Many, Sabine Parish, Louisiana
parish was organized in * * 1843, the question of a seat of
parish government was left to be settled. Fort Jesup was the
most important point at that period, but it was a Federal
military reservation, and lacked several miles of being a
central location. A place known as Baldwin's Store was chosen as
the parish site. It was located on the main Natchitoches and San
Antonio highway which was intersected at this point by other
roads. The place was named Many, in honor of Colonel Many who
commanded the garrison at Fort Jesup. It appears that, even
after the site had been chosen, there was no land on which to
locate it. To supply this deficiency, on May 17, 1843, Messrs.
W. R. D. Speight, I. W. Eason, G. W. Thompson and S. S. Eason
donated to the parish forty acres of land adjoining the Peter
Buvens plantation (now owned by E. C, Dillon), described as
"beginning at the forks of the road east of Hosea Presley's old
house and along the Speight road," On December 21, 1844, a plat
of the town was made, by Surveyor Q. W. Thompson, which
exhibited a public square and eight streets.
government of the town was vested in five commissioners,
appointed by the Police Jury, as fellows; John Baldwin,
Alexander Byles, M. Fulchrod, Henry Earls and John Waterhouse.
The commissioners were authorized to open a sale of lots in the
new town; Among the early purchasers of these lots were Robert
Parrott, William Edmundson, J. B. Stoddard, P. H. Dillon,
William Taylor; S. S. Bason and John Baldwin and a little later
on L. Stevenson, L. M. Rodgers, B. K. Ford, C. Chaplin, T.
McCarty, Tabitha Baldwin, J. B. Elam, G. E. Ward. The first
purchasers of lots were citizens who were interested directly or
indirectly in the government of the parish or identified with
another transfer of lots was made, when John Baldwin, Robert
Stille and G. E. Ward, commissioners of the town of Many, deeded
to John Caldwell, John D. Tucker and Robert A. Gay, for use of
the Masonic Society (known as Hamill Lodge), and to Abraham
Roberts, William D. Stephens, Robert D. Wright, William Mains
and Dr. Henry McCallen, trustees of the Methodist church,
certain lots in consideration of the sum of $20. These societies
jointly erected a two-story building, the upper floor of which
was used for the lodge and the lower floor for religious
services. In 1852, Daniel R. Gandy donated to Antony McGee and
Noah Martin, trustees of the Baptist denomination, suitable lots
on which to erect a church.
lot owners in the original town up to 1869 were Eli Self, J. F.
Smith, K. G. McLemore, Wiley Weeks, G. C. DeBerry, James Garner,
Job Hobbs, William Cook, G. G. Garner. B. Campbell, Littleton
Cook, Robert Parrott, George Densmore, Louis Vanshoebrook, G, B,
Stoddard, Louis Levison, John Waterhouse, G. W. Gibson, Isaac
Rains, G. E. Jackson, Dr. E. Thigpen, James Brown, Abe Harris
and J. B. Vandegaer.
house in Many was erected by John Baldwin, a pioneer of the
sturdy type, for whom the wilderness had no terrors and who
rather sought the frontier life. The house was a large log
structure, of the double-pen design; it stood where Joseph D.
Stille's residence now stands, and was known as a hotel or
tavern, Mr. Baldwin also conducted a mercantile business. The
country tavern in the old days in the South, while guests paid
for their accommodations, was famous for its homely hospitality
and sociability. The Baldwin hostelry was no exception to the
rule. The well-disposed stranger was given a cordial welcome,
and the hotel was frequently the scene of neighborhood feasts
and social gatherings attended by the elite society of Fort
Jesup and visiting military celebrities. Mr. Baldwin had two
accomplished daughters. The eldest, Miss Jane, became the wife
of P. H. Dillon, both dying before the war. Two of their
children, still living, are E. O. Dillon of Many and John B.
Dillon of Mansfield. Mr, Baldwin's youngest daughter, Miss
Elizabeth, married E. C. Davidson, for many years a prominent
lawyer of Many. Baldwin was the first postmaster and his name
was prominent in all the early progressive movements in the
parish. The building which he used as a store house was still
standing in 1912, when it was torn down by E. C. Dillon, who
erected a brick structure on the lot.
first settler in the vicinity of Many was William Mains, who
settled the plantation now owned by the heirs of of Louis and
Frances Buvens. Mr. Mains was born m North Carolina and in early
life was left an orphan. He was kidnapped by some traders and
carried to the North and apprenticed to a carpenter and learned
to be an expert woodworker. On reaching manhood he went to Pike
County, Mississippi, where he was married, and, in 1830, moved
with his family to Louisiana, near the present town of Many.
