Winn 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. I wanted to transcribe it. Spacing, format and some clean up was done to fit our webpage design. The following is not a reproduction of the original. Please report typing errors.
Winn Parish is bounded on the west by Saline Bayou Saline Lake and Red River on the south by the north line of Grant Parish, on the east by Little River, an north by the southern line of Jackson and Bienville Parishes The greater part of Winn is long-leaf pine forest, containing great quantity of excellent timber The lands roll heavily, and partake of a hilly character. There are many flats here, marked by salt springs, such as Price's Lick Drake's Salt Works on Saline Bayou, Cedar Lick near Winnfield* the Kyiche Creek bottoms, Pendarvis Prairie in the fork of Dugdemona River, and Bayou Castor and other places. Of the total area, 970 square miles, the long-leaf pine country covers 850 square miles, the oak uplands 90 square miles, and prairie patches 30 square miles. In 1879 there were 22,548 acres in cultivation, of which 17,379 acre were in cotton, 8,588 acres in corn, 250 acres in sweet potatoes, 41 acres in sugar cane, and 4 acre in rice. There were 3,002 bales of cotton produced averaging 585 pounds of seed cotton, or 195 pounds of cotton lint. The cotton grows fro four to six feet in height, W. T. Jones, of Winnfield states that fresh land will yield about 1,00 pounds of seed cotton per acre, and after fifteen years will still continue to yield 800 pounds per acre. (* The publishers have thought best to follow the orthography of the post office Department. The name is often, and quite properly spelled with only one " n.")
The pine lands present an area of great trees, capable of supplying all the mills of the country for some years, or a large number of extensive mills in their midst for a quarter of a century. Within five miles of Winnfield, near the old Mathis house on the Natchitoches road, is what is known as the Marble Quarry, it is a beautiful variegated stone of the lime-rock variety, and, when burned, makes an excellent White lime. The quarry was developed by Samuel L. Houston. The rock is found here in sufficient quantity to yield lime for the whole State. In the Coocbee Hills, near the south line, a marble is found which takes a very fine polish. The asphalt lands, south of Winnfield, are extensive and the mineral is said to be as good as The Swiss asphalt. Along the bayous, Saline and Dugdamona, are the salt springs, some of which were developed before and during the war. The Drake well (artesian) was drilled at least forty years ago, and Drake established his saw and grist mills there. He also cleaned out Saline Bayou and shipped salt and lumber to the Red River and thence to market.
The silver mine, near Winnfield, the property of William H. Jack, is said to be rich in ore. In 1881 William H, Boult, discovered in Section 19, Township 11, Range 3, near the limekiln of war days, a large cave. John Matthews, the owner of the land, states that before the month of this cave lowered in 1871, the heaviest rock would be removed therefrom during the night.
The population in 1880 was 5,846, or 4,767 White and 1,049 Colored. In 1870 there were 4,044 White and 9051 Colored, and in 1800, 5,481 Whites and 1,354 slaves and 41 free Colored, or a total of 6,176. The population in 1889. according to assessor's statistics, was 8,387, while in 1890 the United States census enumerators found only 7,082 inhabitants.
The parish is well watered by the tributaries of Little River, flowing southeast, namely Beancoup Bayou, Cane Creek, Dugdemona, meandering through the northeast half of the parish, Big Jatt and other streams in the southwest quarter flowing into Jatt Lake, and several small streams flowing into Saline Bayou and lake. The bayous bounding the parish on the east and west are navigable streams, except during the seasons of low water.
When Bienville and St. Denys returned to the Fort of Biloxi they found that the country through which they intended to travel was under water, so that they turned to the village of the Ouachita's. Here they learned that the greater number of the tribe had gone to the Natchitoches. Going thither they met six Natchitoches carrying salt to the Coroa Indians of the Yazou. After this visit the troubles with the Choctaws and other Indians began, the tribes became movable bodies of men, women, children and camp followers.
The earliest settlements in this division of Louisiana were made on Red River and on the Saline, years before the country was surveyed, as told in the history of Natchitoches and Rapides. The Indians of the Pascagoula and Choctaw tribes as well as bands of Tunicas and other resident savages, found pleasant and profitable hunting grounds along; the rivers and on the highlands of this parish until the jingle of the surveyor's chain signaled the approach of what is termed civilization. Toward the close of the third decade of this century a new race appeared, and within a period, not exceeding twenty years, spread their claims over the greater area of productive lands, drove out the Indian and the animals which he hunted simultaneously, and won complete control of the territory of the Dugdemona.
The section of Winn in the Natchitoches Land District, as established in 1838, comprised all from Township 5) north, Range 4 west, up to Township 13 north, Range 5 west, and in the Ouachita Land District from Township 10 north, Range 1 east, to Township 13 north, in that range, with Township 11, in Range 2 east, and Townships 10 to 13, in Range 1, west; Townships 10, 11 , 12 and 13, in Range 2 west, and the same townships in Range 3 west.
