Works.(The Daily Herald, May 23, 1944, p. 1)
Ingalls Shipbuilding at Pascagoula planned to build a railroad locomotive.(The States-Item, April 30, 1945, p. 7-B and The Morning Advocate, October 3, 1945, p. 6-A)
On its fifth annversary, Ingalls Shipbuilding launched its 70th ship, the SS Sea Scorpion.(The Daily Herald, June 8, 1945, p. 1)
Westergard Boat Works on Back Bay launched the second 65-foot, all-steel, trawler. Two other similar trawlers are under construction at the yard. The trawlers are completed in six weeks from keel-laying to delivery. The shrimp hold for these vessels is 14 feet by 24 feet.(The Daily Herald, June 22, 1945, p. 5)
The SS Mormacdawn was launched on January 4, 1946, the first ship of the new year, and the 77th ship to be built at Ingalls shipyard. The SS Mormacdawn was the third in a series of seven vessels for the Moore-McCormack Line to be launched in two months.(The Daily Herald, January 5, 1946, p. 1)
Del Norte, a 17,000 ton, all-welded vessel built for Delta Lines and the first post-WWII luxury liner, was launched on January 11, 1946.(The Daily Herald, January 7, 1946, p. 1)
After WWII Francis A. Brander (1886-1965), Master Ship Builder, returned to Biloxi from Galveston, Texas where he built many vessels for the US Navy and US Army. With Homer B. Fayard (1912-2004), his son-in-law, they began building the Brander Deep Sea Trawlers on East Back Bay and Lee Street in 1946.(The Ocean Springs News, May 30, 1957, p. 8)
Kennedy-Moran Enterprises Boat Works moved into the abandon Westergard Shipyard on Back Bay in October 1946 and had built 830 boats during its first year of operation. Moran had nine basic boat designs ranging in length from eight to seventeen feet. The Joseph Moran et al built boats were distributed locally by Bel-Bru Sporting Goods at 112 East Howard Avenue.(The Daily Herald, November 1, 1946, p. 7 and September 13, 1947)
Lewis E. Curtis Sr., Deputy Collector of Customs, announced that Biloxi's boat builders had completed 56 watercraft in 1947, as compared to 68 in 1946.(The Daily Herald, January 3, 1948, p. 1)
The Roy Rosalis, a 50-foot fishing boat, owned by Union Fisheries of Biloxi, burned to the waterline in a fire which occurred March 22nd about ten miles south of Gulfport. Arthur Landry was captain of the vessel and Mr. Comeaux, his crewman, escaped injury. Roy Rosalis of Union Fisheries said that the boat was built for $11,000 and that its salvage value was estimated at $800. There was no insurance coverage.(The Daily Herald, march 31, 1947, p. 3)
The Biloxi Boatwrecking Company owned by B.T. Jones of Memphis, Tennessee whose business was the dismantling and scrapping an LCI at the Moran Boat Works, Inc. suspended operations in mid-September because of his illness. Jones had purchased about 25 LCIs and 2 LSTs and they were in storage at Lake Charles, Louisiana. He planned to bring them to Biloxi for scrapping. Jones employed about 25 people in his operations(The Daily Herald, September 13, 1947).
Anton 'Brother' Francis Moran (1882-1948), lifelong Biloxi boat builder, died on February 12, 1948. He had been associated with the Moran Boat Works founded recently and during WW II was emplyed at the Westergard Boat Works. Anton was the brother of Fred Moran, Eddie Moran and Felix Moran and the spouse of Frances Bayer (1887-1967).(The Daily Herald, February 13, 1948, p. 5)
In February and March, Ingalls Shipbuilding acquired a $5 million dollar contract to convert a 24,000 ton, troop ship into a luxury liner and a $2 million dollar contract for .(The Daily Herald, February 28, 1948 and March 19, 1948)
The Wild Duck, a new 65-foot yacht owned by William P. Kennedy II, while on its shake-down cruise exploded and burned east of Ship Island about seven miles off Biloxi in early December. Mr. Kennedy and wife with their guests, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Gould of Detroit, Michigan, paddled a skiff from the derelict watercraft to Deer Island and saved themselves.(The Daily Herald, Decemebr 6, 1948, p. 1)
The Arnold V. Walker (1912-2005) Shipyard at Pascagoula which was establised in 1944 has four vessels under construction valued at $700,000.(The Daily Herald, March 17, 1949)
John Adolph Toche and Joseph Adolph Toche, his son, proprietors of Quality Boat Works of Biloxi, have began construction of all cypress skiffs. Their boats weigh between 60 and 80 pounds. The 80 pounders have a bait well and are about 8 inches wider than the 60 pound skiff. A.J. 'Tony' Creel, City Commissioner, recently acquired an 80 pound skiff that was nine feet in length and thirty-eight inches wide. Quality Boat Works is also building a $22,000 trawler for A.O. Suarez [probably meant Armindo O. Soares]. This vessel is 55-feet long and powered by a 165 HP GM engine.(The Daily Herald, April 7, 1949, Sec. 2, p. 1)
