West D'Iberville Area
Ray L. Bellande

LOCATION:   South of Brodie Road just west of the Skiados property at 1541 Brodie Road in Section 18, T7S-R10W (Harrison County).  The cemetery is in a 56 acres wooded lot north of "the island" at O'Neil Point approximately 3.4 miles northwest of the Biloxi Public Library on the north shore of Back Bay.

LOCATION:   From the I-110 Bridge across the Back Bay of Biloxi going north from Biloxi take the Rodrigues Street exit.  Make a left turn onto Rodrigues Street and go northwest .40 miles to the Seventh Avenue and Brodie Road intersection.  Turn southwest onto Brodie Road and go 1.5 miles west.  There is a dirt road on the south side of Brodie Road a few hundred yards west of the Steve Skiados property entrance at 1541 Brodie Road.  The remnants of the Brasher-Akin Cemetery lie in the path of this bulldozed road approximately .20 miles from the Brodie Road entrance.  This road leads to "the island" at O'Neil Point.

HISTORY:   Fortunately an early anecdotal history of the Brasher-Akin Cemetery was given in an article "Cemetary Dozed" (The Star Journal-June 6, 1985) by Scott Tucker.  Tucker interviewed Mrs. Valda Brasher Fournier (1909-1990) who related that in the early 1800s, Isom Akin (c. 1785-1848) and his wife, Prudence Akin (c.1791-1859), established what is now known as the Brasher Cemetery.  The land where the Akins were residing at the time (Section 18, T7S-R10W) was owned by the House Family (probably Henry House, b. 1775 in Virginia and Elizabeth House, b. 1774 in South Carolina).  Prudence Akin was born in South Carolina and may have been related to the Houses.
It is known that in 1837, Isom Akin patented the W/2 of Lot 2 in Section 23, T7S-R10W (40 acres) from the U.S. Government (Harrison County Deed Book 29, p. 30).  This parcel of land is located on Back Bay at the present site of Camp Wilkes and was most likely the Akins homestead.
Isom and Prudence Akin reared four daughters: Sarah AugustaAkin (b. circa 1830), Mary Elizabeth Akin (b. circa 1832), Frances Akin (b. circa 1834), and Prudence Akin (b. 1840).  Sarah called Augusta married Dr. Hep Hawkins in 1851.  Mary Elizabeth married Don B. Hoopes in 1884, and Prudence married a logger from Alabama, John Cicero Brasher (1835-1890+) in 1860.  Frances never married.
John and Prudence Brasher lived in the E/2 of Lot 2 in Section 23, T7S-R10W (northeast of Camp Wilkes) in the latter half of the 19th Century.  At this locale, they reared a family: Isom Brasher (1861-1954), Missouri Brasher Blackwell (1863-?), Henry Brasher (1867-1960), and Prudence Brasher (1873-1952).
In 1925, Henry Brasher and his siblings sold Lot 2 of Section 23, T7S -R10W to Julius M. Lopez except four acres in the southeast corner of the E/2 of Lot 2 (Harrison County Deed Book 153, p. 444).  This four-acre tract is probably the location of the J.C. Brasher home, and the site of Henry Brasher's first shipyard.
Henry and his brother, Isom Brasher, were shipbuilders.  In 1907, Henry Brasher bought the NW/4 of Section 24, T7S-R10W (Lot 2 -102.5 acres) from Mrs. A.J. Cowart and relocated his shipyard on the Back Bay at the west end of the tract to be on deeper water (Harrison County Deed Book 82, pp. 313-314).  Through time Brasher sold some of his land to others but retained about 85 acres on which he lived and labored for forty-five years.  At his Back Bay shipyard, Henry Brasher built at least ten Biloxi schooners, the "white-winged queens".  Among these were:  Maggie K, J.C. Brasher, New Rival, Marvel, Sailors Joy, Perfection, and Wonder.  In 1915, the Wonder, was victorious in her inaugural appearance at the Biloxi Schooner Race defeating the Henry M. of Martin Fountain.  Wonder also is known to have won the Special Con- federates Veterans Race of June 4, 1930.
In January 1898, Isom Brasher (1861-1954) bought an undivided 1/2 interest in a tract with one-half arpent on Back Bay by one arpent deep (192 feet) from A.V. Foretich (Harrison County Deed Book 40, p. 173).  It is believed this is where he located his shipyard.  Today the home of his
granddaughter, Shannon Rose Fournier Stein, at 3540 Bay Shore Drive in D'Iberville lies north and across the road from the former Brasher shipyard.  Brasher built many boats in his lifetime, and they carried a distinctive signature.  Isom married Rosalie Moran in 1893 and had three children:  Winnie (c. 1894- c.1894), Ozias John (1897-1965), and Valda (1909-1990).
In the early 1900s, the old House tract were the Brasher Cemetery is located was in the possession of John and Catherine Desch.  They sold the cemetery land to Henry Brasher on June 29, 1909 for $50 in the following deed:

