Ocean Springs, Mississippi - 19th Century (1811 - 1900)


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. Ladnier (Jacques), 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.




The War of 1812 with the British Empire commenced on June 18th.

Jackson County was created on December 12, 1812 as part of the Mississippi Territory.



The War of 1812 with England officially ended on December 24, 1814 and unofficially in March 1815.



General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) and his small army defeated General Edward M. Packingham (1778-1815) and his large force at the Battle of New Orleans fought on the plains of Chalmette on January 8th.  General Packingham was killed in the fight.



Mississippi entered the Union on December 10th as the 20th State of the United States of America withDavid Holmes (1769-1832) As Governor.  David Holmes had been Governor of the Mississippi Territory since 1809.



On March 3, 1819, the Widow LaFontaine Claim [Section 37, T7S-R8W] was confirmed by an Act of Congress, entitled "An Act for adjusting the claims of land and establishing Land Offices in the District East of the Island of New Orleans".  The land was surveyed in 1824, and a patent issued by the United States Government to the Widow LaFontaine on May 16, 1846.



Population of Jackson County 1681 people-1300 white, 321 black, and 61 free black.[count from Federal Census]



The first post office in Jackson County, Mississippi was established in 1821 and called Jackson County Courthouse.  It was located in present day George County near Wilkerson’s Ferry on the Pascagoula River.  It was also in the vicinity of the County’s first courthouse, which was at the home of Thomas Bilbo [Bilbaud] (1776-1870), a prominent surveyor of this time.(The History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, pp. 10-11)



Cady [Cadet?] Lafontaine - Died, a few days past, at the Bay of Biluxi [sic], in the State of Mississippi, Cady Lafontaine, at the remarkable age of 137 years. He retained his faculties until the day of his death.[The Louisiana State Gazette, New Orleans, December 18, 1823]




Population of Jackson County 1792 people.[count from Federal Census]



In 1835, Joseph H. Bellande (1813-1907) arrived in the United States, probably New Orleans, from Marseille, France.  He was one of the first settlers in the fishing village of East Biloxi, which became Ocean Springs in 1854.  Joseph marries Roseline LaFauce [LaForce], a granddaughter of Catherine LeBourgeios, the Widow LaFontaine, and inherits land from her estate in 1848.



The Picayune began publishing it newspaper at 38 Gravier Street at NOLA on January 25, 1837 by Francis A. Lumsden and George Wilkins Kendall (1809-1867).  The four page journal cost 25 cents per week or 6 1/4 cents per issue, the value of a Spanish picayune.  A three months subcription was $2.50.  By early November 1837, the paper became The Daily Picayune.  In 1914, The Daily Picayune merged with The New Orleans Times-Democrat to become The Times-Picayune. 



Population of Ocean Springs estimated at 273 people.[Bellande count from Federal Census]



Harrison County, Mississippi was formed from Hancock and Jackson County, Mississippi on February 5, 1841.



 Joseph H. Bellande (1813-1907) married Rosaline LaFauce [LaForce] (1821-1895), daughter of Jacques LaFauce and Marie Eveline LaFontaine on May 26, 1842.  She was the granddaughter of Louis LaFontaine and Catherine Bourgeois LaFontaine, the Widow LaFontaine.



Circa 1840 before her demise, the 237 acres of land, Section 37, T7S-R8W, possessed by Catherine Bourgeois LaFontaine, the Widow LaFontaine, informally gave her land to her family.  From west to east beginning at Martin Avenue and going to the Inner Harbor, the Widow LaFontaine original partition was to her sons-in-law, Jerome Ryan(1793- c. 1875), John Westbrook, and Jean Baptise LadnerJoseph Bellande (1819-1907), the husband of her granddaughter, Roseline LaFauce (1821-1893); Azalie LaFauce Clay Ryan (b. 1820), her granddaughter; and her son,Louis Auguste LaFontaine II.  The eastern three arpents were probably sold to Andre Fournier and his wife,Catherine Bouzage Fournie (b. 1780), many years before the Widow LaFontaine's donation to her family.  The Fournier tract was bounded on the east by a small bayou called Bayou Bouzage probably for his wife's family.  It later became known as Mill Dam Bayou, and after widening and dredging is now the Inner Harbor.