In early June, Brander Shipyard completed the Henry Barnett, a 62-foot, deep-sea, trawler powered by a 165 HP GM diesel, for Crawford Packing Company of Palacios, Texas. Branderr planned to soon launch a 72-foot trawler and two, 70-foot trawlers for shrimp packers at Corpus Christi, Texas.(The Daily Herald, June 8, 1951, p. 8)
In June, the Buccanier, a 42-foot, pleasure boat was completed for J.H. Rouse. The $10,000 vessel was built by Otis Eleuterius for $10,000 and was powered by a 225 HP diesel ebgine. Anson Holley built the cabin.(The Daily Herald, June 29, 1951, p. 11)
The Clara Foutain, owned by Carey Galle', and Warren Galle, owned by Cecil Galle', both sank in the Chandeleur Islands in mid-December, victims of a strong nortwester. The water pump on the Clara Fountain, which was manned by Carey Galle' and Cecil Galle', broke and the Warren Galle, with Moze Hebert and Nickie Hebert aboard, went to her aid when both vessels got caught in a winter storm and sank in shallow water. The fishermen were rescued by the Nike, a USCG cutter.(The Daily Herald, December 17, 1951, p. 1)
Zona W. Carter (1879-1953), naval arhcitect and designer and a native of NOLA and long time Biloxi resident expired on November 20th.(The Daily Herald, November 20, 1953, p. 7)
Toche Boat Builders and Repair Yard, Inc. chartered in Jackson County, Mississippi in June 1956. Four hundred shares of stock with a par value of $100 per share. Incorporators: John Adaulph Toche; Joseph Adaulph Toche; William Rogers Toche; and John Anthony Toche.(JXCO, Ms. Charter Bk. 3, pp. 93-98)
Robert Ingalls' yacht, Rhonda III, one of the largest yachts to dock at the Biloxi Inner Harbor arrived in early July. The vessel was built at the Ingalls' facilities at Pascagoula and Birmingham, Alabama. The vessel was 96 feet long and had a cruising range of 2500 miles and top speed of 13 knots. The Rhonda II burned in 1955.(The Daily Herald, July 6, 1956, p. 9)
The Socrates, a $40,000, 62-foot long and 19-foot wide, deep sea trawler built for the Liberty Fish and Oyster Company of Galveston, Texas was launched in late February at the Brander SY. This is the first of four vessel to be constructed for Liberty in Mississippi by Mr. Brander, but he had built boats for them in Texas.(The Daily Herald, February 25, 1958, p. 10)
The Savannah, the world's first nuclear powered merchant vessel, was launched by 1st Lady, Mamie Eisenhower (1896-1979), at Camden, New Jersey on July 21st.(The Daily Herald, July 21, 1959, p. 1)
The S.S. James Lykes, the first of 53 new cargoliners to be built by Ingalls for Lykes Brothers Steamship Company at a cost of $500,000 each, was launched on December 12th at Pascagoula, Mississippi.(The Daily Herald, December 12, 1959, p. 1)
In January 1960, the Covacevich Shipyard completed the Char-Ma-Ann, a smack boat built for Cook Fisheries of Panama City, Florida. She was 50 feet long with a 16-foot beam and was a snapper fishing boat. The shipyard also finished the Moreno Queen, a party boat, for C. Kelly of Destin, Florida. She was 65 feet in length with a 24-foot beam.(The Daily Herald, January 18, 1960, p. 14)
The Maritime Administration was studying the bid of Ingall's Shipbuilding Company to construct four cargo vessels for Lykes Brothers Steamship Company at an estimated cost of $36 million. Bethelem Steel Corporation of Sparrows Point, Maryland was the other bidder.(The Daily Herald, June 17, 1960, p. 2)
In July, Cabana Club Inc., a Jake Mladinich family enterprise that operated the Fiesta, Sea & Sirloin Restaurant, Trader John's and the Cabana Beach Motel on West Beach, acquired for $8600, a river boat from the US Corps of Engineers at Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The 158-foot long with a 30-foot beam, paddle-wheeler was built in 1925 at Charleston, S.C. The Mladinichs planned to use the vessel as a floating museum or touring boat.(The Daily Herald, July 23, 1962, p. 5)
Mrs. Joe W. Brown, nee Dorothy Dorsett (1896-1989), had her new $100,000, 56-foot long, luxury yacht brought down the Mississippi River to her new $3.5 million Broadwater Marina in late August. The vessel was built by Roamer Yachts of the Chris-Craft Corporation at Holland, Michigan.(The Daily Herald, August 25, 1964, p. 21)
The Gemini, a 71-foot, snapper boat built by the Covacevich Yard for Quality Foods of Bayou LaBatre, Alabama was launched in late August.(The Daily herald, September 2, 1964, p. 9 with photo)
Ingalls to build four cargo ships costing $55 million for American President Lines.(The Daily Herald, December 23, 1964, p. 1)
Francis A. Brander (1886-1965), Master Boat Builder, expired on May 18, 1965. Burial in the Biloxi City Cemetery.(The Daily Herald, May 18, 1965, p. 2)