The early land buyers in eastern Winn (part of Ouachita and New Orleans Land District) were: John Cooper, T. F. Smith, John A. Roberts, T. J. Farnell (killed during the war), Daniel Boyett, John G. Whitehead, Menan Monk, James Crawford, Jack S. Hewett. George C. Couch, A. J. Nelson, J. L. W. Brittain, T. J. Haddock, Thomas Davis (murdered during the war by bushwhackers), Adam Tyrone, Allen McCarthy, Joseph Peters (Samuel Herrin and John Tyrone entered lands in 1840), R. D. Wall, Isaac, George, Christian and Adam Riser (Christian Riser was killed about 1864), W. Lee (1850), Charles W. Bullock (1841), B. J. Boyett, (killed about 1861), Allen Jenkins (1840), Jacob Riser (1839), Joseph West William and James Kelly, Keddick Blake, S. N. West, James Rentz, Richard Colo (1840), Charles Peters, Leroy Harvey, Squire E. Hart, Henry and D. G. King, Jacob E. Willis, Lemuel Bullock (1840), Willis and Pleasant Smith, W. A. Griffin, Thomas W. Ramsey, Matthew Devoe, George Starks (killed during the war), George H. Woodruff, D. A. Mills, Wade A. Wright, D. M. Wharton, James T. Gilmore (died during the war), George W. Harvey, Matthew Devore, Edwin Holley, Egbert H. De Loach, (came in 1830), Zatter Johnson, Joseph Williams, John Cockerham, William Caves, James A. Carroll, Jesse F. Gullidge, Harbin Smith, Edmund Price, Absalom and Alex Wall, Bryant Smith, Thomas and James Richardson, Martin Smith, William T. Beall, J. M. Lang, William T. Bell, S. I. Collins, C. N. Mercer, Marshall Jones, Sr., Hugh W. Holmes, J. L. McGinty, George W. Dyess (killed at, Mansfield), Joshua P. Willis, James M. Thornton, Joseph B. Adams (ex-sheriff succeeded in 1887), Henry Rolen, Willis McCarthy, Shadrack Emmons, Lemuel Alford, J. H. Beavers, T. James, William Caves, J. L. Clark, John E. Bradley, George M. Sowers, George Bohanon, Zack Boyd, J. E. Lucas, Dan Southern, William Hatten, E. Tatum, Ben Thompson, Elisha W. Sims, Wilson Thomas, B. G. Adams, A. J. Perkins, L. L. Thomas, Jacob Shelton (killed by John Dove in 1870), Ed Eagles, Hollon Miller, Bryan Bailey, C. E. Slocumb, James Arlington, James P. Swindle, Adoniram Lyons, Thomas D. Milling (an old merchant of Winnfield), James Durham, William AppleWhite, William T. Mathis, George W. Gray, Q. A. Hargis, John Rayborn, Leander Walker, H. M. and Nathan Bolton, Spencer Wyatt, E. P. Martin, Darling P. Morris, J. T. Teagle, M. G. Jackson, Richard B. Williams, D. Williamson, James Brock, C. G. Campbell, Andrew J. Kelly, John H. Bilbs, Jacob Langston, A. D. Reeks, Reuben Drake (owner of salt works), Samuel Earnest, T. A. Jourdan, Dr. I. B. Payne, Luca Radescich, D. M. Tannehill, Pleasant, Mulligan, J. M. Smith, P. Shumake, A. J. Welton, T. L. Terry, George Starks, J. J. Hearn, J. E. Tison, G. W. Horn, W. M. McDonald, A. Violett, John T Murrell, James R. Bevill, Dave Peoples, J. C. Compton, Jesse Womack, G. J. L. Brown, William Crump, William Holten, L. M. Hatten, Elisha Pepper, Albert Churchill, J. D. Denegre, Michael J. Gaar, M. L. Cottingham, J. M. Grant, W. E. Gaar, J. S. Dickenson, I. Parker, Christian Lewis, E. P. Foster, E. Pruett, Thomas Johns, W. Wilson, Ben, John and William Albright, S. M. Shillings, S. S. Stevens, Mason Jones, E. A. Key, W. Pennywell, J. McGee, B. McMillan, B. P. Smith, T. S. Collier, J. B. Lemoine, T. P. Swofford, J. G. Teagle, Nathan Balton, A. C. Banks, W. J. Teddlie, D. J. Warner, J. D. Buttell, Syl. G. Milam, Elisha Walker, James W. Holston, E. L. Stovall, David Caldwell, David Hagler, William Stone, John O. Morris, Alphonso Stinson (representative in the seventies), Goodrich Terrill, A. C. Davis, J. M. Wasson, John Welch, T. Moffitt, Samuel L. Dean, J. T. Milam, A. E. Hardee, Joseph Sass (1839) and Christian Lewis. [Webmaster's note: Please contact me to correct spelling errors of names.]