Indians still roamed the woods, and wild animals were numerous,
He was compelled to cut his way through a dense cane brake to
make a clearing for the house which he constructed. Mr. Mains
was the father of seven children, one of whom, Noah, is still
living, being a resident of Pleasant Hill, William, the eldest
son, who shared with his father the trials of pioneer life, was
born in 1817, in Pike County, Mississippi, and died June 26,
1904. During the Mexican war he moved army equipment from Fort
Jesup to the old Block House on Sabine River. At his death he
was survived by two sons W, C. and Rich Mains, and two
daughters, Madams W. L. Shull and Asa Vines.
Buvens, an old settler of the neighborhood, came here in 1837
from Belgium and settled on land adjoining the present town of
Many. His family comprised six children, Theodore, Henry (died
in early life), John, Francis, Virginia (died in early life),
Maria, who married John B. Vandegaer in 1859; and Mary, wife of
John Davis, who also was owner of a large plantation near Many.
pioneer was Hosea Presley, who came here before the parish was
created and acquired title to his plantation lying west of the
1878 Many did not have a municipal government. At that time the
town secured a charter under the new constitution. In May, 1878,
G. W. Small was elected mayor, John Blake, clerk, and A. H.
Hogue, R. B. Stille and J. F. Smith, councilmen. In 1882, Dan
Vandegaer was mayor. He was succeeded in 1884 by John B.
Vandegaer. For several years after this time the council did not
meet and the corporation government was abandoned.
In 1898, A.
C. Lamberth was mayor, H. Henderson, J. E. Wright, G. L. Jackson
and I. L. Pace, councilmen, and W, G. Caldwell, marshal.
In 1900, A,
C. Lamberth was mayor, the councilmen being I. L. Pace,
secretary; J. G. Brown, E. C. Dillon, W. B, Cleveland and Dan
Vandegaer. In 1901 Don E. SoRelle was mayor and the same board
of alderman commissioned. F. W. Davis was marshal.
In 1903, Don
E. SoRelle was mayor, and C. L. Lunt, J. H. McNeely, Dan
Vandegaer, A. Dover and R. H. Buvens composed the council, and
F. W. Davis, marshal.
In 1905, John
H. Boone was elected mayor and Dan Vandegaer, Dave Goldring, R,
H. Buvens, A. C. Lamberth and J. J. Andries councilmen, F. W.
Davis continuing as marshal. In 1907, Mr. Boone was re-elected
mayor, and Dr. J. M. Middleton, Frank Hunter, W. T. Collier, J.
J. Andries and Jesse Low, councilmen.
Silas D. Ponder was elected mayor, F. W. Davis marshal; John
Blake, O. E. Williams, Dr. J. M. Middleton, J. C. Ritter and P.
C. Horn councilmen. Mr. Davis resigned as marshal the following
year and J, J. Andries was elected to serve for his unexpired
In 1911 E. C.
Dillon was mayor, J. J. Andries, marshal; Dr. J. M. Middleton,
John Blake, O. E. Williams. S. L. Carroll, and Dr. W. M. Henry,
councilmen. Mr. Carroll subsequently resigned and was succeeded
by J. E. Ross.
was succeeded as postmaster by Henry McCallen. The latter was
succeeded by William B. Stille, who retained the office until
1870, when Robert B. Stille was appointed. Mr. Stille died while
a member of the Constitutional convention of 1879 and John B.
Vandegaer was commissioned postmaster, holding the the position
until his death in 1895, when his son, Leo Vandegaer was
continued in the office and has filled the position since that
Robert B, and
William B. Stille were the first general merchants to locate in
the new town of Many, They came from the East and established a
mercantile house on Bayou Scie in 1837. The store was moved to
Many and conducted under the name of R. B. Stille & Co. for more
than half a century.
took the census of the town in 1880, when the population was
147. Business houses were conducted by R. B. Stille & Co., A. H.
Hogue, J. B, Vandegaer and John Blake. J. F. Smith, W. A. Carter
and R. P, Hunter were lawyers here and Drs. Dallas and J. C,
Armstrong and J, H, Word were physicians and Dr. Hancock was the
dentist. In 1880 Gay Bros, conducted a general mercantile
business in Many. Dan Vandegaer and John Davis run a saw mill
near town, supplying the local trade with lumber.
tradesman and mechanics of the old days were the following:
Vanshoebrook ran a tanyard at the big spring on the old John
Buvens place (now the Andries estate) in the '50s, He was an
experienced hand at his trade, having learned the art of
leather-making in his native country, Belgium. The tanyard was
discontinued after the war, when the tanning of hides by hand
was no longer profitable. John B. Vandegaer ran a blacksmith
shop in Many before the war. In 1867 he embarked in the
mercantile business and his brother, Dan Vandegaer, conducted
the blacksmith shop.
catered to the needs of the public as a shoemaker for many years
after the war. Messrs. Clanan and John B, Vandegaer also learned
their respective trades, of which they were thorough masters, in
Belgium. , For many years after the war J. T. Lunt was the
principal building contractor here. The first courthouse and
other buildings in the town were erected under his supervision.
