A HISTORY LESSON IN THE STREETS
If you've got a few minutes come take a stroll with me down the oak tree-lined avenues and streets of Old Ocean Springs, that area west of Martin Luther King Jr.-Vermont Avenue to Lovers Lane and bounded on he north by Old Fort Bayou and Biloxi Bay on the south. Some of the history of our city is revealed and proclaimed by its street names. Before we put on our promenading gear, I’ll share some early descriptions of our former village before there were any streets at all.
When Dr. William 'Fat Doctor' Flood, the representative of Governor Claiborne of the Orleans Territory, was dispatched to the Mississippi coast to hoist the flag of the United States in January 1811, he found the population between the Pearl River and Biloxi to be about four hundred people chiefly French and Creoles. Dr. Flood in his report to Governor Claiborne wrote: proceeded to the Bay of Biloxi, where I found Mr. [Jacques] Ladnier, and gave him the commission [Justice of the Peace]. He is a man of excellent sense, but can neither read or write, nor can any inhabitants of the Bay of Biloxi that I can hear of. They are, all along this beautiful coast, a primitive people, of mixed origin, retaining the gaiety and politeness of the French, blended with the abstemiousness and indolence of the Indian. They plant a little rice, and a few roots and vegetables, but depend on subsistence chiefly on game and fish. I left with all these appointees copies of the laws, ordinances, etc. But few laws will be wanted here. The people are universally honest. There are no crimes. The father of the family or the oldest inhabitant, settles all disputes......A more innocent and inoffensive people may not be found. They seem to desire only the simple necessities of life, and to be let alone in their tranquility. I am greatly impressed with the beauty and value of this coast. The high sandy lands, heavily timbered with pine, and the lovely bays and rivers, from Pearl River to Mobile will furnish New Orleans with a rich commerce, and with a delightful summer resort. For a cantonment or military post, in consideration of the health of the troops, this whole coast is admirably fitted.
A letter dated Ocean Springs, March 30, 1855 by Elvira A. Cox (1809-1855+), the sister of George Allen Cox (1811-1887), an Ocean Springs pioneer and our first entrepreneur, to her father at Jefferson County, Alabama gives an impression of the area at this time: This is a very healthy place. Ocean Springs, our little town, is situated immediately on the Bay of Biloxi. We live about a half mile from the hotel [Ocean Springs Hotel] right on the bay at a beautiful place. It is called Magnolia Grove. If it was not for the cold weather we would not think of it as winter as we are surrounded with magnolias, live and water oaks, and cedar trees in abundance and flowers of every description, and upon the whole it is a beautiful place. There are abundance of fish and oysters here and crabs and all such things but it is a new settled place. Their (sic) were but a very few houses here two years ago. Their (sic) were but very few that had gardens last summer. Vegetables were scare indeed…….....The land back of this place is so poor it is not cultivated in the summer season. Their is a boat that makes five trips from here to New Orleans a week and it is about fifty miles by land to Mobile. I am very pleased with the people here. Their (sic) a great many families that came over from the City [New Orleans] and stay through the sickly season [primarily the summer and fall when Yellow Fever was deleterious to one’s health]. Their (sic) are mineral springs all about over the place and we have a time bathing in the salt water.(The Neaves Story, Marsh: 1979, p. 5.
If you are unfamiliar with the nascent history of Ocean Springs post-Colonial period (1699-1811), it was a small community of the descendants of French and Spanish Colonial families and recent European immigrants. They made their livelihoods from the sea and by subsistent gardening. With the discovery and promotion of the mineral springs along Old Fort Bayou by the Reverend P.P. Bowen and James Lynch in the middle of the 19th Century, the local demand for hotels, inns, and boarding houses or tourist homes began. An excerpt from The Ocean Springs Gazette of March 24, 1855, demonstrates the interest in resort property on this early date at Ocean Springs: The undersigned will either sell or lease for a term of years, the property known as the Infirmary Property, situated in the Town of Ocean Springs, consisting of 4 acres of ground enclosed by a new, neat, and substantial fence. A large new and well finished house, six new and neatly built cottages, a good kitchen and outhouses, and a well of excellent water near the house. The property is well situated for either an infirmary or a private boarding house, and will be sold or rented on such terms as will suit the lessee or purchaser. George A. Cox With the erection of the Ocean Springs Hotel in 1853 by Dr. Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1894) of New Orleans and Warrick Martin (1810-1854+), a viable tourist industry commenced. In addition to its ‘medicinal springs’, Ocean Springs offered the seasonal visitor excellent fishing and oystering, sailing, salt water bathing, constant cooling sea breezes, and some relief from the dreaded Yellow Fever, commonly called "yellow jack", which was pervasive at times during the summer and fall at New Orleans and Mobile. During the tourist season, a steam packet made daily trips to the area from New Orleans in only eight hours.
In June 1859, E.W. Geer & Company, proprietors, advertised the Ocean Springs Hotel in The New Orleans Christian Advocate, as follows:
Ocean Springs Hotel
This Hotel is now being thoroughly Renovated and Newly furnished and will be Opened for the Reception of Visitors on the FIRST DAY OF NEXT JUNE. Every effort will be made to render Visitors comfortable, and to make their stay pleasant. Than the beautiful bay at Ocean Springs, there is no better place for yachting, fishing or bathing. The Mineral Springs so celebrated for their curative powers are in excellent condition. An Omnibus will run regularly several times a day to and from the Hotel to the Springs. For testimony respecting the medicinal virtues of these Springs, reference may be made to Dr. Austin or Dr. Thorpe, New Orleans, to Rev. Dr. McTyere, Nashville, Tennessee. Ocean Springs never having been visited by epidemics is decidedly the healthiest as well as the most beautiful location on the Gulf shores.
