Barrier Islands and wildlife





The Daily Herald, 'Causeway [to connect Coast with Ship and Horn Islands] bill is now up for action', April 16, 1954. p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Public invited to talks on Island Toll causewayDecember 10, 1964, p. 7)

The Daily Herald, Gulf Islands Seashore listed in mational guide”, May 2, 1973. 

The Daily Herald, [Land] Claims on Gulf Islands lost”, September 30, 1980, Sec. II, p. B1. 

The Daily Herald, “Gulf Islands district headquarters to be named for William Colmer”, March 21, 1983, p. 2. 

The Ocean Springs Gazette, "GINS releases final plan", July 24, 2014, p. 2.

The Ocean Springs News, "Ship Island for National Park", June 15, 1967.

The Ocean Springs News, “New Visitors Center  [interim contact station until new visitor’s center constructed]opens at GINS”, July 21, 1977, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Seashore State project”, October 8, 1970, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Gulf ? Seashore site positive for Springs”, December 2, 1971, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “GINS map”, January 6, 1972, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Seashore legislation introduced”, February 17, 1972, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Highway officials discuss Seashore link”, February 24, 1972, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Seashore Amendment moves towards House approval”, March 23, 1972, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Colmer's statement to the House Interior Committee”, March 23, 1972, p. 3. 
The Ocean Springs Record, “A biographical sketch of Congressman Colmer”, March 23, 1972, p. 11. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Cabinet officials to visit Springs”, April 6, 1972, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Interior Secretary [Roger Morton] dedicates Gulf Seashore project”, April 27, 1972, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Offshore islands for the birds”, May 11, 1972, p. 2. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Federal Government receives Magnolia Park”, July 27, 1972, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Ship Island study started”, December 21, 1972, p. 5. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Ship Island under Federal ownership”, January 4, 1973, p. 6. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Ship Island under control of Gulf Islands Seashore”, January 4, 1973, p. 7. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “GINS hearing set”, November 28,1974, p. 2. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Gulf Islands Seashore has 350,000 visitors”, January 8, 1976, p. 1.


The Ocean Springs Record, “Park Service accepting bids [on roads leading into park]”, January 8, 1976, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Gulf Islands offers recreation for all ages”, March 11, 1976, p. 9. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Supervisors told Ocean springs  did not lose headquarters”, May 6, 1976, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Gulf Islands sets new information”, September 23, 1976, p. E2. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Federal cutbacks can be felt at National Park”, July 23, 1981, p. 1. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Settlement reached on claims ro Mississippi’s barrier islands land”, December 9, 1982, p. 8. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “GINS W.R. Colmer Visitor Center dedicated on April 1st”, March 31, 1983, p. 2. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Thirty years old, alive and well: GINS celebrates”, January 11, 2001, p. 12. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “ ‘Ranger Bill’ retires after 32 years with Park service”, December 5, 2002 p. B3. 

The Ocean Springs Record, “Gulf Islands moving forward”, March 6, 2008, p.  A1. 

The Sun Herald, “Park Service to ground personal watercraft”, March 6, 2001, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, "Gulf Islands among top ten parks", April 11, 2013, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, "Coast tourism booming-GINS has $44 million impact in state", March 8, 2014, p. D-6.

The Sun Herald, "[US Army Corps of Engineers] Corps asking for comment on barrier island restoration plan", March 8, 2014, p. A3.

The Sun Herald, "Officials seek input on safer roads in Gulf Islands park", August 31, 2014, p. A4.



Mississippi Sandhill Cranes

Mississippi Sandhill cranes are one of six  subspecies of Sandhill cranes and are indigenouse only to the grassy savannas of south Jackson County, Mississippi.



The Sun Herald, 'With a little human help, Sandhill cranes hang on', December 15, 1985, p. A-4.






Colonial days


Juan de Cuevas


Cat Island Harbor

(see The Daily Picayune, November 13, 1873, p. 2)


Cat Island Lighthouse

Built circa 1873?   Acquired by Nathan V. Boddie, son of George Boddie, Harrison County engineer, in December 1948 from the War Assets Administration for $440.  He planned to dismantle it for lumber salvage.(The Daily Herald, December 8, 1948, p.11)

1893 Hurricane


Quarantine Station

The Quarantine Board of Mobile County were visitors to Scranton [Pascagoula] to inspect the quarantine plant at Cat Island, and found it suitable, to make arrangements for its removal to Mobile Bay.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, August 16, 1898, p. 8)



[The Progress, July 2, 1904, p. 4]






SYC annual cruise and long distance race

(see The Daily Picayune, July 5, 1905, p. 9)


Joseph H. Duggan

Joseph Henry Duggan (1834-1891) was born in Virginia of Irish parentage.  He married Ida Adele Fowler (1846-1900), a Louisiana native, circa 1867.  Nine children: Adele Ida Duggan (1869-1957); Mary Francis Duggan (1871); Joseph H. Duggan Jr. (1873) m. Bertha Mary Lobdell (1874-1963); Eugene F. Duggan (1876); Edith Bayer Duggan (1878-1932); Miriam Gurlin Duggan (1880-1955) m. Dr. Laurence R. DeBuys (1879-1957); Isabel Duggan (1882-1970) m. Frank M. Dameron (1862-1938); Lillian Agnes Duggan (1885-1907) m. Ashton Hayward (1881-1963); Louise Mather Duggan (1887-1963) m. Thomas Dugan Westfeldt (1887-1974); and Philip R. Duggan (1890-1934) m. Elise R. Urquhart (1890).


Nathan V. Boddie

Nathan Van Boddie acquired the majority interest in Cat Island in March 1911 from Benjamin M. Harrod (1837-1912), Gertrude T. Duggan Carnal (1879-1944); H. Gibbs Morgan; Adele Ida Duggan; Edith Bayer Duggan; Miriam Duggan DeBuys (1880-1955); Isabel Duggan Dameron; Louise Duggan Westfeldt;  Philip R. Duggan (1890-1934); and Joseph H. Duggan Jr. (1873). The consideration was $9630 for the approximately 3000 acres island.(The Daily Herald, March 18, 1911, p. 1)


Nathan V. Boddie (1850-1920+) was a native of Mississippi.  He was reared in rural Hinds and Madison County, Mississippi, as        Boddie, his father and a native of North Carolina made his livelihood farming.  Nathan married Sallie Atkinson (1855-1920+) in October 1880.  They were the parents of two sons: Nathan Van Boddie II (1885-) and George R. Boddie (1891-1920+)         


Grazing lease



In late April 1915, D.B. Lemon, an experienced mill man, planned to harvest timber from Cat Island.  Estimated reserves at 3,500,000 board feet.  Mill could process 7,000 board feet each day.  Lumber shipped to Gulfport for domestic and export utilization.(The Daily Herald, April 28, 1915, p. 7)



Casino Hotel Company Inc. of Cat Island, Mississippi

In early 1919, the Casino Hotel Company Inc., a Louisiana company based in new Orleans, had aspirations to develop Cat Island as a resort.  The company was led by Pres., F.A. Middleton-NOLA; Vice-pres., R.C. Herren-Greenwood, Ms.; Sec., I.N. Wise-Yazoo City, Ms.; Treasurer, George M. Foote-Gulfport, Ms.; and Board memeber, H.H. Casteel of Pickens. Ms.  Newspaper says that Cat Island owned by Hernando Money, W.M. Money and Mr. Homason of Alabama.(The Daily Herald, January 19, 1921, p. 1 and February 22, 1921, p. 3)



Colonel Thomas, US Engineer's Office at Mobile, granted permission on June 12, 1920 to the owners of Cat Island to build three boat wharves one each on the east, north and south sides of the island. (The Daily Herald, June 14, 1920, p. 3)




Pass Christian [Goose Point] Tarpon Club

C. Bidwell Adam (1894-1982), Lt. Governor of Mississippi, et als $30,000 club house and electric power house at Goose Point was destroyed by fire in late March.  The large club house and eight cottages was erected between May 1929 and August 1929 as a hunting and fishing venue for its members.  John A Sutter, local water well digger, hit potable water in a well dug to 599 feet.  It flowed at the rate of 100 gallons per minute of clear, fresh water.  Construction was completed by mid-August 1929, but the formal opening was postponed as Lt. Governor C. Bidwell Adam was on business out of state.(The Daily Herald, May 22, 1929, August 28, 1929, p. 1 and March 28, 1932, p. 1)


Mrs. Bidwell Adam landed a 94-pound tarpon off Cat Island in September 1930.  She was the only Goose Point Club member to catch a tarpon that day.  Emile Godchaux of New Orleans and anglers from Belzoni, Mississippi and Pass Christian, Mississippi were in the fishing party.(The Times-Picayune, September 15, 1930, p. 17)


Iowa Raccoons 

Mrs. Sallie A. Boddie leased the island to Mississippi Game and Fish Commission and in May 1933 they began importing raccoons from Iowa.  These animals were considered to have a superior fur to the indigenous animals.  Imported mink were planned for the furture as the State game commission was attempting to create a game preserve on Cat Island.(The Daily Herald, May 10, 1933, p. 1)


World War II


US Army trains dogs to detect enemy soldiers.[The Sun Herald, January 11, 2009 and December 19, 2016]


Boddie Claim confirmed in 1968

In March 1968, Federal Judge, Dan M. Russell Jr., opined that the Boddie family's claim to Cat Island was valid.  In the Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause, Mrs. J.W. Keen v. N.V. Boddie, George R. Boddie, and Sarah E. Boddie Buffington, Judge Russell determined that an 1837 deed from John Quave, aka Juan de Cuevas, to Judah P. Benjamin was valid.  He also recognized that the Boddie clainm to Cat Island was proved by record of title and adverse possession and occupation from 1932 to 1968.(The Daily Herald, March 8, 1989, p. 1 and US District Court [Gulfport, Ms] Case No. 2561 and Book 601, p. 324 and Book 609, p. 285-probably final records.  see also <eservices.archives.gov/servicesonline>)



Cat Island became part of GINS in 2000?


British Petroleum oil disaster-2010

Occurred April 2010 with the explosion and burning of TransOcean drilling rig working for British Petroleum on its Macondo Prospect deep water exploration well situated in Mississippi Canyon OCS Block 2?  , off the coast of Louisiana.  Oil flowed continuously for nearly   months and was transported by wind and ocean currents to the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.  The Mississippi Barrier Islands were particularly affected.


British Petroleum acquisition

In early April 2011, British Petroleum acquired from the Boddie family the eastward facing beach of Cat Island.  The National Park Service owns and protects about 1000 acres as part of GINS while the Boddie family still possesses some island acreage.  There are also about thirty private lots on the island.  Ray Melick, spokesman for BP, related that the oil giant acquired the eastern facing shore face to facilitate their efforts in its removal of residual oil and ‘tar balls’.  This work is facilitated when not privately owned.  The company released a statement in conjunction with the Cat Island acquisition as follows:  “The purchase of this section of Cat Island is in keeping with BP’s commitment to preserve and protect the environment, ecology, and historical significance of the Mississippi barrier islands for future generations.”(The Sun Herald, April 8, 2011, p. A1)


British Petroleum vends Cat Island acreage

In December 2016, the State of Mississippi acquired the 492 acres that British Petroleum had bought from the Boddie family in April 2011.  The Federal Mississippi Coastal Improvements Program acquired the tract for $13.7 million and transferred title to the citizens of Mississippi at no cost.  The US Army Corps of Engineers planned to commence in February or March 2017 to "renourish" the eastern beach of Cat Island and restore Goose Point to its pre-1998 configuration and adding 40-acres.[The Sun Herald, December 10, 2016, p. A-1]


East Beach Restoration-2017

In September 2017, the East Beach of Cat Island was being restored to its pre-1998 size and appearance by a dredge boat pumping 50,000 cubic yards of sand each day and eventually adding 40 acres to the island.  This 16 million dollar reenourishment project was funded by the Mississippi Coastal Improvements Barrier Island Restoration Plan.[The Sun Herald, September 29, 2017]




Nap L. Cassibry II, The Ladner Odyssey, (Miss. Coast Historical & Genealogical Society: Biloxi, Mississippi-1987).


David L. Cipra, Lighthouses & Lightships of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, (Department of Transportation-United States Coast Guard-1976).


John Cuevas, Cat Island: The HIstory of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island, (McFarland-2011).


Robin F.A. Fabel, The Economy of British West Florida (1763-1783), (University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, Alabama-1988).


R.D. Foxworth, Richard R. Priddy, Wendell B. Johnson, and Williard S. Moore, Heavy Minerals of Sand From Recent Beaches of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Associated Islands, Mississippi Geological Survey Bulletin No. 93, (University of Mississippi-1962).


Paul Estronza La Violette, Sink or be Sunk: The Naval Battle in the Mississippi Sound that Preceded the Battle of New Orleans, (Annabelle Publishing-Waveland, Mississippi-2002).


Marine Resources and History of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, “Cat Island”, Volume II, (Mississippi Department of Marine Resources: Biloxi, Mississippi-1998).


Richebourg Gaillard McWilliams, Iberville’s Gulf Journals, (The University of Alabama Press: University, Alabama-1981).


John D. Ware, George Gauld: Surveyor and Cartographer of the Gulf Coast, (University Presses of Florida: Gainesville/Tampa-1982)



The Biloxi Herald

The Biloxi Herald, “Cat Island”, January 25, 1890.

The Biloxi Herald, “The Recent Great Storm”, October 7, 1893.

The Biloxi Herald, “Quarantine Station at Cat Island”, July 25, 1896.


The Biloxi Daily Herald

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Is it fake?, January 23, 1897.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Resort for Cat Island”, February 26, 1906.


The Daily Herald

The Daily Herald, “Title to Cat Island”, February 24, 1905.

The Daily Herald, “Cat Island to be redeemed”, March 5, 1906.

The Daily Herald, “The Cat Island proposition”, May 12, 1909.

The Daily Herald, “The week’s record of deed filed”, March 18, 1911.

The Daily Herald, “Valuable property changes hands”, May 17, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “Pine trees on Cat Island to be tapped”, March 14, 1911.

The Daily Herald,“Fishing club for Cat Island”, May 10, 1912, p. 6.

The Daily Herald, “Valuable property changes hands”, May 17, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “Cattle thrive on Cat Island”, October 27, 1913.

The Daily Herald,“D.B. Lemon to Start Saw Mill”, April 28, 1915, p. 7.

The Daily Herald, “Abandon Cat Island as pastures”, September 10, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “Cat Island to be fully developed”, December 3, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “Permission granted for wharves on Cat Island by War Department”, June 14, 1920.

The Daily Herald, “Deal is consummated to make Cat Island a popular resort”, January 19, 1921, p.1.

The Daily Herald, “Cat Island will help the Coast”, January 28, 1921.

The Daily Herald, “Prospectus for Cat Island development”, February 22, 1921, p. 3.

The Daily Herald"Make headway on Club House [at Goose Point]", May 22, 1929.

The Daily Herald"6th Annual Tarpon Rodeo", August 28, 1929.

The Daily Herald"$30,000 Club House at Goose Point is destroyed by fire", March 28, 1932.
The Daily Herald, "Island to get Iowa raccoons", May 10, 1933.

The Daily Herald, “Lift restrictions off Cat Island”, January 24, 1946.

The Daily Herald, “Nathan V. Boddie buys 75-year-old island lighthouse”, December 8, 1948.

The Daily Herald, “Four rescued from Cat Island”, September 7, 1956, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, “Know Your State-When the Seminoles were on Cat Island, August 18, 1964, p. 4.

The Daily Herald, “Public invited to talks on Island Toll causewayDecember 10, 1964, p. 7

The Daily Herald, “Judge Russell...sustains Boddies' claim to Island”, March 8, 1968.

The Daily Herald, [Individual land] Claims on Gulf Isalnds lost”, July 30, 1980.

The Daily Herald, "Cat Island eyed for rocket launch", July 20, 1983, p. A1.

The Daily Herald, "Plan to use Cat Island as launch site draws support", July 21, 1983, p. A1.


The Daily Picayune

The Daily Picayune, “A day or two at Pass Christian”, October 1, 1841.

The Daily Picayune, “Coast Survey”, January 27, 1848.

The Daily Picayune, “Letter from Pass Christian”, August 21, 1850.

The Daily Picayune, “Body found”, January 7, 1851.

The Daily Picayune, “Fifteen dollars reward”, March 2, 1852.

The Daily Picayune, “Reminiscences of a trip to Cat Island”, July 13, 1862.

The Daily Picayune, “Wayside Notes”, November 13, 1873.

The Daily Picayune, “The White Gods of Cat Island”, May 22, 1892.

The Daily Picayune, “A touchy tragedy by Cat Island Light”, July 9, 1904.

The Daily Picayune, “Southern Yacht Club cruise plan”, July 5, 1905, p. 9.

The Daily Picayune, “On Cat Island”, September 15, 1907.

The Daily Picayune, “Two Washington Artillery veterans dead”, September 28, 1911.

The Jeffersonian, “Fortifications and Light Houses”, 18.


The Progress

The Progress [Ocean Springs], 'Death [Dan McCall]', July 2, 1904, p. 4.


The Sun Herald

The Sun Herald, “Congress passes bill for Cat Island sale”, December 21, 2000, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, Family will keep its half”, April 18, 2004, p. A1.

The Sun Herald, “The war dogs of Cat Island failed experiment used donated pets', January 11, 2009 and Decemebr 9, 2016.

The Sun Herald, “BP buys east beach of Cat Island”, April 8, 2011. P. A1.

The Sun Herald, “Cat Island helps create a bright legacy”, July 16, 2013.

The Sun Herald, “Early Christmas gift to Mississippi: more of Cat Island”, December 10, 2016.

