An Introduction to the Research

Welcome to the official website of the Beauvoir Veteran Project (BVP), directed by University of Southern Mississippi faculty members Susannah J. Ural, Ph.D. and designed by Allan Branstiter. Run through the Department of History at Southern Miss, the BVP seeks to use the Beauvoir Confederate Veteran Home as a lens through which to gain a better understanding of the late-nineteenth century lives of impoverished Confederate veterans and their families.

The post-Civil War South is remembered for its economic chaos and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. It is studied as an age of great possibility as enslaved peoples embraced their hard-won freedom, and it is popularly remembered for its Tara-like plantation crumbling amid broken fortunes and dark futures.

Rarely mentioned, though, are the white Southerners who lacked the education, funds, or security needed to preserve and publish their experiences in one of America’s defining conflicts. Existing studies of Confederate veteran homes reveal that those who lived there were often treated more like inmates than residents (indeed, the census records list them as inmates), complaining of the controlling habits of home administrators. Homes also served as monuments to the Lost Cause where the residents became caricatures of “old times . . . not forgotten.” Indeed, historians of Civil War veterans have argued persuasively that our understanding of these men and their families have been shaped more by what the public–then and in subsequent generations–chose to preserve, share, and remember than any true sense of who these men and women were and what their postwar lives were like.

The Beauvoir Veteran Project seeks to cut through the film of memory to formulate as realistic a sense as possible of the experiences of veterans, wives, and widows who found themselves at the “Jefferson Davis Soldier Home–Beauvoir” in Biloxi, Mississippi, between 1903 and 1957. Of course, the challenges in analyzing the experiences of impoverished people remain; we have found few new letters, diaries, and contemporary accounts. But modern digitization efforts make it easier than ever to learn about the veterans, wives, and widows who spent their latter most years at Beauvoir. Digitized census data, compiled service records, pension applications, and nineteenth-century newspapers can be searched quickly now, allowing us to paint a far more detailed and accurate image of the men and women who, until now, have remained in the shadows of the Civil War era. Our work is also benefiting from descendants who are generously sharing copies of private letters, newspaper clippings, and other information about their ancestors who lived at Beauvoir.

The purpose of this website is to allow you to follow and participate in the BVP as it progresses through its research stage. If you would like to help with our research, please click on the “Participate” link on the top menu or here. If you have any questions of comments, please contact us at

Special thanks are due to Jane and Charles Sullivan, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, for the wealth of source material they have shared and for their unfailing support of the Beauvoir Veteran Project.

42 thoughts on “The Beauvoir Veteran Project”

  1. My great grandfather William Andrew Jackson Kemp is buried @ Beauvoir.
    His grave marker is A J Kemp
    I have a god bit of information about his service in the Civil War & will be glad to share. He was enslisted in Pickens County, AL & was wounded several times in Virginia. Spent time in Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond.;
    Let me know if I can help in your research.
    I live in Corinth MS

    1. Mr. Kemp — we’ve uploaded the material you sent and will process it along with the others. Thank you so much for sharing your ancestor’s story with us!

    2. My great grandfather was Andrew Jackson Kemp Married to Jennie and father to Grace, Jesse, William, Thomas, & Leon and I would greatly appreciate more info if you are related to the same tree. Sincerely, Jeanne

      1. Ms. Jeanne, we’ve actually been working with another Kemp descendant and have quite a bit on your great grandfather. Not as much as we’d like, but a good bit. If you’ll email me at we’ll be happy to share what we have!

        Susannah Ural
        Director, Beauvoir Veteran Project

  2. My great grandmother lived there at the end of her life. She died in the hospital that was on the grounds at that time. She was one of two women who died in a fire. I had visited a few years back and the tour guide remembered the story of her. Her dress had caught fire standing in front of the fireplace and she died from her injuries. I have tried to get her records but at the time, the hurricane had damaged much of the building there and they were in the process of building the new library. I was told to contact them after the construction was finished but I have yet been able to get in touch with anyone. I would like to know more about this research and any information about my great grandmother that you may have or have found. Thanks.

    1. Dear Ivy Birkner,

      Can you give us your great grandmother’s name? I’ll be happy to see if we have anything on her.


