Bienville Parish, Louisiana History and Genealogy
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Background: About thirty years ago your host was browsing a used book store and came across an original book titled Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana. I bought it for $1.95 if memory serves me, and wanted to transcribe it. I'm getting around to doing something about it. Spacing, format and some "clean up" was done to fit our webpage design. The following is not an reproduction of the original. Please report typing errors.
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Build yet, the end is not, build on;
Build for the ages unafraid.
The past is but a base whereon
These ashlars, well hewn, may be laid.
Lo, I declare I deem him blest
Whose foot, here pausing, finding rest!
BIENVILLE is a parish of oak and hickory upland and rich bottomland, with pine barrens and with post oak swamps. Of the total area (856 square miles) there are 756 square miles of oak-uplands (including ten square miles of red land) and 100 square miles of long-leaf pine hills. There were 45,089 acres in cultivation in 1879, 18,242 in cotton, 19,255 in corn, 305 in sweet potatoes and 108 in sugar cane. The cotton yielded 7,208 bales (or .40 bales per acre), 570 pounds of seed cotton, or 190 pounds of cotton lint. The summary of the tax roll for 1860 shows 30,023 acres of cotton, 32,574 of corn, 4,444, taxable slaves, valued at $2,145,950, taxed $3,576.55. Value of real estate, $897,940, taxed $1,490.49; non-resident lands, $05,400, taxed $109.58; value of stock, $27,730, taxed 146.33; value of buggies and carriages, $21,800, taxed $36.35; money at interest, $67,879; taxed $113.13; merchandise $51,611, taxed $86.02; and professional men, fifty-eight, taxed $1,330. The mill tax produced $3,278.58; the special tax, $819.53, and the poll tax, $1,171; or a total of $12,063.56. In 1859 there were 13,725 bales of cotton and 352,290 bushels of corn produced.
The summary of the tax roll for 1890-91 shows value of real estate, $491,530; value of village lots and improvements, $141,920; of live stock, $211,535; carriages, etc., $24,240; merchandise, $80,575; capital stock shares, $300; household property, $1,085; money at interest, $9,785; bonds liable to taxation, $14,170; other property, $140,465, or a total value of $1,121,555. with 2,563 polls. The parish levy of 6 mills yields $6,729.33, and the State levy of 6 mills a similar amount. In 1889 there were produced 6,000 bales of cotton, 215,870 bushels of corn, 8,500 bushels of oats, 15,800 bushels of potatoes, 125 barrels of sorghum, and 250 barrels of molasses. In 1890 there are 100 acres under cane; 19,368 under cotton; 15,990, corn, 1,400, oats; 300, potatoes; 90, sorghum; 1,000, meadow, out of a total acreage of 309,266. The assessor reported 1,311 White males and 1,315 females between six and eighteen years of age, and 1,200 Colored males and 1,170 Colored females of the same age. In 1878 the enrollment of White pupils was 1,140, and in 1879, 543. There is no record of the enrollment from 1880 to 1883, inclusive. In 1884 the number was 992; in 1885, 1,065; in 1886,905, and 1887, 860. The record of enrollment of Colored pupils shows 100 in 1877; 526 in 1878, and 459 in 1879. From 1880 to 1883, inclusive, there are no reports. In 1.884 the number was 440; in 1885, 475; in 1886, 483, and in 1887, 729.
The first census of Bienville Parish was taken in 1850, when 3,623 Whites, twenty-one free Colored and 1,895 slaves, a total of 5,539, were reported. In 1860, 5,900 Whites, 100 free Colored and 5,000 slaves; total, 11,000. In 1870, 5,589 Whites, 5,047 free Colored; total, 10,030. In 1880, 5,450 Whites, 4,986 free Colored; total, 10,442. In 1890 the total population was found to be 14,559, of whom 1,372 were liable to military duty.
Near Brushy Valley are the salt springs, where salt water was evaporated during the war. King's Lick, near the northeast corner of Red River Parish, is another well known salt spring. Gypsum and limestone are found here in several places, at the springs mentioned and near Quay post office. Not far from Brushy Valley is a salt lick flat known as Rayburn's Lick, where much salt was made during the war. It is underlain by gypsum and (cretaceous) limestone, from which good lime can be burned. The use of this on the soil of the region would be very beneficial. A similar Lick is King's, near the northeast corner of Bed River Parish, where the limestone occurs in even greater abundance and of the best quality. A similar lime strata spot occurs in the northwestern portion of the parish, near the post office, on the head of Dugdemona Bayou. Post oak and short leaf pine are the prevailing timber trees, intermingled more or less with other oaks and hickory, according to the quality of the land. It has upward of 150,000 acres of virgin forest of the finest timber to be found in the South. It is also rich in iron ore deposits of the best quality in North Louisiana.
The red subsoil appears in spots, generally where the country becomes more rolling, and is often accompanied by rolled gravel, as well as by iron ore (limonite) concretions. This is more especially the case in the southeastern portion, where tracts of hilly red lands occur, the ridges in the southerly portion having more or less long leaf pine on their crest, while oak-growth, sometimes intermingled with short-leaf pine, covers the hillsides. At Brushy Valley and northward, the red land feature is quite prevalent, and excellent crops of cotton are made, both in the uplands and in the bottoms, near the streams, which are here not so liable to overflow, and possesses less of the pine flat character. There is also a good deal of very sandy hill land, which washes when turned out after cultivation. About 100 square miles of this parish is strictly lumber and grazing land, except in the creek land between the hills, which produces very flue crops. This belt of timber is equal to the best in the pine hill belt. The principal tillers of the soil are White men, who cultivate from thirty to 100 or more acres. Cotton and corn are the principal products. Grasses, grain, fruit and vegetables of all kinds grow to perfection and are very remunerative. The last panther was killed near Mount Lebanon in 1869, by P. J. Key, and the last bear about twelve years ago by W. J. King. During the war the wild animals of the forest increased rapidly, as there were no hunters left at home to hunt them down.
Township 14, Range 6, was first entered in 1838, when Jesse Mobley purchased on Section 5. John Messers Prothro entered lands in Sections 20, 27, and 28 in 1839; John Burke on Sections 5 and 6 in 1839. The Sprawls, Wests, Heads, Boylstons, Grays, Stewarts, Corbetts, Vansants, Johnsons, Hudsons, Wormacks, Harts, Sullivans, Babers and Murphys, made their entries between 1848 and 1852. From this period to the beginning of the war a number of buyers appear, so that the township may be said to have passed into the hands of private owners prior to 1860.
Township 14, Range 7, claimed only three private land owners in the thirties. In July, 1839, John C. Brown bought on Section 24; in January, Chris. Koonce purchased on Section 17, and in March, John M. Prothro on Section 20. In 1849 Henry M. Fleury entered land on Section 25; John B. Markham, on Section 23, and Thomas C. Zylks, on Section 11. From 1850 to 1860 are found the names of Jasper Smith, R. L. Hamilton, Patrick B. Matthews, Abner Lowe, Cyrus B. Thompson, Walston Turkinton, Samuel J. Hays, Myatt Mitchell, Dr. Hiram Shaw, W. N. Evett, James Thomas, H. J. Bow, Jesse Lee, I. M. Fair, Sarah A. Willson, Elias Murphy, John A. Harrell and John Henson.
Township 14, Range 8, was opened for entry in 1846, Marville Logan and Sanders Byas entering lands on Section 9. John McInnis bought on Section 23, in 1848; Count A. Koonce purchased in 1849, and in 1850 Alfred P. King, E. Murphy, John Franks, T. M. Logan, Alfred Price and Kenneth Cooper. From 1858 to 1860 a large area was entered in this township.
Township 15, Range 6, was first entered August 21, 1838, on Section 32, by William Hobley and by Miles Clinton and Jackson Thornton, in 1840. In 1841 Ben Frazier entered land here; in 1844, Charles Black, James Johnson, Tandey A. Key, Joseph Garner and Jesse Cough, and in 1849, Samuel C. Brice, W. A. Whitley and William Cloud. In 1850-58 a large number of entries are recorded.
Township 15, Range 7, was first entered in 1846, on Section 20, by Abner Lowe, and on Section 34 by E. Murphy. In 1848 W. C. Preslaw, Amanda Koonce and Silnear Swapar purchased in this township. A large number of entries was recorded between 1850 and 1860.
Township 15, Range 8, west, was offered for sale in 1839. Thomas Jefferson Davis, John M. Fuller and William Hobdy being the first buyers on Sections 30 and 31. In 1840 John W. Hughes bought on Section 35. In 1848-49 Reddick Bryan, J. C. Brown, Washington Nix, Josiah and Phillip Brenson, John R. Bolyston and Pennina Hicks located lands here, but the greater area was purchased within the three years preceding the war.
Township 15, Range 9, was opened in March, 1836, and during that summer the speculators descended upon it, buying up the greater part of the north one-third of the township. John Lawson, Lewis Watson and James Williamson appear to have been bona fide settlers, but Drake & Bauskett, Beall, Martin & Aiken, and Knight & McElfresh were heavy non-resident buyers. Reddick Bryan bought here in 1839, also J. M. Fuller, but settlements of owners were not made until 1850-60.
Township 15, Range 10, was opened for entry in September, 1844, when Joshua Melvin entered the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 1, while in 1849-50 purchases were made by Milton Sledge, James Fudge, Dempsey Hall, Daniel McNair, Simon Manning, Mary Pickett, A. G. Grant, John L. Vickers, Martha Mitchell, John H. Richardson, James Taff and W. A. J. Newson. Township 16, Range 6, west, was entered in 1835 by Joseph Galbreath and Joseph Taylor, and in 1836 by James Walker, Theodore O. Stark, William A. Drake and St. John R. Liddell. In 1849-50 William Elliott, William D. Robinson, Thereba J. Ragsdale, William Holder, James C. and Benjamin Baker, Miles Gilliam, Ben Pierce, Robert Henderson, Jr., and Richard Boyd made their purchases. From 1830 to 1849 William Coulter Price is the only recorded purchaser of United States lands here.
Township 16, Range 7, was entered in the thirties by speculators, although in 1837 John M. Prothro purchased in Sections 17 and 20. In 1848-49 John W. Mays, James Williamson, Elbridge B. O'Neal, John C. McCravy, John Bailiff, M. D. Burnett, John B. Hightower, Milton B. Nash. L. N. B. Whitley, Samuel H. Sherwood, W. H. Pierson, E. R. Madden and James Johnson made entry of lands here, and on June, 30, 1848, the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 15 was entered by the parish of Bienville, the certificate of entry being 4369.