The first recollection of a barber shop in Many was in 880, when
an itinerant barber started a shop here, but, after remaining a
short time, moved away. "Uncle" Mike Boltz was accorded the
distinction of being the first citizen to be shaved in a barber
shop in Many.
power gin to be erected in Sabine parish was located on what is
now the farm of Mr. Snell, just outside the town limits. It was
built by E. C, Davidson, the owner of that plantation, in the
early '50s. The gin was run by horse power, and was run during
the war, and after that period by R. W. Arnett, who came to
Sabine parish as a school teacher and married Miss Duggan,
daughter of Rev. Edmund Duggan, a pioneer Baptist preacher. Mr.
Arnett died in the late '60s, and his wife married Seabe Alford,
a prominent farmer. Other gins of the early days were run by
Shade Eason, near Many by Mr. Darnell on San Miguel, Thomas
Armstrong on Bayou Scie, R. G. Brown on San Patricio and James
A. Woods on Bayou Scie. The first steam gin in the parish was
erected by John Buvens on his plantation adjoining the town of
Many in, 1869. Dan Vandegaer was associated with him in
conducting the gin, and after Mr. Buvens' death, in 1873,
acquired the entire business.
Prior to 1885
the merchants of Many received most of their goods from New
Orleans by Red River steamboats to Grand Ecore, and from thence
were transported by freight wagons. With the completion of the
Texas and Pacific Railroad, goods were received at Robeline and
hauled to Many. But with the construction of the Kansas City
Southern Railway to Many in 1896 freighting with wagons was
discontinued. The river station at Grand Ecore' had for nearly
two centuries enjoyed a merchandise traffic with an immense
territory. Cotton was hauled from East Texas to the old landing
and shipped; to New Orleans, and the wagons returned loaded with
merchandise. In the '90s railroads were built in East Texas and
thus the old system of transportation came into entire disuse.
building of the railroads in Sabine mail was received in Many
not oftener than ever other day. In 1879 mail was received from
Natchitoches three times a week. A line from Many to Lake
Charles and Orange furnished a weekly service and mail was
received from Mansfield and other up-state points once a week
and a similar service was furnished to Texas. The mail was
usually carried by a horseback rider, but in early times the
stage coach, drawn by four or more horses, was employed, and as
the routes were long the coaches were run at night and horses
changed at intervals in order to make the trips on time.
In 1879 pork
sold for 3 cents and beef at 4 cents a pound. The market was
abundantly supplied with mutton and venison at 50 cents per
haunch. Prevailing prices for other commodities were cotton 10
cents, corn 50 cents per barrel, meal $5.00 and flour $5.50 to
$6.50 per barrel. Dry goods were high as compared with the
prices of the present time, calicoes selling as high as 15 cents
per yard. Small boxes of matches retailed at 10 cents. And while
tariffs and trusts had not yet excited consumers and thrown
politicians into paroxysms, sugar sold at more than 8 cents per
pound, and coal oil retailed at 45 cents per gallon.
of Many, in September, 1879, chronicled the death of Mrs.
Elizabeth Small, wife of Q. W. Small, in the 68th year of her
age; also the demise of Mrs. John Daugherty, Samuel Paul and
Buck Brown, and, in 1880, Sampson Whatley, a pioneer of Ward 1.
In 1898 the
principal merchants of Many were Stille Bros., J. B. Vandegaer &
Sons, M. R, Shelton, R. H. Buvens, Dillon Drug Co., C. L, Lunt,
Dr. J. M. Middleton, Simon Bros., A. Dover, H. Meehan, J. Q.
Brown & Co, Dr. P. M, Perkins and W. B. Cleveland. M. Weiss was
in business in Many in 1900, and R. K. Franklin, P. E. Peters
and Minnis & Dellinger in 1901. Mrs. W. G. Caldwell conducted a
millinery store and in 1903 W. G. Caldwell was engaged in the
Florien Giauque, a well-known lawyer of Cincinnati, Ohio,
acquired from Jack & Wamsley and heirs of Patterson title to
their claims in what is known as Lanana Grant No. 1, the west
line of which runs through the town at a point near the Sabine
Banner building. Several citizens had built homes on lots here
to which they had no title. However, Mr. Giauque's ownership of
the lots was a benefit to the citizens as he sold them the lots
at very reasonable prices and furnished them with proper titles,
Giauque's addition to Many was platted and town lots offered for
sale, and several citizens bought them. Mr. Giauque first came
to Many in 1879, on business as a lawyer. He traveled from
Cincinnati via St. Louis to Marshall, Texas, thence to
Shreveport on a freight train; from Shreveport to Mansfield on a
stage and from the latter town to Many on horseback. There were
no railroads in West Louisiana at that time. While fulfilling
the duties of his first business mission to Sabine parish, Mr.