The Sun Herald, “Did you know that you owned an island off the Mississippi Coast, well most of one”, September 29, 2017.





The Biloxi Herald,“Quarantine Station”, February 15, 1888.




The Daily Herald, June 4, 1913, p. 8.


The Daily Herald,“Complete [Jack Valentine] third trip in study of island birds”, June 6, 1968.


The Daily Herald, “[Individual land] Claims on Gulf Islands lost”, September 30, 1980.





Salvador Taranto (1881-19   ) was vending 'famous Deer Island' oysters at his business at 701 West Howard Avenue in October 1908.  The oysters sold for 10 cents a dozen on ice with all condiments provided.  Taranto also sold the fienst fruits and vegetables.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, October 3, 1908, p. 8) 



The Deer Island Island Development Company formally dedicated their Deer Island amusement center on June 23rd.  Meyer Eiseman of the DIDC;  George W. Grayson of the Biloxi Commercial Club; Mayor Glennan of Biloxi; Mayor Foote of Gulfport; and Mayor Saucier of Pass Christian spoke at the ceremony.  Ocean Springs beat Biloxi 5-2 in the baseball game.(The Gulfport Advocate, June 26, 1915, p. 1)


4th July 1915

Visitors to Deer Island to celebrate Independence Day 1915 were treated to a baseball game, a fancy skating exhibition by 'Marvelous' Davis.  Dancing and fireworks capped the evening festivities as crowds lingered until midnight on the sandy grounds.  The Barn Dance, particularly enjoyed by the rural crowd,  was a novelty.(The Daily Herald, July 6, 1915, p. 2)


1932 USCG Rifle Range

US Coast Guardsmen from their Point Cadet base were completing a rifle firing range on the east end of Deer Island.[The Daily Herald, February 17, 1932, p. 1]


1937 Fire

In February, Several homes on Deer Island were spared damage from the recent fire.(The Daily Herald, February 4, 1937, p. 5)


Nudist Colony?

Sunshine and Health, official magazine of the American Sunbathers Association, Inc., announced in its December issue that a new nudist organization is planning a nudist colony on Deer Island.(The Daily Herald, December 18, 1947, p. 16)


Hermit of Deer Island

John R. Guilhot (1877-1959), the hermit of Deer Island, died at Latimer, Jackson County, Mississippi on May 27, 1959.(The Daily Herald, May 28, 1959)


Option extended

The Biloxi Port Commision extended the Biloxi Bridge and Park Commission's option on the west end of Deer Island for another 30 months.  The Port Commission owns about 11 acres on the edge of the island.(The Daily Herald, March 13, 1968, p. 19)



2012 Rezoned

In April 2012, the Biloxi City Council in a 5-1 vote rezoned eight acres on Deer Island from agricultural to waterfront.  Larry Mitrenga, owner and developer of this Deer Island tract, proposes to erect eight, three-story buildings with 96 units.  Two of the structures would be condos.(The Sun Herald, April 18, 2012, p. A1)



The Bay Press, “Deer Island Now Belongs to the People of Mississippi”, May 24, 2002.

The Biloxi-D’Iberville Press, ‘Time Traveler’-“The Hermit of Deer Island”, August 14, 2008, p. A4.

The Biloxi Herald, "Latest City News", August 22, 1896.

The Biloxi Daily Herald,“Tragedy on Deer Island”, September 15, 1903.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Fine fresh oysters”, October 3, 1908, p. 8.

The Daily Herald, “Negotiations Started For Purchase Of Deer Island; Surveys Are Made”, January 20, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Planning To Buy On Deer Island To Make Resort”, January 23, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Lynch Was Asked To go To Island”, January 25, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Island Project Still Hangs Fire”, January 25, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “May Build A City Of Tents On Isle”, January 26, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Dance Pavilion”, May 2, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Ferry Service To Begin To Island”, May 29, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Deer Island”, June 15, 1915, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi v. Ocean Springs”, July 3, 1915, p. 7.

The Daily Herald, “Deer Island”, July 6, 1915, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, “Deer Island Will Continue As Usual”, July 14, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Dance Pavilion”, August 2, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Deer Island Lots With Oyster Beds Sold To [James S.] Wentzell”, October 29, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi Fertilizer To Be Used”, September 13, 1922.

The Daily Herald, “Deer Island Added To Shore As Realty Sales Develop”, April 24, 1925.

The Daily Herald, “To Improve Deer Island”, May 19, 1925.

The Daily Herald,“Mass meeting last night [on Deer Island bar], February 4, 1926.

The Daily Herald,  “Lions [Club] oppose [Deer] island bar”, February 11, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “Rules against [see Wood v. H.D. Money and Louis E. Curtis] made Islands”, August 24, 1926.

The Daily Herald, “Urges use of Deer Island”, January 20, 1931.

The Daily Herald, “Fire on Deer Island”, February 4, 1937.

The Daily Herald, [113th Observation] Squadron starts ground firing off Deer Island Saturday”, May 16, 1941, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, “Air Squadron leaves Biloxi [returns to Meridian], June 2, 1941, p. 7.

The Daily Herald, “[John R. Gulhart (sic)] Reports wallet missing”, August 5, 1946, P. 7..

The Daily Herald, “Two Homes Are Destroyed on Deer Island”, September 23, 1947.

The Daily Herald, “Nudist Colony Being Planned For Deer Island”, December 18, 1947.

The Daily Herald, “Causeway to Deer Island”, October 5, 1951.

The Daily Herald, “Board to enter contract for Causeway Study”, June 29, 1954.

The Daily Herald, “Causeways-Pro and Cons”, November 27, 1954.

The Daily Herald, “Group will negotiate for islands”, November 29, 1954.

The Daily Herald,“Desire New Site Proposed Bridge To Deer Island”, December 11, 1954.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi Causeway Meeting Tuesday”, December 11, 1954.

The Daily Herald, “Group Okays $300,000 For Deer Island Property”, December 16, 1954.

The Daily Herald, [Guillhot] Finds haven on Deer Island for past 35 years”, April 5, 1955.

The Daily Herald, “Contract signed for development of Deer Island”, January 22, 1958.

The Daily Herald, “$31 million to be spent of Deer Island”, February 25, 1958.

The Daily Herald, “Amendments to Deer Island bill prepared”, February 25, 1958.

The Daily Herald, “Court says no error in Deer Island matter”, February 25, 1959.

The Daily Herald, Hermit of Deer Island will be buried Friday, May  28, 1959

.The Daily Herald, “Hear Deer Island protests”, April 5, 1960.

The Daily Herald, “City or County empowered to form agency to develop Deer Island”, April 15, 1960.

The Daily Herald, “Urges Deer Isle Tip To Be Developed”, October 9, 1963.

The Daily Herald, “Public invited to talks on Island Toll causewayDecember 10, 1964, p. 7.

The Daily Herald, “Proposal Given For Development of New Offshore Islands”, December 17, 1964.

The Daily Herald"Say $436,450 to be approved for Deer Island'', November 13, 1965, p. 1.

The Daily Herald"OK plans for Deer Isle plans'', November 19, 1965, p. 1.

The Daily Herald"Make proposal on Bridges to Islands", December 16, 1965, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, "Plan Island, urban trips during trip", January 28, 1966, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, "Four objections to site of bridge [from Oak Street to Deer Island]", July 13, 1967, p. 2.

The Daily Herald"Extend option on Deer Island area", March 13, 1968, p. 2

The Daily Herald, “Know Your Coast-The Summer Deer Island Was The Coast’s Top Attraction”,                ??

The Daily Herald, "Young Biloxians plan to beautify Island", February 28, 1975, p. A1.

The Daily Herald, "Deer Island are for spoils [US Army Corps of Engineers]", November 10, 1975, p. A2.

The Daily Herald, “[Individual land] Claims on Gulf Islands lost”, September 30, 1980.

The Ocean Springs Gazette, “Volunteers help create habitat on Deer Island”, June 15, 2011, p. 10.

The Mississippi Press, “Island is dear to heart of Biloxi Bay”, January 12, 2002.

The Jackson County Times, “Would Build Bridge To Deer Island”, May 15, 1926.

The Ocean Springs News, “Deer Island Project Practically Certain”, January 28, 1915.

The Ocean Springs News, “Deer Island Project benefits Us”, February 25, 1915.

The Ocean Springs News, “To Feature Ocean Springs”, May 13, 1915.

The Ocean Springs News, “Hearing called on study of bridges for islands”, December 10, 1964.

The Ocean Springs News, “To construct Deer Island pier”, April 8, 1965, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs News,  “Approval land transfer for Island project”, February 10, 1966, p. 1.

The Sun Herald, “Owners Envision $2 Billion Resort”, April 4, 1997.

The Sun Herald, “Deer Island lands in middle of President deal”, April 1, 1999.

The Sun Herald, “State to buy Deer Island”, January 12, 2002.

The Sun Herald, “Musgrove signs Deer Island purchase”, April 2, 2002.

The Sun Herald, “Island bill gains momentum, but questions remain”, March 15, 2002.

The Sun Herald, “Deer Island purchase approved”, March 22, 2002.

The Sun Herald, “Deer Island deal gets closer”, June 18, 2005, p. A6.

The Sun Herald, “Planned one-year restoration of Deer Island begins”, September 18, 2010, p. A14.

The Sun Herald, “Crews filling gap in Deer Island with sand”, September 22, 2010, p. A6.

The Sun Herald, “Wildfire burns part of Deer Island; drought conditions blamed”, June 2, 2011.

The Sun Herald, “Deer Island now in [Secretary of State] Hosemann's sights”, June 8, 2011.

The Sun Herald, “MDEQ: Deer Island material not oil”, August 18, 2011.

The Sun Herald, “Deer Island landowner proposes building resort, condotels”, November 17, 2011.

The Sun Herald, “Editorial-Don't build on an island we hold so dear”, November 20, 2011, p. B8.

The Sun Herald, “Proposed resort would not be the first for shifting sands of the [Mississippi] Sound”, December 1, 2011, p. 2C.
The Sun Herald, “Panel [Biloxi Planning Commission] doesn't envision Oasis condotel on Deer Island”, February 17, 2012, p. A1.
The Sun Herald, “Biloxi council rezones part of Deer Island”, April 18, 2012, p. A1.
The Sun Herald, “Port [of Gulfport] dredging helping restore Deer Island”, August 25, 2012, p.  A1.
The Sun Herald, “Hosemann: Deer Island boat rides on the way”, August 15, 2014, p. A-1.
The Sun Herald, “”, , 2014, p. .



Horn Island is a barrier island located in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Jackson County, Mississippi.  The island is 16 miles in length and at its nearest point is about 6 miles south of the Mississippi coastline.  Two passes, Horn Island Pass to the east and Dog Key Pass to the west separate it from Petit Bois and Ship Island respectively.









Sea turtles and turtle eggs.  Throughout the late 19th and into the 1950s, reports of sea turtle hunts for meat and eggs are reported in local journals at Horn Island. 


Mineral Resources

The mineral wealth of Horn Island consists primarily of it quart sand.  In the early 1880s, quart sand was mined and transported to Moss Point where a glass factory existed for a short period.  Although “heavy minerals”, such as staurolite, kyanite, tourmaline, ilmenite, and many others are present in thin laminated sand deposits, they are not concentrated in sufficient volumes to warrant commercial, mining operations.  The Space Age metals titanium and zirconium are found in “heavy minerals”.   

Limited oil and gas exploration has occurred in the past and with the success of the industry in finding large reserves of natural gas in lower Mobile Bay to the east, it is anticipated that oil hunters will search the waters near Horn Island in the immediate future.  Shallow Miocene gas is a likely target for these wildcatters.


 The Colonial Era (1699-1811)

For over a century, Horn Island like the rest of the American southwest frontier was in the possession of foreign powers.  France, England, and Spain all ruled this area until the United States of America took formal possession in 1811.

The French Period (1699-1763)


After French Canadian soldier of fortune, Pierre Le Moyne, sieur d’Iberville (1661-1706) established a French beachhead in the Lower Mississippi River Valley at Fort Maurepas on Biloxi Bay in April 1699, subsequent reconnoitering of the coastline of La Louisiane by his brother, Jean-Baptise Lemoyne, sieur de Bienville (1680-1767) resulted in the discovery of Horn Island. 

Circa 1700, called Ile aux Aigles (island of eagles)!

On August 24, 1699, Bienville departed Fort Maurepas with five men.  They traveled in two birch bark canoes exploring the region east and west of Biloxi Bay as well as the Mississippi River delta.  This expedition discovered the Pascagoula River, Round Island, Massacre Island (Dauphin Island), and Mobile Bay. At an island south of Round Island, a soldier in the Bienville party lost his powder horn.  This event was described by Andre Penicaut, a master carpenter who came to La Louisiane with Iberville in January 1700:  While coasting from there along the island on our way back, we crossed a pass about a half league wide, at the end of which is another island called Isle-a’la Corne because one of our Frenchmen had lost his powder horn there; this island lies three leagues off the mailand and is seven leaghues long, like Isle Massacre, and of the same width as it.  It is quite barren and has the same trees as this island.  When we reached the point of this island we sailed the three quarters of a league to Isle Surgere (Ship Island), where we had a big hunt, after which we crossed over to our fort to rest for several days.(McWilliams, 1988, p. 11)

Pierre Le Moyne, sieur d’Iberville’(1671-1706) ordered his men to sound the pass between Ship Island and Horn Island on April 20, 1700.  He was searching for a better anchorage than that of Ship Island. (McWilliams, 1981, p. 139)


First Owner

 In October 1716, Jean-Batiste Le Moyne de Bienville was rewarded by the French crown for his service to the Louisiana Colony and given Horn Island en roture, a commoner’s tenure.  He had hoped to receive it en seigneurie.  Bienville was named a knight in the order of Saint-Louis on September 20, 1717.(Dictionary of Canadian Biography, 1974, p. 381) 


Early Shipwrecks

In 1725, the Saone, a French vessel, ran aground on Horn Island.  To free the ship from its quartz trap, the crew discharged 300 to 400 barrels? of flour and several hogsheads of shoes into the briny sea.  The ship’s pilot was blamed for the incident.(Rowland, Volume II, 1929, p.      )  

In 1737, La Marguerite, a sixty-ton boat, was wrecked off Horn Island.  The vessel was returning from Cape Francois at St. Domingue (Haiti) to Louisiana.  Second journey that year to the West Indies for the boat.(Surrey, 1916, p. 66)


First Settler

 There is a high degree of certitude that Mathurin Ladner dit Christian (ca 1725-1787+) was the first white settler of Horn Island.  He was the son of Swiss émigré, Christian Ladner (1699-17    ), and Marie Barbe Brunel.  Christian Ladner arrived at New Orleans in 1719, on the French flute, Le Marie.  He was a young soldier recruited by the Company of the West.(Cassibry II, 1986, p. 79) 

Mathurin Ladner married Marie Catherine Anne Berda (ca 1730-1786) dit Picard.  Their children were: Catherine Ladner Carco (b. ca 1747), Jacque Ladner (b. 1750), Angelique Ladner Fayard (b. 1753), Louis Ladner (b. 1755), and Joseph Ladner (b. 1758). Nap Cassibry II, an authority on the Ladner family and Mississippi Coast history, related the following about Mathurin Ladner dit Christian in his magnus opus, The Ladner Odyssey (1988):  I have estimated that he (Mathurin Ladner) was born circa 1725 in the Pascagoula area of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  We will also note as his line does progress that he spent his adult life on Horn Island off the coast of Jackson County, Mississippi, and that he died sometime between 1787 and 1800.  There is no credible record of where he was buried, and I will not hazard a guess in this regard.(p. 499)

Corroboration for Cassibry II’s claim that Mathurin Ladner and family inhabited Horn Island, during the French Colonial period, is found in the Roman Catholic baptismimal records of some of his children.(Cassibry II, 1988, p. 500)


The George Gauld Survey of 1768

In June 1768, George A. Gauld (1732-1782), a Scottish cartographer and surveyor, in the employ of the British Admiralty, made a map of coastal Mississippi.  He was operating from HMS Sir Edward Hawke.  During his reconnaissance and charting of the region, Gauld made many observations about Horn Island.  He discovered that it was some sixteen miles in length, but in width no more than one mile.  Orientation was nearly east-west.  As regards to vegetation, Gauld noted that there were uneven groves of trees on the westend of the island.  The middle was characterized by dense growth, and the eastern end of the sand bar was fairly devoid of tree growth.(Ware, 1982, pp. 105-107)    

George A. Gauld charted an eleven-foot channel at the western tip of “Massacre” (Petit Bois) Island, which led to a good anchorage.  Today, ships entering the port of Pascagoula, utilize the same water course albeit now dredged to a greater depth.(Ibid, p. 105) 

From the perspective of history, George Gauld’s most interesting observation was that of an old hut and old house on Horn Island.  The old house was situated in       

John D. Ware, George Gauld: Surveyor and Cartographer of the Gulf Coast, (The University Presses of Florida: Gainesville/Tampa-1982)

The Spanish Period (1780-1811)

Spanish West Florida

Bernardo de Galvez

Spanish forces under Bernardo de Galvez captured Mobile in


Madame Catherine Baudrau

Madame Catherine Baudrau (1715-1797) was born Marie Catherine Vinconneau at La Rochelle, France.  She married Jean-Baptise Baudrau II (1707?-1757), the son of Jean-Baptise Baudrau dit Graveline and an Indian woman.  Four children from this union:  Jean-Baptiste Baudrau III (b ca 1735-1805+), Marie Catherine Mazurier, Louise Catherine Bosarge (1742-1806), and Claud Baudrau.


