Seafood Cannery History




Dubaz Brothers on Point Cadet


Barataria Canning Company




Child labor force in Biloxi seafood canneries




[The Sea Coast Echo, November 25, 1911, p. 1]









Pascagoula, Mississippi

(Deed found in Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Section Index Book 26-A)



The Mexican Gulf Canning Company was located on the east bank of the Pascagoula River in the 418.25-acre, Valentine Delmas Claim Section 5, T8S-R6W.  


Valentine Delmas

Valentine Delmas claim on Pascagoula Bay was issued to Anthony Blanc by Spanish Governor, the Baron de Carondelet, who administered the area from 1792 until 1797.  Six arpents on the front and 40 arpents deep.  Inhabited and cultivated from 1802-1828.(American State Papers (1827-1829), Vol. 5, p. 784)


Valentine Delmas original settlement on Pascagoula Bay began in June 1811.  Present settlement June 1819.(American State Papers (1815-1824), Vol. 3, p. 444)


The beginning

In late October 1880, Joseph T. Maybury (1841-1894), president of the Mexican Gulf Canning Company, which was chartered at Mobile, Alabama, acquired a parcel of land from Jules C. Dennis and Clara C. Dennis of New Orleans, for $1750.


The Mexican Gulf Canning Company created employment for about one hundred-thirty people.




75 Women, Boys and Girls, above 12 years old, at their works at Pascagoula, to shuck steamed oysters, fill cans, paste labels, pick and clean crabs and shrimp, and do other light work, which will afford steady and remunerative employment the year around.



To man our oyster skiffs, unload oysters, etc., etc.

For particulars apply to

J.T. Maybury, President, Scranton, Miss. or E.S. Barnes, Secretary, Mobile, Ala.

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 19, 1880, p. 2)




10 to 15 FAMILIES

Of Laboring People


To work in our Canning Factory, who we will furnish with

Comfortable Homes and Constant Work the Year Round!

The women and children can make men’s wages opening oysters and shelling shrimp, etc., and the men will be paid at the highest daily rate for unloading our boats, rolling shells, and other out-door labor.   Apply to


Scranton, Mississippi

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 10, 1882, p. 3)



Fruit Canning

In late June 1881, the Mexican Gulf Canning Company commenced fresh fruit canning operations.  The plant was to receive between one and two-hundred bushels of figs each day during the season.  Two shipments per diem of pineapples were also anticipated.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 1, 1881, p. 3)



By late March 1882, the Mexican Gulf Canning Company was insolvent.  The cannery had accumulated a debt of nearly $60,000, but was valued at only $30,000.  The company stockholders met at Mobile, Alabama and elected to assign their Pascagoula investment with H. Pillans and J.C. Rich.  These men were anticipated to operate the company and return its balance sheet into the black, thus insuring that it not be sold at a Sheriff’s sale.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 7, 1882, p. 3)

1883 Sale



Mexican Gulf Canning Co.

Works, Machinery and Land.

H. Pillans or J.C. Rich, assignees

Mobile, Alabama

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 23, 1883, p. 2)


H. Pillans to J.T. Bourges.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 6, p. 446-447)



1883 Fire

In the dawn hours of May 24, 1883, the second fire in the history of the young canning company struck.  Uninsured loss estimated at $15,000.  Mr. Bobe, was the watchman.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Fire Fiends”, May 25, 1883, p. 3)



Maybury & Foster Successors To The

Mexican Gulf Canning Company,

Packers of the Celebrated

Mexican Gulf Brand Oysters, Shrimp,

Pineapples, Tomatoes, Figs, Okra,

Shippers of all grades of Fresh Oysters, Fish and Shrimp on Ice.

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 25, 1884, p. 2)


ICE!   ICE!   ICE!

We beg to announce that we have perfected arrangements which enable us to offer

Ice by the Carload, Ton, Hundred Pounds or Nickel’s Worth,

At prices to Meet All Competition!

As our ice comes in cakes weighing from 100 to 300 pounds each, it will especially meet the wants of Fishermen, Ice-Dealers and Saloon-Keepers.  We guarantee a constant supply and full weights.

WANTED---Tomatoes and Figs!

in quantities for canning.


Proprietors Pascagoula Fish and Canning Company

(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 13, 1884, p. 3)



Wholesale Dealers in and Shippers of

Gulf Oysters, Fish and Shrimp

Proprietors of

The Mexican Gulf Canning Factory

Canners of  Oysters, Tomatoes, Figs, Etc.

Scranton, Mississippi

(Southern Manufacturer, April 1899)



The Foster Family


Captain John Foster

John Foster (1826-1903) was the son of English immigrant parents.  His birth occurred in March 1826 at Mobile, Alabama.  John Foster married Susan Francis Grant (1826-1866), the daughter of Captain John L. Grant (1793-1887), a native of Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Elizabeth Disney (1794-1868).  He served in the US Army during the Mexican War, and in the Confederate Navy and Confederate Army during the Civil War.  At least three children: Lillie Ophelia F. Joullian (1865-1924) born at Mobile, John Grant Foster (1928+), and Mrs. E.L. Silva (1928+).


For many years, Captain Foster was engaged in the shipping business with the Mobile and New Orleans Mail Line, a steam packet and freight line.  He settled at Pascagoula, shortly after the Civil War.  Here in 1869, Foster married Olivia E. Delmas (1842-1928), the daughter of Jean-Baptiste Delmas (1817-3-11-1906) and Mary Elizabeth Grant (1822-1896).  They reared nine children on the banks of the Pascagoula River: Mary E. F. Ford (1870-1936), Susan F. Hughes (1872-1919), Francis E. Foster (1874-1918), William Henry Foster (1875-1928+), Charles B. Foster (1877-1931), Alfred Foster (1878), Josephine F. Hosey (1880-1950), Eva Esperanza Foster Ford (1884-1959), and Isabella “Belle” Foster Griffin Hurst (1887-1958).


The A. 1. Steam Tug ROLLA

Valentine Delmas, Master

Is now ready for TOWING and LIGHTERING

at usual rates.

Vessels drawing 14 feet and under, will be towed and piloted under a United States License for $25, in or out of Horn Island Pass. 

When drawing over 14 feet, an additional charge will be made.

Fresh water in tanks always on hand.

Oak wood is furnished when required.  For particulars, apply to H. Krebs & son., Scranton; Arthur R. Krebs, East Pascagoula.      


Foster Children


Mary E. Foster

Mary E. Foster (1870-1936) was called Mamie.  She married James Ira Ford (1862-1915).


Susan Foster

Susan Foster (1872-1919) was born on July 12, 1872.  She married William Dabney Hughes (1850-1937).  She died 4-29-1919.  He expired 3-4-1937.


Francis E. Foster

Francis E. Foster (1874-1918) was called Frank.  He was born at Pascagoula and commenced employment in the seafood industry as a teenager.  In 1893, Frank Foster became employed by his father’s packing company.  By 1899, he was the manager of the Mexican Gulf Canning Factory at Pasacagoula.(Southern Manufacturer, 1899, p. 37)


This is corroborated as in 1900, Frank Foster was an oyster and fish dealer at Scranton (Pascagoula), while his brothers, Henry and Alfred Foster, were a boilermaker and marine fireman, respectively.(Federal Census 1900, Jackson County, Mississippi)


In July 1902, Frank Foster was a resident of Biloxi when he married Edith Mary Howe of Pensacola at St. Catherine’s Chapel in Pensacola.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, July 13, 1902, p. 8)


William Henry Foster

W. Henry Foster (1875-1950+) was called Henry.

Charles B. Foster

Charles B. Foster (1877-1931) was born at Pascagoula.  His career was established early as he commenced working in his father’s Pascagoula canning operation.  Foster came to Biloxi before 1900, to join E.C. Joullian, his brother-in-law, who was also a pioneer seafood canner.  Here, in November 1903, C.B. Foster married Miss Mary E. Caillavet (1877-1951), the daughter of John Latour Caillavet and Georgiana Dees.(The Daily Herald, June 27, 1931, p. 2 and The Biloxi Daily Herald, November 16, 1903, p. 6)      


The Charles B. Fosters had three children: Charles Foster (1904), Marie Foster (1906), and Henry W. Foster (1907). 

On November 13, 1927, C.B. Foster Jr. married Lucille Clark.(The Daily Herald, November 15, 1927, p. 6)

In 1935, Henry William Foster relocated to Washington D.C. where he was employed by the US Government.  Foster was educated at Loyola and studied law in Lebanon, Tennessee before settling in the District of Columbia.  On April 7, 1937, he married Rose Marie Holzner of Petersburg, Virginia at Fairfax, Virginia.(The Daily Herald, July 10, 1937, p. 6)  


1925 Biloxi Regatta

When he asked if his packing house would participate in the July 1925 Regatta at the Biloxi Yacht Club, C.B. Foster replied, “We are always ready”.   His Julia Delacruz sailed to victory in the 1924 Regatta. Mr. Foster was prepared to match her or any other vessel in his fleet with the best that the other packers could muster.(The Daily Herald, June 25, 1925, p. 3)

(see The Pascagoula Chronicle, April 20, 1928, p. 1, Foster-Fountain v. St. of Louisiana)


Josephine F. Foster

Josephine F. Foster (1880-1950), called Josie, was born on May 31, 1880.  She married Dr. W.H. Hosey at the Foster family home in Pascagoula, on September 24, 1902.  Dr. Hosey resided at Wiggins, Mississippi where he was had a growing medical practice.  The young couple honeymooned at New Orleans, before returning to their new home at Wiggins.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, September 25, 1902, p. 6)


Josie F. Hosey later married Henry A. Rourke (1872-1956).  He was the son of Henry S. Rourke (1843-1918), a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Mr. Rourke was a veteran of the Civil War having sustained a wound near Atlanta, when he was a soldier under General Hood.  The old veteran expired at Pascagoula on March 12, 1918.  In addition to Henry A. Rourke, he was survived by his widow, and several children: Alice R. Hull, Marie Rourke, and E.B. Rourke of Plaquemine, Louisiana.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 15, 1918)


After an extended illness, Josie F. Rourke died at Pascagoula on May 29, 1950.  She left two children: Grace McNair Thomas and W.H. Hosey of Hattiesburg.  Henry A. Rourke expired on January 1, 1956.  The corporal remains of both were interred in the Krebs Cemetery at Pascagoula, Mississippi.(The Chronicle-Star, June 2, 1950, p. 1)


Eva Esperanza Foster (1884-1959)

Eva E. Foster was born October 18, 1884.  She married Ebb James Ford (1886-1947).   They reared three sons: E.J. Ford II of Gulfport, Charles W. Ford, and Robert S. Ford.  She died on August 9, 1959, while Mr. E.J. Ford expired on June 25, 1947.  Both rest eternally in the Greenwood Cemetery at Pascagoula, Mississipi.(The Chronicle-Star, August 11, 1959, p. 1)


Alfred Foster

            No information.


Isabella “Belle” Foster

Isabella Foster (1887-1957 or 1958) was born in 1887?  She married Mr. Griffin and Mr. Hurst.




American State Papers, Volume 3, (1815-1824), (Reprint: Southern Historical Press, Inc.: Greenville, South Carolina-1994).

American State Papers,Volume 5, (1827-1829), (Reprint: Southern Historical Press, Inc.: Greenville, South Carolina-1994).

Cyril E. Cain, Four Centuries on the Pascagoula: History, Story, and Legend of the Pascagoula River Country,(The Reprint Company: Spartanburg, South Carolina-1983),

The Southern Manufacturer, “Capt. John Foster”Vol. I, No. 10, April 1899.


Court Cases

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 3091, “Joseph F. Bourges v. I.P. Delmas, et als”, May 1912.


The Biloxi Herald, “Death of a Prominent Citizen”, June 1, 1894.

The Biloxi Herald, “Funeral Notice”, June 6, 1894.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Foster-Howe”, July 13, 1902.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “City Items”, September 25, 1902.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Capt. John Foster”, September 26, 1903.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “City Items”, November 16, 1903.

The Daily Herald, “Foster Ready”, June 25, 1925.

The Daily Herald, “Foster-Clark”, November 15, 1927.

The Daily Herald, “Foster-Holzner”, July 10, 1937.

The Chronicle-Star, “Mrs. Olivia Elizabeth Foster”, April 20, 1928.

The Chronicle-Star, “Charles B. Foster”, July 3, 1931.