Township 16, Range 8, was opened for entry in 1839, when Drury Murrell and William Hobdy bought some lands, and in 1841 Triplet Cason. In 1844 Abram Geren, and in 1847 James Merritt located their lands, while in 1849-50 the Smiths, Horns, Waldens, Lewises, Davises, Pratts, Hortmans, Moores, Taylors, Charnell Hightower, B. R. Griffin, Burrell and William Mathius, John N. Martin, James Lord, Solomon McGraw, and others named previously, entered their lands.
Township 16, Range 9, was opened for entry in 1836, when Samuel- Clark, Knight Beall & McElfresh and other speculators bought. In 1849 the residents of the parish began their purchases, and prior to the war had taken up a large area. James D. Mims, Simeon Theus, T. J. Harvin, T. E. Adams, W. W. Poulon, Nathan Gilchrist, Zach Thomas, Uriah Page, R. L. Horn, A. T. Turner, Harriet S. Brown and W. B. Watts were among the buyers of this period.
Township 16, Range 10, was opened in 1844 by E. A. Wimberly and Elizabeth Stevenson, on December 13, 1847. Noah A. Philpot bought on Section 9, and George G. Walker on Section 10. In 1849-50 the following names of buyers are recorded : Irvin Talton, J. J. Vickers, James Mitchell, John Tooke, Sarah Jordan, John Miller, Sr., Levi Blizzard, Joshua Melvin, A. Harris, James Turner, Hugh Cosgrove, J. A. Washburn and Rolly Williams.
Township 17, Range 6, was opened in 1823, Enos Gongh buying in Section 12 in 1835-37. John and Jane Williams, William and Martha Novid, D. Frame and A. Ashworth being the pioneer laud-buyers. Jerry Burnett, S. G. Quarles, Hastings Dial, Eldred Hardy, Veeder, Cortes and La Place, Joel Mixon, Abram Lemmons and Hezekiah. Reed purchased lands here; but not until 1849-50 did the actual pioneers of the township enter their claims.
Township 17, Range 7, was proclaimed for sale in 1834. Samuel Williams locating on Section 7, that year. In 1835-36, William Logan, Charles H. Webb, Tandy A. Key, J. V. White, John M. Prothro, James Cantield, Joseph Canfield, Covington Hardy, James B. Hunnicutt, William Hobdy, James Horveston, and Thomas J. Turpin, made their, purchases.
Township 17, Range 8, was opened for sale in 1837, James Henderson buying the northwest quarter of Section 1, under act of 1834. In 1839 J. M. Prothro entered lands here, in 1844 John H. Morrow, in 1845 Thomas Logan, and in 1847- 50 Uriah Jones, B. R. Griffin, W. D. Albums, Rufus Lawborn, R. L. Horn, James Walden, Hillery Logan, and William Traylor.
Township 18, Range 6, was proclaimed in 1831, Chris. Koonce and Allen Martin buying that year. Jonathan Franklin bought on Section 14, in 1833, in November of that year. In 1835-37 the following named buyers are recorded: Jacob Miller, Cyrus Thompson, Louis Field, R. H. Bassett, Stephen Wingate, Peter Franks, G. W. Brown, Andrew Koonce, Robert Williams, W. B. Henry, Josiah Brenson, Mary Aldridge, Samuel J. Hays, James and William Reed, Elkin Taylor, and E. E. Madden.
Township 18, Range 16, was first entered on Sections 11 and 12, by Berry A. Wilson, in 1833. Prior to 1837 we find the names of James Ambroise, Bartly Martin, Samuel G. Williams, Richard Stiles, Cyrus B. Thompson, John Frazier, Josiah Breuson, Elizabeth Willburn, Littlebury Whitley, William Logan, Joe A. Sloan, Count A. Koonce, T. A. Key and Triplet Cason.
Township 18, Range 8, was opened for sale in 1837, Robert and Francis Henderson and Thady W. Byas, being the first buyers. John Bean, W. K. Harris, Asel P. Heath, James Woodard, Wiley T. Seitzler, Tyra Singleton, Seth Barnes, Mary Rease, Asel P. Heath, Jene R. Pitmann, Jasper Gibbs and Hiram Gibbs were also early land buyers.
Township 14, Range 4, was entered principally under the Swamp Land Act of 1849. Maj. Lyon entered lands here in 1846, and John C. Gray and J. W. Lewis in the fifties. Township 15, Range 4, has a large area entered under the V. S. & T. Act of 1856-59. In the fifties John Lopez, Pennal Quader, J. W. Anderson, Nathan Thornton, Joshua Roden, P. Franks, H. M. Gullander, James Warren, Erasmus Benton, W. J. Sawyer, Stafern, Edgar, Theo N. and William Potts, Henry Gray, William N. Parks, Elijah Brown, Melton Childs and W. B. McDonnell, entered lands here.
Township 16, Range 4, was entered first in 1836 by James Walker, on Section 18, next in 1837 by J. D. W. Tatterman and Charles Hubbard, and in 1849 by Jasper Gibbs, on Section 6. During the fifties the names of the following buyers are recorded: Josiah Mayo, Thomas Payne, Sim. Moore, Minor Dawkins, F. Lanham, A. A. Howell, Henry Gray, T. N. Pierce, Nancy McLelland, Sarah McBride, Ambrose and Hiram Hannigan and Jinsey Anderson.
Township 17, Range 4 (Sections 19 to 33, inclusive), was offered for sale in 1849, when the Yarboroughs, Reeks and Rosseaus bought several tracts. Among the names of early purchasers are William P. Bond, Amos Daniels, William Carr, Charles B. Polk, Nathan Smith, E. H. Goff, Jeptha Conger, J. Higginbotham and Alfred Pennington. Township 14, Range 5 (Sections 1 to 18), was proclaimed for sale in 1838, when Jus. Martin Pouts purchased on Section 3, Criswell L. Whitlow purchased largely in 1846-53, also David Malone, Amos, Cornelius, Simeon and William Shiveley or Shibley. In the lower sections, Joseph E. Howard located military warrants in 1852, and James M. Barton. Tom Robinson, J. W. W. Durbin and others purchased later in the fifties.
Township 15, Range 5, was entered on Section 31 so early as 1828 by John M. Founts. In 1849 David Malone bought several tracts, but from 1855 to 1860 the greater area of this township passed from the United States into the hands of private owners.
Township 16, Range 5, was opened in 1828, when John J. Anderson located lands on Section 10. In 1836 Daniel Lowe and James Walker entered large tracts, but prior and subsequent to the location of the V. S. & T. E. E. the great body of the lands in this township became private property.
Township 17, Range 5, was offered for sale in 1835, and before the close of 1837 a very large area was sold. The buyers of 1835 were Isaac and William Arlege, Jonathan Andrews, F. M. Bradley, T. B. Goldsby and Enos Goff, and of 1836-37 John Knight, Aaron W. Weeks, James Walker and John Williams.
Township 18, Range 5, was opened in 1836, when a number of entries were made. From 1849 to 1855 the sales of land in this township were numerous indeed.
The true settlement of the parish dates back to 1837, when the several committees sought social intercourse by religious, political or patrol associations. Many of the immigrants brought with them slaves, so that in 1850 there were 1,895 Negroes (slaves) and 21 free Colored men in the parish. Ten years later there were 5,000 slaves enumerated, on the greater number of whom a tax was levied.
The large slave owners in 1860 were Eliza A. Abney, 21; A. L. Ardis, 13; J. L. Bates, 22; H. Balance, 14; James W. Brice, 20; Samuel Brown, 10; Sarah Butler, 14; G. W. Brown, 22; W. W. Boyleston, 16; J. J. Boyleston, 16; Elijah Brown, 11; N. H. Bradley, 14; John Babers, 21; E. G. Burson, 11; Seth Barnes, 13; Reddeck Bryan, 23; Dan Clapton, 26; Martin Canfield, 25; H. K. Cabanisse, 16; W. L. Candler, 14; W. W. Colbert, 50; John Cockerham, 36; Isaac Coleman, 25; J. A. Caldwell, 17; Jacob Cook, 13; J. W. Christian, 12; J. E. Carr, 10; A. Cawthorn, 27; A. J. Colbert, 31; Miner Dawkins, 28; George Dawkins, 48; D. N. Davis, 25; H. L. Dennard, 17; J. T. Dennard, 14; J. T. Davis, 11; Myra J. Dyers or Dyess,.10; W. N. Dubose, 15; T. C. Dickey, 10; James C. Egau, 18; W. D. B. Edens, 13; L. W. Ellis, 23; W. B. Egan, 21; Elijah Gibson, 10; E. A. Givins, 17; Andrew Gibson, 17; Jasper Gibbs, 97; heirs of Walker Gibbs, 57; F. C. Gray, 10; Henry Gray, 52; E. P. Gray, 21; A. A. Golphin, 11; L. Gahagan, 11; Anne Gray, 15; T. Hemphill, 15; Neal Holland, 28; G. L. Holston, 20; Pearce Holston, 10; C. J . Humphries, 23; J. J. Harris, 31; Eldred Hardy, 13; A. J. High, 10; Thomas Hinson, 14; T. H. Hamilton, 22; Thomas Hightower, 10; E. E. Holston, 22; Holston estate, 16; E. P. Harris, 34; D. H. Hays, 22; G. S. Hays, 20; Isaac Hall, 23; W. P. Keith, 49; William Key, 10; A P. King, 16; T. G. Knighton, 10; E. J. Kennon, 31; Martha Lawton, 18; Felix Lewis, 40; Thomas Littleton, 13; J. O. Long, 21; Thomas Leake, 12; Cal. Leary, 23; Joel Lofton, 18; John G. Lane, 12; Jacob Madden, 10; K. P. McDaniel, 26; A. G. Mays, 13; H. T. Maxey, 10; M. Myers, 12; Moses Madden, 11; David Malone, 18; Antonette McKeithan, 15; W. C. Mays, 30; J. C. McCrary, 37; Joseph McCarthy, 13; J. A. Moseley, 31; John McDowell, 16; James Monroe, 17; W. J. Mays, 24; R. R. Madden, 27; Thomas O'Neal, 10; J. W. Norris, 11; Telitha Nix, 12; P , 55; P , 15; W. P. Prothro, 52; E. D. Prothro's minor heirs, 17; J. E. Prothro, 24; W. Tilliam Pierce, 14; W. N. Park, 15; J. H. Poole, 22; E. A. Potts, 28; W. H. Pierson, 16; J. L. Pierce, 38; A. S. B. Pior, 59; Collins Rhodes, 43; J; G. Eeasouover, 29; Henry Rabun or Raburn, 10; Elzey Rabun, 24; Silas Rawls, 19; B. M. Reynolds, 12; James M. Sims, 20; T. C. Standifer, 27; Jesse Smith, 42; William M. Sale, 14; H. D. Sheihu, 32; Ephraim Strickland, 11; Simeon Theus, 44; John Tooke,44; D. K. Thomas, 10; Z. Thomas, 23; J. J. Tooke, 10; J. H. Underwood, 13; J. W. Vansant, 14; J. L. Vickers, 03; Martin Williams, 18; Elizabeth Wilson, 40; G. W. Wren, 15; Thomas Woodard, 17; J. W. Walker, 12; J. A. Williamson, 26; W. L. Yarborough, 12, and James Young, 11. In June, 1849, H. L. Reese signs the record of official bonds as clerk of the district court, but the entry is not made on the court journal.