Ingalls Shipbuilding Corporation planned to build for Litton Industries Leasing Corporation, six, super-container ships of 910-foot length with a speed of 27 knots.(The Daily Herald, October 27, 1965, p. 39)
Three vessels have recently been launched at Toche Boat Builders in Ocean Springs. All three boats are 72 feet long and 22 feet wide and are steel, shrimp trawlers. Owners of these watercraft are: L.E. and Fuller Childress of Fairhope, Alabama; Alton Fabre of Barataria, Louisiana; and the George Engine Company of Harvey, Louisiana. A 45-foot, wooden shrimp boat was also launched for John Martinez of St. Bernard, Louisiana. Two keels are being laid at Toche for two 75-foot steel trawlers and another 72-foot steel trawler is being built for Clarence Billiot of Marrero, Louisiana. W.W. Swan of New Orleans is having the shipyard build a 50-foot yacht.(The Daily Herald, August 3, 1967, p. 24)
TOCHE INDUSTRIES-Cumberland Trail
[from The Daily Herald, March 14, 1968]
On June 12th. Toche Industries released the Blue Angel, a 73-foot, $86,000 steel hull, shrimp trawler, to Stewart & Stevenson of Palacios, Texas. She was the sixth vessel completed by Toche in 1968 with eight steel vessels and two wooden boats under construction in the shipyard.(The Daily Herald, June 13, 1968, p. 23)
The intial site work and dredging to build the new $130 million West Bank Shipyard for Ingalls at Pascagoula, Mississippi commenced in June.(The Daily Herald, June 14, 1968, p. 1)
A.W. "Tony Jack' Covacevich (1907-1997) launched two steel-hulled, vessels on March 1st. The David Hall, a 75-foot trawler, was built for the DeJean Packing Company, while Big Bill, an 85-foot fishing boat, was built for the Kennedy family.(The Daily Herald, March 3, 1969, Sec. II, p. 15)
Ingalls [a Litton subsidary] planned to enter the business of overhauling submarines.(The Daily Herald, April 16, 1969, Sec. II, p. 21)
Jules Jerome Galle' (1882-1970), master boat builder of commercial fishing watercraft, died on July 16, 1970. Some of his vessels were: Deborah built in 1929 of 38-feet and ten tons for, Ronald B. Broussard; Miss Linda in 1946 for Henry L. Windham of 50-feet and 38 tons; Paw Paw in 1949 of 52-feet and 28 tons for Waletr Venoit Folse.
Ingalls Shipbuilding Company announced the laying off of 600 management and production personnel commencing November 14th.(The Daily Herald, November 7, 1975, p. A2)
Oral V. Covacevich (1902-1976), Biloxi boat builder, expired on April 11, 1976.
The Mr. Cheramie, a 65-foot tug boat with a 22-foot beam and powered by two, 400 HP engines, and built for Manny J. Cheramie, Inc., Golden Meadow, Louisiana by Toche Boat Builders, Ocean Springs, Mississippi was delivered in early August.(The Daily Herald, August 13, 1970, p. 25)
Jim H. McManus (1929-2000) acquired a 60-ft, cypress shrimp boat, which had been built in the 1940s by Jake Mladinich Sr. and called Freda May. McManus renamed the vessel, Jefferson Davis I, and planned to put it in service to conduct tours up the Biloxi and Tchoutacabouffa River.(The Daily Herald, June 3, 1984, p. C3)
John Adaulph Toche (1900-1988), Biloxi and Ocean Springs boat builder and the son of Joseph A. Toche (1872-1960) and Olevia Ryan (1872-1953), died October 16, 1988. Buried at Biloxi City Cemetery. (The Ocean Springs Record, November 22, 1972, p. 7 and The Ocean Springs Record, October 20, 1988, p. 3)
Anthony W. 'Tony Jack' Covacevich (1907-1997), long time Biloxi ship carpenter, expired on February 3rd.(The Sun Herald, February 1997, p. )
Nelious Clarence "Neil' Covacevich (1920-2011), last of a long time family of Biloxi boat builders, expired on April 6th. Neil's last vessel was the Mike Sekul, a Biloxi schooner, created for the Biloxi Seafood and Maritime Museum.(The Sun Herald, April 10, 2011, p. A and April 11, 2011, p. A4)
The Sandy Point, a 163-foot menhaden fishing boat, working for Omega Protein, Moss Point, Mississippi sank in 25-feet of water off the west end of Ship Island after colliding with the Eurus London, a 660-foot container ship en route to Freeport, Texas. Three seamen from the fishing vessel were missing after the tragedy.(The Sun Herald, May 20, 2011, p. A1)
Final Fantasy, a 54-foot, sports fisherman caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Mexico about 150 miles off of Biloxi and 7 miles north of the Ursa oil platform. Ursa Field is located in Mississippi Canyou Block 854 at N 28.154 latitude and W 89.103 longitude in about 4000 feet of water and is operated by Shell Oil from a tension-legged platform. Edison Chouest Offshore Company rescued Jamie Sablich, his two sons, and Jordy Pitalo and his son.(The Sun Herald, June 20, 2011, p. A4)
Both the Glenn L. Swetman and the Mike Sekul were not sailing Biloxi's waters as they were both in dry dock for repairs.(The Sun Herald, June 24, 2011)
