Pascagoula ScStr - History

Pascagoula ScStr - History

Pascagoula

(ScStr: t. 4,000 (dw); 1. 281'6"; b. 45'2"; dr. 12'6"; s. 8.5 k;
cpl. 59)

Pascagoula, was launched for USSB 15 May 1918 by DierksBlodgett Shipbuilding Co., Paseagoula, Miss.; acquired by the Navy 4 October 1918 and commissioned the same day.

Assigned to NOTS, Pascagoula was fitted out for coastal service and sailed for Norfolk 15 October. However, after damage to her steering gear, she put in at Key West for temporary repairs. She arrived Norfolk 21 October. While the ship underwent further repairs at Norfolk Navy Yard the Armistice ended World War I. Pascagoula was ordered out of Navy service 30 November and decommissioned 21 December 1918. Returned to USSB early in 1919, she was scrapped in 1923.


Pascagoula Indians

When first known in 1699 the Pascagoula (Pacha-Ogoula, Pascagola, Pascaboula, Paskaguna) Indians lived in southwestern Alabama and southeastern Mississippi, but in the middle eighteenth century they crossed the Mississippi and settled near the mouth of the Red River in Louisiana. In the early nineteenth century pressure from American settlers forced them farther westward. Some of the Pascagoulas entered Texas and lived with the Biloxi Indians near the Neches River in the area of present Angelina County, and others seem to have settled on the Red River in northeastern Texas. Most of the Pascagoula Indians in Texas probably accompanied the Biloxis to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, but at least a few remained and evidently joined the Alabama Indians of present Polk County (two of their descendants were found there in 1908). Some linguists have considered the Pascagoulas as Siouan, others as Muskhogean.


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Pascagoula ScStr - History

(ScStr: t. 1,909 1. 266'4" b. 40', dph. 16'6", cpl. 197 a. 2 6-pdrs.)

Chatham iron-hulled, schooner-rigged screw steamship constructed at Philadelphia by the American Shipbuilding Co.—was completed in 1884 and acquired by the Navy on 2 May 1898 from the Merchants' and Miners' Transportation Co., of Baltimore, Md. Renamed Vulcan, the erstwhile merchantman underwent a metamorphosis to the Fleet's first repair ship. She was equipped with machine tools, forges, and foundries, and a large supply of widely varied stores. A large force of skilled mechanics rounded out her versatile crew. Commissioned on 31 May 1898 at the Boston Navy Yard, with Lt. Comdr. Ira Harria in command, Vulcan soon sailed for the Caribbean.

After proceding via Newport News, Va., she arrived at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on 1 July in time to be present during the North Atlantic Fleet's bombardment that day of the Spanish forts at Aquadores. The ship served in Cuban waters for the duration of the brief war with Spain and performed yeoman service. On one occasion, while out on nightly patrol, her picket boat, commanded by Naval Cadet Louis G. Miller, drew some 200 shots from Spanish troops ashore. The Spaniards fire—which the launch spiritedly returned-was ineffective and all hands returned safely to the ship.

On 3 July, the American Fleet met and soundly trounced a Spanish squadron off Santiago, Cuba. Almost as soon as the smoke of that battle had cleared, the American Navy began making plans to salvage the Spanish vessels. Vulcan performed salvage work on the heavily damaged Spanish ships Maria Theresa and Cristobal Colon.

Vulcan remained in the Caribbean through the cessation of hostilities. Her services as the first ship of her type were exemplary and noteworthy. In the Bureau of Steam Engineering report for 1898, Vulcan's performance was an "unqualified success and of great value in maintaining the efficiency of the fleet." In fact, Vulcan's brief tour with the Fleet had proved to be so valuable to the Navy that the Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering recommended the acquisition of a second ship of her type to serve the ships of the Pacific Fleet.

By the end of August, reports from the repair ship further indicated that she had made repairs to 63 ships and supplied stores to 60. In addition, her "unusual facilities" and the 100 skilled mechanics on board enabled her to effect a wide variety of repairs-including hull work, gun mounts, dynamos, steam pipes main piston rods for smaller ships, and "iron castings in considerable quantity." In the fall, with her tour thus completed, Vulcan sailed north on 30 October and proceeded to Norfolk, Va.

After shifting to the League Island Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pa., in December 1898, Vulcan was decommissioned there on 12 January 1899 and sold on 3 July of the same year to her original owner. Renamed Chatham, the ship served the Merchants' and Miners' Transportation Co. until 1911 when her name disappeared from the shipping registers.