Jean-Baptiste Baudrau II


Madame Catherine Baudrau (1705-1788+) acquired Horn Island from Spanish Governor Bernardo de Galvez in August 1781.       


In 1778, Horn Island had an estimated 700 head of horned cattle.(Fabel, 1988, p. 111-112)   Corroborated by Hutchins observation that inhabitants at Biloxi made tar and raised cattle.         


Since Horn Island had been granted to their mother, Catherine Baudrau by the Spanish crown, the Heirs of Madame Baudrau filed Claim No. 51 to get title to Horn Island after its entry into the United States.  They attested that the island had not be inhabited or cultivated, but that it had been utilized to raise cattle.  Black slaves attended the Baudrau livestock.(The American State Papers, Volume 3, p. 15)


The Heirs of Robert Farmar, a British Colonial military officer, also issued a claim, No. 25, to Horn Island.  The basis for their assertion was that it had been acquired by a private conveyance from Sheffield Howard.  Not inhabited or cultivated.(American State Papers, Volume 3, p. 34)   


The Heirs of Robert Farmar also claimed Dauphine Island (No. 52-55?), p. 15.


Enemy Corsair Attacks Pascagoula: September 4, 1805

When the Spanish governed Louisiana and West Florida from 1781-1811,the shipping and livestock of the colonials on the Mississippi Gulf Coast were always under the threat of raids and harassment from English or American privateers operating in the Mississippi Sound.  Horn Island and Petit Bois Island afforded shelter for these raiders, and their deep water passes provided entry into the primary Spanish shipping and trade lanes connecting Pensacola, Mobile, and New Orleans. 


In 1805, Don Vincente Folch, the Governor of Pensacola, was responsible for the military defense of Spanish West Florida.  He divided the present day Mississippi Gulf Coast into two military districts: Pascagoula and Bay St. Louis.  The Pascagoula District extended west from Pascagoula to the Old Fort (present day Ocean Springs).  The Bay St. Louis District went west from Biloxi to Bay St. Louis.  These two military districts reported to the commandant at Mobile who in turn was subordinate to Pensacola.   


In September 1805, at Pascagoula, Captain Don Francisco Bellestre commanded an infantry detachment, while Don Juan Bautista Pellerin (1773-1815+) was in charge at Bay St. Louis. Both were responsible to Don Francisco Maximiliano de St. Maxent (1762-1815+) at Mobile.


Francisco Bellestre (1764-1820+) was born in Louisiana.  He rose through the ranks of the Louisiana Infantry from soldier in February 1777, to Captain in April 1800.  Bellestre had participated in the successful campaigns of General Galvez against the English in West Florida.  His superiors considered him a courageous, obedient, soldier of average ability.(Holmes, 1965, pp. 93-94) 


Captain Bellestre arrived at Pascagoula from Mobile, on July 11, 1805.  His orders from de St. Maxent were to establish a militia and lead it.  Bellestre was given thirty muskets with bayonets and powder.  With these small arms, he was expected to repel any attack and incarcerate any suspicious transients to prevent trouble which had occurred at Baton Rouge.(AGI, PC 55, July 1, 1805)


Immediately, Francisco Bellestre realized the difficulty of his task.  The inhabitants of the Pascagoula District lived a great distance from each other, often 3 leagues or more.  In times of crisis, it would be extremely difficult to timely muster enough militiamen to have an effective fighting force.  Multiple attacks upon his district would only exacerbate the graveness of the situation.  To remedy some of his military problems, Captain Bellestre requested that de St Maxent send a minimum of twenty regular army soldiers to defend the three mouths of the Pascagoula River.(AGI, PC 142-A, July 11, 1805) 


Captain Bellestre and one corporal composed the regular army detachment at the Pascagoula post.  They oversaw the formation of a local militia.  Governor Don Bernardo de Galvez  (1746-1786), based at New Orleans, utilized militiamen while expulsing the British from West Florida, in his military campaigns at Manchac (1779), Baton Rouge (1779), Mobile (1780), and Pensacola (1781).(Galvez, 1978, p. xiv and xv)


During these 1779-1781 military actions, Governor Galvez concluded that militiamen recruited from the settlements were not suited for combat.  Their significant concerns were for their families and professions, and not soldiering.(Miller, 1978, p. 46)  As we shall see in the following engagement, this same dictum could be applied to the local, coastal militia utilized by the Spanish to protect Pascagoula in the early 1800s.      


On September 4, 1805, Francisco Bellestre, commandant at Pascagoula led the militia in their encounter and exchange of fire with the crew from an enemy corsair.  The enemy ship had entered Horn Island Pass and captured Spanish vessels.  The intruders armed one of the captive ships with cannons, and proceeded to Pascagoula.  They anticipated to attack the small, poorly-defended settlement, but the militia quickly gathered to defend the district.(AGI, PC 142-A, No. 7, and AGI, PC 75, No. 7, September 5, 1805) 

During the battle of September 4, 1805, Captain Bellestre and the following men defended the Pascagoula post: (AGI, PC 142-A, September 9, 1805)


Corporal Jose Dominguez, Louisiana Infantry Regiment

Don Jean-Baptise Nicolete, Captain of the Militia

 Carlos Lachapeles, Lieutenant of the Militia    

 Santiago White (James White), Syndic                        

 Jorge Seragui (George Farragut )                                        Luis Gabriel, mestizo

Pierre Bufele                                                                        Pierre Nicola, mestizo

Bourguillon                                                                          Batiste Nicola, mestizo

Juan Bautista Ely (Jean-Baptiste Ely)                                 Alexy Nicola, mestizo

Jose Duloran                                                                        Glaude Nicola, mestizo 

Juan Sims (John Sims)                                                         Labe Estanabe, Indian

Jise Rose (Jesse Rose)                                                          Tapina Oma, Indi

Jime Wer (James Ware)                                                      (3) slaves of Jean-Baptiste NicoleteLuis Nicolette

Urcin Fayar (Urcine Fayard)

Jacobo Ladnere (Jacob Ladner)

Jacobo Bing (Jacob Bang)

Sincir Le Blanc (St. Cyr Seymour)

Jaque Fayar (Jacques Fayard)

Augustin Glaude, mestizo

Juan Bautista Adnere (Jean-Baptisite Ladner), of the Biloxi District   


 In describing the battle to his superior, Don Francisco Maximiliano de St. Maxent, at Mobile, Bellestre related that several of his men had fought gallantly at his side on the beach during the enemy attack.  He particularly cited militiamen: Corporal Jose’ Dominguez; the elder Captain, Jean-Baptise Nicolete; Bourguillon; Bufele; Urcine Fayard; Glaude; Luis Gabriel; Augustine Glaude; and Jacobo, the mulatto slave of Jean-Baptiste Nicolete.  The remainder of Bellestre’s men sought cover in the woods.(AGI, PC 142-A, No. 10, September 9, 1805)


The aggressors fired cannon and muskets at the Spanish militiamen with little consequences.  Although the intense combat lasted an hour and half, the only damage sustained by the Bellestre’s force, was a broken musket carried by one of its black soldiers.  His fire lock had been hit by a musket ball.(AGI, PC  142-A, No. 7 and AGI, PC 75 No. 7, September 5, 1805)  Before the Spanish militiamen protecting Pascagoula drove off the enemy, they killed one of the aggressors and severely wounded another attacker, who suffered a broken thigh bone.(AGI, PC 142-A, No. 11, September 9, 1805)


After the fierce encounter with the enemy force from the corsair, Captain Bellestre requested reinforcements, artillery, and munitions of his superior, Don Francisco Maximiliano de St. Maxent, at Mobile.  Captain Bellestre desired one Sergeant and ten soldiers of the Spanish regular army.  These regular servicemen were required to defend the Pascagoula District, as Bellestre could not depend on the local militiamen to muster with consistency.  A six-pounder cannon with its ammunition, as well as a box of cartridges filled with the appropriate amount of gunpowder and gun flints, were also requisitioned by the Spanish captain.(AGI, PC 142-A, No. 11, September 9, 1805)


Captain Bellestre also informed St. Maxent of several examples of the militiamen’s dereliction of duty.  Two days before the pitched battle, the corsair had been observed at the tip of Horn Island. Captain Bellestre summoned the men from the Pascagoula River country to come and assist in the defense of the coastline.  Only one man obeyed the order.  A Haven accompanied by an Indian came to succor, but they left when they heard the enemy cannon fire.(AGI, PC 142-A, September 12, 1805)


In addition, with great urgency, Captain Bellestre had ordered Francisco Krebs, who had been proposed as a sub-lieutenant of the militia, to gather his men at Pascagoula.  Krebs refused to muster for the action, which occurred on the 4th of September.   Krebs cited that as a representative of the local population, he realized that they faced the same dangers as the Spanish, but that they preferred to fend for themselves and their own interests.(AGI, PC 142-A, September 12, 1805)


Shortly, after the engagement at Pascagoula with the enemy corsair, Captain Francisco Bellestre in a letter to St. Maxent, alluded that his health was poor.  He requested permission to go to Pensacola at the earliest moment possible.(AGI, PC 142-A, September 12, 1805)  Bellestre repeated his plea to St. Maxent to be relieved of his duties on September 15, 1805.  He cited pain, fever, and discomfort as his reasons to implore relief from his post.(AGI, PC 142-A, No. 14)


From the correspondence between these two men after the confrontation of September 4th, 1805, it is clear that Captain Bellestre was extremely disillusioned with the attitude and apathy of the militiamen and inhabitants of the Pascagoula District.  His post at Pascagoula lacked regular soldiers, was poorly armed, and its munitions were of inferior quality.  Francisco Bellestre was particularly displeased with his lack of authority in punishing those who disobeyed his orders.  Not surprisingly, he sought to leave Pascagoula, as he was a conciencious soldier and loyal to his King


The commandant departed the Pascagoula District in mid-October 1805.  He and Corporal F. Rodriguez and Spanish regulars delivered seventeen English prisoners to Mobile.  The Englishmen had been captured by Don Bernardo Prieto, commandant of the galley, Luisiana, on October 8, 1805.  Captain Bellestre, his soldiers, and the incarcerated English sailors traveled over land to Mobile.(AGI, PC 142-A, No. 24, October 16, 1805)  


In 1820, Captain Bellestre was living in retirement at Pensacola.  Nancy Gorman (1773-1820+), a mulatto laundress, occupied his residence.  She was a native of Baltimore.(Coker and Inglis, 1980, p. 117) 


Captain Juan Bautista Pellerin of Bay St. Louis, temporarily replaced Francisco Bellestre at Pascagoula, until Captain Jose’ Collins became commandant of the district on May 2, 1806.  Jose’ Collins was formerly Captain of the Militia Dragoons.(AGI, PC 62, No. 4, May 2, 1806)


It is interesting to note the presence of Sincir Le Blanc in the Spanish colonial militia.  This information corroborates the postulation of Brother Jerome Lepre (1927-1998) that Le Blanc was later known as St. Cyr Seymour (1788-1845).  Seymour and his wife, Marie-Joseph Ryan (1786-1876), were the progenitors of the large Seymour family of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  At the time of the skirmish with the corsair, St. Cyr Seymour was single.(Lepre, 1995, p. 56)




Many readers will perhaps be descended from the Bang, Ely, Fayards, Ladners, or  Ware who were members of this early paramilitary unit at Pascagoula.  In addition, these archival documents give some credence to the name “Spanish Fort” which has been used at Pascagoula for generations to characterize the de La Pointe-Krebs House, one of the oldest structures extant in the lower Mississipppi River Valley. Perhaps Captain Bellestre’s early military post or billet at Pascagoula was on or near the Krebs plantation, and the term “Spanish Fort” was adopted by the locals as a guise to thwart marine marauders such as attacked the village in September 1805?   


The author is deeply indebted to Dr. G. Douglas Inglis of Seville, Spain, who translated the Spanish documents from the General Archive of the Indies at Seville, which were utilized in this essay.  Dr. Inglis directed a three-day workshop, “Colonial Family History in the Lower Mississippi Valley” at William Carey College on the Coast (Gulfport, Mississippi) from November 5-7, 1998.  The translated Spanish documents were included in the course workbook, especially prepared for this seminar.



19th Century

The United States of America (1811-1998)


Jackson County


Whale strandings

The Daily Picayune of 1829 and 1857 reports whales stranded on the beach at Horn Island..[The Biloxi Daily Herald, April 1, 1899, p. 1]


The Waters Family

The Waters family came to reside on Horn Island in 1845 and remained until 1920.  Raised cattle.  Harry Waters and Hanna Nichols lived on Horn Island.  Their family was: Henry Waters (1845), Harriet W. Aken, William Waters, and Emma Waters.(History of JXCO, Mississippi,  (1989), p. 388)


The Civil War

During the Civil War, Union forces from Ship Island took some of the Waters’ cattle to feed Federal soldiers at Ship Island.  They left some for the Widow Waters and family to subsist.  No compensation for cattle taken.  This anecdote is corroborated somewhat by Union sources, which record a raid on Horn Island in mid-March 1862.  An expedition of soldiers from the 12th Connecticut Infantry Regiment, who were bivouacked on Ship Island, having arrived there on March 9, 1862, from New York, was sent to Horn Island in search of fresh beef.  They captured cattle so poor, that although they were eaten, gave little pleasure to foragers.(The History of JXCO, Ms. 1989, p. 388 and Croffut and Morris, 1868, p. 145)


Pascagoula and Horn Island Harbors


The Anchorage

Discovered by George A. Gauld of the British Admiralty in 1768.


Timber Exports

A paucity of markets curtailed the growth of the timber industry in Jackson County.  Prior to 1870, the timber market was limited to New Orleans, the Caribbean region, and Mexico.  Shipment was primarily by shallow draft coastal s


Schooners, as the water depth of the Mississippi Sound was not deep enough for lumber vessels of greater than 100,000 board feet capacity, to load at the mills in the Pascagoula-Moss Point area. 


In 1874, George Denny of Moss Point got an order for one-half million board feet of lumber from the Amazon River basin.  This event was the catalyst, which opened the area to increased foreign exports.  Large draft vessels, many Canadian in origin, anchored at Horn Island.  Lumber from the local mills reached the export ships by rafts and lighters having a capacity of 40,000 board feet each.(Hickman, 1962), pp. 47-48)  

(see Port of Pascagoula, (PD-Star, 8-16-1901, p. 1)


Horn Island Pass

George A. Gauld charted an eleven-foot channel at the western tip of “Massacre” (Petit Bois) Island, which led to a good anchorage.  Today, ships entering the port of Pascagoula, utilize the same water course albeit now dredged to a greater depth.(Ware, 1982, p. 105) 


In June 1884, the Swedish bark, Vagoola, was towed through Horn Island Pass and sounded water depths, no less than twenty-one feet.  It was anticipated that with Congressional appropriations for dredging that Horn Island Pass could be deepened to accommodate ships of great drafts.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 6, 1884, p. 3)


Channels into Horn Island Harbor and to Ship Island

A pass from the Gulf of Mexico into Horn Island Harbor (channel at outer bar).  $50,000 cost of required dredging to secure an anchorage at Horn Island 20 feet in depth.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, December 9, 1898, p.)


In January 1899, the War Department estimated that a dredged channel from Horn Island to Ship Island would cost  $1,089,637 for a 23-foot deep passage connecting the two barrier islands.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, January 7, 1899, p.     )


Accidents and drownings


The Bar Pilots

Pilot Commissioners met in November 1881 and appointed S.A.Dutch (1836-1894), Thomas Crosbie, and James Napier for the Port of Pascagoula.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 18, 1881, LP, p. 3)


1884-John Davis.



S.H. Bugge

Leonard Levin


W.H. George

William George (1840-1900+) born England.  Immigrated to US in 1870.  A widower  in 1900.

1900-James P. Fox (1848-1900+)-born Scotland.  Immigrated 1860.


The Lighthouse Service

Commenced in 1874, with construction of a lighthouse on the east end of Horn Island to guide vessels entering Horn Island Pass on their way to the port of Pascagoula.

Martin Freeman (1814-1894) was the first lighthouse keeper.  Salary in 1887 was $630 and $400 for his wife per year with rations.(The Gulf Coast Advertiser, April 29, 1887)

In 1880, the Lighthouse Service ordered that a new Horn Island beacon be erected westward of the original structure.  Storms, currents, and tides had eroded the foundation necessitating a replacement.  A break-water constructed in early 1880 had been rapidly destroyed by high seas.  Putnam & Tobias were awarded the contract and commenced initial surveys prior to construction in July 1880.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 21, 1880, p. 3 and July 9, 1880, p. 3)

William W. Bayly (1876-1955), son of William W. Bayly and Lee Verne Davis.  Born on a ship off of Penscaola, Florida.  Keeper at Chandeleur, Horn, Sand, and at the mouth of the Mississippi River.  Formerly with a fruit company in Honduras.  Brother: Benjamin Bayly.  Children: Robert P. Bayly, Betty Bayly, Mrs. Russell V. Johnson (Duluth).(The Daily Herald, November 26, 1955, p. 2)

Charles Johnsson, a Pole, succeeded Martin Freeman in 1894.  Refused to leave his post in the September 1906 Hurricane and perished with his wife and daughter.  Their remains were never found.  Mr. Johnsson’s were interred at Mobile.(Higginbotham, 19   , pp. 61-64)

F.A. Schrieber (1871-1944) was lighthouse keeper at Horn Island in May 1918.(JXCOT, May 25, 1918, p. 5)


The Moss Point Glass Factory

In 1881,white, coarse-grained, quart sand was mined from the north shore of  Horn Island.  It was barged for $.50 per ton, to Moss Point where a glass factory had been established by Judge Orlando Randall (1831-1910) and W.W. Sullivan, in December 1880.  The glass plant cost $26,000.

