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What John Cuevas accomplished in his detailed account of Cat Island was truly a heartened journey into the past of his own personal heritage. Cat Island, encountered in 1699 by the French while seeking the mouth of the Mississippi River, has been studied by many historians including myself. I reviewed the works of other contemporary writers such as; M. James Stevens research papers, Nap Cassibrys Ladner Odyssey, Gloria Morans files, and Kat Bergerons chronicles they all added various slices of the passing centuries, but the depth and breadth of detail is only brought forth in Johns Cat Island: The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island.
There is much to be gleaned.
It is interesting to follow the change over of ownership of the Gulf Coast from French to English to Spanish to American and the string of ownerships of the Island that resulted. As reported, Lafittes pirates and Copelands rum-runners hid some of their loot on Cat Island. Pirates Cove was supposedly named due to its use by Jean Lafitte. The Cat Island lighthouse, erected in 1831, was temporarily discontinued due to hurricane damages in 1860 followed by a shut-down by the Confederates in 1861.
Cat Island can be seen from the shores of Pass Christian, Long Beach, and Gulfport resulting in being visually familiar to locals and tourists alike, but in reading the John Cuevas historic version, makes one want to see the Island up close to see and feel it as Juan de Cuevas of the 1790s, knew it.
(Time line and noteworthy events)
.. Christian de LAdner was born in Prattigau Valley, Canton Grisons, Switzerland. He was the father of Nicholas Christian dit Ladner who is considered by many to be the patriarch of the early Coast1.
1699 (Feb. 27) ..
Cat Island was discovered by Iberville and Bienville, and was first named Bourbon Island. When the group of fifty-one men including Iberville and Bienville were obliged to remain over night on the Island, they encountered a large number of raccoons which came into their camp and ate what provisions they had left from the evening meal. Because of the raccoons, they began calling the island, Isle aux Chats-aux-huitres. Literally translated that means Island of the Cats of the night, their name for raccoons. Over time Isle aux Chats-aux-huitres was contracted by the Creoles into Isle aux Chats, or Cat Island2.
.. France controlled the Florida territory including the Gulf Coast3.
... Cat Island was one of the three most populated settlements on the coast. It attracted pirates, soldiers, pioneers, and adventurers4.
Not many years after the discovery of Cat Island, Governor Bienville built a fort on a little cove at the foot of the Great Sand Hill. It was built of bricks made in France and brought over as ballast by some of the frigates that made regular trips between Rochelle and Biloxi. These bricks of which numbers were still scattered about (1871) on the site of the fort, were seven inches long, four inches wide, and only one and a half-inch thick. The outline of the Fort was still plainly perceptible (1871). It was built on the plan of Vauban with re-entering angles. It was manned, to judge by the existing ruins (1871), with about a dozen guns of light caliber, and was floored inside of the parapet with a sheet of cement, made undoubtedly on the spot as the badly burned oyster lime seemed to prove5.
.. Christian de LAdner arrived on the Gulf Coast for the first time aboard the vessel Le Marie6. (Age approximately twenty years)
.. The capitol of the Louisiana territory was moved from Biloxi to New Orleans7.
.. Jean Baptiste Ladner, first child of Christian Ladner, was born in Pascagoula, MS8.
.. Mathurin Ladner, second child of Christian Ladner, was born. The location is not certain9.
.. Nicholas Ladner, third child of Christian Ladner, was born. The location is not certain. He was to become the first person to receive a grant to Cat Island10.
.. Marianne St. Martin was born. She was later to become the wife of Nicholas Ladner. Mariannes father was not Pierre Pacquet, as many believe. Pierre Pacquet had deserted his family and escaped from the French Colony of Louisiana in 1739, several years before Marianne Pacquet was born. He never returned to Louisiana. He would have been prosecuted if he had. After he escaped from Louisiana, his wife, Magdelen Boudrau, apparently had three illegitimate children (including Marianne) with a man named Francois Alexandre Chenet dit St. Martin. After Magdelen died about 1749, Pierre Pacquet moved to New Orleans and married Elisabeth Henry and raised a large family with her. This is the reason some records refer to Marianne as Pacquet while others refer to her as St. Martin. After his death in St. Domingue, Pierres will was executed in New Orleans and he left all his estate to his only child, Marie Marthe Pacquet. 11.