The Chronicle-Star, “Mrs. Rourke Dies After Long Illness”, June 2, 1950.

The Chronicle-Star, “Mrs. Eva F. Ford Taken By Death”, August 11, 1959.

The Daily Herald, “Chas. B. Foster Passes Away”, June 27, 1931.

The Daily Herald, “Charles B. Foster Funeral Sunday”, June 29, 1931.

The Pascagoula Chronicle-Star, “Mexican Gulf Plans To Pack 30,000 Barrels”, January 8, 1937.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Pascagoula Enterprise”, September 4, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, October 29, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, November 5, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, November 19, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Mexican Gulf Canning”, November 19, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, December 10, 1880.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, July 1, 1881.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “WANTED!”, March 10, 1882.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, April 7, 1882.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “For Sale”, February 23, 1883.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Fire Fiends”, May 25, 1883.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Maybury & Foster”, April 25, 1884.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Ice! Ice! Ice!”, July 4, 1884.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Henry Stoddard Rourke, CSA”, March 15, 1918.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Francis E. Foster”, June 7, 1918.

The Star of Pascagoula, “Excursion Parties Attention”, May 16, 1874.















[from Along The Gulf circa 1895]



Ray L. Bellande
The Biloxi Canning Company was located in Section 27, T7S-R9W, in the city of Biloxi, Mississippi on the Back Bay of Biloxi, at the head of Reynoir Street.  It was originally called The Lopez, Elmer and Company.  This company was organized in 1881, with a capital stock of $8,000 by Lazaro Lopez (1850-1903), F. William Elmer (1847-1926), W.K.M. Dukate (1853-1916), William Gorenflo (1844-1932), and James Maycock (1826-1892).
The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported on December 30, 1881, that the company was placing its canning machines in the factory.  The proprietors had over one hundred, local, white men and boys on the payroll.  They were employed as follows: forty-four openers, forty-five men manning fifteen boats, twenty or more canners and wharf men.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 30, 1881, p. 3)
Earlier Seafood Operations
 Although the Deer Island Oyster & Fish Company of Emile Laudner (Ladner) (1840-1890) had been active at Biloxi as early as January 1877, purchasing land from Burissa Holley on the front beach at Biloxi, it appears that Laudner only shipped raw oysters by rail.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 15, pp. 401-402)  Thus Lopez, Elmer and Company had the distinction of being the first seafood cannery in Biloxi. 
The first seafood canning operation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast appears to be the Mexican Gulf Canning Company, which was founded at Pascagoula, Mississippi in the fall of 1880, by J.T. Maybury (1841-1894) and E.S. Barnes.  In November 1880, the company was advertising for laborers in The Pascagoula Democrat-Star as follows:
The Mexican Gulf Canning Company
75 Women, Boys and Girls,
above 12 years old, at their works at Pascagoula, to shuck steamed oysters, fill cans, paste labels, pick and clean crabs and shrimp, and do other light work, which will afford steady remunerative employment the year around.
Fifty Men
to man our oyster skiffs, unload oysters, etc., etc.
For particulars apply to
J.T. Maybury, President, Scranton, Miss.
or E.B. Barnes, Secretary, Mobile, Alabama
Nov. 19, 1880
(November 19, 1880, p. 2)
 J.T. Maybury came to Pascagoula from Baltimore.  He expired at his Biloxi residence on January 6, 1894.  In addition to his canning interests, Maybury was in the mercantile business.  His corporal remains were sent to Mobile for internment.(The Biloxi Herald, January 6, 1894, p. 1 and p. 8)
Baltimore Connection
Since none of these Biloxi seafood pioneers had any experience in canning operations, W.K.M. Dukate was selected to go to Baltimore where the packing industry was well established.  Here he observed procedures, gathered technical information, and purchased machinery for the coving of oysters and canning shrimp.  It is very probable that Dukate brought Charles Patten (1835-1922), a Baltimore native, to Biloxi in 1881, to manage the new cannery.  Patton remained associated with the cannery until his wife, Ellen Spencer, died here in February 1915.  He returned to Baltimore where he resided at 1527 North Caroline Street.  Mr. Patten expired at Baltimore on January 11, 1922.  His remains were interred in the Loudon Park Cemetery.(The Baltimore Sun, January 13, 1922)
The Biloxi Canning Company
The initial efforts of The Lopez, Elmer and Company were crude, but ready markets were available and the organization was profitable.  The Lopez, Elmer and Company was dissolved in 1884, and the Biloxi Canning Company, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Mississippi was chartered on March 23, 1883. 
In rapid succession, after the dissolution of The Lopez, Elmer and Company, the Barataria Canning Company, William Gorenflo & Company, E.C. Joullian & Company, and J.T. Maybury were competing in the seafood packing business at Biloxi.  By 1902, the factories of Biloxi ranked second to those of Baltimore, Maryland in canning American oysters.(Twentieth Century Coast Edition of The Biloxi Daily Herald, 1902, p. 20)
The land on which the Lopez, Elmer and Company plant was built in 1881, was purchased from Joseph Diaz Jr. (1845-1923) and Adele Santa Cruz Diaz (1846-1915) on June 29, 1881 for $100.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.18, p. 20)  The lot had a front of 82 feet on Back Bay and ran south 196 feet.  Reynoir Street was the western boundary.  Diaz had purchased a tract here in 1873, from John Bradford.  It was 82 feet x 950 feet and cost $200.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 13, pp. 553-554)   Henry Diaz (1872-1944),  a son of Joseph Diaz Jr., operated a store on the northwest corner of Reynoir and Chartres Street (now Bay View Avenue).  In 1914, Mr. Diaz was operating a canning company east of the Biloxi Canning Company.
In December 1886, C.F. Theobald, F.W. Elmer, and Charles Patten (1839-1922) of the Biloxi Canning Company bought a lot east of Reynoir with 45 feet fronting on the Back Bay of Biloxi from Nicholas Taltavull for $60.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 21, p. 549)  It was 200 feet deep and ran to the Back Bay Road.
Charles F. Theobald
The ownership of the company at this time was held primarily by two men, Charles F. Theobald (1830-1903) and F.W. Elmer (1847-1926).  Mr. Theobald was a native of Sieberbach, Germany.  He came to America in 1859, and resided at New York a few years before settling in Texas.  During the Civil War, C.F. Theobald fought for the South with a unit from the Lone Star State.  He was married to Mary L. Rexses (1847-1931).  Their children were:  George E. Theobald (1873-1921), Mittye T. Wiltz (1874-1958), Mrs. William Armstrong (Atlanta) , C. Edward Theobald (Memphis),  and Carl F. Theobald (1880-1948).  The family resided at 107 East Water Street.
In 1871, C.F. Theobald established a general mercantile store at Biloxi selling dry goods, clothing, hats, shoes, millinery, fancy goods, and notions.  In 1893, he turned the management of the store over to his sons, George E. Theobald and C.E. Theobald.  They operated the two-story frame building at the corner of Lameuse and Main as the Theobald Brothers.  C.F. Theobald was the first president of the Biloxi Canning Company and the Bank of Biloxi (est. 1893).  He also established the Peoples Bank and was its first president.             
F.W. Elmer
Frederick W. Elmer (1847-1926) was born at Biloxi on January 23, 1847.  He was the son of two European immigrants, Jacob Elmer (1812-1894) and Barbara Gettendorf (1823-1858).  Jacob Elmer was born at Canton Glarus in Switzerland, the same area of the Hosli and Abbley family origination.  Mr. Elmer came to Biloxi in 1836 and circa 1837, he married Barbara Gettendorf, a native of Winweiler, Rhein Kreis, Bavaria.  In 1850, Jacob Elmer was a merchant at Biloxi worth $15,000.(HARCO Census, p. 27).  His children with Barbara Gettendorf were:  Helena Elmer Northrop (1838-1869+), Anna Elmer (b. 1839), Jacob Elmer (1843-1885), John P. Elmer (b. 1843), Henry M. Elmer (1844-1868), Frederick William Elmer (1847-1926), Augustus Elmer (b. 1848), Otho Elmer (1851-1926+), and Charles Elmer (1852-1926+).
After the demise of his wife in 1858, Jacob Elmer married Louisa B. Wetzel (1844-1894) in January 1863.(Guice, 1968?, p. 12).  She was the daughter of German immigrant, Jacob Wetzel (1802-1860+) and          ?      .  Her mother was dead before 1860.  Their children were: Coresta E. Bachino (1866-1900+), Effee Elmer Dulion (b. 1866), Clarence Elmer (1868-1901), Percy L. Elmer (1873-1949), Edward Ross Elmer (1878-1934), and the twins, Albert (1881-1900+) and Arthur Elmer (b. 1881).  Jacob Wetzel's siblings raised by Jacob Elmer were: Julia Wetzel (b. 1853), and Catherine Wetzel (b. 1855).
F.W. Elmer married Elizabeth Carson Maycock (1850-1905) in May 1871.(Guice, 1968?, p. 19).  
She was the daughter of Captain James Maycock (1825-1892) and Mary Emily Carson (1827-1900), born at Cape May, New Jersey.  Captain Maycock was a native of Hull, Yorkshire, England and arrived at Biloxi on an English vessel in 1839.(The Biloxi Herald, March 19, 1892, p. 4)
Captain Maycock was a seafood pioneer at Biloxi.  In 1881, he and Lazaro Lopez (1850-1903), F. W. Elmer (1847-1926), W.K.M. Dukate (1853-1916), and William Gorenflo (1844-1932) with a capital stock of $8,000 organized the Lopez, Elmer and Company, which became the Biloxi Canning Company. 
F.W. Elmer and his spouse were the parents of ten children.  Eight survived into the 20th Century.  The known Elmer children are: Marie Ann Sichirich (1872-1946), Ida L. Elmer (1873-1891), Nina V. Scott (1877-1937+), Cora V. Enochs (1878-1962), F.W. Elmer II (1881-1948), James C. Elmer (1883-1920), Inez F. Ebersole (1885-1937+), Margueryte E. Cole (1887-1965), and Edward E. Elmer (1892-1900+).
Street Lease
In August 1887, Mayor Emile Laudner (Ladner) (1840-1890) and the Board of Aldermen of the City of Biloxi leased the Biloxi Canning Company, Reynoir Street north of Chartres. (HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 22, p. 326-327).  The directors of the company at this time were: William A. Gordon, F.W. Elmer, C.F. Theobald, and Charles Patten.  Terms of lease ten years with an annual rental of $50 per year payable of May 1st.  The company was also required to open a street as wide as Reynoir on company property and intersect Reynoir at such an angle as not to interfere with the traffic on Reynoir. 
1890 Biloxi Canneries
In February 1890, The Biloxi Herald announced that there were six large factories and many raw oyster dealers operating at Biloxi.  The journal listed the following canning factories-oyster shippers on February 22, 1890, p. 3:
Biloxi Canning Company-packers of canned goods and shippers of raw oysters.  W.A. Gordon, president; C.F. Theobald, secretary.
Barataria Canning Company-I. Heidenheim, secretary.  Packers of hermetically sealed oysters, shrimp, figs, and vegetables.
William Gorenflo & Company-packers of canned goods and shippers of raw oysters.  Prompt shipments and low prices guaranteed.
Lopez, Dunbar's Sons & Company-packers of oysters, shrimp, figs, vegetables, etc.and shippers of raw oysters.  Send for price list.
Phil. Desporte-shipper of raw oysters in bulk, opened, or in sealed cans.  Front Street, foot Lameuse.  Price list on application.
F.W. Elmer-shipper raw oysters.  Orders promptly attended to.  Front Street near Main.
E.C. Joullain Packing Company-Canned goods and raw oysters.  Back Bay.
Phil. McCabe-shipper of raw oyster, manufacturer of oyster cans, dealer in groceries, hardware, Pass Christian and Lameuse Streets.
J.T. Maybury-shipper of raw oysters and canned shrimp, and dealer in groceries.  Maybury (1841-1894) also from Baltimore.  Buried at Mobile.  Also mercantile interest.
On June 11, 1892, the Biloxi Canning Company was soliciting for figs in an advertisement in The Biloxi Herald.  The notice indicated that the company "will pay the highest prices for figs delivered at the stores of J.W. Balthrope and Charles Redding".
In 1893, T.H. Glenn reported that the chief industry at Biloxi was oyster canning.  Five oyster canning plants were in operation with 1200 people employed.  The three largest factories produced 200,000 cases of oysters, 15,000 cases of shrimp, and 5,000 cases of figs-valued at $350,000.  Labor and raw materials cost about $2,000 per week.(The Mexican Gulf  Coast Illustrated, 1893, p. 57)
In July 1893, The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported that the Francis Codina Shipyard at Pascagoula was building two large barges for the Biloxi Canning Factory.
The October 1893 Hurricane did about $4500 damage to the Biloxi Canning Company.  The tempest swept away buildings, damaged machinery, canned goods, boats, and seines.("terrific gale", Oct. 5, 1893).  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star reported that Hugh Miller and his son with W.H. Patton of the Biloxi Canning Company were drowned.
In 1895, Charles Dyer, who wrote Along The Gulf (1895), visited Back Bay and met with Charles Patten (1835-1922), the manager of the Biloxi Canning Company at that time.  Mr. Patten related the following:
The Biloxi Canning Company was started in 1881 and from a small beginning the plant has been gradually built up, until at the present time it occupies a space of 100 feet by 500 feet, running from the street to the end of the wharf where vessels land.  They employ during the busy season about 350 hands and their goods are shipped to all parts of this country and Europe.  England is one of their best customers and indeed it would seem so, for on the day that our party visited the cannery a shipment of 525 cases of canned shrimp was sent to a London firm.  This company, as a matter of course, cans oysters and shrimp, and they also ship raw oysters away in bulk.  