Glass blowers and other technical support people were imported from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Glass manufacturing at the Moss Point facility was short-lived.  The workers were unionized and two strikes curtailed production.  A fire then destroyed the entire operation after only six weeks of glass generation.  Some of the glass had been sold to a party in Bagdad, Florida who related that it was of the finest quality.(The Daily Record Tribune, December 4, 1907)           


Whale Sightings

One of the earliest sightings of these large marine mammals occurred in the spring of 1877, when Captain Delmas, aboard the Escambia, bound for a lumber ship at Horn Island Pass with a tow of timber, saw a black whale.  Delmas described the cetacean as “about thirty-five feet long and looked as large as a ten-ton schooner”.(The Star of Pascagoula, April 13, 1877, p. 1, c. 5)


Captain Martin Freeman of the Horn Island lighthouse observed a pod of large whales in Pascagoula Bay in February 1887.  He postulated from the size of their fins and inability to maneuver in the ten feet of water of the Bay, that the whales must have been 60-65 feet in length.(The Gulf Coast Advertiser, February 11, 1887)


In March 1914, ambergris, the wax-like substance secreted by internal organs of Sperm whale, was found on Horn Island, by Ben Bailey, the assistant lighthouse keeper of Cat Island.  Mrs. William Waters found the substance on the beach and threw it back into the water.(The Ocean Springs News, March 7, 1914, p. 5, c. 5)


Early excursion boats

Surf and sunbathing, shell collecting, picnicking, and the general excitement of a marine adventure were being enjoyed by tourists and locals on the sun-bleached, siliceous strands of Horn Island in the latter half of the 19th Century.  An example of an excursion party numbering about thirty people aboard the Colonel Ingalls, a steam tugboat captained by W.T. Morrill, that departed the Port of Pascagoula in May 1881, follows:  At 6 p.m. we crossed the bar at the mouth of the river and within 45 minutes’ pleasant run we dropped anchor off the pickets at the island when all went ashore in small boats.  Once on the island the party wandered up and down the beach hunting shells, went in bathing in the surf, and had a delightful time generally.  At about 10 o’clock, under the directing hands of the ladies, a sumptuous feast was spread and the crowd gathered around and enjoyed a good supper by the light of the silvery moon.  Ice, lemons, etc. were carried along, and to say that the supper was relished and enjoyed would hardly express the idea……..At 1 a.m. we re-embarked…..On the homeward trip, under the superintendency of Wiley Green, one of the best stewards that ever trod a deck, ice cream was made and served with cake and strawberries to the entire party.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 20, 1881, p. 3)           


Captain Samuel A. Dutch (1836-1994), a native of Frankfort, Maine, and master of the Pretty Jemima, a sailing yacht, ran excursions to Horn Island as early as 1877.  In an advertisement in The Star of Pascagoula, Captain Dutch stated that his vessel left Pascagoula on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday of each week for the island.  Round trip fare was 50 cents.  The Pretty Jemima left port at 5:30 a.m.(The Star of Pascagoula, June 29, 1877, p. 4 and July 6, 187, p. 1)


The schooner, Scranton, probably owned by the Gulf Fish & Oyster Company, advertised in the local journal that on June 4, 1899, it was departing the Pascagoula wharf at 8 A.M. for Horn Island and would return at the convenience of the excursionists.  Patrons could expect plenty of ice water and food-all for a round trip fare of fifty-cents.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 2, 1899)        


James F. Veicich and the Municipal Park Pier

In the late 1930s, James F. Veicich, manager of the Pascagoula Municipal Park, began daily public excursions to the east end of Horn Island.  Tourists sought the barrier island for recreation and surf bathing.  The B.J. Larsen, an excursion vessel, left the Municipal Pier at 5 p.m. every day except Sunday.  The Sunday schedule consisted of four trips to Horn Island.  The fishermen left the pier at 4:a.m and returned at 9:00 a.m. when the first tour boat headed south for the island.  Other Sunday voyages departed the Municipal Pier at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.  The B.J. Larsen returned to Pascagoula from Horn Island at 9:30 p.m on Sunday evening.   Joe Stratton and Troy Tillman (b. 1917) operated the B.J. Larsen, for Mr. Veicich.  The large, seaworthy watercraft was equipped with the following: dressing rooms and rest rooms; life preservers; a 12 foot by 23 foot awning to screen passengers from the sun.  Cold drinks, hot coffee, and sandwiches were served at reasonable prices.(The Chronicle-Star, June 10, 1938, p.1)


Other local vessels transporting private parties to Horn Island at this time were the Singing River, Snapper King, and Mary Joy.  The Municipal Pier at Pascagoula became effective as a base of operation for departing Horn Island pleasure craft after the Jackson County Dredge was perfected by Captain Adam Gautier (1873-1963).  In early June 1938, it dredged a one hundred-foot wide channel providing seven feet of water to the Municipal Pier.  The County dredge was also used to pump spoils from the Mississippi Sound to create a sand beach along the shoreline at Pascagoula.(The Chronicle-Star, June 17, 1938, p. 1)


Ship Wrecks-Groundings

In May 1884, the Russian bark, Iliana, under the command of Captain Engblom and piloted by John Davis, ran aground on Horn Island, southeast of the lighthouse.  No apparent damage was observed, but a diver was dispatched to ascertain the condition of the hull’s bottom before loading commenced.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 9, 1884, p. )


20th Century

Charles Brash married Anna C. Johnson on October 14, 1900.  The wedding took place in the lighthouse on Horn Island.(The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, 1989, p. 35)


The 1901 Storm


The September 1906 Storm


Sand for sale

See advertisement of Builders Supply Company in The Ocean Springs News, January 23, 1909, p. 4.




The USS Mississippi, a battleship, visited Horn Island on May 31st and June 1st.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, May 25, 1909, p.1 and May 31, 1909, p. 1)


Oil Fever

Taylor Gauche and Paul Jahncke of New Orleans.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, July 5, 1909, p. 1)


Channels and Harbors

In March 1915, the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors Improvement (now Corps of Engineers) recommended that Congress appropriate $283,000 for the deepening of the Pascagoula River and Harbor.  Included in this plan was that the channel from Horn Island into Pascagoula be 225 feet in width and 22 feet deep.(The Moss Point Advertiser, March 19, 1915, p. 1, c. 3)


The 1915 Hurricane


The 1916 Hurricane



Thirty-five to forty miles of communication cable was run from Horn Island to Chandeleur Island for coastal defense in August 1917.(JXCO Times, August 11, 1917, p. 3, c. 5)


Prohibition (1919-1933)


 Mississippi Issues First Land Patent

In March 1925, the State of Mississippi issued a land patent to N.D. Thomas.  Mr. Thomas acquired 160 acres in

In October 1925, Federal Government would sell 1045 acres of land on Horn Island appraised from $1.25 to $2.50 per acre.(The Daily Herald, July 14, 1925, p. 5)



Biological-Chemical Warfare Research.

 In February 1947, the War Assets Administration offered for public sale the approximate forty buildings at the Horn Island chemical warfare service station.  The temporary quarters consisted of barracks, officers’ quarters, mess halls, warehouses, and other typical military structures.  In addition, the island’s electrical and water systems were on the sales block.(The Jackson County Times, February 15, 1947, p. 1)


The Mississippi Press, Horn Island may pose danger because of ordnance, chemicals”, April 22, 1993, p. 3-A.

The Sun Herald [editorial], "A hazardous legacy", August 12, 2012, p. 11-A.


1947 Hurricane



The Islander

Walter Inglis Anderson (1903-1965)


Air Crash-May 1953


1954-Proposed Causeway

The House Ways and Means committee of the state legislature approved a bill to authorize construction of a causeway comnnecting Ship and Horn Islands with the Mississippi Gulf Coast.[The Daily Herald, April 16, 1954, p. 1]


Black Gold Search-1954

Oil and gas mineral leases acquired by Gulf Oil and Melben in 1952.  A 13,000-foot exploratory well bottomed in Lower Cretaceous strata and completed in June 1954 as a dry hole. 


Silver City-1955

In March 1955, Paul Mateo Skrmetti (1895-1968), a Biloxi realtor, platted a subdivision on the west end of Horn Island called “Silver City”.(Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Plat Book 2, p. 74)  Skrmetti was a native of  Croatia.


Horn Island National Wildlife Refuge-1958

In May 1958, the US Department of the Interior created the HINWR.(Book 296, p. 194)

In November 1959, A.P. “Fred” Moran (1897-1967) was authorized to buy tracts on Horn Island.(The Ocean Springs News, November 12, 1959, p. 1)


Gulf Islands National Seashore-

As early as 1980, the Federal government was contemplating ways to protect all barrier islands along America’s shoreline.  (The Times Picayune, February 3, 1980, p.   )

New visitors center dedicated on April 1, 1983, at Davis Bayou Unit of GINS.  Dedicated to W.R. Colmer, US Representative from Pascagoula, Mississippi.


Hurricane Katrina

Morning of August 29, 2005.




The American State Papers, Volume 3, (1815-1924), (reprint Southern Historical Press:  Greenville, South Carolina-1994).

Donald Muir Bradburn, Last Barriers: Photographs in the Gulf Islands National Seashore, (University Press of Mississippi-Jackson, Misssissippi-2011). 

Nap Cassibry II, Early Settler and Land Grants at Biloxi, Volume I, (Mississippi Coast Historical & Genealogical Society: Biloxi, Mississippi-1986).

Nap Cassibry II, The Ladner Odyssey, (Mississippi Coast Historical & Genealogical Society: Biloxi, Mississippi-1988).

Croffut and Morris, ConnecticutDuring the Rebellion, (1868).

Dictionary of Canadian Biography, “Le Moyne De Bienville, Jean-Baptiste”, Volume III, (1741-1770), (University of Toronto Press: Toronto, Canada-1974).

David L. Cipra, Lighthouses & Lightships of the Northern Gulf of Mexico, (Department of Transportation-United States Coast Guard-1976).

Robin F.A. Fabel, The Economy of British West Florida (1763-1783), (University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, Alabama-1988).

R.D. Foxworth, Richard R. Priddy, Wendell B. Johnson, and Williard S. Moore, Heavy Minerals of Sand From Recent Beaches of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Associated Islands, Mississippi Geological Survey Bulletin No. 93, (University of Mississippi-1962).

Marcel Giraud, A History of French Louisiana, The Reign of Louis XIV, (1698-1715), Volume I, (LSU Press: Baton Rouge-1974)

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, (The Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989).

Marine Resources of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, “Historical Background of Horn and Petit Bois Islands”, Vol. II, (Mississippi Department of Marine Resources-

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

Richebourg Gaillard McWilliams, Fleur de Lys and Calumet, Being the Penicaut Narrative and French Adventure in Louisiana, (The University of Alabama Press: Tuscaloosa, Alabama-1988).

Richebourg Gaillard McWilliams, Iberville’s Gulf Journals, (The University of Alabama Press: University, Alabama-1981).

Dunbar Rowland, Mississippi Provincial Archives, Volume II, 1701-1729, (  1929)

Peter Skrmetti, Mississippi Coast Historical & Genealogical Society, Volume 31, No. 2, (July 1995), “The Skrmetti-Skrmetta Family”.

N.M. Miller Surrey, The Commerce of Louisiana During the French Regime, (Columbia University Press: New York-1929).

John D. Ware, George Gauld: Surveyor and Cartographer of the Gulf Coast, (University Presses of Florida: Gainesville/Tampa-1982)



AGI, PC 142-A, No. 7=Archivo General de Indias, Papeles de Cuba, legajo 142-A, Letter No. 7.

William S. Coker, editor, The Military Presence on the Gulf Coast, (Gulf Coast History and Humanities Conference: Pensacola, Florida-1978), W. James Miller, “The Militia System of Spanish Louisiana, 1769-1783”.

William S. Coker and G. Douglas Inglis, The Spanish Censuses of Pensacola, 1784-1820:  A Genealogical Guide To Spanish Pensacola, (The Perido Bay Press: Pensacola, Florida-1980).

Bernardo de Galvez,Yo Solo, The Battle Journal of Bernardo de Galvez During the American Revolution, translated by E.A. Montemayor,  (Polyanthos: New Orleans, Louisian-1978)

Jack D. Holmes, Honor and Fidelity: The Louisiana Infantry Regiment and the Louisiana Militia Companies, 1766-1821, (Holmes: Birmingham, Alabama-1965)

Jerome Lepre, Mississippi Gulf Coast Historical and Genealogical Society, “Solution To a Mystery? Leblanc-White-Moore-Zamora-Seymour, Vol. 31, No. 2 (July 1995).

Archival Documents

Archivo General de Indias, Papeles de Cuba, legajo



The Chronicle Star, “Excursion boat from park to Horn Island to start on June 12”, June 10, 1938.

The Chronicle Star, “Island trips were popular last Sunday”, June 17, 1938.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Horn Island Harbor”, December 9, 1898.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Ship Island Pass”, January 7, 1899.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Channel Buoys”, November 23, 1899.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Horn Island Be To welcome big Battleship [USS MISSISSIPPI]",May 25, 1909.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Battleship at anchorage [off Horn Island], May 31, 1909.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Horn Island Be Treasured Island”July 5, 1909.

The Daily Herald, “Bidders Seek Island Land”, July 14, 1925.

The Daily Herald, “Coast Guard target range on Horn Island”, April 2, 1927, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, “Propose gunnery range south of Horn Island”, October 10, 1941.

The Daily Herald, “Horn Island was bacteriological warfare station”, January 5, 1946.

The Daily Herald, “Survive Storm In Army Duck At Horn Island”, September 22, 1947.

The Daily Herald, “Retired Keeper of Lighthouses Dies Suddenly”, November 26, 1955.

The Daily Herald, “Public invited to talks on Island Toll causewayDecember 10, 1964, p. 7)

The Daily Herald, “Paul Skrmetta (sic)”, June 24, 1968.

The Daily Herald, “[Land] Claims on Gulf islands lost”, September 30, 1980.

The Daily Herald, “Horn Island-Park Service wants to preserve its wilderness”, June 8, 1984.

The Daily Record-Tribune (Gulfport), “Glass Making”, December 4, 1907.

The Gulf Coast Advertiser, February 11, 1887.

The Gulf Coast Advertiser, Light-Houses and Keepers in Pearl River Custom District”, April 29, 1887.

The Jackson County Times, “Gov. Buildings on Horn Island Offered for Sale”, February 15, 1947.

The Mississippi Press, Horn Island may pose danger because of ordnance, chemicals”, April 22, 1993, p. 3A.

The Moss Point Advertiser, “22-Foot Channel To World’s Ports”, March 19,1915.

The Ocean Springs News, “Horn Island Sand (an advertisement), January 23, 1909.

The Ocean Springs News, “Ambergris Found on Horn Island”, March 7, 1914.

The Ocean Springs News, “Moran named to buy tracts on Horn Island”, November 12, 1959.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Settlement reached on claims to Mississippi’s barrier island land”, December 9, 1982, p. 8.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Fire may help Horn Island”, July 3, 1997, p. 1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Writer and photographer express passion for Horn Island”, June 9, 2005, p. B4.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “The Seashore”, May 21, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, July 9, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local News”, May 9, 1884.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local News”, June 6, 1884.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Bark Tevere Was Burned” April 8, 1881.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “On Pascagoula’s Waters”, August 3, 1883.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Moonlight Excursion”, May 20, 1881.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Detailed Advantages of the Port of Pascagoula Over That of Ship Island”, February 15, 1889.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local News”, March 4, 1892.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Star-Beams”,July 6, 1877.

The Sun Herald, “Once an escape, ranger returns to shell of island”, September 21, 2005, p. B3.

The Sun Herald, "A hazardous legacy", August 21, 2012, p. A11.

The Sun Herald"[Ranger Ben Moore] Leaving Horn Island", June 30, 2013, p. A 1.

The Sun Herald"Horn Island chimney area off limits due to asbestos", August 30, 2014, p. A 5.

The Star of Pascagoula, “Star-Beams”, April 13, 1877.

The Star of Pascagoula, “Excursions”, June 29, 1877.

The Star of Pascagoula, “Star-Beams”,July 6, 1877.

The Times Picayune, “U.S. Frowns on Island Development”, February 3, 1980.

The Times Picayune, “Tranquil retreat was lost to island’s secret purpose”. January 3, 1983.

The Times Picayune, “Horn Island: Research links it to U.S. atomic project”, January 3, 1983.

The Times Picayune,



Carte Particuliere des Environs du Fort Maurepas et de la Baye des Biloxys (circa 1700).




Ship Island-1947

[Courtesy of Kenneth Fountain and August Taconi-February 2020 from a 16mm film shot by BAY AERO, a seaplane flying school in North Biloxi] 



Iberville aboard La Badine anchored here 10 February 1699.