In 1838 the first land entries were made in the eastern (Natchitoches District) townships of the parish. The first buyers in Township 9, Range 4, were Robert H. Rogers, J. R. Brady (1850), J. T. Hickman (1851), Benjamin F. Butler and T. S. Woodward (1855). In 1840 Benjamin Metoyer entered lands in Township 9, Range 5; Joseph Thompson, Jared J. Brady, Willis B. Neal, T. G. McCracken, Onezireme Rachal, Lemuel McGee, William Prothro, Wolcott A. Strong, Lorenzo De Soto, William H. Strong, Charles Noyret, John Waddell, Jean B. Prudhomme (1839), Edward Hughson, A. J, Upshaw, J. S. Hooter, Maj. Lyon, R. L. Eubank, Diana Spencer, Haynes Wad doll (1839), Richard W. Hertzog (1839), Ambroise Lecompte (1839), James Harper (1840). Township 10, Range 0: Ambroise Sompayrac (1839), Peter McDaniel (1841), McCally Franks (1840), Samuel Hobart (1839), William O'Neil, James Ratcliff, William Miles, J. W. W. Durbin (1859). J. A. Rains, James Irvin (1857), Pernoce Radeschich, William Carter, Allen Cockerham, H. W. Shows, Solomon Aswell, Franklin Kelly, Everett Bates, J. B. Lowe, James L. Williams, Josiah H. Lacey, Marshall Frazier (1838), J. J. Liles, William Cloud, Elizabeth Brantley, William E. Tanner, Allen P. Morris, Abbott Mixon, J. A. Robeson, Cassa McCarthy, Conrad Starkes, Abram Brady, William Barnes, W. I. Kidd, C. B. Parsons, J. J. Green, G. W. Harville, Robert Underwood, J. G. Elliott, Wiseman Box, J. M. Hodges, William Ross, William Hogan, Zachins Lard, Joseph Hadden, Noah Cloud, A. K. Hagnie, John Babers and G. D. Clifton.
Winn Parish was established under legislative authority in 1851, and organized in 1852. The first meeting of the police jury was held in a log building erected for court-house purposes in 1851/1852. Subsequently a more pretentious house was erected, and in it, the sessions of the police jury and district court were held until 1808, when fire destroyed both building and records. Another public building was erected, but the same fate awaited it, for, on January 12, 1888, this house and the records of twenty years were destroyed. E. W. Edwards, the first clerk, served from 1852 to 1850, when John A. Dixon succeeded him. John L. Walker followed, and in 1865 was re-commissioned, with R. B. Williams, recorder, and John C. Brown, sheriff. E. D. Wall was assessor from 1852 to the beginning of the war; E. C. Jones in 1866-67, and W. Shoemaker in 1808. Messrs. Simms, C. Riser, M. Jones and Stovall were among the early members of the police jury E. B. Williams was parish treasurer up to 1870. James M. McCain filled the position of district clerk for a short time, and in April, 1868, R. C. Jones was commissioned. The last named has filled that position down to the present time. In 1870 he also held the position of treasurer until succeeded by J. T. Wallace. W. A. Little, R. E. Milling and J. C. Roberts have served as treasurers in the order named, and in 1888 J. M. Jennings was appointed. A. C. Banks followed W. Shoemaker as assessor. S. M. Brian was then chosen, then G. L. Stinson, next E. L. Jackson, who was succeeded by the present assessor, J. T. Wallace. In 1870 E. L. Tannehill was elected sheriff, and D. Dunn recorder. The sheriff was re-elected in 1878. J. M. Jones was chosen representative; J. P. Kelly, senator, and W. J. Wilson, parish judge.
The oldest record of the police jury in existence is dated October 4, 1880. S. M. Smith was then president; J. G. Whitehead, W. B. Everett, F. M. McCain, J. W. Jones, J. T. Wallace and John Stinson, jurors, and J. T. Wallace, clerk. In 1881 J. J. Peters and Jacob Rowe were members. Among old claims granted were those of J. J. Peters (1876), W. D. Smith (1879) and A. W. Pierre (1876), for services as police jurors. E. C. Jones was treasurer in 1881. In 1882 W. J. Sowers represented Ward 3, and J. T. Wallace was treasurer. During the fall of 1883 the smallpox extended into this parish. Dr. J. F. Kelly was appointed executive officer of the board of health; quarantine was established, and $100 granted for the relief of sufferers from the epidemic. W. A. Little was treasurer in 1883-84. S. M. Smith, J. M. Jones, J. G. Whitehead, W. J. Sowers, F. M. McCain, Jacob Rowe and J. J. Peters were jurors in 1884, and W. H. Morris succeeded John Stinson later that year, with S. M. Smith, J. I. Holmes, J. M. Jones, W. A. Strong, J. W. Jones, J. R. Bird and J. D. Williams.