The oldest record of the district court of Bienville is dated March 11, 1850. Ed E. Alcott, judge of the Seventeenth District, was then present, and mention is made of P. M. Gibson and W. B. Egan, attorneys. The next term was presided over by Judge Bullard, who appointed Henry M. Spofford district attorney, and Edward Fink deputy clerk. The grand jurors empaneled were Isaac Alden, Thomas D. Smith, Q. E. Roden, James M. Pickett, James O. Whittington, Alfred Price, L. B. Whitley, John Brewer, Thomas L. Prothro, Isaac Andrews, James Ratcliffe, Addison S. Vansant, Edward Toms, Hayner Balance, Luke E. Burnett, James Williamson and George G. Waller. John P. Stephens, who qualified as clerk of the district court before Justice McBride, February 20, 1850, presented his credentials at this time, and the name of William B. Stewart appears as recorder and that of Benjamin Parker as sheriff.
In October, Roland Jones, who was commissioned judge vice E. E. Olcott resigned, presided. A number of license cases and applications for naturalization were presented. In 1851 Judge Bullard, of the Sixteenth District, was present in exchange with Judge Jones. In December, E. T. Buckner was appointed to prosecute State cases, and in June, 1852, John Young was appointed in the absence of the district attorney. In December, 1852, James Upshaw was sheriff, and at this time resolutions on the death of George W. Peets were adopted. In 1853 T. and G. Kelly and Monroe Ragsdale, were indicted for aiding in the escape of a prisoner. charged with a capital offense. At this time Andrew Lawson was judge. Early in 1854 he died, and H. A. Drew, who was commissioned, transacted business here, but interchanged with Judge Land, of the Eighteenth District. James E. Head was sheriff in 1856, and in March of this year William H. Tanner and others were indicted for betting on elections. Indictments against H. H. Ellis, H. H. Denson and P. Long for '' unauthorized whipping a negro,'' were returned in September. In June, 1857, W. B. Egan took his seat as judge, but under the system of interchange (act of 1854).
Judge Cresswell presided in September, and was still presiding in March, 1860, when record A (minutes) closes. Roland Jones, of the Eighteenth District, was here in September with A. B. George, district attorney, but W. B. Egan, of this (Seventeenth) district presided in December. James Upshaw was still holding the sheriff's office. During the war court was held regularly by Judge Egan, but in October, 1865, J. D. Watkins took his seat on the bench, and appointed T. E. Paxton district attorney vice A. B. George district attorney, and Charles H. Murphy district clerk. Robert B. Love, deputy, acted as sheriff in September, 1867. At this time Special Order 125, declaring registered voters only eligible as jurors, was read and a jury called in accordance with such order by Hodge Rabun, the new sheriff. He was succeeded in March, 1869, by Thomas J. Hightower, while J. J. Sprawls succeeded O. H. Murphy. In September, 1869, J. L. Lewis, of the new Eleventh District, opened court. He suspended Sheriff Hightower, and fined him $500 for refusing to open' and adjourn court as directed, but Hightower never obeyed the order of suspension or paid the fine, and in this matter he was sustained by the people. In March, 1870, the judge and sheriff are found acting harmoniously, and were thus enabled to dispose of a heavy docket. James C. Egan superseded Lewis in September.
Samuel Wilson was found guilty of murder by a jury of whom W. A. Whitley was foreman, N. J. Sandlin district attorney, prosecuting George C. Watkins was indicted for the murder of Patrick Dunn, convicted, sent to prison, but ultimately pardoned. In March, 1873, Judge J. E. Trimble presented his commission and served until March, 1877, when E. M. Graham took his place, and A. M. Oden succeeded Mr. Sprawls as clerk. In March, 1879, C. P. Whitlow took the place of Sheriff Hightower. In January, 1880, the grand jury adopted resolutions in the matter of losing the services of Judge Graham and District Attorney Barksdale, through the redistricting of Louisiana for judicial purposes under the new constitution. In February, 1880, R. C. Drew signed the record as judge of the Second District. B. M. Manning was sheriff in 1884, and A. J. Moore clerk in 1884. Sheriff J. A. Mays succeeded B. M. Manning in 1888, and J. W. Tooke succeeded District Clerk Moore. E. M. Crawson, Sr. and J. W. Tooke served as deputy, successively, during Clerk Moore's incumbency, while J. C. Theus is the present deputy. Judge Boone succeeded R. C. Drew as judge of the Second District. The bar of Bienville comprises J. A. Dorman, D. H. Patterson, J. J. Sprawls (1877), B. P. Edwards (1877), W. U. Richardson (1878); George E. Young, J. E. Reynolds and T. J. Butler, while Judge Boone is a resident of the parish.
Louis Duckworth, charged with firing at a neighbor, was defended by H. A. Ferryman, but convicted. His sentence was commuted by Warmoth, and while en route to Baton Rouge in charge of Deputy Sheriff Presler, was taken from him by an armed force and shot near Lake Bisteneau. His death did not follow immediately, so that he was enabled to give the particulars of the crime. McKee was shot by Deputy Presler, in 1878, while making his escape. Hill was shot under similar circumstances by H. G. Oden, in 1875 or 1876. In February, 1850, the names of Thomas McBride, William Brice, Orrin Barrow, J. E. Roden, Daniel Law, W. H. Snead, J. N. Martin, A. M. Rowlett, J. M. Scarborough, T. M. Looney qualified as justices Asa Duty as coroner. In November, 1849, Jesse Hudson qualified as deputy sheriff, and J. N. Leetch as notary public. In February, 1850, William B. Stewart took the oath as recorder, James Upshaw as assessor, and S. Grosvenor as deputy sheriff. In January, 1854; Edward Houston, represented Ward 1; Allen C. Hill, 2; Edward J. Kennon, 3; James C. Watts, 4; James E. Head, 5; Jason Poole, 6, and John C. McCrary, 7, later president, J. G. Noles was clerk, James Upshaw, collector, and A. C. Hill, president. D. Hendricks was chosen under the act of 1850, to attend the medical college. William C. Mays, courthouse builder, was paid the balance due him on his contract, and an arrangement was entered into with him to establish a graveyard. In June, 1854, he was elected treasurer, the current annual expenditures were placed at $3,470.70, and the parish license for retailing liquor was fixed at $100. In July, 1854, the jurors were T. Hemphill, James Lewis, S. A. Harvin, A. P. King, Jason Poole, J. C. McCrary, and A. C. Hill. In 1855, James Bridger, Jr., took Hemphill's place and later James Brice took Bridger's place as representative of Ward 1.
The elections for 1850 resulted in the choice of Moses Hearn, A. C. Hill, E. J. Kennon, J. N. Martin, A. P. King, Jason Poole and John McCrary police jurors, and they with J. G. Noles, as clerk, were serving when the record closes in 1857. In 1869 R. M. Crawson was president (following John W. Norris), and E. S. Sweat, clerk of the police jury. In September the Script Pounding Act of June, and the one mill tax and 10 percent, license tax, were repealed. In January, 1870, the jury organized with the same president and clerk. A. N. Jones, represented Ward 1; W. D. B. Edins, No. 2; I. Talton, No. 3; H. Rabun, No. 4; R. M. Crawson, No. 5; Thomas Crawford No. 0, and R. B. Love, No. 7. In June, R. B. Love being coroner and surveyor, resigned the office of juror, and G. N. Clampett, W. D. B. Edins, B. S. Sweat, A. J. Colbert and R. M. Crawson were recommended for appointment as school commissioners. In January, 1871, R. M. Crawson was appointed treasurer, succeeded in June by T. J. Pouts. A month later J. A. H. Givins, represented Ward 1; J. H. Schien, No. 7; while J. P. Webb, C. N. Ardis, H. D. Shihu, W. S. Cochran, appear as new members, with S. B. Dubose, clerk, Webb, president, and J. T. Boone, parish attorney. In January, 1872, the estimate of expenditures was placed at $10,000. In January, 1873, C. N. Ardis was chosen president, and with Givins and Crawson of the old board Z. G. Thomas and H. M. Protho found the new jury, D. T. Head was elected attorney.
A committee was appointed to check the spread of the small-pox epidemic. The jurors in January, 1875, were C. N. Ardis, W. P. Theus, L. B. Wardlaw, P. D. Vernon, and J. A. H. Givins, James A. Dorman was attorney, and Dr. T. J. Pouts, physician; S. D. Pearce, succeeded Dubose as clerk in June, 1870. In March, 1877, G. N. Ardis, president, with Messrs. Theus, J. B. Blume, J. H Robertson and Roger Lamson formed the jury with J. M. Head, secretary. The latter was succeeded in July, 1877, by John J. Randall.