Huntington-Ingalls was awarded a $98 million cost-plus, fixed-fee advance procurement contract modification for long lead materials for LPD 27, the 11th amphibious transport dock ship of the USS San Antonio (LPD 17) class. The first contract was awarded in October 2010.(The Sun Herald, July 15, 2011, p. D6)
Built in the early 1970s by Gene Weems and family and Bill Ross, the owner, and all Biloxians, the Lady Vera is being restored by Dale Nelson (b. 1929) and Miral Nelson, his son, with the idea of putting the 'old lady' back to work in the Gulf.(The Sun Herald, July 28, 2011, p. B7)
Huntington-Ingalls was awarded a $698 million contract to build an Arleigh Burke-class, Aegis, guided missile destroyer. Shipyard has work to keep workers busy into 2016.(The Sun Herald, September 27, 2011, p. A1 and October 5, 2011, p. A9)
The National Security Cutter 3, the USCG NSC 3 Captain Dorothy Stratton, was delivered to the US Coast Guard by Ingalls Shipbuilding on October 7, 2011.(The Sun Herald, October 8, 2011. p. A4)
VT Halter Marine dedicates first of four Egyptian [fast missle craft) ships, (The Sun Herald, October 26, 2011, p. A5)
Bill Holland, master wooden boat builder, launched the Miss Ashley, a 15-foot, Biloxi catboat, on May 17, 2013. The boat was built for a NOLA man.(The Sun herald, May 16, 2013, p. A1)
Cat boats, once work boats in the seafood industry are coming back to Mississippi Sound. Jerry Ellis, Bill Holland, Glenn Ellis, Jeff Broussard and Buddy Jumonville are making it happen in Biloxi. A race will be organized, the first cat boat race in 26 years.(The Sun Herald June 9,2013 P.10F)
The Biloxi Herald, "Latest City News", August 22, 1896.The Biloxi Daily Herald, "City News", March 29, 1902.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, "Shipbuilding", November 17, 1903.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, "Aftermath of Great Storm, September 28, 1906.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, "Big Storm in Gulf, 1907.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, "City News", August 12, 1908.
The Daily Herald, "New boat measured", September 9, 1909
The Daily Herald, "Crew of Biloxi boat saw corpse in marsh", September 6, 1911.
The Daily Herald, "New schooner makes good showing", July 8, 1912.
The Daily Herald, "Maritime News", March 7, 1913.
The Daily Herald, "Brander funeral this afternoon", June 16, 1913.
The Daily Herald, "Captain Johnson goes to beyond", June 26, 1914..
The Daily Herald, "New boat built at Biloxi yard", December 18, 1916.
The Daily Herald, "Fifty boats built in winter months", January 31, 1917.
The Daily Herald, "The Charter of Incorporation of the International Shipbuilding Company", February 3, 1917.
The Daily Herald, "To build schooners", July 7, 1917.
The Daily Herald, "New schooner built at Biloxi", July 12, 1917.
The Daily Herald, "Brander Shipyard at Biloxi may be used to build submarine chasers", April 5, 1917.
The Daily Herald, "", September 13, 1917.
The Daily Herald, "Trustee's Sale", April 23, 1918.
The Daily Herald, "Biloxi schooner [Joseph Leopold] measure bu U.S.", January 23, 1919.
The Daily Herald, "City of Biloxi launched". April 22, 1919.
The Daily Herald, "Schoners for entering Regattat", July 1, 1920.
The Daily Herald, "Biloxi shipyard sued as bankrupt", June 16, 1921.
The Daily Herald, "Henry Piaggio answers summons", December June 20, 1921.
The Daily Herald, "Handsome boat launched", June 20, 1922.
The Daily Herald, "Schooner will be launched tomorrow in Bay of Biloxi", May 28 1929.
The Daily Herald, "New Biloxi Boat ready", May 6, 1928.
The Daily Herald, "Boat released", January 19, 1932.
The Daily Herald, "To start daily boat service to [Ship] Island", June 26, 1934.
The Daily Herald, "Boat Building industry is working overtime in Biloxi", August 29, 1936.
The Daily Herald, "[DeJean Packing Company] Launch new boat", November 2, 1936.
The Daily Herald, "Launches new boat", July 12, 1937.
The Daily Herald, "Mary Ellen No. 2 being built by Reed", Jeptember 30, 1937.
The Daily Herald, "$6000 loss to big boat on Back Bay", February 8, 1940.
The Daily Herald, "Schooner [Louis] Goldman destroyed by fire in Biloxi Channel", February 3, 1941.
The Daily Herald, "Biloxi boats in a romance story [written by Elmer Wescovich]", February 19, 1941.
The Daily Herald, "Boatman [Corbett Summerlin (1892-1941)] drowns in Back Bay", March 8, 1941.
The Daily Herald, "Biloxian [Elmo Kates] drowns in fall from boat", April 21, 1941.
The Daily Herald, "Launch all-welded passenger ship", June 14, 1941.
The Daily Herald, "Bill Cruso wins Biloxi match race", August 12, 1941.
The Daily Herald, "To christen ship", October 21, 1943.
The Daily Herald, "Ingalls Yard comes in for praises by Maritime Director", November 4, 1943.
The Daily Herald, "William Stallings died suddenly", December 12, 1943.
The Daily Herald, "To launch Sea Owl at Ingalls on Friday", December 16, 1943.
