Eads Poitevent COLLECTION, Addendum 1
University of New Orleans
/ Historical Note
for Requesting Special Collections Materials
Size: 23 linear
locations: New Orleans and Mandeville, La.
Inclusive dates: ca. 1945-1995
Summary: Personal and business records of
Eads Poitevent and the Poitevent family, especially Eads Poitevent, Jr. Includes correspondence, banking records,
legal documents, and related miscellany.
collections: Eads Poitevent Collection (Mss 254)
Source: Gift, 1995
Access: No restrictions
rights are retained by the Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans.
Poitevent Collection, Addendum 1, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans
Biographical / Historical
The Poitevent family, of Huguenot
descent, moved from South Carolina
in about 1832. William James (Bill)
Poitevent (1814-1890), a native North Carolinian, settled first in Pearlington
and then moved to Gainsville (Hancock County), where he was a partner in a
sawmill business in the 1840s. Poitevent
made a fortune in shipping lumber around the coastal United States as his fleet of
schooners transported piling and brick, as well as lumber. Meanwhile he continued to reside in
Gainsville, operating a sawmill and a brickyard.
Poitevent and his wife, Mary Amelia
Russ (1819-1873), had eight children: Junius (1837-1919), John (1840-1899),
Adolph (1845-?), Ellen (1848-?), Eliza Jane (1849-1896), Virginia (1850-1882),
Samuel (1854-?), and Lois (1856-?). The
eldest, Junius, called June, worked in his father's sawmill until 1868. It is believed that he served as a midshipman
in the Confederate Navy during the Civil War.
In 1866 he married May Eleanor Staples (1847-1932) of New Orleans.
They became the parents of three: Cora May (1868-?), Vera (1874-1897),
and Schuyler (1875-1936).
June Poitevent engaged in shipping
on the Pearl River in Mississippi and on the Trinity River in Texas, and he
owned farms in both states, as well as a Victorian Italianate home on the Bay
of Biloxi which was called the “Bay Home” and a home at Palmetto, Florida, near
Tampa. His other interests included
serving as captain of steamboats, including the Pearl Rivers and later
the Lake Charles; operating a sawmill at Hillsdale in Pearl River County
(Mississippi) in 1893; and maintaining a large truck and fruit farm near
Tampico, Mexico, in 1895. June Poitevent
spent his retirement years in Ocean
The eldest child of June and May
Poitevent, Cora May, studied law. In
1890 she married Charles Theodore Earle (1861-1901), son of horticulturalist
and entrepreneur Parker Earle (1831-1917) and writer Melanie Tracy
(1837-1889). Charles Earle worked with
his father in the Winter Park Land & Development Company and the Earle
Farm. Charles and Cora Earle were the
parents of Eleanor Tracy (1891-ca. 1915) and Theodore (ca. 1893-ca. 1935), called
Carlos. It is believed that the widowed
Cora married a man who worked in her father's boatyard and moved with him to
Palma Sola in Manatee County,
Florida. There Eleanor, like her grandfather, earned a
captain's license and worked in area bird sanctuaries as a warden for the
Audubon Society. She died in her sleep
at age 24. Carlos was employed in his
stepfather's mango grove.
Cora's sister Vera married Frank J.
Lundy (1863-1912), owner of a mercantile store in Ocean Springs and the Ocean Springs
Hotel. Their daughter, Virginia May
(1894-?), was called Vera. June and May
Poitevent's only son, Schuyler, was educated at Tulane University
and the University
of Virginia at Charlottesville. While attending the latter, he met Thomasia
Overton Hancock (1879-1964) of “Ellerslie” in nearby Albemarle County. They married in 1906 and moved to Tampico, where they
raised cattle, fruit, and vegetables on the Poitevents' ranch until the Mexican
Revolution forced them to abandon their interests and leave the country. In 1914 they settled in Ocean Springs with
their only child, Schuyler, junior (1911-1978).