In August 1846, a partition deed for the Widow LaFontaine Tract was filed at the Jackson County Courthouse.  The land was divided by her heirs and legal representatives.  From Martin Avenue east to the vicinity of the Gulf Oaks Condominiums, the land was parceled into five lots.  Lot One ran from Martin Avenue 561 feet eastward, and was owned by Jerome Ryan (his wife, Euphrosine LaFontaine, appears to be deceased at this time).  Lot Two ran from the east boundary of Lot One a distance of 672 feet east and was owned by Robert B. Kendall.  Lot Three, also possessed by Kendall, was 720 feet wide.  Lot Four which was 528 feet wide was owned by Joseph H. Bellande, his wife, Roseline LaFauce, and his sister-in-law, Azalie LaFauce.  Azalie would marry George Clay (b. 1812), an Ohio millwright, circa 1849, and later Mr. Ryan.  Lot Five was in the possession of Robert B. Kendall and ran 198 feet. Madame Fournier owned to Bayou Bouzage (Inner Harbor) which completed the seven arpents fronting on the Bay of Biloxi.



Population of Ocean Springs 183 of which 52 were slaves.[Bellande count from Federal Census]  


The Louisville & Nashville Railroad was born March 5, 1850, when it was granted a charter by the Commonwealth of Kentucky “...to build a railroad between Louisville, Kentucky, and the Tennessee state line in the direction of Nashville." On December 4, 1851, an act of the Tennessee General Assembly authorized the company to extend its road from the Tennessee state line to Nashville.  Laying of track began at Ninth Street and Broadway in Louisville in May of 1853. By 1855, the founding fathers of the L&N, most of them Louisville citizens, had raised nearly $3 million to finance the construction. The first train to operate over the railroad ran on August 25, 1855, when some 300 people traveled eight miles from Louisville at a speed of 15 mph!


Benjamin L.C. Wailes (1797-1852), State geologist of Mississippi, viewed the village of Back Bay, present day D'Iberville, from Biloxi on August 27, 1852, and observed the following:  Rode in the morning, after a call from Judge Smith, to Back Bay 2 miles, which is the extension of the Bay of Baluxi (sic).  Found a steam ferry running across where it seems to be a mile in width.  The extensive brick yard of Mr. Kendall, where bricks are made on a very extensive scale from dry compressed earth by steam power, was in sight of the opposite side, about two miles distant.  A number of small craft were in the Bay, and several along the shore were undergoing repairs.  Several steam mills, which are very numerous on the Bay, for sawing pine timber, were also in view.(Wailes, 1854)


William Gray Kendall (1812-1872) was a Kentucky lawyer and entrepreneur residing at New Orleans, who in January 1846, purchased a fifty-acre tract of land at Ocean Springs in Section 30, T7S-R8W with 800 feet fronting on the Bay of Biloxi, between the present day Shearwater Pottery and Weeks Bayou.  On this beautiful, high ground facing Deer Island to the south, he built a residence, icehouse, small cemetery.   Mr. Kendall was postmaster at NOLA in 1854 and operated the Biloxi Steam Brick Works at present day D'Iberville.  Kendall's brick making operation utilized over 160 slaves before it went bankrupt circa 1855.



On January 19, 1853, Robert Little was appointed Postmaster at Lynchburg Springs [now Ocean Springs].   This village on the east side of Biloxi Bay, which had been the site of Fort Maurepas, the 1699 French beachhead of Colonial Louisiana, had been known through the years as Biloxey, Vieux Biloxey, and prior to Lynchburg Springs, East Biloxi.  It acquired the name “Lynchburg Springs” from George Lynch (1815-1880+), a native of Maryland.(The Daily Picayune, February 4, 1853, p. 3) 


[The Daily Crescent [NOLA], May 10, 1853, p. 2]


Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1894) and Warrick Martin (1810-1854+) erected the Ocean Springs Hotel on Jackson Avenue near Cleveland Avenue.  It opened for business on June 19, 1853 under the management of Enoch Everett (1813-1853+), a Massachusetts born teacher who resided at New Orleans.(The Daily Picayune, June 18, 1853, p. 2)


Yellow Fever struck Biloxi on June 29th, when it was brought to Biloxi by someone from New Orleans.  Dr. Andreas Byrenheidt (1768-1858) reported following the crisis that there were  533 cases of Yellow Fever in Biloxi, which resulted in 111 deaths.  He estimated that the population at this time was 5500 people, which included summer tourists and those fleeing the epidemic at New Orleans.(Testimony of Dr. A. Byrenheidt, M.D. in Report of the Sanitary Commission of NOLA on the Yellow Fever of 1853, 1854, p. 540)


The Yellow Fever epidemic at New Orleans killed about 10,000 of the 30,000 persons infected with the mosquito borne virus.  It earned the Crescent City the epithet "Necropolis of the South"