Giauque became impressed with the many possibilities of the
country. He saw what the people who had been born and reared
here had not yet seen, that lands which were considered dear at
from $1 to $3.00 per acre would ere many years be sought at much
higher prices. These lands, except where here and there a
settler had cleared the forest for a farm, were covered with
magnificent forests of pine, oak and other timbers and the soil
was capable of producing every variety of crops raised in the
temperate zone. Mr. Giauque, while a lawyer, had accumulated
some real estate experience, and at once manifested his faith in
the future development of the country by investing in several
thousand acres of Sabine parish lands, much of which had been
held by doubtful title, and a portion was occupied by
"squatters," He spent much time and money in perfecting the
titles and offered the lands for sale, urging the people to own
their homes, and those who had settled on lands which had come
into his possession were given an opportunity to buy for a low
cash price or given a long time to pay on generously small
payments. His land, at first, did not sell as rapidly as the
proverbial "hot cakes" (and some people laughed at him for
making investments in what they termed "no 'count" dirt), but as
the years sped by two railroads reached the parish, followed by
saw mills and kindred industries, land values increased, as he
had predicted they would, and the demand for homes became more
A large part
of his holdings embraced lands that were included in old Spanish
grants, the owners of which in the early days of the parish had
labored to induce settlers to occupy them, but with only a small
measure of success. There have been many non-resident land
owners in Sabine parish, but none have shown a more earnest
interest in the welfare of the people than Mr. Giauque. He made
friends of all who had the pleasure of meeting or dealing with
him, and his practical advice and conservative counsel inspired
many thinking people to acquire their own homes, He donated,
wherever required, lands for the use of schools and churches,
and even after the parish had fairly entered upon its real
period of development in 1896, after railroads and sawmills had
been built, he sold land at less than its value, in 1902 he
issued a circular containing the following wholesome and timely
advice to the people of Sabine parish: "Get yourselves a home of
your own, even if it be a modest one, if you haven't any. On it
at all times, even if it be a small and poor farm, you can at
least make a living. The factory operative, the clerk in the
store, and every other employee, is liable to be thrown out of
employment, either permanently or temporarily, by strikes, by
lockouts, by panics, by the whims or misfortunes of his
employer. But when he is thrown out of employment, he, his wife
and children must still be fed, must still be clothed, must
still be sheltered by a roof, and money must be paid for rent,
food, clothing and other necessaries, just as well under such
circumstances as when he was employed, or be must be dependent
on public or private charity, a humiliating and poor dependence.
The planter or farmer, even if he be a tenant, does not
appreciate how well off he is in these respects. He ought to own
the roof that shelters him and his and the ground that will feed
and clothe them, and be at all times independent of financial
disturbances and storms of the industrial world. And the only
person who can be thus independent is the one who gets his
living directly from the ground." While Mr. Giauque is not a
citizen of Sabine parish, he has been so prominently identified
with the progress of the country, and has been, in the broadest
sense, a benefactor, that his name and generous deeds will ever
be held in grateful remembrance by the citizens.
In 1901 the
corporate limits of Many were extended and the territory
occupied by the town increased to a mile square. No effort has
ever been made to boom the town. Its growth has been of the
plodding kind, yet the progress made in the past score of years
has been of the substantial brand. Its location is most ideal
for the building of a splendid town; situated on hills, of ample
elevation to afford excellent natural drainage, which were
formerly covered with a forest of pine and other native trees;
and removed from unhealthy swamps, is a desirable place of
residence Many does not take second rank with any of the towns
of equal pretentions in West Louisiana, even tho' others may
have resorted to the expedient of booming and exploiting their
claims for a more numerous citizenship.
Prior to 1901
there was not a brick business house in Many. In September of
that year the Sabine Valley Bank, the first institution of the
kind in the parish, began business in a small brick building
which had been just completed. At the same time Dr. J. M.
Middleton erected a one story brick structure, which
subsequently became and is now the property of O. E. Williams.
Valley Bank was organized with a capital of $12,500. The board
of directors was composed of J. G. Brown, E. C. Dillon, A. L.
Ponder, W. B, Cleveland, Dr. J. M. Middleton, Dan Vandegaer, P.
E. Peters, A. B. Banks, A. W. Estes, H. M. Gandy and Frank
Hunter. J. G. Brown was president. Dr. J. M. Middleton, vice
president, and Frank Hunter, cashier. In 1904, the Many State
Bank was chartered with a capital stock of $20,000, and erected
a neat two-story brick building on the lot now occupied by the
Sabine State Bank, the first board of directors being Silas D.
Ponder, W. D. Stille, Dr. J. V. Nash, J. R. Buvens, George L.
Jackson, W. H. Powell, T. C. Wingate, A. Dover, Silas D. Ponder
was president, A. Dover and W. D. Stille, vice presidents, and
W. J. Powell, cashier. After serving a few months, Mr. Powell
was succeeded as cashier by George E. Wycoff. In 1904, Leo
Vandegaer succeeded J. G. Brown as president of the Sabine
Valley Bank and the capital stock of that institution was
increased to $25,000.
In 1906 the
two banks were consolidated and the new institution chartered as
the Sabine State Bank. The following composed the board of
directors: A. B. Banks, Leo Vandegaer, S. D. Ponder, Dr. J. M.
