The HIERN Family — Their Historic Significance to the Pass
Roger Alden Hiern was a merchant marine sea captain. His name appears early in Pass Christian's history, first as a real estate agent representing Edward Livingston's ownership of Pass Christian; and, secondly, as the builder and first lighthouse keeper of the Pass Christian Lighthouse in 1831; and thirdly, as owner of large tracts of Pass Christian properties having acquired 6000 acres from Charles Shipman who was married to Roger's sister, Cornelia.
Roger built the house at 943 East Scenic Drive, which was constructed before 1850 and was left to Finley's three children. Roger's Will was filed at Mobile on April 18, 1867, following his death. He willed his estate to his spinster sisters, Claudine and Sarah, but in the event of their death, the estate would go to his nieces and nephew, Cornelia, Eliza, and Charles H. Hiern, Finley Hiern’s children.
Shortly before his death, he was operating a business in New Orleans at #12 Dauphine, a two-story red-brick building.
Finley Bodam Hiern served as first Mayor of Pass Christian from 1848 through 1853. The position was then known as Recorder and the terms were for two years duration. He was called back for another term in 1882 at the age of 77. He had also served as Lighthouse Keeper succeeding his brother, Roger, in 1839, (at approximately 34 years of age). Remaining active in city and regional government, he served as Public School Commissioner, Election Commissioner, and was elected as the first President of the County Police Board which was equivalent to the current County Board of Supervisors. He died at age 85 while attempting to aid one of his employees who had gotten entangled in saw-mill equipment. He was owner and operator of a saw-mill employing 500 men near Pitcher's Point located at present-day west Long Beach.
Finley had three children — Cornelia, Eliza, and Charles Henry Hiern.
Upon Finley’s death, the Hiern Sawmill was left to his son, Charles, an attorney who married Margaret Isabel Innerarity having five children. Charles also served as a member of the Board of Supervisors. His sister-in-law, Eliza Jane Innerarity (Boggs), made their domicile near the site of the sawmill, developing Boggsdale. Former Louisiana U.S. Congressman Hale T. Boggs and his wife Lindy ( former U.S. Congresswoman and Vatican Ambassador) were intending to build a summer home there before Hale Boggs was killed in a plane crash.
Claudine A. Hiern, one of two spinster sisters, succeeded her brothers, Roger (1831) and Finley (1839), to serve as the City's Lighthouse keeper from 1844 to 1861, at which time, the light was closed due to the Civil War. The lighthouse was located at the site of present day City Hall and the Hiern sisters lived on adjoining property at the corner of Hiern Avenue and Scenic Drive.
Sarah A.Hiern succeeded her brother Finley as the City's first Postmistress.
Lighthouse - Post Office
Regarding the lighthouse grounds and lightkeeper’s house, in the1850s, a visitor wrote, "In the same garden is the village post office, a snug little cottage nestling under its walls. The postmaster is a lady, and the daughter of Captain Hiern, Sr. who, in the last war, beat off a British vessel that was coming in to fire the town, or did some equally brave act. A son of the sea fighter (Roger Hiern, Jr., brother of Sarah) commanded the superb steamer “Cuba”, in which we came from New Orleans."
Summary: The Hierns played a significant part in the early promotion and development of Pass Christian — having acquired properties as early as the 1820s and continuing in community development and welfare while serving in many of the significant official capacities through the 1880s. Their descendants continue to live in the Long Beach area.
The efforts of Roger and Finley resulted with the incurred interests by the Hendersons who also played vital community participation. All that remains in their legacy is the street named Hiern Avenue.
Roger A Hiern, Sr and family TimeLine
1753 October 29, RAH, Sr was born to Dr. Charles H in Jamaica
1776 RAH, Sr was a Lieutenant with the East India Co.
1789 RAH, Sr was a Captain with the East India Co.
1795 RAH, Sr married Sarah Baynham (at the age of 42/43)
1796 RAH, Sr moved to New York
1804 RAH, Sr was one of the organizers of the Essex Turnpike
1805 Birth of RAH, Jr (Sr was 52 ?)
1808 Birth of Finley B (Sr was 55 ?)
1810 New York Census – Roger Alden Hiern (Sr) is shown to have a wife and 6 children
1812 [Approx.] RAH, Sr moved his family to New Orleans — His 7 children were:
Henry B, Sarah A, Finley Bodam, Roger Alden, Caroline (Cornelia), Claudine, and Mary
1820 Hancock County Census lists R.A. Heirn, Sr with valuation of $480 and 240 acres living in the Chimney’s Area west of Pass Christian. He was not listed in 1821, 1823, 1825 Tax Rolls
