Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Local History, Newspapers & Accuracy is a great place to search for family history. I was searching for my Ott family in Louisiana & Mississippi and came across the Golden Jubilee Edition of the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. It was filled with the history of the area. The following article includes the names of several family branches including the Cutrers, Simmons & Tates. 

The Ott family is mentioned in some detail. However much of the early Ott family details do not match the research I have been doing on the family. Of course, the newspaper does not include sources so I must ask myself: In 1938, did they know more about the Ott family, probably from talking to residents, than I do today, from court and census records and local histories, or did they know less?

Either way, this article paints picture of the area where the Otts settled & tells me who their neighbors were.

Osyka Was Popular As a Campground in Days of the Indian

Osyka, Pike county’s southernmost city, previous to the coming of the white man was a popular camping ground for Choctaw Indians of the territory, the spot being given the name for the Eagle. When the railroad entered Pike county, the Indians moved over into Louisiana, giving way to pioneer white settlers of heterogeneous origins.

The town was founded on land owned by the John Carter and Redmond families in 1854 when the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railway was built from New Orleans to that point. It was the terminus for two years. Among the pioneer settlers were Redmonds, Cutrers, Varnados, Otts, Harrells, Ricks, Simmons, Carters, Spears, Tates, Addisons, Thompsons, Quillmans, Mexons and Davidsons.

Jessie Redmond, born in Barnwell district of South Carolina, April 4, 1791, served in the War of 1812 under Andrew Jackson. He married Elizabeth Carter, of the same district, April 17, 1825, and located in Osyka as a planter. His son, D. M. Redmond, oldest of ten children, married Bridget Joyce of New Orleans, in 1885, his oldest daughter, Mrs. M. E. Triche, now lives in McComb. 

The Varnado family, one of the oldest in the county, is of Spanish origin, and first settled in South Carolina. George moved to Georgia, and two of his sons, Leonard and Sam, moved to Mississippi, locating two miles east of Osyka. Their descendants are those now living in and around Osyka and Magnolia. Leonard’s sons are Parham, Hugh, Lewis, Robert, Ellis, John Iley, and Virgil. They served during the entire four years of the War Between the States, Isam and his sons, Leander, James, Felix, Ellis, Rollie, and Pinkney, and three sons-in-law fought in the War Between the States; Rollie and James were killed; Leander and Felix were wounded. Leander Varnado was for many years county assessor; Isley county supervisor; Parham, justice of the peace. 

The Ott family, another outstanding one of the county, is of German descent, Jacob Ott I, and wife Gretchen Schmitts, came from Germany to New York, and later, with his son, Jacob II, father of Edward and Jacob III, moved to South Carolina. Jacob IIIa captain under General Francis [Marion] during the Revolutionary war, married [Margaret] Jackson, an aunt of Andrew Jackson; to them were born seven children; Charles, Jesse, Jacob IV, Samuel, Charlotte, Naomi, and Sarah. The latter married Sam Evans; Charlotte married Nat Brumfield; Naomi remained single.

In 1790 they moved to Louisiana, where Jacob IVmarried Margaret Addison. Their four children William Minter, John Jacob, Alexander (Eckle), and Samuel Adolphus, with an uncle, Edward Ott came to Osyka. They were largely millwrights and mechanics from their forefathers to the present generation, highly respected citizens looking ever to the betterment of the country, being especially interested in religious and educational affairs.

The population of Osyka at this time was largely made up of Germans and German Jews who came from New Orleans. Many were skilled mechanics, having learned their trade in their native country. The names: Seipple, Schulteise, Adis, Goss, Borne, Ricks, Leib, Peterman, Rehorst, Weiss, and others are familiar. They built the first schoolhouse. Adis operated the first confectionary and bakery, and Seipple the second; Leman and Leopold German-Jewish brothers, ran the first butcher sop, and used the famous Cutrer bell to notify the public that fresh meat was on sale that day. First barber shop was conducted by John Rehorst, the first newspaper, Osyka Herald, was published by Max Herman.

The Jewish families, also from New Orleans, originally came from Prussia, Germany, Bavaria and France. These were Wolfe, Keiffer, Cerf, Dreyer, Hart, Cohn, Myer, Heuman and others. There were two English families, Moore and Fordiche; both were successful brick masons, and were interested in church and school affairs, especially. The descendants of these pioneers have scattered throughout the county and the United States some attaining great wealth and fame.

The first lawyer of the community was George Applewhite, a very brilliant man; first dentist Dr. Meredith Varnado; first physicians were Drs. Jones, Ford, Mc Gehee, and Thomson; first station agent, Charles Allen. The first mercantile firms were: Wolfe and Cerf, S. Wolfe, I. W. Cutrer, I. W. Varnado, and James Lea; first sawmill Edward Ott; first horse gin and watermill were operated by Louis Varnado in 1840.

The Cerf Hotel, located where Aleus Williams now lives, was the first one in the county, and people come from New Orleans, Jackson and elsewhere to spend week-ends, as Mrs. Cerf served such delicious and bountiful meals. Her husband died with yellow fever. Miss Josie, the only child, is now senior project supervisor, Survey of Federal Archives, with office in the Canal Bank building in New Orleans.

Source: Osyka Was Popular As a Campground in Days of the Indian (McComb, MS: Enterprise-Journal, 30 Dec. 1938) 17; digital image, accessed February 2019. Golden Jubilee Edition.

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