The jurors in session January 20, 1879, were C. N. Ardis, president, B. L. Derrett, T. J. Martin, W. M. Caldwell, and E. N. Warren, with E. M. Crawson, clerk. They were succeeded in 1880, by C. N. Ardis, A. H. Givens, W. M. Caldwell, T. J. Martin, J, J. Bridger, and T. J. Hightower, T. J. Pouts was re-elected treasurer. In 1882 elections on the local option were held in several wards and resulted in serious disagreements. In Ward 5 the majority protested against the issue of license, but owing to the election commissioners not qualifying according to law, the voice of the majority was ineffective. In January, 1884, this troublesome question was placed before the people of all the wards and negative in Wards 1, 2, ,3, 4 and 6, but carried in Ward 5. In 1884 H. F. Schien appear as the only new member, with Givins, Martin, Caldwell, Bridger and Ardis of the old jury. In July, however, the jury comprised J. A Sledge, J. A. Walker, J. H. Blume, H. F. Schien, and J. A. H. Givins, with Schion, president. In September the names of D. N. Davis and D. N. Loe were added. J. A. Mays was elected treasurer at this time; but J. T. Pouts qualified. Prom 1882 to 1887 W. B. Colbert was assessor. The police jurors chosen and commissioned by the governor in 1888 were W. H. Leslie, president; J. H. Thurmond, C. W. Hamner, T. J. Martin, J. J. Bridger, and W. H. Smitherman; W. Taylor Row succeeded Mr. Bridger, deceased, in 1888, with H. G. Oden, clerk; J. D. Head, treasurer; W. U. Richardson, attorney; W. B. Prothro, assessor. W. B. Stewart was recorder in 1849 while in 1853, Deputy T. G. Noles signs the entries and in 1854 signs as recorder. O. L. Noles was recorder during 1860; Moses J. Hurley, 1862; Ben. S. Allums, 1863; Stephen B. Dubose, deputy recorder, 1865; E. N. Warren, recorder, 1866, and in 1868, C. H. Murphy was deputy; Jasper Hays, recorder in 1868; J. J. Sprawls, deputy in 1870; J. E. Head was parish judge in 1808. In 1874 J. T. Boone was parish judge, followed by D. P. Head in 1875, who served until the office was constitutionally abolished in 1879.
Bienville recorded 682 votes for Breckinridge, 293 for Bell and 134 for Douglas, in 1860. F. Lewis and E. Hodges signed the secession ordinance of 1861. The November elections of 1861 show 644 votes for Jefferson Davis, for President; 428 for Lewis, and 187 for Marshall, candidates for Congress; J. E. Head was elected representative'; J. L. Hodges, senator; J. Upshaw, sheriff; Moses Hurley, recorder; W. C. Presler, assessor and Floyd Allums, coroner.
The elections of November, 1865, show 324 votes for J. M. Wells, and 263 for Henry W. Allen, candidates for governor; 337 for John S. Young, and 231 for John Bay, for Congress; 374 for A. A. Abney, 318 for W. B. Egan, 244 for B. W. Pearce and 148 for T. H. Jones, for Senate; 597 for J. E. Head, 304 for J. A. Powell, 229 for T. E. Paxton and 129 for H. A. Ferryman, for the Legislature. The elections of May 7, 1866, resulted in the choice of John G. Noles, clerk; James Upshaw, sheriff; E. N. Warren, recorder; D. Batohelor, assessor; T. B. Tompkins, district attorney.
The elections of 1878 resulted in the choice of T. J. Hightower, representative; D. F. Head, parish judge; C. P. Whitlow, sheriff; H. G. Poole, coroner; B. L. Durett, C. N. Ardis, E. N. Warren, T. Martin, D. M. Simmons and W. M. Caldwell, police jurors. The parish gave 25 majority for New Orleans for State capital.
I n 1870 there were 958 votes cast for Nicholls (D.), and 220 for Packard (E.), candidates for governor. In 1879 L. A. Wiltz (D.), received 1,101, while Beattie (E.) was not credited with even one. I n 1884 there were 1,528 recorded for McEnerny (D.), and 2 for Stevenson (E.), while in 1888, Nicholls ( D ) , received 1,923, and Warmouth (E.), 37. The total number of votes in April, 1888, was 2,713, 1,731 being White. Sixty Whites and 924 Africans could not write their names.
Judge J. E. Head was representative of Bienville from 1861 to 1865, and reelected in 1865. Dr. C. Q. Butler was representative; In 1878 T. J. Hightower; in 1879 Dr. I. P. Webb was delegate to the constitutional convention; T. J. Butler representative in 1880; I. P. Webb in 1884, and N. W. Warren in 1888, whose term expires in 1890. The office of State senator since 1880 has been filled by Messrs. Vance and Watkins in 1880; Vance and Brice, 1884-88, and Vance and Phipps in 1888-92.
The companies raised in Bienville for the war comprised Bienville Blues, Company C, Ninth Louisiana Volunteer Infantry, under Capt. Ben Pearce; W. B. Colbert, lieutenant; J. C. Egan, surgeon. On the resignation of Pearce, who was elected lieutenant-governor of Louisiana, E. A. Pearson was elected captain, and served until killed, in 1864, when Lieut. Arbuckle was commissioned. On reorganization, Lieut. Colbert was elected captain, but being in Fort Delaware prison, did not serve. The non-commissioned officers were P. H. Candler, sergeant; P. Mattox, second sergeant.
The Castor Guards was the second company, with W. T. Mayberry, captain; Henry Cockerham, first, Robert Koonce, second, and H. B. Williams, third lieutenant. The non-commissioned officers were Milton Huston, first; Jackson Koonce, second; W. E. Allen, third sergeant; Elias Murphy, first; B. G. Williams, second; John Monroe, third corporal. A Dutchman from New Orleans was head musician, but was addicted to drink and sleepiness, and was often in the guard house. The Arcadia Invincibles was commanded by James R. Brice. The Brush Valley Guards, Isaac Melton, captain, was the fourth company. The Sparta Guards, organized early in 1862, was commanded by E. W. Campbell, with I. P. Webb, T. E. Paxton, B. W. Allums, lieutenants, and Charles H. Murphy, orderly.
Capt. A. O. P. Pickens' Cavalry, Company P, of Second Louisiana Infantry, and E. B. Love's Cavalry Company were the only cavalry companies. Capt. "Dog" Smith had men from Bienville in his scouting command. He was engaged in running deserters and Federals down with dogs. The Old Home Guard was commanded by Duke D. H. Hays, now of Red River Parish. It is one of the impossibilities of history to name every soldier sent from this parish to the war. Fortunately, the writer found a parish record of those days of trouble, and from it most of the following names are taken. The list also embraces the names of several others who happened to be remembered by a few of the actors in the drama of war.
Isaac Aldridge, James Adams, W. E. Allen, A. C. Allums, George A. Anderson, John J. Anderson, Ben Aswell, B. H. Alexander, T. H. Alexander, Jonathan Anders, Taylor Anders, C. N. Ardis, Dallas Beck, Alex Brown, H. D. Brown, Sam Brown, A. B. Brown, A. J. Brown, J. E. Bacon, Dave Blalock, D. N. Black, J. T. Blount, Joseph Babers, T. Boyette, W. S. Bowen, William Bullard, Silas Bailiff, Henry Barron, James Ballance, Terrell Bryant, John C. Bladen (murdered after the war by Jenkins), A. Bodie, H. N. Briuson, Samuel Boyd, Henry Bell, Joseph B. Bryan, Darling T. Blume, Asa Blake, Nathaniel Bates, Andrew Bishop, Jesse Bounds, Ezekiel Bell, D. P. Baxley, M. E. Blume, A. P. Collins, R. W. Gaskey, G. A. Caskey, William Chappell, J. W. Cupp (lieutenant), Stephen Collins, Edmoud Cox, Calvin Cox, J. J. Canterbury, Thomas Calhoon, W. F. Cathey, R. J. Cone, John Chestnut, F. H Candler, F. M. Candler, William Candler, W. L. Collins, Walter Chestnut, F. M. Collins, Robert Carr, Jesse Cox, Hosea J. Cole, William H. Catler, Carsline Cone, James B. Curry, Jasper Campbell, Martin Cooper, T. E. Chandler, J. W. Chandler, T. J. Cawthorn, G. A. Cooper, S. J. Clark, Joseph Chatwood, D. J. Colbert, Jesse Carter, Daniel Carter, Duncan Carter, Thomas C. Carlisle, Moses Conklin, Green D. Coleman, James J. Coleman, William M. Caldwell, Grove Cook (captain), Dave Cummings, George Crawley, A. P. Cotton, B. P. Colbert, J. A. Colbert, J. Culverhouse, W. B. Colbert (captain), Richard Colbert, John E. Colbert, J. P. Colbert, William G. Davis, David C. Davis, George S. Dubberly, T. L. Daw, John J. Dyer, Alex Donnelly, E. H, Denson, I. J. Elliott, James Estes, J. J. Ezelle, James C. Egan (lieutenant), Dr. Frank, B. P. Foster, William Fair, Dr. T. J. Fonts, Joel Poster, Dave L. Foster, William B. Fry, Enos Gongle, Asa Gore, James M. Garrett, Nathan Godwin, J. F. Gray, B. P. Goode, Franklin Gan, Thomas Gough, N. D. Geren, Mitchell Giddens, Erastus Giddens, Harman A. Geren, John E. Greene, John A. Gamel, W. C. Griffin, Jacob Giddens, T. J. Hightower, Charles Hardy, A. L. Hardy, James Hines, C. B. Heflin, Thomas Hanson, A. C. Hodge, Joe Hudson, H. H. Hudson, Nathan Hunter, Sam Hudson, E. S. Hudson, Thomas Higdon, Elias Hilburn, A. G. Hicks, John Herring, Thomas Hanes, John G. Hodges, T. J. Howard, E. T. and J. Hays. Edward Hartwell, A. J. Heflin, B. A. Heflin, William Holloman, John Holland, James L. Hutchins, B. A. Hall, Cato Huckabay, W. B. Huckabay, John Huggins, George Huggins, Newton Huggins, Edward Harper, Hendrick Hand, Isaac Hall, M. M. Hand, T. N. Huggins, C. W. Honson, T. M. Hill, A. G. Harper, John A. Hartley, Henry J. Hall, William Herrington, John Hay, Levi Henson, T. J. Hightower, Henry Jones, James B. Jones, William D. Jones, Ulysses Jones, William and M. Jenks, Wyatt Jordan, Anguish Knotts, A. J. Koonce, Eli Kolb, Clay Key, Thomas Kennedy, E. A. Koonce, P. J. Key, J. W. Key, Robert Key, George M. Lane, M. Looney, P. M. Leatherman, William Luter, William Lindsay, T. H. Linden, James R. Lawhorn, W. M. Lard, John G. Lard, J. C. Leary, G. W. Lane, W. J. Lard, Samuel Lard, W. T. Leggitt, W. Lassiter, J. A. Long, James M. Lovorin, Thomas Lowe, Wilson Lowe, W. A. J. Littleton, Frank