In addition to this they have made quite a specialty of canning figs.  Although it cannot be said that canned figs have been thoroughly introduced through the north, east, and west, yet they are constantly in receipt of orders for this delicate table luxury.  For several years past the Pullman Palace Car Company have been ordering thousands of cases of figs from this company.  These are specially put up in small cans, each containing seven figs, or one portion, and have met with a great sale upon the cars of the above named corporations.  This has also proved to be good advertisement for the Biloxi Canning Company, as they have received hundreds of individual orders for one or two cases of these goods from people who had seen them for the first time on the Pullman cars.
The ordinary method of putting them up, however, is in cans, which contain twenty-six ounces of fruit and syrup, which will sell for 25 cents per can at retail.  They are also put up in half cans.  Regarding the shrimp, which are put up in cans, two dozen of which go to the case, the Biloxi Canning Company has made a departure in the line of packing.  It is a well-known fact that if the shrimp touches the tin of the can it immediately loses its bright red color and becomes black and unsightly.  To obviate this, the other companies use a muslin bag, in which the shrimp are placed before being packed.  Now, instead of this muslin bag, in which, according to Mr. Patten, the shrimp are liable to get broken up slightly in filling the bag the Biloxi Canning Company have substituted a wooden veneer lining, which, while it completely prevents the shrimp from touching the tin, at the same time absorbs what little moisture there is in them when they are packed and renders them perfectly dry and palatable as they are intended to be when placed upon the table.
All of the canned goods of this company are put up under a distinctive mark of their own called the "Cotton Bale Brand", which is favorably known wherever the goods have been seen.
The present officers of the company are W.A. Gordon, president; Charles E. Theobald, vice-president; C.F. Theobald, secretary and treasurer; Charles Patten, manager.
Ice Plant    
There is a high degree of certitude that the Biloxi Canning Company was the first Biloxi cannery to initiate its own ice manufactirung plant.  
In August 1896, Mary G.T. Shaw conveyed to the Biloxi Canning Company, for $200, a parcel of land with 73 feet on Back Bay and 300 feet deep.  Its boundaries were: the Biloxi Canning Company to the east, Fayard Street to the west, and Chartres Street on the south.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 34, p. 394)
By 1900, the ownership of the Biloxi Canning Company had changed dramatically.  C.F. Theobald, F.W. Elmer, and Charles Patten were no longer stockholders.  In the fall of 1898, Charles Patten resigned and Charles Redding took over the reins of packing facility.  P.H. Clark became company foreman.(The Biloxi Herald, November 5, 1898, p. 4)
Sometimes before 1897, Charles Redding (1857-1926), a native of Bay St. Louis, had acquired three shares of stock in the Biloxi Canning Company.  Redding lived at Biloxi and made his livelihood as a grocery merchant.  He parlayed his entrepreneurial skills in many areas of commerce and was particularly successful in banking and the seafood canning industry.  In 1915, Redding served as vice president of the Devitt & Clark, a canning company, located at Point Cadet in east Biloxi.
By 1901, Edwin Carey Joullian (1863-1931) had acquired eleven shares of stock in the company.  Joullian, an Alabaman, had come to Biloxi in 1888 from Mobile.  Here he organized the E.C. Joullian Packing Company, a competitor of the Biloxi Canning Company.  Joullian was married to Lillian O. Foster (1865-1924), the sister of Charles B. Foster (1877-1931), who was also in the seafood business operating as the C.B. Foster Packing Company.  Mr. Joullian acquired his Biloxi Canning Company shares to satisfy debts owed to him by others.  He took over the management of the company in 1902.  Under Jouillian's leadership, their seafood products were sold under the Cotton Bale label.
The other stockholders at the turn of the Century were William A. Gordon (1858-1913) of New Orleans with 8 1/2 shares and Mrs. Mary A. White of Rochester, New York with 2 1/2 shares.  W.A. Gordon was a partner with F.N. Miller in the firm of Manufacturers Agents, which had been organized in 1865, at New Orleans.  They were headquartered at 535 & 537 Tchoupitoulas Street.  Mr. Gordon also headed the Louisiana Distilling Company.  He was an enthusiastic yachtsman and served as the vice president of the Southern Yacht Club.  Gordon was married to Henrietta Hart (d. 1933), the daughter of E.J. Hart, a prominent citizen of New Orleans.  Gordon had three spinster sisters, Kate, Jean, and Fannie Gordon.  Mrs. Mary A. White may have also been a sister.
1906 Hurricane
The September 1906 Hurricane saw over two hundred vessels seeking shelter in Back Bay.  Unfortunately for the fishing fleetthe winds of the tempest roared out of the northeast, and drove the schooners into the wharves of the canning factories. The sky light of the Biloxi Canning Company buildings was driven in by the wind. The shipyards of Bernard Taltavull, Martin Fountain, and John Brander were damaged as drifting schooners knocked out the ways and the wind blew down sheds.(The Biloxi Daily  Herald, September 28, 1906. p. 2)
On March 23, 1908, the original Biloxi Canning Company twenty-five year charter expired.  Prior to this time E.C. Joullian was managing the company.  A stockholders meeting was called at Biloxi on May 28, 1908 by Joullian to appoint the necessary commissioners to liquidate the company.  Although W.A. Gordon did not attend the meeting, he was appointed to the group to liquidate.  At this time, Joullian owned nine shares and Redding five shares of the twenty-five shares outstanding in the company.
In a letter to W.A. Gordon dated July 17, 1908, E.C. Joullian expressed his feelings about the cannery:
 I have repeatedly requested Mr. Redding to take charge of the plant, but was unable to induce him to do so.  The Charter of the Biloxi Canning Company, has expired, and there does not seem to do anything else, but, place the company's business in liquidation and sell all the assets for the best price to be obtained on behalf of those concerned as their interest may appear.  I have no desire to give my time to the operation of the plant, and I have no desire to continue my interest in the same.  Therefore I see no reason for renewing the charter.  My experience with oyster canning factories is, none can be operated profitably as a corporation and without owning necessary fleet to supply the raw material.  Another fact is, canneries on the Back Bay, cannot now be operated in competition successfully with other canneries located to better advantage.
Joullian and Redding wanted Gordon to bid on the assets of the entire operation.  In August 1908, Edward Glennan (1854-1933) made an offer to purchase a portion of the company property for $11,000.  Glennan was a New Orleans native of Irish descent.  He was a grocery merchant at Biloxi and served as president of the Biloxi Electric Light Company and vice president of the Peoples Bank.  Glennan was also active in public affairs serving as mayor of Biloxi for twenty years, city treasurer eight years, alderman-at-large, and alderman several times.  Other than his business, Glennan took a great interest in the Volunteer Fire Company.
W.A. Gordon thought the value of the Biloxi Canning Company was $20,000, a sum far greater than the offer of Ed Glennan.  He filed a lawsuit, Cause No. 2803, in the Harrison County, Mississippi Chancery Court on August 28, 1908, against Joullian and Redding. 
In the subsequent court action, W.A. Gordon declared his disbelief in the estimated value of the company by Joullian and accused the defendants of collusion with Glennan to defraud him and Mrs. White.  Chancellor T.A. Wood adjudicated that F.S. Hewes, the Clerk of Court, sell the land, canning plant, machinery, cans, labels, buckets, trays, scales, and all goods, wares, and merchandise belonging to the Biloxi Canning Company, except the stock of canned shrimp and oysters in the building.  The sale took place on January 4, 1909, at the northwest front door of the courthouse.  W.A. Gordon was the high bidder purchasing the assets of the company for 12,000.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 90, p. 402).
New Biloxi Canning Company
The new Biloxi Canning Company was incorporated at New Orleans on February 5, 1909. (MOB 912, p. 721).  The owners and their equity in the company were:  W.A. Gordon-215 shares, Charles Patten-10 shares, and Mrs. Mary B. White, a widow-25 shares. After Mr. Gordon died at New Orleans on January 9, 1913, his New Orleans business partner, F.N. Miller, took over the reigns of the company.  On July 20, 1914, Miller authorized by a resolution of the Board of Directors of the corporation, conveyed the Biloxi canning operation to John B. Humphreys (1861-1921) of Biloxi for $11,306.31.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.108, pp. 413-414)  
The tract was described in the warranty deed as: That certain tract of land in the City of Biloxi, having a front of two hundred and thirty-nine feet on the Back Bay of Biloxi, and extending south to Chartres street, and which is bounded by a line running as follows:  On the North by the Back Bay of Biloxi, on the East by Reynoir Street of said city, on the South by Chartres street of said City, and on the west by Fayard Street of said city.  Together with all and singular the entire canning or packing establishment situated thereon, and known as the Biloxi Canning Company plant, including all machinery and appliances of every character and description, therein or forming a part thereof and belonging to said Biloxi Canning Company; also all cans, labels, buckets, trays, scales, and other property and appliances used in or forming a part of the stock of the said Biloxi Canning Company, and any and all the goods, wares, merchandise, and property of every character and description belonging to said Biloxi Canning Company, except the accounts, notes, choses in action, evidences of debt, belonging to said Company.  Also the schooner, William Tell, now lying and being in the Back Bay of Biloxi.
 On July 14, 1914, Henrietta Hart Gordon, the widow of the late William A. Gordon (1858-1913), and Fannie R. Gordon, her daughter, gave the Biloxi Canning Company a quitclaim deed on the above property. They were residents of New Orleans.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 108, p. 413)           
John B. Humphreys
Like W.A. Gordon, John Brown Humphreys (1861-1921) was also from New Orleans.  He was not a native of the Crescent City, but was born possibly in Ascension or St. John The Baptist Parish, west of New Orleans.  In 1900, John B. Humphreys married William 'Willie' C. Rose (1877-1921+), also a native of Louisiana.  At this time, he was farming in the 5th Ward of Ascension Parish, Louisiana.  Their three children: Florence Humphreys Pritchard (1901-1921+); John Murray Humphreys (1902-1972); and Leslie Humphreys (1906-1921+) were all born in the Pelican State.  The Humphrey family came to Biloxi in 1909 to reside.  John B. Humphreys planned to maintain status quo at the Biloxi Canning Company as Superintendent Patton and John Herrington, processing manager, were retained.  Both men had been with the organization for several decades. (1900 Ascencion Parish, Louisiana Federal Census T623 557, p. 6A, ED 7 and The Daily Herald, May 22, 1913, p. 8)
In August 1915, although a commercial success under his management, Mr. Humphreys closed the Biloxi Canning Company as a result of the strike perpetrated by the International Longshoreman’s Association.  He also asked that all employees occupying the company owned camp vacate the premises immediately, as they would be closed.  In addition, Humphreys placed the cannery for sale.(The Daily Herald, August 25, 1915, p. 1)
In late October 1915, J.B. Humphries placed an order for 100,000 strawberry plants at a meeting of the Biloxi Vegetable and Fruit Growers Association.  With the G.W. Haynes order of 60,000 plants, it was hoped that enough association growers would come forward to have 60-acres of strawberries under cultivation before the planting season ended in late
November.(The Daily Herald, October 29, 1915, p. 1)
Gulfport Packing and Trading Company
March 1917, John B. Humphreys conveyed the Biloxi Canning Company to the Gulfport Packing and Trading Company for $3333.33 and a mortgage of $3000 held by Eva and Edward Boldt.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.118, p. 344-345)   The conveyed tract had 239 feet on Back Bay and was bounded by Fayard, Reynoir and Chartres Streets.  The Gulfport Packing and Trading Company was incorporated in November 1916 at Gulfport by John B. Humphreys, Louis Goldman, and T.H. Gleason.  The company was capitalized at $30,000.(HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Charter Book 17, p. 176).
In September 1919, the Gulfport Packing and Trading Company was producing about 10,000 cans each day of sweet potatoes
at Gulfport.  The yams were cultivated along the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad.(The Daily Herald, September 25, 1919, p. 3)
In October 1919, Sheriff J.B. Clark sold the Biloxi Canning Company to Mrs. John B. Humphreys for $1200.  It was seized to satisfy a $1,000 judgement against John B. Humphrey awarded to Vincent Lenaz.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.125, p. 72).
The Humphries moved back to New Orleans.  He was in the canning business there when he died on December 7, 1921.  They resided at 1936 Peters.( The Daily Herald, December 8, 1921, p. 2)
Dr. Charles Albert Babendreer
On October 15, 1919, Dr. Charles Albert Babendreer (1867-1938), a retired physician and entrepreneur who lived at Ocean Springs, purchased the Biloxi Canning Company for $4000 from Mrs. J.B. Humphrey.  Prior to this in September 1914, he, C.H. Woodward,  and E.S. Davis formed the Nutritive Food Company, a Mississippi corporation, at Ocean Springs.  In 1919, Albert Babendreer was president of the Maritime Food Products Company, an Illinois corporation.  Dr. Babendreer came to the coast from Kentucky with his wife, Dr. Estelle Turner Babendreer (1871-1958) circa 1909.  They resided in east Ocean Springs where Dr. Estelle T. Babendreer had a medical clinic.  She specialized in treating allergies and skin disorders.  Their children, Eleanor B. Moore (1901-1984+) and Eric T. Babendreer (1903-1975), grew up to be attorneys.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.125, p. 73 and The Ocean Springs News, September 26, 1914, p. 1)
