On Thursday, November 24, approximately 2,500 guests arrived at Beauvoir from across the Gulf Coast by automobile and street car. The Thanksgiving dinner, which was provided to the 250 residents of Beauvoir, plus their attendants, began at noon. As promised, the food was bounteous, and included a large supply of turnip greens picked from Beauvoir’s gardens (Superintendent Tartt regularly promoted the health benefits of turnip greens and frequently shared the garden’s produce with the Coast’s residents, “rich or poor, black or white”). The newspaper reported that the 105-foot jelly roll cake “made the feed a complete one.” The public guests arrived at 1:30 p.m. and the festivities began promptly at 2:00 with musical selections by the brass band and several speeches, led by the Hon. Charles Latham Rushing, a local judge and a member of the Biloxi Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, Lodge of Elks and Woodmen of the World. He was also the attorney for the Mississippi Oyster Commission, which might explain the 4,000 oysters. During his address, Rushing expounded on the merits of President Jefferson Davis. Just two years later, at the age of 42, Judge Rushing died after two weeks of illness following “an attack of acute digestion,” leaving behind a wife and several children.
The next speaker on the program was Dr. Richard Garfield Cox. Cox was the founder and first president of Gulf Park College, a female college which was the predecessor of the USM Gulf Park Campus. Interestingly, Cox, even in 1921, was an accomplished pilot. He continued to fly and teach other pilots until his death in 1967. On this day, Dr. Cox (left), who was described as “a fluent speaker,” focused on educational and spiritual matters. Joining him from the Gulf Park College were approximately one hundred young ladies, who gathered on the front porch of the Beauvoir mansion to “sing songs, play musical instruments, and give recitations.” The president of the Gulf Coast Military Academy also spoke to the assembled crowd, but the biggest event of the day was scheduled for 3:00, when the wedding was to take place at the main house. After the nuptials, approximately 1,000 people lined up to shake hands with the groom. The long-awaited footrace, meanwhile, took place along a 400-foot path between the steps of the mansion and the front gate. Throughout the festivities, the old soldiers, their wives and the Confederate widows seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly.
And the winner of the race? As expected, the spry Mrs. Nunnery, just 84 years old, claimed the crown...
Photo and Image Sources:
(1) Beauvoir: http://home.earthlink.net/~reetjournal
(2) Tartt: http://trees.ancestry.com
(3) Beauvoir veterans: http://civilwartalk.com
(4) Veterans: http://patandmeloakes.com
(5) Cox: https://archive.org/details/seagull41925gulf
(6) McLaughlin: From Remembering Mississippi's Confederates by Jeff Giambrone (original at MDAH)
(7) Grave: http://www.findagrave.com