Loe, James A. Mays, William Maddox (colonel), Peyton Maddox, Ezekiel Miller, E. W. McGwin, F. L. Mitchell, Elias Murphy, S. J. Mitchell, B. F. Mitchell, William Moore, Charles Moorehead, W. T. Weeks, J. W. Mizelle, Henry Mitchell, David Mizelle, William Moss, Elijah J. Moffitt, Samuel McKee, A. and William McGuire, J. J. McCarty, E. Murphy, William Moseley, G. W. Melvin (lieutenant), Hugh Mellon, John McFarland, E. T. Murphy, Joseph Mobley, P. B. Matthews, G. W. Malone, Jesse Malone, John E. Malone, James Mayrant, John Monk, William McDowell, E. W. Murphy, John Malone, J. N. B. Moore, Edmoud McGlann, Albert Madden, W. 0. McCoy, S. H. McCrary, Jesse Murphy, James Morgan, James L. Miles, John Madden, Moses Madden, John L. Morgan, Thomas G. McGraw, James Mitchell, Abram Matthews, E. A. Morgan, G. W. Moore, John G. McDowell, William McLeroy, Stephen Nolan, O. L. Noles, Sam Newman, Malachi Nelson, J. D, Nelson, Benj. Norris, John Norris, J. P. Porter, William Puckett, M. G. Pace, Robert Payne, P. A. Poulan, G. W. Pease, Marion Pease, Theo. Pearce, John J. Pearce, P. M. Pullin, Allen Peavy, James Perry, A. J. Pratt, A. L. Pearson (captain), J. P. Palmer, C. W. Palmer, H. Robinson, Rayburn, S. M. Riddlehoover, Hugh Ratcliffe, Van B. Rushong, Ross, Ross, Jonah Reed, Tom Ruff, Isaiah Ratcliff, Fred. T. Rollins, Richard Reeves, Joseph Rutland, Robert Rutland, Lewis Robertson, James R. Ratcliff, William Ratcliff, John Ratcliff, H. Ratcliff, William Stokes, H. H. Simms, Oliver Scarborough, F. S. Smith, N. P. Smith, J. R. Stall (killed), Ang. Stall, S. S. Smart, Bzekiel Strickland, Ozias Stevenson, William C. Smith, John Swan, John Stewart, Thomas Samson, John Stiles, Robert Smith, Red Smith, J. F. Smith, W. W. Sanders, W. T. Smith, W. M. Stevenson, Jeremiah Strickland, John Sledge, John H. Scott, I. and Ozias Stevenson, W. D. Stewart, D. P. Sullivan, John Sanders, D. M. Simmons, Josiah Stone, Simeon Shively, Daniel Smith, Dave Scarborough, William Sanders, J. J. Smith, James Strickland, J. C. Theus (lieutenant), Phil. Tharp, John Tharp, James Tamplur, W. Thornton, Jesse Taylor, A. B. Took (killed), W. and A. C. Tilley, T. J. Thomas, E. Tippett, L. B. Tippett, Alfred Taylor, Nathan Thornton, Larkin Thomas, J. W. Tooke, H. K. Thomson, James Talbott, Henry Thomas, J. B. Thomas, D. C. Thomas, T. W. Thomas, Green Thomas, H. S. Baptist, Albert Thomson, Michael Tierney, W. M. Tyler, H. P. Theus, T. A. Upshaw, K. H. Vaughn, B. L. Vick, John Vaughn, William Willet, James Willet, Green Warren, James Warren, J. H. Williford, Henry White, J. P. White, William E. White, T. E. Woodard, E. H. Woodard, Isaac Woodard, Tom Woodard, Joseph Woodard, E. Wilkerson, Sack Wilkerson, C. L. Wormack, George Wilkinson, E. Wilson, Daniel Wise, William Worsham, Thomas Worsham, John Wallace, Philip White, A. M. Warren, William Worry, C. M. Woolens, W. Wallace, J. A. Wallace, I. P. Webb (lieutenant), James Whitsell, W. A. Whitley, James L. Wood, Marshall Wooley, Jacob Wooley, Q. B. Williams, John S. Webb, Dave Williams, Ch. P. Wimberly, Henry Whitehead, John Whitehead, Wilson, John Williams, Barnett Watts, J. D. Watts, C. J. Watts, Peter Waters, James Waters, John Waters, Darling Williams, Samuel Williams, William Wester, Hugh A. Wimberly (killed after the war), C. H. Yearwood, Charles Yearwood, James Yarborough, Gansel Zylk.
In December, 1865, E. B. Love, a citizen and ex-Confederate soldier, shot and killed a soldier of the Eightieth United States Colored Infantry, named Wallace at Sparta. It appears the soldier struck him early in the clay, and on the return of Capt. Twitchell reported the matter. The offending soldier was summoned before the captain, but would not respond, when Love and Twitchell proceeded to his quarters to arrest him; but the Negro pushed his captain aside and seizing a rifle jumped through a door. He was called on to halt, but refusing, Love fired and killed him. Dr. Webb was acting' post physician, W. L. Candler was colonel of the Bienville Militia, and Capt. Moss, one of the captains at Mount Lebanon. Capt. Twitchell's Sparta Times, issued at Starlight plantation, was the official paper of this and other parishes. The Times had one subscriber.
The Bienville Times was changed into the Louisiana Baptist, in January, 1856, with Rev. H. Lee, publisher, the office being at Mount Lebanon. The Jeffersonian was issued at Sparta about 1859, by Judge J. R. Head, as an anti-secession journal. He carried on the paper until the passions of the masses rendered reasoning useless, when the outfit was sold to a Mr. Hines, who removed the office.
The Southern Banner was issued at Sparta in August, 1860, by W. E. Paxton, to support Breckinridge and Lane, as opposed to the Jeffersonian, which supported Douglas. J. L. Denson, now of Sparta, worked in this office, and when the Messenger was established in 1805, Mr. Denson took his place at the case.
The Bienville Messenger was issued at Sparta, October 28, 1805, by J. M. A. Scanland. A correspondent spoke favorably of Lieut. Yarnell and Capt. Graff, the first and second United States commandants of the post at Sparta. The office was moved to Natchitoches about, 1808, when Mr. Benson's newspaper work suspended for a time. The Eural Times was established about March, 1868, by Judge J. E. Head, with D. P. and J. L. Head and J. L. Denson, printers, and continued publication up to 1887, when Thomas J. Maugham whose office at Gibsland was destroyed by fire, moved to Sparta, rented the Times office and published the second volume and part of the third volume of the New Era here. The office was sold to the editor of the News in 1890.
The Louisiana Advance of Arcadia was established in 1884, and reached No. 29, of Volume VII, August 1, 1890, when E. C. Drew was publisher. A second journal was published at Arcadia after the war by Frank M. Leatherman, who moved the office thither from Mount Lebanon. The Baptist Messenger, formerly published at Farmersville, was transferred to Arcadia by S. C. Lee in 1880, and conducted until James H. Mason bought the office, and founded the Louisiana Advance in 1884.
The Arcadia Record was founded in 1888, by D. H. Patterson. The Arcadia Herald was issued by P. G. Hulse in the fall of 1889. Bienville New Era was established in 1885 at Gibsland, by Thomas J. Maugham. In 1886 the office was destroyed by fire, when the place of publication was changed to Sparta. The Bienville News was established at Sparta in February, 1890, by E. C. Tooke.
The medical circle of the parish is made up of the following named physicians, with their locations and names of institutions where they were educated: Richard Fuller Harrell, Mount Lebanon, University of Louisiana, 1879; Emmett Athilone Crawford, Liberty Hill, University of Louisiana, 1871; Henry Bryant, Ringgold, University of Louisiana, 1871; John Westmoreland Morgan, Mount Lebanon (removed to Minden), Medical College of South Carolina, Charleston, 1857; Thomas Pleasant Graves, Ringgold, University of Louisville, Ky., 1883; Edwin Tracy Edgerton, Saline, Philadelphia Medical College, 1851; William Calvin Patterson, Arcadia, Charleston Medical College, 1851, Francis Marion Thomhill, Arcadia, University of Louisiana, 1872; John Harshaw Givens, Arcadia, Louisville Medical College, 1872; James Arthur Mangham, Ringgold, Louisville Medical College, 1886; Needham Allen Culbertson, Arcadia, Memphis Medical College, 1889; Clarence Eugene Edgerton, Mulberry, Memphis Hospital Medical College, 1889; George Franklin Wilson, Sparta, Medical College of Alabama, 1889.
The physicians who registered under the act of 1882 on account of long practice were: Andrew Pickens Collingsworth, Cornelius Shivley and Gov. Brown Crawford, Liberty Hill; Thomas Jefferson Pouts, Mount Lebanon; Densey Franklin Sullivan, Sparta; Stephen Bryan Du Bose, Sparta. Sparta, in latitude 32° 19' north and longitude 15° 38' west, was selected in 1849 as the seat of justice for the newly formed parish. The central location alone recommended this site. The first record of the town of Sparta is dated May 10, 1852, when S. H. Sherwood, James D. Oltorf, J. G. Noles, Jacob Cook and W. A. Maddox qualified as selectmen before Justice E. N. Warren.
Each swore that he never challenged a duel or fought one, and the worthy justice declared them the first selectmen of the new town. E. N. Warren was mayor and P. M. Peters, clerk and assessor. On May 11, James M. Denson was elected marshal; Robert A. Phelps, treasurer, and R. B. Love, collector. In July Warren resigned and Simon Manning was elected mayor. Ordinance No. 1, adopted at the beginning of his administration, provided that slaves found outside the limits of their masters' enclosures, without pass or permit, should be given not more than thirty lashes, nor less than ten, well laid on with a switch or cowhide. A. W. Stewart was commissioned first captain of patrol in September. An order prohibiting the cutting down of trees in the streets, except pine or dead trees, was issued in October. There is no record of business in 1853. In March, 1854, W. E. Paxton was mayor, J. F. Stephens, P. P. Brinson, T. L. Prothro, J. A. Harrell and G. W. Alexander were selectmen; John G. Noles was chosen clerk; J. S. Mixon, treasurer; R. B. Love, constable and assessor; James Upshaw, collector; Allen Upshaw, captain of patrol, and David Gary, street overseer. This first record of the town, and the only one which the writer could find, is a venerable memento of the early days of Sparta. The courthouse was completed in January, 1854, and accepted from contractor Mays by the police jury.
