Know Our Homes II


1923-Knotzsch-Fussell House-305 Ward Avenue

1923-Maxwell-Bellande House-525 Jackson Avenue

1924-Hellmers-Duckett Cottage-918 Calhoun Avenue

1925-Del Castle-Legate Place-Government Street






 Knotzsch-Fussell House-Built in 1923 by Gideon 'Git' N. Tillman for August Knotzsch (1864-1943), a printer and engraver, from New Orleans, this vernacular bungalow is now owned by Phoebe Jane Pedersen Fussell and Jeff M. Fussell.  Phoebe is the granddaughter of August Knotzsch and Carrie Jane Baker Knotzsch (1865-1948).[l-r] Jeff M. Fussell and Phoebe Jane Pedersen Fussell.  Image made October 27, 2006 by Ray L. Bellande


In a recent conversation with Anne Cavanaugh Burke, the spouse of David Burke, retired marine scientist, and longtime resident of the 1913 Connor-Burke House, situated at 406 Ward Avenue, Anne related to me that I should visit with Phoebe P. Fussell, the delightful lady who lives at 305 Ward Avenue.  Anne told me that Mrs. Fussell’s grandfather had built her home and that he hailed from New Orleans.  Excited about discovering the origins of another Ocean Springs’ architectural treasure, I soon knocked on her door.  Both Phoebe and Jeff M. Fussell, her Texas born spouse, were very hospitable and welcomed me into their well-preserved bungalow.  The interior of the Fussell house is in as near original condition of any that I have ever witnessed at Ocean Springs.  The Standard toilet is dated January 10, 1923 and the kitchen and household appurtenances are also 1920s vintage. 


The Fussells have been working with William “Bill” R. Allen III, local architect, on a large addition to the rear of their home.  It will include a bedroom, a bath, utility room, and two-car garage.  Construction startup is anticipated in the first quarter of 2007.

Knotzsch family and house


Phoebe and Jeff M. Fussell reside in the Knotzsch House.  ‘Knotzsch’ is German and pronounced “Notch”.  August Knotzsch (1864-1943) of New Orleans, the first owner of this vernacular bungalow, was Phoebe P. Fussell’s grandfather.  August, called Gus, was born at New Orleans, the son of William Knotzsch and Fida Bopp, both European immigrants from Germany and Switzerland respectively.  August appears to have had a least two brothers, William Edward Knotzsch (b. 1858) and Edward F. Knotsch (1862-1906).  In 1890-1891, the August and Edward Knotzsch were a printer and clerk respectively for John Douglas, a printing company at New Orleans.  They resided with their widowed mother at 60 South Prieur Street in the Crescent City.(New Orleans 1890-1891 City Directory)


On February 26, 1895August Knotzsch married Caroline Jane ‘Carrie’ Baker (1865-1948), a native of Mobile, Alabama and the daughter of William G. Baker, a native of Ohio  andAnne Jane Dunlop, (1836-1880), a native of Ireland.  William G. Baker married Anne Jane Dunlop at Mobile on May 22, 1861.  Anne Jane D. Baker had a sister, Phoebe Dunlop (1828-1912), who married Thomas Moran.  The corporal remains of August and Carrie B. Knotzsch, Anne Jane D. Baker, and Phoebe D. Moran were interred in the Magnolia Cemetery at Mobile, Alabama.(King, 1986, p. 58 and Phoebe P. Fussell, October 27, 2006)

Pedersen family

At New Orleans on December 21, 1895, Eugenia Edna Knotzsch Pedersen (1895-1981), was born to August and Carrie Baker Knotzsch.  Circa 1926, Eugenia E. Knotzsch marriedOluf  Kristian Pedersen (1894-1959), a native of Bergen, Norway.  He had immigrated to the United States in 1910.  At New Orleans, Oluf K. Pedersen made his livelihood as the Captain of an ocean going vessel, primarily working for steamship companies in the banana trade between Central America and the port of New Orleans.  In 1930, the Pedersen family was domiciled with August and Carrie B. Knotzsch on Dupre Street in the Mid-City section of the Crescent City.  At this time, August Knotzsch was employed as a steel engraver at a foundry.  The Knotzsch home was valued at $10,000.  A daughter, Phoebe Jane Pedersen, was born to Eugenia and Oluf Pedersen at New Orleans in 1927.  It interesting to note that her godparents were New Orleans’ neighbors, Una Pace Elizardi (b. 1877) and her son, Ralph Elizardi (1912-2002), both former residents of “Hillside”, at present day 207 Washington Avenue, now the post-Katrina lot of John and Germaine Gianni Weldon.(1930 Orleans Parish Federal Census R801, p. 7A, ED 32)


Eugenia K. Pedersen inherited her parents Ward Avenue property at Ocean Springs, Mississippi in February 1949, following the death of her mother.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 10681 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 105, pp. 444-446)


Land and construction

In January and February 1914, August Knotzsch acquired three lots and a third of a fourth lot in the Alto Park Addition land subdivision from Josephine B. Weaver and Henry T. Norris for $550.  The Alto Park Addition was platted in February 1890, by H.H. Curtis of Merrill, Wisconsin.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 39, p. 372, and Bk. 40, pp. 4118-419)

The Knotzsch tract in the Alto Park Addition consisted of Lot 14, Lot 13, Lot 12, and a part of Lot 11 and situated on the northeast corner of Ward Avenue and Kensington in Section 30, T7S-R8W.  The Knotzsch-Fussell parcel has a frontage of two hundred feet on Ward Avenue and runs west for one hundred and sixty feet along Kensington for a total area of .735 acres.

In the spring of 1923, Gideon N. ‘Git’ Tillman (1872-1925), a local contractor, was hired by Gus Knotzsch to erect a bungalow for him primarily on Lot 12.  Simultaneously, Git Tillman was also building a house for Albert E. Lee (1874-1936), the editor of The Jackson County Times.  When the 1300 square-foot. Knotzsch bungalow was finished it could be described as: a front gable, wood-framed, vernacular bungalow with a cross-gabled roof gallery supported by two tapered columns.  Decorative corbels in the gable and projecting rafters add detail as well as the double hung windows with a unique rectangular, muntin pattern.   Gus Knotzsch referred to his Ocean Springs vacation home as ‘Linger-Longer’.(The Jackson County Times, April 27, 1923, p. 5 and May 14, 1923, p. 5 and Phoebe P. Fussell, October 27, 2006)


Carter and Forkert

Gus Knotzsche allowed James A. ‘Jim’ Carter (1875-1947), a local day laborer, to live on his property and in exchange, Carter took care of the yard and served as a watchman in the Knotzsch family absence.  Jim Carter planted the hydrangeas that have proliferated and dominate the well-landscaped front yard of the Knotzsch-Fussell home today.(Phoebe P. Fussell, October 27, 2006)

            Jim Carter was the son of Issac Carter and Anna Baker Carco (1860-1927).  He was also known as Jim Carco, as his widowed mother later married Eugene Carco (1830-1900).  Jim Carter grew up in poverty, but developed into the best pecan grafter in the Ocean Springs region.  He worked for Theo Bechtel (1863-1931), Charles Forkert (1854-1927), and Reinhold L. Schluter (1890-1966).  Jim Carter expired on Ward Avenue on June 11, 1947.  His corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.(J.K. Lemon, September 1990 and The Jackson County Times, June 14, 1947, p. 8)

Bay View Pecan Nursery

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)

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 ‘Nettie’ Haas Veillon (1869-1953), the daughter of married Margaretha Roth Haas Forkert (1844-1937), a Louisiana native of German parentage and the widow of George Haas.  Nettie Haas married late in life to Alceide Veillon (1862-1949).  In January 1935, she conveyed her step-father’s lands to German immigrant, Reinhold W. Schluter for $6500.(JXCO Land Deed Bk. 53, p. 27 and Bk. 66, pp. 550-552 and The Jackson County Times, May 15, 1937)

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 the Ocean Springs High School.(Schmidt, 1972, p. 130)


Some short years after Gus Knotzsch completed his vacation home at present day 305 Ward Avenue, he had another bungalow, called ‘Laff-a-Lot’, and similar in appearance built at 303 Ward on Lots 13 and 14.  Mr. Knotzsch utilized this structure as a rental, which it remains to the present day.  Some of the more notable family tenants through the years have been the families: Hutchinson; Forde; Dorrah; Findeisen; and Leticia Galbraith, Director of WAMA from 1993-1996.(Phoebe P. Fussell, October 27, 2006)

Fussell family

In 1952, Phoebe Jane Pedersen married Jeff  Monroe Fussell (b. 1922), a native of Ozona, Crockett County, Texas.  Jeff’’s father, J.A. Fussell (1884-1972), was a dentist and Vera Carmichael Fussell (1891-1983), his mother, was born at Fairburn, now a suburb of Atlanta in the Peach State.( 1930 Crockett County, Texas Federal Census R2312, p. 5B, ED 1  and Jeff M. Fussell, November 7, 2007) 

After graduating from the University of Texas in 1943, Jeff M. Fussell completed programs to gain an officer’s commission in the United States Navy.  He served in the South Pacific theatre aboard the USS Whitehurst-DE 634, a destroyer escort, as supply officer.  Jeff was in the Philippine Islands when the Japanese surrendered in September 1945.  Returning to the States, he joined the Alcoa Steamship Company at Mobile and New Orleans.  Jeff met Phoebe Jane Pedersen, a 1947 graduate of Loyola University, at New Orleans.  She had completed her studies in English and Spanish at Loyola while on an academic scholarship.  After graduation she also found employment with Alcoa Steamship in the Crescent City.(Phoebe P. and Jeff M. Fussell, November 7, 2006) 

Phoebe and Jeff M. Fussell are the parents of two children: David K. Fussell (b. 1954) of Austin, Texas and Susan Jane Fussell Pedersen, PhD, (b. 1959) of Bryan, Texas.  David is a computer programmer for IBM while Susan is a tenured faculty member in the Educational Psychology Department, a branch of the College of Education and Human Development at Texas A. & M. University.(Phoebe P. Fussell, October 27, 2006)

In November 1984, Phoebe Jane P. Fussell, inherited the Knotzsch bungalow on Ward Avenue from her mother, Eugenia K. Pedersen.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. P-664 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 835, p. 403) 


As a child, Phoebe Pedersen would spend summers with her parents at Ocean Springs.  Some of her most fond distant memories are crabbing with James ‘Bunch’ H. Friar (1882-1962) and Sarah V. Friar (1885-1986), his wife, and friends on the Community Pier on Biloxi Bay.  Phoebe can remember that as dusk fell, Edwin DeVendel Orrell (1876-1940), the son of Patrick H. Orrell (d. 1906) and Eugenie Lewis Orrell (1850-1932), would play classical music on his organ.  Mr. Orrell was blind and lived alone in the Connor-Burke House at present day 406 Ward Avenue.   Nettie Haas Veillon, also a neighbor, would polish her teeth with charcoal making them a very bright white.(Phoebe P. Fussell, October 27, 2006)


            Like her grandparents and parents, Phoebe and Jeff M. Fussell and their children utilized the Knotzsch bungalow as a vacation home.  Unfortunately, canal failures associated with the tidal surge and winds of Hurricane Katrina in late August 2005, resulted in the inundation and loss of their Harrison Avenue domicile in the Lake View area of the Crescent City.  The Fussells took refuge at 305 Ward Avenue during Katrina and do not plan to return to New Orleans.  Jeff M. Fussell retired from his New Orleans’ accounting and income tax prep business in 2005.



Clinton R. King, et al, Marriages at Mobile, Alabama 1856-1875, [Alabama Ancestors, Mobile, Alabama-1986]

Helen A. Thompson, The Magnolia Cemetery, 1974.


The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, April 27, 1923.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, May 14, 1923.

Personal communication:

Phoebe P. and Jeff M. Fussell-October-November 2006 at Ocean Springs, Mississippi.



525 Jackson Avenue


The Maxwell-Bellande Bungalow is situated at 525 Jackson Avenue in the Old Ocean Springs Historic District.  It is located on the S/2 of Lot 8- Block 31 of the Culmseig Map (1854) of Ocean Springs, Mississippi in Section 37, T7S-R8W.  Early land conveyances erroneously described the lot that this cottage was built on as the S/2 of Lot 7-Block 31.


