As early as 1500 BC and continuing until historic tribes like the Pascagoula and Biloxi, Native Americans hunted, fished and navigated the Pearl River drainage, building earthworks and shell middens and leaving a great deal of evidence of their trading acumen and artisanship.It was archaeology that brought us to the topic of this book.
There is ample evidence along the east bank of the Pearl that Native Americans favored the place from earliest times.
The land was there during the time of the Paleo-Indian big game hunters, but few artifacts from that period have been discovered.
Earlier, Iberville had named it Pea Island, because he lost a sack of peas there in 1699.
The Pearl empties into the Mississippi Sound, protected from the open Gulf by a series of barrier islands with names like Ship and Cat, important to the early Canadian explorers under Iberville and his brother Bienville.
Evidence of once thriving prehistoric cultures of indigenous peoples is familiar, by and large, only to the professional archaeologist.
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The remains of what by some accounts was the largest sawmill in the world is a few large blocks of concrete, once foundation for nineteenth century mechanisms that even today would be considered imposing structures. Names that once commanded power or reflected wealth, like Claiborne, Pray, Weston and Favre, are known elsewhere today, but now exist along the Pearl only on tombstones in the Logtown and Napoleon cemeteries.As we began this normally expeditious research, we began to encounter family names of national import, like Bienville, Pintado, Jackson and Claiborne.As we attempted the standard deed search, we came face-to-face with the reality of four different methods of land granting and recording: French, British, Spanish, and American.And, most fascinating, we discovered a treasure of primary documentation, mostly in the form of family letters.There is good reason that a reader may ask earnestly why a little populated area in the southwest corner of a sparsely populated state might command much attention.Prominent in this regard are the journals of Iberville and Father Du Ru, Penicaut, and Le Page du Pratz.There are also legal documents left by settlers over the years.While it was written several years ago, the authors have moved on to other things and do not have the time or inclination to edit, correct, or rewrite. There is a West Pearl and also a Middle Pearl in Louisiana, but it is in that high terrace on the eastern side of East Pearl, in Mississippi, that merits historic study.It is therefore offered as is, “warts and all,” for whatever value one may take from it. 75 Section VI – Nineteenth Century Hancock County Chapter 16: Analysis of Census Reports – p. 104 Chapter 18: Biographies of Prominent Settlers – p. For fifty years it was the international boundary between European colonial powers.There is, after all, a certain element of finality to their being, in that, at least for the foreseeable future, they will not, nay cannot, be resurrected.Besides the physical evidence, including shell middens, overgrown streets, an occasional brick or other artifact, there is a wealth of written testimony to the history of the area.