About 15 miles north of Pascagoula on Highway 63, sits the community of Cumbest Bluff. Simon Cumbest(1755-1820) who first settled on the Pascagoula River in 1799 was the progenitor of the Mississippi Cumbest clan. Cumbest Bluff gained its name in 1832 when John Cumbest (1792-1833), son of Simon Cumbest, purchased land with a bluff that is on the eastern shore of the Pascagoula River. Along the highway is a very cool water tank, which on both the north and south side reads: “Cumbest Bluff Mississippi Est. 1832”. The water tank also has the silhouette of the bluff atop with cypress and pine trees painted on it.
The water tank dates to the 20th century and provided water for the Cumbest Manufacturing Company. Founded in 1939 by Roy O. Cumbest (1903-1957) Cumbest Manufacturing Company was a timber, sawmill, and trucking concern, but also had interests that produced duck decoys and duck blinds. The cypress lumber the company harvested was used by the ship building industry, while the ash wood that was harvested was sold to Dodge and Chrysler for use on the exterior of their vehicles. The company operated at this site until 1999 when it closed one year after Roy’s son Lum R. Cumbest (1924-2011) retired as company president. Vernacular architecture like this water tank often disappears when it no longer has an active use, so its great to see the tank relatively well maintained.
All historic photos are from the book Pascagoula Decoys by Joe Bosco