The Daily Herald, "First ship of 1946 launched at Ingalls Pascagoula shipyard", January 5, 1946.
The Daily Herald, "Ingalls to launch new line Friday", January 7, 1946.
The Daily Herald, "33-foot craft [Janalyce of Charles Gaskin]is launched at Ingalls", October 31, 1946, p. 13.
The Daily Herald, "Moran Boat Works makes 830 boats during past year", September 13, 1947.
The Daily Herald, "Suspending scrapping of boats at Biloxi", September 13, 1947.
The Daily Herald, "Fifty-six boats completed in Biloxi", January 3, 1948.
The Daily Herald, "4 Biloxians escape as yacht burns", December 6, 1948.
The Daily Herald, "A.V. Walker shipyard has big backlog of orders", March 17, 1949.
The Daily Herald, "Build all-cypress skiff at Quality Boat Works in Biloxi", April 7, 1949.
The Daily Herald, "62-foot shrimp trawler built for Texas duty", June 8, 1951, p. 2.
The Daily Herald, "Four fishermen rescued after two boats sink", December 17, 1951.
The Daily Herald, "Ingalls' yacht at Biloxi port during cruise", July 6, 1956.
The Daily Herald, "Brander launches Deep Sea Trawler for Texas waters", February 25, 1958, p.10.
The Daily Herald, "Ingall's SY-Mississippi's largest industry", February 25, 1959, p. s10.
The Daily Herald, "Biloxi's Oldest Shipyard [W.N. Johnson-J.D. Covacevich] one of busiest on Coast", February 25, 1959, p. s12.
The Daily Herald, "Brander's Shipyard in Biloxi", February 25, 1959, p. 20.
The Daily Herald, "Toche boat builders operate only travel lift on Gulf Coast", February 25, 1959, p. s24.
The Daily Herald, "Build two boasts at Covacevich's", January 18, 1960.
The Daily Herald, "Ingalls bid on Lykes ships being studied", June 8, 1960, p. 1.
The Daily Herald, "Ingalls to build four cargo ships of $55 million", December 23, 1964.
The Daily Herald, "Francis A. Brander", May 18, 1965.
The Daily Herald, "Sign contract to start new shipyard [Ingall's West Bank]", June 14, 1968.
The Daily Herald, Two steel hull trawlers join shrimping fleet", March 3, 1969, Section II, p. 15.
The Daily Herald, "Jefferson Davis I open for river tours", June 3, 1984.
The Ocean Springs News, "Brander's Ship Yard at Biloxi aid in proseprity of this area specializes in deep sea trawlers", May 30, 1957.
The Sun Herald, "Tony Jack looks back on lifetime of boat building", January 3, 1993.
The Sun Herald, "Homer B. Fayard Sr.", May 20, 2004, p. A5.
The Sun Herald, "Nellus C. Covacevich", April 10, 2011 and April 11, 2011.
The Sun Herald, "Biloxi schooners in dry dock", June 24, 2011.
The Sun Herald, "Huntington-Ingalls wins $98 million Navy contract", July 15, 2011, p. D6.
The Sun Herald, "Looking beyond [Ingalls using composites to build deckhouses] SHIPBUILDING", July 17, 2011, p. C10.
The Sun Herald, "The lugger Lady Vera poised to make a comeback", July 28, 2011, p. B7.
The Sun Herald, "The Last Schooner [Helen-Lavengro]", August 10, 2011, p. C9.
The Sun Herald, "Ingalls awarded $697 million destroyer contract", September 27, 2011. p. A1.
The Sun Herald, "Ingalls Shipbuilding will have work to 2016", October 5, 2011, p. A9.
The Sun Herald, "Ingalls delivers first cutter to Coast Guard", October 8, 2011, p. A4.
The Sun Herald, "Ingalls Shipyard workforce earns praise", October 19, 2011, p. A7.
The Sun Herald, "VT Halter dedicates first of four Egyptian ships", October 26, 2011, p. A5.
The Sun Herald, "Management issues cost Ingalls", November 11, 2011, p. A5.
The Sun Herald, "Sailing Miss Ashley", May 17, 2013, p. A1.
The Emma Harvey
According to the indigenous people of coastal Mobile County, Alabama, the high tides and strong winds of Hurricane Frederick on September 12, 1979, blew this Casmir Harvey built schooner into the wide expanses of the Mon Island Marsh or Portersville Bay to the west of Cedar Point. The fate or position of the Emma Harvey is presently unknown, but it is generally held that the Biloxi built schooner was destroyed by Hurricane Frederick.
"EMMA HARVEY": A TALE OF THE JULY STORM, 1916
The recent near miss of Tropical Storm Alberto on July 3, 1994 reminded me of an incident that happened on the Mississippi Coast seventy-eight years ago almost to the day. It is a true story well documented in the journals and lives of the people of that time.
In the humid morning of July 6, 1916, railroad agent, John Drysdale (1869-1934), walked slowly across the L&N Railroad Bridge from Ocean Springs towards Biloxi. Soon he would announce to the world the fate of his little town on the eastern shore of the Bay of Biloxi. During the early morning hours a hurricane struck the Mississippi Coast roaring through Ocean Springs with wind gusts up to 125 mph. Destruction wrought by the tempest was manifested in roof, fence, chimney, tree, and shed damage.
