The work of the hands, the artistry and mastery to be able to produce something where there was once nothing. The ability to make a living using just the tools that were given at birth--the two hands given by God, that’s the example and legacy of Joseph Trochesset.
Born in 1881 in Covington, Louisiana, Joe was raised north of Biloxi in the area now known as D’Iberville, Mississippi. In his early life, he worked many jobs to earn his keep. He worked at Brodie’s Nursery and he fished, as did so many men of that day and time. Joe caught shrimp, dredged for oysters and he spent so much time on boats that he became interested in their construction.
He learned the craft of boatbuilding from the very best of the period: Martin Fountain, Sr. and Jacob “Jacky-Jack” Covacevich, working for both men. Once he became proficient, he built several schooners for his father-in-law, Peter Quave, for use in Quave’s factory. Some of the boats built for the Quave factory included Radio, Radiance and Doris T (eventually renamed Wamp). These vessels were all built at the foot of the old Back Bay Bridge.
But perhaps Joe’s finest and proudest achievement was the American Girl, a schooner that was designed and produced by Martin Fountain, Sr. The American Girl was constructed by Joe and family and was the winner of many Biloxi Regattas. The American Girl was captained by members of the Trochesset family during many of these famous and thrilling races. A champion silver cup remains in the Trochesset family as a reminder of Joe’s great boatbuilding talent and of the families’ long legacy in the maritime industry. The American Girl was finally purchased from Fountain by the Trochesset family and remained in their possession until ultimately sold to a New Orleanian. American Girl is still considered one of the most beautiful of Biloxi’s schooner built during the early twentieth century.
During his lifetime, Joe was a member of the carpenter’s union and a fifty-year member of Woodman of the World. As a devout Catholic, Joe was a member of the Holy Name Society and of St. John Catholic Church on Back Bay Biloxi. He and his wife Theresa Quave Trochesset were parents to five children. They resided on Main Street, Biloxi. Joseph Trochesset was eighty years old at the time of his passing. He will forever be remembered for the beauty and craftsmanship of the boats he built for Biloxi’s seafood industries.