Ocean Springs, May 25, 1859
J. Wilkinson, Agent
In 1933, Schuyler Poitevent (1875-1936), a scholarly gentleman, who lived most his life at “Bay View”, his Lovers Lane home on Biloxi Bay, where he wrote short stories and historical novels none of which were ever published, interviewed octogenarian, Josephine Bowen Kettler (1845-1933+). Mrs. Kettler was the daughter of the Reverend Philip P. Bowen (1799-1871), a Baptist minister, who was an early pioneer at Ocean Springs. From his conversation with Mrs. Kettler, Schuyler Poitevent wrote a romantic picture of early life at Ocean Springs. The following is taken from Broken Pot, an unpublished treatise by Poitevent: As she (Mrs. Kettler) talked, I felt myself going back to the time she was telling me about, and I could see in imagination her ante-bellum Ocean Springs with its straight, tall pine-trees which the charcoal hand of men in time felled and with its grey-trunked live-oaks and with its white, sandy roads winding in and about gallberry thickets and through patches of graceful latanier and heading branches where sweet-bays and magnolias and chinquepins and wild honeysuckle---"azalias", the young ones now call them ---was so much a part of our fair Land then as now that we unconsciously accept their charm now as then as a part of a land as the Land should be; and I imagine I heard Captain Walker blowing the loud whistle of the good steamboat "Creole" of the old Morgan Line, on her regular passenger packet run of every other day from New Orleans to Ocean Springs and return, pretty much like the "Coast Train" of our times, only not so often; and I could see the proud people of her day, with grinning kinky-headed slaves for coachmen, driving in old-fashioned, heavy carriages down to the foot of the old steamboat wharf---driving through that white sandy road which nowadays opens to view the beautiful vista beneath the arched live-oak limbs that overhang our paved Jackson Avenue; and from the foot of the wharf, I could in imagination hear the paddle-wheels of the steamboat striking the water and out on the long wharf of one thousand and seventy-five feet I, too, went along with the others to see the boat come in; and as I stood on the pier, I saw out in the Bay mullet jumping and saw the sharks striking and saw the many pelicans feeding and some were sailing in long streams; and then the boat approached and I saw a deck-hand heave the lead-line and I saw nigger slaves on the pier-head catch it and haul the hawser in, and I saw the mate lower the stage-plank and I saw the passengers, in the queer costumes of those old summer days---the ladies in big-hooped skirts, tight waists and flat hats; the gentlemen in tight pantaloons, shirts with ruffled fronts and crossed cravats and broad-brimmed beavers---disembark; and back up the long wharf in the bright forenoon sunshine, I followed the passengers and the people ashore, and most all stopped at the Old Seashore Hotel on the west (sic) side of the road at the foot of the wharf where now stands the Sacred Heart Convent, and there attached to the hotel, they had a store, and in the store was the post-office; and in imagination, I heard people step up and ask: "Any mail for me Mr. Eagen (sic) ?"
Well, got your shoes tied and ready to hit the road? Oh, no! As usual, I talk too much and its time to go say auRayvoir for this week. Hey, we’ll hit the streets next week and start our historical street tour. Until then, enjoy the cool weather and maybe I’ll see you at the Fort Maurepas Park dedication or the Music Fete, both on Saturday. As always thanks for listening.
Streets Named For “Old Families and Local People”
Ames Avenue - Named for the John Ames (1797-1852+), an Irish immigrant, who in 1848, homesteaded 120 acres in the SE/4 of Section 19, T7S-R8W extending south of the Evergreen Cemetery to Government. The children of John Ames worked courageously during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878. Eliza Ames (1851-1917), a daughter, sold land to the Catholic Church for a cemetery adjacent to the City Cemetery in 1884. The two cemeteries were joined and collectively called "Evergreen". John Ames’ grandson, William Thomas Ames (1880-1969), officiated as Mayor of Ocean Springs from 1913-1916, and alderman of Ward One 1905-1910. He was known for his faithful attention to his duties both as mayor and alderman. This was reflected by his almost perfect attendance at all public meetings.
Bechtel - Named for Theodore Bechtel Sr. (1863-1931) a horticulturist from Staunton, Illinois. Bechtel came to Ocean Springs in 1899 to work in the pecan industry. He purchased Mrs. Mattie Holcomb's land in east Ocean Springs and commenced his own orchard and nursery there. Mr. Bechtel developed the Success Pecan.
Beuhler - The progenitors of the Buehler family at Ocean Springs were Andrew Buehler (1823-1906) a native of Germany and his wife, Rosine Biesk, also German born. Their children were: Andrew Buehler II (1859-1939) and Christian Buehler (1865-1936). Buehler is enunciated as "bee-ler". The family resided on "Buehler Avenue", which no longer has any dwellings. It is situated on the north side of the L&N Railroad, now CSX Railroad, and west of Cox Avenue, in the rear of Sonic Drive-In and the office of Ellis Branch, realtor, both whose facades are on Bienville Boulevard.
Bellande - Named for Joseph Bellande (1813-1907), French immigrant from Marseille, who married Roseline LaFauce [La Force] (1821-1893), the granddaughter of the Louis Auguste LaFontiane and (1762-ca 1813) and Catherine Bourgeios (1768-pre-1846), the Widow LaFontaine, in 1842. She inherited a 20 acre tract of land from the Front Beach to Government Street in Claim Section 37 T7S-R8W. The present day City Hall, Public Library, Police Station, portion of Little Children’s Park, Dewey Avenue, Bellande Cemetery, and Bellande Avenue are located on the Bellande Strip.
Bellande Court-This short ‘alley’ was created in 2008 by Alfred R. ‘Fred’ Moran for the commercial building that he had built at this time. Currently there are two businesses with this address, Grant’s Men’s Wear and Epicurean. We can assume that Mr. Moran meant to name his ‘alley’ Ray L. Bellande Court, but political and public opinion over-ruled his good tastes.
