Jackson County

Man to raise money for oldest house in Mississippi - from the grave

Video: USM crew tries to date wood samples at LaPointe-Krebs House

Drills echo throughout LaPointe-Krebs House as core samples are taken Friday, Feb. 19, 2016
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Drills echo throughout LaPointe-Krebs House as core samples are taken Friday, Feb. 19, 2016

PASCAGOULA -- A local foundation is honoring him, and he will help them raise money for the oldest house in Mississippi, believed to be the oldest structure in the Mississippi Valley.

He is John Grant -- ship captain, engineer, statesman -- a phenomenal character from the past.

The house is the La Pointe-Krebs, built in Pascagoula in the 1700s (at one time incorrectly labeled the Old Spanish Fort), and the fundraiser is the annual Fete LaPointe, to be held 6:30 p.m., April 1 at the Hilton Garden Inn on U.S. 90.

The fete supports restoration of the house and the museum on its grounds.

This is the amazing man whose legacy is being honored. According to the county Historical and Genealogical Society:

Grant was born in Pennsylvania in 1796 and moved to Maryland early in life. By 9, he was helping support his family, working as a mechanic. By age 25, he had built and was operating a dredging machine in Baltimore Harbor. He moved to Mobile to dredge for the federal government, becoming known as one of the best practical hydraulic engineers in the country.

Grant built the New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain Railroad, and was its first superintendent. Not only did he conceive the idea for the passing track, or side track, but he also invented the elevated platform.

He dredged the channel, now known as Grant's Pass, to connect Mobile Bay and the Mississippi Sound, thus saving ships many slow miles of travel into the Gulf.

After moving his family to Pascagoula, he collaborated in the development of the New Orleans and Mobile Steam Line Company and personally commanded the steamer Florida.

He served in three state Legislatures: Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

At his death, he left behind 111 living descendants. Today, a marble shaft stands in the private family cemetery on Grant Street, honoring him.

Tickets for the event are $60 per person and can be purchased at the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, 762-3391, or at the door on the night of the event.

LaPointe-Krebs House, also known as the Old Spanish Fort, has overall structure leveled and beams core tested.

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