525 Jackson Avenue


One-and-one-half story, wood frame house with a side gable roof.  Three bay, full width porch with Doric columns and a shed roof, which breaks into an open front gable over the vaulted middle bay.  Central door with the upper panel glazed.  Paired double-hung windows in outer bays.  Circa 1920.  Contributing.(Berggren, 1986, p. 10)

Early history

The Maxwell-Bellande Bungalow was completed in May 1923.  The local journal announced on May 19, 1923, that “Karl Maxwell’s new home on Jackson Avenue is completed and ready”.(The Jackson County Times, May 19, 1923, p. 5)


Prior to the erection of a home here by Karl Case Maxwell (1893-1958), the lot had remained vacant since antiquity.  The earliest surviving land records of Jackson County, Mississippi indicate that James and Lizzie Friar were in possession of Lot 8, Block 31 until they vended it to Margaret Elywert in August 1871.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 11, pp. 438-439)


Margaret Elywert

Margaret Elywert (d. 1900), sometimes called Margaret Elwood, was an Irish immigrant and spinster lady who resided at Ocean Springs in the late 19th Century.  Her sister, Ellen Elywert (1835-1900), married Stephen Starks (1860-1919).  Stephen was the son of William Starks, native of Pennsylvania and Nancy Davis (1799-1860+), who commenced her life in Georgia, the daughter of Samuel Davis I (1769-ca 1831) and Sally Balscher Davis (1776-1860+), both natives of North Carolina.  Joseph L. “Dode” Schrieber (1873-1951) related in The Gulf Coast Times in September 1949, that, “Steve Stark (sic) planted oak trees along that street (Washington Avenue) on Easter Sunday 1882”.(The Gulf Coast Times, September 2, 1949, p. 1)


Artesian House

In March 1885, Margaret Elywert for $150, sold the N/2 of Lot 8-Block 31 to George Ruppel, the son of George Ruppel and Margaret Rots.  In September 1884, Mr. Ruppel had married Joanna A. Franco (1865-1903), the daughter of Portuguese immigrant, Antonio M. Franco (1834-1891), and Genevieve Rodriguez Franco (1844-1915).  This tract had 50 feet on Jackson Avenue and 200 feet on Porter.  Here in the early 1890s, Alfred E. “Fred” Lewis (1862-1933) erected the Artesian House, sometimes called the Artesia House.  This small hostel later became the Anderson Apartments, which became a victim of the Depression, and the architectural gem was demolished in the summer of 1936, by Charles Braun of Biloxi.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 7, p. 484 and Lepre, 1991, p. 279 and The Jackson County Times,  July 18, 1936)


Elywert will

In her will, Margaret Elywert legated to her nephew, Samuel P. Starks (1860-1919), “all that part or ? of Lot 7 (sic) corner of Jackson and Porter in trust for the following uses and purposes: to sell said property on such terms and in such a manner as he sees fit, and after deducting the expenses of the sale to retain for his own use $100.  The residue to be paid to my niece, Mary Huddicans (sic), of New Orleans.”(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 902-1900)


In September 1877, Mary Haddican, the niece of Margaret Elywert, had acquired a part of Lot 1, Block 31 (Culsmeig Map of 1854) from Julia Egan (1833-1907), also an Irish immigrant.  Lot 1-Block 31 is situated on the southeast corner of Porter and Rayburn, which is now a part of the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church property.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 6, pp. 364-365)


Samuel P. Starks

Samuel P. Starks (1860-1919) was the son of Stephen Starks (1823-1882+) and Ellen Elywert (1835-1900), an Irish immigrant.  He had a brother, John Joseph Starks (1857-1920), who also lived at Ocean Springs, where he farmed and dealt in ice.  John J. Starks reared eleven children here with his spouse, Mary Burke (1863-1910+).  They had relocated to New Orleans circa 1915, and were residing there in July 1917, when their eldest son, Thomas Starks (1892-1917), was killed when his cargo vessel was sunk by a German submarine on a voyage to Brazil.(The Daily Herald, July 14, 1917)


In February 1886, Sam Starks married Isabelle Latimer (1863-1936), the daughter of Edwin Latimer and Mary Krohn.  Their children were: Margaret S. (J.Y.) Morgan (1886-1937+), Catherine S. (Peter E.) Quave Jr. (1888-1940), William Starks (1894-1894), Theresa Starks (1890-1968), Elisabeth Starks (1892-1896), Mary Camilia Starks (1895-1900+), James P. Starks (1898-1987), Cyril A. Starks (1900-1903), Edwin Starks (1902-1937+), Lillian Starks (1905-1937+), and Samuel Starks (1906-1993).


Samuel P. Starks made his livelihood as a butcher.  His residence and meat market were situated on the east side of Washington Avenue between County Road, now Government Street, and Bowen Avenue, in Lot 25 and the S/2 of Lot 26 of the Clay Strip.  The Al Fresco Restaurant is situated here today.  Samuel P. Starks acquired this now valuable commercial site from the widow, Julia Egan (1833-1907) and her three sons, in August 1882, for $125. (JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 33, pp. 226-227)


In December 1904, Samuel P. Starks was Marshall elect of Ocean Springs.  He defeated Casper Vahle (1867-1922) by twenty-five votes, 68 to 43.(Town of OS, Minute Bk. 2, pp. 301-302)


In February 1908, the Starks family moved to eastern Ocean Springs, when Frederick Oliver Johnson (1851-1938), a Danish sea captain residing in Algiers, Louisiana, sold Mrs. Isabella Latimer Starks 15.35 acres on the northeast corner of the Old Spanish Trail and Bechtel Boulevard for $1600 cash.  Captain Johnson and his spouse, Henrietta Hedman Johnson (1855-1922), were the parents of two daughters, Antoinette Emma Johnson Schmidt (1870-1956) and Carrie Ann Johnson Garrard Everhart (1886-1968), two women who are an integral part of our local history.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 33, p. 224) 

            Antoinette E. Johnson married Frank E. Schmidt circa 1900.  He worked as an oysterman until January 1901, when he took a lease from the F.J. Lundy Company on the E.W. Illing Bakery property located at 78-80 Washington Avenue.  She was the mother of Frank Oliver Schmidt (1902-1975), Charles Ernest Schmidt (1904-1988) and Harry Johnson Schmidt (1905-1997).  Arguably, these Ocean Springs men were to medicine and engineering what the Anderson brothers are to the art world.

Carrie Ann Johnson (1886-1968) married Joseph B. Garrard (1871-1915), and Alexander Fleet Everhart (1881-1957).  Mrs. Garrard-Everhart was in the hardware business, grew citrus fruit, and dealt in real estate at Ocean Springs.

In February 1962, the Samuel P. Starks house was relocated from the northeast corner of Government Street and Bechtel Boulevard to 3515 Government Street and is now in the possession Steven L. Shepard, a renown artist of national acclaim.

            In July 1904, Samuel P. Starks conveyed the S/2 of Lot 8- Block 31 to Mary C. Bellande (1860-1931) for $600, in July 1904.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 28, p. 342)           


Mary C. Bellande

Mary Anne Catchot Bellande (1860-1931) was the daughter of Antonio Catchot (1828-1885) and Elizabeth Hoffen (1838-1916).  Antonio Catchot was of Maltese descent and a native of the Spanish island of Menorca of the Balearic Island group in the western Mediterranean Sea.  Circa 1850, Senor A. Catchot arrived at Ocean Springs.  He was a pioneer in the Mississippi Gulf Coast oyster industry and may have started the first oyster house on the coast.  An oyster house was a small building about 20 feet square situated on pilings and utilized as a place to open and sell oysters.  It might be considered a precursor to a seafood factory.  The Catchot oyster shop was located at the foot of Jackson Avenue in the vicinity of the present day Ocean Springs Seafood of the Earl H. Fayard family.  This currently much debated tract of land remained in the possession of the Heirs of Antonio Catchot and his son-in-law, Antoine V. Bellande (1829-1918), until it was conveyed in September 1945, by Antonio “Toy” Catchot (1868-1952) to Edgar Pipes Guice (1899-1971) and George Harrison Leavenworth (1875-1956), doing business as Purity Seafood.  Earl H. Fayard acquired the “Catchot Oyster House” property in February 1962, from E.P. Guice.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 92, p. 226-227)

Antonio Catchot married Elizabeth Hoffen about 1854.  She was born in Bremen, Germany and had come to the United States about 1853.  Their children were: Elizabeth Catchot Camba Dunn (1854-1927), Joseph S. Catchot (1858-1919) called Joe Tony, Mary A. Catchot Bellande (1860-1931), and Antonio Catchot Jr., (1868-1952) who was familiarly known as Toy.

Antonio Catchot possessed several lots on Jackson Avenue and Rayburn Avenue, which remained in the family for many years.  For sometime, Mary C. Bellande and family resided on the west side of Jackson Avenue north of Cleveland.  Dr. Frank O. Schmidt’s Clinic, now the between


Eva L. Catchot and E.A. Bellande

Before her October 21, 1896, marriage to Captain Antoine V. Bellande, the widower of Marie Harvey (Hervai) (1840-1894), the daughter of Pierre Harvey (1810-1893) and Celina Moran (1811-1883), Mary Anne Catchot had a child born out of wedlock called Eva Louise Catchot (1880-1914).  The father was her brother-in-law, Francis H. Camba (1853-1885) of New Orleans.  Mr. Camba was employed as a bank teller in New Orleans.(The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, May 21, 1880, p. 3)

Eva L. Catchot married Issac Clayton Chance of Rome, Georgia at Ocean Springs in March 1911.  He was the son of Issac Chance and Etheline Hobbs.  In October of that year, a daughter, Mary Etheline Chance, was born.  The Chances later lived at Ashville, North Carolina.  Eva C. Chance died at her home located at No. 68 Church Street in Ashville on November 4, 1914.  Her remains were sent to Ocean Springs for burial in the Evergreen Cemetery on Fort Bayou.(The Ocean Springs News, November 11, 1914, p. 2)

In December 1897, Mary C. Bellande gave birth to a son, Edward A. “Eddie” Bellande (1897-1978), who would become an integral part of American aviation history.  Eddie left Ocean Springs in1915, after completing his high school education in the local public school to pursue a course in aviation with the Curtiss Exhibition Company at Buffalo, New York.  This flying school was owned by Glenn H. Curtiss (1878-1930), the famous aircraft manufacturer, who built the popular JN-4 or Jenny.  Young Bellande then went to the Atlantic Coast Aeroplane Station at Newport News, Virginia.  He was the youngest member of the graduating class and received his license from the Aero Club of America, which was affiliated with the French Federation Aeronatique Internationale, when he was eighteen years old.(The Jackson County Times, September 21, 1918)

During the First World War, Eddie Bellande served in the United States Marine Corps as a naval reserves aviator from August 18, 1918 until February 24, 1919.  His initial assignment was at the Naval Training Center in Charleston, South Carolina.  Later he was a naval flight instructor at the Pensacola Naval Air Station.(The Jackson County Times, August 24, 1918)

After the Great War, Eddie Bellande barnstormed across America arriving in Los Angeles where he worked in the fledgling cinema industry as a pilot.  He then pursued a career in commercial aviation as a test pilot, airmail pilot, and transcontinental passenger airline pilot.  Bellande flew with Charles Lindberg while employed with Maddux-TWA. 

In 1925, Mrs. Mary C. Bellande relocated from Ocean Springs to live with Eddie in Los Angeles.  She had sold her home on Jackson Avenue to Frederick C. Gay.  Mrs. Bellande came home in May 1930 to visit with Mrs. A.J. Catchot.  Mary Catchot Bellande (1860-1931) expired at Los Angeles, California on May 26, 1931.  Her remains were returned for internment in the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

(The Jackson County Times, December 11, 1924, p. 5, The Daily Herald, May 31, 1930, p. 5 and May 28, 1931, p. 2)

At the time of his retirement from TWA in January 1943, he was the Number 2 pilot in seniority.  Eddie had logged more than 23,000 flying hours and flew 3,100,000 miles without injury to passengers or mail cargo.  He joined the Garrett Corporation in 1943, as an assistant to the President, was elected to the Board in 1948, and named Chairman of the Board in July 1963. During his tenure with Garrett, the pressurization of production aircraft developed (the B-29 Superfortress), and after World War II, the corporation turned its talents to high-flying civilian transports and spacecraft.  In December 1965, he retired, but served as a consultant with Garrett, until his demise in Los Angeles in November 1976.(The Los Angeles Times, November 19, 1976, p. A-23)

In September 1917, Mary C. Bellande conveyed her lot on Jackson Avenue to Albert C. Gottsche for $700.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 45, p. 112)


Albert C. Gottsche

Albert C. Gottsche (1873-1949) was born on September 23, 1873, at New Orleans, the son of Hans Heinrich Gottsche and Christiana Switzer.  From the land roll books of the Jackson County Chancery Court, it appears that the Gottsche family settled or at least was landowners at Ocean Springs before 1875. 