Enoch Everitt of the Ocean Springs Hotel sponsored a regatta at Ocean Springs from July 21st to July 23rd hosting yachtsman from the Mississippi Coast, New Orleans, and Mobile.  The course was sailed clockwise from the wharf at Ocean Springs around Deer Island and back.  Participants were: Sylph, J.G. Robinson; Venture, S. Story;Stingaree, Stingaree Club; Sea Serpent, Captain Walker; Secret, A. McIlhenny; Eagle, J.O. Nixon; Edith, T. Byrnes;Kate, W. Dearing; and the Vision.  The last two vessels were from Mobile.  Creole, the local steam packet, followed the racers with well wishers and a musical band. (The Daily Picayune, July 13, 1853, p. 2 and July 23, 1853)



Frederick G. Moeling (1835-1880), pronounced “mailing”, was the new Postmaster at “Ocean Springs”.  His appointment date was December 12, 1854.  “Ocean Springs” took its name from the Ocean Springs Hotel, which had been erected in 1853 by Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1894) and Warrick Martin (1810-1854+).  The US Post Office here has been called Ocean Springs since this time.


The Gazette, a newspaper owned by George Allen Cox (1811-1887), was published at Ocean Springs.


Lofton Jennings (1819-1873), born in Maine and resident of New Orleans, took over the lease and management of the Ocean Springs Hotel when it  opened June 1st.(The Daily Picayune, June 2, 1854, p. 3)



The Daily Picayune, February 20. 1855, p. 5. 

Eye of Hurricane of September 15-16 passed over Bay St. Louis.



The Last Islands [Isles Dernieres] Hurricane mauls this seaside resort off of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana on August 11th and kills about 200 people.  According to modern estimates by the NOAA the storm was probably aCategory 4 hurricane with central pressure of around 934 mb. It tied with Hurricane Hugo as the 10th most intense hurricane to hit the mainland United States.



 In 1859, Joseph H. Bellande (1813-1907) sold to Bishop William H. Elder of the Diocese of Natchez a lot measuring 192 x 100 feet for the first site of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church on Porter Avenue  for $100.



Population of Ocean Springs 336 of which 57 were slaves.[Bellande count from Federal Census]


John B. Toulme (1795-1860), native of Saint Domingue, now Haiti, expired at Bay St. Louis, on August 17th.  He was a pioneer settler of this village and assisted General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) with information on the British invasion forces in this area during the War of 1812.(The Daily Picayune, August 25, 1860, p. 2)



The War of the Rebellion or American Civil War commences on April 12, 1861 in South Carolina.   


“The Live Oak Rifles”, Company A, 3rd Mississippi Infantry Regiment, C.S.A., were sworn into State military service on September 18, 1861, on the Sardin G. Ramsay (1837-1920) homestead and farm, south of Vancleave. 3rd Sergeant Sardin G. Ramsay was one of the seven members of the Ramsay family of Jackson County to serve in this military unit.(Howell, To Live and Die in Dixie, 1991, p. 59 and p. 552) 




The Civil War ends on April 9, 1865 in Virginia.





Population of Ocean Springs 313 people.[Bellande count from Federal Census]   


Captain Charles N. Walker (1821-1870), age 49 years and steamboat captain who worked between NOLA and Mobile, died at Ocean Springs on January 15, 1870.(The New Orleans Times, January 18, 1870, p.6)


On Saturday night inst, Messrs Edward Keith [O' Keefe] and Blaze Leitzler had a difficulty, resulting in the death of Leitzler, who received a fatal wound in the bowels and back with a pocket knife. So far as we have been able to gather the particulars, they are as follows: Ned Keith went to the barroom of Leitzler in search of a friend, and when he knocked at the door Leitzler answered, opened the door and asked Keith what he wanted. Keith replied that he came after his friend (naming him) and must see him, but refused to go in and drink with Leitzler; whereupon Leitzler pushed Keith away from the door, at the same time telling him he did not care a d—n for him or his friend. They then clinched and fell to the ground, Leitzler being topmost, and during the scuffle Leitzler received the wounds from which he died a few hours after, notwithstanding the best medical aid that could be procured in the town. It is a lamentable affair; they were both old citizens with families.  Mr. Keith immediately took the Creole (steamer) for East Pascagoula, where he at once gave himself up to the Sheriff, Mr. John C. Clark, who delivered the prisoner to our Sheriff last Sunday, who placed him in jail, where he awaits his examination in Jackson County.[The Daily Picayune, October 26, 1870]


On October 29, 1870, the New Orleans, Mobile, & Chattanooga Railroad (Chartered 1866) completed the rail line between Mobile and New Orleans.  Rail service commenced on November 21, 1870.