In 1878 the total assessment was $238,821, and in 1883, $472,475. In January, 1885, J. L. Durham was a member of the jury. The present police jury comprises Edward Eagles (president), J. M. Peters, E. D. Wall, I. Porter, A. J. Pranks, J. G. Till. W. Y, McCain and John Stinson; Henry Bernstein is clerk. The parish tax levy is 4 mills, and State levy, 6 mills. John Wamack was the first representative from Winn Parish; J. William Walker (1859) was elected before the war. David Pearson was delegate from Winn to the convention of January, 1861, and he voted against secession, and W. H. Hough represented Winn, Catahoula and Caldwell in the Senate. Messrs. Waddell, Dr. D. C. Pouts, Alphonse Stinson, W. A. Strong, George A. Kelly (1876), J. M. Jones and J. M. McCain, who was elected in 1888. George A. Kelly served as senator for some time, until succeeded by Senator Boatner. In 1860 this parish recorded 354 votes for Breckinridge, 200 for Bell and 240 for Douglas.
The vote for governor in 1870 was as follows; Francis T. Nicholls (D.) 556, S. B. Packard (R.) 78; in 1879, Louis A. Wiltz (D.) 720, Taylor Beattie (B.) 2; in 1884, S. D. McEnery (D.) 812, John A. Stevenson (E.), 12; Francis T. Nicholls (D.) 1,190, Henry C. Warmoth (E.) 83. The voters registered in April, 1888, numbered 1,375. Of this number 1,194 were Caucasians. Of the Caucasians there were 338, and of the Africans, 140, that could not write their names.
The first lawyers of Winn were David Pearson, Daniel Kelly and Beldon, who settled in the parish prior to the war. Afterward came William Roberts, who resided in the parish for a few years. S. M. Brian, W. A. Little and M. F. Machen settled here before the days of reconstruction vanished. In later years E. E. Milling and J. C. Roberts became members of the local bar. Crockett Jones studied law at Winnfield and Natchitoches, but has not yet been admitted to the bar. A few heavy criminal cases have been tried here, but the criminal calendar is generally light in the number and character of cases brought before the courts.
The era of the West Gang was a dramatic one in many respects. In 1868 the murders and robberies by this gang became so numerous, that the people were driven to take coercive measures. W. J. Wilson, who lived in the Atlanta neighborhood, suspected the Wests and others of being engaged in some mysterious work, and this suspicion led to positive belief in the criminal character of the men. Early in 1868 the arrest of the Dean family, by the self-appointed officers of the gang, raised a storm of indignation. The people from Atlanta turned out, under J. A. Maybin. to effect the capture of the desperadoes; while men from Winnfield and other points marched toward the West settlement, under their leaders. John A. West, Grosvenor Thompson, Ingram and four of their comrades were shot down; Lawson Kimball escaped, but was afterward banged in Texas, while Bill Kimball was killed by Gen. McLaughlin. Frane and Gilchrist were considered members of this robber gang, but their end can not be ascertained. It is said that some leading citizens of Natchitoches were interested in the success of West and his comrades, and an expedition was planned to abduct them from the town, and give them a trial before the people's court in the pine woods. Wiser counsels prevailed and the people were content with the dispersal or death of the robbers.
The first newspaper published in Winn Parish, was the Southern Sentinel, issued October 4, 1860, by J. L. Walker, as the champion of Douglas in this section of the State. The large vote polled for the Sentinel's nominee in the parish points out what could be accomplished to avert war, were the moderate men of both parties to join hands. After the campaign this paper ceased publication. The Southern Sentinel (second) was issued September 29, 1883, by B. W. Ashwood, at Winnfield. The paper was to be issued on the 22nd, but, owing to the non-arrival of press and material, the first paper was not printed until the 29th. On January 25, 1884, E. B. Milling and W. A. Strong were editors, with Mr. Milling, S. M. Brian, J. B. Willis, B. W. Ashwood. T. J. James, R. L. Jackson, A. , L. Jones, Dr. J. F. Kelly, R. L. Tannehill, J. M. Williamson and W. A. Strong, members of the Winnfield Publishing Company, owners. In March,| 1884, S. M. Brian was editor. J. T. Wallace took charge in March, 1885, and was succeeded in January, 1887, by C. K. Jones.
The Winn Parish Democrat was established in December, 1887, by J. T. Wallace and C. M. Beval. O. T. Bird purchased Mr. Beval's interest in July, 1888, and in December, 1889, E. A. Mathis succeeded Mr. Bird. J. T. Wallace was editor until September 20, 1890, when the office was purchased by H. L. Brian, and the last number of the Democrat issued.
The Winn Parish Comrade was issued October 3, 1890, by Hardy L. Brian, who continued the volume and issue number of the Democrat. The Comrade is devoted to the interests of the farmers, and is in fact, the organ of the Farmers' Union in this parish.
