Gulf Gardens

1970 Gulf Gardens Baptist Church Donation Envelope

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1970 Church Donation Envelope from Gulf Gardens Baptist Church
1970 Gulf Gardens Baptist Church Donation Envelope

I was lucky to have two church homes when I was growing up. My grandmother, Rosie Smith Morris was a longtime member of First Baptist Church in downtown Gulfport and my mother, Janie, grew up in that church. Such a beautiful church! I remember the old church before it burned and watched the new church rebuild after Hurricane Camille. I love the folks who knew me from birth at that church. I was active in the choir as a teenager and fellowshipped with many friends I grew up with there. Many wonderful memories as part of that church family.

Although I attended First Baptist Church in Gulfport for years off and on-was in child care there, my favorite church when I was growing up was a small neighborhood church in Gulf Gardens located across the street from Milner Stadium. It was only a block or two from my neighborhood. I felt God there in that church. I went to Bible School at this church, sang in the choir, participated in Girls Auxiliary and went to camps through in church. I loved the people and the friends I had there. Lots of fellowship and love in that church. Good people!

 

Welcome, Tenderly Rose, to this wonderful world!

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Happy Birthday to me!

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Welcome to the World Tenderly Rose (3)

Momma told me that if you sent a baby birth announcement, The White House would respond with a message from the first lady. So, she did it. And that’s how we got this memento of 1956.

The Ghosts of Gulf Gardens Come Alive in Daily Herald article by Geoff Pender

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A birthday party in Gulf Gardens, Gulfport, MS, for Tenderly Rose at 1711 Wisteria Street. Circa 1958.

I would like to personally thank Geoff Pender of the Daily Herald for this article. My mother, Jane Morris Estrada was interviewed in the piece. I learned things about the neighborhood I grew up in that I’d not been aware of and I also was reminded of the unique and very precious experiences I had as a child in this Gulfport community. Since the time this article was published, much has changed for this neighborhood and many of the fears of the neighbors have continued, even worsened. I can tell you Gulf Gardens was an American dream that bore amazing fruit. The Gulf Coast was a much better place to have had such a place called Gulf Gardens. The heartbreaking truth is that very little is left of the neighborhood I grew up. When I was born, I came home from Memorial Hospital to that home the Morrises built in 1935. That house and yard will always be my home. I had hoped to return to Gulf Gardens to finish my days there as both my grandmother and mother did. This is not to be. Cherish the old neighborhoods. Remember the folks who lived and loved there. Our spirits will never leave there. Gulf Gardens was truly “Home Sweet Home”.

We take for granted, sometimes, that which is steady and true…

— Tenderly Rose

John Harkness “Big John” Morris 1901–1965 — Owner of Morris-Webb Motor Company in 1930’s Gulfport

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My maternal grandfather

John Harkness Morris was born on October 8, 1901, in Biloxi, Mississippi to Edna Irene Harkness and David Edmund “D.E.” Morris. My Aunt Rosie told me, and my mother confirmed it, their father weighed 14 pounds at birth. All his life he was called “Big John” for obvious reasons referring to his stature and presence.

John Harkness Morris pedigree chart
John Harkness “Big John” Morris’ of Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi, pedigree chart. To see pedigree charts, you may need to use your browser’s viewing settings to enlarge.

The Morris family lived in Biloxi, Gulfport and Moss Point, Mississippi according to various newspaper clippings I’ve collected.

The U.S. Census for the year of 1910 shows Big John living with his parents Edna and D.E. in Beat 4, Gulfport, Mississippi. Hard to read the handwriting for the street they lived on. 

I was told by my mother Big John attended Central High School in Gulfport which was just around the corner from his home. Later the school became Central Elementary School which I attended first through third grade back in the 1960’s. That was a source of pride for me to know that. The building was demolished for a courthouse later on, sad to say.