Blount - Named for Johanna Smith-Blount (1830-1902) who was possibly a native of Norfolk, Virginia. Before the Civil War, she was the chattel of Mrs. Edgar (Leannah or Lana) R. James, who came to Ocean Springs before 1850, with her husband and brother, Opie Hutchins (1808-1887), from Gainesville, Alabama. Johanna Smith-Blount bought land while she was a slave, but could not own it until her emancipation. Mrs. James held the tract of land in her name, until Mrs. Smith-Blount could have a merchantable title. Mr. James was killed in the Civil War and she became a midwife. Among the slaves that the James brought with them to Ocean Springs was Edgar Smith, who worked for Dr. Cross on East Beach. Both the James family and Hutchins lived on Old Fort Bayou.(The Gulf Coast Times, August 26, 1949, p. 5 and September 30, 1949, p. 5)
Bowen -Named for the Reverend P.P. Bowen (1799-1871), a Baptist minister from South Carolina, who is credited with discovering and developing the mineral springs near Fort Bayou in 1852. He served the Tidewater Baptist Church from 1847-1859. Bowen died in Clarke County, Mississippi.
Cash Alley - Originally named E Ca Na Cha Hah (Holy Ground in Indian) on the Culmseig Map of 1853. The origin of Cash Alley is obscured by the following: It could have taken its name from Augustus Cash, an immigrant from France in the 1850s. There was also a Cadmus H. Alley (1836-1928), who lived at Ocean Springs prior to 1860. He was a bookkeeper from Virginia who served as Clerk of Court for Jackson County and Postmaster at Scranton. An anecdote states that the merchants who resided on the street would take only "cash" for their produce and goods.
Catchot Place - Named for Captain Antonio J. Catchot (1864-1954) who served the City of Ocean Springs as Mayor from 1917 to 1933. Catchot was also the Superintendent of Bridges and Buildings for the L&N Railroad. He retired in 1947 with sixty four years of service. Captain Catchot also served as fire chief in Ocean Springs for nearly sixty years. Catchot Place was formerly called Beauregard Avenue for Beauregard Ryan (1861- 1928) who once resided and owned property in the area. A.J. Catchot lived for many years on the northeast corner of Porter and Catchot Place.
Cox Avenue - Named for George A. Cox (1812-1887) who was born at Tennessee. Cox was an early pioneer of Ocean Springs who came here from the Mississippi Delta in about 1852. He was a merchant, large landholder, and proprietor of an early newspaper, The Ocean Springs Gazette (circa 1854). R.A. Van Cleave married Cox's stepdaughter, Eliza R. Sheppard, and moved to Ocean Springs in 1867 to join him in his business ventures.
Denny - Probably named for Walter M. Denny (1853-1926), a lawyer and native of Moss Point and long time resident of Pascagoula. He was educated in Virginia and at the University of Mississippi law school. Denny served as the Jackson County Clerk of Court from 1883 to 1892. He represented Jackson County at the 1890 Mississippi Constitutional Convention and was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1895. The Denny Family was active in the timber, saw mill, and railroad industry in Jackson and George Counties in the 19th and early 20th Century.(The Times Picayune, November 6, 1926, p. 5)
Ethel Circle - Named for Ethel Russell (1899-1957), daughter of H.F. Russell (1858-1940) and Mary Virginia Minor (1866-1910). Ethel Russell was the wife of A.P. "Fred" Moran (1897-1967). Their children were: John Duncan Moran (1925-1995) and Alfred R. Moran (1929-1982). Connie M. Moran, current Mayor of Ocean Springs, is the daughter of J. Duncan Moran and Shannon Fountain Moran.
Girot - Henry L. Girot (1887-1953) was a tailor from New Orleans, who came to Ocean Springs in 1923. Here Mr. Girot became an entrepreneur in the real estate and poultry industries. He initiated land development in the Cherokee Glen area of Ocean Springs in 1926.
Halstead - named for David Wileder Halstead (1876-1933) an Iowan who settled at East Beach in the 19th Century. Hal-stead and his sons were successful horticulturists and orchardists known for their fine pecans, satsumas, and grapefruit.
Handy - I do not know the origin of this name. Handy is a very old street. It was here as early as 1891 as demonstrated by a plat in the Jackson County Courthouse. It was not named for Captain Ellis Handy (1891-1963), a native of New Orleans who settled in Ocean Springs after WW I. Handy served in the Canadian armed forces in Europe during the Great War. His wife, Jean More (1891-1961), was Canadian. Handy wrote an excellent column for The Gulf Coast Times called “Know Your Neighbor” in the late 1940s.
Hanley Road-Named for Frank G. Hanley (1874-1915) and Juliet Lowe Hanley (1875-1930+), born at Key West, Florida, who acquired about 56-acres in Section 21, T7S-R8W, part of the Johanna Blount Subdivision in 1912 and 1914. Mr. Hanley was born at New Orleans of Irish immigrant parents. He made his livelihood in the lumber business at St. Louis. The old Hanley Place was acquired in July 2005 by the Mississippi Coastal Plain Land Trust, when owned by Julliette Hand Vos and spouse.
Hazle - Named for Hazel May Russell (1890-1920), the daughter of Hiram Fisher Russell (1858-1940) and Mary Virginia Minor (1866-1910). She was educated in local schools and completed her education at an Eastern finishing school. While in the east, she met Orin Pomeroy Robinson II (1891-pre-1960), a native of Corning, New York, and the son of Orin Pomeroy Robinson (1847-1900+), a dry goods merchant, and Louise H. Robinson (1855-1900+). Hazel May Russell married O. Pomeroy Robinson II in 1916. They resided at Groton, Connecticut were Mr. Robinson worked for the Electric Boat Company as a mechanical engineer. Mrs. Robinson expired at Groton, Connecticut on November 15, 1920, while recovering from an appendectomy. Her corporal remains were sent to Ocean Springs for internment in the Minor-Russell family plot at Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.