Middleton, E. C. Dillon, A. Dover, I. L. Pace and Frank Hunter.
Mr. Hunter was chosen president, S. D. Ponder, vice president
and George E. Wycoff, cashier. In 1898, Mr. Wycoff resigned to
take a position at Baton Rouge, where he died a few months
later. He was succeeded as cashier of the Sabine State Bank by
W. M. Knott, who still retains the position. This bank has
enjoyed splendid prosperity. It has a capital stock of $25,000,
the major portion of which is owned by some of Sabine's most
substantial citizens. Besides paying satisfactory dividends it
has a surplus of nearly $10,000. The deposits have always
totaled above the $200,000 mark. Its officers are public
spirited and progressive and are ready at all times to extend to
the people every courtesy and favor that should be expected of
any safe and conservative banking; institution.
In 1906 fire
destroyed three blocks of the principal business houses in Many,
and two years later two more blocks were burned. Nearly the
entire present business section of the town is new. Since these
fires brick business structures have been erected by the Sabine
State Bank, A. H. Hogue, W. E. McNeely (deceased), A. R.
Peterson, Mr. Nash (wife of Dr. John V. Nash, deceased), Leo
Vandegaer, E. C. Dillon and the new People's State Bank. Sheet
metal buildings have been erected by A. L. Ponder, A. R.
Peterson, W. M. Phillips, H. A. McFarland, G. W. Phillips and O.
E. Williams, The principal merchants of Many at present are
noted as follows:
Stille occupies Mrs. McNeely's building and carries a large
stock of general merchandise. His father and uncles were among
the first merchants of the parish, the house of R. B. Stille &
Co. having been established in 1837. Mr. Stille is a
conservative business man and he has a good trade. His store
employees are Mrs. W. H, Peters, Joseph D. Williams and C. J.
Hubley, who are efficient and courteous salespeople.
W. D. Stille,
a brother of J. D. Stille, has a large mercantile establishment.
He, too, has spent his entire life in selling goods in Many. His
salespeople are Mrs. Lillian Stille (wife of his brother, Elliot
O. Stille, deceased), Miss Mary Williams and Clarence L. Lunt.
The J. H.
McNeely Mercantile Co. have a large business house and have an
immense trade. The company is composed of Joseph H. McNeely,
William H. Vandegaer and John J. Blake. Mr. McNeely has been
employed by stores or run a business in his own name for many
years, Mr. Blake's father, John Blake was a prominent merchant
of Many back in the '80s, while, as previously noted, Mr.
Vandegaer's father entered the mercantile business in Many soon
after the civil war. Robert T. Hatcher, whose father was a
merchant at Hatcher, this parish, for several years, is an
efficient salesman with this company.
The J. G.
Brown Trading Co. is a mercantile corporation composed of J. G.
Brown, J. C. Joyner and I. L. Pace and have a large trade. Mr.
Brown, the manager, is a native of Scott County, Mississippi. He
came to Many in 1896, erecting the large building which he now
occupies, and conducted a business in the firm name of J. G.
Brown & Co. for ten years, when he left Many to enter business
in Texas. He returned to Many in 1911 and organized the present
company. The business in his building during his absence was
conducted by I. L. Pace and R, Pattison under the name of I. L.
Pace & Company which he purchased when he returned. The J. G.
Brown Trading Company enjoys a substantial trade, Miss Fannie
Joyner, A. G. Dees and James Brown are popular clerks at this
Williams has a large mercantile establishment which has a big
trade. Mr. Williams began his business career as a delivery boy
for W. B. Cleveland in 1901, and his progress in his chosen
vocation was so substantial and rapid that when Mr. Cleveland
left Many five years later he acquired the business. Later he
purchased the brick building which he now occupies. He has been
very successful and is esteemed as one of the towns substantial
and enterprising merchants. His brother, DeWitt T. Williams, is
an energetic and valuable attache of the store, and Miss Pearl
Stoker is also a popular clerk. Mr. Williams also owns a farm
and is interested in raising livestock.
H. W. Cofield
has conducted a mercantile business in Many since 1908, making a
specialty of groceries. He came to this state from Georgia. He
is a good storekeeper, a pleasant business man and enjoys a nice
trade. He is assisted in the store by Mrs. Cofield.
McFarland has been engaged in the grocery business in Many since
1904, when he became associated with W. G. Caldwell, the style
of the firm being Caldwell & McFarland, but the firm was
dissolved after a few months. Mr. McFarland suffered losses in
both of the big fires which swept the business section of Many,
the first destroying his entire stock on which he carried no
insurance. He has a good trade, and is assisted in his store
keeping by Mrs. McFarland and his accomplished daughters, Misses
Rena and Lola.
Cleveland conducts a staple and fancy grocery business and at
present caters to the wants of grocery consumers exclusively. He
is a native of Coosa County, Alabama. He came with his family to
Many in 1898, and he and his son, L. D. Cleveland, engaged in
the general mercantile business, the style of the firm being W.