In 1920, the census finds Big John at the age of 18, living with his parents and sisters, Irene and Martha, and his brother, Edward, on what might appear to be 24th Street in Gulfport. Handwriting is hard to read for the address. No occupation listed, but, I note his father was working at the foundry at this time.

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1629 24th Ave – Gulfport, Mississippi – home of John Harkness Morris, parents D.E. and Edna (Harkness) Morris. This is a fairly recent photo of the home they built. This has been confirmed by their granddaughter and great granddaughter. A large sycamore tree was once in front of the home and in recent years, it was removed. I was told the home had an upper story, but, due to fire, it was destroyed. I have no idea if this is true or not.

He married Rosa Ann Elizabeth “Rosie” Smith about 1923, in Kiln, Mississippi. They had six children in 10 years.  

Hon. John “Johnny” Smith Morris 1925–1991
Mary Elizabeth “L’il Sissy” Morris 1927–1929
Tommye LaNelle Morris 1928–
David Harkness Morris 1930–1975
Rosie Ann Morris 1931–
Janie Lucille Morris 1935–2013

The 1930 census shows John Harkness Morris lived in Gulfport, Mississippi. The census lists John H Morris 28, Rose Ann Morris 34, John S. Morris 4, Tommie Linelle (wrong spelling) Morris 1 yr 11 mos, Bamma Smith – 626 Camp Ave., John’s job is listed as Automobile Salesman. Bama Smith was my grandmother’s sister.

In 1934, Big John’s father, D.E. Morris, was living with John and Rosie when he passed away at the age of 68. The obit for D.E. states he died in New Orleans, but, close family members recall John and Rosie were caring for D.E. at the time of his death. My aunt referred to D.E. as Grandpa Ed.

Gulfport City Directory for 1936 shows address for Big John’s business under “John H (Rosa) – “Morris-Webb Mtr Co 815 43rd Ave – Plymouth & DeSoto autos and International Trucks.” Lists Morris, John H.’s home as 815 43rd Ave.

John and Rosie Morris built a home at 1711 Wisteria Street in the new Gulf Gardens Subdivision back in 1935. They raised their children there and the dwelling provided a home to 4 generations of the family before the last Morris left just a couple of years back.

In 1939, a Gulfport City Directory lists “Morris Motor Company (John H. Morris) 1812 25th Ave.” Another listing for that year states, “John H (Rosa S)-Morris Motor Co. 1711 Wisteria”

When my mother, Janie, was a baby, a 1940 census shows John H, Rosie A., John Smith, Tommye L., Rosie Ann, David H. and Janie L residing on Wisteria Street, Beat 2, in Gulfport, Mississippi. I learned that at the age of 14, my Uncle Johnny sold the Daily Herald newspaper as shown on this census. My grandmother, Rosie’s occupation was listed as nurse, R.N. “special duty” and Big John’s occupation was listed as “operator” (owner) auto sales company.

A 1947 Gulfport City Directory lists “Morris, John H (Rosa) 1711 Wisteria St.”

In 1949, a Gulfport City Directory lists “Morris, John H (Rosie) & John Jr. 1711 Wisteria St. It lists “John H.” as “retired.” Big John was 48 years old at the time this directory was published.

In 1953, a Gulfport City Directory entry lists “John H (Rosie S-nurse), Janie L.-Student, David H-USA military, and John S.

I only have one picture of my grandfather. It is a photo I took of a photograph my mother showed me once when I was visiting Hungry Hill in the 90’s and my mother was the sole occupant of the house. She told me this was my grandfather’s baby picture. She said it was taken in Biloxi. She did not elaborate on it at all. It was rare that my mother spoke to me about Big John, so, I consider myself very fortunate to have this to share. It is not a very good reproduction, but, it is special to me.

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Photograph of a photograph of John Harkness “Big John” Morris as a baby in Biloxi, Mississippi.

