Homes and Markers
Scattered throughout the City of Gautier are fifteen Mississippi Historical Markers and thirteen historical places attesting to the fact that Gautier has history. The oldest, the Graveline Bayou Indian Mound, dating back to 700-400BC, was recently excavated by the University of Alabama Anthropology Department.
Gautier also retains many of its stately old mansions, some of which were built by the Gautier family (The Old Place and Twelve Oaks), Alfred E. Lewis' Oldfield's, the Jennie Orrell House and the Labrot house. The Old Place has been restored by Quinn Gautier, Jr., and is open to the public for special gatherings. Oldfields, home of Alfred E. Lewis (1812-1885) and later the home of renowned artist Walter Anderson, remains, however, in deplorable condition since Hurricane Katrina.
In addition to its fine old homes, Gautier is equally proud of former prominent citizens like George Farragut (1775-1817), one of West Pascagoula's' first Justices of the Peace and father of Admiral David Farragut who fought in the Battle of Mobile Bay. Streets and bayous in Gautier have been named for another famous settler, Jean Baptiste Baudreau de Graveline (1671-1762), a companion of d'Iberville, who formerly owned all the land in the city limits of Gautier.
The Gautier Historical Cemetery, last resting place of Fernando Upton Gautier (1832-1891) for whom the city is named is also of great historical interest. Resting in the cemetery are Civil War soldiers, some of whom went to the war at the ages of twelve and fourteen. Headstones also mark the graves of many early settlers and prominent citizens who helped develop the City of Gautier. Martin Bluff, Lewis, and Franklin Cemeteries are also burial ground for those who protected our country in the Revolutionary War, Civil War and World War I. Founding fathers and former slaves are also buried there. Our cemeteries represent the history of America.
And old churches! The New Era Church was founded by African Americans in 1893. The Bethel Church, built by the community, was established in 1906. In 1921, St. Pierres Episcopal Church built its firs church with simple construction provided mostly by parishioners. Since then, the church has built a new facility with beautiful stained glass windows, a magnificent golden English Gothic Revival Reredos (Altar piece c1880), and a bell tower which is considered a landmark of the city.
The Old Spanish Trail which runs through Gautier is one of the last original sections of the original road, believed to have been started in 1809, and expanded and improved with the project of the "Old Spanish Trail Highway Association" in 1915.
Historical markers are posted at F. Gautier & Sons Sawmill (1867). Creosote Works (1874) and the McRae Cemetery which is the burial place of John McRae (1778-1835). McRae's' sons, John J. and Colin J. are also of historical significance to Gautier. John J. McRae became Governor of Mississippi and Colin J. McRae was Treasurer for the Confederate States of America in Europe.
To everyone's surprise, one Gautier's' tallest structures is the Hilda Lookout Tower built in 1933. The tower is a historical symbol of the timer and sawmilling industry in the early days. During World War II, the tower was also used to detect or spot foreign aircraft.
Historical information provided by Leonard Fuller and Jack Womack of the Historical Preservation Commission.
For Ole Times Sake
Years ago, two friends lived in Gautier (Go chay)
It was quiet, friendly and no crime in our hey day.
Today, everywhere we go we hear Gautier (Go shay)
We know that person doesn't belong here, right away!
It seems some alien couldn't say Go chay
So he must have thought it was Go shay.
By the way, one of us left for some years,
The other one kept her roots here
Never once saying Go shay
How could she when her ancestors of old
Gave this town its name, we're told.
So if an alien sees this little ditty,
Maybe he'll know we're being witty,
And come around with a
Good Ole Go Chay
Because that's the name of this city!
"Mrs. Go Chay"