Creation of Sabine Parish

Sabine Parish, which was formerly a part of Natchitoches, was created by an act of the legislature signed by Governor Mouton, March 27, 1843. The parish was named for the river which forms its western boundary and which stands as the godfather for several towns, cities, lakes and counties, the Sabine River or anciently the River of the Sabine. The Spaniards called it Rio Adays, after an Indian tribe living; on its banks, a name surviving in the village of Adays, in Natchitoches parish, and recalls an old story. A party of Frenchmen landing on the shores of Lac de Lobos, became very friendly with the natives. A large number of the savages were taken aboard the French boats, but the Frenchmen becoming intoxicated cast the male Indians ashore and made off with the best looking squaws, from which incident and its resemblance to the story in Roman history entitled "The Rape of the Sabines" the lake and river received their name.

The land area of Sabine parish is 1,008 square miles, about the same as that of the state of Rhode Island. The first census (1850) after the creation of the parish reported a population; of 3,347 whites and 1,168 slaves. The voting population did not exceed that of Ward Four in 1912.

A large portion of the parish is what is known as pine hill, but large bodies of bottom and hummock lands were found which were converted into rich farms, but which were once covered with heavy forests of pine, oak, hickory, gum, beech, holly and various other woods. Still another considerable area is now or was covered with long leaf pine, the greater part of the land being level.

The parish is drained by several large creeks, or bayous, most of which flow into the Sabine River, most prominent among these streams being Bayou LaNana, Bayou Scie, Bayou Toro, Bayou Negreet, Bayou San Patricio and Bayou San Miguel.

Sabine parish was created at a period when America had entered upon a new era of progress. Immigrants from the older states were no longer compelled to make long and tiresome overland trips to reach this section of Louisiana. At the beginning of the century the operation of steamboats was made practical and later the genius of American inventors had so far perfected that method of navigation that the whistle of the steamboat engine was heard on every river. In 1812 the first steamboat to navigate Southern waters reached New Orleans from Pittsburg, Pa. In the '30s Captain Henry M. Shreve brought the first steamboat up Red River as far as Natchitoches, and in a short time steamers were making regular trips between that city and New Orleans and other Mississippi River points. The steamboat also took its place on the Sabine River and boats plied that stream from Sabine Lake to points far up into Texas. In the '50s a large traffic was carried on, popular landing points in Sabine parish being Columbus, East Pendleton and what is known as Carter's Ferry. The steamboat became the popular mode of travel as well as for the transportation of merchandise and supplies for the settlers. The new parish presented sufficient attractions for a goodly portion of the emigrants then seeking homes in the Great Southwest and each succeeding year found additions to its sturdy citizenship.

Sabine Parish | AHGP Louisiana

Source: History of Sabine Parish, Louisiana, by John G. Belisle, Sabine Banner Press, 1913.

 

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