Albert C. Gottsche’s father expired when he was a small child and his mother reared and instilled in him great character.  Young Gottsche was educated in the local public school and studied bookkeeping under D.D. Cowan (1850-1929), the school superintendent and first mayor of Ocean Springs.(The Gulf Coast Times, November 4, 1949, p. 1)


In September 1896, Albert C. Gottsche went to work as a salesman for the Davis Brothers Store, which was located on the west side of Washington Avenue.  The enterprise was a partnership of George W. Davis (1842-1914) and Elliot S. Davis (1859-1925), sons of Samuel Davis II (1804-1879) and Alvirah Ann Ward (1821-1901).  That same month and year, Albert C. Gottsche (1873-1949) married Cynthia "Cinnie" Davis Maxwell (1869-1961), one of the daughters of George W. Davis (1842-1914) and Margaret Bradford (1846-1920).  Mrs. Gottsche was the widow of C.E. Maxwell.  She had three sons, George Davis Maxwell (1888-1951), Charles Richmond Maxwell, and Karl Case Maxwell (1893-1958), with Mr. Maxwell, before his demise circa 1894.  Albert and Cinnie Gottsche had one son, Albert Lynd Gottsche (1902-1974).(The Biloxi Daily Herald, October 3, 1896, p. 1)

Albert C. Gottsche resigned from the Davis Brothers Store on October 1, 1910.  This is also the date that his father-in-law and senior partner of the firm, George W. Davis, retired.  The former Davis Brothers business continued on as E.S. Davis & Sons under the ownership of Elias S. Davis (1859-1925) in conjunction with his sons, Elliot Davis (1892-1936) and Oscar T. Davis (1894-1936).(The Ocean Springs News, September 10, 1910)

Mr. Gottsche started his own business in the Catchot Building on the southeast corner of Washington Avenue and Desoto.  It is the J.K. Lemon Building today and the oldest structure standing in the central business district of Old Ocean Springs.  Here A.C. Gottsche sold animal feed and fertilizer.(The Gulf Coast Times, November 4, 1949, p. 1)   

In 1912, A.C. Gottsche relocated his commercial interests into the new Gottsche Building on the southwest corner of Washington and Desoto.  Here with one helper, a delivery boy, and the loyal support of his wife, A.C. Gottsche built a large and successful enterprise, which lasted until November 1962, when A. Lynd Gottsche sold the Gottsche Store building to the Blossman Gas, Inc.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 232, p. 382)

In March 1924, Albert C. Gottsche conveyed the S/2 of Lot 8-Block 31 to his stepson, Karl C. Maxwell.  The Maxwell lot had 50 feet on Jackson Avenue and ran west for 150 feet.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 53, p. 559)


Karl C. Mawell

As previously sited, Karl Case Maxwell (1893-1958) was the first to erect a structure on the S/2 of Lot 8-Block 31, which was completed in 1923.  The Maxwell Cottage had an area of approximately 1500 square feet on the ground floor and an attic bedroom, which added an additional square feet. 

Karl C. Maxwell was born on April 6, 1893, at Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the son of James S. Maxwell and Cynthia “Cinnie” Davis (1869-1951).  Cinnie Davis married James S. Maxwell at Ocean Springs on August 4, 1887.  In addition to Karl, they had two others sons: George Davis Maxwell (1888-1951) and Charles Richmond Maxwell (1891-1967).  The Maxwell marriage ended in a divorce in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi on August 16, 1895.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 647, July 1895)  

  In June 1919, he married Nellie Myrtle Morris (1893-1970), the daughter of Englishman Ernest Alford Morris (1860-1946) and Chicago native, Lydia Meyers (1870-1933).  Mr. E.A. Morris built the Pines Hotel on the southwest corner of Washington Avenue.  It opened for guests in October 1915.  Unfortunately, the attractive hostel was the victim of a consuming conflagration on May 5, 1932.(Bellande, 1994, pp. 134-139)                     

Karl C. Maxwell was educated at Ocean Springs and subsequently attended Draughan’s Business College at New Orleans.  He worked in J.O. Whittle’s pharmacy until the Bailey family consolidated with Mr. Whittle in August-September 1917.(The Ocean Springs News, July 3, 1958, p. 1 and The Jackson County Times, September15, 1917)

In May 1923, Karl and Myrtle M. Maxwell moved into their new residence at present day 525 Jackson Avenue, used today principally as the meeting place for BSA Troop 210, and other functions of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.  Here they reared their two sons: Robert Lynd Maxwell (b. 1920) and Albert Cecil Maxwell (1926-1981).(The Jackson County Times, May 19, 1923)

            At the time of his accidental death, on June 29, 1958, in an automobile accident on US Highway 80, near Clinton, Mississippi, Karl C. Maxwell was manager of the Gottsche Store.  He had returned from New Orleans to work in the business with his step-father, Albert C. Gottsche.  After Mr. Gottsche’s death in 1949, Karl C. Maxwell became manager of the Gottsche Store.  Mrs. Dena Atkinson Talbott (1886-1958) of Ocean Springs, the mother of Mrs. Gerald Noble, of Fontainebleau, was also killed in the accident.(The Ocean Springs News, July 3, 1958, p. 1 and The Daily Herald, July 5, 1958, p. 2)

            After Karl C. Maxwell’s death, the Gottsche Store remained open under the aegis of A. Lynd Gottsche.  In January 1959, Lynd Gottsche incorporated the business and became its first president.  He hired several managers, among them Jack Bosarge (1931-1999) and Claude Trahan (1920-1984).  In 1961, when the Gottsche store ceased operations, the fixtures in the building were sold to Curmis Broome (b. 1928), a former butcher in the Gottsche’s meat market, for his Broome’s new store, called Foodland, on Vermont (now M.L. King Jr.) and Government Street.(Jack Gottsche, December 17, 2002 and The Gulf Coast Times, January 15, 1959, p. 1)


N/2 Lot 8-Block 31

In February 1945, Jennie Woodford Dickey (1879-1969), the widow of John Leo Dickey (1880-1938) conveyed the old Artesian House tract, the N/2 of Lot 8-Block 31, to Karl C. Maxwell.  This appendage to the Maxwell property gave them an additional 50 feet on Jackson Avenue and 119 feet on Porter.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 88, p. 487)


1955 boundary agreement

In August 1955, Karl C. Maxwell and his wife entered into a boundary agreement with Marie Arndt Alexander (1905-1994) and George E. Arndt Jr. (1909-1994), the Heirs of George E. Arndt (1857-1945).  The Arndts owned land to the west and south of the Maxwell Cottage.  Both parties agreed that the Maxwell tract was defined as:  From the place of beginning which is situated at a point on the west line of Jackson Avenue 107 feet south of the south line of West Porter Avenue, said point being an old fence line, run N 83 degrees and 50 minutes W for 148.5 feet; then go N 6 degrees and 10 minutes E for 50 feet; then S 83 degrees 50 minutes E for 32 feet; then N 6 degrees 10 minutes E for 57 feet to the south line of Porter Avenue.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 152, pp. 209-212)


1955 title confirmation

In October 1955, Karl C. Maxwell filed for litigation in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi against the Unknown Heirs of the Widow LaFontaine.  This cause, designated as No. 13, 203, was to confirm the title of the Maxwell tract on Jackson Avenue.  With the boundary established and agreed upon by both the Maxwells and their Arndt neighbors, the Maxwells claimed both the S/2 and the N/2 of Lot 8-Block 31 by adverse possession.  It was averred by the Maxwells that after acquiring the N/2 of Lot 80Block 31 in February 1945, “they immediately made said northern part of said land a portion of their yard and have continuously grown flowers and mown said portion as a part of their homestead continuously from February 1945 to present day.”


Judge H.P. Heidelberg of the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi confirmed the title on the Maxwell lot in December 1955.  


The Maxwell yard was well landscaped, especially with azaleas and camellias.  Karl C. Maxwell enjoyed gardening and took great pride in his large lot.  Upon the demise of Mrs. Myrtle Morris Maxwell in 1970, her estate which included the Maxwell Cottage at 525 Jackson Avenue was legated to Albert C. Maxwell and Robert Lynd Maxwell, her sons.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 22, 300-1970)


In July 1972, the Maxwell homestead was conveyed to W.T. Broome Jr. and his wife, Joyce Harvey Broome, by the Maxwell brothers.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 434, p. 492)


W.T. Broome II

Wiley T. Broome II (1932-2020) was born in October 1932, in Marion County, Mississippi, the son of W.T. Broome (1903-1971) and Dovie Haddox Broome (1904-1982).  The Broome family arrived in Ocean Springs in 1940.  In October 1952, W.T. Broome II married Joyce Marie Harvey (1934-2020), the daughter of Claude Harvey (1889-1985) and Lucile Guckian (d. 2002).  Joyce is a native of Okemah, Oklahoma.  She and W.T. Broome II are the parents of: Joyce B. Shield (b. 1955), Charles D. Broome (b. 1956), James D. Broome (b. 1959), and Daniel T. Broome (b. 1961).(History of JXCO, Ms., 1989, pp. 145-146)


W.T. Broome II utilized the Maxwell place as a dental laboratory.  He had learned to be a dental technician in the U.S. Navy.  Shortly after his marriage to Joyce M.  Harvey in October 1952, W.T. Broome II was assigned to Guam in the South Pacific.(W.T. Broome II, December 7, 2002 and The Daily Herald, October 9, 1952, p. 14)


The Maxwell Bungalow was remodeled by Malcolm and Ray Beaugez to fit the needs of Mr. Broome’s dental laboratory requirements.  Among the exterior changes were the removal of the screen porch and addition of four Doric columns, which grace the façade today.(W.T. Broome II, December 7, 2002)


St. Paul’s United Methodist Church

 In December 1985, W.T. Broom and spouse conveyed the Maxwell Bungalow to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 845, p. 423)


St. Paul’s Methodist Church has a long history in Ocean Springs.  There has been a sanctuary on the southeast corner of Porter and Rayburn Avenue since 1900.  In its nearly seventeen year ownership of the Maxwell Cottage, St. Paul’s has utilized the structure as a Sunday School and generously provided a meeting place for local Boy and Girl Scout activities.  During this period, the Maxwell-Bellande bungalow was referred as "The Boy Scout Hut".


Boy Scouts of America Troop 210

For over a decade, BSA Troop 210 has utilized the Maxwell-Bellande Bungalow for their Monday evening meetings and storage of their camping equipment.  The Ocean Springs Civic Association organized scouting in Ocean Springs in May 1911.  Local realtor, Frederick M. Dick (1857-1922), was active in the initial movement.(The Ocean Springs News, May 20, 1911, p. 5)


During the 1920s and 1930s, Captain Ellis Handy (1891-1963) was an important leader in local scouting.  Boy Scout activity was intermittent at Ocean Springs until after WW II.  At this time, Cyril P. Hopkins (1911-1968) and Joe Ryan (1928-1985) reenergized the movement, which has continued today.  In the 1950s and 1960s, Major F.B. Feeney, a native of Tampa, Florida, was an important leader of BSA Troop 210.(The Jackson County Times, September 28, 1946, p. 1 and The Ocean Springs News, May 28, 1964, p. 1)


2002 sale

In October 2002, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church sold the Maxwell-Bellande bungalow to Ray L. Bellande.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1279, p. 290)


Ray L. Bellande

In mid-October 2002, Ray L. Bellande (b. 1943) commenced an extensive refurbishment of the Maxwell Bungalow.  Under the aegis of the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission, he replaced the old roof with an architectural shingle roof; the decayed rear dormer was removed and rebuilt; R-19 insulation was blown into the walls; old paint and window glazing was removed, the cement porch was covered with faux planking; two of the four Doric columns were replaced with fiberglass surrogates; and a limestone drive was built to replace the dated concrete drive.  In addition, two rooms situated on the rear of the structure were demolished and replace with a treated pine deck.      


The interior of the old Maxwell residence was completely gutted.  Several layers of flooring and ceiling were removed to their original wooden construction.  In all rooms except the front two rooms, the sheet rock was removed and original walls exposed and refinished.  The upstairs room was converted to a bedroom with bath.  The fireplace was restored and tiled with Mowati tile.  Hunter and Casablanca ceiling fans were installed in all rooms.


Ray L. Bellande moved from 822 Porter to 525 Jackson Avenue in November 2003.



     During Bellande’s renovation the Maxwell-Bellande bungalow was leased to the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. Sunday school and scouting functions were held here until their family living center was completed in


2003 Tour of homes

    The Gulf Coast Symphony Guild selected the Maxwell-Belande bungalow to be on its 2003 Christmas tour.  The home was opened on December 7, 2003 and viewed by over three hundred people.(The Bay Press, December 3, 2003, p. 1)

Koi pond and pottery shed


2005 Koi pond and landscaping

 In the spring of 2005, Ray L. Bellande had a small Koi pond installed in the rear yard.  It features a waterfall and stream leading to the Koi pond.  An addition to the rear deck was also completed at this time.  Graveled and wooden pathways were constructed to connect the water garden to other areas of the property.  A sun room on the deck was built in April 2006 and a Mexican tile patio was laid at the entrance to the sun room in June 2006.



