Virgie McLeod Lewis
Hancock County closed the door on its pioneer timber and turpentine era with the passing of lifetime
Kiln resident Virgie McLeod Lewis. Aunt Virgie, as she was fondly called, lived on the long ago defunct
McLeod Turpentine and Sawmill on the Jourdan River for most of the 92 years she spent on this earth.
Only rarely venturing off the property into the uncertainty of the modern world which evolved around
her, she was the last pioneer woman of Hancock County. The only woman left living on the family
turpentine estate which once housed over 600 people involved in the business.
She was raised by A.J. McLeod and Virginia “Aunt Gin” Haas McLeod at a young age, one of 29 children
the well-off couple nurtured during their life. Some may know Aunt Gin from her time running the
family general store at the corner of 603 and the Jourdan River. She dressed in the original pioneer style
clothes like Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies and looked just like her too. McLeod Park was named in
honor of Virgie’s parents. Highway 603 was first improved with a shell bed for vehicle use by her father.
A.J. McLeod, who at one time was a member of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors. Later.
Virgie’s older brother Norton Haas secured funding for the pavement and later 4-lane upgrade of a
portion of 603. Shortly after “Mr. Norton” passed the highway was named in his honor. The Norton
Haas Memorial Highway.
Virgie knew this history and so much more. She was a sweet, dear woman who cared for her beloved
mother until her passing, managing the property until her own passing. Even when she was close to
death, Virgie wanted to do nothing more than go back home to the Kiln. When she found out that was
never going to happen, she prayed to God to let her go home to Him and Aunt Gin.
So, the last pioneer woman of Hancock County is reunited with God, her beloved husband Frank of 43
years, Aunt Gin, highly admired brother Norton and the rest of her family.
She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be Tuesday, January 31, 2023, at Annunciation Catholic Church in the Kiln
at 11:30 am. The family will receive guests one hour prior to Mass. After Mass she will be laid to rest at
1:30 pm at Biloxi National Cemetery by her husband Frank, a veteran who served his country for eight years
in the US Navy and another eight years in the Merchant Marines in which he fought in the Korean War.
Edmond Fahey Funeral Home in Bay St. Louis, MS is honored to serve the family of Virgie McLeod Lewis.