54 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI Episcopalian Church west of the hotel. St. Mark’s survived many storms over the years. In 1969, Hurricane Camille left it an empty shell, and then Hurricane Elena severely compromised its roof in 1985, but still it stood. However, Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005, completely destroyed the structure. Tegarden Road in Gulfport today is all that remains of this once thriving “watering place.” Many immigrants from Ireland also found their way to the Mississippi Coast as a result of the potato famine that affected their country from 1845 to 1852. Families such as the Cavanaughs, Fairleys, O’Briens, and Farrells settled in the region and often found work in the sawmills. Calvin Taylor opened a sawmill in Handsboro in 1852, and Henry Leinhard had a lumber operation there in 1858. Originally called Buena Vista, the name of this town changed in the 1850s to honor Miles and Sheldon Hand from New York State. These brothers arrived in the region in 1846 to take advantage of the opportunities there for business enterprise development. They quickly established three sawmills, a foundry, and a machine shop. Handsboro is located on Bayou Bernard, a few miles north of Mississippi City. Bayou Bernard is named after a freedman who operated a blacksmith shop and forge on the water’s bank. It is a deepwater location with depths of twelve to twenty feet, so it was ideal as an industrial location. Schooners and steamboats could sail or chug into the bayou and not run aground. The first schooner on Bayou Bernard was the Luben, owned by Donald Mc- Bean, who also had the first steamboat in the area, the Fashion. Horse-drawn conveyances daily plodded up and down Tegarden and Courthouse roads transporting people and goods between Mississippi City on the Gulf and Handsboro on the bayou. Handsboro was a manufacturing town with a foundry, machine shops, numerous sawmills, and a multitude of commercial businesses. At one time locals called it the Antebellum Industrial Heart of the Gulf Coast because of its many industrial complexes. Its foundries made many feet of intricate grill and iron lacework for the city of New Orleans. They also manufactured engines and boilers for the boat trade. While the lumber industries waned in the late 1850s because of dwindling local timber supplies, other businesses grew and employed people who arrived to settle in the town, attracted not only to its industrial opportunities but also to its cultural offerings. The town had a newspaper called the Reformer and associations such as the Polar Star Masonic Lodge 154. The second floor of this wooden structure remains today the Masonic Lodge meeting site since 1852, while the building itself has served as the town hall and various schools. With few renovations, the structure still stands in the old Handsboro area on Pass Christian Road, or Pass Road, as it is called today. Throughout the late antebellum period, Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties relied on their natural resources and “watering hole” or tourist destination status for economic growth. Large herds of cattle roamed the piney woods in the interiors of the counties, and the harvesting of forest products depended upon the vast stands of longleaf pine crossing the counties. Ten sawmills operated in Hancock County by 1840 as a result of the longleaf pine forest. Bay St. Louis had about sixty residences and a bustling business district centered on Main Street and the beach road. The Hancock County Masons also constructed Lodge Number 147 in 1851, and two large hotels offered resort activities to their guests. Steamboats regularly brought visitors and provisions to the seaside town, and by the end of the 1850s, the beach road was a brick-paved thoroughfare bustling with activity. Two newspapers began publication in Hancock County, both of them in Gainesville. The Gainesville Advocate began in 1846 and the Pine Knot in 1850. Local news was now available in the Pearl River region. One headline heralded across the county was that the Gainesville courthouse burned in 1853. Government activity then moved to Shieldsboro, but Gainesville remained the county seat. One of the most productive sawmills in Hancock County was the W. J. Poitevent enterprise. Poitevent was a businessman who owned a plantation, a brickyard, and a sawmill in Gainesville. In the beginning, his mill could produce 5,000 board feet of lumber per day. He had twelve laborers, and his monthly payroll was $300. In 1850 alone, he reported that he made $223,000. Poitevent paid his sawyers $45 per month, as it was the most important job in the industry. The Poitevent and Favre Lumber Company later named a new sawmill Big Jim because it could cut 200,000 board feet of lumber a day. Through the 1850s, Poitevent and others such as Asa Hursey of Pearlington, D. R. Wingate of Logtown, and W. M. Brown of Shieldsboro harvested lumber in Hancock County. However, it was a slave named Usan Vaughn who made the mill owners wealthy because he invented a wider tread for the caralog wagons that were used to haul out the cut trees. These two-wheeled carts often supported many By 1850, Mississippi City suffered a setback when the state legislature by one vote bypassed it in favor of Oxford to be the site of the proposed University of Mississippi.