Sections 5 and 8, T7S-R9W of Harrison County, Mississippi approximately 4.3 miles NNW of the Biloxi Public Library.
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 NW .42 miles to 7th Avenue. Turn right and go N .66 miles to D'Iberville Boulevard. Turn left onto D'Iberville and proceed NW .90 miles to Gay Road north of I-10. Turn right on Gay Road and go E .25 miles to Hidden River Road. At Hidden River Road go left (north and east) approximately .36 miles to its termination at the home of Marvin A. Eunice at 12056 Hidden River Road (601-392-2417). It is recommended that Mr. Eunice be contacted and permission sought before entering the cemetery grounds as it is located in a semi-dense thicket of small pines, oaks, shrubs, and vines immediately southeast of his home.
The Wells-Mulholland Cemetery is named for Berry Wells (1812-1876) and James Mulholland (1823-1873+). Berry Wells was born in Kentucky and is believed to have arrived in Mississippi about 1836 with his family. He received several patents from the US Government on lands (Section 5, T7S-R9W) in eastern Hancock County (now Harrison County). In the US Census of 1850, Wells appears to be a widower and has four children living with him (three Kentucky born). They were: Sarah (b. 1832), George (b. 1836), Rebecca (b. 1836), and Angeline (b. 1840 in Mississippi). His wife, a New Yorker, must have died in the 1840s. From other census data, it could be deduced that he had another Kentucky born child, Johanna (b. 1834), who is not listed with him in the 1850 Census as she is married to Alexander Todd. His occupation was mariner.
From the Land and Deed records and Chancery Court information of Harrison County, Berry Wells settled on the Tchoutacabuffa River on 40 acres described as the SE/4 of the SE/4 of Section 5, T7S-R9W. Through the years, he acquired land in Section 32, T6S-R9W and Sections 4, 5, 8, and 9 of T7S-R9W, all in Harrison County.
It is believed Berry Wells operated a ferry on the Tchoutacabuffa River at a location at or near the present day Lamey Bridge (built in 1913) until 1857. In 1857, he entered into a lease agreement with John Baptiste Foretich (1813-1875), his son-in-law. The term of the lease was three years and consisted of property described as:
My old store, house, and other out houses situated on the Back Bay of Biloxi known as Foretich's Store. In the same transaction, he purchased a skiff called the L. Rebecca with sails for $225 and all of Foretich's groceries and dry goods for $450.(Harrison County, Mississippi Record of Deeds Book 8, p. 190).
Berry Wells married Louisa L. Rhodes in Harrison County on January 31, 1864. This union produced two children: Mary Frances Wells Creel (1872-1935) and Clara Wells (b. 1876). It is not known how long Wells ran the store at Back Bay, but it can be implied from the following order by the Board of Harrison County Police that he was active in the community:
Berry Wells be and is hereby appointed overseer of the road from the ferry on Back Bay of Biloxi to Tchoutacabuffa River at Wells Old Ferry thence to intersect the Three Notch Road at or near Henry's negro shanty.(Board of Police Minute Book 2, June Term 1866, p. 202).
An insight into the love and esteem Berry Wells held for his young wife,
Louisa, who was thirty six years younger than himself is demonstrated in
his will dated April 12, 1876. He bequeathed her for and during her
natural life his homestead property with some surrounding tracts of land
consisting of approximately 240 acres described as follows: W/2 of the
SE/4 of Section 5, T7S-R9W, W/2 of the NE/4 of Section 8, T7S-R9W, SE/4
of NE/4 of Section 8, T7S-R9W, and the NE/4 of SE/4 of Section 5, T7S-R9W.
In addition, he willed her all of his stock, household and kitchen furniture,
and all other personal property he possessed at his death. (HARCO, Ms.
Will Book 1, p. 132)
Berry Wells legated to his children with his first wife the remainder of his real estate estimated to be about one thousand acres in Harrison County. Louisa Wells was also given timber rights on these lands if she needed them to support her children. She was also named executrix of his will. Berry Wells died on June 17, 1876. His widow, Louisa Rhodes Wells, married Antoine Lamey, a ferryman in Harrison County on August 21, 1878.
The eldest child of Berry Wells, Sarah (1832-1880), married James Dowdle in Harrison County on December 27, 1853. He presumably died before the 1860 Census as she is living with her father at this time. Between the years 1860-1870, Sarah Wells married an immigrant, Irish farmer, John Steele. From the Census data, he appeared to be a widower having been married to Rebecca Steele in 1850. She was also Irish, and they appear to have two sons: James (b. 1852) and John (b. 1855). During the February Term of 1866, the Harrison County Board of County Police granted John Steele a license to operate a public ferry across the Back Bay of Biloxi. About 1868, he assigned his ferry rights to Ramon J. Quave (1852-1908), who would become known as "the father of the village of Seymour (D'Iberville)".