Hellmers Lane – Johann Heinrich “Henry” Hellmers (1848-1934) was born at Altenesch, Oldenburg Province near Bremen, Germany on September 13, 1848. He became a naturalized American citizen in 1860 and resided in New Orleans. Here he worked as a barkeeper and innkeeper. In May 1907, at retirement age, Henry and his wife, Isabella Hellmers (1858-1908) moved to Ocean Springs and purchased for $1950, No. 7 Calhoun, now 914 Calhoun. After Isabella Hellmers died in 1908, Henry Hellmers married a German woman, Hanna Geb Koegel Rycnaer (1864-1919), who had immigrated to America in 1898. She had been his housekeeper for many years. To supplement his retirement income, Henry Hellmers kept boarders and gathered and sold pecans from the trees in his yard. At Ocean Springs in 1922, he Katherine Considine (1858-1937), a native of New Orleans. In June 1927, Henry Hellmers donated land to the Town of Ocean Springs for the street called Hellmers Lane. He died on October 11, 1934, and was passed through the Lutheran Church.
Holcomb - named for Martha Lyon “Mattie” Holcomb (1833-1906), a native of Vermont. She was the widow of Thomas Addis Emmet Holcomb (1831-1897), the former proprietor of the Central Pharmacy at Kensington, Cook County, Illinois. Mr. Holcomb was born at Westport, New York. He received his education at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois where he studied the Classics. He married Martha A. Lyon in 1857. The Holcombs settled permanently at Ocean Springs in 1894. They bought property on Porter at Rayburn and circa 1893 built an edifice here called "Hollywood". Mrs. Holcomb also accumulated land east of Ocean Springs, primarily in Section 29, T7S-R8W. They purchased over two hundred-fifty acres in this section from Chauncey S. Bell (1842-1925), Silas Weeks (1823-1901), and William A. Evans between 1897 and 1904. They developed pecan and fruit orchards in the area bounded by present day Bechtel and Holcomb Boulevards south of County Road (Government). Mrs. Holcomb had Holcomb Boulevard completed to East Beach in January 1898. In 1901, Mrs. Holcomb leased thirty acres on Holcomb Boulevard to Theodore Bechtel (1863-1931) for his pecan nursery. She sold it to him in January 1904. Before Mrs. Mattie Holcomb died on November 29, 1906, at Ocean Springs, she legated her home on Porter and other properties to her foster son, Theodore Bechtel (1863-1931). She also gave the City of Ocean Springs $200 to start a Public Library. Mrs. Holcomb’s corporal remains were sent to Cobden, Illinois for burial.
Howard - Probably named for Frank Howard of Meridian, Mississippi who bought land from Martha E. Austin (1818-1898), the wife of Dr. William G. Austin (1812-1896), in this area of Ocean Springs in August 1875. The Howard brothers of New Orleans for whom Howard Avenue and several schools at Biloxi were named had very little to no interest in Ocean Springs. No further information.
Iola Road - Named for Iola (Iolia) Yvonne Faibvre Davidson (1883-1963). She was born at New Orleans on August 31, 1883, the third of at least three children born to James A. Faibvre (1840-1883+) and Melvina J. Saget Faibvre Hager (1858-1923). Iola was the wife of Judge Orin D. Davidson (1872-1938), who served Ocean Springs as a Justice of the Peace from 1916-1938. Mrs. Davidson was very active in the historical, cultural and social affairs of the city. Dolores Davidson ‘Bobby’ Smith (1916-1997), her daughter and wife of Dr. Llewellyn “Lel” J. Smith (1910-1991), and Marco St. John, her nephew and our local thespian, carried and carry on Iola’s love for our rich cultural history and traditions. Mrs. Davidson’s other children were: Davida D. Hrabe (1911-1996) married Richard Hrabe (1910-1979); Iris D. Figueroa Springer (1914-1993) married Marco Juan Figueroa (1903-1980) and Francis H. Springer (1911-1981); Joycelyn D. Elliott (1918-1997+) married James E. Elliott (1917-1992); and Patricia D. Covert (1928-1997+) married Robert Covert.
Joseph - Named for Joseph Charles Wieder (1905-1990), who married Lelia Cox (1911-1970) of Biloxi in March 1934 and Theodora Smith Seymour (1910-1970), a New Orleans native and the widow of Bernard P. “Bennie” Seymour (1908-1969), in January 1973. J.C. Wieder was a plumber and superintendent of the Ocean Springs Municipal Water Department. Joseph Street, formerly called Middle Avenue and Wausau, is situated between Washington Avenue and Dewey and on the south side of WAMA. It was named for Mr. Wieder by Sadie Catchot Hodges (1894-1973) when she was City Clerk between 1947 until October 1954. She was replaced by Lloyd “Joe Boy” Ryan (1928-1985).
Kotzum - Named for Joseph Kotzum (1842-1915), Czechoslovakian immigrant blacksmith and land developer, who was the first elected alderman from Ward 1 (1893-1894). Kotzum also served on the first Evergreen Cemetery Commission and operated the city water works in 1900. Mr. Kotzum made his livelihood initially as a blacksmith, but later acquired large real estate holdings and rental property throughout town. In the 1890s, Anton ‘Tony’ Kotzum (1871-1916), Joseph’s son and also a blacksmith, united with a young Canadian immigrant, Orey Alson Young (1868-1938), to form Young & Kotzum. This dynamic duo considered themselves “jacks of all trades" as they advertised possessing the following skills: machinists and plumbers, horseshoeing, and general blacksmithing, repairing of all kinds, makers of fine oyster knives. In 1896, Orey A. Young went on his own and acquired the old Kotzum blacksmith shop on the southeast corner of Government and Kotzum. Here he built a building between 1915 and 1925, which later became the Marcus F. Shanteau (1905-1975) garage and service station. After a 1995 facelift and interior refurbishment by local contractor, Paul Campbell, for Dr. Richard T. Furr (1929-2006) and family, the old Young-Shanteau structure was called Palmetto Place and has been leased as retail space since this time.