Ray L. Bellande, The Garden Artist

[images by Valerie Winn in January 2007]


2006 tree painting

In the fall of 2006, Ray L. Bellande painted a trompe l'oeil 'banana tree' on a large Live Oak tree on the Porter Avenue perimeter of his property.  It led to attention from the local news media and resulted in an article about his garden art and pottery and 'tree' painting titled, "Bellande's art finds soul mate in nature" published in The Ocean Springs Record on January 11, 2007.  The City of Ocean Springs removed the ancient Live Oak in 2020 because of its decayed status which threatened the north elevation of the structure.


2007 repaint

In late December 2006 and January 2007, Ray L. Bellande changed the exterior color of his home to 'edgy gold', a yellow-green color from the Sherwin Williams Duration acrylic latex palette.

The windows and trim were also repainted.



Air America replaced the HVAC system. Chester Bodin, contractor.


New metal roof by ?


Bellande moved to 111 Clark Lane in March.  House rented to tenants.


Lot surveyed by certified land suveyor for subdivision in to two fifty-foot lots.


Stayham Plumbing replace the terra cotta sewer line fom the house to the City sewer on Jackson Avenie.



Ray L. Bellande, Ocean Springs Hotels and Tourist Homes, (Bellande: Ocean Springs, Mississippi-1994).

The History of Jackson County, Mississippi“Wylie Thomas Broome, Jr. and Joyce Harvey”(Jackson County Genealogical Society: Pascagoula, Mississippi-1989).

Chancery Court Cases

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 902, “The Estate of Margaret Elwyert”, 1900.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 13203, “Karl C. Maxwell and Myrtle M. Maxwell v. The Unknown Heirs of Widow LaFontaine”, October 1955.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 22, 300, “The Estate of Myrtle M. Maxwell”, 1970.


The Bay Press, “Kaleidoscope of Homes This Sunday”, December 3, 2003.

The Biloxi Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs”, October 3, 1896.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs News Paragraphs”, October 9, 1952.

The Daily Herald, “Ocean Springs News”, May 31, 1930.

The Daily Herald, “Mrs. Bellande Buried”, May 28, 1931.

The Daily Herald, “Injuries Fatal To Resident of Ocean Springs”, July 4, 1958.

 The Gulf Coast Times, “Gottsche’s-39 Years Faithful Service in O.S.”, November 4, 1949.

The Gulf Coast Times, “Incorporate Local Grocery”, January 15, 1959.

The Jackson County Times, September 15, 1917.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, May 19, 1923.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, December 11, 1924.

The Jackson County Times, “Local Boy Scouts To Get Charter”, September 28, 1946.

The Los Angeles Times, “Edward Bellande, 78 Dies; Test Pilot Became Aerospace Leader”, November 19, 1976.

The Ocean Springs News, “Geo. W. Davis Retires From Business Oct. 1st, September 10, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News, “Local News”, September 10, 1910.

The Ocean Springs News, “Civic Federation Notes”, May 20, 1911.

The Ocean Springs News, “Karl Maxwell Dies In Auto Crash…”, July 3, 1958.

The Ocean Springs News, “Military Personality”, May 28, 1964.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Bellande's art finds soul mate in nature", January 11, 2007, p. B5.

The Pascagoula Democrat-Star, “Local News Paragraphs”, May 21, 1880.


Personal Communication:

W.T. Broome II, December 7, 2002.

John H. “Jack” Gottsche-December 17, 2002.

Lynne King Maxwell-December 23, 2002.

Patricia Leslie Maxwell Letort-May 2009




918 Calhoun

[l-r: image made July 1997; image made August 2006; and November 2006]

 918 Calhoun Avenue, a vernacular cottage, was built in the fall of 1924 by Frank E. Galle (1877-1934) and his son, Frank E. Galle Jr. (1900-1986), for Henry Hellmers (1848-1934), a retired German immigrant, who had made his livelihood at New Orleans as a hotelier and bar keeper.  Mr. Hellmers resided at present day 914 Calhoun Avenue until his demise in October 1934.  The Hellmers-Duckett Cottage floated several feet off its foundation to the northwest during Hurricane Katrina on 29 August 2005.  In the winter of 2006, Kosciusko Movers raised it and returned it to its former footprint to level.  In the spring of 2007, the old Hellmer’s cottage is being refurbished for future rental by the A.B. Duckett clan.[l-r: image of 218 Calhoun made on August 29, 2005 and December 2006, both by Ray L. Bellande]

        Early trading at present day 918 Calhoun on the .58 acres lot, 125 feet fronting on the south side of Calhoun and 204 feet to the south, begin in January 1905, when Mattie M. Austin conveyed the tract to Sophia K. Schill of New Orleans for $50.  Mattie M. Austin (1842-1916) of New Orleans was the daughter of Dr. William Glover Austin (1814-1894) and Martha Porter Austin (1818-1898) of New Orleans who built the Ocean Springs Hotel on Jackson Avenue in 1853.  Miss Austin taught at Newcomb College in New Orleans.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 30, p. 148) 

Sophia K. Schill and Severin Schill

Sophia ‘Sofie’ Keebler Schill (1845-1943) was a native of Wurtemberg, Germany and arrived in America in 1868.  Circa 1870, she married Severin Schill (1843-1916), also an 1858 German immigrant born at Baden.  Before arriving at New Orleans, Severin Schill served with the 31st Massachusetts Infantry during the War of the Rebellion.  Originally called the Wester Bay State Regiment, this military unit became known as the 31st Massachusetts infantry volunteers and was raised by Gen. Benjamin F. Butler (1818-1893) under authority direct from the war department at Washington.  Leaving Massachusetts in February, 1862, the regiment went to Ship Island off the coast of Mississippi, where the forces for General Butler's expedition against New Orleans were being gathered, and was the first organization to land at New Orleans on the occupation of that city.  The regiment fought at Port Hudson and in December, 1863, the men were mounted and trained in cavalry tactics, and the regiment was from that time commonly spoken of as the Sixth Massachusetts cavalry, though its official designation was never changed.  In the red River Campaign of the following spring it bore an arduous part, and in the battle of Sabine Cross Roads.  In the subsequent operations in the department the regiment was kept constantly busy, scouting, skirmishing, and in guard duty, a battalion of re-enlisted men and recruits remaining in the service after the expiration of the original term of enlistment, and taking active part in the operations against Mobile in the spring of 1865.  The command was mustered out of the United States service September 9, 1865.(www.rootsweb.com/~mahampde/cw3.htm)

There is a high degree of certitude that Severin Schill remained in the New Orleans after Union occupation and never returned to New England.  In the Crescent City, he made his livelihood as a baker at No. 96 North Rampart Street.(1900 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census T623 571, p. 18B, ED 37, and Soards, 1890-1891 NOLA City Directory)

The Schills had seven children but only three survived to see the 20th Century: Mary Henrietta Schill (1872-1930+) married Frances U. LaFleur (1869-1930+); Louise Schill (1874-1880+); Charles J. Schill (1879-1880+); Sophie  Schill (1876-pre-1880); Henry Severin Schill (1882-1917+) married Jennie H. Raabe (1890-1920+) in June 1908; Sophie Anna Schill (1884-1898); and Sabine Mathilda Schill (1886-1966).(1880 Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census, T9_463, p. 18. ED 78)

Ocean Springs

In September 1903, before acquiring the lot at present day 218 Calhoun, Severin and Sophie K. Schill had acquired from their son, Charles J. Schill (1879-1920+), a smaller lot adjacent and west of the January 1905 conveyance from Mattie M. Austin.  The sales price was $115.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 28, p. 95)

In 1900, Charles J. Schill and spouse, Rosa Schill (1874-1920+), were domiciled at Waveland, Hancock County, Mississippi where he managed a farm.  Sophie Schill (1899-1920+), their first child was born here in October 1899.  By 1903, the Charles J. Schill family had retuned St. Anthony Street in New Orleans where he made his livelihood as an electrician.  His son, Carl S. Schill (1902-1977) was also an electrician who later married and settled at Covington, Kentucky.(1900 Hancock Co., Mississippi Federal Census T623 808, p. 4A, ED 27 and 1920 Orleans Parish, Louisiana T625_621, p. 1B, ED 118) 

It is believed by the author that Severin Schill had erected a handsome Queen Anne Cottage at present day 914 Calhoun Avenue between late 1903 and the spring of 1907.

New Orleans

The Severin Schill family was domiciled on Chippewa and Conti Street at New Orleans.  Severin Schill expired at New Orleans on May 28, 1916.  His widow applied for a Civil War pension shortly after his demise.  Between 1920 and 1930, Sophie K. Schill, and Sabine M. Schill, her spinster daughter, moved to Baton Rouge, and in 1930 they were domiciled next to her son-in-law and daughter, Frances and Mary H. Schill LaFleur.( Civil War Pension Index 1861-1934, and 1930 Federal Census East Baton Rouge, Parish, Louisiana R792, p. 1B, ED 25)

Sophie Keebler Schill expired in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana on August 25, 1943.

          In May 1907, Sofie and Severin Schill conveyed to Henry Hellmers their two lots and home on Calhoun Avenue for $1950.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, pp. 549-550)

Henry Helmers

          Hinrich “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.  In 1880, Henry Hellmers resided at New Orleans in Ward Two in the area bounded by Magazine, Julia, St. Charles, and Thalia.  He worked as a barkeeper, and roomed at a house owned by an Irish woman, Eliza Vallient.(Fenerty et al, 1992, p. 122) 

In 1900, Henry Hellmers made his livelihood as a hotelkeeper in the Crescent City.  In June 1897 at New Orleans, he had married Isabella Broeg (1841-1908), a native of Mississippi whose parents were German immigrants.  They had no children.  Mrs. A. Franz (1848-1900+), the sister of Mrs. Hellmers, lived with them in New Orleans.(Orleans Parish, Louisiana Federal Census T623 570, p. 16B, ED 19)

No. 7 Calhoun

As previously mentioned, in May 1907, at retirement age, Henry and his wife, Isabella B. Hellmers (1858-1908) moved to Ocean Springs and purchased for $1950, No. 7 Calhoun, now 914 Calhoun, from Severin and Sophie Schill.  Here Mr. Hellmers toiled in his garden.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, pp. 549-550 and Margaret Seymour Norman, August 1994). 

The old Hellmers house is now in the possession of Albert Bruce Duckett and Alice Pulliam Duckett who acquired it from Helen Uhalt Duckett (1908-1987), the widow of Albert B. Duckett (1907-1978), in December 20, 1979.  In the spring and summer of 1994, Donnie McAlister, a local contractor, and foundation guru, James T. Jacobs of Gulfport, performed an extensive refurbishment of this historic building.  The Hellmers house has been utilized as a rental by the Ducketts for almost three decades.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 665, pp. 471-472)


New wife

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.  They married on October 10, 1909.  Hanna had a daughter, Dora Rycnaer Schneider (b. 1903), from her first marriage.  Dora attended school at St. Alphonsus across the street.  Hanna R. Hellmers died on June 25, 1919. 






  This is a vintage image of Henry Hellmers (1848-1934), a native of Germany, and Kate Considine Hellmers (1858-1937) of New Orleans, who retired to Ocean Springs from the Crescent City, in the early part of the 20th Century.  He owned several houses on Calhoun Avenue and land in the vicinity of the Inner Harbor.  Before his demise in 1934, Mr. Hellmers contracted with Frank E. Galle (1877-1934) in 1924, to build a vernacular cottage built at present day 918 Calhoun.   The names of Mr. Galle and his son, Frank E. ‘Kiddo’ Galle Jr. (1900-1986), and date October 30, 1924 are written in pencil on the south wall in the front room of the Hellmers-Duckett Cottage.  [Mr. Hellmers’ image courtesy of Ted I. Milliet, Groves, Texas and Galle signature image by Ray L. Bellande-March 2007]


Pecans and boarders

To supplement his retirement income, Henry Hellmers kept boarders and gathered and sold pecans from the trees on is land.  In November 1918, he sold two hundred pounds of nuts at $.50 per pound netting him $200.  The 1910 Federal Census indicates that the Hellmers kept lodgers at their Calhoun Avenue home.  James G. Buttes, a native of Arkansas and a commercial salesman, stayed with them at this time.(The Jackson County Times, November 23, 1918, p.5 and 1910 Jackson Co., Ms. Federal Census T624_744,  p. 6B, ED 62)


A third spouse

Henry Hellmers (1848-1934) married Katherine Considine (1858-1937), a native of New Orleans, at Ocean Springs on March 13, 1922.  Her parents, Michael Considine (1827-1860+) and Margaret O’Donohue Considine (1827-1898), were born in Ireland.  At New Orleans, Katherine C. Hellmers had three brothers: John Considine (1855-1860+); George Considine (1860-1937+) married Corrine Roberts; and Michael Considine (1863-1944) married Annie Murray, and several nieces, Mrs. T. Millet, Mrs. A. Lestelle, and Mrs. G.W. Richardson.(The Daily Herald,December 6, 1937, p. 6)

The Hellmer’s cottage

          In 1924, Henry Hellmers contracted with Frank E. Galle (1877-1934) to build a vernacular cottage at present day 918 Calhoun Avenue, which is east of the Schill-Duckett place at present day 914 Calhoun.