Louis Eldridge was postmaster in the fifties, and is said to have been the first postmaster, serving up to about 1861. J. H. Scheen, appointee of the Confederate postmaster, served during the war, and subsequently William A. Cockerham, of Cockerham & Poland, held the office, with E. H. Hightower, acting master, who was later appointed master (succeeding H. P. Scheen) and kept the office in the Webb Building (in which he carried on business), which was burned in 1884. H. P. Scheen followed in 1886, and served until the appointment of James D. Head in July, 1888. Sparta Lodge No. 117, A. P. & A. M., was chartered in 1852, and continued work until 1881, when it was surrendered. Sparta Lodge No. 108 was chartered on the number of old Henderson Lodge of Cotille, Rapids Parish. This lodge is presided over by A. Stall, with A. L. Crowson, secretary. Mackey Lodge No. 131, Ringgold, was chartered in 1854. Arcadia Lodge No. 135, chartered in 1855 had its charter renewed in 1885. Alabama Lodge No. 233 was chartered in 1877. The Sparta Masonic Academy was established after the war by J. Q. Prescott, but continued for only about two years, when Mr. Prescott retired. The Baptist Church at this point is an outgrowth of the old church of Mount Lebanon, organized in 1837; so also the church at Cypress Springs, four miles north, of which Rev. Ambrose Walker is pastor, and that of the Primitive Baptists, three miles west, presided over by Rev. John D. Spinks. J. D. Head is clerk of the church at Sparta. There were nineteen members reported in September, 1889.
The Methodist Episcopal Church South of Sparta belongs to the Homer District like the churches at Gibsland, Ringgold, Saline and Arcadia. Rev. Robert Randle is presiding elder, and Rev. E. A. Davis, preacher in charge. His appointments comprise Castor, Providence, Bear Creek, Ebenezer and Holder, and in the circuit were 364 White members in December, 1889. Fire has not, so far, destroyed much property at Sparta. The burning of the Hightower store, some six or seven years ago, was the most serious. The present owners of property, as well as the police jurors, appear to expect the removal of the seat of justice and ascribe the delay in improving courthouse, stores and dwellings to such expectations.
Mount Lebanon in 32° 27' north latitude and 15° 57' west longitude, gives evidence of its antebellum prosperity. This old college town, three miles south of Gibsland, is situated in the midst of one of the most favored sections of Northwestern Louisiana. In days before the war it was the center of the wealth and intelligence of a wider area than is now embraced in the large parish of Bienville, and even now, after a complete realization of the losses and disappointments of those days of civil strife, the neighborhood retains much of its old-time character. Over half a century ago the first settlers located here and erected their cabins in this beautiful wilderness. They brought with them the newly inculcated ideas of the Baptist faith from Edgefield, S. C , and so soon as the pioneer cabins were ready to shelter those pioneers, they resolved to organize a Baptist society and erect a church house. On July 8 they carried this resolution into effect, and the mulatto preacher, Henry Adams, and John Hill, a White man, organized their first church here. Elder B. M. Ware succeeded Adams as pastor, and in 1845 came G. W. Bains, followed by James E. Paxton and J. Q. Burnett. In 1849 A. B. Clemmons preached here; in 1853, P. Courtney, then Jesse Hartwell, J. Q. Prescott, W. C. Crane, W. C. Boone, A. S. Worrell, W. H. Bayliss, J. E. Paxton and G. W. Griffin, the present pastor.
The names of the heads of families who were enrolled as members in 1837 areas follows: Jeremiah Burnett, John Q. Burnett, W. D. Burnett, L. E. Burnett, H. Adams, William Key, Martin W. Key, Samuel Quarles, William Logan, W. A. Logan, Martin Canfield, James Canfield, Marion Canfield, D. W. Canfield, Joseph Canfield, J. M. Canfield, J. D. Canfield, Triplet Cason, Reuben Drake, R. H. Burnett, and Elizabeth Gibbs and Mary Walker. Their organization is the oldest in Bienville Parish. The membership is 145, of whom 88 are females.
About 1821 the Pine Hills or Vienna Society, was formed by James Brinson and John Impson, and later, near Downsville, a preacher named Head organized a church. About 1823 they came to Black Lake, near Minden, and with John Murrell and Newitt Drew established a society. In 1824 a section of Brinson's company of Baptists, who settled four miles east of Mount Lebanon, established a church known as Providence, which was subsequently moved to Athens, and styled New Hope.
The Mount Lebanon University was established in 1853, by the Louisiana Baptist Association, Dr. Bartholomew Egan, a native of Killarney, Ireland, who came to the United States in 1817, and in 1847 settled at Mount Lebanon, assisted in building up the university, and was president of that institution for a number of years. He was surgeon-general of the State forces under Gen. Moore, elector on the Davis Confederate ticket, and otherwise was prominent during the Civil War. He died at Shreveport, in 1881. Thomas Jefferson stated that he was one of the ripest scholars of his age. W. E. Paxton, Jesse Hartwell, and others, taught in this institution, until it was closed to educational purposes, in 1863. In the year mentioned the buildings were placed at the disposal of the army surgeons, and soon it was filled with the sick and wounded of the Confederate army. After the war an attempt to revive the university failed, and not until 1882 were steps taken to re-establish a school there. In 1882 the people of the village and neighborhood restored the buildings, and on September 11 of that year the Mount Lebanon High School was opened, with W. P. Carter, principal, and 115 students attending. On Mr. Carter's death, in 1885, W. M. Reese was chosen principal by the trustees of the now chartered school. The college building was destroyed by fire, March 7, 1886, entailing a loss of $5,000.
The first post office was established in 1836, with T. A. Key, master. G. G. Thurman was appointed postmaster prior to 1848, and was followed by Hiram Gibbs, about 1857. At the beginning of the war Rev. Hanson Lee was master, giving place to James Rogers in 1862. In September, 1866, B. P. Parnell was appointed by the United States postmaster. W. B. Colbert was next followed by W. L. King, the present incumbent.
Mount Lebanon was incorporated about 1854, with K. P. McDaniel, mayor, J. G. Egan, G. W. Rogers, J. E. Pitman, W. B. Prothro and C. G. Thurman, councilmen; William H .Logan, marshal, and O. G. Thurman, clerk. This council controlled affairs until the suspension of municipal affairs, at the beginning of the war. On the reorganization of 1866, W. B. Prothro was chosen mayor, and Ben H. Stall, clerk. The charter was dropped about 1868, owing to failure to elect.
Reuben Drake opened the first store at Mount Lebanon in 1836, and with Martin Canfield conducted this store up to 1847. The old building was torn down and the material used in the present Canfield barn. Rogers & Gibbs opened a store which is now owned by Jesse L. Baker, but C. G. Thurman opened the second store, now occupied by Postmaster King. The fourth store was built by John Key, before the war,, and now is the Baker Furniture Warehouse. W. H. Pendleton opened a drug store years ago, which is now owned by W. H. Lawley.
Mount Lebanon Masonic Lodge No. 113, was chartered in 1852. The charter members were P. Courtney, W. H. Bayliss, J. C, Egan, Bart. Egan, G. W. Rogers W. B. Prothro and C. G. Thurman. The E. A. M. Chapter comprised the above named members. P. Courtney was the first and R. A. Smith the last high priest when the charter was surrendered.
Gibsland, in 32° 30' north latitude and 15° 35' west longitude, named in honor of its founder, one of the oldest settlers of the parish, is situated on the highlands, at the junction of the Louisiana & Northwestern Railroad with the Shreveport, Vicksburg & Texas Railroad. The location is very desirable, and owing to this fact, together with its railroad advantages, its lumber trade, saw mills, fertile lands, good water, and general air of healthfulness, it gives promise of attaining an important place among Louisiana towns in the near future.
The timber interests are valuable, although the better grades of timber have been cut near the railroad to afford building material for the growing towns along the lines of railroad, and some for shipment. Oak, pine and some cypress are the principal kinds which grow sufficiently large to Deceased.
The publishers have concluded to follow the orthography of the post office department. justify working. The fertile soil surrounding the town, capable of producing any crop to which the temperate zone is fitted, with a thrifty, frugal class of farmers, all it needs is an accession to its people of those who wish to identify themselves with one of the growing communities of the State. The amount of money invested in wood-working machinery has been gradually increasing, and by employing more men in manufactories, the town has a more diversified population, which promises to increase. Already a furniture factory and the patent ironing table of J. D. Pace, the patentee, are successfully operated, while two saw-mills and a planer are at work in the suburbs. The shipment of cotton amounted to over 2,000 bales last year, and credible authorities think it will reach 3,500 bales this year. Health is uniformly good. A cool breeze is generally wafted hither at a time when it can be duly appreciated. On the pinnacle of a hill near Gibsland lie the remains of one Ambers, who desired to be buried there (before his death in 1850) so that the plowshare would not disturb his grave.
Gibsland Collegiate Institute of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, was established in 1888, with D. P. Huddle, president. The faculty at present consists of D. P. Huddle, president and instructor in ancient languages and mathematics; Annie L. Henderson, teacher in the primary department; Kate Scanland, of Bellevue, directress of the music department, vice Miss Watts, resigned, and Ada Letyr Mercer, art teacher. The latter position is now vacant. The college buildings were erected in 1888-89 and opened in April, 1889, the first session of the college being opened in the Baptist Church, although a Methodist Church building was then in existence. The cost of construction was $4,000, and it was erected under the supervision of A. D. Harnett, W. B. Colbert, Rev. E. Parvin and W. L. Kidd, building committee. Prof. Huddle formerly taught in the Mansfield Female College. In 1889-90 there were 101 pupils enrolled. A. D. Harnett built the first house, in the center of Claiborne Street, near the present post office. John Harrison built the first dwelling house, and, with Harnett erected the first saw-mill. The dwelling is still existing, and the saw-mill was moved to a point below Sparta.
A. B. Cason built on Claiborne Street, and C. C. Howell erected a dwelling close by. J. E. Reed, A. B. Cason, B. B. Burkheeter, Dr. Langford and Mrs. Emboy had dwelling houses here before the railroad was completed. W. B. Colbert erected the principal part of his present house in 1886, the lumber being supplied from Kid & Watson's sawmills (three miles east and two miles west). The saw-mill on the east was moved to Bienville in July, 1890, while two years before, the western mill was moved to Athens. Mrs. Reed took charge of the first post office in 1883, followed by R. F. Parnell.
The Colbert House (built in 1886) at this point, is the best between Shreveport and Munroe in every particular. The house was erected by W. B. Colbert for hotel purposes, and, with its large, airy rooms, liberal bill of fare and excellent location, it is all that a hotel should be.