Vulcan-a steel-hulled, single-screw freighter built at Cleveland, Ohio, by the Globe Iron Works and completed in 1889—was inspected on 2 April 1918 at the 9th Naval District and designated Id. No. 2756 However, no records have been found showing that she was actually taken over for naval service.


Pascagoula ScStr - History

The Pascagoula River is the centerpiece of
the largest unimpeded river system in the 48
contiguous states. It is legendary in the
culture of the South as the "Singing River" of
the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

For hundreds of years, visitors and residents
alike have described a mysterious humming
sound that rises from the waters of the river.
Theories abound, but to date no one has
explained the strange phenomenon.

Does the river really sing? The answer
depends on who you ask. Skeptics say the
tale is nothing but a folktale, but those who
know the Pascagoula best say there is truth
behind this Southern story.

Catherine Cole, writing in the New Orleans
Times-Picayune on July 24, 1892, described
hearing the sounds of the river:

. [V]isitors come from all along the coast to sit
on the rough, tumultuous roots of the oaks
that lean over the river and listen to the flute-
like sounds that are rubbed off from the river,
as a deft hand brushes melody from the rim
of a crystal goblet.

The sound produced by the rubbing of the
rim of a crystal glass or goblet is very similar
to the repetitive humming or singing that is
heard coming from the river.

Charles E. Chidsey, who lived in Pascagoula
during the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
spent his lifetime trying to unravel the song of
the river. In 1890 he penned an article for
Popular Science Monthly in which he told of
his first experience with the Singing River:

. From out of the waters of the river,
apparently some forty feet from its shelving
bank, rose a roaring, murmering sound,
which gradually increased in strength and
volume, until it reached its height, when it
slowly descended.

Chidsey reduced the sound of the river into
music as a long F.

The water formed itself into a "towering
column of foaming waves, on the top of
which stood a mermaid." As the Indians and
missionary looked on, the mermaid began to
sing, "Come to me, come to me, children of
the sea, Neither bell, book, nor cross shall
win ye from your queen."

. The Indians listened with growing ecstacy,
and one of them plunged into the river to rise
no more. The rest, men, women, and
children, followed in quick succession,
moved, as it were, with the same irresistable
impulse. When the last of the race
disappeared, a wild laugh of exultation was
heard.

Since that time, the legend holds, strange
music has been heard in the Pascagoula
River.

"The other Indian tribes of the neighborhood,"
wrote Gayerre, "have always thought it was
their musical brethren, who still keep up their
revels at the bottom of the river, in the palace
of the mermaid."

A somewhat different version of the legend
describes how the inhabitants of a village on
the site of todays Pascagoula walked singing
into the river rather than allow themselves to
lose their freedom to either the Spanish or a
neighboring tribe.

Attempts to record the sounds of the Singing
River began in 1925. On August 25 of that
year, the Biloxi Daily Herald reported that
three record companies were planning to
distribute singing of the Pascagoula:

. Efforts were made by one of the companies
to obtain exclusive rights for the reproduction
of the phenomena, but this plan was
abandoned when two other companies
appeared on the scene. The work of
recording the music will be carried out under
the guidance of Hermes Gautier, well-known
Pascagoula sportsman.

The plan called for the placement of
recording equipment a points all along the
river, as well as aboard the yacht Flapper
Girl
. Whether the companies succeeded in
their effort to record the river is not known.

Does the Pascagoula still sing? Ernest
Herndon, the foremost expert on the river and
the author of Paddling the Pascagoula and
Canoeing Mississippi
, admits he was a
skeptic. After spending hundreds of hours on
the Pascagoula and hearing nothing more
than mosquitoes, he was stunned when the
river shared its song with him.

Herndon tells his story in a phenomenal
short documentary on the Pascagoula River.
You can watch it on the upper right of this
page.

To this day, no one really knows for sure
what causes the Pascagoula to sing. The
story of Mississippi's Singing River remains
one of the South's oldest and most romantic
mysteries.

The Pascagoula River is a remarkable
natural resource and one of America's last
great unspoiled rivers. Beautiful, mysterious
and vast, it is a Southern treasure.

Where can you hear the Pascagoula River
sing? Be aware that many people wait for
decades before the river sings to them, but
try the waterfront at Pascagoula or the
Pascagoula River Audubon Center at 7001
Frank Griffin Rd. in Moss Point.

The Audubon Center is open Tuesday-Friday
from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from
8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please click here for more
information .

In the 1890 article, the writer suggested -
based on observations from other locations
by Charles Darwin - that the sound might be
caused by fish. Darwin noted in Descent of
Man
that during his journeys he had heard
fish produce "various noises, some of which
are described as being musical."