  3. Elnathan & Helen Mosby Tartt (my wife’s great aunt) are buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Meridian, Miss, I have a copy of each’s obit. They were connected to Sen. Bilbo as was my wife’s father.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Mr. Calhoun. We’re trying to learn more about the Tartts during their time at the home. If you’re open to sharing copies of any letters or photos you might have from/of them, we’d love to see these, as well as the obits. As always, we’ll be happy to share anything we find, too.

  4. Dear Prof. Ural,

    We recently had a telephone conversation about some research I am doing on the history of Beauvoir as a soldier’s home. I have uncovered some fascinating stuff, but it is proving difficult to obtain confirmable details in the limited amount of time and travel I have to complete my work. This is clearly a long-term project, and worthwhile historically for uncovering how the home interplayed with the growing Gulf Coast community.

    I believe, but have not yet found solid evidence, that Superintendent Elnathan Tartt’s wife, Helen Mosby Tartt, was the daughter of an earlier superintendent of the veterans’ home. I am working on this topic today (26 February) on the internet, but so far without success. Do you know if this this coincidence, or is there substance to it?

    Likewise, I have been searching for the remains of one of the barracks, thought to still be standing in Gulfport. No luck so far, but if I can locate it, it would be wonderful to take measurements and do an architectural recovery of artefacts.

    Bob Pickens

    1. Hi Bob, Good to hear from you again. I discussed your idea with my top researcher, Lisa Foster, who reminded me that Helen Tartt was the daughter of McRae Mosby, not Capt. Mosby, though they are all from Lauderdale County and possibly related in some way. If you want to contact Mr. Ward Calhoun, whose comment is immediately above your own, he may have more information on Helen Tartt.


  5. Iverson Wren Hughes Co. K. 16th MS. Inf. was my great great grandfather and lived at the soldier’s home

    1. Mr. Hinson, Iverson Wren Hughes is not in our statistical sample, but considering the unusual nature of his death at the home, I’m adding him to our list of supplemental projects to research and include at the website. Thank you so much for reaching out to us, and if there is anything else you’d like to share about Iverson Hughes, please do not hesitate to contact me.

      Susannah Ural
      Professor of History, University of Southern Mississippi
      Director, Beauvoir Veteran Project

      1. in Louisville, Kentucky then released in 2/12/ 1865 after taking the Oath of Alliance.
        Where he went from there is unknown.
        He was broken and very ill from the hard winter and poor conditions of the prison camp and
        died in his home in Michigan in 1868 buried in Mt. Morris, Michigan.

        My question is what Hughes cousin was he visiting in Mississippi or was he on his way to visit
        relatives in Houma or New Orleans?
        I was told we had relatives here at the time which would explain what he was doing here.

        Do you have any family trees of Hughes’s on the Mississippi Gulf Coast?
        This Christopher Hughes family came from Kildare Ireland to New York from 1832- 1835
        There were 9 children, Elizabeth, Stephen, Matthew, Thomas, Michael, William, John & Jane.
        Elizabeth Stephen born in Ireland, Matthew Thomas & Michael born in Rochester NY., Mary Ann William, John & Jane born in Michigan.
        Matthew served in the Confederacy Army and younger brother John in the Union Army.
        His wife’s name was Mary Knowles. Christopher Hughes was my great great grandfather,
        great grandfather Michael Hughes, grandfather Francis Augusta , father Paul Stephen Hughes
        all from Michigan and in the lumber business and farming.
        Any information would be helpful in solving this mystery.

        Thank You
        Paula Hughes

        1. Ms. Hughes, at this point I still don’t have a lot on Iverson Wren Hughes, but I will let you know when we do. We’re still finalizing a details on the people who weren’t in the original sample but who we’ve added to the project who represent key trends that we’ve found. Please keep in touch by emailing me at

      2. Iverson Wren Hughes is my great great grandfather. His death was a strange one, my grandmother always referred to him as being murdered there. He won many awards playing the fiddle in the Beauvoir string band. Is there any info or pictures about that? I have read some articles that were in the paper. He is buried there along with my great great grandmother Louisa J Cobb Hughes.

        1. that picture you have on the website Iverson Wren Hughes is sitting in the front in a wheelchair right about the middle of the picture. There is a man with one leg standing next to him. Iverson was from Centreville, Ms. I have lots of info on the Hughes family. Iverson and his wife were both living at Beauvoir and when she died he married a Catherine Yates at the soldiers home in 1917. He lived at Beauvoir at least 22 years.