LaFontaine - Named for Louis Auguste LaFontaine (1762-c. 1813) of the French Colonial LaFontaine Family. He owned 237 acres of land known as Claim Section 37 (T7S-R8W), which would become the developing village of Ocean Springs. The boundaries of Claim Section 37 are: north by Government Street, formerly County Road, projected west to Martin Avenue; west by Martin Avenue; south by the Bay of Biloxi; and east by General Pershing Avenue projected to Biloxi Bay. LaFontaine’s widow, Catherine Bourgeois (1768-pre 1846), is known in the land chronicles as the Widow LaFontaine. There is a high degree of certitude that the Bellande Cemetery on Dewey Avenue was the original burial ground for the LaFontaine family and other early inhabitants of the village.
Martin – Possibly, but not probably, named for a land broker and attorney named Warwick Martin (1810-1854+) who arrived in Ocean Springs about 1845 from Pennsylvania. His Ohio born wife, Rachel Harbaugh (1813-1850+), had three sons all born in Pennsylvania. The Martins probably lived on the Front Beach west of the Ocean Springs Harbor, formerly called Mill Dam Bayou. Mr. Martin and Dr. William Glover Austin (1812-1896) built the Ocean Springs Hotel near Jackson Avenue and Cleveland in 1853. In 1896, Mrs. Martha E. Austin (1818-1898) proposed to the City of Ocean Springs to sell sufficient land to extend Martin Avenue to the beach.
Maginnis – The Maginnis family of New Orleans was synonymous with cottonseed oil and cotton mills. Arthur A. Maginnis Sr. (1815-1877), a native of Maryland, was the pioneer in the making of cottonseed oil in the Crescent City, when in 1856, he commenced the A.A. Maginnis' Cotton Seed Oil & Soap Works, and later Maginnis' Oil & Soap Works. The Maginnis' Cotton Mills at NOLA were bounded by Calliope, Poeyfarre, Annunciation, and Constance Streets. The mills were considered models of their kind and employed nine hundred people. These workers operated 12,000 looms and 41,000 spindles to produce over 21,000,000 yards of cotton sheeting, shirting, osnaburg, yarn, bating, and duck cloth from over 12,000 bales of cotton. The Maginnis Estate was located on the high bluff on Frront Beach with over six-hundred feet of water front acreage, between present day Hillendale and McNamee and extending to Porter. The Maginnis family erected a large mansion and several outbuildings on their tract.
McNamee – Named for Herbert McNamee (1873-1930+) and Nina Royce McNamee (1875-1930+) both natives of Illinois. Mr. McNamee made his livelihood as a grain merchant at Minneapolis. Circa 1907, the couple with their six children relocated to Winnetka, Cook County, Illinois. Mr. McNamee’s brokerage business was located in the Postal Telegraph Building at Chicago. The McNamees acquired property at Ocean Springs in 1921. This tract was once a part of the large W.B. Schmidt Estate.
Middle Avenue - Middle Avenue was in the "middle of the village". It was projected on the Culmseig Map of 1854 to connect Washington Avenue and Goos Avenue, now General Pershing. For some unknown reason, homes were built in its proposed path. Its eastern segment is known today as Middle Avenue while the western terminus is called Joseph Street.
Mill Circle - named for the site of a late 19th Century sawmill, which operated on Fort Bayou. Parker Earle (1831-1917), a horticulturist and entrepreneur from Vermont, owned the sawmill in 1893 when it was called the Ocean Springs Lumber Company.
Minor - Named for Hiram Minor Russell (1892-1940), son of Hiram Fisher Russell (1858-1940) and Mary Virginia Minor (1866-1910). Hiram Minor Russell, called Minor, was born at Ocean Springs on May 6, 1892. Like his older sister, Hazel Russell. Robinson (1890-1920), Minor was sent away to complete his education. He attended the Georgia Military College at College Park, Georgia and the University of Mississippi. Minor Russell married Alice Martin (1895-1915+), a native of Gary, Indiana, in February 1915. The Martin-Russell marriage was short lived and Minor Russell entered the U.S. Army. He made Corporal during WW I with the Quarter Masters Corp. Returning to Ocean Springs, H. Minor Russell joined his father in his insurance and real estate business at Ocean Springs. Circa 1920, he met Ethel Duffie (1901-1993), a native of New Orleans and the daughter of Joseph J. Duffie (1876-1922) and Clara Fisk (1885-1910+). Minor and Ethel D. Russell were the parents of six children: Lucille Russell (1921-1998) married John W. Webster (1920-1998+); H. Minor Russell Jr. (1923-2006) married Barbara Jean Russell; James Fisher Russell (1925-2006+) married Dora Beal; Ethel May Russell (1927-2006+); Hazel Russell (1929-2006+); and Lillian Russell (1930-2006+).
Minor Russell and family had several homes at Ocean Springs. His most opulent was the last, a large Mediterranean villa style residence on the southwest corner of Martin Avenue and Front Beach Drive erected between April 1927 and December 1928. Shaw & Woleben of Gulfport were the architects. In late August 1937, the Minor Russell home valued at more than $40,000 was enveloped and destroyed by fire. After the 1937 fire, Minor Russell moved his family to New London, Connecticut where he joined O. Pomeroy Robison II at Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut. Electric Boat built submarines during WW II and continues today to supply the U.S. Navy with nuclear attack submarines as General Dynamics Electric Boat. Minor Russell expired at New London, Connecticut in November 1940. His corporal remains were sent to Ocean Springs for internment in the Evergreen Cemetery.
Moseley - Named for the Charles J. Moseley family of New Orleans who were friends and neighbors of Eula Catchot Simpson, the sister of City Clerk, Sadie Catchot Hodges .
