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(RODRIGUES-RYAN-SEYMOUR - Old Spanish Cemetery)
LOCATION: On Puerto Drive in the Gulf Hills residential development about 1 1/2 miles northwest of Ocean Springs in the SW/4 of Section 13, T7S-R9W.
DIRECTIONS: From the intersection of Bienville Boulevard (US 90) and Washington Avenue go north .50 miles to the entrance to Gulf Hills at Shore Drive. Turn left (west) onto Shore Drive and go 1.1 miles on a very sinuous road to the intersection of Camino Real. Go left at Camino Real for .10 miles to Puerto Drive. At Puerto go right for .18 miles to the Ryan-Seymour Cemetery on the left at 14005 Puerto Drive.
HISTORY: The Ryan-Seymour Cemetery in Gulf Hills is sometimes referred to as the Old Spanish Cemetery. It is located in an area of the Gulf Coast where there may have been a Spanish Colonial settlement in the late 1700s. The settlement, called Spanish Camp, was located across Old Fort Bayou on the Fort Point peninsula at Ocean Springs. This was accomplished after the English were forced out of British West Florida by the Spanish in 1780. The Iberians established Spanish West Florida after the Treaty of Paris in 1783. It is postulated that the Spanish Camp was garrisoned by troops sent from Pascagoula where the "Spanish Fort" was established on the La Pointe-Krebs estate. It is possible but yet totally unsubstantiated that some of these Spanish Colonial troops and settled at Gulf Hills. It is known with a high degree of certitude that the Gulf Hills area was the locus of several settlements by 19th Century Spanish immigrants. Among these were Juan Antonio Rodriguez (1812-1860+) who patented the land, Lot 5 of Section 13, where the cemetery is located in 1848. Juan Rodriguez married Marie-Martha Ryan (1822-1860+), the daughter of Pierre Ryan and Marie-Joseph Ladner. After Rodriguez died probably in the late 1880s, his son, Miguel Rodriguez (1866-1906), controlled the tract and began selling it to his siblings and others in February 1889. The sale went as follows: Felix Rodriguez (2 acres), Antonio Rodriguez (5 acres). Delerine R. Pecherich (2 acres), Mary Marie Rodriguez (8 acres), and Miguel Rodriguez who retained three acres for himself. Cora Poitevent Earle, wife of Charles T. Earle (1861-1901), bought 113 acres, and Thomas Hanson 19 acres.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 12, p. 221-222)
It is known from the U.S. Census records that the Ryan, Marie, Seymour, and Desporte families also inhabited this area of Gulf Hills. They made their livelihood as fishermen, farmers, and charcoal burners. It is members of these families that are predominantly buried here.
The Rodriguez eventually lost control of the area to others (Wilson, Picard, et al) who eventually sold to Chicago investors who built the Gulf Hills resort in the late 1920s.
A land survey plat of Lot 5 by E.N. Ramsay (1832-1916), Jackson County surveyor, in 1904 depicts a five acre tract in the NE/4 of Lot 5 which states "place for cemetery and Picard property." This is the only reference found to this cemetery in early Jackson County Deed records.(Jackson County Surveyor's Record Book 1, p. 71)
Martha Tiblier Eleuterius (1919-2001), remembered visiting the cemetery in 1923, when she was very young. Her early memory of the cemetery and its history as related to her by her parents follows:
The cemetery was called the Ryan Cemetery. I have been told that the Ladners owned the land originally. I was taken to the cemetery as a small girl by my father, Henry Eugene Tiblier. There was a wire fence around the site and no grass. It was very clean. I remember a tomb for the Seymour Family, which is not there today. In one corner, the Forgones were buried. Their son was Paul Forgones. There was a large tomb, which belonged to Larat Anglada.* Anglada was born at Barcelona, Spain. He had a grocery store in Gulf Hills and sold his merchandise to the charcoal burners who lived in the area. Anglada's schooners would sail to New Orleans with charcoal and return with dry goods, can goods, and staples. After Larat Anglada's death, people dug up the cemetery looking for his money. In the process, many baby graves were destroyed. There were also many cypress boards, which marked graves. My grandmother, Palmyra Beaugez Tiblier (1846-1913), was buried in the smaller tomb. It was broken into several times. In 1949, some vandals stole her skull.