Fort Massachusetts

Ship Island was set aside by the President for military purposes on August 30, 1847.(The Daily Herald, April 22, 1940, p. 3)








Dr. Robert Drake Murray (1845-1903), native of Ohlton, the surgeon in charge of this station, know as the Gulf Quarantine, has had sixteen years of experience in this service. He was an Ohio soldier during the war [Civil War], and bears upon his face an ugly scar where a bullet, crushing through his right, cheek bone and putting out his eye, left for twelve years a running sore. Half blind, and never for a conscious moment free from pain, he studied medicine these years of ordeal giving him diplomas from two leading colleges, a surgeons commission in his present service in a competitive examination over forty four other applicants and a reputation for efficiency, faithfulness and usefulness of which any well man might be proud. There is no field of though and investigation in which he is not a student. His career is a signal [sic] example of the triumph of mind over matter. His family, a wife and five bright children, live with him on the island."(an excerpt from an 1887 article about Ship Island, Mississippi (the quarantine station) by his cousin, Moses Folsom, published in The Marion Weekly Star, Marion, Ohio)


Lillie D. Bell Murray(1863-1887) expired at Ship Island on  August 16, 1887.  She was the spouse of Dr. R.D. Murray of the US Marine Service and charge of the quarantine station on Ship  Island.  She left 5 young children to her husband.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 12, 1887)



In January, Dr. Robet D. Murray was ordered by the US Marine Hospital Service to Key West, Florida as his service at Ship Island quarantine station had expired.  He died at Laredo, Texas on November 22, 1903.(The Biloxi Herald, January 21, 1888, p. 8)


In February, the Mississippi House passed a bill authorizing the removal of the Ship Island Quarantine station.  It had passed the Senate earlier.  $45, 000 was appropriated for the removal project.(The Biloxi Herald, February 25, 1888, p. 8)





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 Biloxi Herald, August 14, 1897, p. 5]






The Telephone Company at Biloxi had its central office connected with Ship Island on September 26th.  Messages were received at Ship Island by Captain Dan McCall and delivered to the appropriate party.  The cost was $.50 to call a vessel in the Ship Island anchorage and $1.00 to contact a person at the Quarantine Station.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 27, 1898, p. 4)



Whale standed

A whale stranded on the beach was towed by the vessel Leo to [Antonio?] Pons Wharf at Biloxi.  Prior strandings were reported in The Daily Picayune of 1829 and 1857 at Horn Island..[The Biloxi Daily Herald, April 1, 1899, p. 1]



Eaton J. Bowers (1865-1939), Mississippi Congressional Representative, introduced a bill on January 4th to appropriate $50,000 to dredge a ship channel to be 26 feet deep and 300 feet wide from Ship Island to Gulfport.  A separate bill was proposed by Bowers to survey a ship channel from Ship Island to Biloxi.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, January 5, 1906, p. 4)



Dr. Jacquelin A. Moncur, Marine Hospital surgeon at Ship Island, was registered yesterday at the Breslow Hotel at Biloxi. He spent his vacation one month vacation in February 1908 at Washington, D.C. (The Daily Herald, February 19, 1908, p. 1 and April 5, 1909, p. 4)





The Joe L. Graham American Legion Post was organized at Gulfport in August 1920.  It was named for Joe L. Graham (1895-1918), a Private in Company 2, 28th U.S. Infantry of the American Expeditionary Force.  Joe L. Graham enlisted in the US Army on April 12, 1917 and his ship left New Jersey for combat in France on June 10, 1917.  He was killed in action while fighting German soldiers in France on May 29, 1918.  Joe was the son of Walter F. Graham and Lucy D. Graham.(The Daily Herald, July 3, 1918, p. 1)


Houston Hewes Evans (1895-1930+), Gulfport attorney and Representative from Harrison County to the State legislature, organized the founding of the Joe L. Graham Post 119. He was elected temporary chairman at its August 1920 meeting at Gulfport with the following charter members: F.C. Selby; Cliff Murphy; L.H. Myers; C.C. Gaston; George P. Hopkins; E.E. Williams; R.C. Newby; Lee Clark; H.H. Evans; Dean P. Woleben; Dr. D.A. Hilton; A.F. Franklin; R.C. Cottingim; and A.E. Kramer.(The Daily Herald, November 28, 1919, p. 3 and August 12, 1920, p. 1)






The Harrison County, Mississippi Board of Supervisors authorized the acquistion of 1200 acres at Ship Island in May 1930 for $17,837.50.(The Daily Herald, May 6, 1930, p. 1)


After Public Law No. 60-73rd Congress was passed in 1933, the Joe L. Graham American Legion Post 119 acquired Ship Island in September 1933, from the Federal government for $15,000.  At this time, Ship Island was divided into three parcels and contained about 1260 acres.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 119, p. 197)


Acquired approximately 1260 acres, excluding reservations of the light house and the quarantine station.  Built a recreation facility in 1934 which was open to the public in April 1934.  Luther W. Maples was in charge of this project.(The Daily Herald, April 19, 1934, p. 8)


Excursion trips

In June 1935, Peter Skrmetta began ferrying tourists to Ship Island on the President Roosevelt, a power boat.  Skrmetta ran to the island three times daily making stops commencing at the Baltar Pier at the Hotel Biloxi and White House Piers, twice daily.(The Daily Herald, june 27, 1935, p. 2)


Pan American Clipper

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)


Ship Island Memorial and Playground Development and Luther Maples

In October 1941, Joe Graham Post 119 named Luther Maples (1890-1971) as director of the Ship Island Memorial and Playground Development.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 389, p. 458)


Ship Island Fort Incorporated

Leased the west end of Ship Island to Peter Skrmetta in 1945.  Renewed lease in January 1950.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 389, p. 40)


Gulf Clipper

Gulf Clipper
The Gulf Clipper was launched at the Tony Jack Covacevich SY on Back Bay.  She was built by Oral Covacevich for Marko Skrmetta for the family Ship Island tour business. The boat was 60-feet in length with a beam of 23-feet and of 63 gross tons with the capacity to transport 250-passengers.  Peter Skrmetta was to captain the vessel.  This watercraft l was sold to Ben L. Herndon of Corpus Christi, Texas in July 1952. It was used to haul tourists to Padre Island from Corpus Christi.[The Daily Herald, June 1, 1946, p. 2 and July 31, 1952, p. 2 and The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. August 17, 1952, p. 29


UDC 1963 Memorial

United Daughters of the Confederacy acquired one-acre on Ship Island in 1933.  Selected Memorial site in November 1963.  Sold one-acre to Federal government in November 1972. (Harrison Co., Mississippi Land Deed Bk. 530, p. 475 and 2nd JD Land Deed Bk. 45, p. 319)


1954-Proposed Causeway

The House Ways and Means committee of the state legislature approved a bill to authorize construction of a causeway comnnecting Ship and Horn Islands with the Mississippi Gulf Coast.[The Daily Herald, April 16, 1954, p. 1]



In September, the State of Mississippi sought for $25,000 to acquire 190-acres on the east end of Ship Island from the Federal government.  This tract had been used by KAFB for recreational purposes of its military personnel.  By mid-December, the US Congress removed barriers to sell a portion of Ship Island to the Mississippi State Park Commission .(The Daily Herald, September 18, 1964, p. 1 and December 12, 1964, p. 1)



Mayor Guice speaks out to save Fort Massachusetts.[The Daily Herald, November 13, 1965, p. 1]




Save The Fort Inc.

Founded circa 1967 by M. James Stevens et al to protect Fort Massachusetts from eroding tidal currents and wave action.  A wall was built circa 1968 around the fort to protect it from tidal and longshore currents.   In 1977, Save The Fort Inc. was lauded for its preservation effortd at the 11th Annual Military History Conference held at Fort Monroe, Virginia. (The Daily Herald, May 4, 1977, p. 2)


1969 Hurricane Camille

In August 1969, Hurricane Camille created the ‘Camille Cut’, which divided the island into East and West Ship Island.


Lighthouse Fire

The 1885 Ship Island lighthouse caught fire on June 27th.  The 73-foot wooden tower was consumed by the conflagration leaving only the concrete foundation.(The Daily Herald, June 28, 1972, p. 2)



In December 1972, Joe Graham sold Ship Island to Federal government for $102,000.  Three tracts containing to 673.60 acres.(Harrison Co., Mississippi 2nd JD Land Deed Bk. 34, p. 117)






Edwin C. Bearss, Historic Resources Study-Ship Island, Harrison County, Mississippi Gulf Islands Natioal Seashore-Florida/Mississippi, (US Department of the Interior-National Park Service: Denver Service Center-1984).

Anna-Lena Berg, Blood on the Ocean-The Forgotten True Story of the Veronica Mutiny [Ship Island-October 1902], Countyvise Ltd.,United Kngdom-2012, 287 pages.

Luther Maples, Camp Fires of Ship Island, (Gulfport Printing Company: Gulfport, Mississippi-1936).

Theresa Arnold-Scriber and Terry G. Scriber, Ship Island, Mississippi-Rosters and History of the Civil War Prison, (McFarland & Company, Inc.-Jefferson, North Carolina-2008).

Chancery Court

Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 33575, ‘Paul Skremetta v. Joe Graham American Legion Post No. 119’-Ocotber 1953.



The Biloxi Herald,“Quarantine Station”, February 15, 1888.

The Biloxi Herald, “The future of Biloxi”, February 22, 1890.

The Biloxi Herald, “Local Happenings”, June 28, 1890.

The Biloxi Herald, “The Bar at Ship Island”, July 12, 1890.

The Biloxi Herald, “Ho! For Ship Island”, July 19, 1890.

The Biloxi Herald, “Ship Island Harbor”, April 23, 1892.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Ship Island Quarantine”, January 1, 1898.

The Biloxi Daily  Herald, “Local and Personal”, September 27, 1898.

The Biloxi Daily  Herald, “Ship Island Pass”, January 7, 1899, p. 1.

The Biloxi Daily  Herald, “City News”, January 5, 1906.


The Daily Herald, “Personal”, April 5, 1909.

The Daily Herald, “Kiln sends five men to the ranks”, April 13, 1917.

The Daily Herald, “Bar Association holds Memorial in honor fallen Gulfport soldier”, July 3, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “Maccabees hold Memorial service”, July 9, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “American Legion Post for Gulfport”, November 28, 1919.

The Daily Herald, “Gulfport to have American Legion”, August 12, 1920.

The Daily Herald, “American Legion to meet Tuesday”, August 23, 1920.

The Daily Herald, “American Legion meeting postponed”, August 24, 1920.

The Daily Herald, “Bar Association holds Memorial in honor fallen Gulfport soldier”, July 3, 1918.

The Daily Herald, “Memorial exercises at Ship Island”, May 30, 1930.

The Daily Herald, “Harrison County purchase of Ship Island authorized by Board of Supervisors”, May 6, 1930.

The Daily Herald, “Captain Pete Eskald dies; burial set Thursday”, June 21, 1944, p. 7.

The Daily Herald, “Favor Island development”, June 10, 1933.

The Daily Herald, “Congress approves Bill authorizing Ship Island sale”, June 14, 1933.

The Daily Herald, “Work starts on Island”, December 18, 1933.

The Daily Herald, “Maples tells Island plans”, April 19, 1934.

The Daily Herald, “Legion to open Ship Island to the Public again this week-end”, April 19, 1934.

The Daily Herald, “Legion to open its Island Resort to public Sunday”, April 26, 1935, p. 9.

The Daily Herald, “Veterans go to Ship Island”, October 5, 1935, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Captain Pete Eskald once owned Ship Island gun but couldn’t move it”, July 8, 1937.

The Daily Herald, “Ship Island bill passed by [Ms.] Senate”, April 18, 1940, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Seek to clarify Ship Island title”, April 22, 1940.

The Daily Herald, “Chinese casket found on Ship Island”, June 16, 1942, p. 8.

The Daily Herald, “CG [Coast Guard] firing area off Ship Island”, December 29, 1942, p. 1.

The Daily Herald,Hears report [American Legion Joe Graham Post development plans] on Ship Island,, November 8, 1946, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Ship Island shore gradually moving nearer fort”, March 31, 1949, p. 10.

The Daily Herald, “Core drilling on proposed Causeway get underway to determine foundation”, August 13, 1954, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, “Causeways-Pro and Cons”, November 27, 1954.

The Daily Herald, “Group will negotiate for islands”, November 29, 1954.

The Daily Herald, “Development of Ship Island still in works”, October 23, 1961.

The Daily Herald, “Ship Island and Recreation”, August 14, 1964, p. 4.

The Daily Herald, “State seeking to buy acreage on Ship Island”, September 18, 1964, p. 1
The Daily Herald, “Know Your State-Never has its [15 inch Rodman cannon] bass voice been heard”, September 18, 1964, p. 4.
The Daily Herald, “Public invited to talks on Island Toll causewayDecember 10, 1964, p. 7.
The Daily Herald, “Congress acts-Way is cleared for sale of Ship Island”, December 12, 1964.
The Daily Herald"Make proposal on Bridges to Islands", December 16, 1965, p. 1.
The Daily Herald“Three persons rescued in Gulf at Ship Island”, July 18, 1966, p. 22.
The Daily Herald, “Marine [USMCR 2nd Amphibian Tractor Company-Gulfport] training on Ship Island”, September 17, 1966, p. 10.

The Daily Herald, “Wife's husband lived on Ship Island as boy”, March 16, 1968.

The Daily Herald, “Family Court Judge [Luther W. Maples] dies”, January 4, 1971.

The Daily Herald, “Ship Island Lighthouse burns”, June 28, 1972, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, “Save the Fort, Inc. honored for efforts”, May 4, 1977, p. A-2.

The Daily Herald,“[Land] Claims on Gulf islands lost, September 30, 1980.

The Daily Herald,

The Daily Herald,


The Ocean Springs News, “Hearing called on study of bridges for islands”, December 10. 1964.

The Ocean Springs News, “Bridge to Ship Island should start at Biloxi”, April 1, 1965.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Ship Island study started”, December 21, 1972, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Ship Island under Federal ownership”, January 4, 1973, p. 6.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Ship Island under control of Gulf Islands Seashore”, January 4, 1973, p. 7.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Four generations [Skrmetta family] span Ship Island”April 8, 1999, p. 14.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Re-nourishment protects Fort", December 1, 2011. p. 2. 


The Sun Herald, “Islands Resilient To Natural Forces”, May 30, 1989.

The Sun Herald, “Federal agencies try to save Ship Island”, September 29, 2011.

The Sun Herald, “Dredging to rejoin Ship Islands begins”, September 30, 2011.

The Sun Herald, “Ship Island erosion worst in recent memory”, March 2, 2012.

The Sun Herald, “Unidentified man's body found floating near Ship Island”July 30, 2013, p. A-1.

The Sun Herald, “First Mardi Gras on the Coast may have been on Ship Island”, March 3, 2014, p. C-3.

The Sun Herald, “Ship Island Excursion contract extended 10 years”, February 24, 2015, p. A-6..




Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea,



Although the early European explorers and adventurers failed to find gold and other mineral wealth in the strata of the Gulf Coastal plain of the southern United States, there was indeed an inestimable natural treasure in the guise of virgin forests which waited to be exploited.  In particular was the longleaf pine, which is also called the southern pine, heart pine, yellow pine, and long straw pine.  This tree often grew to a height of 95-100 feet with a diameter of 3-3 1/2 feet.  It was characterized by rising 60 feet without a single branch before expanding into its evergreen crown.

In Mississippi, most of the longleaf country is located between the Pearl River and Alabama border.  The northern perimeter of this sylvan expanse is Copiah, Rankin, Lauderdale, Newton, Scott, and Kemper Counties.  The longleaf pine tree grows primarily on sandy soils and thrives in terrain which has a generally rolling topography with broad, dry plateaus cut occasionally by hollows and streams.

The early French colonist in coastal Mississippi utilized the tall, straight, tapering longleaf and slash pines for masts and spars for their sailing vessels.  A few small sawmills were built to process lumber for export to their Caribbean island possessions.  Later the English and Spanish developed lumbering and naval store industries. 

Before the Civil War, a thriving lumber business existed in Hancock County.  Early sawmill sites were at Pearlington, Logtown, Napoleon, and Gainesville on the Pearl River.  These sites were selected because at this time there was no railroad or roads in the area and logs had to be brought to the mills by water from the interior forest, and shipped to outside markets by schooners and brigs.  The industry in Harrison and Jackson Counties developed slower, but significant sawmills developed on the Pascagoula and Escatawpa Rivers in Jackson and at Bayou Bernard in Harrison County.

In the decades following the Civil War, the lumber industry expanded rapidly in South Mississippi.  This expansion was due to the discovery of foreign markets by the mill owners.  Up to 1870, the market was confined chiefly to Mexico, the Caribbean area, and New Orleans with minor shipments to large Atlantic seaboard cities and Europe. 

With this brief background as an introduction, the role of Ship Island and the bar pilots who guided large sailing vessels and steamships into safe anchorage in the Mississippi Sound will be presented to demonstrate their role in the development of the historic Mississippi lumber industry.

As Pierre LeMoyne discovered in February 1699, large draft vessels could not sail in the Mississippi Sound due to its shallow depth.  In fact, one has to go as far east as Mobile and Pensacola to find natural navigational channels conducive for the navigation of large ships.  When foreign flag vessels came calling to Mississippi ports to export timber in the decades following the Civil War, they were limited to two areas, Ship Island and Horn Island, because of water depth.  An insurance company in 1896, when rating Gulf Coast ports said this: Pensacola is rate A, 21 feet, meaning that that is the safe depth of water.  Mobile 21 feet and Horn Island 18 feet, with no limit to Ship Island.(The Biloxi Herald February 29, 1896, p. 8)

Also in 1896, a Legislative committee from the State senate and house who were studying the advisability of each coast point as a potential deepwater port were given a thorough tour of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  One of their outings was the sounding of the Mississippi Sound from Gulfport to Ship Island.  The results of this occasion were recorded as follows:  The cutter headed for Gulfport and reached there about 11:30 a.m., where preparations were made for soundings.  The gig was launched and a party, among whom was Louis Bowen, put off to about three-quarters of a mile from the shore of Gulfport, where six feet of water was found.  The party continued sounding at intervals of a quarter mile, and as they went on to six miles off Gulfport they gradually found the depth at that point to be sixteen feet, and this was in what is known as the "pocket".  Finally after running thirteen miles, the last sounding brought the cutter into Ship Island harbor.  Here the water was from thirty to thirty five-feet.(The Biloxi Herald February 29, 1896, p. 8)

Ship Island became the principal port for the shipment of timber and deals from the coastal counties of Mississippi.  Biloxi was the official port of entry as the Custom House had been moved there in 1852, from Shieldsboro (Bay St. Louis).  Permanent settlement of Ship Island was discouraged by the threat of hurricanes and the paucity of trees although some exist on the eastern end of the island.