 

When I think about it, I find it strange there are no photographs I’m aware of that were taken of me and him. There are so many photographs taken of me and my grandmother, my mother, other relatives, but, not one of me and my grandfather. I helped my grandmother put together her photo albums, it was my job to help her and we loved working on this project together. She’d tell me what to write on the backs of the photos, or in the albums. I don’t recall any candid photos shots of Big John. Were they just not taken, or kept somewhere else? 

 

 

 

 

 

My paternal grandmother, Helen Marie Hoagland (1907 – 1965)

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Helen Hoagland in Tom Thumb Wedding
Helen Marie Hoagland, second child on the left side of this photo, was my biological paternal grandmother. She took part in this “Tom Thumb Wedding” in Elgin, Kane County, Illinois.

When Helen Marie HOAGLAND was born on June 22, 1907, in Elgin, Illinois, her father, Frederick Judson “Fred” HOAGLAND, was 27 and her mother, Mabel Gladys HAWLEY, was 26.

She was married three times and had four sons. 

Helen Marie HOAGLAND married William Benjamin Shales, Jr. on March 22, 1924, in Elgin, Illinois, when she was 16 years old. They had one son, William David “Bill” Shales on March 17, 1925, in Elgin, Illinois. Helen and William Benjamin Shales, Jr., were divorced on June 27, 1927, in Elgin, Illinois, after 3 years of marriage. She was 20 years old. 

Helen Marie HOAGLAND married Dr. Wilder Morris BOSWORTH on February 7, 1931, in Elgin, Illinois, when she was 23 years old. They had a son born September 21, 1931, in Chicago, Illinois. That son was placed for adoption, later to be adopted by the Mosiman family. His first name was John. Helen and Wilder had a son, Frank Hunt Bosworth was born on June 19, 1933, in Chicago, Illinois. Another son was born to the couple, Wilder Morris Bosworth II, on September 7, 1935, in Chicago, Illinois. His nickname was “Tuffy”.

Helen Marie HOAGLAND married Millard Ayres “Boots” Mason on May 5, 1945, in Biloxi, Mississippi, when she was 37 years old.

She died on September 13, 1965, in her hometown, Elgin, Illinois, at the age of 58 of Leukemia at St. Joseph’s Hospital. 

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Helen Marie HOAGLAND (1907 – 1965)
married names: Shales, Bosworth and Mason
paternal grandmother
 
Capt. Frank Hunt BOSWORTH II (1933 – )
son of Helen Marie HOAGLAND
 
Me
the daughter of Capt. Frank Hunt BOSWORTH II
Helen Marie Hoagland Family Tree
Helen Marie Hoagland (1907 – 1965) – Elgin, IL and Biloxi, Mississippi residences. She was married to Dr. Wilder Morris Bosworth, D.D.S., my paternal grandfather.

 


Helen Marie Hoagland’s family history was a lively part of  the pioneer days of Elgin, Illinois.

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The Story About the Balking Horse and Sam Hoagland – Elgin, Kane, Illinois, USA Composed By Merrill O Calame ~ A Poem originally printed in the Elgin Daily Courier copied by Granddaughter Helen Hoagland. Helen was Samuel Hoagland’s grandaughter. A copy of this poem was taken from “The Bosworth Family History” written by Frank Hunt Bosworth II and designed by Robin Melissa Bosworth Reininger (Granddaughter of Helen Marie Hoagland) into this printing.

 


Occupation: Interior Decorator, Proprietor of Mason Interiors in Biloxi, Mississippi with her husband, Millard Ayes “Boots” Mason. As my grandmother, I called her “Macy” from her last married name.

Helen Mason 1958 City Directory Listing
Helen Mason 1958 City Directory Listing with M.A. Mason and my father Frank

 

My Grandmother Helen was a gifted pianist and songstress. She especially loved to spend time with me. I recall her playing her piano and singing to entertain me. I remember her laughter and her smiles. I know she loved me with all her heart. She bought me beautiful dresses, hats and purses. Our relationship was very close after I was born and until she left for Elgin when I was still a little girl. After “Macy” left, my mother took me to visit her husband’s grave at Southern Memorial Cemetery in Biloxi several times- we called him “Boots”. I visited Grandmother Helen when she was in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Elgin when she suffered with leukemia and it was determined she would not live much longer. She died when I was nine years old. 