In 1986, the Hellmers-Duckett was described during the architectural survey of the Old Ocean Springs Historic District as follows:  a one story, wood frame, shot gun with a front gable roof.  Full width, two-bay, undercut porch supported by square posts.  Roof rafter ends exposed.  Built circa 1910.  Rated as ‘Contributing’ to the Old Ocean Springs Historic District.(Breggren, 1986, p. 14)

Frank E. Galle

On the south wall of the front room of the Hellmers-Duckett Cottage Frank E. Galle and his son, Frank E. ‘Kiddo’ Galle Jr. (1900-1986), ‘autographed’ the house with the date October 30, 1924.  Frank E. Galle and family built many homes and other structures in Ocean Springs.  Clarence E. Galle (1912-1986), another son, was also a building and demolition contractor here.  His sons, C.L. ‘Larry’ Galle (b. 1940) and Carl W. ‘Boo’ Galle (b. 1946), have carried the Galle family tradition in the building trades into the 21st Century.


On June 22, 1926, Henry Hellmers and Kate C. Hellmers sold their cottage at 918 Calhoun Avenue to Leon R. Jacobs for $2500.  The lot was described as being 120 feet x 204 feet.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 59, pp. 81-82)

Hellmers Lane

In June 1927, Henry Hellmers donated land to the Town of Ocean Springs for the street called Hellmers Lane.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 60, p. 407)

Henry expires

After Henry Hellmers died on October 11, 1934, and was passed through the Lutheran Church, Katie Considine Hellmers, his wife, inherited their home at 914 Calhoun Avenue house.  Upon her demise on December 12, 1937, her niece, Kate Considine Milliet (1895-1988) of New Orleans and the spouse of Theophile Milliet (1894-1930+), was legated the Schill-Duckett in Ocean Springs.(Jackson County Will Book 3, p. 239-241, JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 5626, The Daily Herald, October 12, 1934, p. 3)

The corporal remains of Henry Hellmers and his three wives rest eternally interred in the Hellmers’ family burial plot at the Evergreen Cemetery at Ocean Springs.

Leon R. Jacobs

           Leon R. Jacobs (1885-1930+) was an attorney and native of New York whose parents were German immigrants.  His office was at 27 William Street in New York City.  In 1926, when Mr. Jacobs acquired the Hellmer’s Cottage on Calhoun Avenue, he was already quite familiar with Ocean Springs and environs, as he had been speculating in land east of town.  In March 1925, he acquired a portion of the old Francis M. Vandergrift place in the NE/4 of Section 34, T7S-R8W, then possessed by Charles F. Rehage (1890-1977) and wife, Anna Gaspard Rehage (1888-1971).  The Jacobs tract encompassed about 52 acres and was bounded on the north by US 90, the Old Spanish Trail, now Government Street.  Davis Bayou formed the eastern perimeter of Jacob’s triangular-shaped parcel, which now includes most of the Sauvolle Bayou Subdivision and the Brooks Legate property, which until March 29, 2007, was the site of Del Castle.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 55, p. 19 and The Ocean Springs Record, April 2, 2007, p. A1 and Jackson Co., Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 4948-1927 

Vandergrift Place

           Francis M. Vandergrift (1856-1932) and Anna Snyder Vandergrift (1859-1946) came to Ocean Springs circa 1904 from Wabash, Indiana.  In December 1906, they acquired the NE/4 of Section 34, T7S-R8W from Ida L. Horton.  This one hundred sixty acres parcel of land situated between Heron and Davis Bayou was known as “the forks”.  Mary E. Vandergrift (1886-1947), one of the Vandergrift daughters, married George Carl Pabst (1881-1949), a local nurseryman and the son of Charles E. Pabst (1850-1920) and Elizabeth Ghem (1851-1916), both German immigrants.  George and Mary V. Pabst had two children Berniece Pabst Mitchel Esche (b. 1913) and Verne Cecil Pabst (b. 1924).(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 32, pp. 142-143) 

Casa Flores-Del Castle

     This vintage image of Casa Flores, later called Del Castle, was made by Albert A. Heldt (1882-1926+), an Indiana born photographer, who made many images at Ocean Springs in the late 1920s for the Branigar Brothers of Chicago during the construction of their Gulf Hills resort and golf club.  Mr. Heldt captured the Davis Bayou estate of Frederick E. Lee (1874-1932) and Georgette F. Lee (1889-1979) in its final stages of completion.  Leon R. Jacobs (1885-1940+), a New York based attorney, who sold the land to F.E. Lee to erect Casa Flores, owned 918 Calhoun from June 1926 until  November 1939.  Mr. Jacobs was an advisor to Leonard Kip Rhinelander (1904-1936), a New York blue-blood, who made national headlines in the fall of 1925 in his marriage annulment suit to a ‘woman of color’.  The two men stayed at Ocean Springs in March 1926.  Courtesy of H.R. ‘Randy’ Randazzo-Arlington, Virginia.

Casa Flores-Del Castle

            In October 1925, Leon R. Jacobs sold 5 acres in the NE/4 of the NE/4 of Section 34, T7S-R8W to Georgette Faures Lee (1889-1979), the wife of Frederick E. Lee (1874-1932).  The Lees who arrived at Ocean Springs circa 1917 were natives respectively of Greencastle and Campbellsburg, Indiana.  They made their livelihoods here as realtors and proprietors of a pecan factory.  The Lee’s business was called the Atkinson-Lee Pecan Company.  It was incorporated in 1919, by Hugh Atkinson of New York City and Mr. and Mrs. Lee of Ocean Springs.  The company was organized to grow, bay and sell all manner of agricultural, truck and horticultural products, to own, lease, buy and sell real estate, to own, build and sell houses, to own, operate and control conning, preserving and pickling plants, to build, lease and own club houses and hotels, to do a general mercantile business, to buy, sell, grow and propagate all kinds of vegetables, plants and horticultural products.(The Jackson County Times, August 30, 1919, p. 4)

            Commencing in the late fall of 1925, the Lees constructed a home, which they called “Casa Flores”, the house of flowers.  Morgan Hite of New Orleans was the architect and the Jensen Brothers Construction Company of New Orleans and Biloxi, erected the one-story stucco home on Davis Bayou.(The Jackson County Times, November 21, 1925, p. 5)

            Fred E. Lee dropped dead in the Bailey Drug Store, now Lovelace Drugs, on Washington Avenue on September 2, 1932.  His remains were sent to Campbellsburg, Indiana for interment in the Livonia Cemetery.(The Daily Herald, September 3, 1932, p. 2)

            During the Depression, Mrs. Lee lost Casa Flores.  It was repossessed by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and conveyed to Charles J. Kuhn (1905-1979) for $11,000 in July 1943.(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 83, pp. 302-304)

In May 1969, Brooks B. Legate and Hazel Alice Vance Legate (1915-2005) acquired Del Castle.  It was demolished on March 29, 2007.(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 357, p. 5 andThe Ocean Springs Record, April 2, 2007, p. A1)

Richtsteig v. Jacobs

          Leon R. Jacobs (1885-1940+), although a native and resident of New York City, became embroiled in several legal controversies prior to and during his thirteen and one-half year ownership of the cottage at present day 918 Calhoun.  In the fall of 1925, Richard Julius Richtsteig (1883-1975) of Chicago, who was the credit and office manager for of A. Stein & Company, which was situated at 1143 West Congress Street, came to Ocean Springs to invest in real estate.  At this time, there was much interest in land speculation along the Mexican Gulf.  R.J. Richtsteig met with F.E. Lee (1874-1932), local realtor and business acquaintance of Leon R. Jacobs of New York City.  Mr. Lee, representing Leon R. Jacobs, offered and let a contract to R.J. Richsteig on Mr. Jacobs acreage in Section 34, T7S-R8W, less the five acres that F.E. Lee acquired from Jacobs, and would soon build Casa Flores, later called Del Castle.(WW I Draft Registration Cook Co., Illinois R 1613679, Draft Board 57 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 57, pp. 287-288)

The warranty deed from Leon R. Jacobs to R.J. Richtsteig described the Jacobs sales tract as being one hundred acres, more or less.  The agreed sales price was $25,000.  Mr. Richtsteig paid Leon R. Jacobs $12,000 cash and agreed to pay three notes of $4333 each to satisfy the mortgage.  After R.J. Richtsteig had his land along Davis Bayou and Old Spanish Trail surveyed, it was discovered that he had acquired less than sixty acres, not the one hundred acres, more or less, purported in the warranty deed from Leon R. Jacobs.  In 1926, Richard J. Richtsteig filed litigation, Cause No. 4948, against Leon R. Jacobs in the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi.  In December 1927, it was adjudicated by the Chancery Court that the $25,000 purchase price for the Jacobs land was excessive and that it should be reduced by $10,000.  This value was arrived at by the Court being the value of forty acres, the amount of land that the survey reduced the Jacobs tract, and valued at $250 per acres.  This change in value indicated that R.J. Richtsteig was only indebted to Mr. Jacobs for $15,000.  The Court determined that R.J. Richtsteig owned Leon R. Jacobs $3061 and had fifteen days to pay his debt or the property would be sold at a Commissioner’s Sale of the Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court.  Leon R. Jacobs was to surrender to the Court for cancellation two of the $4333 notes given to him by R.J. Richtsteig.(JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 4948-1927 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 57, pp. 287-288).

Sauvolle Bayou  

            Richard J. Richtsteig remained in possession of his sixty acres more or less along Davis Bayou and Old Spanish Trail until December 1947, when he conveyed the tract to George E. Arndt Jr. (1909-1994) and his sister, Marie Arndt Alexander (1905-1994), for $500.  After the demise of George E. Arndt Jr., G. Dickey Arndt, his son and sole surviving heir, conveyed the acreage to Fairwinds Corporation of Friendswood, Texas, which is owned by the G. Dickey Arndt family.  The Fairwinds Corporation platted the Sauvolle Bayou Subdivision and sold lots.  This upscale neighborhood is essentially developed with homes selling for between $500,000 and $2,000,000.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 98, p 310, Bk. 1058, p. 678, and Bk. 1072, p. 661)


Leonard Kip Rhinelander v. Alice Beatrice Jones Rhinelander

            Leon R. Jacobs was also a friend and legal counselor to Leonard Kip Rhinelander (1904-1936).  Leonard Kip Rhinelander, called Kip, was born at New York, the son of Philip Rhinelander (1866-1920+) and Adelaide Kip (1866-pre-1920).  In the 1920s, the Rhinelander name was associated with affluence and political influence.  The family had been rich and powerful when the Vanderbilts were farmers on Staten Island.  The Rhinelander family had arrived in New York in 1686 and during the Revolutionary War had remained in British-controlled New York City as Tories, becoming quite successful in sugar and shipping.  From the 1790's to the 1840's the Upper East Side was largely vacant, with country estates sprinkled along the East River, like that of Archibald Gracie, which now survives as the Mayor's residence of New York City.  Among others who summered in the area were the Schermerhorn, Astor and Rhinelander families, all of whom had houses near Gracie Mansion.  The construction of the New York and Harlem Railroad in 1834 - with a stop at 86th Street and Park Avenue - and increasing traffic along 86th Street to the ferry to Astoria created a village in Yorkville, now a neighborhood within the Upper East Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, and most of the summer families gradually sold out.  The Rhinelanders, however, actually enlarged their holdings, eventually acquiring an irregular tract roughly bounded by 86th Street and 92nd Street, and Third Avenue and the East River, as well as large stretches of downtown property. The family money had been held in trust for most of the 19th century and, although often invested in property, actual building by the estate was rare, especially on the Yorkville land.  But with the death of William C. Rhinelander in 1878, the estate - estimated at over $50 million - could finally be distributed among the heirs.(The New York Times, August 14, 1988)