Ship Island lies 10-12 miles offshore in the Mississippi Sound.  The island is approximately seven miles long and about one half mile wide striking in an east-northeasterly direction.  The beaches and dunes are composed of quartz sand with dune elevations ranging from 10 to 18 feet.

The western terminus of the island is reported to have a high concentration of heavy minerals principally staurolite and kyanite.

Ship Island Harbor, the salient physiographic feature, which lends great value to the island, is located at its extreme northwest end.  This natural harbor lies 400-1500 feet from the northshore in the Mississippi Sound.  This subaqueous depression has an area of about 45 acres (3300 feet x 600 feet) with a water depth greater than 30 feet.

Entrance to this haven is reached via a fairly narrow channel known as Ship Island Pass.  The linear axis of this channel is about 1000 feet west of the western bound of Ship Island.  The pass has an average width of 1000 feet within the 30-foot isobath.

The primary obstacle to navigation in order to success fully reach anchorage at Ship Island Harbor is the Ship Island Bar.  This submarine sand dune is 1 1/2 - 2 miles long and generally strikes northwest.  It averages about 700 feet in width.  Its location is 3/4 to 1 mile SSW from the western terminus of Ship Island.  Water depth shoals to 20 feet from about 25 feet in the surrounding waters.  Once this bar is negotiated, entry into Ship Island Pass is gained, and a voyage of only 1 1/4 nautical miles is necessary to reach the anchorage at Ship Island Harbor.

The Ship Island Bar demanded only experienced seamen who knew the daily conditions of the tides, currents, and wave action that prevailed in that Ship Island local.  The men who performed the task of negotiating the bar were called bar pilots.  Their charge was the safe navigation of large, ocean going vessels from the open Gulf of Mexico south of Ship Island across the Ship Island bar through Ship Island Pass into Ship Island Harbor.  A safe return voyage to the Gulf completed the nautical circuit.

The Legislature of the State of Mississippi on December 23, 1874, approved an act titled Chapter III.  Chapter III read as follows:



AN ACT to create a Board of Pilot Commissioners for Ship Island Harbor and Mississippi Sound.

Section 1.  Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Mississippi, That it is hereby made the duty of the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to nominate and appoint three citizens of this State, one of whom shall reside at Biloxi, one at Mississippi City, and the other at Pass Christian, in Harrison County, to be named and styled "The Board of Pilot Commissioners for Ship Island Harbor and Mississippi Sound," who shall hold their offices for the term of six years, and until their successors are appointed and qualified; and they shall take and subscribe the oath of office required by the Constitution of this State, and file the same in the office of the Chancery Clerk of Harrison County.        

Section 2.  Be it further enacted, That two of said Com-missioners shall constitute a quorum for any business, and they shall have power to grant licenses to pilots for Ship Island Pass and all other passes leading into the Mississippi Sound, and there shall not be less than four pilots for said Pass and Sound, if such number shall apply for license and shall be qualified for such office and duty.    

Section 3.  Be it further enacted, That every such pilot shall take and subscribe an oath as such pilot, and give a bond in the penal sum of one thousand dollars, with good and sufficient security, payable to the State of Mississippi, for the faithful performance of their duties as pilots, which bond shall be approved by said Board of Commissioners; and such bond shall be renewed every two years; such pilots, when they board any vessel coming into Ship Island Harbor, outside of the Pass, shall, if the vessel draws more than eight feet of water, be entitled to half pilotage, and any vessel going out of said Pass, drawing more than ten feet of water, shall pay half pilotage, if any pilot offers to take her out; that for piloting vessels in or out of Harbor or Sound, such pilots shall be entitled to not over three dollars per foot.    

Section 4.  Be it further enacted, That said Board of Pilot Commissioners shall make and publish such by-laws, rules and regulations, and impose fines and forfeitures for neglect of duty, and revoke licenses of (for) incompetency or intemperance.    

Section 5.  Be it further enacted, That any pilot removing any vessel from said Harbor or Sound, while such vessel is in charge of any civil officer, by virtue of process from any court of record of this State, or the United States, shall forfeit his license and be ever afterwards disqualified as a pilot, and subject to a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, to be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction, in a quitam action, one half for the benefit of the informer and the other half for the benefit of the Common School Fund of this State.    

Section 6.  Be it further enacted, That said Pilot Commissioners are authorized and empowered to elect or appoint a Harbor Master for said Harbor and Sound, and it is made the duty of all vessels arriving in said Harbor or Sound in ballast, to report to said Harbor Master, who shall designate and prescribe what shall be done with such ballast, subject to such rules and regulations as may be adopted by said Pilot Commissioners; and any vessel failing or neglecting to make such reports, and make such disposition of her ballast as the Harbor Master may direct, shall be fined in the sum of one thousand dollars, collectable by said Pilot Commissioners, in any court of competent jurisdiction, for the benefit of the Common School Fund of this State.  Said Harbor Master shall be entitled to a fee of five dollars for his services in each case, to be paid by the vessel making report to him.           

Section 7.  Be it further enacted, That said Board of Pilot Commissioners shall keep a record of all their acts and doings, so that all persons may know the same, and said Board shall have an office at Mississippi City.           

Section 8.  Be it further enacted, That if any person shall act as a pilot without a license granted by said Board of Pilot Commissioners, he shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, nor less than one hundred dollars, for the benefit of the Common School Fund of this State.           

Section 9.  Be it further enacted, That the fees of said Commissioners shall be, for every license granted to a pilot, ten dollars; for taking bond and affidavit and filing same, two dollars and fifty cents; and for copies of their records and proceedings, for each hundred words, twenty five cents; and for certificate to same, fifty cents.    

Section 10.  Be it further enacted, That all laws in conflict with this Act be and the same are hereby repealed, and this Act shall go into force and effect from and after its passage.

With this legislation in place, the Ship Island bar pilots began their duties in 1875.  They were the first civilians to occupy former military buildings on the island, when the Pilot's Station was established.  Life as a bar pilot must have been interesting.  They were exposed to people from almost every seafaring nation of the planet.  Ships flying the flag of Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Russia, and the United States crossed the Ship Island Bar to load timber.  The boats of Norway and Sweden hauled the majority of cargo for foreign ports, while the coastal trading was handled by American vessels.

Although the cultural exposure provided by foreign crews must have been stimulating, the constant threat of yellow fever, small pox, plague, and other contagious tropical diseases probably dampened social contact.  By 1881, a Yellow Fever Quarantine Station was operating near the center of the island to protect the mainland against all contagions.  An excerpt from The Biloxi Herald of July 7, 1881 demonstrates the serious nature of those involved in the yellow fever battle:  Persons who do not wish to remain in quarantine five or ten days had better fight shy of the Quarantine Station on Ship Island.  Dr. Carter's motto is absolute non-intercourse and he means to carry it out.  One day this week a party of four run into Quarantine grounds and when ordered to come to an anchor by the Quarantine officer they refused to do so.  They were promptly brought to by rifles and placed in quarantine for five days.  The captain of the yacht is known as " Red Bill".  Biloxi and the entire coast is to be congratulated on having such an able and determined gentleman in charge of the station at Ship Island.

It was standard practice for the crew of the ship and pilot to remain in quarantine for the prescribed time, which could be as long as fifteen days.

The Ship Island bar pilots were well organized and regulated.  They had a Pilot's Association for the licensed members, which was organized about 1880.  The rules and regulations were provided by the Board of Pilot's Commissioners for Ship Island Harbor.  In a document titled Pilots' Laws and Regulations Ship Island Harbor, Mississippi- H.C. James, Harbor Master, May 5, 1893, the following rules for pilots is given:

Rule 1.  That any licensed pilot who shall take or bring a steamer or vessel into port shall be entitled to take her out, and any other pilot taking out such steamer or vessel shall forfeit the full amount of pilotage to the pilot rejected, and the captain owners thereof shall be bound to pay to the pilot rejected the fees established by law, unless the master aforesaid shall show good cause tothe contrary, which shall be satisfactory to the Board of Pilot Commissioners.  That all vessels on being ready for sea are required to pay their pilotage on shore at Biloxi.    

Rule 2.  That all steamers or vessels entering said harbor, or leaving the same, shall be subject to pay to any licensed pilot performing on board, at the rate of three dollars per foot, or to the pilot who shall first speak to any steamer or vessel entering or leaving said harbor shall, if the vessel draws more than seven (7) feet of water, be entitled to half pilotage, and any vessel going out of  said harbor drawing more than eight (8) feet of water, shall pay half pilotage, if any pilot offers to take her out.  This rule shall apply to all steamers and vessels, whether owned by citizens of this State or not.  That all steamers or vessels carrying the regular United States mail shall pay half pilotage only.  That all steamers or vessels drawing less than (7) feet of water, and having a coastwise license, shall be exempt from paying whole or half pilotage, unless they employ a pilot.    

Rule 3.  That pilots on any of the bars of said harbor, in addition to the qualifications as pilots now required by law, shall hereafter be required to have served a regular apprenticeship of two years on some pilot boat on any such bars; Provided, That on such bars as have no regular pilot boats the provisions of this rule shall not apply.    

Rule 4.  Pilots shall forfeit their authority as such for more than 24 hours absence from their several bars, except in case of sickness.    

Rule 5.  That whenever any vessel is ready for the sea the pilot who brought her in shall have notice, and if such notice cannot be given personally it shall be given by hoisting a jack at the foremast-head twenty-four hours before leaving; when if the pilot signalized does not come on board, the master may take the first pilot that may offer.    

Rule 6.  No pilot shall be interested directly or indirectly in the earnings of more than two pilot boats, or more than one partnership or pilots.  No combination or partnership of pilots shall exist unless sanctioned by the Board of Commissioners.  Any pilot violating this rule maybedeprived of his license and forfeit a sum to be determined by a majority of the commissioners.    

Rule 7.  Any pilot bringing a vessel into the harbor who shall fail to bring such vessel to, during the existence of quarantine regulations at quarantine buoy, unless visited by the port physician, shall be deemed guilty of misconduct, and shall be either suspended from his duties as pilot or shall forfeit his license.    

Rule 8.  The Pilot Commissioners shall have power to revoke the license of any pilot for misbehavior, neglect of duty, or drunkenness, or any other cause detrimental to the interest or navigation.           

Rule 9.  Any person who shall act as a pilot for any of the passes leading into said harbor without a license from the Board of Pilot Commissioners shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than three hundred dollars for each and every offense, recoverable before any court of competent jurisdiction in this State.  Said fine to be paid for the benefit of the common school fund of this State.           

Rule 10.  Any pilot who shall be detained at quarantine station on board any vessel, shall be entitled to receive three dollars per day for every day so detained, which amount must be paid by the vessel he piloted into quarantine.    

Rule 11.  Section 2259, Code 1892, provides that the charges for piloting at Ship Island Harbor and passes shall not exceed four dollars per foot.  It is hereby ordered by the Board of Commissioners that all vessels drawing eighteen feet or more shall pay for pilotage four dollars per foot and all vessels of less draught than eighteen feet shall pay three dollars per foot.           

Rule 12.  It is further ordered by the Board of Commissioners that the per diem of port wardens for Ship Island Harbor is hereby fixed at ten dollars.

The bark was the most common sailing vessel employed in the export lumber trade.  It was a three masted ship with a square rig on the first and second mast.  These ships were 250-300 feet in length with 40-50 foot beams and drew 15-20 feet of water when loaded.  An article appearing in the March 10, 1900, issue of The Biloxi Herald told of a record set at Ship Island.

The British ship Record, Captain McNutt, for Liverpool laden with limber, broke the record at this port yesterday, having went out loaded to a depth of 23 feet.  Messieurs H.C. James and Antoine Bellande piloted her out, and she was cleared by Patterson and Downing (probably a tugboat firm).  The Recordis 1722 tons burden and is the biggest vessel that has ever crossed the bar.  The fact is worthy to note because it indicates Biloxi (Ship Island) has the deepest water of any port on the Gulf Coast outside of Pensacola, and shows great advantage and importance as a seaport.  The record is one to be proud of.


In the early 1890s steamships began to replace sailing vessels in the lumber trade.  By 1895, twenty-five per cent of the export business was handled by steamers.  Lumber shipping was a seasonal business affected primarily by the weather.  The dry seasons, summer and fall, were times for cutting and hauling logs.  The logs were stored on the banks of creeks and rivers to wait for high water created by the rains of winter and spring to float them to the mill.  The teredo worm, a saltwater inhabitant, which destroys lumber, caused the sawn timber to be shipped before the waters of the Gulf became too warm, the condition conducive for their growth.  Thus, late winter and early spring were very busy times at Ship Island.  Unfortunately this is the time of the year that extratropical fronts from the northwest and north pass through the area.  The winds and storms brought by these frontal passages created loading problems for exporters as the Ship Island Harbor is exposed on the north.  This compelled merchants to insure their timber.


Timber was towed to Ship Island on rafts or lighters (large barges) by steam tugboats.  The average size lighter cargo was about 42,000 cubic feet and the round trip cost was $50.  The barks and steamers in Ship Island Harbor were loaded by stevedores using hand-operated winches that often lifted timbers two feet square and sixty to seventy feet in length.  An example of a ship's cargo is given by this notice in The Biloxi Herald of August 11, 1888:     The British steamship, Hempstead, 1440 tons, Captain E. Jones, which sailed from this port this week for Dordrecht, carried the largest cargo ever taken from Ship Island.  The cargo consisted of  2240 loads of deals and timber, equal to 1,4000,000 feet of timber, the freight and cargo being valued at about $50,000.


It was common for a vessel to remain at anchorage in Ship Island Harbor from 30 to 90 days.  Factors, which determined this were loading time, size of the cargo, demurrage, and amount of water drawn by the vessel.  Ships, which drew more than 21 feet of water had to wait for exceptional tides to float across the Ship Island Bar.  At times a wait of 25 days was necessary for an appropriate high tide.


Although the construction of Gulfport at the southern terminus of the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad in 1887 signaled the future termination of Ship Island Harbor as an important port, it wasn't until a deepwater channel was completed in 1902, that this was a fait accompli.  The six mile channel to Gulfport was dredged 300 feet wide and 19 feet deep by Captain Joseph T. Jones (1842-1916).  The August Storm (Hurricane) of 1901, with its 85 mph winds deepened it to 22 feet.  When the Italian schooner, Trojan, docked at Gulfport on January 24, 1902 to load timber for export, Gulfport was born and activity at Ship Island began to wane.


Although the exportation of Mississippi longleaf pine climaxed in the years 1906-1913, Gulfport has grown as a port.  Today it functions as a leading Gulf Coast harbor for the importing of bananas from Central America and the exporting of Mississippi agricultural products to the world.  The role of the original bar pilot no longer exists, but today ocean going vessels and gambling boats are still guided into and out of Gulfport by ship pilots.



Henry W. Black, Gulfport, Beginnings and Growth,(Bowling Green, Kentucky: Rivendell Publications, 1986).

Traugott Bromme, Mississippi- A Geographic-Statistic-Topographic Sketch For Immigrants and Friends of Geography and Ethnology,(Baltimore, Maryland-1837).

Cyril Edward Cain, Four Centuries On The Pascagoula, Volume II, (Spartanburg, South Carolina: The Reprint Company, 1983).

R.D. Foxworth, Richard R. Priddy, Wendell B. Johnson, and Williard S. Moore, Heavy Minerals of Sand From Recent Beaches of the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Associated Islands, (University, Mississippi: Geological Survey Bulletin 93, 1962).

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

M. James Stevens Collection, ShipIsland (Books 129-133) and Timber Industry ( Book 149), Biloxi Public Library-Historical and Genealogical Section.

The Pascagoula Democrat Star, "Local Paragraphs”, May 20, 1881.

The Pascagoula Democrat Star, "Detailed Advantages of the Port of Pascagoula Over That of Ship Island", February 15, 1889.



U.S.Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Chart 11372-Ms-La-Dog Keys Pass to Waveland, 22nd Edition, June 2, 1990.

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Ship Island & Vicinity (from the U.S. Coast Survey), January 4, 1862.



About 1875, a group of men some foreign born began piloting ships from the open waters south of Ship Island to safe anchorage at Ship Island Harbor.  In later years after the Port of Gulfport was opened in 1902, they brought vessels here.  The pilots were regulated by statutes established by the Mississippi Legislature and the Board of Pilot's Commissioners for Ship Island Harbor.           


ShipIsland Harbor Master

In May 1881, Captain George Belfour (1822-1881+), a Dane and resident of Biloxi, was appointed harbor master for Ship Island by the Harrison County, Mississippi Board of Pilot Commissioners.  Captain Belfour was married to Arabella ? Belfour (1838-1907), a native of Tennessee.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 20, 1881, p. 3 and 1880 Pike Co., Mississippi Federal Census T9)

The following brief biographical sketches will investigate the lives and families of some of these maritime pioneers:



Captain Fritz Abbley (1846-1905) was born May 2, 1846 at Ennenda, Canton Glarus, Western Switzerland.  His parents were Fritz (Fridolin) Abli (1799-?) and Margaret Hosli (1804-1892).  Some of the Fritz Abbley, Sr Family immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in the 1850s (probably 1854) and settled at Back Bay (North Biloxi) to seek its fortune in the New World. 