No one was seriously injured, but plumber, George Dale (1872-1953), got a good scare when the Knights of Pythias Hall, which he was occupying during the storm got blown off its foundation. The colored Baptist Church was heavily hit by the strong wind force, and had to be torn down in the days following the storm. In the country, the Rose Farm north of Fort Bayou reported severe damage. At the C.E. Pabst (1851-1920) pecan orchards some of the older trees were damaged. More fortunate was Theo Bechtel (1863-1931) reporting only slight ruin to his potential crop.
At Biloxi, L&N Agent Drysdale found that city in great suffering. The hurricane had struck there also with unrelenting fury. The Back Bay and Point Cadet areas were especially hit hard. It would be days and even weeks before all the news of the great natural disaster would be known. At the time many ships were operating in the Mississippi Sound. These vessels weren't outfitted with the communication and weather reporting devices we have today. Consequently, most of the sailors and their vessels were caught unprepared. Many of the Biloxi schooners were fortunate in that they were working near the partially sheltered Louisiana marshes. Other mariners sought haven in the lee of the offshore barrier islands. Those not so fortunate rode the storm out at sea. Most seamen made it home to their port. One small Biloxi schooner wasn't so fortunate. It was the Emma Harvey and her story follows.
The Emma Harvey
The Emma Harvey was a Biloxi schooner utilized in the shrimp and oyster industry of the Mississippi and Louisiana coasts in the early years of this century. She was built by Casimir J. Harvey (1845-1904) at his Back Bay, now D'Iberville, shipyard probably in the 1890's, and was named for his youngest daughter, Emma Agnes Harvey (1889-1968). Although the physical dimensions of the Emma Harvey are not known, it is documented in Chattel Book 2, p. 232 of the Chancery Clerk's Office of Harrison County that Casimir Harvey conveyed a schooner on May 25, 1889, to H.T. Howard. The boat was called the H.T. Howard, and was thirty six feet in length, fourteen and two sixteenth feet in breadth, three feet deep, and weighed eight and thirteen one hundredths tons.
The Emma Harvey participated in some of the early Biloxi schooner races. In the 1901 Biloxi Regatta, she withdrew before finishing the first round because of heavy seas. After the days of the White Winged Queens had passed, the Emma Harvey was converted to a charter boat and trawler. She was last seen about 1978 in a canal at Cedar Point, Alabama north of Dauphin Island. Every ship has a tale to tell. The Emma Harvey has many and is an unusual craft as will be demonstrated.
On Tuesday morning, the Fourth of July 1916, the Emma Harvey owned by Ulysses (Lel) Desporte (1861-1927), a Biloxi oyster dealer, departed Back Bay on a shrimping trip to Chandeleur Island. Unknown to Captain George Duggan and his crew who consisted of Arthur Duggan, Lawrence Bennett, John Helm, John McDuffy, and Jack Atkinson, an Englishman, a category three hurricane was poised to strike the Mississippi Gulf Coast the following afternoon (July 5th).
The July Storm
The July Storm as it is known in the annals of Gulf Coast meteorology came ashore between Ocean Springs and Pascagoula, Mississippi. During this cyclone, several barometers in Biloxi registered 28.08" of mercury. Although this was the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded to this date, it was relatively high when compared to the mighty Camille of August 1969, which had a record low pressure for any storm to that time of 26.06" of mercury. The wind direction in the early hours of the storm was northeast, but shifted to the west where it remained until it abated in the early hours of the morning of July 6. A wind velocity of 90 miles/hour was recorded at Biloxi.
The Emma Harvey reached Chandeleur Island and was at anchor in Schooner Harbor on the west side of the island. This fact was corroborated by Captain Robert Williams of the schooner, Lagoda, also a victim of the furious storm. Other ships in the immediate area were the schooners: Laguna (Lagonia), and the Beulah D. The crews of these vessels were rescued in the days immediately following the hurricane by boats from Biloxi.
A vivid description of the harrowing experience in the Chandeleurs aboard the Beulah D is given by Louis Largilliere (1861-1950) in the July 10th, 1916, The Daily Herald (pp. 1 and 3).
He stated: he never wanted to go through such an experience again and he is grateful that he reached the mainland again. The Beulah D was caught in the storm while at anchor in Chandeleur Sound near North Keys. After the blow had overtaken them they put out two anchors but they were of no avail and the schooner was carried about the Gulf for a distance of thirty five miles after the masts had both blown out by the gale. During the drifting of the boat the members aboard were compelled to remain below most of the time as the wind was so strong that had they attempted to walk on deck they would have been blown overboard and lost forever. The hatches of the boat were blown away and canvas had to be tacked down to keep out the torrents of rain.
In the days and weeks following the great blow, Lel Desporte sent out motor vessels, primarily the Ursula C, captained by Johnny Duggan or Boy Bennett. With other relatives of the missing crew, they made a complete search of Cat Island, the Chandeleurs, Cryhoe Bay, Point Comfort, Earl Island, Bird Island, Breton Island, Taylor's Pass, North Keys, Battle Door, Southwest keys, and Neptune, Louisiana. This valiant search of the western sector discovered the abandoned schooner, Segura, and the schooner barge, Hussler, both from Biloxi at Cryhoe Bay in the Louisiana marshes. At Taylor's Pass, they located a drowned fisherman.