My Grandmother Helen held an immense amount of family history notes, photos and newspaper collections for the Hoagland/Bosworths. When she died, my father, Frank Bosworth came into possession of these articles and charts and wrote his own family history with the information from this collection. According to my father’s family history account, my grandmother Helen worked with his grandmother Bertha Swan Bosworth (paternal) to compile a family history. They were the two true genealogists on that side of the tree. When my father passed that family history to me, I transcribed his handwritten family history into text form. I took the family history he’d given to me and have grown the collection on my paternal side of my family to what it is today. It was the basis for the “Wings of Angels” family tree on Ancestry.com today. I later added my mother’s family tree to the “Wings of Angels” family tree. I had little to work with on her side of the family, so I started from scratch about 30 years ago trying to piece that together. These days, as an adult, I call “Macy” by the name of Grandmother Helen when referring to her. She is my inspiration for all the Hoagland/Bosworth genealogy research I do today. I am proud to follow in my grandmother’s footsteps as I continue to follow my genealogy passion. I consider my Grandmother Helen and my Great Grandmother Bertha Swan Bosworth the “Wings of Angels” that started my family tree. — note by Helen Marie’s grandaughter Tenderly


My Grandmother Helen was a lifelong Methodist.


Helen Marie Hoagland married William Benjamin Shales, Jr. on March 22, 1924, in Elgin, Illinois, when she was 16 years old. Their son, William David “Bill” Shales was born on March 27, 1925. Helen and Bill were divorced on June 27, 1927, in Elgin, Illinois, after three years of marriage. She was 20 years old.

Helen Marie Hoagland married Wilder Morris Bosworth I on February 7, 1931, in Elgin, Illinois, when she was 23 years old. Wilder was attending dental school around the year of 1931 in Chicago when their first son was born and my mother told me the child was put up for adaption. The child’s adoptive name was John Mosiman. My father Frank Hunt Bosworth was born in 1933 and my uncle Wilder Morris “Tuffy” Bosworth II was born in 1935, in Chicago, Illinois. Wilder was still in dental school. 

 Helen and Wilder, along with sons Frank and “Tuffy” lived in Safety Harbor, Florida, where my grandfather established his first dental practice in 1935.

In 1936, Wilder established a dental practice in Biloxi, Mississippi. 

Helen and Wilder Morris Bosworth were divorced on September 13, 1941, in Biloxi, Mississippi, after 10 years of marriage. She was 34 years old.

Helen married Millard Ayres “Boots” Mason on May 5, 1945, in Biloxi, Mississippi, when she was 37 years old.

Helen’s husband Millard Ayres “Boots” Mason passed away on October 24, 1960, in Biloxi, Mississippi, at the age of 59. They had been married 15 years.

Helen Marie Hoagland died on September 13, 1965, in Elgin, Illinois, when she was 58 years old. Helen’s remains were donated for research at Northwestern University where it was cremated. She has no known burial site or memorial that I could find.


 

 

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Helen and Millard Mason’s Home on Beach Blvd – Photo taken in the 1990’s. Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA. Before Katrina hit the Coast, this house was located right on Highway 90 directly across the street from the Gulf of Mexico. It was on a corner. I if it survived the storm. I know it survived Camille. I took this photo visiting the Coast on vacation.
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Helen Marie Hoagland Shales Bosworth Mason – Unknown year Biloxi, Mississippi and Elgin, Illinois
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Rosie S. Morris with Millard Ayers “Boots” and Helen Hoagland Mason. Mississippi Gulf Coast Out for supper at the “White House” Restaurant. It used to be a favorite place to dine for many Gulf Coast residents. I believe that shadow photographer may be my mother’s shadow and I would have been four years old at the time of this photo so was that me beside her?