The 1860 US Census states that Fritz, Sr was a laborer.  Although Fritz was the only child listed in that census, it is believed he had the following siblings: Catherine (1824-?), Jost (1825-1826), Jost (1827-1828), Salome (1830-?), Rudolph (1832-?), Margaret (1835-1853), Columbina (1837-?), and Anna Maria (1842-1917).  All the Fritz Abbley, Sr children were born in Switzerland.

At Back Bay, the Abbleys resided in the neighborhood of the Pierre Harvey Family who lived on the Back Bay of Biloxi in Section 17, T7S-R9W.  Old timers refer to the site as Harvey Hill.  Here, young Fritz met and courted Margaret Harvey (1847-1886), the youngest daughter of French immigrant sailor, Pierre Harvey (1810-1880+), and Zeline Moran (1811-1883).  Fritz and Margaret married on May 24, 1869.  This union produced seven children: Margaret Celina (1870-1945), Imogene (1873-?), Laura (1875-1956), Rudolph (1878-1944), Pauline (1880-1939), Frederick (1882-1941), and Emile (1884-1941).

Sometimes after 1880, the Abbley Family moved to Biloxi from Back Bay, probably 888 Reynoir Street.  Unfortunately, Margaret Harvey died on January 10, 1886 at the young age of thirty eight years leaving Fritz with seven young children.  On April 10, 1888 he married Sarah Young, a lady he had known for years as she was a neighbor at Back Bay.  Her parents were Captain James Smith Young (1818-1897) and Virginia Moran (1821-?).  Captain William Young, her brother, was associated in the 1890s with the ferryboat Sam, which plied the waters of the Back Bay of Biloxi from Reynoir Street to Steele's Landing near the Casimir Harvey store at North Biloxi.

Captain Fritz Abbley had the reputation of knowing the waters in the Ship Island harbor area as well as anyone.  He is known to have been a Ship Island pilot as early as 1893, and held Pilots License Number Six at this time. 

After suffering with the flu for several weeks and apparently recovering, he died suddenly on March 15, 1905 at his Reynoir Street home.  Surviving Captain Abbley was his widow, Sarah, and their seven children:  Mrs. J.P.E. McCabe (Margaret Celina), Mrs. Harry Haise (Imogene) of Mobile, Laura, Pauline, Rudolph, Frederick, and Emile.  Captain Abbley’s corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi City Cemetery.


Ray L. Bellande, "Back Bay Ferry System (1843-1901)", Mississippi Coast Historical and Genealogical Society, Volume 27, No. 1, February 1991.

Brother Jerome Lepre, Gulf Coast Genealogy, The Santa Cruz Family, (New Orleans: Lepre, 1990).

The Biloxi Daily Herald, "Captain Fritz Abbley Dead", March 15, 1905, p. 8.

US Census (1860-1880).



Antoine Victor Bellande (1829-1918) was born September 11, 1829, at Marseille, France.  He was the son of Jean Antoine Joseph Marie Bellande (1790-1874) and Marcelline Vezian (1790-circa 1832).  His father and grandfather were naval workers, probably caulkers, in a local Marseille shipyard.  It is believed that Antoine departed his native France as a deck hand on a sailing vessel at the age of twenty-two years.  He arrived at New Orleans in 1851.  Shortly, Antoine joined his half-brother, Joseph Bellande (1813-1907), at Ocean Springs.  Joseph Bellande had immigrated to the United States from France in 1835.

Antoine Bellande acquired the trading schooner, John Randolph at New Orleans.  He took it to Pascagoula where he embarked in the lumber business transporting south Mississippi timber to Galveston, Texas for export.  During the early years of the Civil war, Captain Bellande ran the Union blockade for the Confederacy making trips to Cuba for cargoes of food, tobacco, paper, gin, and munitions.  It was a lucrative business.  He once had $20,000 worth of Cuban tobacco stored at Biloxi.  It was stolen from him, but he later caught the guilty party. 

It has been reported that Captain Bellande completed his last voyage with Southern contraband just three days before Farragut's naval forces captured New Orleans (April 1862), eliminating it as a viable port.  His schooner was commandeered and Bellande found himself transporting brick from New Orleans to Ship Island for the completion of Fort Massachusetts.  Work on the island fortress had commenced in 1856, by the Government, but was interrupted by a hurricane in 1860.  A Confederate force seized the outpost in January 1861, naming it Fort Twiggs.  Union forces recaptured Ship Island in September 1861.

In 1864, the Confederacy attempted to draft him, but Antoine Bellande didn't approve of the idea.  He was residing in Ocean Springs at the time.  The conscript officer was invited to have a drink with him at the Ocean Springs Hotel.  Before they set out to join the Confederate army, Bellande managed to get the officer drunk and slip away.  He offered his services to Admiral Farragut as a ship pilot.  Bellande had become acquainted with the great admiral at Pascagoula where Farragut would visit his sister, Mrs. Gurley.

Although serving as a Union naval pilot in early 1864, Antoine Bellande, at the age of thirty-five, officially entered the Union Navy as an acting ensign and pilot on December 16, 1864.  He served primarily on the US Steamer, Cowslip.  The Cowslip was a side-wheel steamer built in 1863 at Newburgh, New York as Meteor.  The steamer was 123 feet, and transported cargoes of timber, food, tobacco, paper, gin, and munitions to ports along the Gulf Coast.  He frequently made trips to Cuba.  During the Civil War, Bellande served as a pilot in the Union Navy aboard the US Cowslip.  At the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864, he was the pilot of the screw sloop, Monongahela, which rammed the Confederate ram, Tennessee.  On the following morning transporting the victorious Union officers to receive the formal surrender of Fort Morgan.  He concluded his memorable duties at Mobile Bay with the dragging of the harbor to remove any torpedoes or mines.  Captain Bellande's share of the prize money was $800 for his one day work during the battle.  He was discharged from the Union Navy on February 19, 1866.  For his excellent service, he was given a $450 bonus.

In the summer of 1866, Antoine Bellande married Marie Harvey (1840-1894), the eldest daughter of Pierre Harvey (1810-1880+) and Zeline Moran (1811-1883).  They lived at Harvey Hill at Back Bay (North Biloxi) in Section 17, T7S-R9W.  Here the five Bellande children were born:  Joseph Arbin Bellande (1868-1961), Antoine Bellande Jr. (1869-1924), Pierre Bellande (1871-1933), Maria Ida Bellande Gussow Galle (1874-1948), and Auguste F. Bellande (1876-1953).

About 1882, the Bellande Family crossed the Back Bay of Biloxi and settled at 254 Reynoir Street across from the L&N Depot.  This relocation probably coincided with the commencement of Captain Bellande's duties as a Ship Island bar pilot.  On March 17, 1894, Marie Harvey Bellande died and the family sold the Reynoir Street property. 

In 1896, Antoine Bellande married an Ocean Springs lady, Mary Catchot (1860-1931).  Her parents were Antonio Catchot (1828-1885), a Spanish immigrant, and Elizabeth Hoffen (1838-1916), a German immigrant.  Antoine and Mary had a son, Edward Antoine (1897-1978), who became a national figure in the aviation and aerospace industry.

On September 24, 1897, The Pascagoula Democrat-Star announced that Captain A. Bellande was appointed the official fumigator for Ocean Springs.  The town was besieged by a yellow fever epidemic at this time, and Bellande's duties were to disinfect and fumigate places where yellow fever deaths had occurred.

On May 29, 1901, The Biloxi Daily Herald reported that Captain Bellande almost lost his life in the Mississippi Sound.  He was in command of the schooner, A. Gerdes & Brother, in route to Ocean Springs.  The seven-man crew was below preparing for bed.  The weather was rough and a green sailor was in charge of the watch.  His inexperience in boat handling allowed the schooner to capsize.  Bellande and his crew were found by the large steam tug, Julius Elbert, clinging to their stricken vessel.  They were rescued having lost all their possessions to the sea.  Both vessels were built by Frank Taltavull.  The Julius Elbert was owned by the Lopez factory.

On March 17, 1911, Antoine Bellande was elected President of the Ship Island and Gulfport Pilots Association.  An article in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star 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 treasury; F.D. Moran, manager.  Captain Bellande of Ocean Springs, who was named president, is 72 (sic 81) 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 81) 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.

In October 1902, a very special event in the life of Antoine Bellande commenced.  It was at this time that the three-masted bark, Veronica, out of St. John, New Brunswick sailed from Ship Island for Montevideo, Uruguay with a cargo of Mississippi longleaf pine.  The ship was destroyed by fire at sea.  The inferno was deliberately set by four German crewmen who murdered Captain Shaw and their shipmates.  The mutineers were rescued on the small island of Tutoia off the northeast coast of Brazil in December 1902.  The rescue ship, Brunswick, brought them to England for trial.  Captain Bellande was called to Liverpool, England in April 1903.  He testified for the prosecution on May 12, 1903, at the Liverpool Assizes since he was the last person to see Captain Shaw and the crew of the Veronica alive at Ship Island.

At the time of his retirement in September 1915, Antoine Bellande was the Captain of Pilots for Gulfport Harbor.  He was eighty-six years of age.  Captain Bellande spent his last years at his home on Jackson Avenue at Ocean Springs, gardening and working on his house. Antoine Bellande died on June 10, 1918 at his home on Jackson Avenue in Ocean Springs.  He had been a Ship Island bar pilot for thirty-three years (1882-1915).  Antoine V. Bellande was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs, Mississippi.



Ray L. Bellande and Heidi Balje Good, From Marseille to Mississippi, A Bellande Family History(1813-1990), (Biloxi: Bellande, 1990).

Charles L. Dyer, Along the Gulf, "Biloxi", (reprint Women of the Trinity Episcopal Church:  Pass Christian, Mississippi-1971).

G.W. Keeton and John Cameron, The Trial of Gustav Rau, Otto Monsson, and Willem Smith:  The Veronica Trial, (William Hodge and Company, London, 1952).

Charles L. Sullivan, The Mississippi Gulf Coast: Portrait of a People, (Windsor Publications, Inc.:  Northridge, California-1985), p. 77 and p. 82.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Volume II, "Cowslip", p. 200.

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi, "Captain A.V. Bellande", (Jackson County Genealogical Society:  Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989), pp. 118-119.

MississippiCoastHistory and Genealogical Society, Volume 27, No. 3, "Ship Island Bar Pilot Biographies", October 1991, p. 94.

M. James Stevens Collection-Biloxi Public Library Archives, Biloxi, Mississippi, Book 25, "Cowslip-Handsboro-Bellande".

The Daily Herald, "Captain Peter Bellande dies at 92", June 10, 1918, p. 3.

The Daily Herald, Know You State, "The Biloxian Who Was Farragut's Pilot in the Battle of Mobile Bay", June 8, 1961.

The Jackson County Times, "Death of a Pioneer Citizen", June 15, 1918.



Letters of Bruce Wishart, novelist and writer, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.

Letters of Renee Bellande, wife of Dr. Andre Bellande, Marseille, France.




Llewellyn R. Bowen (1866-1946) was born at Racine, Wisconsin on September 19, 1866.  He came to Biloxi about 1890.  Captain Bowen was married to Johanna Laage (1874-1949), the daughter of John H. Laage (1839-1918) and Minna Wittgrebe Laage (1842-1947).  The Laages were married at Lingen, Hanover, Germany, her birthplace, in 1866.  They immigrated to the United States and resided at New Orleans until 1884, when they relocated to Biloxi, Mississippi.  The Laages had nine children all natives of New Orleans.  Johanna and L.R. Bowen reared a family in Biloxi consisting of the following children:  James J. Bowen (1892-1893), Lilly Bowen (1893-1958), Llewellyn Bowen (1899-1960), and Mrs. Anna May B. Beck (1908-1975).

L.R. Bowen began his tenure as a bar pilot about 1894.  He retired in 1940 with over 45 years of service at Ship Island and Gulfport.  Llewellyn (Louis) Bowen was also active politically in Biloxi.  He ran for city alderman in 1900 and 1902 losing both elections to Heidenheim and Joseph Ott respectively.

Captain Bowen was very active in cultural and civic affairs.  He could list among his accomplishments:  eighteen years of service on the Biloxi School Board and a few years on the Perkinston School Board, directorship of the Peoples Bank, membership in the Woodmen of the World, patron of the Eastern Star, and membership in Volunteer Fire Company No. 1.  Bowen also was a Mason for 54 years.

L.R. Bowen House-July, 2013

The Bowen Family lived originally at 222 Lee Street, but later resided in a unique home at 606 East Howard known as the Bowen House.  Its uniqueness was derived from the concrete blocks, which were composed of crushed oyster shells.(The Biloxi-D’Iberville Press, March 27, 1991)

Captain Bowen died at 79 years of age on April 29, 1946.  His corporal remains were buried in the Bowen Family plot in the Old Biloxi Cemetery.



Captain John Walker's Diaries(1854-1907), Biloxi Public Library - History and Genealogy Section, (Volume II), p. 7 and p. 78.

The Biloxi-D'Iberville Press, "Picture of the Past", March 27, 1991.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxian Is 102 Years Old Today”, June 8, 1944.

The Daily Herald, "Captain Bowen, 79, Retired Bar Pilot, Dies in Biloxi", April 30, 1946, p. 1 and p. 6.




Francis Arbeau Caillavet (1856-1909) was born in Biloxi in 1856.  His parents were Francois Caillavet (b. 1815) and Euranie Fayard (1818-1895).  On September 20, 1878, he married Marie Dodart (1858-1942) of New Orleans.  This union produced thirteen children, but five died in early childhood:  Latour Caillavet (1888-1891), Clarence Caillavet (1890-1893), Ralph Caillavet (1897-1899), Louise (?), and Beulah (?).  Francis A. Caillavet was survived by eight children:  Laura Caillavet married Christian A. Thompson, Viola Caillavet Abbley (1884-1968) married Fred Abbley, Anita Caillavet (1886-1975) married Percy Wetzel, Francis Arbeau Caillavet (1881-1946), Sidney Caillavet, Albert Caillavet, Wilfred Caillavet, and Hilda Caillavet Ackley (1900-1926).

Francis Arbeau Caillavet was a member of the Pilot's Association from 1900 to 1909.  The Caillavet Family resided at 811 Jackson near Couevas Street.  The last two years of his life were lived in poor health and he died from a heart ailment.



The Biloxi Herald, May 6, 1909, p.

US Census (1850-1880).

Personal Communication: 

Letter dated February 7, 1976 from Eunice Abbley Brocato.



Captain Frank B. Castanera (1870-1934) was born at Scranton (Pascagoula) on January 16, 1870.  His father, Captain Eugene Castanera, was postmaster at Moss Point from 1882-1885.  He also had a pecan variety, the Castanera, named for him, which was later grafted by Colonel Stuart and John Keller about 1892 and sold as the Stuart.  His mother was Estella Llado, the sister of Louis Llado who was also a bar pilot.

Frank Castanera attended Spring Hill College at Mobile.  He settled at Biloxi in 1893, and organized the Biloxi and Ship Island Tow Boat Company in February 1897 with J.B. Roberts.  As stated in the charter, the object and purpose of this corporation were:  to run and operate one or more tow boats, or other water craft, to tow vessels, timber or other merchandise, and to transport passengers and merchandise between such points and places on the Mississippi Sound and its tributaries as the Board of Directors may determine and to do a general towing and transportation business for a  profit.

The steam tug Biloxi built by the Taltavull Shipyard for Castanera was used in the towing operations along the Mississippi coast.

In about 1900, he was in the retail lumber and general supply business in Biloxi.  In 1905, he was appointed a member of the Ship Island Bar Pilots' Association, and served as a pilot between Ship Island and Gulfport until the commencement of World War I. 

During the Great War, he offered his services to the Government as a member of the U.S. Shipping Board.  While at sea duty in the post-War years, Castanera met with a many   adventures on the seas.  Two notable events at this time of his life reported in the Biloxi News of April 25, 1926, were the saving of the life of an ill seaman by radio diagnosis with a land based physician, and the rescue of the abandoned Norwegian steamer Johanne Dybwad in the stormy North Atlantic.

Captain Castanera married Amelia Desporte (1880-1953), daughter of Captain Ernest Desporte.  They reared five children in Biloxi:  Eugene Ernest Castanera (1898-1932); Ursula C. Provensal (1900-1991) married  Sidney Provensal; Amelia ‘Nicki’ Castanera married John A. O'Keefe (1891-1985); Delauney Castanera married Louise Tremmel, Theodore Castanera (1905-1978) married Bessie Welch (1914-?).

Frank Castanera led a full and adventurous life.  In addition to his seafaring, he found time to participate in civic affairs serving on the Biloxi City Council under Mayors T.J. Rosell and Ed Glennan.  He died in 1934, and is buried in the Biloxi Cemetery.



Harrison County, MississippiChancery Court Chattel Book 1, p. 212.

The History of Jackson County Mississippi, “Pecans”, (Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989), p. 19 and 83.

TwentiethCentury Coast Edition The Biloxi Daily Herald, (George W. Wilkes & Sons: Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi), p. 66.


The Biloxi News, April 25, 1926, p. 1.

The Biloxi News, May 2, 1926, p. 7.

Desporte Family, Biloxi Public Library - History and Genealogical Section, Vertical Files.



Ernest Desporte (1853-1931) was born in Biloxi in 1853.  His parents, Victor H. Desporte (1827-1878) and Elizabeth Delauney Geraud (1818-1897) were natives of New Orleans.  Victor Desporte was a bricklayer.  He served in the Confederate Navy during the Civil War aboard the gunboat Selma.  Desporte was taken prisoner by the forces of Admiral Farragut at the Battle of Mobile Bay (August 1864).  He was incarcerated on Ship Island for seven months by his Union captures.  As a young man Ernest Desporte went to Montgomery, Alabama to work.  There he met and married a lovely Kentucky lassie, Minnie Schoolcraft (1858-1939).  Shortly after their March 1878 wedding, the Desportes moved to Biloxi to be with his father, Victor, who had become ill.  This marriage created seven Desporte children: Amelia (1880-1953) (Mrs. Frank Castanera), Minnie (1881-1939) (Mrs. Edgar Beale), Corrine (1883-?) (Mrs. Elbert Dukate), Peter (1884-1889), Theodore (1885-1944) (Evelyn Ingersol), Ernest (1888-1977) (Charlotte McNulty), and Charlie (1892-1898).

