Only now are historians recognizing the extent Black soldiers and sailors, both slave and free, played in the American Civil War of 1861-1865. After the war ended some of these men made their home in Moss Point. In the area, now surrounding Charlotte Hyatt school, about six ex-servicemen settled to raise their families and work in the city's rapidly expanding lumber trade.
One of these was Solomon Denny, born into slavery, and who as a young man, made his way to Ship Island, and there joined the Union Navy. He served on several ships, including the USS Calhoun, a gunboat patrolling the Mississippi coast. After the Civil War, he returned, changed his last name to Gregory and went to work at Denny Sawmills, one of the largest industries in the area. He was soon so successful at running the day-to-day operations that many referred to it as "Sol's Mill." Eventually he became one of the wealthiest and most respected property owners in the area.