          It was into this affluent, blue-blooded, old New York family that Kip Rhinelander was born and reared.  In October 1924, he married Alice Beatrice Jones (1899-1989), a laundress and housemaid, and the daughter of George J. Jones (1856-1930+), a chauffeur, and Elizabeth Jones (1863-1930+) of New Rochelle, New York.  Shortly after their betrothal, it was discovered that Alice Jones Rhinelander was a ‘colored woman.”  Her parents were both born in England and immigrated to the United States in 1890.  Alice’s grandfather was born in India and had relocated to England where he married an English woman.(The Daily Herald, March 11, 1925, p. 5 and 1900, 1910, 1930 Federal Census Westchester Co., New York T623 1176, p. 6A, ED 109; T624_1091, p. 19B, ED 83; and R1663, p. 13A, ED 255)

          For a time, Kip stood by his wife during the intense national coverage of their marriage. After two weeks, he left her and signed an annulment complaint that his father's lawyers had prepared. It charged Alice with hiding her race from her husband. The document asserted that she had tried to pass herself off as white.  The trial was known as Rhinelander v. Rhinelander.  The jury was white and all-male. Vaudeville star Al Jolson star was among the witnesses.  The most famous aspect of the trial was the question of whether Alice was really "colored" as both sides contended. In a notorious episode of indecisiveness, an attorney instructed her (in the judge's chambers) to remove her upper clothing so that the jury could inspect the precise color of her nipples. They viewed her breasts, back and legs, concluding that she was indeed "colored" and that Kip must have known that she was not white. The judge barred reporters from seeing this, leading to the creation of a composograph.  Alice did, however, win the case. The annulment was denied and the marriage upheld. According to the terms of the settlement, Kip paid Alice a lump sum of $32,500 and $3600 per year for life. In return, Alice forfeited all claims to the Rhinelander estate and agreed not to use the Rhinelander name, nor to lecture or write publicly about her story, pledges she honored the rest of her life. Her name nevertheless appears on her gravestone as "Alice J. Rhinelander."(The Jackson County Times, January 8, 1927, p. 1 and Wikipedia)


Leon R. Jacobs ‘eats crow’

          In March 1926, Leon R. Jacobs was interviewed at New Orleans by The Times-Picayune.  He and Kip Rhinelander were on their way to Ocean Springs at the time.  Mr. Jacobs related to that journal’s reporter that the people of Ocean Springs were not investing personal money in the ‘local land boom’.  When Leon R. Jacobs arrived in Ocean Springs, he visited with the editor ofThe Jackson County Times to explain that his statement to the New Orleans’ press had been misinterpreted.  Jacobs said that, “he has the greatest faith in this city which faith he has previously shown by his investments.”

(The Jackson County Times, March 20, 1926, p. 3)


Alice Beatrice Jones Rhinelander v. Leonard Kip Rhinelander

In July 1929, Alice Jones Rhinelander (1899-1989) filed a $500,000 alienation of affection suit in Westchester County, New York against Philip Rhinelander (1866-1936+), her father-in-law.  She also wanted a legal separation from Kip Rhinelander (1904-1936), her spouse, but did not know his whereabouts until it was revealed that he was a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Kip was planning a Las Vegas style divorce from Alice B. Jones Rhinelander, his estranged spouse.(The Daily Herald, July 5, 1929, p. 1)

          Kip Rhinelander expired in February 1936 at the home of his father on Long Island, New York, as a result of pneumonia.  At the time, he was in the employ of the Rhinelander Estates, the family real estate firm which had large land holdings in New York City.  Kip succeeded in divorcing Alice B. Jones Rhinelander in 1929 at Las Vegas, Nevada.  The gossip columns reported that he paid as little as several thousand dollars to as much as one quarter million dollars to Alice not to contest the Nevada divorce decree.  The rumor mills also related that she was offered $100,000 to drop the Rhinelander name.  Circa 1926, Kip Rhinelander had lived several months at Ocean Springs with Leon R. Jacobs in his Calhoun Avenue cottage.(The Jackson County Times, February 22, 1936, p. 3)   



In November 1939, Leon R. Jacobs (1885-1940+), while a resident of New York City conveyed 918 Calhoun Avenue to George W. Vance.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 73, pp. 460-462)


George W. Vance

George W. Vance (1858-1940) was a native of Iowa.  Circa 1882, he married Ida E. Vance (1864-1900+), an Illinois native, who bore him five children on the plains of Stafford County, Kansas where they farmed for their livelihood. Unfortunately only two children, Guy E. Vance (1887-1981) and Susie Vance Hearn (1892-pre-1940) survived to adulthood.(1900 Stafford Co., Kansas Federal Census T623 501, p. 4B, ED 296)


French Hotel

         In his retirement, George W. Vance, like many Midwesterners, discovered the temperate, winter climate of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  During one of his sojourns here, he must have been a guest of the French Hotel, which was situated on the southeast corner of Front Beach Drive and Martin Avenue.  The French Hotel had been founded in 1896, by two French immigrants from Corsica, Antoine Bertuccini (1844-1921) and Marie Gouax Bertuccini (1863-1930).

Under the Bertuccinis' management, the French Hotel catered primarily to French speaking visitors from New Orleans and rice and sugar planters from South Louisiana.  They came to Ocean Springs in the summer months to enjoy salt water bathing, cool breezes off the bay, and the medicinal waters which made the city famous.  There was a 750-foot pier in front of the hotel.  In 1904, a furnished room at the French Hotel rented for $3.00 per month.



In January 1921, Antoine Bertuccini passed at Ocean Springs, and Marie G. Bertuccini sold the hostelry to James H. Edwards (1893-1950), a Scotsman, in June 1921.  Circa 1943, Mr. Edwards would change the name of his inn to the Edwards House.  Mrs. Bertuccini moved to New Orleans in July 1921.  She returned to Ocean Springs in 1922, and married George W. Vance.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 50, p. 465)

 In October 1922, Marie G. Bertuccini Vance acquired a home on the west side of Jackson Avenue between Cleveland and Porter for $1400 from H.F. Russell (1858-1940) and H. Minor Russell (1892-1940), his son.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 52, p. 616)    

Mr. Marie B. Vance expired at Ocean Springs on August 31, 1930.  Her corporal remains were interred in the Bellande Cemetery on Dewey Avenue.  Mr. Vance lived on in their Jackson Avenue home until his demise in February 1940.  Apparently, Mr. Vance utilized 918 Calhoun as a rental. His corporal remains were shipped to Marksville, Kansas for internment.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 50, p. 465)



             In November 1941, the Heirs of George W. Vance, Guy Vance (50%), his son, and grandsons, Harold Hearn (25%), and Raymond ‘Jack’ Hearn (25%) of Stafford County, Kansas conveyed present day 918 Calhoun Avenue to Adolph J. Riviere and Julia Hebert Riviere.  The address at this time was No. 5 Calhoun Avenue.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 78, pp. 503-504)


1933 OSHS Football Team

           Edward ‘Eddie’ J. Riviere (1916-1968) and Roy J. Riviere (1914-2000), two sons of Adolph J. Riviere (1871-1954)  and Julia Hebert Riviere (1877-1964), were members of this football team.  At this time, the Riviere family was domiciled at 505 Washington Avenue.(Standing L-R: Coach L.M. LaCroix, Raymond Ryan (1914-1970), Eddie Riviere, Roy J. Riviere, Everett Busbee (1912-1987), Frank M. ‘Cotton” Newcomb (1914-1964), and Beverly Dalgo (1918-2003), manager.(Bottom L-R: Tim Simpson (1918-1981), John Mitchell (1915-1963), ? Williams, Mike Mitchell (1918-2003), Alan Keebler, Henry Weyerstall (1913-1987), and Louis ‘Puckie’ Mestier (1916-1994).


Adolph J. Riviere

             Adolph J. Riviere (1871-1954) was born at Patterson, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana, the son of Frank Leon Riviere and ? Talbot.  Circa 1896, he married Julia Hebert (1877-1964).  Their children were: Rudolph J. Riviere (1896-1954+); Georgia R. Lanclos (1898-1972); Florence R. Moody (1899-1985); Chloe R. Bailey (1903-1962+); Albert T. Riviere (1906-1948); Frank Paul Riviere (1909-1937); Roy Joseph Riviere (1914-2000) married Beryl Girot, the daughter of Henry L. Girot (1868-1953) and Mabel E. Judlin (1890-1956); and Edward Riviere (1916-1968).(1900 Assumption Parish, Louisiana Federal Census T623 557, p. 5B, ED 8)

In 1910, the Riviere family was domiciled on the Bayou Teche Road in Ward Five, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana.  Here Adolph J. Riviere managed a farm.  The United States entry into WWI, created much industrial activity throughout the nation.  At Pascagoula, shipbuilding was in full progress at the Dierks-Blodgett yard and the International Ship Building Company of Henry Piaggio (1874-1921).  Circa 1918, Adolph J. Riviere found employment there and relocated his family from St. Mary Parish, Louisiana to the Fontainebleau area.  The Rivieres rented a modern cottage on Hamill Farm Road near Old Spanish Trail.  Robert W. Hamill (1863-1943) of Clarendon Hills, Illinois and the founder of the Hamill Farm at Fontainebleau had seven structures built on the west side of Hamill Farm Road for his farm laborers to let.  The Riviere family was domiciled in a Hamill cottage here before they moved to Jackson Avenue at Ocean Springs before 1920.(1910 St. Mary Parish, Louisiana Federal Census T624_531, p. 17B, ED 94; 1920 Jackson Co., Mississippi T625_879, p. 17A, Ed 66, and Roy J. Riviere, October 1996)

By 1930, the Adolph J. Riviere family had relocated from Jackson Avenue to present day 505 Washington Avenue, the Armstrong-Wieder Cottage, a one-story, wood-framed Queen Anne structure, which was probably built here between 1898 and 1904 by John L. Armstrong and spouse, Helen Thomas Armstrong (1858-1928).  Mr. Armstrong was a pioneer railroad man who helped build the line from New Orleans to Mobile.  This fine example of Queen Anne architecture is now possessed by WAMA, who acquired it in September 1992, from Robert W. Smith, local attorney, who had resided here since May 1981.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 1002, pp. 804-805 and Bk. 708, p. 617)

                Adolph J. Riviere passed at No. 5 Calhoun Avenue Ocean Springs on May 21, 1954.  His corporal remains were interred in the Evergreen Cemetery on Old Fort Bayou.  In September 1962, Julia Hebert Riviere conveyed her property on Calhoun Avenue to Albert Duckett.  She lived until late November 1964.(The Daily Herald, May 21, 1954, p. 16 and JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 228, p. 541)



  Albert Duckett family

This image was made at Fort Hood, Texas in 1944.[ L-R: Helen Uhalt Duckett (1908-1987), Helen Merrill Duckett (b. 1935), Albert Bruce Duckett (b. 1940) and  Albert Duckett (1907-1978).  Bruce Duckett acquired the Hellmers Cottage at 918 Calhoun Avenue in 1963 and subsequently vended it to his parents.  Bruce acquired title from his mother in 1979 and he and spouse, Alice P. Duckett, have utilized the property as a home, as well as a rental.  Courtesy of Bruce Duckett and Alice P. Duckett.

Albert Bruce Duckett

            Albert B. Duckett, called Bruce, was born at Detroit, Michigan in 1940 and reared in Biloxi where in the mid-1950s, as a teenager founded The Chariots, an automobile club, which specialized in customizing cars, which at the time was a California phenomenon.  Bruce graduated from Biloxi High School in 1957 and matriculated to Mississippi State University were he studied mechanical engineering.

          At Mississippi State University, Bruce met Alice Pulliam, a native of Meridian, Mississippi, while she was a student at MSCW, now Mississippi University for Women, at Columbus.  They married in 1963 and as newly weds made their home in the Hellmers’ Cottage at 918 Calhoun Avenue.  Bruce’s engineering career brought him to California, Louisiana, and South Carolina, as well as a twenty-eight year stint locally at Ferson Optical Company and a later 5 year stint at Morton International.  While a resident of Ocean Springs in January 1969, he founded the OSYC along with Bache Whitlock (1915-2002), Dr. Richard T. Furr (1929-2006), A. Russell Moran (1930-1981), William R. Allen (1911-1985), and Janet Ferson Green.  Bruce is remembered as an avidly, competitive and successful Sunfish and Hobie Cat sailor.  Bruce was also a longtime member of the Planning Commission and assisted the Aldermen adopt a comprehensive zoning ordinance for the City of Ocean Springs.(The Ocean Springs Record, July 27, 1972, p. 1)

            Alice P. Duckett is the icon of local historic preservation.  She began her crusade to protect our historic homes and buildings in the 1970.  Her work culminated with the September 1989 enactment of the local Historic Preservation Ordinance.  Alice has chaired the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission since 1996.