Chidsey's article seems to have been the
origin of the unsubstantiated claim that fish
are responsible for the singing of the
Pascagoula. The theory has never been
proved and the source of the singing is still a
mystery.

Whatever the origin of the strange music, the
Pascagoula River has been singing for a very
long time. French settlers who arrived on the
Mississippi Gulf Coast heard the river as
early as 1699.

Governor Perier of French Louisiana was
accompanied by some Pascagoula Indians
when he heard the river sing in 1727:

. While among the Pascagoulas, or bread-
eaters, he was invited to go to the mouth of
the river of that name, to listen to the
mysterious music which floats on the waters,
particularly on a calm, moonlight night, and
which to this day, excites the wonder of
visitors. It seems to issue from caverns or
grottoes in the bed of the river, and
sometimes ascends from the water under the
very keel of the boat which contains the
inquisitive traveler, whose ear it strikes as the
distant concert of a thousand Eolian harps.

(Charles Gayerre, History of Louisiana , 1867, p. 383)

The historian Charles Gayerre, who penned
the above account of Governor Perier's
experience, also recorded a Mississippi
legend that the sounds originate from the
mouths of ghosts.

As told by Gayerre, the story holds that a
peaceful and gentle tribe once lived along the
banks of the Pascagoula. Worshippers of an
idol carved in the form of a mermaid, they
sang and played strange instruments nightly
as part of their ceremonies. At the time of the
Hernando de Soto expedition in 1539-1540,
however, a Catholic missionary arrived in the
village.

Friendly relations were established with the
visitor, but the mermaid honored by the idol
was jealous over her followers:

. One night, when the moon at her zenith
poured on heaven and earth, with more
profusion than usual, a flood of light angelic,
at the solemn hour of twelve, when all in
nature was repose and silence, there came,
on a sudden, a rushing on the surface of the
river, as if the still air had been flapped into a
whirlwind by myriads of invisible wings
sweeping onward.


Disclaimer

Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (User Agreement updated 1/1/21. Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement updated 5/1/2021).

© 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. All rights reserved (About Us).
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local.

Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site.


Site History

The grounds of the Pascagoula River Audubon Center include two historic cultural elements that have been recognized by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Specifically, the historic elements of interests include a remnant portion of the historic Pascagoula Street Railway & Power Company trolley line that connected Moss Point and Pascagoula at the turn of the 20th Century, and a 100-plus year old wood-frame building, locally known as the &ldquoScout Hut&rdquo, originally constructed as a small &ldquocabin&rdquo in or about 1905. In addition, we have secured the original octagonal &ldquoTicket Booth&rdquo that served the trolley line rail system during its existence. The disassembled parts of this structure have been moved to the site and were reconstructed as an interpretive element for visitors to enjoy.

Our site still contains a remnant portion of the historic Pascagoula Street Railway & Power Company trolley line that connected Moss Point and Pascagoula at the turn of the 20th Century, including a 600-foot long footprint of the trolley line itself and portions of the bridge that supported the line over Rhodes Bayou. We have utilized this footprint in the form of our drive way leading into the site and the path that supplies access to our boat house, observation deck, and our bayou octagon pier.

Beginning in 1903, the system of electric-driven passenger cars, trailers and freight cars transported passengers, mail, and freight from the Dantzler Saw Mill located just west of this site to Pascagoula Beach Park across 9.7 miles of track. At that time, Moss Point was the center of the region&rsquos timber processing industry with numerous saw mills and shipyards that built wooden sail and power boats that transported wood products across the globe. The trolley service ceased in about 1925.

The reconstructed trolley ticket booth is fitted with interpretive details about the trolley line&rsquos history through historic photographs, maps, and descriptions of this period. The interpreted boat tour that operates from the Center will also highlight this history, including identification of locations along the route where sawmills, docks and shipyards once stood in the lower Escatawpa and Pascagoula Rivers The Moss Point Historic Commission and Jackson County have plans to continue to highlight this and other historic structures and places through a proposed historical map and tour.

Our center also includes a 100-plus year old wood-frame building, locally known as the &ldquoScout Hut&rdquo. Originally constructed as a small &ldquocabin&rdquo in or about 1905 on land owned by the Woods family, the structure was subsequently expanded to include a covered porch and a brick chimney. From the late 20&rsquos until the mid-60&rsquos the building was used as a meeting place for Moss Point&rsquos Boy Scout Troop 220. As such, this structure holds memories for countless Scouts that met there over those years, including many of the 75 Eagle Scouts from one of the oldest Scout Troops in the state and nation (85 years of Scouting).

