Biloxi, Mississippi Historical Marker

Biloxi, MS Historical Marker

From as early as 8,000 BC to the 1700s, Native Americans made Biloxi home. Then, in 1697, the Comte de Ponchartrain, French Minister of Marine, ordered Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, to find the mouth of the Mississippi River. In the course of looking for it, Iberville and 14 men came to what would become Biloxi, named after the Biloxi Native Americans, who the crew met and befriended. These Native Americans might have only arrived at the coast a short while before the French.

Biloxi became the capital of the French territory from about 1719 to 1722 when the capital was moved to New Orleans. By 1779, the French had ceded the Mississippi Coast to Spain, and it briefly (in 1810) became a part of the Republic of West Florida. In fact, over the years, Biloxi was under the French, Spanish, British, West Florida Republic, Confederacy and the United States flags.

Mississippi officially became a state in 1817. By 1850, Biloxi was incorporated as a township and became a favorite summer resort.

Historical Marker Inscription

Founded by the French as “New Biloxi.” Capital of French colony of Louisiana, 1721-1722, prior to French removal to New Orleans. Incorporated as a town in 1850 by the Mississippi Legislature.


Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, 679 Beach Boulevard, Biloxi, MS 39350 United States

30° 23′ 33.372″ N, 88° 53′ 3.840″ W

Boggsdale, Long Beach, Mississippi

Boggsdale, MS Historical Marker

Boggsdale is the area of the family home of Thomas Hale Boggs, the late U.S. Congressman from Louisiana who died in a plane crash in Alaska on December 29, 1972.

Seven acres of beachfront property was purchased by Georgian artist and writer, Robert Boggs, and wife, Eliza Jane, in 1875. The area would eventually become Long Beach. The house they built was named Breezydale. According to legend, Native Americans warned the family not to build so close to the Sound.

The property was inherited by the couple’s son, William, and wife, Claire Hale. The other son, Archibald, and his wife, Bessie, were given adjacent land. They built a home by the name of Driftwood, which was named after lumber that had washed ashore.

A major hurricane in 1947 destroyed both homes and killed Bessie. Breezydale was rebuilt 600 feet back from the water and was named Will-Stan, but that property was also destroyed during Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Hale Boggs had plans of rebuilding on Boggsdale before his plane disappeared in Alaska.

Historical Marker Inscription

Thomas Hale Boggs (1914-1972). U.S. Congressman from La. for 28 years, was born in the family home built on this site in 1875. The son of Wm. & Claire Hale Boggs, Rep. Boggs served as House Majority Leader, 1971-72.


30° 20.291′ N, 89° 10.154′ W

Beach Boulevard West (intersection of Boggs Drive and U.S. 90), Long Beach, MS 39560

Moran Site, Biloxi, Mississippi

Moran Site, Biloxi, Mississippi

What was once a Colonial cemetery is now the French Colonial Memorial Garden, located at the Biloxi Visitors Center. The memorial park and garden commemorates the 1700s cemetery, which is the second oldest French Colonial cemetery in the United States.

The site dates back to the 1720s when Biloxi was a staging ground for European settlers and African slaves. From here, they would be relocated further into the French Louisiana Colony.

Found here were 32 graves of French Colonial settlers from the 1700s. The graves were mainly European men, and several artifacts were also discovered at this location. Remains were initially uncovered here in 1914, but it was unknown who they belong to. In 1969, Hurricane Camille unearthed more remains. A total of 12 burials were discovered at that time. Excavations post Hurricane Katrina in 2005 located an additional 20 graves.

The site is named after the Moran family who lived and worked at the site in 1952. The dedication of the memorial garden took place in 2017.

Historical Marker Inscription

Located here was a French Colonial cemetery, now known as the Moran Site. Based on archaeological investigations, the cemetery dates to the founding of “New Biloxi” between 1717 and 1722, and includes at least thirty burials, primarily male Europeans. Artifacts recovered from the site include ceramics, a French Colonial wine glass and a metal crucifix. The Moran Site is the oldest known French Colonial cemetery in the South and the second oldest in the United States.