On May 13, 1868, the Steeles purchased a tract of land on the north shore of Back Bay from the State of Mississippi. It is described from the Deed Records of Harrison County as:
The Mill Property consisting of 65 acres in Section 18 T7S-R9W. This tract was two arpents fronting on the Bay of Biloxi by 35 arpents more or less in depth between parallel lines; Joseph Moran to the west, John L. Henley to the north, and Pierre Quave to the east. .(Book 11, p. 95).
This site became known as Steele's Landing, and in the 1870 US Census,
John Steele is shown to be a retail grocer in the village of Back Bay.
He does not appear in the 1880 US Census. Wife, Sarah, died in November
1880, and is buried in the Wells-Mulholland Cemetery.
Johanna Wells (b. 1834), the second child of Berry Wells, married an older Scottish immigrant mariner, Alexander Todd (b. 1813), in Harrison County on October 24, 1847. They had a large family which consisted of the following Todd children: Alexander, Jr. (b.1850), James (b. 1852), Mary (b.1857), Susan (b. 1855), Berry (b. 1857), Rebecca (b. 1859), and Sarah (1863-1880+). Nothing more is known of the Todds except that Sarah, the youngest daughter, was living with her uncle, George H. Wells, in 1880.
George H. Wells and Rebecca Wells were twins born in Kentucky on April 18, 1836. George married Jane Brown (1850-1890+), a Mississippian born of English parents, on August 3, 1866 in Harrison County. This union produced the following Wells chi1dren: George, Jr. (1867-1908), a farmer who would marry Harriet Krohn in 1901, John (b. 1869), Mary Ann (b. 1871) who would marry John P. Krohn in 1891, Charles (b. 1873), Sennett (b. 1875), Hugh (b.1876), Sarah (b. 1878), Eugene (b. 1880), Theresa (b. 1881), Maggie (b. 1884), Sameul (b. 1886), Annie (b. 1888), and Lena (1890).
Rebecca Wells married John Baptiste Foretich (1810-1875) on January 6, 1855 in Harrison County. They reared: Anthony (b. 1856), Vincent, Mary (b. 1858), George (b. 1862), William, Isabella, and Joseph (b. 1874).
Angeline Well, the youngest child of Berry Wells and his first wife, was born in Mississippi in 1840. She married Andrew J. Shaw (1830-1866), a native of Palmer, Massachusetts, on January 1, 1858. Their children were: Samuel Shaw (1861-1904), Mary Shaw (b. 1863), John Shaw (b. 1864), and Annie Shaw (1866-1867). Andrew J. Shaw and his daughter, Annie, are buried in the Wells-Mulholland Cemetery. Samuel Shaw operated the steam ferry Sam between Biloxi and Back Bay (D'Iberville) in the late 1890s.
Jefferson Davis Mulholland was born at Back Bay on July 21, 1861.
His parents were James Mulholland (1823-1873+) and Margaret Mayers Mulholland
(1817-1873+), Irish immigrants. Little is presently known about his
parents, but a tombstone in the Wells-Mulholland Cemetery would seem to
indicate that two of his brothers, James Joseph Mulholland (d. June 1,
1858, age 2 years and 10 mos.) and Robert Mulholland (d. July 9, 1858,
age 11 mos.), and a sister, Margaret Jane Mulholland (d. July 20, 1858,
age 14 years, 11 mos.), probably died of yellow fever in the summer of
1858. A sister, Kate Mulholland (1857-1931), married Nicolas Voivedich
Jr. (1850-1937). Two additional Mulholland children are known: Elizabeth
Mulholland Seymour (1859-1936), the spouse of Calvin Seymour (1850-1922),
and Agnes Mulholland Ward (1873-1942).
J.D. Mulholland married Margaret Celina Harvey (b. 1870) in 1888. She was the eldest daughter of Back Bay shipbuilder and merchant, Casimir J. Harvey (1845-1904) and Rosina Hosli (1852-1937). Jeff and Margaret had one child, Peter Mulholland (1889-1974).
In about 1888, Jeff Mulholland and Ramon Quave opened a mercantile store near Back Bay. After he was bought out by Quave, he organized the Imperial Seafood Company of Seymour, Mississippi at a site on Back Bay purchased from his mother-in-law, Rosina Harvey, in 1911. Mulholland was also actively engaged in real estate, finance, and construction.