Company C (Winn Rifles), Third Louisiana Infantry, was mustered into the Confederate service with the regiment in May, 1861, with D. Pierson, captain (promoted lieutenant-colonel); Asa Emanuel, first lieutenant; W. C. Lurry, second lieutenant; W. Strather, second junior lieutenant; N. M. Middlebrook, first sergeant; A. W. McCain, second sergeant; W. H. Alford, third sergeant, and J. Copeland, fourth sergeant. McCain was killed at Inka September 19, 1862, and Alvord at Elk Horn, March 7, 1862, while First Sergeant Middlebrook was wounded at Oak Hills and at Vicksburg, but recovering was elected captain May S, 1802, and W. T. Fagan, second lieutenant.
The deaths among members of this company, reported up to the close of 1865, are given as follows: A. W. McCain and W. H. Alvord, already referred to; W. Bulger, died at Camp McCullock, Ark., in July, 1861; J. Sholurs, J. Crew and H. Bonnet, in August, 1861; B. Cockerham, George Dunn, John Teagle, W. Collum, at Fort Smith, in June, 1861; H. M. Crew, killed at Inka September 19, 1862; W. F. Davis, died at Corinth in May, 1862; W. A. Hallamon. killed at Vicksburg; B. F. Philpot, killed at Inka; G. W. Philpot, died at Mount Vernon, Mo.; W. E. Smith and T. J. Teddles were killed at Vicksburg.
Capt. J. C. Dixon's company of Twelfth Louisiana Infantry was organized in the fall of 1861. Capt. Dixon was promoted major. Capt. Cooper's Company F of Twenty-seventh Louisiana Infantry, Capt. William Stovall, Dr. Wesley Cockerham and John Watson were lieutenants; George A. Kelly, John Albright, Wade E. Wright and William Price, sergeants; Capt. Cooper was major at surrender, and William Stovall, captain. The company was mustered in 1862 at New Orleans, 100 strong, but owing to losses at Vicksburg and other places only forty men reported after the fall of Vicksburg.
In the Twenty-eighth Louisiana Infantry were three companies from Winn. Company E was commanded in May, 1862, by J. T. Lewis, who was killed at Mansfield in 1864, and J. W. Barnes took his place. G. W. Dyass (died) was first (succeeded by J. W. Robertson), Jesse Gulledge (succeeded by E. C. Jones) and Joel G. Gulledge (succeeded by D. M. Stone), lieutenants. The strength at organization was ninety, of whom little over thirty returned after the war.
Capt. Bradford's company of the Twenty-eighth was partly raised in this parish. Company K was organized in May, 1862, with William Walker, captain, promoted to colonel; Darling Morris was subsequently captain; James Walker, Austin Banks and Edwards, lieutenants. The company suffered severely, so that of the original company about twenty-five men returned. This company served on the D i a n a " gunboat, where many members were killed. Company G was' commanded by Capt. David Hardy with Lieuts. Sharp, Joseph Robins and Charles Fitz. There were several desertions from Companies E and K to the Union ranks.
The public school system of this parish is similar to that of neighboring divisions of the State, very primitive. The White pupils enrolled in Winn Parish in 1877 numbered 281; in 1878, 452; in 18751, 887: in 1880, 290; in 1882, 5518; in 1884, 930; in 1885, 778, and in 1887, 1,094. In 1877 there were sixty Colored pupils enrolled; in 1878,52; in 18751, 117; in 1880,44; in 1884, 40; in 1885, 139. and in 1887, 44. A slight increase marks the three past years, while a shortening of the terms of school is also noticed. A few private schools exist in the parish. The school board of Winn in February, 1880, comprised J. J. Dickerson, president; J. M. Able, secretary; C. P. Mathis, W. H. Morris, A. L. Jones and J. L. Durham, members; S. M. Brian, R. E. Milling and J. T. Wallace were appointed an examining committee. The present school board comprises James Smith, J. E. Till. J. W. Wasson, D. H. Shumake, C. A. Neal and a few of the old members.
The physicians of Grant Parish who registered under the act of 1882, were Thomas O. Harrison, St. Maurice; Charles A. Neal, Atlanta; John H. Morris, Newport; Neal J. Little, Atlanta; Joel G. Gulledge, Flat Creek, removed; William S. King, Hickory Valley, removed; John W. Robertson, Gaar's Mill; John McDonald, Gansville; John W. Shumaker, Flat Creek; Drury D. White, Hickory Valley; Spencer McDaniel "Smith, Winfield; Albert G. Satcher, Bermuda; David B. Williams, Flat Creek; Robert P. Morgan, Atlanta; Thomas W. Mask, Winnfield.
