Living

Flashback: Uncle Jeff's was surrounded by trees

By Murella H. Powell

COURTESY PAUL JERMYNA.J. Ramsay was survived by his wife, Mary A. Myers, and two sons, one of whom followed in his footsteps as Harrison County circuit clerk. This was the Ramsay home.
COURTESY PAUL JERMYNA.J. Ramsay was survived by his wife, Mary A. Myers, and two sons, one of whom followed in his footsteps as Harrison County circuit clerk. This was the Ramsay home.

The oak trees seem to be dancing around the home of Andrew Jefferson Ramsay in this ca. 1910 photo. Ramsay was a man prominent in the public affairs of Harrison County. "Uncle Jeff," as he was familiarly known, was born on July 4, 1840, at Ramsay, a small community in Jackson County. He died at the age of 77 on Aug. 2, 1917, in Gulfport.

As a youth of 21, A.J. Ramsay enlisted in the Confederate army and fought in Company A 3rd Mississippi Regiment for four years. His service to Harrison County began in 1871 when he was elected sheriff. He served in that office for four terms, then one term in the Mississippi House of Representatives, and three terms as circuit clerk.

"Remains of Loved Man Laid Away" was a front page headline in the Aug. 3, 1917, Daily Herald. Hundreds gathered at the Ramsay home on Mississippi City's East Beach (now East Gulfport) for services.

At the conclusion, at least 50 automobiles and hundreds on foot followed the funeral carriage to the Old Mississippi City Cemetery off Courthouse Road.

On Sept. 18, 1917, the Harrison County Bar Association adopted resolutions to honor "Harrison County's most esteemed citizen." Each speaker spoke eloquently of Ramsay's many virtues and accomplishments and ended with the sentiments that "all who knew Uncle Jeff did love him. He was a man of singularly beautiful character."

Murella H. Powell, a local historian, writes the weekly Flashback column. Do you have a local photograph to submit to Flashback? It can be of any subject or event in the Coast's distant or recent past. Please send a description with your name, address and daytime phone number to Flashback, the Sun Herald, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi MS 39535; or call 896-2424; or email living@sunherald.com.

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