R.A Van Cleave (1840-1908) is erecting a store near the depot.  Town lots near the depot were deemed overpriced by The Handsboro Democrat as Ocean Springs was regarded as a village.(The NOLA Republican, December 28, 1870, p. 8)



The N.O.M. & C. was reorganized on April 18, 1871 and became the New Orleans, Mobile & Texas Railroad.




[The Weekly Clarion [Jackson, Mississippi], 16 July 1874, p. 1]



An editorial in The Star of Pascagoula blasted the New Orleans, Mobile & Texas Railroad as "nothing more that or less than a gang of highway robbers, entitled to as little consideration from the people as so many bandits who rob and plunder the weak and defenseless in defiance of the law.  The only remedy for these wrongs is the sale of the road.  Refuse to patronize the road, even if undergo inconvenience in doing so.(The Star of Pascagoula, May 22, 1875, p. 2)


In June, D.B. Seal, District Attorney of Hancock County filed litigation against the New Orleans, Mobile, & Chattanooga Railroad (sic?).  The plaintiffs were asking that the railroad build a draw bridge across the Pearl River.  The present bridge was blocking the East Pearl River channel, which was needed for the lumber trade.(The Star of Pascagoula, June 12, 1875, p. 3)





[The Handsboro Democrat-Star, July 1, 1876, p. 3]



In February 1877, the citizens of Ocean Springs organized an improvement society to beautify and refurbish the local streetscapes.(The Star of Pascagoula, February 9, 1877, p. 1)


On April 1st, the New Orleans, Mobile & Texas Railroad almost doubled it fare to $.05 per mile.  Before the passenger rate increase the cost of a round trip ticket to New Orleans from Pascagoula was $5 and to Mobile $2.  After increase, the New Orleans fare was $10 and that to Mobile $4.10.(The Star of Pascagoula, April 6, 1788, p. 1)


In May 1877, Mr. Fontz of Paducah, Kentucky and Mr. Leftwich of Tuscaloosa, Alabama acquired property at Ocean Springs.(The Star of Pascagoula, May 18, 1877, p. 1)


In July 1877, Vigilant Fire Company No. 3 of New Orleans came to stay at the Illing House for a three day respite.  They brought a band and held a ball, which was well-attended.  The Baptist community held an ice cream festival to raise funds for a new sanctuary.  Mr. Gueringer, the railroad agent, auctioned off the cakes-some selling for $2.50 to $3.00 to as high as $10.(The Star of Pascagoula, July 20, 1877, p. 1)



A monthly mite meeting was held in early April at the home of Mrs. Lyman Bradford [nee Cynthia Davis (1813-1887) and the widow of Lyman Bradford (1804-1858)] two miles east of Ocean Springs.  R.A. Van Cleave (1840-1908), local merchant was in attendance and $11.25 was collected for the new Baptist Church under construction at Ocean Springs.  Guest were served cakes, pastries, meats, candies, and fruits.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 12, 1878)


In late April 1878, R.A. Van Cleave (1840-1908) held a benefit at his home to raise funds to erect a new Baptist Church at Ocean Springs.(The Star of Pascagoula, May 3, 1878, p. 3)


In the late summer and early fall, there were approximately one hundred seventy-five cases of yellow feverrecorded at Ocean Springs from the nearly six hundred people believed to have been here at the time.  From this population about thirty deaths were recorded.  Many were small children. 



During the 1880s, Ocean Springs saw the ground work laid for its future as an agricultural and horticultural center.  Parker Earle (1831-1917), William A. Sigerson (1844-1906),



Population of Ocean Springs 560 people.[Bellande count from Federal Census]


The Van Cleave Hotel opened on May 1, 1880.  The Pascagoula Democrat-Star of May 7, 1880 revealed: This entirely new and comfortable hotel opened on the 1st of May, 1880, and will remain open all the year round for the accommodation of regular and transient boarders.  This hotel being entirely new and elegantly fitted up, and with large, well ventilated rooms lighted by gas, boarders will find every comfort desired.  Special arrangements made for family.  Rates moderate.


The L&N Railroad leased the property of the N.O.M. & T. on May 8, 1880. 


