Cat Island

The History of a Mississippi Gulf Coast Barrier Island


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About the Book

Just off the coast of the Gulf Islands National Seashore lies Cat Island, an isolated, T-shaped sliver of sand with a remarkable past. A coveted hiding place for Jean Lafitte’s pirate treasure in the late eighteenth century and illegal booze during Prohibition, Cat Island also witnessed the first shots of the Battle of New Orleans, an encampment for Seminoles during the Trail of Tears and the first lighthouses on the Mississippi coast. As a child, author John Cuevas learned that his family had owned and lived on the island for three generations beginning with his ancestor, Juan de Cuevas, referred to as “The King of Cat Island,” who received it by way of a Spanish land grant. In this engaging work, Cuevas chronicles the historic events that occurred on the island’s shores and offers a tribute to the legacy of one of the Gulf Coast’s pioneer families.

About the Author(s)

A retired advertising executive, John Cuevas has been researching and writing about his family’s connection to Cat Island since the 1950s and has published several articles on the subject.

Bibliographic Details

John Cuevas
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 203
Bibliographic Info: 42 photos, 9 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6328-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8578-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Preface      ix

1. About Cat Island      1
2. The French Discover Cat Island and Settle Biloxi      8
3. The Fort on Cat Island      13
4. The First Mutiny on American Soil      15
5. Jean Lafitte, the Pirates, and Buried Treasure      22
6. The Hero of Cat Island      33
7. Juan de Cuevas Captures the Pirates      42
8. A British Soldier Visits Cat Island After the War      45
9. The Cuevas House on Cat Island      50
10. Pioneer Life on Cat Island and the Developing Coast      58
11. The Seminole Indians on Cat Island      79
12. The Last Great Party on Cat Island      85
13. The Funeral of Juan de Cuevas      90
14. How the Truth Became a Legend      97
15. The Lighthouses on Cat Island      106
16. Turpentining and the Lumber Industry on Cat Island      115
17. Al Capone and the Rumrunners      120
18. The Goose Point Tarpon Club      124
19. The Secret War Dogs of Cat Island      129
20. Cat Island Owners from the Past to the Present      138
21. A Visit to the Cuevas Homestead in Spain      157

Notes      163
Bibliography      179
Index      185