Porter - named for a Tennessee family who resided at Ocean Springs in the 1850s. William L. Porter and Thomas C. Porter owned Lots 2 and 3 of Claim Section 37 in 1851. Their sister was Martha E. Austin (1818-1898), the wife of New Orleans physician, Dr. William G. Austin. The Austins and Porters built the Ocean Springs Hotel at Jackson and Cleveland in 1853. Porter Street appears as early as 1853 on the survey of the Lynchburg Tract by Palmer, a New Orleans surveyor.
Ray - named for William Ray Allen, called Ray, a Louisville, Kentucky lawyer, who settled at Ocean Springs in the 1940s. His son, W.R. ‘Bill’ Allen Jr., was an architect and developer.
Rayburn - Probably named for John K. Rayburn of New Orleans who owned a home and property west of the Ocean Springs Hotel from 1852 to 1866.
Rehage - named for a family of German ancestry who settled at Ocean Springs from New Orleans in the early 1900s. The Rehages were dairy farmers in Ocean Springs for many years. George Rehage took over the Success Dairy in 1914.
Robinson - This street appears on the Sanborn Insurance maps as early as 1893. Probably named for D.B. Robinson, superintendent of the NO&M RR in 1878. A black sawmill worker, Thomas Robinson (1857), lived in the area. His family could have given the street its name.
Russell - Named for Hiram Fisher Russell (1858-1940) who served as City Alderman from Ward 1 (1895-1902). Russell was a prominent merchant, realtor, insurance agent, and developed the Russell, a paper-shell pecan.
Schmidt - Named for W.B. Schmidt (1823-1900), a wealthy New Orleans merchant who founded Schimdt & Ziegler, Limited (1845). The company was a wholesale grocer and importer of coffee, wines, and liquors. Schimdt owned an estate of Front Beach (708 feet on the Front Beach and north to Cleveland). One of his homes was the Alabama pavilion at the Cotton Exposition (1885) in New Orleans. Schmidt dismantled the building and shipped it down the Mississippi River to Ocean Springs on a barge. He built one of the finest, most elaborate, and expensive estates on the entire Gulf Coast on the high bluff at Ocean Springs in the 1890s. The Schmidt and Zeigler families owned the Ocean Springs Hotel from about 1866 to 1901. They sold to F.J. Lundy (1863-1912) who owned it until it burned in May 1905.
Reverend Jessie L. Trotter Sr. Street Dedication on November 20, 2011
In the early afternoon of November 20, 2011, Louise Robinson and the Reverend Albert Dantzler of the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church led about a hundred members of the congregation and interested citizens in dedicating the ‘Reverend Jessie L. Trotter Sr. Street’ in Ocean Springs. The city’s newest street was formerly called Weed Street, for Frederick Mason Weed (1850-1926), a native ofHinesburg, Vermont. F.M. Weed was an agent for the L&N Railroad, banker, and realtor. He also served Ocean Springs as its fifth Mayor from 1899 to 1910.
It is in interesting to note that the Reverend Jessie L. Trotter Sr. and his family had resided on his ‘new street’ since 1962 and that his church is also here, as well as it intersects Martin L. King Jr. Avenue, a national hero for his non-violent Civil Rights movement during the 1960s.
The Reverend Jessie Lee Trotter Sr. (1925-2010), a most remarkable leader and spiritual man, led the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church from 1968 until his demise on November 25, 2010. He was born north of Mobile, to Elijah and Arcola Trotter in rural Sunflower, Washington County, Alabama. At an early age, the family moved to Greene County, Mississippi where a young Jesse Trotter attended school until family circumstances required him to withdraw after completing the seventh grade. He found employment in the local sawmills. With the vision of being an educator and the spirit of the Lord in him, Trotter left the piney woods of Greene County while in his early twenties and continued his education at Natchez Junior College. Jessie L. Trotter Sr. graduated from Toogaloo College in 1958 and took a teaching position at the F.M. Nichols High School at Biloxi and also preached at St. Peter’s in Pascagoula. He and wife, Senora Williams Trotter (1932-2006), and family moved to Ocean Springs in 1962, acquiring property on Weed Street. When the health of the Reverend P.D. House began to fail in 1968, Jesse L. Trotter Sr. was requested to lead the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.(The Ocean Springs Record, July 1, 1993, p. 1and The Sun Herald, November 27, 2010, p. A8 and November 28, 2010, p. A14)
Certainly Dr. Trotter’s accomplishments at Ocean Springs have been numerous. Shortly, after commencing his ministerial duties at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, he founded LIFT, an acronym for Life Institute Training-a concept envisioned to educate his young, as well as adult parishioners, into contributing to a constructive Christian society. In May 1980, Reverend Trotter commenced a three-year financial campaign to produce funds for his LIFT Bible Crusade College and Seminary, which he had originated in 1972. By 1993, fourteen ministers had graduated and been ordained.(The Ocean Springs Record, May 22, 1980, p. 9 and July 1, 1993, p. 1)
Dr. Trotter not only gave of himself to his God and his loyal followers at the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, but reserved time to reach into the community. In 1967, he was named charter project director of the Headstart program in Harrison County, Mississippi. Dr. Trotter also faithfully represented the people of Ward I as their alderman from 1981 to 1984. He, as all wise men, continued to educate himself. After he left Toogaloo College in the late 1950s, Jesse L. Trotter Sr. earned educational degrees from: Southern Christian College; Mississippi Baptist Seminary at Jackson; Easonian Baptist Seminary in Birmingham; San Francisco Theological Seminary at San Anselmo; and New World Bible Institute in Hayti, Missouri.(The Ocean Springs Record, July 1, 1993, p. 1 and The Mississippi Press, December 24, 1999)
In addition to local representatives from the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, others in attendance at the Reverend Jessie L. Trotter Sr. Street dedication were: Jessie L. Trotter Jr. and his sister; Matt McDonnell, Ward II Alderman; Mayor Connie Moran; John Gill, Ward I Alderman; Melanie Allen, president of HOSA; and members of the Ocean Springs Women’s Church Club.
