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Charles Augustus Forkert (1854-1928), a Prussian, was born May 11, 1854 in Germany. He married Margaretha Roth (1844-1937), the widow of George Haas. She had three children: Robert Haas (1866-1935), Antoinette H. Veillon (1869- 953), and George Haas (1873-1940).(The Jackson County Times, May 15, 1937) Mr. Forkert was forty-seven years of age before he began experimenting with pecan propagation at Ocean Springs. Before arriving here from New Orleans where he was the gardener in the Horticultural Hall at the 1885 World Cotton Centennial Exposition, Forkert had roamed America from Massachusetts to Texas.(The Jackson County Times, July 28, 1928, p. 1)
In June 1910, Charles A. Forkert acquired for $1500 about fifty-three acres of land in the Alto Park Addition Subdivision and the SW/4 of the NW/4 of Section 29, T7S-R8W, primarily along Kensington Avenue, from Minna Houghton of Grand Forks County, North Dakota. Here he operated his Bay View Nursery and pecan and fruit orchards. In addition to his
great knowledge of the pecan, Mr. Forkert was held in high esteem as an authority on the cultivation of grapes, peaches, and persimmons. He had particular success with the Georgia Belle peach and the Minnie, Ellen Scott, and Rolando grape varieties.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 36, p. 28 and The Jackson County Times, July 24, 1926)
Quality Trees of Select Varieties Trees grafted with wood from bearing orchard, which assures early bearing trees and guarantees genuineness of variety.
Write for Price List to C. FORKERT
Bay View Pecan Nursery Ocean Springs, Miss.
(The Ocean Springs News, November 4, 1915, p. 3)
I.H. Bass Nursery Company
In February 1920, for $3250 and three years, Mr. Forkert leased his lands and all nursery stock, pecans, and satsuma oranges to I.H. Bass Nursery Company of Lumberton, Mississippi. In April 1920, Bass negotiated a lease with Mrs. W.R. Stuart (1840-1925) for a one-half acre tract of land in Section 29, T7S-R8W.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 47, p. 581 and
Bk. 48, pp. 94-95)
I.H. Bass was one of the largest nurseries in Mississippi and had planned to have a permanent facility here. Bass closed their operations at Ocean Springs in January 1923. Local manager, Charles R. Maxwell (1891-1967), was transferred to Lumberton.(The Jackson County Times, February 3, 1923)
In April 1923, several years before his demise on July 21, 1928, Charles A. Forkert sold his nursery and pecan lands to his step-daughter, Antoinette Haas Veillon, the spouse of Alceide Veillon (1862-1949). She conveyed them to a German immigrant, Reinhold W. Schluter (1890-1966), in January 1935 for $6500.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 53, p. 27 and Bk. 66, pp.
550-552) In 1952, Mr. Schluter platted his pecan lands along Kensington Drive as the Schluter Park Subdivision. He established the Schluter Educational Trust to provide scholarships for selected students of Ocean Springs high schools.(Schmidt, 1972, p. 130)
After Charles A. Forkert died intestate in 1928, he left an estate valued at more than $15,000, primarily in bonds. It is alleged that Alceide Veillon destroyed his experimental agricultural data rather than provide it to government researchers who were interested in his work on pecans.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5084 and No. 9009). Circa 1923, Mr. Veillon had married Antoinette Hass. They built a cottage at present day 300 Ward Avenue, which sarcastically acquired the moniker, "the Veillon honeymoon cottage", since Miss Haas was believed doomed to spinsterhood by the local populous. Alceide Veillon had come to Ocean Springs from New Orleans circa 1890. At the time, he was married to Henrietta "Cora" Hyde (1863-1920), a native of Vermont, and relative of Mrs. F.M. Weed, a former Mayor of Ocean Springs. They married circa 1885, probably at New Orleans. Veillon made his livelihood as a hack driver (1900), meat market operator on Washington Avenue (1910), and later he ran a billiard hall in the old Lundy Building on the southeast corner of Washington and Government. When Charles Forkert died in 1928, it is alleged that Veillon destroyed his experimental agricultural data rather than provide it to government researchers who were interested in his work on pecans. Alceide and Nette Veillon inherited the Forkert place which was located near Dr. Furr's residence on Kensington Avenue. They moved to the Forkert house probably in the late 1920s. In April 1994, the Veillon Cottage on Ward Avenue was bought from Duke Sutherland by Naomi Fields, a former nurse from West Virginia. Mrs. Fields has operated a bed and breakfast establishment here, called the Magnolia House.(JXCO, Ms. Bk.1037, p. 586)
Alceide and Nette Veillon inherited the Forkert place, which was located near Dr. Richard Furr's residence on Warren Drive. They moved to the Forkert house probably in the late 1920s. In 1999, Henry H. Furr, local architect, designed and commenced the erection of his home at 1600 Warren Drive, very near the site of the remains of the old Forkert place. It is believed that the Forkert place burned to the ground in the 1950s.
JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5084, "The Estate of Charles Forkert", August 1928.
JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 9009, "The Last Will of Margaretha Forkert",
The Daily Herald, "Peaches and Grapes", July 29, 1926.
The Jackson County Times, "Local and Personal", February 3, 1923.
The Jackson County Times, "Pioneer Pecan Grower Died Saturday, July 21",July 28, 1928.
The Jackson County Times, "Mrs. Margaret Forkert", May 15, 1937.
The Ocean Springs News, "Local News", February 7, 1914.
The Ocean Springs News," C. Forkert- Bay View Pecan Nursery", November 4, 1915.
The Progress, October 14, 1904.
The Progress, "C. Forkert", December 24, 1904.