* It is not known with any degree of certitude the identity of Larat Anglada. There is a familial connection between the Marie, Rodriguez, and Anglada families. Pedro Anglada (1826-1889), the progenitor of that family here was born at Spain. His remains are interred in the Old Biloxi Cemetery.
In the late 1940s, Lionel Eleuterius of Ocean Springs remembers "that there were many graves in this cemetery, probably between 40 and 60". Many of these graves were probably indicated by wooden markers and crosses which are now gone.
PRIMARY FAMILY INTERRMENTS-As visible today, primarily from stone grave markers: Byrd, Ramsay, Seymour, and Tiblier.
Larat Anglada ? (large tomb)
Hesey Carr Byrd 10-18-1889 to 8-30-1959
Elzie Seymour Byrd 12-9-1893 to 6-17-1973
Solamon E. Byrd 7-17-1890 to 6-15-1926
Miguel Desporte no date
Paul Fergonise 1861-1893
Eudoxie Seymour Fergonise to 1914
Hortense Ryan Furgonise 1864-1902
Charles B. Klepac 10-7-1914 to 11-10-1999
Mildred K. Klepac 11-21-1912 to 9-27-1979
Billy Wayne Lee 11-16-1945 to 10-3-1985
James Ernest 'Jim' Lee 10-5-1941 to 6-5-2006
Emma Havelin Ramsay 10-2-1908 to 6-7-1984
Elliott Noble Ramsay 4-6-1911 to 2-5-1991
Catherine Ryan Ramsay 7-31-1908 to 8-30-1958
Elliott “E.J.” Joseph Ramsay 12-16-1936 to 8-5-1998
St. Cyr Ryan 3-1-1871 to 12-26-1939
Emily Ryan 7-10-1882 to 12-18-1955
Peter Claude Ryan 2-7-1919 to 8-8-1977
PVT US Army WW II
Lee Seymour 4-4-1882 to 4-24-1968
Lena P. Seymour 4-11-1885 to 10-25-1961
Pauline Seymour 1860-1920
Alfred Louis Seymour ? to 1916
Erwin Adam Seymour 3-28-1911 to 12-23-1978
Blanche Pauline Seymour 9-18-1912 to 10-3-1999
Merrell Lane Seymour 2-7-1939 to 1-15-2005
Sameul Howard Seymour 2-4-1919 to 4-26-2011
Cotille Priscilla Basque Seymour 4-10-1919 to November 1985
Solomon E. Seymour 7-17-1890 to 6-15-1926
Monica Mary Seymour 10-27-1942 to 9-9-1991
Veronica Elaine Ward Seymour 7-14-1962 to 3-21-2006
Mark Douglas Swetman to 2-2-2004
Infant son of Windy and Kitty Swetman
Johanna Ryan Tiblier 1-15-1875 to 10-27-1923
wife of Albert Tiblier
Palmyra Beaugez Tiblier 1846-1913 (tomb)
Five wooden crosses with no names, one cypress headboard, two brick crypts, and one small child's grave.
Mary Louise Adkinson, Bouzage-Bosarge Family, (Mississippi Coast Historical & Genealogical Society, Special Issue 4 (2nd Edition-January 1991), p. 193.
Dale Greenwell, Twelve Flags-Triumphs and Tragedies (Greenwell: 1968), p. 159.
Charles Sullivan, The Mississippi Gulf Coast: Portrait of a People, (Windsor Publications, Inc.: Northridge, California -1985) p. 24.
The Daily Herald, "Hesey Carr Byrd", August 31, 1959, p. 2.
The Ocean Springs Record, "Gulf Hills Garden Club Hears Story of Seymour Cemetery", November 30, 1978, p. 6.
The Sun Herald, "Gulf Hills area settled by fishermen, farmers, and charcoal kiln operators", November 24, 1982.
The Sun Herald, “Merrell Lane Seymour”, January 18, 2005.
The Sun Herald, “Mrs. Veronica Elaine Ward Seymour”, March 23, 2006, p. A5.
The Sun Herald, “Samuel Howard Seymour”, April 28, 2011, p. A5.
Martha Tiblier Eleuterius - July 1993
Surveyed and researched by:
Ray L. Bellande
Field checked: February 24, 2005.