The physicians, with diplomas, who registered under the same act are named as follows: Francis N. Brian, University of Louisiana, 1884; John F. Kelly, New Orleans School of Medicine, 1867; Charles S. Smith, Louisville Medical College, 1885; Charles K. Wilcox, University of Louisiana, 1875; Samuel S. Godfrey, Louisville Medical College, 1885; David H. Caldwell, Memphis Medical College, 1887; John S. McBride, Louisville Medical College, 1880 Wesley B. Mask, Hospital Medical College, Memphis, 1888; Thomas J. Milam, Hospital Medical College, Memphis, 1889. Agricultural Associations found a permanent home in Winn Parish early in the seventies. The Grange, then established here, has been carried down to the present time.
Silver Steel Grange of Gansville, was organized in 1874, and is still in existence. The old grange at Gaar's Mill joined the modern Alliance. So strong was the Winnfield representation in the State during the year 1883, that the State Grange met at Gaar's Mill in 1883, and at St. Maurice in 1884. The Winn Parish Farmers' Union was chartered November 28, 1888, the directors being E. L. Tannehill, W. A. Smith, S. R. Newsom, J. H. Crawford, H. C. Mixon, H. L. Brian and J. B. Wood. This is now a powerful organization, politically and commercially. Winnfield is contemporary with the parish; for here the seat of justice was established, when the parish was organized. The town is in the midst of one of the greatest pine forests of the continent; but immediately surrounding it are some good plantations, while tributary to it are a few large and prosperous agricultural sections.
The oldest institution of the parish is Eastern Star Lodge, No. 151, A. F. & A. M. This lodge was chartered February 12, 1858, and among its charter members were men who were prominent in the civil and military history of the parish. William Walker, Asa Emanuel, G. W. Hicks, C. B. Parsons, William Luckey, J. W. Stovall, E. W. Edwards, Samuel Earnest, Benjamin Ussery, Philip Bernstein, John A. Mathis, James Brock and Joseph I. Green. This lodge now claims fifty-two members, and owns half of the Kelly building, in the upper part of which is the Masonic hall. The postmasters are named as follows: William Walker, 1860; John A. Dixon, 1861; W. J. Edwards, 1862; J. L. Bridges. 1863; J. E. Bevill, 1864-70; J. A. Dixon, 1871; Joshua P. Cook, 1872; S. M. Brian, 1873; Denis Mackie, 1874; S. M. Brian, 1875-81; S. M. Smith, 1882; W. E. Little, 1885; E. E. Milling, 1886, and Joseph Smith, 1887. J. T. Wallace elected in 1888 is now master. Temperance, literary and social organizations have sprung up and disappeared, leaving Eastern Star Lodge in possession of the field. The post-office dates back to the beginning of the town. During the war, postal service was partially suspended, but in September, 1880, the United States reopened the office with Absalom Wade in charge.
The Winnfield Male and Female school, was presided over in 1885, with Prof. E. Davies, principal; Mrs. E. Davis, assistant teacher, and Mrs. Ida Milling, department of music. The trustees are Dr. J. F. Kelly, president; W. A. Little, secretary; W. J. Sowers, R. L. Tannehill and S. M. Brian. This school gave place to the public school three years ago, when W. A. Neighbors was appointed teacher and presided until W. T. Brian was appointed in 1890. Miss Smith taught a short term of school here. In October, 1885; Shiloh Baptist Church at Yankee Spring School-house (called so on account of the murder of Lieut. Butts, by the West gang) was constituted with eight, members by C. W. Terrall. In July, 1884, the W. C. T. U. was organized, with Mrs. M. E. Bevill, president; Mrs. E. C. Jones and Mrs. W. C. Little, vice-presidents; Miss Helen Kelly and Miss Kate Jennings, secretaries, and Miss Maggie Kelly, treasurer. This organization ceased work after a short time.
Early in the last decade Robert E. Milling established his grist-mill find cotton gin. In the fall of 1883 E. C. Tannehill purchased this industry and made additions thereto. St. Maurice, at the confluence of Saline Bayou and Red River, is one of the old settlements of the parish. A post-office was established hero in 1859 with D. H. Boult, Sr., master; Mr. McClarren followed, then R. Walker, and next Isaac Kellum, who was master in 1873-74. J. M. Hickson held the office in 1875; Mrs. Simms held the office for some time, C. L. Boult followed in 1883, and held tho office until H. T. Carr was appointed in 1880. Mr. Carr served until E. J. Gamble was commissioned in 1880. The land on which St. Maurice stands was entered by the Prothro's in 1837, and shortly after, William Prothro erected the old store house, owned now by Mr. Gamble, and used as a freight-house. The lands were subsequently purchased by Carroll & Boult. About 1808 Carroll became sole owner, and sold to H. M. Prothro, but, regaining possession sold to the New York Lumber Company in 1882-83. The improvements made by this company in the Saline and the prospect of St. Maurice becoming the great depot, saw mill town and supply point, for the pineries, caused a boom here in 1883. The great enterprises of the company did not succeed, but, the great pineries still offer great rewards to judicious lumbermen.
