The City of Gautier owes its moniker to Fernando Upton Gautier, who in 1867 established Fernando Gautier & Sons Sawmill on the west side of the Pascagoula River and sparked growth in the area.
When trains began stopping to pick up lumber from the sawmill, the new town had to be marked on a map. The population was only a couple hundred people at that time, and they were calling the area “Gautier” due to the prominent family’s name being painted on the sawmill water tower.
Gautier was a rural community until World War II began, when shipyard workers began to move to the area to work at the nearby Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula. Litton Industries bought and expanded the Ingalls yard in the 1960s, and Gautier began another growth spurt.
The City of Gautier was incorporated in 1986, and we have continued to grow as a “bedroom community” to the neighboring casinos and other major industries surrounding us.
Gautier’s eastern border is the Pascagoula River, which offers our vibrant community a wealth of water recreation, fishing, and eco-tourism opportunities. This picturesque river is also known as the Singing River. The legend of the Singing River is known throughout the world for its mysterious music. The “singing” sounds like a swarm of bees in flight and is best heard in late evenings during the late summer and autumn months.
The legend is based on the mysterious extinction of the gentle and content Pascagoula tribe of Indians. The name Pascagoula means “bread eaters.” While the Pascagoula tribe was known as peaceful, the adjacent Biloxi tribe was not and became an enemy tribe.
Legend has it that a Biloxi princess known as Anola fell in love with Altama, the chief of the Pascagoula tribe. She was betrothed to a chieftain in her own tribe, but she fled with Altama to live with his people. This led to a war between the two tribes, and the Pascagoula Indians swore to either save the young couple or perish with them.
The Pascagoula Indians were outnumbered and faced enslavement or death by the Biloxi tribe. Rather than facing that fate, the Pascagoula tribe members joined hands and began to chant a song of death as they walked into the river. Many believe the tender sounds still heard today are that same death song.