1829 Hancock County Tax Roll as Hiern living in Pearl River District.
1830 Hancock County Tax Roll lists Heirs of Roger A Hiern (Sr) – property in Pearl River District
1831 Hancock County Tax Roll lists Roger A Heirn having 931 acres in Pearl River District.
1831 RAH, Jr built the Lighthouse and became its Lightkeeper
1831 Charles Shipman built the formative Pass Christian Hotel
1832 Hancock County Tax Roll lists Roger A Heirn as possibly two separate people.
1835 Hancock County Tax Roll lists Roger A Hiern as having 931 acres on the Sea Coast and having 9 slaves.
1837 Hancock County Tax Roll lists (1) RA Hiern with 931 acres and four slaves in the Pearl River District and (2) RA Hiern & Co. with six slaves.
1837 Roger A Hiern acquired a Gulf lot adjoining the Lighthouse Lot from Charles and Cornelia Shipman (Cornelia was RAH, Jr’s Sister)
1838 Hancock County Tax Roll lists (1) Roger A Hiern with 320 acres at Pass Christian and (2) Roger A Hiern & Co. with thirteen slaves. Finley B Horn was listed as being in Pass Christian.
1838 RAH, Sr died (at age 85?)
1839 Finley B Hiern appointed Lighthouse Keeper and Post Master, both
1840 Hancock County Tax Roll lists F.B. Hiern & Co. with 640 acres and 13 slaves in Pearl River District.
1840 Hancock County Census lists FB Heirn with 2 Females and 14 slaves
Charles Shipman listed with1 Female and 1Male child (5-10 yrs)
1841 Hancock County Tax Roll lists only F.B. Hiern & Co. with 160 acres and 13 slaves in Pearl River District and in Pass Christian.
1841 State Census lists Finley B. Heirn and two females in the household.
1841 Roger A Hiern, Jr acquired 6000 PC acres from Charles Shipman and Cornelia Hiern Shipman
1842 Harrison County Tax Roll lists Finley B Heirn having a $75 watch, 30 cows, and 16 slaves.
1842 Finley B Hiern received a Quit Claim from John Henderson on the 1 arpent by 40 arpents excluding the 1/2 acre Lighthouse lot.
1844 Claudine Hiern appointed PC Lighthouse Keeper
1846 The “Oregon,” a wooden steamer, of which RAH,Jr. was a part owner, was built at New York and used on the Mail Line between New Orleans and Mobile. (The Oregon was converted to a gunboat at outbreak of Civil War and was destroyed by Confederates on April 1862 to prevent Federal capture)
1848 Finley B Hiern was appointed (First) Recorder (Mayor) of the village of Pass Christian
1849 Charles Shipman died in Mexico
1850 Harrison County Census – lists FB Hiern (39), wife Eliza (31), and children Cora (15), Eliza (6), and Charles (1)
Lists Claudine (40) and Sarah (30)
1860 Harrison County Census – lists FB Hiern (50), wife Eliza (40), and children Eliza (16) and Charles (12)
Lists Claudine (59) as Postmistress and Sarah (52)
1867 April 18, RAH,Jr’s Will was filed at Mobile – his estate was given to his spinster sisters, Claudine and Sarah, but in the event of their death, the estate would go to his nieces and nephew, Cornelia, Eliza, and Charles H. Hiern.
1870 Harrison County Census – lists FB Hiern (60) retired, wife Eliza (48), Eliza (22), Charles (21)
Vessel — ROGER A. HEIRN (1857) – (was this built for the same RAH ???)
The U.S. ship ROGER A. HEIRN was built at New York by William H. Webb (hull #111), for the New York firm of Post, Smith & Co, and was launched on 9 April 1857.
Description: 1,088 tons; 173 feet 4 inches x 37 feet x 23 feet (length x beam x depth of hold). She was built for the New York-Antwerp trade.
Local Descendants as noted in 2004
(CH Hiern was a Member of Board of Supervisors)
Charles Henry Hiern had five children. He was grandfather to Cecile Veglia
Note: Current living descendant, Cecile Veglia of Long Beach, is a great-granddaughter of Finley. She has 7 daughters and one son. Contact: A.J. and Cecile Veglia, 313 Oak St. Long Beach, MS. 39560, 228-863-7794.
Cecile’s parents were Edwin Berault and Mary Victoria Hiern (a sister was Elizabeth Cecile)
A daughter, Mary Mobly, is considered most informed - at 867-9110 – 110 Island View Ave – Long Beach, MS.
Some of the Hiern Family detail is credited to Olga Hiern-Cooke of Australia.