In 1926, J.D. Mulholland, John Krohn, Charles Wells, and Arthur Richards purchased from the L.N. Dantzler Lumber Company the following described land:
That certain lot or parcel of land situated in the SE/4 of SE/4 of Section 5, T7S-R9W, Harrison County, Mississippi, which is now being used as a settlement graveyard, and is to be used solely for a burial ground, containing one-half acre.(Harrison County Record of Deeds Book 159, p. 113).
The relationship between Krohn, Wells, and Richards is as follows: John
P. Krohn (b. 1866) was married to Mary Ann Wells (b. 1871). She was
the daughter of George H. Wells (1836-1898) and Jane Brown (1850-1890+).
Charles Wells (b. 1873) was the son of George H. Wells (1836-1898) and
the brother-in-law of John Krohn. Arthur Richards (b. 1877) was the
son of Edmond (Edward) Richards and Angeline Wells (b. 1840). She
was the daughter of Berry Wells and sister of George Wells. Everett
Richard (1881-1895) who is buried in the Wells-Mulholland Cemetery is likely
the brother of Arthur Richards.
A survey of the Wells-Mulholland Cemetery was made in 1969, probably prior to Hurricane Camille, by Mrs. Emma Randazzo and Mrs. Minnie W. Atkins.(Mississippi Gulf Coast Historical and Genealogical Society-Volume 6, May 1972, p. 16). The results of this survey follows:
Rebecca Wells Foretich, 4-18-1836 to ?
Mary J. Havens, wife of E.D. Havens, d. October 1, 1921
at Meridian, Mississippi, age 26
Mary M. and James Mulholland
James Joseph Mulholland, d. 6-1-1858, age 2 yrs., 10mos.
Robert Mulholland, d. 7-9-1858, age 11 mos.
Margaret Jane Mulholland, d. 7-20-1858, age 14 yrs., 10 mos.
Everett Richards, 2-21-1881 to 3-17-1895
Annie Shaw, 10-15-1866 to 5-?-1867
A.J. Shaw, born in Palmer, Mass. 1-10-1830 to 9-5-1866
Sarah Wells Steele, 3-27-1832 to 11-?-1880
Berry Wells, 10-20-1812 to 6-17-1876
George H. Wells Sr., 4-18-1836 to 1-2-1898
George Wells Jr. 1867-?
Ida Cruthirds Wells, 7-16-1884 to 5-18-1918
Lillian Wells, 6-26-1905 to 7-27-1907
The status of these sacred grounds today is deplorable. The Wells-Mulholland
Cemetery is in a state of gross negligence having suffered through two
major hurricanes in recent years as well as having been overtaken by shrub
and tree growth. There are signs of vandalism as well, i.e. displacement
of tombstones, probable removal of tombstones, and the possibility that
at least one grave has been violated.
A recent survey by Murella Hebert Powell and Ray L. Bellande on December 22, 1990 revealed only four remaining tombstones at the cemetery site of which only that of Sarah Steele appears in situ. The study of Randazzo-Atkins (1969) would seem to indicate that there might have been thirteen markers in the cemetery.
Three interesting observations were made at the Wells-Mulholland Cemetery by Powell-Bellande.
(1) The tombstones of Sarah Steele, Everett Richard, and probably that of Annie Shaw? were constructed from a dense, very fine grained, gray brown sandstone which has occasional scattered pebbles in the matrix. The words Kursheedt N.O. are carved in the sandstone. Colonel Edwin L. Kursheedt (1838-1906) was a partner in the firm of Kursheedt & Bienvenu, a marble works in New Orleans. The firm was known for its monuments, tombs, and mantels and built the marble stairway at the U.S. Custom House (1883).
(2) There is a burial area approximately 40 feet x 7 feet covered with sandstones slabs similar to that of the tombstones. The grave marker for the Mulholland children which appears to be of marble construction was found lying adjacent to this feature. This mausoleum ? may have been the burial site for several people.
(3) There are several caved in areas which may represent gravesites. One gravesite appears to have been entered.
It would be a wonderful project to restore and preserve what remains
of the Wells-Mulholland Cemetery. The Wells and Mulholland Family
and their descendants are certainly an
integral part of the history of Back Bay, Seymour, D'Iberville, and Harrison County. This fact is very evident in the written and oral historical record of the region.
Encyclopedia of New Orleans Artists 1718-1918, (The Historic New Orleans Collection), p. 218.
The Daily Herald, "New Bridges For New Roadway To Ramsay Springs", August
20, 1913, p. 1.
The Daily Herald, "Jeff Mulholland Dies", June 3, 1930, p. 2.
The Jackson County Times, "Local and personal", October 8, 1921.
U.S. Census 1840-1910.
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If you have comments or suggestions, email Ray Bellande