Biloxi Visitors Center, 1050 Beach Blvd, Biloxi, MS 39530

30° 23.719′ N, 88° 54.101′ W

Depot Historic District, Meridian, MS

Union Stations, Meridian, MS

According to the 1907 handbook of Meridian, Mississippi, the city is called the “child of the railroad”. Starting in the 1850s, railroads starting popping up in Meridian. The Mobile and Ohio, and the Southern Railroad of Mississippi formed a junction here. The railroad was so ubiquitous to the city that even native country music star Jimmie Rodgers worked on the railroad in Meridian.

With 5 major rail lines and 44 trains running through the city on a daily basis, Meridian rose to become the largest city in the state in the 20th century. A passenger depot was completed in August 1906. The original depot was demolished in the 1940s. All that remains of the original passenger depot is the eastern wing since the rest was demoed in 1966.

The historic district takes up four city blocks along Front Street. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Place.

Historical Marker Inscription

Well-preserved industrial complex grouped about a railroad depot, center of railroad industry, the impetus to Meridian’s growth after 1860. Included farm products processing businesses of inventor G.W. Soule.


Union Station, 1901 Front St, Meridian, MS 39301

32° 21.876′ N, 88° 41.737′ W

The Natchez Burning Historical Marker – Mississippi Blues Trail

Natchez Burning Historical Marker

The Rhythm Club was a dance hall that was a central part of life for African Americans in Natchez, MS. The Rhythm Club Fire occurred on April 23, 1940, killing 209 people.  All the people who died in the club were African American.

While this has become a case study for firefighters, and it ranks in the top five of deadliest fires, few in the public actually know about the tragedy.

On the night of the fire, band leader Walter Barnes and His Royal Creolians added an additional stop on their tour in Natchez. Since Walter Barnes was extremely popular, the club was packed, with over 700 people paying the cover to hear them.

At some time near midnight, a fire broke out at the club’s entrance. It quickly spread, helped by flammable insecticide that had been put on the Spanish moss.

With boarded-up exits, and the front doors the only way out, the crowd rushed to the front. Since the doors swung inwards, the rush of the crowd prevented the doors from opening. Hundreds were trapped inside with the band still played to try and calm the crowd.

Many who died were teens. Many deaths were caused by asphyxiation or from being scalded to death when the water from the fire hoses came in contact with the corrugated metal, which caused deadly steam. Others were trampled to death as people tried to reach the exit. The rest were burned.

The club owner and Walter Barnes and many of his band members were among the dead.

Historical Marker Inscription

One of the deadliest fires in American history took the lives of over 200 people, including bandleader Walter Barnes and nine members of his dance orchestra at the Rhythm Club (less than a mile southeast of this site) on April 23, 1940. News of the tragedy reverberated throughout the country, especially among the African-American community, and blues performers have recorded memorial songs such as “The Natchez Burning” and “The Mighty Fire” ever since.


Intersection of Main Street and North Wall Street, Downtown, Natchez, Mississippi

N31° 33.651′, W 91° 24.249′

Gainesville Volunteers, Gainesville, MS

Gainesville Volunteers Historical Marker, Gainesville, MS

Located on the Louisiana and Mississippi border is the town of Gainesville, located in Hancock County. In the past, the town was an active port on the Pearl River, but declined during the 1800s. Later in 1962, the land was acquired by NASA and is now home to the Stennis Space Center.

The Gainesville Volunteers served the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. It was organized in 1860 and served at Vicksburg and Atlanta. It made up the Company G of the Third Mississippi Infantry.

Historical Marker Inscription


In 1860, John Deason, a Mexican War veteran, organized a militia company here. The “Gainesville Volunteers” entered Confederate service in 1861 as Co. G of the Third Mississippi Infantry. During the Civil War, the unit served in the Gulf Coast region and fought in the Vicksburg, Atlanta, Middle Tennessee, and Carolina campaigns.


Mississippi Welcome Center, Interstate 10, Mile Marker 2, Gainesville, MS – Border of Louisiana and Mississippi

30° 18.789′ N, 89° 36.002′ W

Church Hill Historical Marker

Church Hill, Mississippi

Church Hill, Mississippi, is named after Christ Church, which sits on a hill. The church was built around 1820 and is designed after county church buildings in England. It is located about 18 miles north of Natchez.