.. Pascagoula had ten white males and sixty Negro males12.
.. Nicholas Ladner moved from Bayou St. John in New Orleans and began living permanently on Cat Island where he had been bringing cattle for years. The islands in the Mississippi Sound were being used as cattle pasturage13.
.. French mercenary Swiss troops occupied Cat Island to watch for British spy ships. They made first use of charcoal from trees and lime from oyster shells14.
.. Mutiny on Cat Island. During the French and Indian War, Officer Sier Duroux was killed by his men because he was a tyrant who overworked, underfed, and generally mistreated his men15.
.. Nicholas Ladner married Marianne St. Martin16.
.. Juan de Cuevas born in Algamitas, in the province of Andalusia in Spain, of the Bishopric of Malaga17.
.. Treaty of Paris ended the French and Indian War. The French surrendered its territory east of the Mississippi except New Orleans to Great Britain. The French area west of the Mississippi River was given to Spain. The Coastal area was organized by England into East and West Florida. Pass Christian was in the area known as West Florida18.
1764 - 1780
.. The coast came under the control of the English after the Treaty of Paris19.
.. Nicholas Ladner visited Mobile to take the oath of allegiance to Great Britain. It is probably then that he registered his claim to Cat Island, 2978 acres, with the British20.
. The British granted Mr. Somitette Cat Island, Deer Island, and Round Island and 500 acres on the mainland providing it not be property of any French settlers. However, there were already prominent families, who had registered their land grants at Cat Island, such as: Ladner, Cuevas, and Moran.21
.. A severe hurricane (like Camille in 1969) wrecked Cat Island and the Coast22.
.. Marie Helene Ladner was born on Cat Island. She later married Juan de Cuevas23.
1780 (May 1)
Nicholas Ladner petitions the British for 20 acres along the Coast in what is now Long Beach24.
.. The coast came under the control of Spain. (1781 1810) In 1776, the American colonies began their revolt against England. The Floridas did not join in the rebellion. The Spanish governor of Louisiana, Galvez, who was the son of the famous ruler of Mexico and nephew of the president of the Council of the Indies, watched for an opportunity to seize the Floridas, and by May 1781, Spain was in control25.
1781 (Aug 1)
The Spanish honored Nicholas Ladners request for a grant to Cat Island, a request that he had made to the British in 176426.
.. Juan de Cuevas was caught and convicted of piracy in Spain. The King of Spain exiled him to military service in the new Florida territory. He never returned to his family in Europe27.
.. A small group of Spanish troops from the fort in Pensacola was garrisoned on Cat Island. Juan de Cuevas, age 22, was probably one of these soldiers.28
.. The chief employment along the Mississippi Gulf Coast was shown to be cattle and other stock as well as making pitch and tar29.
.. Nicholas Ladner built the house for his family that in later years became known as the Cuevas Place30.
1788 (May 21)
.. Nicholas Ladner petitions Governor General Stephen Miro for a land grant on the beach in what is now Long Beach31.
1788 (Jun. 3)
. The Spanish grants Nicholas Ladners request for land in what is now Long Beach32. (To locate this Claim from present known land marks, the western boundary was approximately present day Gulf View Avenue, Long Beach, Mississippi and the eastern boundary was approximately present day Lewis Avenue, Gulfport, Mississippi.)
... Nicholas Ladner moved to his newly granted land in what is now Long Beach with his wife and son Claude. He apparently lived there until his death c.1799. The property became known as Old Chimneys because of the house he built with two large chimneys that could be seen from long distances at sea33. (Note: There is some question as to when Nicholas Ladner died. No records have been found to verify a date. Some historians believe he died before moving to Old Chimneys. The fact that his widow was eventually granted this land seems to indicate his death prior to actually taking possession of the land.)
.. Juan de Cuevas married Maria Helene Ladner, daughter of Nicholas Christian de LAdner34.
. John Joseph Cuevas, first child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Deer Island35.
1797 (Oct. 1)
Helene Cuevas, second child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Deer Island36.