          Bruce and Alice P. Duckett  have reared three children: Nancy Alice Baker of Ocean Springs; Merrill Anne Stahura of Hickory, NC; and Albert Bruce Jr. of Biloxi.



In August 1971, Bruce and Alice P. Duckett conveyed their Calhoun Avenue home to Albert Duckett and Helen U. Duckett, his parents.  The funds were utilized to assist in the construction of their present home at 1406 Hellmers Lane.(JXCO, Ms. Land Deed Bk. 408, p. 84)


Albert Duckett

Albert Duckett (1907-1978) was born October 28, 1907 at Springfield, Illinois, the son of Reginald Vernon Duckett (1868-1953) and Lottie Louise Biggs Duckett (1879-1933).  He was the fifth of their seven children: Harold Vernon Duckett (1898-1968); Marcia Louise Duckett (1901-1994) married Ray Counihan (1886-1963); Florence Elizabeth Duckett (1902-1989) married Wallace Sale; Henry Oliver Duckett (1904-1990); Albert Duckett (1907-1978); Warren Biggs Duckett (1913-1996); and Doris Arline Duckett (1915-2004) married John Molek (1901-1994).  Reginald V. Duckett was born near Chapin, Morgan County, Illinois.  He made his livelihood working for the railroad division of the U.S. Postal Service.(1900 Sangamon Co., Illinois T623 343, p. 2A, ED 98 and 1910, 1920, and 1930 Cook Co., Illinois Federal Census T624_237, p. 7A, ED 5; T625_357, p. 2B, ED 3; and R413, p. 5A, ED 1980)



Before 1910, the Reginald V. Duckett family had relocated to Berwyn, Illinois where Albert Duckett was educated.  In 1926, he found employment with The Chicago American, a major Chicago journal, as an artist.  He later became a syndicated cartoonist with The Chicago Herald Examiner.  In 1936, the Ducketts relocated to Detroit where he was the editorial art director forThe Detroit Times, a William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951) publication.  Some of Mr. Duckett’s historic assignments were covering the Alphonse Capone (1899-1947) trial in the fall of 1931 and spending a day with the Dionne quintuplets who were born in Ontario Province, Canada in 1934.(The Daily Herald, April 21, 1978, p. A2 and The Ocean Springs Record, December 2, 2004, p. B4)



In September 1931, Albert Duckett married Helen Pauline Uhalt (1908-1987), a native of New Orleans.  Helen was the daughter of Richard Alfred Uhalt (1878-1924), an insurance salesman, and Nona Onion (1880-1958), a Hoosier, whose father, John Onion (1836-1911), owned a steamboat in the Crescent City.  After Helen’s father had expired at New Orleans in September 1924, Helen and Nona relocated to Berwyn, Cook County, Illinois.  Here they resided on Oak Park Avenue.  Helen worked for Bedell’s as an advertising manager while her mother who had remarried and was widowed from a Mr. Westermeier made her livelihood as a surgical nurse?(1930 Cook Co., Illinois R 413, p. 8B, ED 2912)

Helen and Albert Duckett had two children, Helen Merrill Duckett (b. 1935) born in Oak Park, Illinois and Albert Bruce Duckett (b. 1940) born in Detroit, Michigan.  During WW II, Mr. Duckett while a resident of Detroit enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army in July 1944 at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.  He served his country illustrating weapons training procedures such as assembling and disassembling the M-1 Garrand rifle and hand grenades.(Albert B. Duckett, April 28, 2007, The Sun Herald,  November 16, 2003, p. I-1)



While Albert was in the military, Helen U. Duckett brought the children to Biloxi where she had spent many summers.  After his discharge, Albert joined his young family on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in 1946, the Ducketts commenced a business, the Biloxi Pottery-Giftland, on Central Beach Boulevard.  They sold among other ceramics and notions, the fine Shearwater Pottery of the Anderson Brothers of Ocean Springs.  Albert also was an employee of The Daily Herald from 1946-1949 in their advertising department.  He also continued to practice his fine art skills while at Biloxi primarily doing portraits of such notable men as, .Fred B. Ferson (1898-1969), the founder of Ferson Optics Company of Ocean Springs, and Glenn Lyle Swetman (1901-1994), long time president of People’s Bank of Biloxi, as well as his grandchildren and other clan members.  Albert Duckett expired at Biloxi in April 1978.  His corporal remains were interred in the Biloxi City Cemetery.  Helen U. Duckett lived until December 6, 1987.(Albert B. Duckett, April 28, 2007, The Sun Herald,  November 16, 2003, p. I-1, The Daily Herald, April 21, 1978, p. A2 and The Sun Herald, December 8, 1987, p. A4)


Albert Duckett Gallery

  When a sponsor for an art gallery in the Mary Cahill O’Keefe Arts and Cultural Center was needed, Bruce and Alice P. Dcukett came forward to donate money, time, and intensive labor.  They desired to have Albert Duckett’s syndicated editorial cartoons and personal art work memorialized in a permanent venue.  The Albert Duckett Memorial Art Museum opened on October 24, 2004.  This was the second room in the structure to be completed with some private funding.  Joey Milsted Rice was named gallery curator.(The Ocean Springs Record, October 28, 2004, p. B4 and December 2. 2004, p. B4)



            In July 1993, Donnie McAllister, local contractor, and John Pulliam, the brother-in-law of Bruce Duckett, worked on 918 Calhoun Avenue.  Their repairs and/or refurbishments consisted of a complete interior and exterior restoration of the building.(Bruce Duckett, April 28, 2007)


Katrina and 2007 repairs

          During Hurricane Katrina on the morning of August 29, 2005, the Hellmers-Duckett cottage floated off its brick piers and was deposited on the ground several feet northwest of its foundation.  Kosciusko Movers was employed by the Ducketts to jack their rental off the ground and relocate it onto a new, raised, concrete block foundation, which supported the structure for its entire perimeter.  They also attempted to level the cottage.

          In March 2007, work commenced to refurbish the recently raised Duckett cottage.  Plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work are presently in progress and completion of the work is scheduled for July 2007.  Alice and Bruce Duckett are to be highly lauded for their efforts to salvage and restore this vernacular cottage.  With Katrina’s ubiquitous destruction and the current trend to demolish historic homes within the city, it is encouraging that the Duckett’s have undertaken this project.  Maybe their example will reverse the current negative attitude towards historic preservation.




4010 Government Street

Section 34 T7S-R8W 

Of all the cottages and homes in the vicinity of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the home of Fred E. Lee built on the Old Spanish Trail east of Ocean Springs, in 1925, has the most mystique.  Anecdotal history relates that the Lee home was the local port of entry for contraband liquor during the Prohibition era years (1919-1933).  The name of Alphonse Capone (1899-1947), the Chicago gangster, is often mentioned in these same allegations of illegal activities concerning spirituous liquors.  Is it possible that Cuban vessels penetrating the blockade by US Revenue cutters in the Mississippi Sound landed rum and other alcoholic spirits on the shore of Davis Bayou in the shadows of the Lee home?  

Casa Flores

(image circa 1925, from Randy Randazzo)


Del Castle

(north elevation-September 2004 by Ray L. Bellande)

Architectural description

Del Castle is a one story, rambling, stuccoed masonry, Spanish Eclectic Style building, which rests on a raised basement and is covered by side gable, terra cotta tiled roofs.  The asymmetrical north (main) façade four bays wide divided into two blocks.  The main entrance occupies the smaller, lightly recessed, one bay-wide western block.  The side-lighted door is approached from the north by a monumental staircase and porch both of which are shaded by a pergola supported by Corinthian columns.  The outer bays of the eastern block have paired square-headed casement openings on the basement level and paired round-arched floor length casement windows on the main floor.  The latter openings have shaped muntins and are protected by wrought iron balconies.  Very small paired casement windows set high into the wall of the main floor occupy the center bay of the eastern block.  A wing projects southwards from the rear of the entrance block and a carport occupies a section of the raised basement.(MDAH Report) 

Statement of Significance:

Erected in 1925, in the Spanish Eclectic Style for F.E. Lee, Del Castle is equaled in its opulence within Ocean Springs only by the Guice House on Lover’s Lane and the Hanson-Dickey House on Shearwater Drive.  The studied informality of its design integrates an irregular plan and such elegant features as wrought iron balconies, arched casement windows with curvilinear muntins, colored tiles, and Corinthian columns with intricately detailed capitals.  The grounds of its five acre estate are landscaped in a manner consistent with the relaxed luxury of the architecture.(MDAH Report) 


Mr. and Mrs. Frederick E. Lee

Of all the cottages and homes in the vicinity of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the home of Frederick E. Lee erected in 1925, east of Ocean Springs on the Old Spanish Trail has the most mystique.  Anecdotal history relates that the Lee home was the local port of entry for contraband liquor during the American era of Prohibition, 1919-1933.  The name of Alphonse Capone (1899-1947), a Chicago gangster, is often mentioned in these same allegations of illegal activities concerning spirituous liquors.  Is it possible that Cuban vessels penetrating the blockade of US Revenue cutters in the Mississippi Sound, landed rum and other alcoholic spirits on the bank of Davis Bayou in the shadows of the tall yellow pines surrounding the Lee homestead?

Frederick E. Lee (1874-1932) was born at Campbellsburg, Indiana on June 5, 1874, the son of Findley Lee and Elizabeth Collier.  They were natives respectively of Greencastle and Campbellsburg, Indiana.

Mr. Lee and his wife, Georgette Faures Lee (1889-1979), a native of new Orleans, came to Ocean Springs circa 1917, with their two daughters, Frieda Lee Carver, the spouse of Lawton Carver (1903-1973), and Mrs. Henry Vausha.  They made their livelihoods here as realtors and proprietors of a pecan factory.  The Lee’s business was called the Atkinson-Lee Pecan Company.  It was incorporated in 1919, by Hugh Atkinson of New York City and Mr. and Mrs. Lee of Ocean Springs.  The company was organized to grow, bay and sell all manner of agricultural, truck and horticultural products, to own, lease, buy and sell real estate, to own, build and sell houses, to own, operate and control conning, preserving and pickling plants, to build, lease and own club houses and hotels, to do a general mercantile business, to buy, sell, grow and propagate all kinds of vegetables, plants and horticultural products.(The Jackson County Times, August 30, 1919, p. 4)

In March 1922, Lee helped organize the Mississippi Nursery at Gulfport, Mississippi, in March 1922.(The Jackson County Times, March 4, 1922) 

The 1924 Fire

 The Lees resided on Washington Avenue in the old Bartlett House, south of the Wing-Tebo Cottage, White House Hill.  Their pecan factory was situated in rear of the house.  The Bartlett place was believed to have been built in 1853, and was one of the oldest homes in Ocean Springs.  Prior to moving in, the Lees remodeled the old structure, which had been erected with excellent materials.  The Lee home burned on February 27, 1924, with the Gallagher House to the south.  The Redmond-Shipman House at present day 212 Washington Avenue is the former site of the F.E. Lee home.    (The Jackson County Times, March 4, 1924, p. 5 and The Daily Herald, February 29, 1924, p. 3)

 F.E. Lee rented the George L. Friar House at present day 1117 Washington Avenue.  It is assumed that the family was domiciled here until Casa Flores was completed in late 1925 or early 1926.(The Jackson County Times, October 4, 1924, p. 5) 

Casa Flores

 In October 1925, Mrs. Georgette Lee acquired a five acre tract in the NE/4 of Section 34, T7S-R8W, from Leon R. Jacobs (1885-1930+), a New York attorney who was officed at 27 Williams Street, New York, New York..(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deed Bk. 56, pp. 644-645)

In 1929, Mr. Jacobs was involved with Philip Rhinelander, an affluent gentlemen from an old New York family, in litigation concerning his son, Leonard Kip Rhinelander (1904-1936), and his quadroon wife, Alice Beatrice Jones Rhinelander.  Mrs. Jones-Rhinelander had filed a $500,000 alienation of affection suit against the Rhinelanders.(The Daily Herald, July 5, 1929, p. 1)

 Commencing in the late fall of 1925, the Lees constructed a home, which they called “Casa Flores”, the house of flowers.  Morgan Hite of New Orleans was the architect and the Jensen Brothers Construction Company of New Orleans and Biloxi, erected the one-story stucco home on Davis Bayou.(The Jackson County Times, November 21, 1925, p. 5)

Fred E. Lee dropped dead in the Bailey Drug Store, now Lovelace Drugs, on Washington Avenue on September 2, 1932.  His remains were sent to Campbellsburg, Indiana for interment in the Livonia Cemetery.(The Daily Herald, September 3, 1932, p. 2) 


Charles J. Kuhn

During the Depression, Mrs. Lee lost Casa Flores.  It was repossessed by the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and conveyed to Charles J. Kuhn (1905-1979) for $11,000 in July 1943.(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 83, pp. 302-304)

Mr. Kuhn made his livelihood in Pascagoula as a tailor.  His spouse, Odetta Kuhn (1910-1994), sold real estate. 