In July 1880, Jefferson Davis (1808-889), former CSA president, and Varina Howell Davis (1826-1905), his spouse, visited and spent the day at the Ocean Springs Hotel.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 23, 1880, p. 3)


On October 30, 1880 the Ocean Springs Fire Company No. 1 was duly organized with forty-one active members and eighteen honorary members.  It was the first fire company in the State to receive a charter, which wassigned by Governor John M. Stone on September 22, 1881.  R.A. Van Cleave, president; Robert W. Lewis, vice-president; A. von Rosambeau, secretary, and Thomas Cochran, treasurer.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, November 26, 1880, p. 3 and Volunteer Fire Companies of Ocean Springs, Ms., 1961, p. 3)



In March 1881, Father John C. Ahern (1841-1881+), an Irish immigrant and pastor of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church was arrested and fined $35  for firing a pistol at C.F. Emery, principal of the Scranton Public Schools.  Both men had guns on the streets of Ocean Springs and had been in a recent disagreement.  Sheriff Clark jailed Father Ahern in Pascagoula.  Professor Emery was not incarcerated.  Professor Emory departed Ocean Springs in May 1881 for Fort Smith, Arkansas to practice law.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 11, 1881, p. 3 and May 20, 1881, p. 3)


In April 1881, Father Francis Janssens (1843-1897), Dutch born missionary Catholic priest, was appointed the fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Natchez.


In May 1881, Elder I.A. Hailey of Louisville, Kentucky arrived at Scranton [Pascagoula] to serve as pastor of the Baptist churches at Moss Point, Scranton, and Ocean Springs.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 20, 1881, p. 3)


On October 5, 1881, the L&N Railroad purchased all the assets of the reorganized New Orleans, Mobile, & Texas Railroad for $6,000,000.  This acquisition included the Ponchartrain Railroad which ran seven mile from New Orleans to Milneburg on Lake Ponchartrain, and the one hundred forty-one miles of track, depots, the creosote plant at West Pascagoula (Gautier), stations, station houses, section houses, rolling stock, etc. between Mobile and New Orleans. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 5, p. 299) 



On September 9, 1882, probably the most memorable event to take place at the Van Cleave Hotel and possibly in Ocean Springs occurred.  This special occasion was the military review by Jefferson Davis (1808-1889), former President of the Confederate States of America, of the Reichard Battalion and German Guards of New Orleans under the command of Major Maximillian Hermann.  The troops were accompanied to Ocean Springs by Wolf's band.  The train, which carried the military personnel, stopped at Beauvoir for Davis and his daughter with the band playing the "Bonnie Blue Flag".  When they arrived at Ocean Springs, the uniformed Ocean Springs Fire Company greeted them in a heavy rain at the depot.  The honored troops marched to the splendidly decorated Van Cleave Hotel where they were welcomed by R.A. Van Cleave (1880-1908), President of the Ocean Springs Fire Company.  After a review by Jefferson Davis, a reception with champagne punch sponsored by W.B. Schmidt (1823-1900), wealthy merchant of New Orleans, was held in the parlor of the hotel.  The festivities of the day were concluded with a grand military ball at Schmidt's Ocean Springs Hotel.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 9, 1882 and September 16, 1882)



Parker Earle (1831-1917) recently moved to Ocean Springs from southern Illinois [Anna] and former president of the American Fruit Growers Association acquired over 20,000 acres of land in Jackson County.  He planted over 20,000 peach trees and 10,000 vines in orchards and vineyards north of Old Fort Bayou.  One of these tracts called the Earle Farm would become known as the Rose Farm from which Rose Farm Road got its name.  Also at this time, William A. Sigerson (1810-1897) from Ohio had 20,000 pear trees near Ocean Springs of the Keifer, LeConte, and Bartlett variety.(The Biloxi Herald, January 14, 1888, p. 1)




Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) died at New Orleans on December 6th.  His remains were interred in the Metairie Cemetery.






US Federal Census burned.  No population count for Ocean Springs.


Father F. Charles Bohmert (1844-1890), native of Alsace and pastor of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church,committed suicide on June 24th.(The Times Picayune, June 28, 1890, p. 8)


Frederick M. Weed (1850-1926) sold an artesian well to Alfred E. Lewis (1862-1933) in October 1890.  Located on Church Street behind present day Bayou Sporting Goods.  Mr. Lewis became known as the "Artesian Prince" because he furnished free water to the citizens of Ocean Springs for four public fountains (drinking troughs for horses).  He also supplied water freely for fighting fires.  Mr. Lewis built a hostel on the southwest corner of Jackson and Porter.  It became known as the Artesian House.(Jackson County, Mississippi Land Deed Book 12, p. 98 and Minutes of the Town of Ocean Springs, July 4, 1893 and January 2, 1894)



In late January, Louis Sullivan and James Charnley of Chicago were guests at Frye's Ocean Springs Hotel awaiting completion of their East Beach homes.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 30, 1891, p. 1)


H.H. Curtis of Wisconsin is a guest of Mr. Holcombe, a winter resident and summer citizen of Chicago.  Mr. Curtis is in town to check in real estate investments and supervise the men in his employ that are preparing Alto Park for further development.  Colonel Sigerson and Colonel Stuart are engaged in greeting new arrivals from the Northinterested in the "land boom" here.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 30, 1891, p. 1)