Ernest Desporte was very involved in Biloxi community life.  He was a Catholic, elected to the office of Justice of the Peace, and served on the Biloxi School Board.  He belonged to several social and civic organizations, such as: the Biloxi Yacht Club, Knights of Columbus, Biloxi Benevolent Association, and the Rogue and Horseshoe Club.

The Ernest Desporte home, a twelve-room, two-story residence on Front Street was built in 1892, by William Kent.(The Daily Herald, April 30, 1892, p. 4)

Captain Desporte was Harbor Master for about six years.  The Biloxi Daily Herald of December 16, 1902, p. 6, reported the following:  Harbor Master Ernest Desporte was shanghied yesterday.  The tug Loxley was going to Mobile to go on the ways for repairs.  Captains Horn and James put the whole crew of the Loxley under oath that they would not tell Mr. Desporte about it.  He came aboard as usual to go to Ship Island, and the tug was far on her way to Mobile before he found out that a practical joke had been played on him.

He served as a bar pilot bringing vessels from Ship Island to Gulfport for about twenty-three years.  Desporte retired about 1921 due to failing eye sight.  He died in Biloxi in 1931, and is buried in the Desporte Family plot at the Biloxi Cemetery.


The Desporte Family, Biloxi Public Library - History and Genealogy Section, Vertical Files.

The Biloxi Herald, “Local Happenings”, April 30, 1892, p. 4.

The Daily Herald, March 23, 1923.




William John Hursey (1875-1935) was born at Pass Christian, Mississippi on April 11, 1875.  His mother, Marie Amiel Bertrand (1849-1925), was born in France.  She came to the US in 1859, and was the mother of four children:  W.J. Hursey (1875-1935); Rosa Hursey (1878) m. George Leland Haxelton; Joseph Hursey (1879-1953); and Jerome Bourgot.

William J. Hursey married Katherine Blappert (1885-1983) at New Orleans on June 19, 1907.  She was born in St. Bernard Parish Louisiana and her father was a German immigrant.  William J. Hursey and Katherine Blappert resided at Pass Christian with their five children: daughter, Alice M. Hursey (1908-1935+); William J. Hursey Jr. m. Virginia F. Bowes; Francis J. Hursey m. Jean Grace Horder; Charles P. Hursey (1918-1986), and Arthur W. Hursey (1922-1998).

Captain Hursey was a Ship Island bar pilot for more than thirty years.  He died aboard the American steamship, Antinous, while piloting it into the Gulfport Harbor from Ship Island Pass on January 4, 1935.  His death was attributed to a heart attack.(The Daily Herald, January 4, 1935, p. 1)

Captain William J. Hursey was buried in the St. Paul Catholic Cemetery at Pass Christian.  Paul bearers at his funeral were:  Pilots George P. Favre and A.R. Lingby, Harbor Master A.P. Bugge, and J.C. Wacker, C.A. Simpson, and Earl Langford.  He was survived by his wife, Katherine, and children: Alice Goggin of Danville, Kentucky, Arthur W. Hursey of New Orleans, Charles P. Hursey of Santa Clara, California, and Francis J. Hursey of Pass Chrisitian.



The Daily Herald, "Vessel goes aground in Gulfport Channel after death of its pilot", January 4, 1935, p. 5.

The Daily Herald, January 5, 1935, p. 5.

The Daily Herald, January 7, 1935, p. 6.

US Census (1910)



Harry Copp James (1848-1923) was born in Biloxi on August 7, 1848.  His parents were Robert Williams James (1811-1882) born at Wilmington, North Carolina and Jane Ann Nixon (1820-1898) of  New Orleans.  During the Civil War, Robert W. James was a Colonel for the Confederacy.  His primary task was to locate iron sheeting to be used as armor for the "floating defense forces on Western rivers" Command.  He probably met Jane Nixon, the daughter of John Nixon, in New Orleans before the War of the Rebellion.  John Nixon was a wealthy New Orleans attorney who owned the Nixon House Hotel at Biloxi, a large portion of downtown Biloxi, and 15,000 acres in St. John the Baptist Parish.  He had immigrated from Northern Ireland and arrived in New Orleans in 1806.

Harry Copp James was a lifelong resident of Biloxi and saw its growth and development from a village to a thriving city.  After clerking with his father until his early twenties, he went to sea.  James was the master of a lumber schooner, the captain of his own vessel for a number of years, and was a charter member of the Mississippi Bar Pilots Association, which was organized about 1880.

Captain James married Isabella J. Roberts (1858-1879).  She may have died from yellow fever.  He then married Leila Ogden Malone (1857-1891), the daughter of Captain Edward Malone, Sr. a Mobile-Galveston cotton broker.  She died in childbirth on April 16, 1891.  They had four children: E.L. James (b. 1887), Ruth E. James (Mrs. C.Y. Wootten) (b. 1885), Leila E. (Mrs. W.G. James) (b. 1887), and Hettie James. 

Pilots H.C. James and James Maycock bought the Sylph, a schooner, from C.T. Irving of Pascagoula-New Venice Shipyard.  It was formerly a pilot boat at Pascagoula.  They used their vessel at Ship Island for pilot duties.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 9, 1984, p. 3)

Harry .C. James re-married in February 1894, to Mamie Cooley, and later married Katie Gary (1872-1905) of New Orleans in 1901.  Harry Copp James was a Ship Island bar pilot for forty-three years and is believed to be the first native American to receive his pilots license in the Association.  He held License No. 4 in 1893 and was also harbormaster. 


Spanish-American War

In April 1898, Captain Harry Copp James offered the Federal government his personal services and those of his schooner-rigged pilot boat, Moses H. Grinnell, if war was declared with Spain.  Captain James had recently retired from the Ship Island harbormaster post and was employed as a pilot for Ship Island and the Mississippi Sound.(The Biloxi Herald, April 23, 1898, p. 8)


While Captain John Walker (1834-1907) was a member of the Board of Pilot Commissioners from 1887 to 1907, Captain James came under scrutiny.  He was suspended in November 1902, for thirty days and made to forfeit all earnings and profits because of the charges brought against him.  He fared better in January 1905, when he was exonerated for getting a Spanish steamship grounded on the Ship Island Bar and abandoning her in that position.(Walker, 1907, p. 19)


Captain Harry Copp James died in Biloxi on September 9, 1923.  He is at rest in the old Biloxi Cemetery.



Captain John Walker's Diaries (1854-1907), Biloxi Public Library - History and Genealogy Section, (Volume II), p. 71, and (Volume III), p. 19.


The Biloxi Herald, April 18, 1891, p. 1.

The Biloxi Herald, “A card From H. C. James”, January 28, 1893, p. 10.

The Biloxi Herald, February 3, 1894, p.8.

The Biloxi Herald, “A Mississippi Volunteer”, April 23, 1898.

The Biloxi Herald, "Quiet Marriage", August 22, 1901.

The Daily Herald, "Biloxi Loses Prominent Man", September 10, 1923, p. 1.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local News”, May 9, 1884.


HarrisonCounty, Ms. Federal Census (1860-1880)

Personal Communication: Letter of James A. Miller of Winston-Salem, North Carolina dated April 14, 1991.



Joseph Lewis (1833-1907) was born in England in January 1833.  His family settled in Pass Christian.  He was a seaman for a number of years before going to Ship Island as a bar pilot about 1877.  During the killer Cheniere Caminada Storm of October 1893, he and Pilot John Nelson Sr. were in the Sound aboard the pilot boat, Chicora.  The large hurricane came ashore at Pascagoula the morning of October 2, 1893.  Tides at nearby Ocean Springs and Biloxi were greater than 9 feet.  The barometer fell to 28.65 " Hg at Moss Point.  The Chicora was driven onto Cat Island by the tempest.  The boat was found high and dry by a rescue party from Biloxi in the days following the storm.  All aboard were safe and rescued.

Joseph Lewis and his Irish born wife, Mary Dunn  (1835-1898), had six children:  Harriet (b. 1855), Joseph (b. 1857), Martha (b. 1859), Mary (b. 1866), Laura (b. 1867), and John (b. 1869).  He was named harbor master at Gulfport in 1901, and moved there from Pass Christian.  Joseph Lewis died on December 4, 1907, and was buried at Pass Christian.



The Biloxi Herald, October 7, 1893, p. 1.

The Biloxi Herald, December 4, 1907, p. 2.

Cheniere Caminada Storm, (an unpublished proprietary report for J.K. Lemon), Aaron Williams Jr, University of South Alabama, October 7, 1973.

US Census (1850-1870)


John Edward Lewis (1870-1920) was born at Pass Christian, Mississippi in 1870.  His parents were bar pilot, Captain Joseph Lewis, and Mary Dunn.  They were immigrants from the British Isles.  Captain John E. Lewis moved from Pass Christian to Biloxi in 1899.  He was married to Zee Bourdon.  They resided at 214 Magnolia Street and reared:  Mamie, John, Jr.and stepson, Harry Laughran.  Lewis served as a member of the Mississippi Pilots Association for twenty seven years. His career as a bar pilot was meritorious having served at ShipIsland and Gulfport.Captain Lewis was civic conscious.  He was the alderman-at-large under the Glennan administration, and was known for his devoted and energetic service to the city of Biloxi.  Lewis was a member of the Masons, Elks, Biloxi Benevolent Association, and Volunteer Fire Company.  His body was interred at the Biloxi Cemetery.



Daily Herald, "Biloxi Resident Died Last Night", August 30, 1920, p. 1.



Henry Albert Llado (1885-1951) was born September 17, 1885.  Like Louis Llado (1845-1920), his father, Henry was a Ship Island Bar Pilot.  He married Charlotte G. Elder on November 16, 1931 and they were the parents of three children who were reared at 521 Seal Avenue: Mary Elizabeth Llado; Aline Llado; and Henry A. Llado Jr.

Henry A. Llado died at Biloxi, Mississippi on January 5, 1951.



The Daily Herald, "Henry Llado, former bar pilot dead", January 5, 1951, p. 8.



Louis Llado (1845-1920) was born in New Orleans in March 1845.  His Spanish father, Francisco Llado (1820-1869), and Alabama born mother, Delphine Fournier (1821-1908), moved to Biloxi when Louis was a baby.  He resided at Biloxi the remainder of his life.

 Louis Llado became a bar pilot at Ship Island about 1897.  He had the reputation of knowing the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from Florida to the Mexican border in all weather and seasons.  He was a member of the Bar Pilots' Association for twenty-three years.

Captain Llado was married to Elizabeth Ann Dearing (1861-1919) of New Orleans.  They reared five children in Biloxi at 313 East Water Street:  Francisco LLado (1884-1966), Henry Albert Llado (1885-1951), Mary Agnes Llado (1888-1945), Ida Aline Llado (1890-?) m. John M. Grady; and Cora Llado (1897-?).  Louis Llado died on October 4, 1920, and was buried in the Biloxi Cemetery.



The Daily Herald, "Louis Llado Died This Morning", October 4, 1920, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, "Henry Llado, former bar pilot dead", January 5, 1951, p. 8.



Francis Delmas Moran (1853-1935) was born August 2, 1853, at Biloxi.  His parents were Francois Moran (1815-1887) and Catherine Fournier Ryan (1824-1886).  The Morans (Morin) were of French Canadian descent immigrating to the Mississippi coast from Quebec Province in the late 18th Century.  Francis Moran was called Peter.  He married Elizabeth Lucretia Vanderpool (1869-1940) on August 2, 1887.  She was the daughter of Susan Lucretia Stratton (1842-1897) of Rankin County, Mississippi and Little Berry Vanderpool (1839-1928) of Surrey County, North Carolina.

This union produced nine children:  Edwin Little Berry Moran (1888-1951), Catherine Ethel Moran (1890-1907), Joseph Otto Moran and Francis Arbo Moran (twins) (1892-1892), Silas Warren Moran (1893-1895), Marinina Moran Young (1895-1973), Alfred Peter "Fred" Moran (1897-1967), Vincent Harold (1899-1972), and Elizabeth Vera Smith (1901-1965).

Captain Moran had a keen memory and like to relate the early days in Biloxi.  His obituary states that he was a pilot at Ship Island before Gulfport was founded and performed this duty for about thirty years.  His associates were Captain Antoine V. Bellande, Louis Llado, Harry Stilphen, Harry James, John Lewis, Francis Caillavet, Ernest Desport, M.A. Scarborough, and Louis Bowen.

Peter Moran died at his long time residence, 125 Bay View Avenue, on January 26, 1935.  At this time, he was believed to have been the oldest living native citizen.



The History of Jackson County Mississippi, "Moran Family of Ocean Springs", (Lewis Printing Service:  Pascagoula, 1989). p. 291.


The Daily Herald, January 26, 1935, p. 1.

The Daily Herald, "Morin Anglicized to Moran", Branches and Twigs by Regina Hines, June 10, 1981.

US Census (1850-1880).



John Nelson Sr. (1820-1896) was a native of Denmark being born in that Scandinavian nation in 1820.  As many young boys of his time, he went to sea in his early teens as a cabin boy shipping out of the port of Kahlenbur.

Nelson settled on the Mississippi coast where he became a steerman on steamers running between New Orleans and the Coast.  After operating the schooner, Louisa, out of the Delisle area for some years, he obtained his own vessel and participated in the coastwise trade of the area.

In 1851, Captain Nelson married Jane Elizabeth Marmion.  This union produced nine children:  Ada (Mrs. Sam B. Nunn), Nellie (Mrs. John H. Lang), Kate (Sister Borgia), Metta (Sister Ursula), John P., Loretto, Robert, Paul, and Agnes (Mrs. J.C. Liversedge).

John Nelson, Sr. was one of the first pilots at Ship Island in the late 1870s, and helped to organize the Pilot's Association.  He died in 1896, and is buried at St. Paul's Cemetery in Pass Christian.



John Lang, History of Harrison County Mississippi, (The Dixie Press: Gulfport, Mississippi- 1936), p. 164.




Marion A. Scarborough (1858-1930?) was born in July 1858, probably in the Pass Christian area.  He married Georgia (Georganne) Drew (1856-1932) in Harrison County on July 4, 1887.  The Scarboroughs resided in Beat Three of Harrison County and reared two children: Purnell F. Scarborough (1888-1930+) and Hattie S. Greene (1891-1943).  Georgia's father was Levi Drew, a native of Georgia, who served with Company H of the 3rd Mississippi during the Civil War.  She is buried in the Courtenay Cemetery at Long Beach, Mississippi. 


Hattie Scarborough (1891-1943) married Clarence A. Greene (1887-1944) and died at Oakdale, Louisiana.  She had eight children.  At the time of her death, her brother, P.F. Scarborough, who was once married to Maud Gangloff (1891-1921) resided in New Orleans.(The Daily Herald, January 24, 1943)


In July 1930, M.A. Scarborough was a resident of Bosco, Louisiana.  His health was poor, and he wasn’t expected to live long.  At the this time, P.F. Scarborough, Miss Mattie Drew, his sister-in-law, and niece, Mrs. F.M. Wilson, were at Gulfport.(The Daily Herald, July 9, 1930, p. 6)



The Daily Herald, “Former Harbor Master Ill”, July 9, 1930.

The Daily Herald, January 24, 1943.

US Census (1900)



John H. Stilphen (1842-1920) was born in New England at South Dresden, Maine in 1842.  He went to sea at the age of sixteen years.  After many years on the ocean as a captain in the international trade, he settled in Biloxi around 1887.  In about 1900, he became a bar pilot at Ship Island and Gulfport.  John Stilphen retired in 1918.  An example of his faithful service was exhibited when his only daughter, Sadie, married William T. Harkness, a Biloxi architect and contractor.  It so happened that this was his day for duty as a pilot, and he missed the wedding.


John Stilphen died in September 1920, at his residence on West Railroad Street in Biloxi.  He was survived by a son, Major Henry Stilphen, who was a member of the Army Medical Department stationed in North Carolina.  Henry Stilphen may have been the Quarantine Officer at Ship Island in the early 1900s.  His daughter, Mrs. W.T. Harkness of Biloxi, and a brother and sister in New England, Leonard Stilphen and Mrs. Leonard Dickenson, were also listed as survivors in his obituary.


His son, Dr. Henry Stilphen, resided at New Orleans.  He and his spouse came to Biloxi for a visit with his sister, Sadie S. Harkness, in June 1925.(The Daily Herald, June 10, 1925, p. 3)



The Daily Picayune, "Dr. Stilphen, Quarantine Officer, Lost His Boat and Possessions on Ship Island", August 8, 1901, p. 1, c. 5.

The Daily Herald, "Captain Stilphen Died Last Night", September 20, 1920.

The Daily Herald, “Stilphens in Biloxi”, June 10, 1925.





F.W. Elmer

Roderick Seal

John Nelson Sr.



W.K.M. Dukate

Henry Lienhard (Handsboro)

Joseph Dempf or Deempf

Roderick M. McIntosh appointed Dec. 1897 upon death of Mr. Deempf.



John Walker

F.S. Hewes Jr.

Roderick McIntosh

E.J. Adam appointed March 1904 upon death of Roderick McIntosh.  Charles Redding petitioned in June 1901, but rejected.



B.R. Clemens

F.S. Hewes, Jr.

E.J. Adam