Albert Babendreer grew up on the shores of Chesapeake Bay at Baltimore.  This background may have lured him into the seafood industry at Biloxi.  It was from Baltimore that Biloxi businessmen, operating as the Lopez, Elmer & Company brought the technology and equipment to open the first cannery, which evolved into the Biloxi Canning Company.  Baltimore also provided Biloxi with a transient labor force.  These seafood workers were called Bohemians, although they were primarily of Polish origin.
In 1920, at Biloxi, Albert Babendreer entered into the machine and foundry business, which was complimentary to his cannery.  The enterprise called the Biloxi Machine Works & Foundry Company, was located on the northeast corner of Railroad Street and Magnolia.  The organization manufactured the Gulf Standard Gasoline engine, gray iron, and made brass and aluminum fittings.           
William B. Taltavull 
 In May 1924, William Bernard Taltavull (1882-1948), known as Bernard Taltavull, purchased the Biloxi Canning Company from Dr. Babendreer's Maritime Food Products Company for $10,000.  Bernard Taltavull was the son of pioneer Biloxi boat builder, Francis A. Taltavull (1851-1930), and Margaret Bertheaud (1860-1904).(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.142, p. 129) 
Bernard Taltavull was educated in the Biloxi school system and became active in the seafood packing industry at Biloxi in 1917.  He married Elsie Lyle Maxwell (1886-1962) on August 6, 1910.  She was the daughter of John Lyle Maxwell (1845-1889) and Mary Scott (1864-1938).  From this union, two daughters were born:  Jane T. Smith (b. 1911) and Mary Edna T. Gillis (1919-1996).
Bernard Taltavull had operated the Bay View Packing Company until May 1924, when he bought the Biloxi Canning Company just west from his Bay View Packing operation.  The Bay View Packing Company was formerly the site of the Henry Diaz Canning Company which was located northeast of the Diaz Grocery Store.  Henry Diaz (1872-1944) was the son of Joseph Diaz Jr. and Adele Santa Cruz.  They sold the land to a syndicate where the Lopez & Elmer Company built the first cannery in Biloxi.  Henry Diaz had operated a store here since 1892. Taltavull would merge the two canning operations.
In February 1925, the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company was chartered in Mississippi. (HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Charters of Corporations Bk. 36, p. 133)  The incorporators were: Elsie Maxwell Taltavull, Bernard Taltavull, and W.J. Wadlington.  The factory had forty boats of which two-thirds were utilized for oystering and the remainder to catch shrimp.  At the height of the packing season, the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company employed 200 boatmen and 300 factory workers.  
Some employees were furnished free housing and water.  This custom was phased out in the late 1930s.  Some of his boat captains were:  Edward C. Kopszywa, "Cotton" Kopszywa, Frank Kopszywa, Valley Lepre, Lebatard, Sansen, DeSilvey, John Hungerford.  Factory paid for fuel and groceries.  Net profits split as:  boat share, net share, crew share.(Judy S. Soares, July 1996)
On July 11, 1928, R.D. Moore land commissioner sold Bernard Taltavull 6.06 acres of tidewater land north of the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company property.  It extended 1200 feet north into the Back Bay.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.186, p. 457).
In 1931, Fred Torsch, a Baltimore canner sold his company, the Auginbaugh Canning Company, to Taltavull for $3000.  Mr. Taltavull packed oysters for the Baltimore organization with their label, "Nigger Head".  Later changed to "Negro Head" after pressure from NAACP?(Judy S. Soares, July 1996) 
In early January 1932, the Hyacinth captained by Mr. Penton sank in shallow water in front of the Edgewater Gulf Hotel.  At the time of the sinking of his vessel, Captain Penton and crew were in route to the Biloxi Canning Company from a successful oyster harvest.  Bernard Taltavull who owned the Hyacinth envisioned raising the sunken watercraft as it was not seriously harmed.(The Daily Herald, January 6, 1932, p. 2)
In December 1933, nine factories were operating at Biloxi.  There was a paucity of oysters.  Over 100 boats with about 500 fishermen were working night and day to catch sufficient quantities of the mollusks to supply the 2,000 shuckers at the plants.  Factories contemplated a shut down in January 1934.  No market for shrimp as catches had to be given away.( The Daily Herald, December 18, 1933, p. 1)
In 1934, the Taltavull family resided at 525 East Howard Avenue.  Mr. Taltavull's hobby was racing the champion schooner of the Gulf Coast, the Mary Margaret.  He had the boat built in 1928, by Jackie Jack Kovacevich. On January 1, 1937, Biloxi Canning & Packing Company leased to Jane Taltavull for one year for $100.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 214, p. 159).
In August 1937, the Biloxi Canning Company launched a new shrimp trawler at the Covacevich Brothers boat yard.  The vessel was christened Bernard T for Bernard Taltavull.  It had a length of 54 feet and a beam of 16 feet.  The Bernard T was powered by a 36 horsepower Lathrop engine.(The Daily Herald, August 21, 1937, p. 6)
Bernard Taltavull, Inc.
In April 1943, the charter of the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company was amended and the name changed to Bernard Taltavull, Inc.(HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Charter Book 84, p. 163)  Bernard Taltavull was president and Elsie M. Taltavull, secretary.
In October 1942, Jane Taltavull Smith conveyed to Bernard Taltavull a tract west of the original cannery which ran from Chartres north along the east line of Anglada Alley to Back Bay.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 251, p. 495)  She had acquired it from Glen Easterling for $1,000 in August 1934.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 214, p. 537).
In May 1943, with his health slowly failing, Bernard Taltavull sold the former Biloxi Canning & Packing Company to Roy Rosalis (1909-1984) and Virgilio Dos Santos (ca 1902-1954+) for $60,000.  Taltavull conveyed the factory, buildings, warehouses, machine shops, grinding mills, wharfs, and houses located on the property.   It also included all the machinery, fixtures, and personal property used by the Biloxi Canning and Packing Company and the Bay View Crushing Company.  In addition, the act of sale included the following power boats and schooners: Bride, H.E. Gumbel, Geraldine F., Zenia, Winnie Davis, Galle-Kelley, Golden Hope, Kanuga, Anais, Ida T., Lucky Lindy, Coca Cola Girl, Hulda Velma, Gertrude B., Ferda, Dauntless, I. Heidenheim, Anna Eve, Oxalis, Silver Pearl, Knox, and Teddy F.  The boats were valued at $26,000.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 255, p. 112 and The Daily Herald, April 22, 1943, p. 9)
At the same time, Rosalis and dos Santos conveyed a 1/3 interest into their new company to Armindo O. Soares (1908-1994).  It included all trademarks of the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company and the Aughinsbaugh Canning Company:  Trademarks: # 57,575 (11-13-1906), 54,564 (7-31-1906), 303,967 (6-13-1933), 303, 966 (6-13-1933), and 345,793 (5-4-1937).(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 255, pp. 165-167)
The new owners incorporated as the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company, Inc. on May 4, 1943 for fifty years. 750 shares of common stock were issued with a par value of $100.00.  The incorporators were Virgilio dos Santos, president, Armindo Soares, vice-president, and Roy Rosalis, secretary and treasurer.(HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Charter Book 84, p. 156). 
In September 1944, Mr. Taltavull, the former owner, commenced a modern packing operation on Back Bay known as the B. Taltavull Shrimp and Oyster Company.  It was located on the waterfront just east of Lameuse Street on property that he purchased from Mrs. Lillie Cruso for $3500.  Taltavull brought eighteen boats with him to the new cannery.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 259, p. 270)
The Portuguese
Two of the three new incorporators of the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company were natives of Portugal.  Virgilio dos Santos was already a successful packer with canning and fishing operations at Morgan City and Cameron, Louisiana.  He wanted a partner to run the Biloxi factory.  dos Santos had developed a friendship with Mr. Suzano, also a Portuguese immigrant, who resided and toiled in the Philadelphia area.  Suzano recommended his son-in-law, Armindo Soares, to dos Santos.(Judy S. Soares, July 1996)
Armindo Soares was a native of Murtoza, Portugal.  He left his native land as child when the family immigrated to Brazil.  The Soares family resided at Sao Paulo for about five years before arriving at Long Island, New York circa 1919.  Armindo Soares and his brother, Antonio, relocated to Newark, New Jersey were they became employed by RCA manufacturing radios.  At the Philadelphia Portuguese Club, Armindo met a beautiful, young Portuguese girl, Judith Suzano.  She was born at Lisbon in 1917, and had come to America as a baby with her family.  They married in August 1936.  Soares was running his own grocery business at Devon, Pennsylvania, when he was contacted by Virgilio dos Santos to move to Biloxi and become a co-owner in the canning operation there.(Judy S. Soares, July 1996)
Roy Rosalis (1909-1984) was born at North Biloxi (now D'Iberville) in 1909.  Married Rena LeBlanc.  Rena Rosalis, wife of Roy, resided on Church Street-Haises Blvd.
Wisely, when the new owners took control from Bernard Taltavull, they retained the former office staff.  Office manager was Hernando Money, Floyd Balius-machine shop and ship and engine repair, Isom and Henry Brasher-new boat construction.  Frank Brown hired as field manager.  The plant was furnished entirely with Continental Can Company machinery.  Salting of cans was accomplished by the tablet system utilizing Scientific tablets and machines.  The previous years plant production, although poor compared to other years, consisted of 48,000 cases of canned oysters and 20,000 cases of shrimp.  Company trucks would also continue to deliver headless shrimp in frozen 5-lb cartons to Eastern markets.
On August 18, 1943, Roy Rosalis sold his 1/3 interest in the cannery to dos Santos and Soares for $12,500.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 257, pp. 182-185).  During WW II, Rosalis worked for the U.S. Government as a seafood broker.  He returned to the local seafood industry before the September 1947 Hurricane, as The Daily Herald related that Roy Rosalis of Union Fisheries reported a loss of $50,000 as a result of the tempest.  His losses were 4,000 board feet of boat lumber, two engines, and two wharves.  Damaged were six boats and the shipyard of Rosalis.  He said he would be ready for raw shrimp in two weeks, but a few months before canning operations on line.(The Daily Herald, September 25, 1947, p. 8)
 In November 1949, when Rosalis joined with Clifton H. Sims, and Jules Galle Jr. to organize the Rosalis & Sims Packing Company at Pass Christian.  (HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Charter Book 117, p. 124)  Rosalis and Sims apparently withdrew from the company as its charter was amended in April 1950, and the name changed to G.M. & G. Packing Company.  C.F. Gollott and Jules Galle Jr. were the president and secretary respectively.(HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Charter Book 132, p. 419).
Opening of the Bonnet Carre spillway in March 1945, decimated oyster population of western Mississippi Sound.  Dr. A.E. Hopkins of the U.S. Fish and Wild Life Service laboratory at Pensacola said, "the Mississippi Sound will not produce a single oyster except perhaps in the immediate vicinity of Biloxi".
In September 1946, Soares and dos Santos bought the Henry F. Diaz (1944) property east of the cannery site from his sons, Henry F. Diaz Jr. and George J. Diaz.  Described as: 120 feet along Chartres to Back Bay, less 50' x 100' in SW/C-site of Diaz Store.  Simon on the east. (HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 290, p. 390) 
1947 Hurricane
The 1947 September Hurricane appears to have done some water damage to the Biloxi Canning Company.  Ironically, three fishing boats, the Bobby C., Jeanne, and Mary Ann Gillis, owned by former proprietor, Bernard Taltavull, washed up on the roadway of the Biloxi Canning Company.  Also a small gray dredge made its way onto the Biloxi Canning Company yard.(The Daily Herald, September 20, 1947, pp. 1-2)
Aughinbaugh Canning Company
    In October 1947, dos Santos and Soares were operating the property as the Aughinbaugh Canning Company as they borrowed $60,000 from the First Bank of Biloxi.  Loan secured with factory and land, which had 494 feet on Chartres from Anglada Alley to Simon property on the east.  Boats owned at this time:  Victor (son of Soares), Geraldine F., Lucky Lindy, Danny (son of Soares), Rosalina (wife of dos Santos), Virgil (son of dos Santos), Judy (wife of Soares), Walter (son of dos Santos), and the Knox.(HARCO, Ms. Trust Deed Bk. 150, p. 542) 
The Evangelical and Reform Church
 In June 1949, the Evangelical and Reform Church of St. Louis, Missouri began acquiring land near the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company operations.  O.G. Swetman conveyed a lot (40 feet by 120 feet) on the northwest corner of Fayard and Chartres to the church for $5,000.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 323, p. 489).  Armindo O. Soares and Virgilio dos Santos conveyed a lot (50 feet by 120 feet) contiguous to the Swetman tract to the church in July 1949 for $2500.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 323, p. 490).  This gave them a front of 90 feet on Chartres.
The Back Bay Mission, as the church was called, bought the old Bay Feed & Hardware property from Gerald J. Quave Sr. in August 1986.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.174, pp. 290-291).
On July 1, 1954, Virgilio dos Santos sold his undivided 1/2 interest to Roy Rosalis.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 383, p. 317) included four tracts.
dos Santos retired and returned to Portugal were he died.  His wife, Rosalina dos Santos, still resides there. Rosalis and Soares sold interest of Aughinbaugh to Biloxi Canning & Packing Company.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 428, pp. 105-107).
 In March 1958, Soares and Rosalis leased the cannery to the Lawrence Warehouse Company of Chicago, Illinois.(Bk 154, pp. 157-158).  Rosalis leased also as Biloxi Canning & Packing Company.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.154, pp. 159-161).