In June 1946, during the Kuhn ownership, eight small cabins (236 sq. ft. in area) were moved onto the property for rental purposes.  They were located on the extreme southern perimeter of the tract.  There was also a small office situated near the Old Spanish Trail in the northwest corner of the parcel.  It was probably use as a rental office for the cabins.(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 106, pp. 145-146)

In February 1949, the Kuhns sold their home to William J. Doody of Chicago for $50,000.(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 105, pp. 159-160 and pp. 183-188) 


William J. Doody

William J. Doody was the proprietor of Doody Industries at Chicago, Illinois.  He planned to operated Del Castle as a tourist court and a vacation playground, especially for fishermen and their families.  At this time, Del Castle sat on five acres and the main house had fourteen rooms.  There were  twelve rental cabins, boats, and fishing equipment to rent.(The Daily Herald, February 10, 1949, p. 10)

Mr. Doody had legal troubles with G.E. Arndt (1908-1994) per JXCO, Ms. Chancery Court Cause No. 3938.  Other Chancery Court Causes involving Doody were: No. 10070, No. 12743, and No. 13074.  No further information. 


Charles J. Kuhn

The Kuhn family was residing at 234 Canty when they reacquired their home in December 1949, from Mr. Doody.(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 110, pp. 413-414)  

1951 Drowning

Juanita Gilmore Persinger (1927-1951), a nurses aid, from Mobile, drowned in the swimming pool at Del Castle in late July 1951.  Her husband was unable to save her.(The Gulf Coast Times, July 26, 1951, p. 1)



George C. Lovell

In December 1956, the Kuhns conveyed their estate on Davis Bayou to George C. Lovell and his wife, Bessie Lovell.(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 163, p. 424-425)  Mr. Lovell was manager of the Standard Furniture Company at Pascagoula.  In 1941, Mrs. Lovell gave birth to identical twin daughters, Helen and Elsie Lovell.  In 1957, the Lovell twins were students at the Virginia Internment College at Bristol, Virginia.  Their brother, Mark Lovell, was enrolled at Baylor University at Waco, Texas.(The Ocean Springs News, April 18, 1957)



Nellie Goldsby

In June 1960, the Lovells conveyed Del Castle to Nellie Cruthirds Goldsby (1890-1974).(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 199, p. 489)  Mrs. Goldsby was born at Handsboro, Mississippi, the daughter of Joseph and Anna Michon Cruthirds.  Her parents married in Harrison County, Mississippi in August 1883.(HARCO, Ms. MRB 7, p. 483)

Circa 1910, Nellie Cruthirds married Israel Goldsby (1884-1959).  They had a daughter, Colette Goldsby Hewlett (1914-1987).  The Goldsbys resided at Lucy, Tennessee where they had a large farm and other business interests.  After Mr. Goldsby’s demise, Nellie C. Goldsby acquired and restored Del Castle.  She had a reputation for her love of flowers and generous nature.  When her health began to fail, Mrs. Goldsby began a residency in Windsor Park, a subdivision north of Ocean Springs, with her daughter, Mrs. Colette Hewlett, the spouse of Dean Hewlett.  Colette was born in November 1914, at New Orleans.  She relocated to Mississippi in 1959, probably from Tennessee.  Her husband preceded her in death.(The Ocean Springs Record, August 6, 1987, p. 3)

Mrs. Goldsby passed on January 14, 1974, and her remains were interred in Biloxi at Southern Memorial Park Cemetery.  In addition to Mrs. Hewlett, she was survived by a stepdaughter, Mrs. Steve McFarland, of Woodstock, Tennessee.(The Ocean Springs Record, January 17, 1974, p. 3)

In May 1969, Mrs. Goldsby was residing at Millington, Tennessee, probably with her daughter, Mrs. Steve McFarland, when she sold Del Castle to Brooks B. Legate and Hazel Alice Vance Legate in May 1969.(JXCO, Ms. Record of Deeds Bk. 357, p. 5) 

J.W. Rodrigues?

The Ocean Springs News announced in early May 1964, that Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Rodrigues of Biloxi had purchased Del Castle from Mrs. Goldsby.  At this time, they aspired to build a large marina that could handle 150 boats.  The Rodrigues also planned to have skiffs, with and without outboards motors, tackle, and bait to rent.  In addition, the swimming pool was being rebuilt and would be open to the general public with a picnic area.(The Ocean Springs News, May 7, 1964, p. 3)                 

Swimming pool

In mid-July 1964, Rodriguez opened Del Castle’s swimming pool to the public.  It measured 105 feet by 42 feet.  There was a children’s wading pool, concession stand, and picnic area.  Dressing rooms and bath facilities were also available.  Public pool hours were from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.  Evening utilization for the pool area was reserved for private parties, club, and civic organizations.  Jerry Arndt was the lifeguard and swim teacher.(The Ocean Springs News, July 23, 1964, p. 2)

The ownership of J.W. Rodriguez cannot be corroborated by the land deed records of the Chancery Court of Jackson County, Mississippi.  It is assumed that the Rodriguez family leased the property.



Brooks B. Legate

Brooks B. Legate (1920-2007) was born October 26, 1920 at Indian Mound, Tennessee, the son of Morris and Ella Mae Legate.  He matriculated to Livingston State Teacher's College in Livingston, Alabama and subsequently spent twenty-three years in the US Navy retiring in 1962.  Circa 1946, Mr. Legate married Hazel Alice Vance (1915-2005).  She was a native of Belton, South Carolina and the daughter of  Frank Vance and Bessie Holliday Vance.  They had a son, Bruce W. Legate.  After his military career Brooks B. Legate became a Civil Service instructor at KAFB in Biloxi, Mississippi.  Mrs. Legate was a self-employed licensed cosmetician.  She enjoyed gardening and flower arranging while Bruce was a fisherman, gardener, and woodwoker.  Hazel expired on August 29, 2005.  Brooks B. Legate died at Alexandria, Louisiana on June 19, 2007.(The Sun Herald, October 11, 2005, p. A6 and July 18, 2007, p. A4) 

Bruce W. Legate

In late November 1980, Bruce W. Legate married Lou Ann Truman of Richwood, West Virginia under the auspices of the Methodist Church at Del Castle.  They were residents of Charlestown, West Virginia.(The Ocean Springs Record, December 11, 1980, p. 5)

Capone relic?

In early June 2005, The Ocean Springs Record, reported that Mike Puckett, a field  technician for the Mississippi Departmental of Environmental Quality, recovered a coin purse while fishing from the Davis Bayou Bridge on Old Spanish Trail, very near Del Castle.  The small leather wallet contained six coins that ranged in age from 1899 to 1917.  On the surface of the purse were carved “Al Capone”.   This interesting find only adds more intrigue to the anecdotal history of Al Capone and Del Castle.(The Ocean Springs Record, June 9, 2005, p. B)


In 2004, rumors began to flow around Ocean Springs that Del Castle was to be torn down by Bruce W. Legate.  He obtained a demolition permit from the City of Ocean Springs in early 2005, which had expired.  He re-applied and a hearing was held before the Ocean Springs Historic Preservation Commission on August 11, 2005, who denied the demolition.  In early October 2006, the Board of Aldermen approved Mr. Legate's demolition permit in a 4-3 vote.  Mayor Moran told he Board that she would and did veto their approval for demolition.  Cooper Whiteside Norman, a resident architect, has been in negotiations with Bruce Legate to convert the old mansion into an architectural institute to promote historic preservation.  At its second October meeting on the 17th, the Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen failed in a 4-2 vote to overturn Mayor Moran's veto of their earlier approval to grant a demolition permit for Del Castle to Bruce Legate, trustee of his father's estate.

(The Ocean Springs Record, August 4, 2005, p. A1 and October 5,2006, p. A1, and October 19, 2006, p. A1)

Finally in early November 2006, after Mayor Moran withdrew her second demolition veto, Bruce Legate was legally free to demolish his father's Spanish Colonial Revival home, Del Castle.  Bruce Legate said that he had no plans to develop the property, but related that he might have a smaller home erected on the site.(The Sun Herald, November 2, 2006, p. A10)


Del Castle falls-March 29, 2007

[images made by David Perryman Drake]

Demo day

Mr. Bruce Legate won his infamous place in Ocean Springs history when he unleashed a demolition team on the old F.E. Lee house on March 29, 2007.  As David Perryman Drake, a neighbor was quoted, "She didn't go easy,  just a stubborn as Georgette [Lee] was." 

Terry Dickson, reporter for The Ocean Springs Record, was admitted by Bruce Legate to the interior of Del Castle prior to its demolition to photograph the interior.  Why?(The Ocean Springs Record, April 5, 2007, p. A1)




Mississippi Department of Archives & History, Historic Site Survey, “Del Castle” (the Lee House)-


Chancery Court Cases

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 3938

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 4948, "R.J. Richsteig v. Leon R. Jacobs", 1926.

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 6256

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 10070

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 12734

Jackson County, Mississippi Chancery Court Cause No. 13074



The Daily Herald, “Burned Residence Was Old Landmark”, February 29, 1924.

The Daily Herald, “Mrs. Rhinelander Will Sue Husband and Father-in-Law”, July 5, 1929.

The Daily Herald, “Fred E. Lee Dies”, September 3, 1932.

The Daily Herald"DelCastel (sic) sold to Chicago man", February 10, 1949.

The Gulf Coast Times, “Woman Drowns at Dell Castl’ Pool”, July 26, 1951.

The Jackson County Times, “The Charter of Incorporation of Atkinson-Lee Pecan and Realty Company”, August 30, 1919.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, March 4, 1922.

The Jackson County Times, “Fire destroys two homes”, March 1, 1924.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", October 4, 1924, p. 5.

The Jackson County Times"Local and Personal", November 21, 1924, p. 5.

The Jackson County Times, "Local and Personal", December 19, 1925, p. 5.

The Jackson County Times, “Country Estate of F.E. Lee Will Be Show Place of Coast”, March 20, 1926.

The Jackson County Times, “Local and Personal”, November 21, 1925.

The Mississippi Press, "Resident wants 'Capone hideout' rubbed out", May 30, 2006, p. 1-A.

The Ocean Springs News, “Helen and Elise Lovell” (photo), April 18, 1957.

The Ocean Springs News, “Marriage of Identical Lovell Twins Is Outstanding June Wedding Event”, July 3, 1958, p. 5.

The Ocean Springs News, “Del Castle Bought by Biloxian”, May 7, 1964.

The Ocean Springs News, “Ramblings”, July 23, 1964.


The Ocean Springs Record

The Ocean Springs Record, “Mrs. Nellie Goldsby”, January 17, 1974.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Truman-Legate”, December 11, 1980.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Colette G. Hewlett”, August 6, 1987.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Al Capone’s coins?” June 9, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Touchable Capone”, June 9, 2005, p. B8.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Rumored Capone house has colorful history”, June 9, 2005, p. B8.

The Ocean Springs Record, “Del Castle fate to be determined August 11”, August 4, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Del Castle fate sent to chancery court", August 18, 2005, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Aldermen balk at Del Castle demolition", June 8, 2006, p.A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "City seeks option for Del Castle", June 15, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "City fashions plan to stop Del Castle demolition", June 22, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Veto derails demolition OK", October 5, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Mayor's Del Castle demolition veto holds", October 19, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Del Castle demolition hits veto-again", October 26, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Del Castle demise near as veto fails", November 9, 2006, p. A1.

The Ocean Springs Record, "Del Castle crumbles", April 5, 2007, p. A1.


The Sun Herald,

The Sun Herald, "Mrs. Hazel Vance Legate", October 11, 2005, p. A6.

The Sun Herald, "Chasing Al Capone", June 6, 2006, p. A2.

The Sun Herald, "Aldermen table Del Castle vote", June 7, 2006, p. A5.

The Sun Herald, "Del Castle may be spared", June 21, 2006, p. A6.

The Sun Herald, "Del Castle demolition OK'd", October 4, 2006, p. A9.

The Sun Herald, "Moran again vetoes demolition", October 26, 2006, p. A12.

The Sun Herald, "Del Castle will crumble", November 2, 2006, p. A10.


The Sun Herald, "Brooks B. Legate", July 18, 2007, p. A4.