In April, the L&N Railroad built an iron turn-table at Ocean Springs.(The Pascagoula-Democrat-Star, April 24, 1891, p. 2)


Parker Earle & Sons of Ocean Springssucceeded the Winter Park Lumber Company, in the manufacturing of yellow pine lumber.(The Biloxi Herald, July 11, 1891, p. 4)


Potable water was introduced  into local homes in late 1891.  The Biloxi Herald reported in January 1892, that "the streets (of Ocean Springs) that were torn up for the purpose of introducing the artesian water into residences should be put in as good condition as they were not left in ruts and holes, as is the case in several instances".(The Biloxi Herald, January 2, 1892, p. 4)




Bishop Thompson of the Episcopal Church delivered an inspiring sermon at the Baptist Church, which the Episcopalians are using until their new sanctuary is completed.(The Biloxi Herald, January 9, 1892, p. 8)


Ocean Springs Hook and Ladder Volunteer Fire Company was organized in April.  H.H. Beyer, president; W.R. Simmons, vice president; and James B. Garrard, secretary.(The Biloxi Herald, April 16, 1892, p. 1)


Town of Ocean Springs incorporated on September 9, 1892.


H. Eugene Tiblier Jr. (1866-1936), found a sunken French vessel in the Back Bay of Biloxi beneath the shallow water over the family oyster lease, near the L&N Railroad bridge.  Captain Tiblier hired Joseph "Pep" Suarez (1840-1912), who owned the schooner, Maggie, to assist in the salvage of artifacts from the hold of the sunken ship.  His sons, Albert Tiblier and Vital Tiblier, dove on the oyster bank during the salvage operations.  According to a report ofThe Pascagoula Democrat-Star of September 23, 1892, the Tiblier family recovered four cannons, swords and scabbards, some muskets, cannon balls, wooden sheaves, fire brick, iron braces, and rock ballast.


The Ocean Springs Signal-published only in 1892 by C.W. Crozier and F.L. Drinkwater.(C.E. Schmidt, Ocean Springs French Beachhead, 1972, pp. 80-81).



The Youth's Dramatic Club of Ocean Springs gave its initial performance on January 27th at the Firemen's Hall for the benefit of the Ocean Springs Episcopal Church.(The Biloxi Herald, January 21, 1893, p. 8)   


In late May, the corporal remains of Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) were sent from New Orleans by a L&N funeral car to Richmond, Virginia for burial on May 31st in the Hollywood Cemetery.(The Biloxi Herald, May 29, 1893, p. 1)


The Ocean Springs Leader-published in 1893 by F.L. Drinkwater (Regina Hines Ellison, Ocean Springs, 1892, p. 27.)


The Mexican Gulf Coast Illustrated written by T.H. Glenn of Ocean Springs is complete and being bound. Mr. Glenn was renting Spring Hill, the Wing Cottage on Old Fort Bayou.(The Biloxi Herald, January 2, 1892, p. 8, January 9, 1892, p. 8, and July 8, 1893, p. 8)


The Columbian Exposition Edition, an eight page and eight column journal, was published by The Biloxi Herald in July.  G.W. Wilkes, publisher, and W.L. Gilbert were responsible for this splendid publication.(The Biloxi Herald, July 22, 1893, p. 1 and July 29, 1893, p. 1)


Captain Pablo Cox (1842-1893) was lost in the Cheniere Caminda Storm of early October 1893.  He was aboard the Alphonsine, a schooner owned by the Biloxi Canning Company, when the tempest hit them.  Four additional sailors on the schooner from Ocean Springs were also drowned.(The Biloxi Herald, October 5, 1893, p. 1)



            "Desoto Avenue a new street has been graded and ditched."(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 23, 1894, p. 3)



[The Southern Live Stock Journal, May 28, 1894, p. 7]



'The Westbrooks', local baseball club of Ocean Springs, lost to the 'Lemons' of Biloxi 29 to 7 at Ocean Springs.  The battery for Ocean Springs was Fayard, Seeman (sic), and Katchardt (sic).  Biloxi's battery was Clark and Henley.  Clark struck out ten Westbrooks, while Seeman (sic) fanned only two 'Lemons'.(The Biloxi Herald, May 11, 1895, p. 8)


fire in late September 1895 had destroyed the round-house which was adjacent to and north of the L&N depot.  The depot was damaged by the blaze and water resulting from efforts to squelch the blaze.  The station was entirely renovated in November 1895.  Agent Weed, made numerous interior changes and the interior and exterior of the building was painted.  Many felt that the Ocean Springs depot was the most attractive on this division of the L&N and a credit to the company. The Pascagoula Democrat-StarOctober 4, 1895).