In July 1959, Armindo O. Soares conveyed his undivided 1/2 interest in the company to Roy J. Rosalis for $113, 854. 11.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 456, pp. 63-65).  The deal included four tracts, the Aughinbaugh Packing Company and these brand labels:  Negro Head, Sea Beach, Biloxi, and Danny Boy.
Mr. Soares opened a small cannery, Gulf Shrimp & Oyster Company, on Point Cadet.  Also had a canning operation, at
Palacios, Texas.  It was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961.  Soares later invested in Amazon catfish project in Brazil and strawberry farming in Mexico.
Rosalis Inc.
On September 9, 1968, Charter of Biloxi Canning & Packing Company amended and name changed to Rosalis, Inc.  Roy Rosalis, president, and Rena Rosalis, secretary, 300 shares issued.(HARCO, Ms. Charter Bo. 2, pp. 175-178).
Venus and Quave
On September 4, 1968, the Biloxi Canning & Packing Company was chartered by D.J. Venus III, Gordon D. Venus, and Laz Quave.  150,000 shares par $1.00.(HARCO, Ms. Chancery Court Charter Bk. 2, pp. 179-182)
On October 10, 1968, Rosalis, Inc. conveyed to Biloxi Canning & Packing Company for $610,000, all improvements, buildings, wharehouses, docks, wharves, with riparian and littoral rights.(go 413.4 south along east side of Anglada x Landers x 253' x Chartres (332.9) x 136' (Stanovich) x Bay to Point of beginning on Anglada).  Sale included the following brands:  Negro Head, Biloxi, Sea Beach Canned Shrimp, Mobile Bay, Danny Boy, and Pueblo.(HARCO, Ms. Trust Deed Bk. 535, p. 47 and Bk. 535, p. 50).  Mr. Rosalis then retired and resided at 872 Central Beach Boulevard.
Biloxi Canning Company [ca 1970?]
[Biloxi streets L-R: North-South are Caillavet, Fayard, and Reynoir.  East-West is Bayview Avenue.
Hurricane Camille
Hurricane Camille of August 1969, according to company president, D.J. Venus, caused losses estimated at $1 million.  There was doubt as whether the U.S. Pure Food and Drug inspectors would approve canned shrimp damaged by the tempest.  Production was possible in two months.(The Daily Herald, August 28, 1969, p. 18)
  April 12, 1971, company under Venus borrowed $12,000 from Peoples Bank and bought more land to the west.(HARCO, Ms. Trust Deed Bk. 3, pp. 64-65).
January 3, 1973, Venus-Quave borrowed $319,000.(HARCO, Ms. Trust Deed Bk. 49, p. 425).
In October 2, 1974, Henry Slay Guiterrez, president, and Pete Elder, secretary got a SBA loan for $500,000.(HARCO, Ms. Trust Deed Bk. 72, pp. 287-293).
On January 15, 1975, Henry S. Guiterrez leased a portion of the building to the Douglas-Guardian Warehouse Corporation of New Orleans.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 55, pp. 377-378).
In May 1976, Venus and Quave defaulted on payments to Rosalis and the Biloxi Canning Company was bought from Substitute trustee, David Cottrell Jr., for $200,000.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 65, pp. 486-488)          
Historic Marker
In early May 1979, descendants of Biloxi seafood pioneers, Lopez, Maycock, and Gorenflo, unveiled a marker on Bayview Avenue at the head of Reynoir Street commemorating the 1881 founding of the Lopez, Elmer & Company.  The ceremony was a part of the Biloxi Heritage Week celebrations of May 6-12, 1979.(The Daily Herald, May 15, 1979, p. B-1)
Durward B. Dunn
On December 20, 1984, after the demise of Roy J. Rosalis who died at Gautier on April 28, 1984, his widow, Rena Mary Leblanc Rosalis, took possession of the canning company property.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk.154, p. 132)  Mrs. Rosalis sold it to Durward B. Dunn and Georgene Dunn of New Orleans in December 1985.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 166, pp. 261-262)
Gaming Era
In August 1992, when the Isle of Capri opened for business on Point Cadet, dockside gaming proved an immediate success.  Other casino operators became interested in commencing operations on the Biloxi peninsula.  The old Biloxi Canning Company site was zoned for gaming by the Biloxi City Council on February 22, 1993, when the entire Back Bay area, composing Waterfront District II, was zoned.      
Imperial Palace-Ralph Englestad
 In March 1993, Peoples Bank of Biloxi conveyed to the Mississippi Gaming Corporation, a Delaware corporation, a 1.839 tract northwest of the old canning company tract.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 53, p. 378-379)  This was the beginning of land acquisition by a group to be called Imperial Palace of Mississippi.
Mississippi Gaming Corporation to Ralph Engelstad.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 270, p. 692).(1.839 acres m/l).
Morris J. Smith to Ralph Englestad.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 272, p. 51)-described as 98.5 feet x 197 feet.(see also HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 272, p. 106)
Durward Dunn sold the old Biloxi Canning Company site to Imperial Palace of Mississippi, Inc. on October 27, 1994.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 277, pp. 213-214).
Demolition and site construction
In 1994, after the removal of the remaining structures of the Biloxi Canning Company, construction began slowly on the site.  The General Contractor was
The casino barge
The Imperial Palace Casino barge, a three-story structure, arrived at Biloxi on August 19, 1995, from Morgan City, Louisiana. Construction was completed at a site near the head of Oak Street and moved to casino site in 1996.  The Imperial Palace Casino opened for business on December 30, 1997.(The Biloxi-D’Iberville Press, February 25, 1998, p. 7)
The hotel
 The Imperial Palace Hotel construction commenced in early 1996.  Completion was planned for July 1997, but didn’t open for business until February 6, 1998.(The Biloxi-D’Iberville Press, February 25, 1998, p. 7) (see Englestad v. Mayor Holloway controversies over upper stories of hotel)
Mary Louise Adkinson and others, The Bouzage-Bosarge Family, 2nd Edition, (Mississippi Coast History and Genealogical Society:  Biloxi, Mississippi-1991), pp. 203-204.
Charles Dyer, Along The Gulf, "Biloxi", (reprinted by the Pass Christian Historical Society:  Pass Christian, Mississippi-1991).
T.H. Glenn, The Mexican Gulf Coast Illustrated, (Graham & Delchamps: Mobile, Alabama-1893).
David A. Sheffield and Darnell L. Nicovich, When Biloxi Was The Seafood Capital of the World, (The City of Biloxi: Biloxi, Mississippi-1979), pp. 50-51 and pp. 60-61.
Golden Jubilee Number, The Daily Herald (1884-1934)-Fiftieth Anniversary Souvenir, "The Biloxi Canning Company", (The Daily Herald: Gulfport, Mississippi-1934), p. 82.
Twentieth Century Coast Edition of The Biloxi Daily Herald, "The Canning Industries of Biloxi", (George W. Wilkes & Sons: Biloxi, Mississippi-1902).
Bradford-O'Keefe Burial Book 32C, "Bernard Taltavull", p. 492.
Chancery Court Cases
Harrison County, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 2803, William A. Gordon, et al v. E.C. Joulian, et al, August 1908.
Harrison County, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 21,003, Estate of Henry F. Diaz, January 1945.
Jackson County, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. P-649, Estate of Roy J. Rosalis, May 1984.
The Baltimore Sun, “Charles Patten”, January 13, 1922.
The Biloxi-D'Iberville Press, "Imperial Palace set opening July 1st", December 11, 1996, p. 1.
The Biloxi-D'Iberville Press, "Imperial Palace Biloxi Hotel opened", February 25, 1998.
The Biloxi Herald, “Local Happenings”, July 30, 1892.
The Biloxi Herald, "Captain James Maycock", March 19, 1892, p. 4.
The Biloxi Herald, "J.T. Maybury", January 6, 1894.
The Biloxi Herald, “To the Public”, November 21, 1896.
The Biloxi Herald, “Latest City News”, November 5, 1898.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, "An Old Citizen Dead", May 16, 1903, p. 8.
The Biloxi Daily Herald, "Worse Storm Than That of October 1893", September 27, 1906, p. 2,
The Biloxi Daily Herald, "Aftermath of Great Storm", September 28, 1906, p. 1, cc. 4-5, and p.
The Biloxi-North Biloxi Press, "Retired Biloxi Seafood Packer Roy Rosalis Dies", May 2,
1984, p.1
The Daily Herald, "Ulysse Desporte buys back factory", November 14, 1910.
The Daily Herald, "Barataria Company desires no law suit", November 15, 1910.
The Daily Herald, "William A. Gordon, Sole Owner of Biloxi Canning Co., Is Dead", January 10,
1913, p. 1.
The Daily Herald, “J.B. Humphries Acquires Ownership of Leading Biloxi Concern”, May 22, 1913, p. 8.
The Daily Herald, “Mrs. Patton (sic) is Taken by Death", February 22, 1915, p. 1.
The Daily Herald, “Biloxi Canning Company’s Plant To Be Closed Permanently and Sold”, August  25, 1915, p. 1.
The Daily Herald, “160,000 Plants For Strawberries”, October 29, 1915.
The Daily Herald, “Canning Sweet Potatoes in Mississippi Plants”, September 25, 1919, p. 3.
The Daily Herald, "(G.E. Theobald) Dies Suddenly in Chicago", March 15, 1921, p. 4.
The Daily Herald, "Humphries Funeral Today", December 8, 1921, p. 2.
The Daily Herald, "Charles Patton (sic) Dead", January 11, 1922, p. 3.
The Daily Herald, “To Raise Schooner”, January 6, 1932.
The Daily Herald, "Glennan Dies at Biloxi Home", December 18, 1933, pp. 1-2.
The Daily Herald, "Biloxi Fishermen Will Discuss Shut Down of Factories", December 18, 1933,
p. 1.
The Daily Herald, "Will [Dunbar-Dukate Company] improve oyster plant", July 16, 1934, p. 1.
The Daily Herald, “Thousand visitors inspect new sanitary packing room of Biloxi [Sea Coast Packing Company] canning plant”, July 27, 1934.
The Daily Herald, “Shrimp boats are in shape”, July 27, 1934.
The Daily Herald, “Launches New Boat”, August 21, 1937.
The Daily Herald, "Taltavull sells Biloxi Canning Co., part fleet", April 22, 1943.
The Daily Herald, "Henry Diaz Sr. Dies Suddenly at Home Early Sunday", April 24, 1944, p. 8.
The Daily Herald, "Taltavull Plant Starts Operations", September 15, 1944, p. 7.
The Daily Herald, "Only Oysters in Mississippi Found in Biloxi Vicinity", September ? 1945.
The Daily Herald, "One Life Lost, Heavy Damage Done at Biloxi", September 20, 1947, pp. 1-2..
The Daily Herald, "Biloxi Seafood Industry Loss Set at $604,000", September 25, 1947, p. 8.
The Daily Herald,, "Three Seafood Plants To Be Back Soon", August 28, 1969, p. 18.
The Daily Herald, "Historical marker dedicated", May 15, 1979, p. B-1.
The Ocean Springs News, "The Charter of Incorporation of Nutritive Food Company", September 26, 1914, p. 1.
The Ocean Springs Record, "Sous Les Chenes", February 29, 1996, p. 16.
The Ocean Springs Record, "Sous Les Chenes", March 7, 1996, p. 16.
The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local Paragraphs”, December 30, 1881.
The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, "Ocean Springs Local News", July 28, 1893.
The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 13, 1893, p. 2.
The Sun/Daily Herald, "Roy Rosalis", April 29, 1984, p. A-4.
The Sun Herald, "Biloxi leader Laz Quave dies", December 22, 1985, p. A-1 and p. A-12.
The Sun Herald, "Casinos on the way to Back Bay", February 23, 1993, p. 1.
The Sun Herald, “Imperial Palace chief all business”, December 14, 1997.
The Sun Herald, “Rosalis built seafood firm”, April 8, 2004, p. A-6.
The Sun Herald, “Rena Rosalis”, April 8, 2004, p. A-6.
Personal Communication:
Jane Taltavull Smith-November, December 1996.
Judy S. Soares-July 1996.



