ADOLPH "DOFFIE" ROSS
As a dedicated carpenter and seaman, Adolph “Doffie” Ross made his living in Biloxi, Mississippi. Originally hailing from Alabama, Doffie was regarded by many as a jack-of-all-trades, working primarily as a fisherman and boat builder. He was born on December 16, 1883, on Dauphin Island, Alabama, the son of George and Reharmer Collier Ross. He arrived in Biloxi in 1896, with his parents and ten siblings aboard the schooner Ora Mae. His father almost immediately began construction on a grocery store on the corner of First and Pine Streets, as well as their family home. George Ross also worked as a boat builder, a skill which Doffie inherited.
Doffie got his start in the seafood industry working for his father on several of his schooners including the Ora Mae, Daisy, Sophie, and the Coopersmith. Doffie was endorsed as master of the schooner Hilda S. on September 1, 1914. Throughout his life, he would construct a number of vessels including the Winona, Wildcat, Clyde R, and the Mag-Dof, his last boat which was constructed in his front yard.
Doffie married Maggie Allen, the daughter of Geroge Allen and Rosa Wescovich. Maggie had been enamored with Doffie for years, claiming that she was “in love with Doffie from the time she was eight years old.” The two were married on December 4, 1907 and would remain married forty-five years, until death. Maggie’s family moved from Alabama to Biloxi following the storm of 1906. Maggie’s uncle, Peter Wescovich, was married to Doffie’s sister, Mary Ellen Ross. Through these marriages, the union of the two families was solidified.
Doffie was highly involved in his community. He was a strong advocate for the right to vote, with he and his brothers registering to vote in 1908. He was a member of the Church of the Redeemer and also attended the small Episcopal Church on Pine Street. In his lifetime, Doffie fathered fourteen children to adulthood, many who would follow in their father’s footsteps. Two of his sons, Bill and Eley Ross, got their start working on their father’s boat the Wildcat. They would both go on to be honored as Shrimp Kings for Biloxi’s Blessing of the Fleet.
During World War II, Doffie and Maggie owned several apartments which they rented to Air Force personnel and their families. In his spare time, Doffie enjoyed making toys for the tenant’s children. By the late 1940s, Doffie retired and moved to North Biloxi. He spent his later days raising horses, chickens, and working in his garden. On April 14, 1952, Adolph “Doffie” Ross passed away from cerebral apoplexy (stroke) due to chronic myocarditis. Among his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who never had the chance to know him, Doffie’s legacy lingers as a much beloved father and a tireless craftsman and worker.