1798 (Apr. 21)
. Confirmation was held on Deer Island. The following children and adults were confirmed: Juan Sierra and Jose Ignacio Sierra, sons of Ignacio and of Magdalen Ladner, John Joseph Cuevas and Helene Louisa Cuevas, children of Juan de Cuevas and Mary Ladner, Luis Christian Ladner, (100 years old) son of Christian Ladner and Magdelina Ladner, Maria Evelina Cade (Cadet or the younger, Caddy LaFontaine), daughter of Luis (Auguste LaFontaine) and of Catarina Bourgeois, Clarisa Cony, daughter of Damian and of Susana Carcous, Jose Carcous, son of Nicolas and of Catarina Ladner, Magdalena Ladner, daughter of Nicolas and of Mariana Paquet, Elena Ladner, daughter of Nicolas and Mariana Luison Cade (LaFontaine), Susana and Pedro Carcoux, children of Nicolas and Catarina Ladner, and Domingo Santiago Maturin (Ladner), son of Santiago and Maria Carcoux.37
.. Nicholas Ladner died probably at his home known as Old Chimneys in what is now Long Beach38.
1799 (May 22) ...
.. Francois Cuevas, third child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Deer Island39.
1800 (Mar 4) .
.. Bridget Monique Cuevas, fourth child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Deer Island. Three other children were previously born on Deer Island, John Joseph, Helene, and Francois. After the birth of Bridget, Juan de Cuevas moved with his family to the Cat Island homestead c.180340.
1801 (Apr. 22)
. Four grandchildren of Nicholas Christian Ladner and Marie Anne Paquet (St. Martin) were baptized. The parents were Joseph Morin, native of Canada, and Luisa Ladner. The children were: Francois, 12 years old, Maria Louise, age 10 years, Helene, age 8 years, and Juan, age 6 years. The record states that the baptismal ceremonies took place in the home of the paternal grandparents on Cat Island41. (From this document we can assume that some of the Ladners were still living in the old home on Cat Island. There is evidence, however, that Nicholas was dead at this time and that his widow was living with their son, Claude, on his grant at what is now Long Beach, Mississippi.)42
.. The Old Pirate House was built on a bluff overlooking the beach in Waveland, Mississippi. The bluff was said to conceal a tunnel from the house to the shore. The tunnel, so legend claimed, was perfect for unloading misbegotten booty. The privately owned home was supposedly haunted and used as a safe house for pirates, particularly Jean Lafitte, Louisianas famous Barataria pirate. Former owners and writers claim that eight different ghosts haunted the house, and at least one of them was the spirit of a murdered pirate43.
.. Evidence that Juan de Cuevas was living on Deer Island at this time. Juan is on record as being a ship owner and paying toll regularly to go through the bridge of Bayou St. John in New Orleans on his voyages from Deer Island.44
.. Juan de Cuevas moved with his family from Deer Island to the family homestead on Cat Island45.
.. Celeste Galixte Cuevas, fifth child of Juan de Cuevas, was the first of his children who was born on Cat Island after the family had moved permanently to the island homestead46.
.. Juan de Cuevas and his family moved into the Ladner house on Cat Island with his mother-in-law, Marianne Ladner, after the apparent death of her husband, Nicholas. In later days it became known as the Cuevas Place. It existed until the 1930s when it was destroyed by fire.47
.. Jean Lafitte arrives from France and over the next ten years leads a band of desperados in preying on Spanish ships coming into New Orleans from Europe. Reports are that Lafitte and later the Copeland clan of bandits hid some of their loot on Cat Island48. Pirates Cove on Cat Island was named, supposedly, because of its use by Jean Lafitte49.
.. Marie Anastasie Cuevas, sixth child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Cat Island.50
.. Marie Solitelle Cuevas, seventh child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Cat Island51.
1808 (Jun 3)
. Jefferson Davis was born52.
.. Pierre Baptiste Perrique Cuevas, eighth child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Cat Island53.
..... The grants of land on the Coast to the widow Ladner and her son, Claude54
1810 (Oct. 11)
.. Successful leaders of a revolt against Spanish rule applied to the U.S. for admission of the Louisiana territory as a state in the Union. From this date the U.S. ruled the Louisiana and Gulf Coast territory55.