It was originally known as the Old Maryland settlement due to the people who moved from Maryland to Jefferson County after the Revolutionary War. The name was changed to Church Hill in 1820. Christ Church is often referred to as the “cradle of Episcopacy in Mississippi” since it was the first Episcopalian congregation in Mississippi.

During the height of the cotton boom, the area was home to many wealthy cotton planters before the Civil War. During the 1800s, however, soil erosion caused the decline. Antebellum plantations still lie along Highway 553.

Wagners Grocery Store

One of the buildings still standing is Wagners Grocery, which was built around 1837. The store closed in 1998, and the building was donated to the Church Hill historic society. It was also a post office. It is believed to be the oldest heart pine country store that was also a post office in the Southeastern United States.

Historical Marker Inscription

Named for Christ Church, oldest Episcopal organization in state, dating from 1790s, becoming parish, 1820. Sometimes called “Maryland Settlement.” Seargent Prentiss taught school in this community.


Intersection of State Highway 535 and Church Hill Road, Church Hill, Mississippi, USA

31° 42.946′ N, 91° 14.297′ W

Old Trace, Mississippi

Old Trace, Natchez Trace Parkway, MS

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive that stretches through Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee – linking Nashville, TN, to Natchez, MS. The current roadway mainly follows the path of the Old Natchez Trace, which was a combination of a wilderness road, horse trail and foot path. One of most frequently used sections of the trail was known as Natchez or Chickasaw Trail.

It was regularly used throughout the late 1700s and early 1800s as a commercial road between the East and the Southwest and Mississippi River, but it had been animal and Native American trail for thousands of years. The original wilderness road ran through Old Town, MS, which was an area settled due to the abundance of bison and water. This section is known as the Old Natchez Trace.

Due the difficulty of navigating the Natchez Trace, in 1800, the U.S. Congress created legislation to create a major road that would allow for easier travel between Nashville and Natchez. “The Government Road” was completed in 1802, and this road linked Nashville with the original Trace.

Historical Marker Inscription

Two portions of a nearly 200 year old wilderness road, the Old Natchez Trace, are preserved here. Nearly 500 miles long, it grew from Indian trails to a national road and communications link between the Old Southwest and the United States to the northeast.

A short 5-minute loop walk to your left lets you see both sections and lets you stroll down a steeply eroded, sunken part of the Old Natchez Trace.


Natchez Trace Parkway, Ridgeland, MS 39157, United States

32° 25′ 28.758″ N, 90° 5′ 20.440″ W

Boyd Site, Natchez Trace, Mississippi

Boyd Site, Natchez Trace, Mississippi

While most burial mounds in Mississippi are dated to around 100 B.C. to 400 B.C. (the Middle Woodland period), the six burial mounds at Boyd Site date to around 800 to 1100 A.D. (the Late Woodland and Early Mississippian periods).

In 1964, the National Park Service excavated some of the mounds. One of the mounds appears to be 100 feet long, but is actually 3 different mounds. Within these 3 mounds, 41 burials were found.

While few artifacts were discovered within burial sites, the pottery that was discovered possibly indicate that the mounds were created in two different phases: one within the Late Woodland period and another within the Mississippian period.

Historical Marker Inscription

Archaeologists tell us that there was a house here sometime around 500 A.D. and that the pottery found in the mounds was made before 700 A.D. Likely, the population was continuous over centuries with customs being handed from generation to generation, relying on field, forest, and stream for food. The simple social system was probably based on family and close relatives.

United States Department of the Interior

National Park Service


The mounds are located approximately 6 miles from I-55 on the Natchez Trace Parkway, Madison, MS 39110

37° 27′ 11.502″ N, 90° 4′ 5.000″ W

Jimmy Rodgers & The Blues

Jimmie Rodgers and the Blues Historcal Marker Location

Known as the “Singing Brakeman” and “America’s Blue Yodeler”, James Charles Rodgers, better known as Jimmie Rodgers, was a pioneering country music star. He has been regarded as the Father of Country Music, combining elements from different genres, including jazz, folk music and work chants.