The only physical sign of the Emma Harvey after the great storm in the Chandeleurs was reported by Captain G.L. Fields of the schooner, Beulah D, who stated that when his crew went ashore on the island to search for signs of the Emma Harvey, they found nothing but a small meat board and small pieces of rope that had drifted ashore from some boat during the gale. They could see in the sand where the Emma Harvey was believed to have dragged her two anchors in her journey across the island to the east during the blow.
By late July, the hunt for the missing schooner continued aboard the Ursula C now captaincy by Flood Lanius. Henry and Fred Duggan, son of Captain George Duggan, were also aboard. The search party now concentrated its relentless efforts to the east combing Horn, Petit Bois, Dauphin, and lesser islands in that area. They also went to Pascagoula, Mobile, and the west Florida coast seeking information and leads. There were some sightings in the eastern Gulf, which gave hope for locating the missing crew and boat. The Coast Guard cutter, Tallapoosa, reported on July 11 that it had passed a schooner's mast twelve feet out of the water at Latitude 29.18 N and Longitude 86.55 W (approximately 100 miles southeast of Pensacola). About the same time, the private yacht, Shirin, of New Orleans passed a vessel within six miles of Grant's Pass (near Dauphin Island) with its right side up.
An unusual event occurred on August 2, when Martin Lomax, a teenage lad from Biloxi, found a bottle with a note in it on the south side of Deer Island. The note read: "Help. Help. On an unknown island". Signed George Duggan and crew. Some thought the note a hoax while others believed John Helm had written it since he always carried an empty flask in his pocket when at sea to be prepared for the emergency of a shipwreck.
The destiny of the vanished Emma Harvey was discovered on August 12, when the lost schooner was located by two fishing boats from Pensacola. She was found floating bottom side up about twenty five miles from Pensacola (other reports point to a location of seventy five miles). No sign of captain Duggan or any members of his crew were ever found. The derelict was towed to a mooring point near the Perdido Wharf in Pensacola by the tug, William Flanders.
Mr. Bruce S. Weeks, Deputy Collector of Customs at Pensacola, stated in his report of the incident the following: There are absolutely no indications that the crew of the Emma Harvey was saved and he expressed the opinion that the men from Biloxi, who went to the Chandeleur Islands on July 5, were lost in the hurricane, which swept over the Gulf on that date. No indication of crew and there does not seem to be much probability that they ever got away in the boats. The crew evidently cut away the rigging on the starboard side, but failed to cut it on the lee side first, and apparently, the rigging went over the port side, hung and the vessel simply turned over. The anchors appear to have been out, but only a short length of chain.
The Biloxi schooner, Emma Harvey, was deemed worth saving by Captain Rocheblane of the towing vessel, William Flanders, but because of the great salvage and towing expense, Lel Desporte decided to dispose of her in Pensacola.
The precedent information was assimilated from The Daily Herald in the issues July 7, 1916 through August 29, 1916.
Frank J. Duggan
A personal perspective of the incident is given by Frank J. Duggan (1912-2000) who is the sole surviving son of the skipper of the Emma Harvey, George Duggan. Frank Duggan resides at 344 Fayard Street in Biloxi on the site that his family moved to circa 1905. Previously the Duggans lived at 747 Reynoir. As Frank Duggan was only four years of age when his father, George, brother, Arthur, and cousin, Lawrence Bennett drowned that stormy July 5th evening east of the Chandeleurs, it wasn't until years later at the dinner table or while drinking beer with his older brothers, Charlie and Fred Duggan, that he would hear the familial version of the Emma Harvey disaster. The following narrative is a summary of the tale of the Emma Harvey as told to me by Frank J. Duggan on December 17, 1990.
The voyage to Chandeleur commenced as a suggestion from Johhny McDuffy when he told George Duggan, "hey, Cap, they're slaughtering shrimp out there and getting redfish with them in the seine". Captain Duggan mustered his crew, but son, Fred had disappeared to parts unknown. When the anchor was weighed, Fred Duggan was replaced by his brother, Arthur, a newly wed. Arthur was eager to earn good wages for his new family situation.
Fred Duggan who had sailed on the Emma Harvey many times with his father never liked the little vessel, and thought it unsafe in rough weather. He referred to it as a "deathtrap" and admonished Charlie Duggan to never sail on her. Fred preferred the larger schooner, Cavalier, and could never understand his dad's love for the smaller boat. The tragedy of the July Storm of 1916 has remained with the Duggan Family through the years as one would expect from such a sudden loss of loved ones.
After the Emma Harvey was towed into Pensacola and salvaged, a Miami man bought it from salvagers. He had it towed to southern Florida, and refurbish it with a new cabin, engine, and trawls. The US Coast Guard became suspicious of the vessel since it never seemed to utilize it fishing gear. When they boarded the craft, a cargo of illicit Cuban spirits was discovered in the hole. The rum runner was confiscated and sold at a sealed bid auction in Miami as a victim of the Prohibition enforcement years (1919-1933). The purchaser, an Alabama man, returned the Emma Harvey to the Gulf Coast, probably to Bon Secour, Alabama.