.. Charles Ferdinand Cuevas, ninth child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Cat Island56.
.. The entire coast at this time had a non-Indian population of only 77057.
.. Juan de Cuevas still lived on the Ladnier place on Cat Island, which he inherited from his father-in-law, Nicholas Christian Ladnier58. This family residence, which in later years became known as the Cuevas Place, stood until the 1930s59. Some conflicting reports say that Cuevas built the house c.181260.
.. Raymond Cuevas, tenth child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Cat Island. He later became the lighthouse keeper61.
.. The war by the United States against England begins62.
.. Hancock and Jackson Counties were first formed. Hancock, which was named after the revolutionary patriot John Hancock and included all the area from the Pearl River to the Bay of Biloxi; and Jackson, which was named for Andrew Jackson and began with the Bay of Biloxi and extended indefinitely eastward. Pass Christian was in Hancock County63.
1813 (Jul. 18)
.... Euphrosine Cuevas, eleventh child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Cat Island64.
1814 (Dec 8)
. A large English naval force (fifty British men-of-war) anchored in the Mississippi Sound. Never before or since had such an armada appeared in the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the smaller vessels were already within sight of Pass Christian when Juan de Cuevas dispatched news of the arrival of this fleet to New Orleans. Commodore Patterson, who was in charge of the naval defenses at New Orleans, promptly sent five schooners, a tanker, and a dispatch boat to the Mississippi Sound to watch the movements of the British forces65.
1814 (Dec. 9)
.. British scouting expeditions scoured the island and mainland for fresh vegetables and meat. Juan de Cuevas had many heads of cattle. While hunting that day, he heard gunfire. He came upon three British soldiers and a Chinese cook who were killing his cattle. He shot two of them. The Chinese cook died. The British returned fire and Cuevas dropped with a slight wound in his leg. Two of his daughters, hearing the firing, came to his aid with guns. Juan urged them not to fire. Juan was taken aboard one of the warships at Ship Island and held prisoner. They urged him to show them the best route through the bayous and marshes to New Orleans. He refused66.
1815 (Jan. 8)
. The Battle of New Orleans was fought. No one was aware that two weeks before, the Treaty of Ghent had been negotiated and the war was supposed to have ended67.
1815 (Feb 2)
. Henrietta Pauline Cuevas, twelfth and last child of Juan de Cuevas, was born on Cat Island68.
.. Mississippi became a State69.
1818 (Nov. 12)
. John Joseph Cuevas, first child of Juan de Cuevas and Marie Ladner married Eugenia Christianne dit Ladner, daughter of Juan Bautista Christianne and of Francisca Fayard. In the extract from the Marriage Register, it is stated that John Joseph was a native of Deer Island and that his wife, Eugenia, was a native and resident of Bay St. Louis. This indicates that Juan de Cuevas and his family was still living on Deer Island when John Joseph, Jr., their first child, was born.70
.. First official United States census was made of the Coast area. The population was 1,594. Only six families lived in what is now Biloxi71.
Juan de Cuevas captured two pirates, John Baker and Martin Hogan, off of the coast of Cat Island. Juan saw a barge run ashore at Goose Point. He waded out and found two men shoveling sand in order that the boat might be freed. The men refused assistance or advice. Juan heard strange sounds aboard. He went back and got his friend, Mr. Ferris, a man who had participated in the Battle of New Orleans and who was visiting him on the island. They boarded the boat and found the Captain chained head and foot to the cabin floor. He could not speak for weakness. Juan and Mr. Ferris tied up the two men in the boat, and took the Captain ashore and put him in a warm bed. Juans wife, Maria, fed him weak soupa tablespoon at a time. They took the men to jail at Bay St. Louis. John Baker was executed. Martin Hogan escaped and was never recaptured72.
1821 (Nov 24)
The State of Mississippi awarded Juan de Cuevas $200.00 for the capture of the two pirates, John Baker and Martin Hogan, off of Cat Island73.
.. Population of the Coast had increased to 1,962 whites and slaves74.