Newport in the northeast corner, Flat Creek, near the eastern line; Beach Creek, Prairie Home, and Tunica in the southeastern townships; Carthage and Atlanta on the Montgomery road, Pine Ridge in the northwestern corner, Gaar's Mills and Hickory Valley in the center of the north half of the parish, Phillips and Conley are small centers of settlement. At Beach Creek, Atlanta and Mount Zion are private schools, each claiming a fair attendance, while at or near the other villages the common school is found.
The Atlanta Male and Female Institute was established in 1870, the State granting $5,000 to erect buildings. In 1884 the sum of $1,000 was granted to repair the buildings. Prof. George was the first teacher. In 1880-88 A. M. Wailes presided, followed in 1888 by H. L. Brian, who established a graded system. In September, 1880, Prof. Joseph Paul, the present principal, took charge. There were 150 children enrolled, but in September, 1890, the school opened with fifty pupils. Mrs. M. C. Thrasher was assistant, succeeded by P. K. Abel. J. T. Drewett is president and Dr. Neal, secretary.
Mount Zion Male and Female College, near the south line of the parish, is under the patronage of the Protestant Methodist Church. C. C. Harris is president of the board of trustees. Beach Greek Academy, near Flat Creek post-office is conducted by R. J. Wilson. The proposed route of the Houston Central & Arkansas Railroad is on the eastern, and that of the Louisiana Northern Railroad on the western, side of the parish. The construction of the two roads named will change the whole parish from a pastoral one to a great manufacturing center, as millions of feet of the finest pine await the lumberman and the manufacturer.
Henry Bernstein is one of the brilliant and promising young attorneys of the Pelican State. He possesses advanced liberal and progressive ideas, and whilst pursuing the practice of his profession takes au active interest in every move that tends to the development of his State. He was born in Winnfield, La., December 8, 1863, being a son of Philip and Rosalie (Marks) Bernstein, who were bora in Germany, and now live in Natchitoches Parish, La., having come here in 1840. Mr. Bernstein is the second of eight children born to his parents, of whom seven are living. He was given educational advantages far beyond the aver age, graduating in 1878 from the Boys' Central High School of New Orleans. In that city he began the study of law, in 1885, and graduated from the law department of the Tulane University in May, 1886, and on the 26th of that mouth and year was admitted to the bar. In the month of April, 1887, he located in Winnfield, and of this place has become a well-known attorney, for he has been very skillful in the management of the cases which have been given to him. He has eminently succeeded in getting a large share of the business and the confidence of the business men in this section, and has all the work he can properly attend to. Since July, 1888, he has been clerk of the police jury, and in his political views is a stanch supporter of Democratic principles. He belongs to the following social orders: Eastern Star Lodge No. 151, of the F. & A. M. of Winnfield, and Caldwell Lodge No. 91, of the K. of P., of which he is a charter member.
Morris Bernstein is the pioneer merchant of Winnfield, La., and by his superior management and shrewd, yet honest, business tactics, he has been very fortunate, and he has done much to advance Winnfield's reputation as a business center. He is of German nativity, born in Prussia in the month of October, 1834, but becoming tired of the rather humdrum existence he was leading in his native land, he determined to come to America in search of adventure and his fortune. He first landed in the United States in 1849, but in 1852 became a resident of Winnfield, and opened a general mercantile establishment, to which he has since devoted his attention, and has been for a long time the leading merchant of the parish. He has always identified himself with every interest of his adopted country, and is especially interested in the affairs of Louisiana and Winn Parish. He has always given his support to the Democratic party, at all times voting for the men and measures of that party, and socially has for a long time been a member of the F. & A. M., at the present time being a member of Eastern Star Lodge No. 151. During the Rebellion he served for some time in Company K, Twenty-eighth Louisiana Volunteer Infantry, Confederate States Army, and was a brave and faithful soldier in fighting for the cause he espoused. He is one of the oldest and best known residents of the parish, and like the majority of his countrymen he is a far-seeing, intelligent and honorable man of business.
Robert C. Jones is the efficient and popular clerk of the district court of Winn Parish, La., and since entering upon the duties of his present office he has won many warm and faithful friends. He is a native of Dallas County, Ala., his birth occurring on March 28, 1830, to J. B. and Elizabeth (Boucher) Jones, who were born in South Carolina and Alabama, respectively, the former's birth occurring in 1800, and his death in Jackson, Miss., in 1808. His wife died in her native State when about thirty-two years of age. Robert C. Jones came to Louisiana and settled some thirteen miles northeast of Winnfield, in the parish of Winn. Here, prior to May, 1862, he was engaged in teaching school, but, at that date put aside all personal considerations and cast his lot with the fortunes of war, joining Company E, Twenty-eighth Louisiana Volunteer Infantry, Confederate States Army, and served until the closing scene in the bloody and lamentable War of the Rebellion. Returning home, he once more engaged in teaching the young idea how to shoot, continuing until 1866, when he was elected to the position of assessor, which office he filled with satisfaction to all for two years.