Isidore Heidenheim (1857-1918) resigned as manager of the Barataria Canning Company in September 1912.  He planned to remain in Biloxi and as a manufacturer’s agent, commercial adjuster, and realty and insurance agent.  With Henry E. Gumbel (1869-1950?) of New Orleans as president, Edward Glennan (1854-1933), vice president, and Louis Goldman (1882-1925), attorney, both of Biloxi, Isidore Heidenheim chartered the Sea Food Company of Biloxi in April 1913.  Mr. Heidenheim served as manger and secretary of the new cannery which was located on the Point of Biloxi.(Harrison Co., Mississippi Chattel Deed Bk. 14, p. 177, The Daily Herald, September 19, 1912, p. 1 and May 26, 1913, p. 1)


Isidore Heidenheim

Isidore Heidenheim(1857-1918) was born at New Orleans, Louisiana on December 2, 1857 to Moses Heidenheim (1825-1907) and Babette Fertel (1830-1900).  His parents were immigrants from Hesse-Denmark in 1847 and 1849 respectively.  Moses Heidenheim made his livelihood in the 10th Ward at New Orleans as a retain dry goods merchant.  By 1900, Moses and Babette had relocated to Jackson Avenue and he continued in the sale of notions.  Here he and Babette reared a large family: Carolina ‘Carrie’ Heidenheim (1851-1913) m. Cerf Sampson (1839-1900+); Josephine Heidenheim (1853-1929) m. Heymann; Celestine Heidenheim (1855-1932); Isidore Heidenheim (1857-1918); August Heidenheim (1860-1914) m. Sarah Marks; Simon Heidenheim (1864-1934); Daniel Heidenheim (1865-pre 1870); Emmanuel Heidenheim (1866-1927); and Sarah ‘Selma’ Heidenheim (1871-1916) m. Emmanuel Levy (1861-1900+).(


Home and Family

Isidore Heidenheim married Anna Eve Riego (1874-1931) in Harrison County, Mississippi in August 1907.  She was a school teacher and the daughter of Pedro Riego (1846-1895), a Spanish immigrant, and Anna C. Ortiz (1848-1922) of New Orleans.  Miss Riego was reared on Spain Street in the Crescent City where her family made cigars and graded tobacco.(Harrison Co., Mississippi MRB 19, p. 174 and The Biloxi Daily Herald, August 15, 1907, p. 1,


Biloxi politics

Isidore Heidenheim was first elected to the Biloxi City government as councilman from Ward I in 1892.


Henry Champlin

Almost immediately after the resignation of Mr. Heidenheim, Henry C. Champlin was hired as the accounting manager of the packing company.  Mr. Champlin had The Daily Herald, Izard at Handsboro.(The Daily Herald, October 16, 1912, p. 8)


Schooners built

In 1917, the Seafood Company built four Biloxi schooners for their fishing fleet.  These four, nearly identical watercraft were constructed on Biloxi’s Back Bay at the Biloxi Shipyard and Box Factory.  The first three boats were: I. HeidenheimH.E. Gumbel, and Louis Goldman.  The fourth schooner was called Anna May.  Their measurements were as follows: length-54.5 feet; breadth-18.8 feet; depth-4.4 feet; gross tonnage-28 tons; and net tonnage-19 tons.(The Daily Herald, September 13, 1917, p. 3)


Russell Barnes, a Biloxi author, model builder and schooner historian,relates that these four boats


“were designed by Jackie Jack Covacevich and were built right along side each other at the Biloxi Shipyard and Box Factory owned by the Branders. These were a bit different from the traditional Biloxi schooner in that they were all spoon bowed instead of clipper bowed. Otherwise they were fairly typical centerboard schooners. 


On the admeasurement  papers I found in the National Archives, Jackie Jack  is listed as the builder on two of the schooners, I. Heidenheim and L. Goldman, while Francis Brander is listed as the builder on the other two, Anna Eve and H.E. Gumbel. It is fairly obvious that Jackie Jack  cut the half model and lofted the boat himself. He then created the templates for each piece of the hull frame and then cut four copies of everything so that four schooner could be simultaneously and to the exact same measurements.” (e-mail February 29, 2010)


Heidenheim passes



The Daily Herald"Heidenheim resigns as manager of Barataria Canning Company", September 19, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “Henry Champlin at the Barataria”, October 16, 1912.

The Daily Herald, “Biloxi will have new cannery; report is reliably confirmed”, December13, 1912.


The Daily Herald, “ ”, , 19.

The Daily Herald, “ ”, , 19.

The Daily Herald, “ ”, , 19.

The Daily Herald, “ ”, , 19.


The Daily Herald, “Three new boats put overboard”, September 13, 1917.

The Daily Herald, “Isadore Heidenheim Dies”, October 27, 1918, p. 1.


Personal Communication:



Founded in 1912.


Frank B. Castanera

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), Amelia C. O’Keefe, Delauney Castanera (1903-1935), and Theodore Castanera (1905-1978).


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.



Founded in 1914.


LOCATION:  Point Cadet-Lots 4, 9, and 14 of Square 5, Summerville Subdivision, Biloxi, Mississippi.



The riparian location, upon which the Devitt & Clark Cannery was erected, was situated in the original 1784 Spanish land grant of Jacques Mathurin Ladner at Point Cadet.  is part of east Biloxi was patented to Charles E. McCaleb in June 1844.  Summerville Subdivision created in Lot 4 once belonged to Aime Gautier (1826-1885) of New Orleans.  He was the brother of Fernando Gautier,


By March 1900, the land in the possession of Cora E. White (1855-1910+), the wife of attorney Walter A. White (1845-1914+).  Founded the White House Hotel.  In May 1912,


Cora E. White conveyed Lots 4, 14, and 9 of Block 5 to the Bourdon-Castenera Packing Company.  The conveyance exempted the Presbyterian Church lot which was situated in

the northwest corner of Lot 9 and measured 35 feet from east to west and 100 feet from north to south.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 101, pp. 232-233)


The Bourdon-Castanera Packing Company, a New Orleans corporation, was probably the first to build a factory here on the riparian rights granted as title holder of the land.  President F.B. Castanera (1870-1934) married to Amelia Desporte.  W.E. White. secretary.  A.O. Bourdon also a principal in the company.


In June 1913, Bourdon-Castanera leased to Patrick H. Clark and Louis H. Harvey (1874-1913).(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 104, p. 247) 


Louis H. Harvey (1874-1913) married to Christina Wachenfeld.  He died in September 1913. 


In June 1913, Bourdon-Castenera sold to to Walter A. White for $3500.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 104, p. 248)  White an attorney.  Founded White House at West Beach.  White sold the factory to Devitt & Clark in October 1914, for $4000.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 109, p. 307)


Devitt & Clark incorporated on June 10, 1914, at New Orleans.( Harrison County, Mississippi Charter Book ? , pp.     )  The Officers of Devitt & Clark were Thomas Kirkland Devitt (1882-1946), president; Charles C. Redding (1857-1926), vice president; and Patrick Henry Clark (1870-1927), secretary-treasurer.  Charles W. Mackie, Jr. was a stockholder and on the board of directors of the firm.


 Thomas K. Devitt

T.K. Devitt (1882-1946) was born at Harbor Springs, Michigan.  In August 1907, he married Lily Rose Bourdon (1884-1951), the daughter of French immigrants, A.O. Bourdon, Sr. (1845-1901) and Marie Virgets (1847-1901).  The Devitts resided on lower Lameuse Street.  Here they reared their three children:  Thomas K. Devitt, Jr., Matthew Devitt, and Lily Rose Edmonds Stuart.


Lillirose Devitt married Ryland Chase Edmonds at New Orleans on August 19, 1932.  Ryland was the son of Captain Samuel Preston Edmonds (1867-1943) and        Shorey    of Biloxi.  Edmonds was educated in Biloxi Public Schools were he was a good athlete.  Attended the University of Mississippi and employed with the Atlantic Refining Company of Baltimore.  Miss Devitt also attended Biloxi schools and matriculated to M.S.C.W.  She taught physical education at the Lausanne School in Memphis.  The newly weds were at home in Baltimore.(The Daily Herald, July 25, 1933, p. 2)


Before commencing Devitt & Clark, T.K. Devitt was in the grocery business.  Initially he worked with John Mosely.  By 1913, he was the local agent for the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, operating a grocery business on Howard Avenue.


Charles C. Redding (1857-1926) was born at Bay St. Louis.  He was also a grocer at Biloxi.  Redding parlayed his entrepreneurial skills in many areas of commerce and was particularly successful in banking and the cannery industry.  He was once president of the Biloxi Canning Company.         


Patrick H. Clark

Patrick Henry Clark (1870-1927) was born at New Orleans of Irish parentage.  His father was Michael Clark and his mother, Anne Sheehan (b. 1840).  He was married to Leonie B. Clark (1876-1940).  Clark was managing a cannery as early as 1900.  He was also involved with the L&N Bakery and Confectionery on Howard Avenue with his brother-in-law, Joseph Lamm (1874-1911).  Lamm was married to Katherine Clark (1876-1944).  Children:  Hilda Lamm (1901-1906), Joseph Lamm (1906-1941) and Margaret J. Lamm (1907-1991).  The Clark family resided on Cuevas Street with their three children:  Lillian (1909), Patrick H. Clark, Jr. (1911), and Joseph B. Clark (1915).  Mrs. Clark later resided on Bohn Street.  P.H. Clark died in October 1927.  His remains were interred at the Biloxi Cemetery.