  6. I just stumbled upon this site. My father remembered, as a boy in the 20s, walking passed a place where he could see Civil War veterans sitting/standing out in front of their small individual houses. I also seem to remember him saying these houses flanked or were near a grand home and perhaps able to be seen from a large road near the ocean. He lived in Biloxi, MS. Trying to put the pieces together. I think it’s amazing he saw that and also lived to want a smart phone!

  7. My grandfather, Willie Albert Wooten, cooked for the Civil War veterans until the last soldier died. Willie stayed in one of the cabins during much of the week. He contracted malaria at one point, but fully recovered. My 90-year-old mother remembers frequently visiting with her father (Willie) at the home during the 1930s. She remembers the vets enjoyed macaroni and cheese meals. She recalls having many conversations with a vet named “Jeff.” She says that the soldiers were fond of my grandfather and expressed great appreciation for his services.

    1. What fascinating memories, Ms. Ladner – thank you for sharing them with us. I’ll have to do some digging to see if we can find a record of Mr. Wooten’s time working at the home, and, if possible, narrow down the veterans named “Jeff” who were at the home in the 1930s.

      1. Susannah,

        My mother, Fannie Ella Wooten Brown, remembers another person, Joe Will Haven, son of a woman that she believes supervised services like meal menus.

        Fannie says that she frequently visited Beauvior as early as five years old, while her father, Willie Albert Wooten, was cook for the vets (inmates, as they were called). She remembers the soldiers were fond of her.

  8. I am beyond thrilled to find your web page and read about your research project. I am writing a family history about my father’s family. His grandfather Eber Andrew Barry lived at Beauvoir for many years before he died in 1936 and he is buried in the cemetery there. I do have a record of the day he entered the home somewhere. He also married while there. The 1930 census shows him living with a woman who was not then his wife . He was 88 and she was 71 at the time. She is only listed with his initials E. A. Barry(same as him).
    On his death certificate his wife is listed as Josie V. Adams .Before the hurricane I did find her listed as his widow in a list of widows living at Beauvoir. I have not been able to find the list since,
    I also have 3 letters he wrote to my father when my father was about 11. The first one was written soon after he arrived at Beauvoir and describes the eating arrangements (6 persons at a table and 36 or 46 tables total). He describes the food as very plentiful and good .On Sundays they all carried a bucket for lunch so that the cooks could have some time off. Later when he was caring for his “little girl” (wife, I suppose), he cooked in their room and said he spent all his money buying extra food for her.
    I am anxious to see what records you have made available for research
    Thank you for your effort.
    Pat Dunbar

    1. Dear Pat Dunbar — thanks so much for your comment and for sharing this information about your ancestor, Eber Andrew Barry. Is there any chance you’d be willing to take pics or scan copies of those letters and email them to me at If there’s one thing we’re short on in this project, it’s letters from the residents that give us a sense of what their lives were like, what they thought of the home, the care they received there, etc. We don’t have any newspaper or other related information on your ancestor in our project, other than when he entered the home and the basic details from the Beauvoir register. Happy to share that if you don’t have it.

      Also, I apologize for this delayed response — the team and I were so busy finishing up our research on the residents in our sample that I wasn’t monitoring this comment section like I should!

      Thanks again and keep in touch,
      Susannah Ural

  9. My 2x great grandmother lived at Beauvoir before her death act 1928. Mary Emily Brown Mills. I would love to know if there are any residents lists or records that could help me determine how long she lived there, and any info about the date of her death. Love seeing the pictures. Thank you so much for working on this project.

    1. Dear Ginger Creswell, did you see the “Who Do You Think You Are?” Episode that featured actor Noah Wylie and his relation to your 2x great grandmother? They found some great records on her, including a photo. Do you live in the area and could stop by Beauvoir, I think they have copies of much of what the show found (a former grad student and I helped them with the research), including the photograph — or perhaps you shared that with them? You can see the full episode here: It’s an amazing story!

      Do keep in touch and I’m happy to share any items we might have uncovered in our own research or contact the show’s team to see if they’d be willing to share. Again, though, I suspect they were good enough to leave copies at Beauvoir, too.

