1906 dilemma

1906 dilemma osarep Tue, 03/23/2010 - 17:55

In December 1906, Antoine Bellande and J.H. Stilphin (1842-1920) were dropped from the lists of bar pilots by the board.  Captain Bellande was omitted because he lived in Jackson County.  Stilphen was dismissed from the active bar pilots roll because he had lost his foot. Captain Bellande  was reinstated by the pilot commissioner’s board when he moved into Harrison County.  It is not presently known where Captain and Mrs. Bellande relocated to, indeed if they did moved at all.  A compelling reason for their dismissal was the fact that the pilot commissioner’s had reduced the income of their twelve active bar pilots by lowering their fees from $4 per foot on foreign flag vessels to $3.50 and to $3 per foot on American ships from their previous $4 per foot fee.  With a reduction in the pilot staff to ten, the income of these men would be equivalent to their former wages, as they would have more work.(The Biloxi Herald, January 31, 1907, p. 1)

On March 11, 1911, Antoine Bellande was elected president of the Pilots Association.  An article in the The Pascagoula Star-Democrat of March 18, 1911, stated:

At a meeting of the Ship Island and Gulfport Pilots Association held yesterday at Ship Island aboard the pilot boat, Edward D. Barret, reorganization was effected and rules adopted for the ensuing four years.  Captain A. Bellande was elected president; M.A. Scarbrough, secretary and treasurer; F.D. Moran, manager.  Captain Bellande of Ocean Springs, who was named president, is 72 (sic) years of age and has been a pilot in Gulf Coast waters for the past 25 or 30 years.  He is one of the best known nautical men on the coast.  His health is splendid, he reads and writes without glasses and is active for his 82 (sic) years as any young man of 30.  He served as a pilot during the Civil War under Admiral Farragut.  Captain Bellande is very popular among his brother pilots and the honor of the presidency bestowed on him is richly deserved.

An example of Antoine Bellande's writing is given in this letter of December 21, 1908.  Faye Bellande Davidson had saved it through the years at her Church Street home in Biloxi and gave it to me following Hurricane Camille in 1969.

According to the 1910 Federal Census of Jackson County, Antoine Bellande and his family were residing on Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs.  Since Elizabeth Hoffen Catchot, Antoine's mother-in-law, had been living with them since 1900, I assume they may have been living in her house as she was a widow.  The only land transactions that I could locate in the Jackson County Courthouse show that Mrs. Antoine Bellande bought a lot from O.L. Bailey on February 15, 1909.  She purchased Lot 5 of Block 34 of the N. Culmsieg Map (1853-1854) for $800.  The lot had a front of 100 feet on Jackson Avenue and was 260 feet deep.  On April 19, 1911, she bought Lot 6 in Block 34 from Michael and Pat Farley for $1000.  It was contiguous and south of Lot 5 also with 100 feet on Jackson.  The current address of these properties should be at or near 506 and 510 Jackson Avenue opposite the lands of the St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.

Charles E. Schmidt, George Arndt, and other older residents of Ocean Springs have told me that the Bellande residence was at present day 509 Jackson Avenue where a commercial building is now located.  The Heath Family resided here later and George Arndt tore the house down in the 1930s for scrap.  After Captain Bellande's death, Mary Bellande may have moved across the street next to the church.

At the time of his retirement in September 1915, Captain Bellande was the Captain of Pilots for Gulfport Harbor and of 86 years.  His last years in Ocean Springs were spent peacefully as he enjoyed working on his home and garden.  Captain Bellande must have been surprised in October 1917, when Robert A. Jones of Washington D.C. representing the U.S. Department of Horticulture stopped at Ocean Springs on his way to Colorado.  As The Jackson County Times of October 17, 1917, reported, Mr. Young was the son of Captain Young who served with Antoine Bellande during the Civil War.  Young's elderly father wanted him to meet Captain Bellande. Death came to Antoine Bellande in the guise of cancer.  He died on a Monday morning, June 10, 1918, at 10:00 o'clock at his home on Jackson Avenue.

Mary Catchot Bellande passed away on May 22, 1931 at Los Angeles, California.  She and Antoine lay at rest in the Catchot plot of the Evergreen Cemetery on Fort Bayou at Ocean Springs.

Let us now take a glimpse of the lives of the children of Antoine and Mary Harvey Bellande.  As you may recall, they were: Joseph A. (b. 1868), Antoine, Jr. (b. 1869), Pierre (b. 1871), Ida (b. 1874), and Auguste (b. 1876).