THE COAST 57 plastics, and 11 percent are in construction. These areas are the two largest employers in the city. Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College is in Gautier. The Gautier Public School System supports four elementary schools and one middle and one high school. Moss Point also traces its roots to the lumber industry. At one time people in the territory called this area Mossey Pen Point, as herdsmen gathered their cattle here. Later people called it East Pascagoula. When a post office opened in 1867, Moss Point became the designated name of the community. Citizens committed to education there when the Live Oak Academy opened in the early 1860s. Currently, Moss Point High School stands there. By the early 1900s, Moss Point was the largest pine lumber export center in the United States. It incorporated in 1901 to move on as an “industrial city.” Twelve or more mills operated in the immediate region around the city, and each mill had its own distinctive whistle. When lumber came into a particular mill, the whistle blew its distinctive call to let its laborers know that work was available. Millponds dotted the area where rafts of logs harvested from the interior of the county remained in water storage. By 1895, Moss Point mills produced over 120 million feet of longleaf yellow heart pine lumber annually. Mills such as the L. N. Dantzler Company provided lumber to foreign markets around the world. In 1911, a paper mill came to Moss Point in order to use the waste products from the large lumber enterprises. The Moss Point Paper Mill and others operated until the early 2000s. Moss Point now counts 13,682 residents. The city lost 13.7 percent of its population since 2000, primarily because of the floods and destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the closing of paper mills. Most citizens claim urban status, with 96 percent living within the city limits. Racial makeup for Moss Point today is 73.3 percent African American, 23.1 percent white, and 2 percent Hispanic. Thirty-nine percent of residents in the city work in manufacturing jobs. The median family income is $34,044. The antebellum period in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties was a time of economic development, shifting boundaries, military engagements, and travel advancements. The counties were involved in shipbuilding, cotton culture, and lumbering, as well as other economic endeavors. However, the turbulent politics of the 1850s centered on slavery moved the United States toward war, and the three Mississippi coastal counties would be drawn into the storm. The War Between the States On January 9, 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union, the second state to do so. Mississippi joined South Carolina in this movement, and eventually nine other states followed. The Civil War that began on April 12, 1861, would last four long grueling years. Coastal communities that relied upon the lumber business would see mills shut down and military operations hamper commerce of any kind, and a federal blockade of southern ports ground any maritime trade to a halt. Immediately after Mississippi seceded from the Union, several military companies organized in Hancock County. Volunteers assembled into the Shieldsboro Rifles, Company H, on June 29, 1861. John V. Toulme was one of two captains, Robert Eager the other. In Gainesville, Company G formed on July 13. John B. Deason, a Mexican War veteran, and Enoch E. McFadden were the two captains, with Deason being elected colonel. Called the Gainesville Volunteers, this company served in the Gulf Coast Region and fought in the Vicksburg, Atlanta, Middle Tennessee, and Carolina campaigns. The companies elected officers at this time. These two companies were part of the 3rd Regiment, 3rd Brigade, and Army of Mississippi. Brigadier General Charles G. Dahlgren commanded the Third Regiment. Eastward in Harrison County, citizens in Handsboro organized the Adams Rifles on May 20, 1861, under the leadership of Fleming W. Adams. This was the 20th Regiment of the Mississippi Infantry, Company E. The conscription age ranged from sixteen to sixty, and on the original roll call of this regiment, approximately 150 men enlisted. Townswomen sewed their uniforms, making the butternut-colored pants and short jacket for the volunteers. They also wore a gray hat manipulated to look like a tricornered cap. Marion Francis Baxter was more than likely the youngest member of the regiment; he enlisted when he was just fourteen years old. Baxter lived through the Civil War and died in 1928 in Logtown, Mississippi, in Hancock County. The antebellum period in Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson counties was a time of economic development, shifting boundaries, military engagements, and travel advancements.