Early Hancock Developers
The Ioors (also spelled Joor ) were a prominent family with Hancock County presence over many years. Various items will be listed below to show some of the information that can be found about the several generations of these early landowners. Though somewhat disjointed, the information has been gleaned from probate records, census and tax reports, and other historical sources.
Of those surnamed John, one Joor is of particular interest because of his large holdings at what he called “Point Clear.” In some documents, it is called “Pointe Claire.” Early census reports show a large number of slaves at his plantation, but indicate that he was not in residence in Hancock County. It is something of a curiosity.
It has been of interest to find where Point Clear Plantation was located. Point Clear Island today is a strip of high land running between two marshes on west side of the mouth of Bayou Caddy. Dr. Marco Giardino has shown me maps which show the marshes as part of a parallel pattern, a leftover of islands from the Pleistocene Period.
Point Clear Island may only be reached by boat. Beautiful in a primitive way, a lovely little natural beach with scrub oaks can be seen from Bayou Caddy. I have been there several times, the earliest when I was a youth. My friend Vic and I rowed over there in a rented skiff, thinking that we would picnic and explore. We had brought canned goods to warm over a fire; unfortunately, wild pigs were hungrier that we were and chased us up trees as soon as they smelled the aroma of something edible.
In my limited explorations, I have found it difficult to believe that this land would ever have been a plantation.
Included in suit documents is a true copy of the last will of John Joor, dated 1833. The will leaves to wife Emily the Hills Plantation, in Wilkinson County, on which he then resided, seeming to confirm that he did not reside in Hancock. It lists stocks, horses, carriages, “waggens” [sic] , carts, tools, furniture and other moveables, and “also 500 acres of land to be laid out in a square on any part of my Point Clear Plantation, which she may think proper to select.” The will names 57 slaves, all by one name only, and includes “their future increase to the time of my decease.”
Besides Ioor, Asa Russ also identified Point Clear in an early letter he wrote to JFH Claiborne. The letter was datelined “Point Clear,” Russ indicating that he was writing from his home.
Recently, I have found an early map which I believe shows clearly that Point Clear was not located west of Bayou Caddy, but was instead the area we now know as Lakeshore. Reinforcing this identification, there is the mention by state geologist Wailes in his journal of 1852 that he was given a ride by Mr. Joor after he left Clifton plantation. (Cf. below for details.)
Who were the Ioors?
A persistent question has to do with when spelling changed to “Ioor.” It would appear that some time in the Hancock County residence and political activity of John B. Joor the name began to be spelled as “Ioor.”
There were, however, several men named John Joor.
1810 – Grandfather of John S. Joor and John B. Joor was Gen. John Ioor, who moved to Wilkinson County in 1810. He was married to Emily. He is recorded to have been “a cultured gentleman of large wealth, an officer in War of 1812 and a member of the constitutional convention of MS in 1817. The family was of Huguenot extraction, their ancestors having sought refuge in South Carolina from the religious persecutions of Louis XIV.”
John S. Joor, born 1845, was son of George and Kate (Shelby) Joor and grandson of Gen. John Ioor. It would appear that this was not the John involved in Hancock County, but a cousin. John S. is listed in many documents over the years, even past 1900, as living in Sharkey, MS.
John B, was the one who settled in Hancock County and is noted in following documents. He was son of Peter, in turn a son of Gen. John Joor. Peter was a brother to George, above.
Parents were Peter Harry Joor and Charlotte Withers Herron, both natives of South Carolina; he was graduate of South Carolina College. (NB: Her maiden name appears as street name in Clermont Harbor; another street is Ioor.)
Biography of John B. Ioor states that “at the breakout of the Civil War [he] went into the army and served until hostilities ceased; was a member of Company B, Third Louisiana cavalry.”
He apparently is the representative of the first Joor family to spell the family name as “Ioor.”
Some of the following documents are included in probate records as Docket Book No. 1, file No. 34 of Chancery Court.
1830 – Order by Wm. House, registrar of land office in Jackson, for “principal deputy surveyor of the district East of the Island of New Orleans” for survey of Warrant #666, Cert. # 11, Report # 5. [Interesting that “Island of New Orleans” was the wording used in this document as it was much earlier, as in the Louisiana Purchase and before.]