Born on September 8, 1987, the son of a railroad section foreman, Jimmie was attracted to music from a young age. At 13, he won an amateur talent show and soon after ran away to join a traveling medicine show. His father found him and brought Rodgers back to work on the railroad. During the early 1900s, he worked as everything from a call boy to a brakeman to a baggage master.

In 1924, he developed tuberculosis – a disease that would plague him throughout his life and lead to his death – he abandoned railroad work and devoted himself to music. He wouldn’t, however, find success until 1927 working a regular, unpaid spot on an Asheville, North Carolina, radio station.

His luck turned again, when he learned that Ralph Peer, an agent for Victor Talking Machine Company, was doing field recordings. There was a positive response to his release, and he wound up recording again for Peer, leading to the release of “Blue Yodel (T for Texas), which became his first big hit.

Rodgers would spend the next five years traveling across the nation, appearing in a movie and recording with famous stars, including the Carter Family, Bill Boyd and Louis Armstrong.

The Depression mainly put a stop to his career, and his health started failing. Rodgers would die on May 26, 1933.

Historical Marker Inscription

Jimmie Rodgers and the Blues Historical Marker, Meridian, MS

Side A

Jimmie Rodgers (1897 – 1933) is widely known as the “father of country music,” but blues was a prominent element of his music. The influence of his famous “blue yodels” can be heard in the music of Mississippi blues artists including Howlin’ Wolf, Mississippi John Hurt, Tommy Johnson, and the Mississippi Sheiks. His many songs include the autobiographical “T.B. Blues,” which addressed the tuberculosis that eventually took his life.

Jimmie Rodgers and the Blues History, Meridian, MS

Side B

Jimmie Rodgers and The Blues Meridian native Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933) was the first major star of country music and introduced the blues to a far wider audience than any other artist of his time, black or white. He was not the first white performer to interpret the blues, but he was the most popular, establishing the blues as a foundation of country music.

More than a third of Rodgers’s recordings were blues, which he encountered as a young man while working as a railway brakeman and traveling musician. In 1927 he recorded the song “Blue Yodel” that sold over a million copies and earned Rodgers the nickname “The Blue Yodeler.” His distinctive style mixed blues, European yodeling, and African American falsetto singing traditions. Before Rodgers, several African Americans, notably Charles Anderson, had specialized in yodeling, and in 1923 blues singers Bessie Smith and Sara Martin recorded Clarence Williams’s song, “Yodeling Blues.”

Although most of Rodgers’s songs were original, some of his most popular were versions of blues classics. “Frankie and Johnnie” was an African American ballad about a murder in St. Louis in 1899, and blues artists including Jim Jackson from Hernando, Mississippi, had made earlier recordings of “In the Jailhouse Now.” Rodgers employed African American musicians in the studio, including Louis Armstrong, who, along with his pianist wife Lil, backed Rodgers on “Blue Yodel No. 9.” Other sessions featured blues guitarist Clifford Gibson and the Louisville Jug Band.

In early 1929 Rodgers toured Mississippi with a vaudeville show that included blues singer Eva Thomas. Bluesmen who claimed to have met, traveled, or performed with Rodgers included Hammie Nixon, Rubin Lacy, and Houston Stackhouse, who recalled that he and Robert Nighthawk accompanied Rodgers in a show at the Edwards Hotel in Jackson (c. 1931). Rodgers’s influence on African American musicians from Mississippi is evident in recordings by the Mississippi Sheiks, Tommy Johnson, Furry Lewis, Scott Dunbar, and Mississippi John Hurt, whose song “Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me” was based on Rodgers’s “Waiting For A Train.” Howlin’ Wolf attributed his distinctive singing style to Rodgers, explaining, “I couldn’t do no yodelin’, so I turned to howlin’. And it’s done me just fine.”

If you don’t want me mama,
you sure don’t have to stall
If you don’t want me mama,
you sure don’t have to stall.
‘Cause I can get more women
than a passenger train can haul

Oh-da-lay-ee-oh, lay-ee-ay, lay-ee

“Blue Yodel” Jimmie Rodgers


32° 21.912′ N, 88° 41.693′ W

1901 Front St, Meridian, MS 39301