1830 (Sept 28)
.. Juan Cuevas was granted 1280 acres of Cat Island in a transfer of claim from Nicholas Christian dit Ladner. This is the original grant to Cuevas for a part of Cat Island.75
1830 (Nov. 20)
.. Cat Island was surveyed for Juan de Cuevas by Elihu Carver, Deputy Surveyor. This survey was ordered to verify the part of Cat Island that Juan Cuevas had claimed and was granted. Mr. Gidson Fitz, the surveyor of public lands south of Tennessee, examined and approved the survey again on August 11, 1832.76
... Seminole Indians being moved from Alabama and Florida to Oklahoma used Cat Island as a stopping place77.
1831 (Jun. 10)
.. The first lighthouse on Cat Island was built for $5000 on the West End of Cat Island on land sold to the U. S. by Juan de Cuevas. An almost identical lighthouse was built at the same time in Pass Christian. It was built by Lazarus Baukens, who was hired by prime contractor Winslow Lewis. The first lighthouse keeper, George Riolly of Pass Christian, oversaw construction and formally accepted the tower on June 10, 1831. Because of a lack of whale oil fuel, the tower was not put to use for several months. Mr. Riolly died of smallpox in 1834, shortly after taking the job. Raymond Cuevas, son of Juan de Cuevas, became the lighthouse keeper after Mr. Riolly until July186178. Ramons first wife, Isabella Penalver, died April 4, 1834 and he married Mr. Riollys widow, Desiree Irma Monet, November 3, 185079.
.. Ramon Cuevas became the second Cat Island lighthouse keeper. He continued until July 1861 when the original brick lighthouse was closed permanently80.
The Courthouse in Jackson County, Mississippi first burned down by the notorious outlaw James Copeland and his accomplices in order to destroy the records of the indictments against him81.
.. Juan de Cuevas sold certain parts of Cat Island to Judah P. Benjamin. Attorney General of the Confederate States. Juan only owned 1280 acres according to the records at that time. There was some contest as to his ownership of the entire island. He and his family were allowed to continue living there until there death82. Before the Civil War, Benjamin became the first Jewish U.S. senator as a member of the Whig Party in Louisiana83.
.. Biloxi was incorporated as a town in Hancock County84.
.. Pass Christian was incorporated as a town85.
1840 (Feb. 1)
Juan de Cuevas sold ten acres of Cat Island to his son Raymond Cuevas for $200.0086.
.. Harrison County was newly formed mostly from existing Hancock County. It was named for William Henry Harrison the ninth President of the United States87.
.. The Roman Catholic Church established the first Biloxi parish88.
.. The last great party given by Juan de Cuevas on Cat Island. It lasted eight days and nights89.
1845 (July 28)
.. Juan de Cuevas sold 160 Acres of Cat Island to his daughter Mary Solitille Krohn.90
1847 (July 31)
.. Rev. Stanislas Buteux was appointed as the first priest in the area at Bay St. Louis when the Diocese of Nachez was established in Mississippi. At that time, his parish duties included the missions on Jordan River, Pearl River, and Wolf River and this area was known as the Three Rivers Missions. In the beginning, present day Kiln, Mississippi was known as the Jordan River settlement. Father Buteux also served the area of Pass Christian and infrequently served the other coastal areas of Harrison and Jackson Counties91.
1847 (Aug. 30)
.. By executive order the U. S. reserved Cat Island from Aug 30, 1847 until May 18, 1878 because of the Mexican American War92.
1848 (Sept. 2) .
.. James Brown, a planter from Madison County, Mississippi, purchased land from John Henderson of Pass Christian, Mississippi and began building what was to become Beauvoir93.
. The Biloxi lighthouse opened94.
1849 (Mar. 21)
. Juan de Cuevas, his wife Mary and their living children signed an emancipation agreement freeing the slaves that were owned by Juan and Mary. The slaves were to be freed after the death of Juan and Mary with no contest by the Cuevas heirs. The slaves were John Picayune, a male age about forty-five, Natar, a female age about twenty-six, and her child Colet, age about four95.
1849 (Sep. 24)
.. Juan de Cuevas died. His obituary states that he was the owner of only half of Cat Island96. He was buried on Cat Island and later his body was brought to the Old Biloxi Cemetery for burial in the family vault97.
1849 (Sep. 26)
Isabel Penalver, first wife of Raymond Cuevas, died just two days after Juan de Cuevas. Their obituaries appear together in the same paper.98
.. The construction of Beauvoir was completed99.