1831 – Survey by Elihu Carver confirming George Marse claim of 639 acres in part of sec. 19 and 20, T9, R14W, which appears to be part of Lakeshore, at corner of Lakeshore Rd. and beach. Identified as Cert. # 10, claim #14, Report #5. Signed by Carver, with Julius Monett and Elihu Carver, Jr. listed as “chainers.”
1852 – State geologist Benjamin Wailes toured southwestern Hancock and reported: “I parted with him [Judge Daniels of Clifton Plantation, located on Mulatto Bayou, a distributary of the Pearl] in the morning and traveled 14 miles; through a level, dreary wasted pine forest, with only two or three widely separated huts, and swarming with mosquitoes and very destitute of water, to Mr. Peter Ioor’s, who was kind enough to ride with me by road leading to Mr. Asa Russ’s on the Lake Shore.” [The Russ site was later to become Sea Song, a plantation of Andrew Jackson, Jr. It is now Buccaneer Park]
1859 – Peter Ioor and wife Charlotte sued Eliz. Marse. Suit was in the Chancery Court. Also sued were “all the heirs of Geo. Marse dec’d & the unknown heirs of Calvin Merrill deceased.” Subpoenaed were Rebecca and William Summers.
Suit claimed that George Marse was entitled to property by habitation and cultivation prior to 1813. He then sold to Calvin Merrill for $100, who in 1831 verbally sold to John Ioor. (This would have been Gen. John Joor, described above.) In that year a patent was approved by Gideon Fitz, then Surveyor General South of Tennessee.
Suit states that John and Emily Joor were parents of Peter.
Suit was signed by Monet and Champlin as solicitors for complainants Peter and Charlotte Joor.
Another document dated 1858 was signed by Emily Joor of the county of Wilkinson. She transferred to Charlotte W. Joor for $50 the land in question, meaning Point Clear. (Curious here is that Emily, widow of first John Joor, sold to her daughter-in-law, wife of Peter.)
Document signed at New Orleans in 1859 clearly signed by Peter H. Joor.
Judge ruled for Joors in 1860, land being described as “poor pine woods and marsh land.”
Several mentions of documents having been destroyed by fire at Gainesville on “the night of 31st of March 1853.”
Described above is true copy of last will of John Joor, dated 1833. Mentioned as son is George, and Emily as daughter. Executors included Peter, George, and John C., presumably all sons.
Elihu Carver and Julius Monet had to answer interrogatories as material witnesses. In one answer, Monet said that John Ioor, now deceased, had been in possession of the land “and had considerable part of it under fence and cultivation. Carver further stated that John Ioor was a resident of Wilkinson County, “but had a plantation in County of Hancock, which he visited two or three times a year.”
Suit says Peter and Charlotte Ioor were “lately inhabitants” of Hancock, but now living in New Orleans.
1820 – no listing
1830 – appears as “Joor”
1840 – no listing
1850 – no listing
1860 – no census
1870 – no listing
1880 – three listed: E. Joor, a female34, M. Joor, a female 33, and H. Joor, a male 31. All born in South Carolina
Early Tax Rolls
1828 – John Joor listed on tax roll – 3940 acres at Shieldsboro, 42 slaves
1829 – same as above except location at Pt. Clear
1830/1 – ditto except 56 slaves
1832 – ditto except 45 slaves and at BSL
(deceased about 1835)
1835 – John C. Jore listed with 0 acres, 0 slaves
“ – Peter H. Jore listed with 1280 acres at Bayou Philip, 18 slaves
1836 – Widow John – 3000 acres and 64 slaves at “Claiborne”
“ – Peter H. Joor – 1280 acres, 20 slaves at Testing River (?)
1837 – Peter H. Joor – 640 acres at BSL, 30 slaves, $300 carriage
1838 – Widow John – 3000 acres at Lake Broussard (probably meant Lake Borgne)
1840 – ditto at Lake Borgne, 0 slaves (NB: In those days, Lake Borgne was considered to extend all the way to Bay of St. Louis.)
1841-1843 – no listings
1852 – Journal of State geologist Benjamin Wailes. (See above.)
Ella Ioor was postmistress after 1882, located on Bookter and beach.
1892 – J.B. Ioor became assessor and tax collector; listed as such on cornerstone of City Hall, built 1905-6.
1901 – J.B. Ioor was one of several contributors to cost of drilling for oil or gas at site west of L&N depot at Clermont City, later named Clermont Harbor
1904 – Judge John B. Ioor and Frank C. Bordage develop Clermont City