The younger Schuyler earned a law degree at the University of Virginia
at Charlottesville. He practiced law in Ocean Springs with his
wife, Virginia Margaret Favre (1912-1990) of Gulfport, whom he married in 1941.
As a boy, the senior Schuyler
Poitevent began collecting artifacts, eventually amassing more than three
thousand objects. Many are thought to
date from the period 1699 to 1702, when Fort Maurepas,
the first French settlement in the lower Mississippi Valley,
was established, probably on land which was later owned by the Poitevents. Schuyler later composed at least five
unpublished manuscripts based upon his research on early Mississippi Coast
The second of Bill and Mary
Poitevent's children, John, wed Emily Toomer (1843-1874) of Harrison County, Mississippi. With Joseph Augustin Favre (1834-1909), who
was married to Emily's sister Rebecca Ann (1841-1902), he operated the Poitevent
and Favre Lumber Company, which by 1870 was the largest mill in Mississippi, employing
over 150 workers. The company supplied
lumber, ties, and pilings for the building of bridges to the Mobile & New
Orleans Railroad Company and provided materials for the jetties constructed at
the mouth of the Mississippi River by James B.
Eads in about 1874. The brothers-in-law
also owned three mills and a shipyard at Pearlington, and operated a line of
steamers and schooners which transported lumber from New Orleans to Mexico, Argentina, and other foreign ports.
John Poitevent was active in the New Orleans business
community and a member of prominent clubs in the city. He reigned as King of Carnival, a position
which would be attained also by two of his grandsons, Eads Poitevent, Jr.
(1974) and Edward B. Poitevent (1984).
Jane, the fifth child of William and Mary Poitevent, resided with an uncle and
aunt, the Leonard Kimballs, because of her mother's ill health. Eliza was educated at home and at the Amite Female
Academy. Early she exhibited an interest in and a
facility for writing, and, using the pseudonym “Pearl Rivers,” submitted poems
to the New Orleans
Daily Picayune and other newspapers in New Orleans and New York.
In 1870 she was appointed literary editor of the Picayune and,
two years later, married its owner, Alva Morris Holbrook. After Holbrook's death in 1876, Eliza took
over as editor-publisher and rescued the newspaper from bankruptcy. In 1878 she married the journal's business
manager, George Nicholson (1820-1896).
They became the parents of two sons, Leonard Kimball (b. 1881) and Yorke
Poitevent (b. 1883).
Eads Poitevent, Jr. was born in New Orleans in 1919 and was raised there and in Mandeville, where his
family was active in the lumber industry.
He attended New Orleans
Academy and graduated
from Tulane University in 1942 with a degree in
business administration. He also was a
graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University
in New Jersey.
During World War II, Eads Poitevent,
Jr. commanded a motor torpedo boat in the Mediterranean
Sea and the Philippines
and was decorated for sinking an enemy destroyer. He retired from the Navy in 1946 as a
lieutenant. He began his banking career
with the National Bank of Commerce and in 1958, at age 39, became president of
National American Bank of New Orleans. Four years later he moved to Houston to become president and director of
Business Funds Inc.
Mr. Poitevent returned to New Orleans in 1965 and
helped form International City Bank. The
bank introduced several innovations into New
Orleans banking, such as Saturday hours and gifts for
depositors, but it failed in 1976 and its accounts were taken over by the Bank
of New Orleans. Mr. Poitevent was the bank's chief executive
officer until 1974, when he moved to Mandeville. He was crowned Rex the same year. Married to Ginnette Bertin Poitevent, he was
the father of three sons, William James Poitevent, Eads Poitevent III, and
Edward Buffs Poitevent II. Eads
Poitevent, Jr. died in Mandeville on November 4, 1996.
Sources: Ray L. Bellande, “The Poitevent Family” (Ocean
Springs Record, August 11, 1994; August 18, 1994; August 25, 1994);
Shalmali Pal, “Former Carnival King Eads Poitevent Is Dead, (New Orleans Times-Picayune, November 6, 1996).
collection has not been processed.
Poitevent, Eads, Jr.