The matriarch of the vast Ross/Allen family was born in Alabama Port, Alabama to George Allen and Rosa Wescovich Allen. But her place in Biloxi’s Heritage was not earned by this merit alone. Margaret was a dedicated contributor to the seafood industry as an early factory worker then later as a boat owner and captain.
Young Maggie, as the eldest of her siblings, would often travel by rail from her home in Alabama to Biloxi to visit her Uncle Peter Wescovich and Aunt Mary Ellen Ross Wescovich and help with their young children. It was on these visits that she met Mary Ellen’s brother, Adolph “Doffie” Ross and a courtship ensued, with Maggie stating in later life that she was “in love with Doffie from the time she was eight years old.” After the Allen’s Alabama hometown was struck by the Hurricane of 1906, the family moved to Biloxi; Doffie and Maggie were married the following year.
At the age of nineteen, Maggie held her first job as a factory worker at the Terry Factory and the Dunbar Factory where she picked shrimp and crabs. As she and her husband raised a family of fourteen children inside their home, Doffie was busy building boats in their front yard, across from St. Michael’s Church on First Street, Biloxi. Together, they co-owned boats including the Winona, Wildcat, Clyde R and the Magg Doff. She and Doffie each captained the Clyde R which was in operation for more than ten years, and later the Magg Doff.
As a faithful member of St. Michael’s Church and Altar Society, the Sacred Heart League and the Gulf Coast Shrimpers and Oystermen’s Association, Maggie guided her family in their commitment to the seafood industry. This is evident in the members that contributed greatly and even became “Seafood Kings and Queens” including her sons, Bill and Eley, granddaughter, Jan Ross, nephews, Joe Ross, Eugene Wescovich and Frank Parker, and a brother-in-law, Amos Ross.
What a magnificent legacy Maggie and her beloved Doffie contributed in their forty-five-year marriage, only separated by his death in 1952. Maggie would live on until 1983, cherishing each day, serving as captain on the Magg Doff, gardening and later spending time with her children and grandchildren on their boats, attending the Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies and living life to the fullest.