B. Cleveland & Son. They disposed of their store here in 1906
and moved to Texas. Mr. Cleveland returned to Many in 1912 and
purchased the stock of W. M. Jackson, who ran a store at his
present location. Mr. Cleveland is a clever gentleman, a good
merchant and enjoys the confidence and patronage of a large
number of people. In his present business he has a genial and
polite assistant in the person of his son, Harvey Cleveland.
the Many Drug Co. supplies the needs of Many and vicinity in the
drug line. This company is incorporated, the stockholders being
E. M. and Mrs. E. M. Fraser, Pearl C. Horn and Dr. W. M. Henry.
Mr. Fraser is the manager. He is a registered pharmacist, has
had many years' experience at his profession and is a genial
gentleman. Nolan Dees and Master Willie Addison are courteous
attaches of this store.
In the latter
'90s the Sabine Hotel here was run by A. B. Davis, now the
proprietor of a popular hostelry at Mansfield. J. A. Bonds
became proprietor in 1903, and after that time the hotel changed
owners several times and in 1906 was destroyed by fire. In 1904,
Mrs. M. J. Hubley built the Capitol Hotel, her daughter, Mrs.
Mabel Fielder (now Mrs. C. W. Leary) and her son, C. J. Hubley,
managed the business. In 1907, the property was acquired by F.
W. Davis, the present owner. The Capitol has always been the
popular hotel for the traveling public. Mr. Davis has greatly
enlarged and improved the hotel, and for the convenience of his
patrons he maintains a livery and transfer business.
J. E. Ross
has been a contractor and builder in Many since 1898. He is a
native of Mississippi. A large number of the buildings in Many
have been constructed under his direction. He carries a stock of
building material and has a workshop on a lot adjoining his cozy
In 1910, W,
M. Phillips erected a large building for a hotel and boarding
house just west of the court house. It is known as the Phillips
House and has a good patronage. Mr. Phillips is a native of
Sabine parish and has lived in Many since 1896, He has a
position as deputy sheriff and looks after the affairs of the
parish jail, A. K. Peterson is a dealer in paints and building
material and has a nice store. For several years he followed
contracting and building, but for the past few years he has been
in poor health. He was a hustler in the years when he was able
to work and accumulated some nice real estate property in Many.
industrial enterprises is the Rust Lumber Co. The business of
this company is conducted by John H. Rust and his sons, Milburn
J. and Ralph. The past three years, however, the latter has been
a student of Baker University in Kansas. The Rusts came to
Sabine parish in 1906 and bought the Hoagland & Cade saw mill
near Recknor. Later they moved the mill to Many where they also
built a planer of ample capacity to supply their needs, and the
plant being destroyed by fire they rebuilt it. In 1912 a boiler
explosion wrecked their saw mill which has been replaced by a
better plant. The company also owns another mill about eight
miles southwest of town. The Rusts came from Labette County,
Kansas, where they have extensive business and realty interests.
years J. T. Sirmon ran a gin and grist mill near the railway
station. He also owned a saw mill seven miles southeast of town,
which was abandoned in 1904. Mr. Sirmon died in 1911. The gin
property is now owned by John A. Hoagland. In 1910, an electric
light company was organized and power for running the system was
procured from the Sirmon gin plant. The company failed. Mr.
Hoagland will furnish the power for the electric lighting
system, which has been revived. For the past several years he
has been associated with Dr. S. C. Cade in the saw mill business
which was conducted under the name of Many Lumber Co, Their mill
is located four miles east of town. Dr. Cade is a son of Dr. S.
H. Cade, deceased, who was a prominent physician of the parish.
Mr. Hoagland is a native of Missouri (his father was also a
physician) and he is an experienced business man.
Stare Co. located a mill at Many in 1912, and it is a splendid
addition to the industries of the town. The company owns
considerable timber, besides buying many cords of stave bolts
from the farmers. J. B. McCollough is the manager of this
The owners of the principal
farms in the immediate vicinity of Many:
M. M. Duggan
Mrs. Hattie Addison
P. H. McGarrhan
Commodore and Asbury Byrd
Warren and Wilson Cutrer
M. V. Petty
Henry Julian and Thomas
Estate of Louis and Francis
I. L. Pace and
W H Vandegaer
T. J. and Francis Davis
J. W. Snell
W. F. Peterson
Daniel A. Robinson
C. B. Small
Jonathan C. Ryan
J. H. Maloney
H. W. Simpson
W. M. Cobbs
Ross C. Alford
John Van Hess
T. V. Small
J. B. Blackwell
Estate of N. A. Williams
J. L. Dees
The Many post
office furnishes two rural free delivery routes and efforts are
being made to secure others. G. L. Nabours and William E. Buvens
are the courteous and efficient carriers.