Turner - Named for Hiram A. Turner (1885-1968), who was an agent for the L&N Railroad. Turner served as Ward 1 Alderman in the years from 1949-1953 and from 1957-1961. He was a native of Mt. Union, Alabama.
Van Cleave - Named for Robert Adrian Van Cleave (1840-1908) first appointed Mayor of Ocean Springs (1892). Van Cleave was a native of Hinds County. He came to Ocean Springs in 1867 from Yazoo City with his wife, Eliza R. Sheppard (1842-1912). Van Cleave was a merchant and opened a store on Bluff Creek, which became the town of Vancleave, Mississippi. In the 1880s and 1890s, Van Cleave and his sons operated a large mercantile store on the east side of Washington Avenue between Robinson and Desoto. He built the Van Cleave Hotel (1880-1920) on the southeast corner of Washington and Robinson, which became known as the Commercial Hotel in later years. Mr. Van Cleave was also postmaster at Ocean Springs from 1872-1882.
Ward - I do not have a high degree of certitude for the origin of Ward Avenue. The 1860 US Census for Jackson County lists a teacher, L.A. Ward (b. 1848) and Henry Ward (b. 1800). In the 1870s, there was a prominent Irish woman at Ocean Springs, Julia Ward (1830-1994+), who owned property on the front beach and ran a boarding house there called the Oak Cottage. The Oak Cottage advertised as a "Family Boarding House" and was described as "a perfect gem of a place, delightfully situated, and elegant surroundings". Mrs. Ward's daughter, Ida (1864-1906), married John Franco. Charles W. Zeigler of New Orleans bought the Oak Cottage grounds in 1894. He built a residence there called "Lake View". The Mississippi Sound was often referred to as "the lake".
Weed [now Reverend Jessie L. Trotter Jr. Street]- Named for Major F.M. Weed (1850-1926), a native of Hinesburg, Vermont. Weed was the station master and an agent for the L&N Railroad at Ocean Springs. He served as Mayor from 1899-1910. With Dr. O.L. Bailey, Weed was a founder of the Ocean Springs State bank in 1905. He was its first vice-President and later served as cashier. The Weeds formerly lived at present day 1007 Iberville. Named changed to Reverend Jessie L. Trotter Street on November 20, 2011.
Wulff - Named for the Wulff Family who came to Ocean Springs from New Orleans in 1928. They purchased land on the Front Beach at the west end of the former W.B. Schmidt Estate. The Wulff daughters, Vera Cook (1906-1992) and Bernadine (1899-1992), were nationally recognized singers and media personalities. They performed on Broadway and worked in radio at New York City, Chicago, and New Orleans.
Street named for “place names”
Church - In 1878, the Ocean Springs Baptist Church was located on the corner of Desoto and Church, thus the name, Church Street. The church was destroyed in the Hurricane of September 1906, and relocated to a lot donated by George W. Davis (1842-1914) at Bellande and Porter. In the spring of 1909, Burr and Bradford built the new sanctuary for $2500.
Cove - Named for the small inlet or bay at the mouth of Fort Bayou on which it is located.
Fort - Probably named for Fort Maurepas (1699-1702), which appears to have been located on this peninsula, but on the Biloxi Bay side, not the Fort Bayou side.
Harbor Drive - Named for the Ocean Springs Harbor, which lies east of the road. The harbor was constructed by the Jackson County Board of Supervisors in 1934.
Lovers Lane - Formerly called Plummer Avenue for Joseph R. Plummer (1808-1872+), New England land speculator and planter, who settled on the Back Bay of Biloxi in Section 24, T7S-R9W and built a brick home there in the 1850s. Due to its isolation and romantic setting it became known as Lover's Lane in the late 1920s.
Shearwater - Was originally called Mill Dam Road because of the tidewater operated, grain mill and dam which were located near the present site of the Ocean Springs Harbor Bridge. The mill was probably built by William G. Kendall (1812-1872), a lawyer and entrepreneur from Kentucky, who also owned the Biloxi Steam Brick Works at Back Bay, present day D'Iberville, Mississippi where he produced 10,000,000 bricks annually for construction at Biloxi and New Orleans in the 1850s. The Toledano-Tullos Manor at Biloxi was built with Kendall brick. Kendall later named the road Anola for his daughter born in 1843. The Kendalls settled on the Front Beach east of present day Shearwater Pottery and built a home at the present site of the Hansen-Dickey Home (1905). In the 1930s, the name was changed to Shearwater to acknowledge the Anderson Family and their contribution to the art and culture of Ocean Springs.
Vermont - Named for the native state of Frederick Mason Weed (1850-1926) and Alice Lyon Weed (1853-1928). F.M. Weed was Mayor of Ocean Springs from 1899-1910. The Weeds would receive maple syrup from their Vermont relatives. They are buried at Milton, Vermont. Vermont Street between US Higway 90 and Government Street was renamed ‘Martin L King Jr.’ on January 13th. The Reverend Jesse Lee Trotter (1925-2010) dedicated on January 13,1991, that portion of the former Vermont Avenue between US Highway 90 (Bienville Boulevard) and Government Street as Martin L. King Avenue.(The Ocean Springs Record, January 17, 1991, p. 1 and The Sun Herald, January 17, 1991)
Streets Named For "Presidents, National Leaders, and the Colonial Period"
Washington Avenue - Named for George Washington (1732-1799), first President of the United States of America.
Jackson Avenue - Named for Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), seventh President of the United States of America, and hero of the Battle of New Orleans (1815). Jackson Avenue was paved from Porter to Front Beach Drive in February 1927.(The Jackson County Times, February 26, 1927)
Cleveland Avenue - Named for Grover Cleveland (1837-1908), twenty-second and twenty-fourth President of the United States of America.