So competent and faithful was he known to be that in 1868 he was elected clerk of the district court, a position he has held continuously up to the present time, and is now one of the oldest parish officials in the State of Louisiana. By the faithful performance of every duty he has won a host of friends, and has proved himself to be a beau ideal public officer, being punctual, methodical, faithful and honorable. Mr. Jones is a true Democrat, and is a member of Eastern Star Lodge No. 151, of the A. F. & A. M. He was married on May 2, 1867, to Miss Susan Crockett, who was born in Shelby County, Ala., on November 6, 1846, being a distant relative of the famous pioneer hunter and distinguished citizen, Davy Crockett. To Mr. Jones and his wife one child has been born: Crockett K., bora at Winnfield, La., on June 28, 1868, and is now a member of the well-known firm of Hill & Jones, at Natchitoches, and is one of the leading businessmen of this section. Robert C. Jones is an earnest member of the Methodist Church, and his wife is as earnest a Baptist. Although this parish has long been well and justly noted for the sterling honesty and superior capability of her public officials, Mr. Jones has, in every respect, sustained this reputation, and his office is a model of order.
John P. Kelly, M. D., is a name that has become familiar throughout this section of the country, for he has entered the doors of many of its inhabitants in his professional capacity, and wherever he has been his agreeable and pleasant countenance has brought, sunshine with it, and his well-known, thorough knowledge of his profession has secured the confidence of all. He was born in Smith County, Miss., July 16, 1836, to Archibald and Margaret (McGill) Kelly, who were born in the Old North State. The father died in Caldwell Parish, La., in 1848 at the age of sixty-five years, and the mother in Winnfield, La., when sixty-seven years of age. The grandparents of Dr. Kelly came from Scotland, and in 1840 the Kelly's settled in Louisiana, taking up their abode in Caldwell Parish, at which place the Doctor was educated. He began the study of medicine in 1857, in the office of Dr. C. C. Meredith of that place. The winter of 1860-61 he spent in the University of Louisiana, but in May of the latter year he joined Company I, Third Louisiana Infantry, and served throughout the war, being on detached duty a part of the time.
As assistant surgeon at the fall of Vicksburg he was left in charge of the sick and wounded of his regiment, and there remained until November, 1863. After the war he returned home and entered upon the practice of medicine, a calling to which he has devoted his attention ever since, with the exception of a short time, during 1867 he graduated at the New Orleans School of Medicine. In politics he is a Democrat, and in 1872 was elected to the State Senate from the Twenty-fourth Senatorial District, being re-elected in 1878. He made a faithful, trusty and intelligent legislator, and did all in his power to prove himself worthy the responsible, position to which he had been elected, and with the best results. He was married in 1865 to Miss Lillie A. Wade, who was born in Tennessee in 1847, and has borne him five children: Maggie, Kate, Daniel W., John L, and Angus H. Dr. Kelly is a member of Eastern Star Lodge No. 151, of the A. F. & A. M., and he and his wife are members of the Baptist Church.
Richard L. Tannehill, an ex-sheriff of Winn Parish. La., was born in Bibb County, Ala., March 11, 1848, but since he attained his ninth year he has been a resident of this parish. His parents, David M. and Nancy (Murphy) Tannehill, were born in Alabama, the father being a soldier in the Confederate Army. He was captured at Snyder's Bluff, Miss., and died in prison in the fall of 1863 at Fortress Monroe, his widow surviving him until 1877, when she, too, passed away, her death occurring in this parish. She was born in 1825, being only eleven days younger than her husband. Mr. Tannehill is the second of seven children, only two of whom are now living. Mr. Tannehill came to Louisiana in 1856 and for two years lived in Bienville Parish, but on January 1, 1859, Winn Parish became his home, and has continued so to be up to the present time. He resided on a farm, six miles north of Winnfield, until the fall of 1874; when he was elected sheriff of this parish and has held the office for a period of ten years, a fact that speaks louder than words can do as to his popularity and efficiency. Prior to his election he was engaged in farming, but he afterward removed to Winnfield and is now president of the Farmer's Union of Winn Parish, an organization which has been in existence since August, 1886, and is now in a flourishing condition. From August, 1887 to 1890 be was treasurer of the State Union. Since the expiration of his term of office in 1885 he has been farming and is in a prosperous condition, financially. He was married in 1876 to Miss Maria E. Sellinger, a native of Louisiana, bora in 1860, and to them the following family of children has been born; George M., Herbberd N., Clarence E., Richard L. Ena, Lena, Bessie and Ella M. Mr. Tannehill is a Democrat, and is a member of Eastern Star Lodge No. 151, A. F. & A. M. of Winnfield.
Typing and Format by C. W. Barnum 2011.