 

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Birthday Party for Tenderly Rose abt 1958 Gulfport, Harrison, Mississippi, USA Bama Smith Grayson, Tenderly Rose Bosworth held by Janie Morris Bosworth, Rosie S. Morris, Patsy Grayson Gendron and Helen Hoagland Bosworth Mason standing together on front yard of “Hungry Hill” at 1711 Wisteria Street. Gulf Gardens. Home of Thelma Lefeve in background.

 

 

Judge John Smith “Johnny” Morris

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Judge John Smith “Johnny” Morris, Gulfport, Harrison, Mississippi, USA – Harrison County Chancery Court Judge

Honoring my Uncle Johnny – The Honorable John Smith “Johnny” Morris 1925-1991, Gulfport, Harrison, Mississippi. Father’s Day has come and gone, but, I always remember all the cards and presents I made for him when I was growing up. When I was a little girl, he was there for me as a father figure even though he never had any children born to him. He was married to Roma June Gentry, my dear Aunt June.

As kids we always had to shout, “Here comes the judge, here comes the judge, court be quiet ’cause here comes the judge” whenever he came to visit… we’d all laugh!

When Hon. John “Johnny” Smith Morris was born on October 11, 1925, in Gulfport, Mississippi, his father, John, was 24 and his mother, Rosa, was 29. He married Roma June Gentry on December 1, 1953, in his hometown. He died on November 4, 1991, in Gulfport, Mississippi, at the age of 66, and was buried in Biloxi, Mississippi at the Veteran’s Cemetery.

Hon. John “Johnny” Smith Morris (1925 – 1991)
uncle
 
John Harkness MORRIS (1901 – 1965)
father of Hon. John “Johnny” Smith Morris
 
Janie Lucille MORRIS (1935 – 2013)
daughter of John Harkness MORRIS
 
Me
the daughter of Janie Lucille MORRIS

Hon. John “Johnny” Smith Morris served in the military about 1943, when he was 18 years old. US Navy Enlistment-Uncle Johnny lied about his age to enlist early. He lost a leg soon afterward during a conflict overseas somewhere. I really don’t know much at this point about his military career, although, I do plan to research more as time permits. I was told by my grandmother Uncle Johnny lost his leg before he was of age to enlist, but, had joined without his parent’s permission and she didn’t know about it until it was too late.

Uncle Johnny proudly attended Mississippi State University and remained a dedicated football fan for “Ole Miss” all his life. He loved watching football games at home in Bayou View, just off Pass Road.

I remember Uncle Johnny wanting to learn to play electric guitar. He had one he stored at his home. He gave me his book about how to play the ukulele, which he had apparently learned to play in the military. I still have the book.

Uncle Johnny graduated with a B.S. Finance/School of Business and Finance at Ole Miss. In 1962, he returned to Ole Miss to complete a masters degree in law.

He offered to send me to the Ringling School of Art in Florida because he recognized my talent and passion for art. I did not take him up on the offer. I wish I had. Both Uncle Johnny and Aunt June bought clothes and shoes for me when I needed them in junior high and high school, even college. They were supportive of me and I spent much time with them. I helped Uncle Johnny on the campaign trail handing out his cards and information, talking to voters and attending rallies with him.


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Judge Johnny S. Morris, Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi
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Judge Johnny S. Morris, Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi
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Copy of a photo of Uncle Johnny being sworn in. (Judge Johnny S. Morris, Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi) – my grandmother used to tease that he was being sworn at.
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Back of card – Judge Johnny S. Morris, Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi
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Front of card – Judge Johnny S. Morris, Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi from the scrapbook of T.Rose, his niece.
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Judge Johnny S. Morris, Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi – from his neice T.Rose’s scrapbook
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Judge Johnny S. Morris, Gulfport, Harrison County, Mississippi burial at the Biloxi Veteran’s Cemetery alongside his wife Roma June Gentry Morris.