      Susannah Ural

      Susannah J. Ural, Ph.D.
      Professor of History, University of Southern Mississippi
      Director, Beauvoir Veteran Project

  10. I was very blessed to view some of Beauvoirs records not long after Katrina at the Archives at USM/Hattiesburg. It was excited to see my ancesters name, Martin Kelly and his wife Annie Virilla Richardson Kelly. I’m not quite sure, but I think Mr. Kelly may have started a bit of a fire. There was one reported in one of the board meeting notes, the following month states “what are we to do about Mr Kelly”…hmmm. Its rare you get to hear personal accounts of your ancestors.

    1. Dear Shelley Edwards Jeffries,

      Thanks for sharing your memories about Martin and Annie Kelley — I’ll check the biennial report to see if I can find that — would love to include it in an article I’m writing about the home. If you do have a copy, would you be willing to snap a pic of it or scan it and email it to me at I’ll also check at Beauvoir.

      Keep in touch and I’ll be better about checking this comments section so I respond in a timely manner in the future. The research team and I were to focused on finishing the research on everyone in our sample, I forgot to monitor the comments!

      Susannah Ural

      Susannah J. Ural, Ph.D.
      Professor of History, University of Southern Mississippi
      Director, Beauvoir Veteran Project

  11. My great grand father, Thomas Sidney Walston, is buried at Beauvoir. I talked to Greg Stewart when he was there and sent him a picture and information on him. Greg says he is still working on a book, but is no longer with Beauvoir. Did you get to keep that information or does he now have it?? I also contributed to a brick for the walkway and loved the photo i received of it.

    Danny Wolf

    1. Dear Danny Wolf,

      Thanks for your post about your ancestor Thomas Sidney Walston. He’s not in our sample, so I don’t have detailed work on him to share, but hopefully Mr. Stewart put the picture and information you mention is in Walston’s file at Beauvoir. I suggest calling them to see if someone could check his file for you. Our project hasn’t received any materials directly from Mr. Stewart — much of what we use comes from mining online databases like census records, military service, pension and newspaper records. We also benefited from the generosity of Jane and Charles Sullivan, who allowed us to scan copies of all of their Beauvoir-related research. We’ve also worked in the collections at Beauvoir, the McCain Archives at the University of Southern Mississippi, and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

      Susannah Ural

      Susannah J. Ural, Ph.D.
      Professor of History, University of Southern Mississippi
      Director, Beauvoir Veteran Project

  12. My great grandmother–Samantha Louise Farthing Giles lived at Beauvoir before her death. I would like to know the years she was there. Thanks

    1. Ms. Haynie, thanks so much for your query. Your great-grandmother is in our sample–we have census data compiled, her pension application, the compiled military service record of her husband, and obituaries of their deaths. I’m happy to send you copies of all of this if you’ll email me at

  13. I am McRae Fulton Williams , The Great Nephew of Captain Stephen Cocke Moore , the subject of one of your articles . We just found the article on the internet and thought it sensational! It gave us several facts about Uncle Steve we did not know . We would love to communicate with anyone who would be interested! My 1st cousin Robert Fulton is terrific on Ancestry .com and we have many family facts posted under his name . For example : Captain Stephen Cocke Moore was the Great Grandson of William Cocke , a pioneer in the history of Virginia , Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Mississippi ! US Senator and Militia General William Cocke is honored as being one of the Founding Fathers of Columbus , Mississippi on his monument in Columbus.
    We have a letter from Uncle Steve with a Beauvoir Letterhead on the stationary. !
    I have left this message several places and hope to connect with someone
    Mac Williams
    Georgia State University (retired)

  14. What a wonderful surprise! Thanks so much for your message, Dr. Williams. I’ll give you a call this afternoon. I’m glad you found our work so helpful, and appreciate your willingness to share what you’ve found.

    Susannah Ural

  15. I inquired about the possibility of a relative having lived at Beauvour after the war. The sirname JAUDON. Surprisingly, I recieved notice that an elderly gentleman, I want to say James or John Jaudon did live there and is buried there under Jordon. Unfortunately, I have lost the emails from the early 2000’s. Would love to know if you could assist me in my research. I actually have lived on the Gulf Coast for 35 years but only visited Beauvoir once in the 1980’s. Simcerely, Laura Jaudon Booth.

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