J. B. Hill is
the popular agent of the Kansas City Southern Railway here,
having occupied that position for the past four years. The Many
station has a large business and Mr, Hill is always on duty,
rendering the proper services to the public as well as the
Sabine Parish Fair Association was organized in 1910
and has held four very successful fairs. Business men of Many,
the Louisiana Long Leaf Lumber Company of Fisher, the Sabine
Lumber Company of Zwolle, the Police Jury and progressive
farmers contributed substantially to the organization of the
enterprise. The following are the directors: E. C. Dillon, W. C.
Roaten, I. N, McCollister, J. M, Ritter, W. E. Skinner, D. J.
Holmes, Gr. L. Nabours, G. I. Paul, W. H. Vandegaer, J. H.
Boone, H. M. Gandy, M. V. Petty, W. W. Warren, Wilson Cutrer, J.
W. Sistrunk, W. R. Koss, Frank Hunter, W. M. Cobbs, O. F. Moore,
Louis Vines, P. H. Lester and G. L. Jackson. For the first two
years Dr. J. M. Seever was president; W. C. Roaten, vice
president; Frank Hunter, treasurer; E. C. Dillon, manager, and
J. G. Belisle, secretary. For the third fair G, L. Jackson was
secretary. The present officers are E. C. Dillon, president; W.
C. Roaten, I. N. McCollister and W. H. Vandegaer, vice
presidents; Frank Hunter, treasurer, and J. G. Belisle,
secretary. The association owns a fine tract of land near the
depot. Adequate buildings have been constructed and a splendid
half-mile race track provided.
The fair has
served its purpose of stimulating an interest in better farming
methods and the raising of more and better livestock, and now
promises to be a permanent enterprise, from which many benefits
to the entire parish will accrue.
physicians of Many are Drs. D. H. and W. E. Dillon, Dr.
T. L. Abington, Dr. J. M. Middleton and Dr. W. D. Lester. Dr. W.
M. Henry is the dentist.
(Arthur and Tullos) own the City barber shop. They are splendid
young men, have an elegant shop and enjoy a good patronage.
financial institution chartered in Many is the People's State
Bank, which will open for business July 1st, 1913. The
stockholders are composed of a large number of farmers and
business men of West Louisiana, as well as some business men of
Southeast Texas. The first board of directors is as follows: E.
C. Dillon, J. H. Boone, P. H. Lester, O. O. Cleveland, J. G.
Montgomery, George C. Addison, John A. Hoagland, Dr. S. C. Cade,
J. E. Phares, G. R. Aaron, Q. B. Arrington, John F. Davis and W.
K. Wingfield. The officers are: E. C. Dillon, president; J. H.
Boone, first vice president; P. H. Lester, second vice
president, and O. O. Cleveland, cashier. The bank starts out
with a capital stock of $16,300. An elegant two story brick
building has been erected as the home of this institution, and
up-to date banking house fixtures and a modern safe installed.
The institution will begin business with bright prospects and
will aim to take as large a part, as stable banking will permit,
in the business and industrial life of the parish.
history of the public school in Many is, for the most part, like
that of all other schools which had to meet and overcome many
obstacles to maintain its existence. For many years, owing to a
lack of public funds, the school was run on the subscription
plan and then only for short terms. In the '90s successful
schools were taught by Prof. W. J. Davis and by Rev. George F.
Middleton, the present pastor of the Many and Zwolle Baptist
churches. In 1901-2, Prof. J. F. McClellan was principal, and
the following two or three years other teachers had charge of
the school. The building was an old dilapidated structure,
wholly unfit for the purpose intended.
Many High School Auditorium
In 1906, a
few of the patrons (mention of whom is made in a former chapter)
met and devised plans for the erection of a building that would
meet modern requirements. During the year a neat building was
erected at a cost of about $3,500, to which additions have been
subsequently made, as well as a splendid and and commodious
auditorium, separate from the school building, at a cost of
about $3,000. "With the completion of the new school buildings
Prof. W, C. Roaten was employed as principal, and in 1909, he
and Parish Superintendent J. H. Williams, Jr., organized the
Many High School, which was duly approved by the state in the
fall of that year. From the first Prof. Roaten's efforts in
school building produced results, and with the organization of
the high school public education in Many was given an impetus
never before experienced, and the progress of the school has
been rapid and stable. The first board of trustees was composed
of Dr. J. M. Middleton, president; E. C. Dillon, J. E. Ross, S.
D. Ponder, Frank Hunter, J. H. Boone and W. H. Armstrong. The
first faculty was as follows: W. C. Roaten, principal; Misses
Jennie Ford, Annie DuBois, Margaret Herring, Dora Craig, Ethel
Everett and Mrs. J. H. Williams, Jr., assistants. The faculty
for 1912-13 was composed of W. C. Roaten, principal; R. V.