Ocean Springs

In late August 1915, Devitt & Clark also had a small cannery at Ocean Springs.  At the time they commenced operations at Ocean Springs, the fishermen, who belonged to the International Longshoremen Union, were on strike.  The fishermen of Ocean Springs appear to have been independent of the union as the two canning plants there were receiving shrimp.  The Ocean Springs cannery of Devitt & Clark appears to have been a short-lived venture, and may have been a victim of the 1915 October Hurricane, which devastated its competitor, the Ocean Springs Packing Company.   Louis A. Lundy (1876-1941) rebuilt that enterprise.  Devitt & Clark probably did not.  In mid-September 1915, Devitt & Clark got seventy barrels of shrimp to process from non- union fisherman for their Biloxi operation. 


Devitt & Clark became indebted to Charles Redding for the sum of $25,000.  The debt was repayable to Redding in five notes all dated January 5, 1917, and payable every six months.  Louis Goldman was appointed trustee of the property.  On April 15, 1918, Redding requested that Goldman sell the property because Devitt & Clark defaulted on their payments.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 122, p. 496-497 and The Daily Herald, April 23, 1918, p. 5)


On May 13, 1918, Louis Goldman, trustee of the property, sold it in front of the courthouse door at Gulfport to the highest bidder for cash.  Charles Redding bought the property for $13,000.  In the warranty deed, Redding purchased the following:


All the property of the Devitt & Clark Packing Company lying south of Front Street or Beach Street, being the lot on which the factory of said company is situated, comprising the front and riparian rights of Lots Four, Block Five, of the Plan of Summerville, together with the factory situated thereon and all appurtenances and appliances used together with the right to use water from the artesian well situated on Lot Four for factory purposes....

Also Lot One in Block 6-A of the Summerville Addition.  Also the following personal property to wit: The schooners"Joe Lawrence", "Ocean Queen""Henry Clark", and "Lily Rose" together with their rigging of every kind and character situated on or belong thereto. Also one barge known as the "Black Box".  Certain motorboats known as "Sunny Boy", "Zudora", "Cuba", "Hunter", "Cracker Jack", and trawlers Numbers OneTwoThreeFour, and Five.  Also nine large seines and fifteen skiffs now in the possession of the Devitt & Clark Packing Company. Also all labels, cans, and all supplies now in the possession of the Devitt & Clark Packing Company, or belonging to it, or in which it may have some equity as well as all can goods on hand, bills receivable, and all fixtures, furniture and machinery now in possession of the Devitt & Clark Packing Company, belonging to it, or due it by others, and in any wise appertaining to or belonging to the plant known as the Devitt & Clark Packing Company.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 122, p. 496-497)


In December 1918, Charles Redding conveyed the Devitt & Clark property to the American Packing Company.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 122, pp.517-518)


In June 1919, American Packing Company with T.K. Devitt as its president, sold the property described in the deed from Walter A. White to Devitt & Clark (1914) to Grego Anticich (1876), P.H. Clark, Peter Skrmetta (1885-1963), Luka Kuljis, and Marko Skrmetta (1889-    ).  The warranty deed included the schooners, MarvelHenry ClarkLily Rose, andOcean Queen. (HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 125, p. 404)


In July 1921, Luka Kuljis, Marko Skrmetta, Grego Anticich, and Mrs. Mary S. Anticich conveyed their 60% interest in the canning company to Joseph Lawrence, trustee for the Biloxi Fisherman's Packing Company for $18,800.  Peter Skrmetta conveyed his interest to O.G. Swetman for $5250.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 125, p. 404 and Bk. 131, p. 439, p. 504. and pp. 537)


Also in July 1912, Lawrence conveyed the interest acquired from the above to the the Biloxi Fishermen's Packing Company.(10)  P.H. Clark sold his 20% interest to the BFPCO at the same time.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 131, p. 578)

            The Biloxi Fisherman's Packing Company was incorporated (see Chattel Book 21, p. 328 or Copy Book 3, p. 694).  Grego Anticich, Marko Skrmetta, Peter Skrmetta, Luka Kuljis, and P.H. Clark, incorporators.

            Charter of BFPCO amended December 8, 1920, to increase capital stock from $25,000 to $50,000.(12)  P.H. Clark, president and Nils Herlitz, secretary.(HARCO, Ms. Chattel Deed Bk. 

             Biloxi Fisherman's Packing Company dissolved on October 9, 1940.(Copy Bk 7, p. 651).  The owners at this time and their percentage interest in the company were: Mrs. C.B. Foster (42%), Chester A. Delacruz (38%), Mrs. C.A. Delacruz (6%), O.G. Swetman (12%), F.B. Royster (1%),and Henry W. Foster (1%).

            BFPCO sold to Mississippi Coast Packing Co. in November 1929, for $18,000.  MCPCO was incorporated in October 1929.(HARCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 183, p. 553)




12. -------------------------------------- Book 131, p. 586

13. --------------------------------Chattel Book 21, p. 475

The Daily Herald"Trustee's Sale", April 23, 1918.





14 32 East Beach

          Ernest Mladinich

At Biloxi, Mississippi, in May 1937, Ernest Mladinich (1875-1953) and spouse, Catherine Bonacich Mladinich (1874-1962), entered into a lease agreement for a parcel of land situated on Point Cadet, with the Dubaz Brothers, a seafood packing company, domiciled at Biloxi.  It was owned by John Dubaz II (1890-1944), Luke Dubaz (1893-1985), and George Dubaz (1888-1976).  The Dubaz Brothers lease agreement with the Mladinichs was for ten years commencingonMay 13, 1937.  The rent was $20 per month.(HARRCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 215, pp. 91-93)


Ernest Mladinich, a native of the village of Milna on the Island of Brac in the Adriatic Sea just off the Damaltian coast of Croatia, and his spouse, Catherine Bonacich Mladinich (1874-1962), also a Croat, had acquired their land on Point Cadet in December 1931.  For $8500, the 1st National Bank of Biloxi conveyed to them a tract of land described as: 80 feet on the north by Moulet; 290 feet on the east by Wetzell, 80 feet on the Gulf; and 290 feet on the west by Cedar Street.  It was subject to existing leases held by Panhandle Oil and Paul Petrich and George Marusich.( HARRCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 192, pp. 423-424)


In 1932, Ernest Mladinich would acquire the Terry Packing Company on East Beach at Biloxi and operate it as The Star Fish and Oyster Company.  His bold, capitalistic leadership during the early Depression Era years, was immediately followed by other “Austrians”, as Biloxi’s Croatian community was labeled at this time, who made significant investments in the local seafood industry.  Vincent Gospodonovich purchased the Stanovich tract, which had two domiciles and a cannery operated by Steve Pavich, and in July 1932, The Martin Fountain Packing Company became the property of The Sea Coast Packing Company.  Sea Coast was led by Peter Pavlov, president and treasurer; Alexander Pitalo, vice-president; and Steve M. Sekul, manager.(The Daily Herald, July 30, 1932, p. 1)


The Dubaz Brothers

Prior to erecting a seafood factory on Front Beach, the Dubaz Brothers had operated a small cannery on Biloxi Bay near the 1928 War Memorial Bridge.  Like many seafood operators on Biloxi’s Point Cadet, the Dubaz Brothers had their roots in Croatia, formerly a part Yugoslavia.  The progenitor of the family, John (Giovanni) Dubaz (1855-1931),



Four of the Dubaz brothers were talented musicians.  As early as 1911, they were members of Professor Carl Hemmersbach’s Knights of Columbus orchestra in Biloxi. Professor Hemmersbach (1872-1930+) was an 1888 German immigrant.  He taught music at St. Stanislaus and appears to have been a very devout Roman Catholic.  In early February 1912, Bishop Gunn, Bishop of the Diocese of Natchez, was feted at Dukate’s Theatre.  Among those playing in Professor Hemmersbach’s band that evening were: George Dubaz, 1st violin; Adolph Dubaz, 2nd violin; John Dubaz, coronet; and Luke Dubaz, drums.(The Daily Herald, October 13, 1911, p. 1 and February 2, 1912, p. 1)


Later the Dubaz brothers founded the Dubaz Orchestra, which played at many dance venues in Biloxi including the Montross Hotel, Hotel Biloxi, Biloxi Yacht Club, and Pizatti Pavilion.  They were also was regulars at the Dance Pavilion on Deer Island playing in the evenings and Sunday afternoon.(The Daily Herald, August 6, 1915, p. 8)



In May 1947, the Dubaz Brothers renewed their lease with Ernest and Catherine Mladinich for fifteen years.  The rent was $1 per day.(HARCO Ms. Land Deed Bk. 372, pp. 256-272)


Ernest Mladinich expired on January 20, 1953.  He had come to Biloxi from Croatia, then a part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, in 1901.  Mladinich was a veteran of the Austrian Navy.  He and wife, Katherine Bonacich, were the parents of two children: Ernest Mladinich II and Dina M. Kuljis. (The Daily Herald, January 20, 1953, p. 4)


After Mrs. Mladinich expired in October 1962, her estate was probated by Walter Nixon Jr., a Biloxi attorney.(Harrison County, Ms. Land Deed Copy Bk. 132, p. 204)     



Hurricane Camille

   This tropical cyclone struck the Biloxi peninsula on the night of August 19, 1969.


Final Act

In November 1972, the Dubaz Brothers, after fifty-four years in the seafood business at Biloxi, sold their crab processing plant on the corner of Maple Street and Howard Avenue to Edward R. Hanson.(The Daily Herald, January 19, 1973, p. 2)                     


Hanson Seafood

 Edward R. Hanson (1921-1996) was born at Biloxi, Mississippi on January 21, 1921 to Edward H. Hanson and Delhia Strong.  He married Edith Chatham.  Ed Hanson expired at Biloxi on April 3, 1996.(The Sun Herald, April 6, 1996, p. B2)



The Daily Herald, “Dance and Reception for Columbus Day”, October 13, 1911.

The Daily Herald, “Deer Island” [advertisement], August 6, 1915.

The Daily Herald, “Brilliant reception last night in honor of Bishop Gunn”, February 2, 1912.

The Daily Herald,“John Dubaz, Sr. Dies”, February 16, 1931.

The Daily Herald, “Austrians Buy Canning Plant”, July 30, 1932.

The Daily Herald,“Mrs. Dubaz Dies”, July 30, 1932.

The Daily Herald,“John Dubaz Dies”, July 7, 1944.

The Daily Herald, “Ernest Mladinich Dies”, January 20, 1953.

The Daily Herald,“Mrs. Catherine Mladinich”, October 22, 1962.

The Daily Herald, “Dubaz seafood company sold to Biloxian”, January 8, 1973.

The Sun Herald, “Edward R. Hanson, Sr.”, April 6, 1996.

The Sun Herald, “Luke J. Dubaz Jr.”, April 23, 2001.



C.F. GOLLOTT & SON SEAFOOD [founded 1932]

Carroll F. “C.F.” Gollott (1911-1987), a native of Biloxi, Mississippi and the son of Armond George Gollott (1887-1973) and Belle Gollott (1890-1930+) founded C.F. Gollott & Son Seafood at North Biloxi, now D’Iberville, Mississippi, in 1932.  Armond G. Gollott was born on August 3, 1887 at Theodore, Mobile County, Alabama and circa 1904 married Belle ?, probably in Mobile County, Alabama.  They had six children: Infant Gollott; Joseph E. Gollott (1906-1974) m. Dolah ?; Carroll F. Gollott (1911-1987) m. Alice Diaz (1911-1992); James I. Gollot 1915-1981); Ruby L. Gollott (1915-2000) m. Chester Kinsey; and Luther Daniel Gollott (1928-2004) m. Mary Lawrence and Helen Pickich.