To celebrate the rich history of the Scout Hut we have restored it to functional use as a pavilion/meeting room. The original section of the structure rests on a concrete chain wall and poured slab. The porch section rests on centered block pillars. Hurricane Katrina flooded the structure and lifted it off of its foundation. With the help of past and present members of Troop 220, and other historically-minded individuals and groups, the restoration has been a success!

As with the Ticket Booth, the history of this structure will be interpreted through the use of displays that recall its use by the Boy Scouts as well as any details gleaned about its original use as one of the first structures built on this site, as determined through continued research. Audubon is currently in touch with surviving members of the Woods family that owned this property over approximately 100 years, including the later half of the 19th Century through the first half of the 20th Century.

Center Membership

Enjoy free admission, discounts in our nature store, and free and discounted programs at the center.


Tips for a Successful Pascagoula Newspaper Search

Finding a specific person across 330 years of U.S. history can be tough, especially if they had a commonly used name. This is where the challenge of sifting through Pascagoula, Mississippi historical newspapers comes in.

Many records contain minimal information, or they were recorded via an oral interaction. This could lead to spelling mistakes or outright incorrect statements. Unfortunately, there was extraordinarily little auditing of obituaries, death notices, and news stories in Pascagoula historic newspapers.

Here are some useful tips for finding the right ancestors:

  • Try searching by a person’s initials. Older Pascagoula newspapers often didn’t include full names. This is more common as you work your way back through history.
  • To find a female relative, search for their husband’s name. The wife’s name wasn’t included in full, especially their pre-marriage family name.
  • Use common misspellings. This is extra helpful if you have a hard-to-spell family name or a name of non-English origin.

These techniques can help track down ancestors you’re having trouble finding. It’s not uncommon for family researchers to hit a brick wall while tracing their family tree. But there’s always more information to uncover! Try searching U.S. Census Records to gather more family details before exploring historical newspapers.

Remember, Pascagoula historic online newspaper records provide details of your family that cannot be found in government records. It was once very common for everyday lives of your ancestors to be captured in the newspaper. You’ll be amazed at the family facts and stories you’ll uncover.


About Jackson County, Mississippi.

Jackson County is located in the extreme South-Eastern portion of Mississippi on the Gulf Coast. Jackson County was formed on December 14, 1812 and named in honor of the United States President Andrew Jackson. Jackson County is home to Ingalls Shipyard, one of the premier ship-building facilities in the world. Jackson County is the largest county in Mississippi.

The county seat is Pascagoula, a major industrial city in Mississippi that is located on the Gulf Coast.

The county has a total area of 1,043.30 square miles of which 726.90 square miles is land and 316.40 square miles (30.33%) is water. The population recorded in the 1820 Federal Census was 1,682. The 2010 census recorded 139,688 residents in the county.

Neighboring counties are George County (north), Mobile County, Alabama (east), Harrison County (west), and Stone County (northwest). Communities in the county include Gautier, Moss Point, Ocean Springs, Pascagoula, Big Point, Escatawpa, Gulf Hills, Gulf Park Estates, Helena, Hickory Hills Hurley, Latimer, St. Martin, Vancleave, Wade, Eastlawn, East Moss Point, Eastside, Fontainebleau, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Iowana, Kreole, Larue, Navy Homeport, Orange Grove, Pecan, Polfry, Three Rivers, Windsor Park, Vestry, and Brewton.


This Singing River In Mississippi Needs To Be Experienced To Be Believed

Of all the waterways in Mississippi, none are quite as intriguing as the Pascagoula River – and that’s because it sings. That’s right for hundreds of years, visitors to the river have described a mysterious humming sound coming from its waters. There are several theories regarding the music-like sound, but the strange phenomenon has yet to be explained. Keep reading to learn more about the river and the legend behind it.

When French settlers came to the area, they asked local Native Americans about the strange sound coming from the river. The Native Americans said a local tribe once worshipped a mermaid, who lived in the river. Around 1540, a "white man" came to the area, trying to convert the Native Americans to Christianity, which greatly angered the mermaid. The mermaid reacted with fury. She rose from the bottom of the river, singing, "Come to me, come to me, children of the sea. Neither bell, book, nor cross shall win ye from your queen." At the sound of the mermaid’s voice, every man, woman, and child from the tribe walked in to the river, disappearing forever.

According to a 19th century historian, area tribes have always thought the sound of the river was "their musical brethren, who still keep up their revels at the bottom of the river, in the palace of the mermaid."

So, did you know about this river – and the legend behind it? Tell us in the comments section.

Pascagoula River Audubon Center Address:7001 Frank Griffin Road, Moss Point, MS, 39563

This isn’t the only site in the state with an eerie past. Read about others here.