Born a slave, John Wesley "Wes” Fairley served with the 74th U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War. While guarding Confederate prisoners on Ship Island, Fairley recognized Lorenzo N. Dantzler, a white acquaintance from home, and protected Dantzler. After the war, Dantzler built a large sawmill at Moss Point and hired Fairley as a log drive foreman at Black Creek. As a result, Fairley became wealthy and was a leader in the local African American community. He is buried in the Fairley Cemetery.