An indication that Schmidt & Ziegler were losing interest in their Ocean Springs Hotel occurred in June 1896, when they sold the venerable Marble Springs to the City of Ocean Springs for $1.00.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. Book 17, pp. 431-432)            


William Gorenflo (1844-1932) of Biloxi sold the Town of Ocean Springs 10,000 barrels of oyster shells to pave the streets of Ocean Springs.  Jerry O'Keefe (1860-1911) bid $185 to do the work.(The Pascagoula Democratic-Star, November 27, 1896, p. 3 and The Biloxi Herald, November 28, 1896, p. 8)



The Ocean Springs Wave-published for 10 months in 1896 by Arthur Soule.  Jules Paul Soule [1855-1896], editor.  Two issues (1896) available at Mississippi Department of Archives and History and on microfilm at the Pascagoula Public Library. 


Jules Paul Soule, editor of The Biloxi Reviewwas mortally wounded by John H. Miller (1847-1928), editor of The Biloxi Herald on December 7th.  Captain Miller was exonerated of manslaughter charges in July 1897.(The Biloxi Herald, December 12, 1896, p. 8 and July 3, 1897, p. 1)


 The 1300-foot sand bar at Horn Island will be cut away and 600 feet dredged on either side.(The Biloxi Herald, December 12, 1896, p. 5)


Beginning December 14th, the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad became a regular U.S. Mail route.(The Biloxi Herald, December 12, 1896, p. 5)


Rev. Nelson Ayres, former Episcopalian minister for Ocean Springs and the Mississippi Coast, was ordained a Roman Catholic priest at NOLA by Archbishop Francis Janssens (1843-1897), fourth Archbishop of NOLA, in mid-December.(The Biloxi Herald, December 26, 1896, p. 1)





[The Times-Democrat [NOLA] Febuary 19, 1897-courtesy of Jeff Rosenberg-DMR]


In February, Albert E. Lee (1873-1936) of Hammond, Louisiana was in Ocean Springs to determine if a local journal was warranted.  In his thirty-nine years in town, Mr. Lee would go on to own and publish three local journals:The Progress, The Ocean Springs News, and The Jackson County Times.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star February 10, 1897, p. 3)

William S. Van Cleave erected a small, one-story, frame, store building juxtaposed to the family home and situated on the northeast corner of Washington Avenue and Desoto.  This 750 square-foot, general store building was razed in March 1903, after he had formed a partnership with Junius P. Van Cleave, his brother.(The Pascagoula Democrat Star, March 5, 1897, p. 3 and January 27, 1903, p. 3)

 Joseph Kotzum (1842-1915) sold the Town of Ocean Springs a strip of land thirty feet wide and one hundred feet long to continue Desoto Avenue from Cash Alley to State Street.(JXCOMs. Land Deed Bk. 34, p. 463)

Marshall Tardy had his men working to beautify Martin Avenue.  They were also shelling the Beach Road.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 16, 1897, p. 3)

 Ocean Springs Hook and Ladder Volunteer Fire Company held a grand May ball in late April in order to raise capital to acquire a building lot.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 16, 1897, p. 3)

Dr. Juan Guiteras (1852-1925), government Yellow Fever authority, examined twenty-eight cases of fever at Ocean Springs in early September and reported that twenty-five people had dengue fever with three cases undiagnosed.(The Daily Picayune, September 9, 1897, p. 1)

The Progress- A.E. Lee (1874-1936) publisher and editor from 1897-1903.  Lee sold to Ernest Beaugez.  Plant destroyed by fire March 4, 1905.  Some issues (1904-1905) available at Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and Chancery Court of Jackson County Archives in Pascagoula.



The Spanish American War began on April 21st.[see Civil War and Spanish American War on webpage]



Captain John Johnson of Ocean Springs was probably the heaviest loser of anyone in town from the cold.  A few days previous he had purchased 700 barrels of oysters at fancy prices, all of which froze, entailing a loss of nearly $800.  To make matters worse, orders for oysters have been pouring in all week which cannot be filled.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, February 21, 1899, p. 8)


Battery D, 1st Regiment Artillery, Mississippi National Guard was reorganized on May 6th.  Joseph B. Garrard (1871-1915), Captain; Ross A. Switzer, 1st Lieutenant; Harry P. Halstead, 2nd Lieutenant; Louis D. Schmidt, 1st Sergeant; and Edward F. Illing, Quartermaster.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 12, 1899, p. 3)