One lot or parcel of land situated in Harrison County, State of Mississippi and more particularly described as the Graveyard situated in the southwest corner of the NW/4 of the SE/4 of Section 18, T7S-R10W.  The said Graveyard now being fenced in and measuring from east to west 40 feet and from north to south 80 feet (Harrison County Deed Book 89, p. 497).

In 1985, Mrs. Valda Fournier stated that the following people were buried at the Brasher-Akin Cemetery:



Isom Akin                           (circa 1785-1848)
Prudence Akin                       (circa 1791-1859)
Sarah Augusta Akin Hawkins          (circa 1830-?)
Mary Elizabeth Akin Hoopes          (circa 1832-?)
Frances Akin                        (circa 1843-?)
John Cicero Brasher                 (1835-1890+)
Prudence Akin Brasher               (1840-1924)
Henry Brasher                       (1867-1960)
Prudence Brasher                    (1873-1952)
Winnie Brasher                      (circa 1894-circa 1894)

In June 1985, Steve Skiados who lives east of the cemetery at 1541 Brodie Road reported to The Star Journal that someone bulldozed a road from the northwest corner diagonally through the cemetery destroying the fence and gate.  At the time, Skiados said that the cemetery was fenced with new creosote posts and the gate was galvanized steel.  According to Skiados, the graves were marked with metal markers and sea shells covered the graves.  He surveyed the area with a metal detector which indicated metal caskets were still in situ.  Mr. Skiados took photographs of the damage and made a map of the area locating the grave of Henry Brasher who was buried there in 1960.
Today, all that remains visible of the Brasher-Akin Cemetery is a broken fence, broken gate (on the east side of the road), and a few scattered sea shells.  This historic family cemetery has been desecrated and is a good example of the apathy and neglect our society has towards preserving
the past of our ancestors.
Mr. Steve Skiados should be commended for his attempt to tell the community of the cemetery's desecration and preserve some of its history with his map and photos.

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Marriages, Harrison County, Mississippi (1841-1899) (City of Biloxi:  Biloxi), pp. 11, 39, 58, and 59.

The Biloxi D'Iberville Press, "Picture of the Past", January 22, 1992, p. 2.
The Biloxi Press, "The Way It Was", December 26, 1984, p. 2.
The Daily Herald, "Next Door Neighbor to Co-opolis", (Know Your Coast), 1959.
The Star Journal, "Cemetary 'dozed", June 6, 1985, p. 1 and p.9
The Star Journal, "Cemetery Desecration Concerns Officials", June 13, 1985, p. 1 and p. 9.

U.S. Census-Hancock County (1840).
U.S. Census-Harrison County (1850, 1869, and 1870).

Personal Communication:

Walter Fountain - March 1992
Kenneth Lamey - April 1992
Mark J. Lamey - April 1993
Steve Skiados - May 1992
Shannon Rose Fournier Stein - May 1992


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