Job Russell's saw mill stood back of the church house in 1884, while east was the St. Cloud & Baker Furniture Factory. Russell's mill was burned in 1886, together with cotton gin and planer. It was uninsured. Uncle Job, asked why he had not the building insured, answered: "Well, if insured, the people would call me a damned rascal, while now they are pleased to call me a damn fool.'' Uncle Job was a river captain, and later a Confederate captain, while his son, George, was on the "Merrimac." The first election was held at Gibsland, April 8, 1885, Job Russell being previously chosen mayor, for the purpose of organization. The mayor was re-elected, and the names of John R. Harrison, W. B. Colbert, W. H. Lazarus and A. B. Cason are subscribed to the ordinances. L. P. Butler was also a member of the council. On July 15, W. O. Newman was appointed marshal, J. W. Langford being secretary, and, in 1886, treasurer. In October, 1886, the town recorded sixty-five votes for the 5-mill tax toward the building of the Louisiana & Northwestern Railroad, conditional on its completion from State Line to Alexandria by July, 1891, and stated charge for cotton freights to New Orleans. W. P. Oden, A. D. Noland, J. W. Langford, W. O. Newman and M. C. Lawrence were members of the council in 1886. A 10-mill tax was levied for corporation purposes; Burns was appointed chief of police. In July the death of M. C. Lawrence left a vacancy in the council.
W. B. Colbert succeeded Job Russell as mayor, followed by A. B. Cason, who served one year, when J. D. Pace was elected mayor (January, 1889), and he served until the expiration of his second term, in January, 1891. The members of the present council are E. I. Davis, W. J. Pollard, A, H. Gill, A. J. Colbert and W. J. Langford. The assessed value of real and personal property is $32,030, on which a corporate tax of 3 mills is levied. The 5-mill tax for railroad aid can not be levied until 1891, nor then, unless the conditions imposed upon the railroad company are carried out by that time.
Arcadia, 32° 31' north latitude, and 15° 28' west longitude, is the happy name given to a collection of cheerful homes in the northeast corner of Bienville Parish, a half mile north of the old town. Prior to the completion of the S. V. & T. R, R. to this point it was a primitive little village on the stage coach route from Monroe to El Paso; but with the coming of the iron horse, it too jumped into progressive life, and in 1884 began to assume all those pretensions which so soon bloomed into realities. It draws trade from a large area of this and the parishes of Claiborne, Lincoln and Jackson, and fosters a healthy principal in its business dealings which can not fail to be profitable in the end.
The neighborhood is one of the most fertile in all the highlands of Louisiana. It is capable of producing all the cereals, fruits, vegetables and grasses in abundance, although at present the attention of the majority of farmers is given to cotton, corn, sweet and Irish potatoes, sorghum and sugar cane. Crops vary according to the intelligence and energy of the planter, from twenty bushels of corn per acre to seventy-five bushels, and from one-half a bale to a bale and a half of cotton. The first two bales of new cotton were brought in on August 21, 1890, by P. Marsalis, of Claiborne Parish, and W. M. McCullen, of Lincoln Parish, and bought by A. L. Atkins. The former, being the first bale, brought 12 cents, classing good middling; the latter brought 11 cents. This makes the sixth year in succession that Mr. Atkins has bought the first bale of new cotton. Pine and hard wood abound, and iron ore, richer than that of Alabama, may be obtained in any quantity. The freight receipts amount approximately to $50,400. This includes the shipment of 11,000 bales of cotton. Its merchants are live, energetic and so the trade, amounting in the neighborhood to $550,000 has been secured.
The Arcadia State Bank was organized August 4, 1890, A. L. Atkins, president; Will Miller, vice president; John B. Talbert, cashier. The establishment of the bank is largely due to the efforts of Mr. Talbert, who with the officers named and the other directors, J. M. Colvin, J. D. Anderson, G. W. Roberson and F. M. Thornhill, have labored earnestly to build up the interests of the town. The stockholders who signed the charter are J. B. Talbert, Mrs. Ruth Talbert, W. M. Baker, John F. Button, I. N. Brown, Fannie K. Andrews, per J. G. Andrews, Joe S. Andrews, George W. Roberson, J. L. Baker, per George W. Roberson, J. W. Brice, per T. J. Tilley, A. C. Tilley, per T. J. Tilley, Brown & Tilley, Burnside Capers, T. Stacy Cajjers, J. D. Anderson, P. C. Wideman, per A. L. Atkins, T. J. Brooks, A. L. Atkins, Mrs. C. Yarborough, per Will Miller, G. D. Anderson, J. M. Colvin, per J. E. Colvin, Will Miller, W. H. Leslie, F.M. Thornhill and E.C. Drew. The United States post office was re established here in the month of September, 1866, with J. N. Bryant, master. The present town officers are: W. H. Leslie, mayor; A. L. Atkins, W. M. Baker and J. W. Roberson, trustees.
The Seminary was established in the year 1883, and was incorporated June 20, 1890, under the title Arcadia E. A. S. Male College, with the following named trustees: W. M. Baker, John W. Roberson and W. H. Leslie for three years; and W. P. Theus, A. L. Atkins and J. H. Jordan for two years, and Will Miller, George R. Sutton and A. E. Kennedy for one year.
The old faculty comprised E. A. Smith, president and instructor in language, mathematics and book-keeping; Mrs. Sallie Ritchie, in art, history, French and elocution; Miss Lizzie Sailes, in the primary department, English and penmanship; Charles Preslar, assistant in mathematics ; Miss Mollie E. Dias, assistant in primary and English, and Mrs. A. L. Du Bose in music, voice culture, piano and harmony.
The Arcadia Male and Female College was founded in 1886, with John W. Beeson, A. M., president ; Mrs. Anna F. Beeson, M. A., instructor in English, French, German, penmanship and calisthenics; Mrs. J. B. Conger, assistant in the collegiate department; Miss A. V. Wilson, principal of academic department; Mrs. J. C. Watkins, of the primary department; Miss C. G. Johnson, teacher of arts, elocution, and assistant in literary department; E. I. Schechtendal, director of music; P. W. Pottaway, normal and commercial department; Miss M. A. Dorman, kindergarten department. This institution is now known as the Arcadia Female College, and is governed by the directors or trustees named in the above act of incorporation.
Bienville is the appropriate name given to the new town, six miles east of Sparta, at the terminus of the Louisiana & Northwestern Railroad, southern extension. Already it shows signs of life, and expects to win the seat of justice.
John D. Anderson, cotton planter and miller, Arcadia, Ea. This gentleman, who was originally from Alabama, where his birth occurred on October 27, 1841, is the youngest of eight children, five daughters and three sons, born to D. E. and Abigail H. (Lumpkin) Anderson, both natives of Virginia, born in November, 1802, and 1799, respectively. The father could remember the War of 1812, and his grandfather was a soldier in that war. He died at the age of eighty two, and his wife at the age of eighty-three. Both received good common educations. The children are named as follows: May (who died in infancy), James E. (is married, and is a farmer by occupation), Elizabeth (deceased), W. M. (resides in Claiborne Parish, married, and is a farmer by occupation. Sarah Jane (deceased), Caroline resides in Texas and is the wife of T. N. Calhoun, who is an agriculturist), and Salina W. resides in Bienville Parish, and is the wife of J. P. White, who is a planter. John D. Anderson received a good, practical education in the country schools, and is a lover of good educational principles. When eighteen years of age he began as a laborer and without, a surplus dollar to his name.
He continued at this until 1801, when he enlisted in the "Arcadia Invincibles," and was assigned to the Twelfth Louisiana Infantry Volunteers, which was organized at Camp Moore. From there they were sent at once to Columbus, Ky., with Thomas Scott as colonel of the regiment, although Col. Standifer was afterward appointed in his place. Mr. Anderson was in every battle that his regiment took part in, and was in the following engagements: Belmont, Corinth, Vicksburg, Baker's Creek, etc.; they were around the site of Vicksburg for forty-eight days, and was then in the battle of Jackson; from there they went to Martin, Miss., thence to Atlanta, Ga., and Mr. Anderson was in all the terrible battles around the last named place; he was in the battle of Resaca, Kenesaw, and at the battle of Baker's Creek, near Vicksburg, he received a flesh wound in the shoulder, but was not disabled by it; he was in the battle of Peach Tree Creek, Franklin and Nashville, where he was captured. He was taken to Natchez, thence to Vicksburg, and from there to Alton, where he remained until the surrender. During the four years he was in service he was sick about one month of that time. After cessation of hostilities he returned home and embarked in agricultural pursuits. On February 1, 1800, he selected as his companion in life Miss E. J. Gloer, a native of Georgia, born October 15, 1841, and they became the parents of three children, all sons. The eldest died in infancy; Alonzo resides with his parents.
He is now a student at Lexington University, where he expects to graduate. He was a student at the Arcadia College for four years, and is a young gentleman who expects to make for himself a life which may prove a boon to himself and to his parents. Willie D. died while young. Mr. Anderson has always been a sterling Democrat, and, although he has not been active in politics, he still supports men of principle and integrity. He gives his hearty support to all enterprises for the interests of his county, and is one who is not backward in any good cause. Mrs. Anderson is a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, and an active worker in the same. They are the owners of 413 acres of land, and are also the owners of a ginning and grist plant, which cost him about $1,600. They have a neat and comfortable, Southern home, and here, surrounded by all that makes life happy, they will pass the remainder of their days.
Hon. Albert La Payette Atkins is so well known throughout this region, that his name is familiar to all. He was born in Claiborne Parish of this State, September 13,1850, being one of the following named children born to his parents: Seleny (wife of T. E. Bailey, a cotton planter of Claiborne Parish), Millie E. (wife of J. B. Walker, is an agriculturist of Claiborne Parish), M. M. (deceased), W. A. (a farmer of Claiborne Parish) Albert La Fayette, Cordelia (wife of W. G. Barnes, a druggist and planter of Claiborne Parish), Joshua T. (who died at the age of three years, ten months and nine days) and Millard W. (who is a successful agriculturist), The father of these children was born in Giles County, Middle Tennessee in 1818, and throughout life followed agriculture as a means of livelihood, and speculated in real estate in which he accumulated a handsome fortune. He passed from life on September 12, 1884, but is survived by his widow, who has attained the advanced age of seventy-three years.
Albert La Payette Atkins was given the advantage of a complete common school education, and has always been a pronounced friend of educational institutions of all kinds. He devoted his odd moments to reading and study, and is what the world terms, a self-made man, as is indicated by his marked success as a business man. When eighteen years of age he began cotton planting for himself, but soon launched out as an attorney at law, and commenced reading under Gen. John Young, who is a well known barrister of Homer, La. He then went to Texas, and completed his law course, there receiving his diploma to practice. He then returned home for a rest, but on account of injury to his eyes, caused by hard study, he was persuaded to relinquish his chosen profession, and he at once embarked in the commercial world as a general merchant in Athens, La., in 1873, under the well known name of Simmons & Atkins. He purchased Mr. Simmons' interest one year afterward, and remained at this place until January 1, 1885, when he came to Arcadia, of which place he has been the leading merchant and prime motor of all worthy enterprises, which have given it a more important place among the commercial cities of Northwestern Louisiana. He is associated with Mr. P. C. Wideman in the proprietorship of a fine general stock of goods, and owing to their pluck, enterprise, and honorable dealing they have, in the five years they have been in Arcadia, built up an excellent reputation throughout Claiborne, Bienville, Union, Lincoln, Jackson, Winn and Natchitoches Parishes.