Frederick M. Dick was appointed manager of the Joseph B. Rose Farm, north of Ocean Springs.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, June 23, p. 3)


H. Piser & Company of Mobile acquired over 50,000 pounds of Jackson County wool through the Davis Brothers, their local agent.  The price was 19 1/2 cents per pound.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 7, 1899, p. 3)


Light for local houses was created with acetylene gas.  At this time, George W. Dale (1872-1953) provided the service locally.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, July 7, 1899, p. 3)


The Mayor and Board of Alderman passed an ordinance giving the American telephone & Telegraph Company the right to construct and operate lines of telephones and telegraphs along the streets and alleys of town.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 4 1899, p. 3)


The Mayor and Board of Alderman accepted the survey and plan of the Evergreen Cemetery made by Fred Hess of Pascagoula.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 4 1899, p. 3)            


The Colored Camp Meeting in progress is largely attended by White people as well as Colored.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, August 11, 1899, p. 3)


H.F. Russell (1858-1940) and Dr. Oscar Lee Bailey (1870-1938) met with Mayor Daniel Nash (1859-1900+) of Biloxi to have quarantine restrictions lifted on the healthy Gulf Coast resort towns.(The Biloxi Herald, September 19, 1899, p. 8)


Due to the 'infamous quarantine', the news and other items from Ocean Springs did not reach The Pascagoula Democrat-Star for publication.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, September 22, 1899, p. 3)


Ernest Garic (1862-1899) and son, Adrian Garic (1887-1899), drowned in Old Fort Bayou near the Washington Avenue ferry on September 30th.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 6, 1899, p. 3)


A new map of the Evergreen Cemetery was drawn by Professor Q.D. Sauls and was accepted by theReverend Oren Switzer, Joseph Kotzum, and George W. Davis, appointed trustees.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 13, 1899, p. 3)


Mrs. Pauline Ryan Bellman (1811-1899) died on October 20th.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, October 20, 1899, p. 3)



The population of Ocean Springs 1256 people [925 white and 331 black].[Ray L. Bellande count from Federal Census]


Population of Jackson County 16513 people with 10697 white and 5815 black.


Edward W. Wickey (1866-1900+) of Indianapolis, Indiana asked the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for afranchise to establish an electric light plant and ice factory.  The franchise was reported granted to Mr. Wickey in mid-January.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, January 5, 1900, p. 3 and January 19, 1900, p. 3)


The Cumberland Telephone & Telegraph Company commenced installation of the first telephone system in Ocean Springs.  Business and residential telephones became operational in late April with Mrs. Olive Perrigrin Terry (1878-1900+) as operator in charge.  Will Terry (d. 1899), her spouse, was killed at Plaquemine, Louisiana on April 28, 1899.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, February 2, 1900 and May 4, 1900, p. 3, and April 28, 1899, p. 3)    


Narcisse Seymour (1849-1931), pioneer seafood shipper, was sending shrimp to Mobile, New Orleans, and Pascagoula.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, March 16, 1900)


The Big White Public School on Porter and Dewey was completed on April 15, 1900, by contractor, Frank Bourgh.  Professor Q.D. Sauls was in charge of the nearly two hundred students in attendance.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, April 13, 1900)


Nine hundred head of sheep driven to Ocean Springs from the Vancleave ranches of H.C. Havens, Thomas E. Ramsay, and George W. Tootle.  They were shipped to W.L. Bramblett in three railcars to Paris, Kentucky.(The Pascagoula-Democrat-Star, May 18, 1900, p. 3)


The Methodist Episcopal Church on the southeast corner of Porter and Rayburn was dedicated on September 16, 1900.  The first service was held in mid-May although the edifice had not yet been completed.  A new Sanctuarycommenced services here October 21, 1962.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 25, 1900, p. 3 and


Mrs. Thomas Hanson, nee    Ryan, widow of Thomas Hanson, Danish immigrat, expired at Ocean Springs on the 29th of October.(The Biloxi Daily Herald, October 30, 1900, p. 8)


The Ocean Springs Drug Store building of Herman Nill (1863-1904) situated on the northwest corner of Washington Avenue and Porter was destroyed in a large conflagration on December 2, 1900.  The building also housed the Cumberland Telephone Exchange and office of Dr. E.A. Riggs (1861-1903).  Mr. Nill’s brother-in-law, Caspar Vahle (1867-1922), had his livery stable burned the same night.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, December 7, 1900)


Pioneer citizen, Joseph Catchot (1823-1900), a native of Mahon, Menorca, died.  He was the father of Antonio J. Catchot (1864-1954), Mayor, Fire Chief, and L&N bridge builder.  Joseph Catchot arrived here in 1848.