.. The Hancock county courthouse was demolished by fire destroying all records100.
1856 (Aug. 1)
Pierre Perrique Cuevas, seventh child of Juan de Cuevas, bought a slave from Dr. Lewis Neville Shelton, unmarried, from New Orleans. The slave was named, Uriah Young, aged about seventeen years for a sum of $1,200.00 cash101.
Ramon Cuevas received his final pay (in Confederate Scrap). During the Civil War, the Confederate States Light House Bureau maintained the original brick lighthouse until July 1861 when it was shut down102.
1861 (Jan. 9)
. Mississippi seceded from the Union103.
.. During the Civil War a raiding fleet of Federal gunboats from Ship Island surprised and captured twelve Gulf Coast sloops and schooners fishing for oysters104.
1863 (Jan. 28)
.. Francois Cuevas, third child of Juan de Cuevas, died105.
.. When Federal forces took control of New Orleans in 1862, the supply of sawed lumber and charcoal soon became low. The city was cut off from its usual sources of supply. The Union built a large steam sawmill plus a thousand large kilns on Cat Island for making charcoal. A colony of black workers was established at South Bayou. It was necessary to provide a U.S. company of infantry to protect them because a crowd of Confederates in skiffs and row boats had disrupted the operation. The houses of the laborers were clustered together in two settlements, the larger of which presented the appearance of a regular town. The destruction of timber, both live oak and pine, was so extensive that what was formerly densely wooded took on the appearance of an open park106.
1866 (Sep. 22)
.. Henrietta Pauline Cuevas, twelfth child of Juan de Cuevas, died in Fort Bayou, Jackson County, Misssissippi107.
.. The Confederate States Lighthouse Board decided to replace the old brick tower, last manned by Ramon Cuevas in 1861, with a prefabricated structure upon screwpiles108
1869 (Jun. 18)
.. Raymond Cuevas, ninth child of Juan de Cuevas and second lighthouse keeper on Cat Island, died in Bay St. Louis.109
1871 (Sep. 20)
.. Sidney A. Wilkinson became the Cat Island lighthouse keeper at a yearly salary of $625.00. His assistants included: Charles J. Mobeny from Sept. 12, 1872 until March 29, 1873 when he was transferred. Henry Sherwood from appointment on May 9, 1873, to date of oath June 10, 1873, remaining on payroll to January 27, 1874, when he was transferred. L. E. Turner, laborer, acting as Assistant and nominated to Assistant Oct. 22, 1874, with date of appointment Nov. 9, 1874. Cat Island Light Station was in Eighth District under the Shieldsboro, Mississippi Superintendency, and the Post office address being at Shieldsborough, Miss. (now Bay St. Louis, Mississippi) as indicated October 29, 1874 by the inspector110.
1871 (Dec. 15)
. The new wooden platform lighthouse that replaced the brick tower last manned by Ramon Cuevas in 1861 was officially opened111.
. The Jackson County, Mississippi Courthouse was destroyed by fire for the second time. All the records were lost112.
.. Bay St. Louis was incorporated and the name changed from Shieldsboro. It was named Shieldsboro in honor of Thomas Shields who had received a Spanish land grant for the area in 1790113.
.. Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederate States, moved into Beauvoir114.
1879 (Feb. 19)
.. Jefferson Davis bought Beauvoir115.
1882 (Feb. 23)
.. President Chester A. Arthur confirmed the private land claim of Juan de Cuevas for 1280 acres of Cat Island granted to him on Sept. 28, 1830116.
.. The city of Waveland was incorporated117.
.. Pierre Baptiste Perrique Cuevas, seventh child of Juan de Cuevas, died in St. Tammany Parish, LA118.
1889 (Dec. 6)
Jefferson Davis died119.
.. John Leland Henderson, grandson of U.S. Senator John Henderson of Pass Christian, set a long distance swimming record by swimming from Blakes wharf at Waveland, Mississippi to Cat Island120.