Their annual sales have been almost phenomenal and amounted to $175,000 during 1889. Mr. Atkins is one of the most extensive cotton purchasers in Arcadia, which place, it would be well to state, is the third principal cotton mart in the State of Louisiana, the purchasers for Atkins & Co., buying one-third of all the cotton coming to the city. Mr. Atkins is the president of the Arcadia State Bank, which was organized September 15, 1890.
The other officers are William Miller, vice-president; J. F. Talbert, cashier, and the following directors: J. M. Colvin, P. M. Thornhill, John D. Anderson and G. W. Roberson. Their paid-up capital amounts to $30,000, and their authorized capital $50,000. Mr. Atkins was married October 5, 1876, to Miss Ella Marsalis, who was born in Louisiana, in 1800, by whom he has six children: Alvin (who died at the age of eighteen months), Darius (aged eleven years), Prentiss (aged nine years), Eookh (aged six), Clay (aged three), and a baby daughter.
Mr. Atkins has always been a Democrat, and his official career was commenced in 1876, as a member of the police jury, bub in 1879, he was elected to the State Legislature from Claiborne Parish, a position he filled with credit for four years. He is now directing his energies to his extensive business interests in Claiborne and Bienville Parishes. Socially he is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and is a Master Mason, being also a member of the K. of P. order. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and are highly honored residents of this section. He owns some 5,000 acres of land besides his large mercantile interests, the management of which keeps him constantly employed. He is the honored president of both the Male and Female Colleges of Arcadia, and is the president of the board of education, having held the chair for the last four and a half years. He is one of the five trustees of the town council, and is president of the Louisiana Land Company which was incorporated by the State laws with a capital of $100,000. It is incorporated under a regular board of directors. He is also president of the Board of Trade of Arcadia, and in numerous other ways he has taken a prominent and leading part in her interests and enterprises, no man in the parish more so, and for this as well as for other things he is honored by all who know him.
Jesse Lewis Baker, general merchant, Mount Lebanon, La. Mr. Baker, whose life has been an active one, and who has by his own industry and good business management secured a substantial footing among the citizens of this community, was born in Bienville Parish, La., February 15, 1850, being the fourth of fourteen children, nine now living. Those living are named as follows: William T. (married, and engaged in farming in Bienville Parish), B. P. (married, and is engaged in merchandising), Angle D. (resides in Bienville, and is the wife of J. C. Brice), Sallie (resides in Arcadia, and is the wife of Dr. D. R. Sheliss), Eliza (resides in Mount Lebanon, and is the wife of D. D. King, who is an agriculturist), Egan and Susie (twins, the former is married and engaged in merchandising, but Susie is deceased), Wimberly (resides in Bienville Parish, is married, and is a farmer), and Addie (who resides in Bosia, and is the wife of James L. Keith, who is a farmer). The parents of these children, Lewis Wimberly and Ann (Pitman) Baker, were natives of South Carolina and Georgia, and born in 1815 and 1825, respectively. The father has followed farming all his life and is living, seventy-five years of age. The mother died at the age of sixty years. Jesse Lewis Baker supplemented a common-school education by a general course in Mount Lebanon College. In 1871, or when twenty-two years of age, he began for himself as a salesman in a mercantile establishment, and on July 23, 1877, he was wedded to Miss
Mary W. Williamson, a native of Louisiana, born in 1860. The fruits of this union were six children, two sons and four daughters, Bertha (resides at home and is attending the Mount Lebanon College), Myrtle (is also attending that college), the next (an infant) died, Pitman (deceased), Angie K. fifth (living), sixth (infant) deceased. Mr. Baker is a Democrat in his political views, and, although he has not been an active or radical politician, his aim has always been to support superior men. He is business manager of Mount Lebanon College, is a member of the board of trustees, and is director of public schools in Ward No. 2 of Bienville Parish. He has been closely connected with Mount Lebanon College ever since he has been a resident.
Mr. and Mrs. Baker are members of the Baptist Church, and are the workers and supporters of the Sunday school, the stronghold of the church. Mr. Baker is the sole owner and proprietor of the large general store at Mount Lebanon, La., and carries a full and complete stock of all kinds of general goods. His annual sales average about $45,000. He is well and favorably known all over the parish, and his pleasant, agreeable manners have won for him a good patronage and many warm friends. Aside from this he is the owner of 3,000 acres of land and one-half interest in the large firm of Baker & Robertson, of Arcadia, also $40,000 stock in Mount Lebanon College.
William Madison Baker, M. D., is well known as a leading and successful physician and surgeon of the town of Arcadia, La., and although this place has been his home for some time, he was born in Claiborne Parish, La., November 19, 1852, the eldest of a family of five children, the other members of the family being: John H. (who is married and a cotton planter of Claiborne Parish, La.); J. E. (who is married and also follows the same occupation there); Sallie (wife of Col. J. W. Nicholson, president of the State university at Baton Rouge); and Early (who died in infancy). The parents of these children were Georgians, the former being a cotton planter, and during the latter part of his life a merchant. He is still living, and is a resident of Arcadia, but since his wife's death, at the age of fifty-three years, he has been a widower. The early education of Dr. Baker was obtained in the common schools, but he completed his literary knowledge in Arizona, La., when Prof. Nicholson, now president of the State University, was principal, the institution being known to all native Louisianans, as the best in the State at that time. He left this school to take up fully the study of medicine, which he had already begun, and began reading under the renowned Dr. James M. Scaife, his uncle, being fitted in 1872 to enter the medical department of Tulane University, where he took a full course, graduating in 1874, in a class of about sixty-five, receiving a diploma in all the different phases of medicine and surgery. He at once began practicing at Arizona, Claiborne Parish, near his old home, and here he remained until 1886, during which time he became widely known as a physician of far more than ordinary ability and intelligence.
Since that time he has resided in the town of Arcadia, engaged as a pharmacist exclusively the last few years, his line of drugs being very complete, and his establishment handsomely appointed. All the property that he now owns has been acquired through his own energy, tact and ability, for on starting in life for himself he had no means. He was married November 29, 1874, to Miss Eugenia M. Jordan who was born in Lee County, Ga., January 22, 1854, a graduate of Homer Masonic Female College, of which Prof. Wilcox was president, completing her education in 1872. To the Doctor and his wife the following children have been born: Lou Annie, (an attendant of the Female College of Arcadia); Clara W. (also in that institution); Willie Clyde (deceased), Talmage, Sallie and Archie. The Doctor and his wife prepare their children for college entrance, and do not believe in bringing children too early into school work. Mrs. Baker is a thorough scholar and a practical instructor, which is very fortunate for her little children.
The Doctor has always been a Democrat, and has always endeavored to cast his vote for men of honor and integrity. He belongs to Arcadia Lodge No. 126, F. & A. M. and also is a member of the K. of P. lodge. He and his wife are earnest members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and are deeply interested in Sunday school work, (he Doctor teaching a class of the representative, young ladies of the town. His home in Arcadia is an ideal one, and here true hospitality is extended to all, rich and poor alike. He is a member of the board of education of Arcadia, of the E. A. S. Male College, and of the Arcadia Female College, and is also a city councilman. He and his wife expect to make their future home here, for here their interests are centered, and here have sprung up around them numerous friends.
Prof. John Wesley Beeson is the successful and deservedly popular president of the Arcadia Female College. He was born March 31, 1860, in De Kalb County (now Etowah), Ala., his father, William Baker Beeson, being also a native Alabamian. His father's parents were English people of high standing, but they died when he was a small lad, and he was thrown entirely upon his own resources for a livelihood. Being of a studious disposition, and possessing great determination and perseverance, he obtained a good English education and a fair competency, but not sufficient to educate his children as he wished. He held the rank of captain during the Secession War, and is now a planter of Big Wills Valley, Etowah County, Ala., where he has become distinguished for his uprightness and integrity. His wife, mother of the subject of this sketch, formerly Mary Sibert, is a member of an old and substantial family who came from the Palmetto State, her father being a wealthy planter, and an excellent citizen. Their son, John Wesley Beeson, was the fourth of their eleven children, and was brought up to a farm life, being taught to do all kinds of work. After attending school for one year he would be compelled to work fully as long on the farm, and in this way his muscles were developing the same time as his brain. At the age of fourteen years his father told him he might work for himself, and with his earnings send himself to school; as he had not the means to give all of his children a higher education, he wished to educate his daughters, and to encourage his boys to educate themselves, knowing that self-help was the best kind of help, thus creating at an early age a spirit of independence. John Wesley immediately rented some land of his father, on the same terms as did his other renters, and by this means was enabled to enter the University of Alabama in 1881, when only fifteen years of age, having previously acquired a good common school education.
During the summer vacations he devoted his time to teaching school, his first term being taught at the age of sixteen years, and if he lacked sufficient means to carry him through the next session, his father would supply the deficiency, which money would be refunded to him by John W., when he had sufficient means. In his junior year at the university he was compelled to remain out of college the whole year so as to make money to finish his course, as his father was unable to assist him, and secured a position as teacher in the town of Attalla, giving universal satisfaction to pupils and patrons. Although he was but seventeen years of age at this time, he appeared to be at least twenty-five, so settled and dignified were his ways, and even at this time he manifested a special talent for teaching, and was very fond of the work. He entered college at fifteen, unprepared and under the required age, but was admitted on trial and soon rose to distinction in his class, being often pointed out by Dr. Wyman, professor of Latin and acting president, as being an example of what hard study and close application could do.
Even to this day his career is pointed to with affection and pride by the Doctor. He made the highest stand of any in his class in Latin and Greek, and tried with three others for honors in mathematics. He was a leader in the Young Men's Christian Association, and stood firm in his convictions amid all the temptations of a university career. He was graduated in 1880 with honors, and was recommended above any member in his class of fifty young men, to take charge of the Arcadia Male and Female College which was then in its incipiency. He assumed control of it under adverse circumstances, for he was then only twenty years of age, and it had an opposition school, already in charge of an old, experienced teacher, and although the enrollment at first only amounted to thirty-eight, he did not despair, but set energetically, and with the persistency which had ever characterized his efforts to work to improve matters.
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