Calhoun Avenue - Named for John Calhoun (1782-1850), vice President of the United States of America under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson (1825-1832). Calhoun was a staunch advocate of slavery, States' rights, and nullification.
Dewey Avenue - Named for Rear Admiral George Dewey (1837-1917), hero of the Spanish American War. Dewey is best remembered for his defeat of the Spanish fleet at Manilla in the Philippines in 1898. Land for the creation of Dewey Avenue was purchased by the city from Joseph Bellande for $100 in May 1898. This acquisition consisted of a thirty-five foot wide strip of land from Porter south to the A. G. Tebo property on LaFontaine. It is believed that George E. Arndt, who was a city alderman at large, in 1895, recommended the name. Dewey was pejoratively called "tin can alley" during the Depression years.
General Pershing - Named for General John J. Pershing (1860-1948) who commanded the American Expeditionary Force in World War I (1917-1919). Prior to this time, this street was known as Goos Avenue (pronounced Goose). Goos was named for or by Daniel Goos, a merchant, who resided in Ocean Springs during the mid-19th Century. The Ocean Springs Gazette ran the following advertisement on March 24th, 1855: D. Goos - dry goods and produce merchant. Keep constantly on hand a large and well selected assortment of dry goods, groceries, tin ware, crockery, hardware, cutlery,medicines, boots, shoes, clothing, corn, oats, flour, bacon, ropes, blocks, iron, carpenter's tools, school and blank books, saddles, bridles, trunks, etc. The above assortment will be sold at New Orleans prices.
Daniel Goos owned land in the present day Alto Park area bounded by General Pershing, Kensington, and Ward. Since Goos is a name of German origin, it came into disfavor during the days of World War I (1914-1918). It was only logical to replace this Teutonic name with the American general from Missouri who led our forces in Europe in the Great War, General John Joseph Pershing.
Martin Luther King Junior Avenue - Named for Martin Luther King Junior (1929-1968), US clergyman and civil rights leader. This street from Bienville Boulevard to Government Street was formerly called Vermont Avenue. Dedication of M. L. King took place on January 13, 1991.
DeSoto - Named for Hernando DeSoto (1500-1542), Spanish explorer of the southeastern United States. DeSoto was probably the first European to see the Mississippi River. Desoto Avenue was built in March 1894, as evidenced by: "Desoto Avenue a new street has been graded and ditched."(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 23, 1894, p. 3)
Iberville Drive- Named for Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d'Iberville (1661-1706). Ibeville was a French Canadian naval officer who established Fort Maurepas (1699-1702) at present day Ocean Springs in April 1699.
Bienville Boulevard- Named for Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville (1680-1768). Bienville was the younger brother of d'Iberville and a French Canadian explorer who founded Mobile (1710), New Orleans (1718), and governed French Colonial Louisiana (1701-12), (1717-26), and (1733-43).
Bois Briant - Named for Pierre Dugue' de Boisbriand, French Canadian military officer, who came to this region on d'Iberville's second voyage (1700). He served at Mobile (1716), and at Fort de Chartres (1718) in southern Illinois.
Cherokee - Named for the second largest tribe of North American Indians, and members of the great Iroquoian language family. The Cherokee sided with the British during the Revolution, and as a result were forced to move west over the tragic "Trail of Tears".
Father Davion - Named for a French missionary priest (Seminary of Quebec) who worked with the Tensas and Tunica Indians. He served as an interpreter for early French and Canadian adventurers in the gulf coast.
La Badine -Named for the La Badine, d'Iberville's flagship on his first voyage to discover the mouth of the Mississippi River (1698-1699). The La Badine had a crew of 150 men and carried 30 guns.
La Salle - Probably named for Nicolas de La Salle who came to America on Iberville's third voyage (1701-1702) as acting commissary. He died at La Mobile in 1710.
Le Marin - Named for the Le Marin, the companion frigate of d'Iberville's La Badine. It was armed with approximately 30 guns and sailed with a crew of 130 men.
Le Voyageur - Named for French Canadian fur trappers and traders who explored and developed North America in their quest for fur.
Ponchartrain - Named for Louis Phelypeaux, Comte de Pontchartrain, who was the French Minister of Marine during d'Iberville's exploration of the Mexican Gulf Coast. Lake Ponchartrain is named in his honor.
Ruskin - Named for John Ruskin (1819-1900) who was an English art and social critic and fine artist. Anecdotal history says he came to Ocean Springs in 1885 after the Cotton Exposition in New Orleans to visit his friends, the Arnolds. They honored him with a tea party beneath an oak tree, which now bears his name as well as the street. This is a hoax, as Ruskin never visited North America during his lifetime.
Lagniappe - For you folks across Old Fort Bayou, I am including a few roads in your area:
Rose Farm Road - named for Joseph Benson Rose (died 1902), a wealthy New Yorker, who was president of the Royal Baking Powder Company. Rose had a home called "Elk Lodge" at East Beach in Ocean Springs from 1895 to 1901. Rose bought the 835-acre Earle Farm in March 1897. The Rose Farm was one of the leading agricultural enterprises in the South. Under the management of F.M. Dick (born 1857) of Ocean Springs, it featured orchards of Satsuma oranges. The farm also grew pecans, grapefruit, grapes, figs, vegetables, cotton, oats, and hay. There was a large fishpond and Jersey dairy herd. George Rose of New Orleans sold the Rose farm to Colonel H.D. Money in December 1909.
Money Farm Road - named for Colonel Herman Deveaux Money. Money was the son of Hernando Desoto Money (1839-1912) who was a lawyer, planter, soldier, Congressman (1874-1885, and 1893-1897) and U.S. Senator (1897-1911). Colonel Money fought in Cuba (Spanish American War) with the 5th Immune Regiment. He served as his father's secretary in Washington for ten years before settling at Biloxi circa 1905. He later moved to the Rose Farm, which he purchased in 1909. Money ran unsuccessfully for the 6th District Congressional seat in 1928.