Photos courtesy Mark Morgan
Louise Caroline Desport Vernier (1862 - 1902) was house mother at the Bueavoir house in Biloxi, Mississippi during the 1880/90s. Louise was my Great Grandmother.
Bueavoir was the last home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Davis died in 1889. His daughter, Winnie then inherited the property and when she died in 1898, Varina, Jefferson Davis' widow inherited the property. Mrs. Davis sold the property to the Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans with two stipulations. The first was that the property be used for a Confederate Veterans Home for the veterans and or their widows at no charge to them. The second stipulation for the sale of the property was that it be used as a memorial to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Soldier; and that has been done from 1903 until the present time. Beauvoir.org
Louise was house mother, 'took care of the titles,' showed the house around and acted as tour guide after Davis' death. "According to her daughter, Mary Bridget, Louise and her mother worked for a time for Jefferson Davis, at his home in Biloxi as housekeepers. Louise related, as a child, assisting her mother, she had polished the silverware under instructions to keep each piece separate so as not to cause it to rattle and alert “burglars” about the presence of valuables in the house. Louise also worked at a shrimp factory in Biloxi." (R. Fulton.)
Louise died in the summer of 1902, at the age of 40, possibly from Malaria.
Her daughter Mary Bridget Vernier (1885 - 1959) spoke of roaming through the 'house with big rooms,' as a small child and remembered helping to polish the silverware. She said the silver was, 'heavy.'
At least one member of that family (Louise) can claim to have honorably served the Confederacy, even if it was 40 years after the war.
AKA Louisa Caroline Desporte and Caroline Desport Vernier
Birth: 1862 Biloxi, Harrison County, Mississippi
Death: Jul. 31, 1902
Obituary of Caroline as it appeared in the Daily Herald on Aug., 1, 1902:
"Mrs. Caroline Desporte Vernier, aged 40 years, wife of Charles F. Vernier (Frank), died yesterday at 12 o'clock at the family home on Back Bay, after a long illness. Mrs. Venier was a native of Biloxi , and besides her husband is survived by three daughters - Mrs. A. R. Ryan of Pass Christian and Misses Mamie and Amelia Vernier. She also leaves a brother, Seymour Desporte. The deceased was a devoted member of the Catholic church, and died in that faith. The funeral will take place this afternoon at 3 o'clock from the residence, Rev. Father Alphonse conducting the services".
See Beauvoir House
Memorial page on Find A Grave
OBIT of Ophelia Frances Cleveland Elder
Although Mrs. Elder was not a family member, her death is forever linked with Louise Caroline Depsortes.
2 Aug 1902 , Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi
Obituary & account of Mrs. Elder's death as it appeared in the Daily Herald on August 2, 1902:
"A gloom of sadness pervades the household of James W. Elder, whose wife, Mrs. Ophelia Frances Elder, died yesterday morning at 4 o'clock from the shock incident to burns received four hours earlier through the accidental exploding of an oil lamp. The Herald yesterday morning contained a brief account of the deplorable accident. Mrs. Elder came home Thursday night after 11 o'clock from the residence of Mr. C. F. Vernier, a next door neighbor, where she had gone to extend sympathy and offer assistance to the family in the loss of the mother, Mrs. Caroline Vernier.
She made the rounds of the bedchambers of her children to ascertain if all were resting peacefully and to bid them good night. Going into the front hall Mrs. Elder opened the big square glass case suspended from a nail on the wall to remove an oil lamp preparatory to retiring to her room. The lamp, which was sputtering and flaring up, and which probably had become clogged in the vent, suddenly, on being exposed to the draft, exploded, the flames enveloping the lady's light negligee attire. She dropped the blazing object to the floor and rushed screaming into a rear bedroom, where, in her frantic endeavors to smother the flames, rolled beneath the couch. Her husband, children and niece, Miss Julia Hall, who were in the house at the time, responded panic-stricken to the lady's appeals for help.
George Andrews and Mr. Balius, who were over at the Vernier home, attracted by the cries, rushed to the scene and lent their assistance. The hands of Mr. Balius and Mr. Elder were painfully burned in their attempts to save Mrs. Elder, whose clothing was burned off entirely. The flesh on the limbs and chest were crisped and roasted, and the face ? red terribly. The oil scattered everywhere, igniting several articles of furniture. Numerous holes were burned in the matting on the bedroom floor, caused when Mrs. Elder rolled over and over in her attempts to put out the flames. Everything within the power of medical skill was done to relieve Mrs. Elder, but all to no avail.Mrs. Ophelia Frances Elder was born in New Orleans in 18?2 (1853), coming to Biloxi at the age of seventeen. Her maiden name was Cleveland. She was married to James W. Elder in 1885,the result of which union was four children, one of whom, Ophelia, is dead. The names of the living children are James C., Julia F. and Louise V. Mrs. Elder's mother, Mrs. Julia F. Cleveland, resides in New Orleans. She is also survived by two sisters, Mrs. H. Hall of Biloxi and Mrs. H. B. Daniel of Patterson, La., and one brother, Charles Cleveland, Jr. of New Orleans.
A number of distant relatives live in New York. Mrs. Elder was a direct descendant of American men and women who were prominent in Revolutionary times. She was the great niece of Nathaniel Greene, the great patriot and American general who distinguished himself at Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown, ? and elsewhere. Mrs. Elder was a good Christian woman. Her death is a matter of universal regret. She was a devoted and consistent member of the Baptist church, and an earnest laborer for the cause of Christ. In the Sunday school she found an excellent field for work, and the younger pupils, as well as their elders, loved and revered her. The funeral will take place this afternoon from the Baptist church at 3:30 o'clock, Rev. L. E. Hall of Scranton conducting the services".