1893 (Oct. 5)
.. After a furious hurricane a relief party found that lighthouse keeper J. Clarissee with his wife were still at his post of duty, even though the lighthouse, which was also his residence, was standing at a 45 degree angle with about four feet of water surrounding its foundation. The tower was badly damaged but the light still shined. The only other inhabitant on the island, John Duggan, who lived in a house about two miles from the lighthouse, took refuge in the top of a tree for seven hours. His house was completely submerged by the high water. The wind was so strong that the skin was torn from his arms, legs, and body by the tree limbs beating against him, and he was badly bruised. No human lives were lost, but 200 head of cattle were drowned121.
.. Charles Ferdinand Cuevas, eighth child of Juan de Cuevas, died in Biloxi122.
... The Mississippi State Board of Health operated a quarantine station on Cat Island to control yellow fever123.
. Gulfport was founded. Mississippi Governor Anselm J. McLaurin signed Gulfports charter of incorporation as a town and appointed Finley B. Hewes major until an election could be held124.
1902 (Jan. 25)
.. Port of Gulfport was first opened125.
1903 (Jul. 25) .
.. The Great Southern Hotel opened. It was designed by Thomas Sully, who built the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans. (It was demolished in 1950.)126
.. The Jefferson Davis family sold Beauvoir to the United Sons of Confederate Veterans to be preserved as a shrine127.
1903 (Nov. 9)
First Harrison County courthouse opened in Gulfport128.
1905 (Aug. 10)
. Long Beach, Mississippi was incorporated as a town. The first settlers were the Nicholas Ladner family who moved from Cat Island, leaving the island to their son-in-law, Juan de Cuevas. The Long Beach area was originally called Bear Point and then The Chimneys after the old Ladner home. Mr. John McCaughan purchased some of the widow Ladner property that he named Rosalie. In 1853 George Scott gave land for a train station that became known as Scotts Station. The community that had previously been known as Rosalie took on the name of the train station129.
.. Congressional act allegedly conveyed title of Cat Island to H. Gibbs Morgan
. Alleged sale of Cat Island to Major Harrod by the United States Government130
. Court action to determine whether the title to Cat Island of Major Harrod or that of Marie Cuevas heirs is good131.
... W. Lee Guice bought a tent, a quantity of provisions, and with his law books went to Cat Island and lived the life of a hermit while studying law. He came back to Biloxi, took the bar examination and passed, and put out his shingle as a practicing attorney. He lived to see his son, Daniel D. Guice become Mayor of Biloxi132
1911 (Jul. 17)
President William Howard Taft issued a patent conveying ownership of the remaining 1409.17 acres of Cat Island to Juan de Cuevas and his heirs under the supposition that Juan de Cuevas was the original grantee133. This patent gave Juan de Cuevas the title to the entire Cat Island, a total of 2689.22 acres134.
.. Cat Island is bought by Nathan V. Boddie for $10,000 from B. M. Harrod and others. N.V. Boddie was turned down for a loan by his Gulfport banker. He secured a loan from a Jackson, Mississippi bank by phone. A few days later Mr. Boddie paid off the loan with a $10,500 check for the turpentine rights he had just leased to Pace and Morgan, a clean profit of $500 and he still owned the island135
.. Thirty-five people were living on Cat Island working either for the turpentine outfit or fishing136.
.. Senator Money bought Cat Island from the Boddies. He planned a biological laboratory and actually started raising Belgian Hares, neither project was successful and the property reverted back to the Boddies137.
.. South Bayou on Cat Island was, in the days of Prohibition, a very handy halfway hiding place for the speedboats that met the rumrunners out in the Gulf. Now and then one of these speedboats, loaded with liquor in gunnysacks, would be chased up the bayou either by a revenue cutter or a hijacker and to save the liquor would dump it overboard. When they returned later they were not always successful in salvaging all of it138.
.. Mississippi Governor Lee M. Russell bought Cat Island from the Boddies for $25,000 in yearly payments of $3,000, of which he completed three and then allowed the island to default again to the Boddies. Governor Russell refused an offer of a million dollars for Cat Island by Carl Fisher, a promoter who later, as a second choice, developed Miami Beach.139.
.. Matt and Cora Browning lived on Cat Island as caretakers for the island owner, Nathan Boddie140.