Cedar Point, Alabama
A trip by the author, to Cedar Point and Dauphin Island, Alabama on December 31, 1990 resulted in telephone conservations with Sadie Mae Collier Serra and John Henry Lamey. Sadie Serra is the daughter of Frank Collier. According to her, Frank Collier obtained the Emma Harvey from a Bon Secour man in a trade. The man may have been John Steiner or Budgey Plash. Collier gave $800 worth of fine oysters for the vessel. Mrs. Serra, the tenth of eleven Collier children, told of her father's success as a business man in Mobile County. Frank Collier and two associates owned twenty-five boats, a canning factory and grocery store on Dauphin Island, and an ice plant at Mobile. A disastrous fire at the ice plant and the Great Depression combined to bring the Colliers to financial chaos. They moved to Cedar Point circa 1933 with only 75 cents in the family treasury. Frank Collier began life anew by oystering in the bay. His wife opened the mollusks and sold them. This "mom and pop" operation slowly grew, and the Collier children were integrated into the operation as their age allowed. Sadie Mae Serra said that the Collier fortunes improved rapidly after the Emma Harvey acquisition.
Initially, the old Biloxi schooner was put to work as a ferryboat transporting people, mail, automobiles, and cattle from Cedar Point to the island. The Colliers ran a herd on the west end of Dauphin Island. Prior to World War II, the Emma Harvey would take day charters to the snapper banks. During the war years, fear of German submarines caused Captain Collier to ply the coastal and bay waters for trout. He would take as many as twenty people out for $30 per day and give them a delicious fish fry after the trip.
During the September 1947 Hurricane, the Emma Harvey was trapped by low tide at her mooring in the Cedar Point canal. The Collier family left for higher ground. When they returned the next morning, they found the valiant little lady on high ground adjacent to their store. During the night of fierce winds and violent seas, the vessel had stood as a barrier to protect the Colliers' building from storm tossed flotsam and other debris.
John Henry Lamey, a neighbor to Sadie Mae Serra, at Alabama Port worked as a deckhand on the Emma Harvey in the 1940s and 1950s with Weldon "Doc" Collier, the brother of Sadie Serra. He vividly recalls the search and discovery of the wreckage of a National Airlines DC-6 airliner, which crashed into the Gulf about twelve miles south of Fort Morgan. The accident occurred in February 1953. The commercial aircraft was en route to Moissant Airport, now Louis Armstrong International, at New Orleans from Tampa when it went down as the result of turbulent weather.
After the Dauphin Island Causeway was completed in the 1950s, the Emma Harvey plied the bay and Gulf waters as a shrimp trawler. According to the indigenous people of coastal Alabama, the high tides and strong winds of Hurricane Frederick on September 12, 1979, blew the Casmir Harvey built schooner into the wide expanses of the Mon Island marsh or Portersville Bay to the west of cedar Point. The fate or position of the Emma Harvey is presently unknown, but it is generally held that the Biloxi built schooner was destroyed by Hurricane Frederick.
Epilogue-Ocean Springs, Mississippi-July 7, 1994
Today I receive a telephone call from Bobbie Bond Helm who resides at 309 Live Oak in Ocean Springs. She tells me that her husband, Joseph O. Helm, Jr., is the nephew of John Henry Helm (1893-1916) who was a crew member of the Emma Harvey. Mrs. Helm further details the Helm Family relating that there were four Helm brothers and a sister: Conrad (1890-1914), Martin (1891-1954), John Henry (1893-1916), Joseph O. (1896-1968), and Rita (1898). Their father, John G. Helm (1867-1949), of German ancestry was born at New Orleans while their mother was Josephine Molero (1858-1914) of St. Bernard, Parish. The Moleros were from the Canary Islands. All the Helm men were born at New Orleans, and died at Biloxi, except John who was lost at sea east of the Chandeleurs on July 5, 1916.
Frank J. Duggan (1912-2000), the son of Captain George Duggan, the skipper of the ill-fated, Emma Harvey, resided at Biloxi and was married to Carrie Mae Voivedich (1913-2001). She spent her formative years at Ocean Springs. Mrs. Duggan's father, Nichcolas Voivedich, owned a store, on Washington Avenue about where Miner's Toys is now located. The Voivedich Brothers store closed in the mid-1920s.
To my present knowledge, other Ocean Springs residents with familial connections to the Emma Harvey through its builder, Casmir J. Harvey (1845-1904), are: former Ward IV Alderman, Phil Harvey; Carroll Clifford, Jackson County Board of Supervisor from Gautier; and myself. Phil Harvey is as direct descendant of Pierre Harvey, Jr. (1841-1878) and Victoria Koehl (1850-1904). Mr. Clifford descends from the builder, Casmir Harvey and Rosina Husley (1852-1937), and I am a descendant of Marie Harvey (1840-1894), and Antoine Victor Bellande (1829-1918). Marie was the eldest child, of French immigrant, Pierre Harvey (probably Hervais or Herve) (1810-1880+), and Celestine Moran (1811-1883). Casmir, Pierre, Jr., and Marie Harvey, who were born at Back Bay (present day D'Iberville), were siblings.