Gollott Seafood buildings at D'Iberville

(images made October 1996 by Ray L. Bellande)


Circa 1909, Armond G. Gollott and spouse relocated from Mobile County, Alabama to Biloxi, Mississippi.  In 1910, they were domiciled on Pine Street in the Point Cadet section of east Biloxi.  Here Armond made his livelihood as a fisherman.  He later toiled as a ship carpenter in Biloxi before becoming a baker circa 1919.  By 1920, the Gollott family had moved to 3rdStreet also on Point Cadet.(1910 and 1920 Harrison Co., Mississippi Federal Census T624_740, p. 19B, Ed 33 and T625_876, p. 32B, ED 39)



In 1927, Carroll F. Gollott began a long career in the Biloxi commercial seafood business by acquiring fresh oysters from Biloxi fishermen, processing them by hand, and selling the succulent mollusks in sealed jars to clients in Hattiesburg and Wiggins.  Perkinston Jr. College was one of his first reliable accounts as he sold the school’s cafeteria three gallons of raw oysters for $1.25 per gallon.  Mr. Gollott delivered his seafood in a Model T Ford and he subsequently endured the perils of traveling on gravel and red clay roads into the interior of South Mississippi.(The Ocean Springs Record, December 2, 1982, p. 2)


North Biloxi

          In 1932, C.F. Gollott commenced C.F. Gollott Seafood at North Biloxi, now D’Iberville.  His facility was known for its high quality and sanitary excellence.  The Gollot factory primarily processed oysters and crabmeat.  Gollott’s crabmeat was shipped to Baltimore, Maryland and he received $.18 per pound for the product.  C.F. Gollott later opened up the Memphis market for Mexican Gulf oysters.  Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Gollott also ran Gollott’s Grocery and Market where he served as butcher.(The Ocean Springs Record, December 2, 1982, p. 2)


Family commerce

Additional enterprises that Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Gollott operated were Gollott’s Grocery and Market where he served as butcher and a bakery.  C.F. Gollott was also a fine carpenter and mason.  He sponsored baseball and softball teams through the years.(The Sun Herald, January 21, 1987, p. A4)



On October 23, 1929, Carroll F. Gollott married Alice Diaz (1911-1992), the daughter of Delmas Diaz (1877-1953) and Maggie G. Quave (1883-1967).  Two children: Armond Carroll. “Arny” Gollott (b. 1932) married Phyllis June Ladner and Alice Mae Gollott married Alvin Vogt.  C.F. Gollott and Alice D. Gollott were blessed with eleven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.(The Sun Herald, January 21, 1987, p. A4)


Many talents

In addition to his business acumen and trade skills, Carroll F. Gollott was a talented Dixieland musician.  He played with George Brunies (1902-1974) of New Orleans; Ace Cannon (b. 1934) of Grenada, Mississippi; Dan Glasser; and Chuck Foster.  C.F. Gollott expired on January 19, 1987 at Biloxi, Mississippi.  At his request, a Dixieland Jazz Funeral was held on January 21, 1987.(The Sun Herald, January 21, 1987, p. A4)



The Biloxi D'Iberville Press, "Gollott's marks its 75th year", April 24, 2008, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, C.F. Gollott celebrates 50 years”, December 2, 1982, p. 2.

The Sun Herald, “C.F. Gollott”, January 21, 1987, p. A4.

The Sun Herald, “Alice D. Gollott”, November   , 1992.

The Sun Herald, "After and Now"-Gollott Seafood in D'Iberville", June 4, 2006, p. A10.

The Sun Herald, "Gollott's seafood celebrates 75th", May 25, 2008, p. G1.





The Weems Brothers Seafood Company was founded on the Back Bay of Biloxi in 1941, by Joseph Eugene “Gene” Weems (1912-2005) and Charles Edward Weems (1915-2006).  Prior to their commencing a seafood factory, the Weems brothers learned to harvest the Gulf waters with Eugene Weems, their father, on the Nettie, his fishing boat.  The Weems brothers built the Thomas D. Kirnan, their first shrimp and oyster vessel in 1937.  It was christened for Mr. Kirnan, the mortgagee.  It was followed in 1939, by the Bobbie Charles.  The Weems brothers would build twelve commercial fishing vessels during their tenure in the seafood industry at Biloxi.(The Sun Herald, April 12, 2006, p. A6)


Weems family

J. Eugene “Gene” Weems and Charles E. Weems were the sons of Eugene Weems (b. 1891), a native of Bayou La Batre, Mobile County, Mississippi and Kathryn Weems (b. 1894), also an Alabaman.  Eugene Weems came to Biloxi and was an oyster-shrimp fisherman.  He and Kathryn also had three daughters: Hilda Rae Weems Jalanivich (1919-1999) married John M. Jalanivich II (1916-1998); Nettie Babuchna, and Erna Weems (b. 1925).


Gene Weems married Doris Terry.  They were the parents of: Anita Weems Hill; Barbara Weems League; Ruth Weems Tank; and Douglas Weems.(The Sun Herald, May 3, 2005, p. A6)


1947 Hurricane

The September Storm of 1947, destroyed the Weems Brothers factory on Biloxi’s Back Bay.  They worked diligently and restored the business and prospered.(The Sun Herald, April 12, 2006, p. A6)


Camille 1969

Gene Weems sold his interest in the Weems Borthers to Charles E. Weems in 1957.    Twelve years later in August 1969, the powerful tropical cyclone, called Camille, struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast and did catastrophic damage.  Charles E. Weems and sons rebuilt on Back Bay.( The Sun Herald, April 12, 2006, p. A6)


In 1984, Charles E. Weems retired from the seafood industry.  He and wife, Glenna Sherrell (1915-1996), were the parents of four sons: Charles E. Weems Jr.; Jerry Weems; Laddie Weems; and Ronnie Weems.  They continued the business after their father’s retirement.  Charles and Glenna also had a daughter, Sonja Weems Hoffman.


Katrina 2005








William B. Taltavull

WILLIAM BERNARD TALTAVULL (1882-1948), called Bernard,  was born February 6, 1882 at Lorraine, Harrison County, Mississippi. He married Elsie Lyle Maxwell (1886-1962) on August 6, 1910. She was the daughter of John Lyle Maxwell (1845-1889) and Mary Scott (1864-1938). Mr. Maxwell was born at Canton, Illinois. He married Mary Scott, the daughter of Alexander C. Scott (1848-1878) and Jane Sheppard (1842-1905), on January 31, 1884 in Biloxi.

The Scotts were English. Mrs. Scott was born Jane Sheppard in 1842, at South Shields, England. South Shields is located in the county of Tyne and Wear on the North Sea at the mouth of theTyne River, ten miles east of Newcastle upon Tyne. She married Alexander C. Scott in the Anglican Church at South Shields in 1862. They immigrated to the United States in 1871, arriving at New Orleans. The Scotts came to Biloxi circa 1872. Mr. Scott died as a result of yellow fever during the epidemic of 1878. Mrs. Scott expired on January 4, 1905 at Biloxi. Her surviving children were: Mrs. Fred Dorhauer, Mrs. Mary Scott Maxwell, Alexander C. Scott Jr. and Edna F. Scott. In addition, Jane Sheppard Scott left two sisters at South Shields, England: Mrs. Burns and Mrs. Forest.

From the union of William Bernard Taltavull and Elsie L. Maxwell, two daughters were born: Jane T. Smith (1911-2003) and Mary Edna T. Gillis (1919-1996).


Ship carpenter

William Bernard Taltavull was known as Bernard. He was educated in the Biloxi school system. Bernard learned the shipbuilding business from his father, Frank Taltavull. In August 1901, young Taltavull while using the circular saw at his father’s shipyard severely cut his thumb and forefinger. Dr. Bolton (1859-1923) was called to the Back Bay boatyard to attend to Bernard’s hand. Bolton opined that his lacerated hand would recover from the accident.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, August 7, 1901, p. 8)

During the September 1906 Hurricane, Bernard Taltavull’s shipyard on Back Bay suffered $400 damage.(The Daily Herald,, September 28, 1906, p. 2)


Bernard Taltavull Shrimp and Oyster Company

In September 1944, Mr. Taltavull commenced a modern packing operation on Back Bay known as the B. Taltavull Shrimp and Oyster Company. It was located on the waterfront just east of Lameuse Street on property that he bought from Mrs. Lillie Cruso for $3500. Clell Dildy was the manager. Mr. Taltavull had seventeen boats and employed a maximum of 150 people, which included pickers, weighers, inspectors, and handlers. Production capacity was thirty barrels per hour. A conveyor belt carried the shrimp directly from the vessels to the plant. Additional land was added to the Taltavull operation in December 1945, when a tract east of the factory was acquired from A.T. Cvitanovich for $1400.(Harrison County, Ms. Land Deed Book 259, p. 270 and Book 281, p. 101)


After WW II, the health of Bernard Taltavull began to fail. At this time, the management of the factory was assumed by his daughter, Jane T. Smith, and son-in-law, W.W. "Buddy" Gillis. The September 1947 Hurricane brought five feet of water into the Taltavull factory. Ironically, three of Taltavull boats, Bobby C., Jeanne, and Mary Ann Gillis were blown westward onto the roadway of the Biloxi Canning Company, formerly owned by Bernard Taltavull.


Mr. Taltavull expired on January 22, 1948. His wife passed on March 20, 1962. Both are buried at the Biloxi Cemetery.


The Bernard Taltavull factory was sold to Precision Drawn Steel of Camden County, New Jersey on August 21, 1968, by Jane T. Smith and Edna May T. Gillis for $116,000.(Harrison County, Ms. Deed of Trust Book 530, p. 331)


Jane Margaret Taltavull [1911-2003] was born at Biloxi on August 16, 1911, and was named for her great grandmother, Jane Sheppard Scott. She received her education in Biloxi and matriculated to Newcomb College at New Orleans where she graduated in 1932. In 1934, Miss Taltavull was employed as the secretary for the Biloxi Canning Company. Jane married Robert A. Smith, a native of Oakland,Tennessee, on April 12, 1942 at Biloxi. They divorced with no children. Upon the death of her father in January 1948, she assumed the management of the B. Taltavull Shrimp and Oyster Company on Back Bay at Biloxi, Mississippi. Jane retired in 1968. She traveled extensively and took an exclusive "around the world flight" stopping at twenty countries in the 1980s. Mrs. Smith resided in the Seashore Personal Care, a Methodist retirement community, at 1450 West Beach Boulevard in Biloxi, until she relocated to a similar situation at Gulfport in 2000.  She expired in Gulfport on 20 August 2003.


Mary Edna Taltavull [1919-1996] was born at Biloxi on March 31, 1919. Circa 1940, she married William Warren "Buddy" Gillis [1920-2008]. He was born at Biloxi on September 19, 1919. A young Buddy Gillis matriculated to the University of Mississippi where he studied chemical engineering. With this education, he was employed by Monsanto and worked at the nuclear research facility at Oak Ridge,Tennessee during WW II. It was here that "Fat Boy", the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare, was constructed. When Bernard Taltavull became ill circa 1946, Buddy Gillis left Monsanto and joined Jane T. Smith at the B. Taltavull Shrimp and Oyster Company. He remained here until the sale in of the factory in 1968.


The Gillis children were: Mary Ann McDougall (c. 1942), Pam Gillis Snyder (b. May 21, 1947), and Jane P. Gillis (1947-1947). Jane, named for her aunt, Jane T. Smith, expired a week after her birth on May 21, 1947. Mary Edna T. Gillis died February 7, 1996. Buried at the Biloxi Cemetery. 



Bradford-O'Keefe Burial Book 32C, "Bernard Taltavull", p. 492.

Webster's New Geographical Dictionary, "South Shields", (Merriam-Webster Inc.: Springfield, Massachusetts-1988), p. 1143.

Golden Jubilee Number, The Daily Herald, (1884-1934)- Fiftieth Anniversary Souvenir, "Biloxi Canning Company", (The Daily Herald: Gulfport, Mississippi-1934), p. 82.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “City News”, August 7, 1901.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, "Mrs. Jane Sheppard Scott", January 4, 1905, p. 5.

The Daily Herald,, "Aftermath of Great Storm", September 28, 1906, p. 2.

The Daily Herald, “Bernard Taltavul (sic) To Engage In Oyster Business”, October 15, 1912.

The Daily Herald, "Taltavull Plant Starts Operations", September 15, 1944, p. 7.

The Daily Herald, "One Life Lost, Heavy Damage Done at Biloxi", September 20, 1947, p. 1 and p. 2.

Personal Communication: 

Jane T. Smith-November 1996