.. The Goose Point Tarpon Club, a roomy two story structure with upper and lower galleries, twelve bedrooms with baths, a hugh dining room and kitchen, and its own electricity, was built on Cat Island on land leased from the island owners, the Boddies. It was a private club of about fifty members, among them Bidwell Adams then the Lt. Governor of Mississippi141.
1931 (Feb. 6)
Mrs. S. A. Boddie bought Cat Island for $11,000.00 as a result of default by former Governor Lee M. Russell of Mississippi to make payments142.
. The Goose Point Tarpon Club on Cat Island was destroyed by fire143.
.. The Cuevas homestead destroyed by fire144.
.. The Mississippi Conservation Commission released an exceptionally black coated type of raccoon, about 30 males and 30 females, to breed with the normal raccoons on Cat Island. They were then trapped and released on the mainland to build up the normal supply of raccoons for hunting and trapping. The program lasted for two years145.
.. The Boddie family came into full and final possession of Cat Island146.
1937 (Sept. 22)
. The last Cat Island Lighthouse was discontinued due to the greatly diminishing number of vessels using the Sound147.
.. The U.S. Government took over Cat Island. On the East beach the Seabees practiced landing craft maneuvers. North Point was a bombing practice range for the Air Force, and a camp was also set up on Cat Island to train dogs to detect and attack the Japanese during WW II. It was initiated by a Swiss Captain, who convinced President Roosevelt that he could train dogs to attack only Japanese, through the sense of smell. The K-9 corps consisted of 400 dogs and 200 trainers. The attack dogs tracked Japanese through Cat Islands palmettos and Spanish oak and marsh grass. They were actually friendly Japanese from Hawaii who were padded for the purpose. The patrol dogs were trained to carry messages to and from certain points no matter how many times the points were changed148.
. Nathan Boddie, the owner of the island, purchased the lighthouse from the U.S. Government war surplus149.
The last Cat Island lighthouse burned down150
. Owner, Nathan V. Boddie, filed plans to dredge a canal for a distance of 5,300 feet with a bottom width of 30-feet and with a 7-foot depth at mean low tide151
.. A Pass Christian, Mississippi man, sighted two Unidentified Flying Objects near Cat Island. On the following night three witnesses sighted the UFO again152.
. Owner, Nathan V. Boddie, dug over 11,000 feet of channels and canals on the eastern section of the island. As part of his prevention of a government take-over, he subdivided lots along the channels and sold some of the lots to individual investors153.
1968 (Mar. 11)
. Final judgement in case of heirs of Juan de Cuevas vs. N. V. Boddie, et al. U. S. District Judge, Dan M. Russell, Jr. ruled that the heirs of Juan de Cuevas have no claim to Cat Island and that the Boddie family are the legitimate owners154.
Chevron USA leased Cat Island for drilling purposes for 5 years155.
.. Oil drilling was started by Chevron USA after the 7,500-ton submersible drilling rig was towed out by 4 towboats to its drilling site located two miles off Cat Island. The $28 million effort was the first-ever deep-water (23,000-feet) drilling attempt in the Mississippi Sound156.
Chevron USA ended its gas drilling effort by stating that the Mississippi Sound doesnt have enough natural gas to make its offshore drilling operation worthwhile.157
.. A private investment company, the worlds largest producer of the American oyster, acquired the riparian rights from the shoreline of Cat Island, extending 750 yards into the Gulf of Mexico, encircling the whole 21 miles of shoreline around the island. The aquaculturists reaped their oysters in the wild and took them to the Shellfish Culture hatchery, located on a barge off the coast of Cat Islands South Bayou. The operation was successful in spite of restrictions placed by the Mississippi Bureau of Marine Resources and opposition by the Gulf Islands Conservancy1.
. The National Park Service ordered an appraisal of Cat Island in the anticipation of negotiating a sale with the owners, descendants of the Boddie family. U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor introduced a bill to expand the boundaries of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which is the first step for the Park Service to purchase the island. Senator Thad Cochran began funding measures approximating $30 million2.
The U.S. House passed the Cat Island bill for purchase of about $28 million with the exception of approximately 150 acres desired for retention by the Boddie heirs. The Boddie family currently owns approximately 2,100 acres, while other individuals own about 20 lots consisting of 6 to 8 acres3.