Evans, assistant in high school grades; Miss Clara Carnahan,
sixth and seventh grades; Miss Irma Broadwell, third, fourth and
fifth grades; Miss Hope Haupt, drawing and singing; Miss Carrie
Belle Billiugsley, domestic science, and Miss Willie Ponder,
instrumental music. The school has two buildings, both
constructed of wood, but sufficiently large to accommodate the
school. The auditorium is one of the best school auditoriums in
this section of the state. The school is well supplied with
libraries, laboratories, pianos and cooking utensils, and the
general equipment, in many ways, surpasses the requirements of
the State Board of Education. At the beginning of Prof. Roaten's
administration as principal, a School Improvement League was
organized, and the organization has been a potent and happy
factor in building up the school. The domestic science
department was installed at the first of the 1911-12 session,
and through the instrumentality of the School Improvement
League, sewing was added to the course, and cooking was added at
the beginning of session of 1912-13. Interest in this department
had increased until at the latter session twenty-two girls were
taking this work. The domestic science course covers the four
years of the regular high school work and is optional, those
taking it being permitted to omit Latin and higher mathematics.
Prom the first the attendance has increased every year, the high
school department enrolling during the session of 1912-13
Miss Dora Currie
Misses Maude Duggan
Messrs. S. D. Ponder, Jr.
Messrs. Jimmie Etheredge
and Katie Abington
Messrs. William Ponder
Messrs. Robert Jackson
and united support have been the two great elements which
contributed to the success of the school. Eleven of the
graduates, have been in attendance at higher institutions,
including Ward's Seminary, the State Normal, and the Louisiana
State University. Eight have taught in the public schools of the
parish, and nearly all seem determined to secure a higher
education and be worth something to the world. The Many High
School is one of the town's best assets, and the fact is
becoming more generally recognized ; and, by adhering to its
present policy to furnish its students with a real, practical
high school education the school is destined to enjoy a bright
and prosperous future.
St. John's School
School (Catholic) is another institution which has provided the
youth of Many and elsewhere with an education. This school has
few graduates, but a large number of boys and girls who are
honorable citizens and worthy members of society have received
all or a part of their education there. This denominational
school was established in 1887, with Miss Emma Currie (now Mrs.
Leo Vandegaer) as teacher. She was succeeded by Miss Aimee
Hertzog, who taught years, the following teachers, in the order
named, presided as teachers: Miss Annie Currie (now Mrs. W. T.
Colquitt of Shreveport), Miss Marie Burt (now Mrs. Henry Buvens),
Miss Blanche Blake (now Mrs. J. J. Andries), Mrs. Baird and
Prof, O'Connor. The school house was a one room structure which
stood near where the present building stands. In 1898, the
patrons of the school decided to turn the institution over to
some regular teaching order of the denomination, and Rev. A.
Anseeuw, who was at that time rector of St. John's church,
arranged for the Sisters of Divine Providence to take charge of
the school. The home of this order is at Sin Antonio, Texas, and
these sisters have many parochial schools in Louisiana, Oklahoma
and Texas. Sister Lucy was the first superior of St. John's
School and two other teachers were installed as her assistants.
The increased number of pupils at once made necessary the
building of a larger and better house. Sister Lucy was succeed
as superior in 1901 by Sister St. John, who served until 1906,
when Sister Bonaventure, the present superior, assumed charge,
Four teachers were now required to accommodate the pupils. The
literary course of the public schools of the state of Texas is
the course adopted and used, with slight variations, by the
Sisters of Divine Providence. In addition they give instruction
in music, painting, elocution, fancy work, as well as furnishing
a practical business course, embracing typewriting, stenography,
bookkeeping and penmanship, and several boys and girls who
received their instruction in these essentials to a business
vocation at this school are turning their knowledge to some
account. While the school is denominational, religious
instruction is given only to those pupils who desire it. Among
the boarding and day students there has always been enrolled
pupils of the various denominations and their religious belief
scrupulously respected. The graduates in the literary department
of St. John's school are Miss Olive Buvens, 1905; Miss Ethel
Armstrong (Mrs. Arthur Pugh), 1911, and Miss Annie Clare
Vandegaer, 1913. On November 21, 1911, the school building and
the sisters' house were destroyed by fire, and, unfortunately,
the loss was not covered by insurance. But through the efforts
of the Catholic Knights of America, the substantial aid of Right
Rev. Bishop Van de Ven and the contributions of citizens of
Many, funds were soon raised for the erection of the present
large and splendid structure, and the school promises to
continue to occupy a more prominent place than ever in
furnishing an education to the youths of the parish.
Lodge F. & A. M. was first organized in 1850, and was a
prosperous lodge until after the war when the charter was
surrendered. Many Lodge No. 285 F. & A. M. was organized in
1904. The records and lodge hall were destroyed December 24,
1909. The present officers are Don E. SoRelle, W. M.; W. C.
Roaten, S, W.; F. W. Hunter, J. W., and P C. Horn, secretary.
Many Camp No, 171 W. O. W.
was organized in 1903, with Don E, SoRelle, C. C. and John H.
Boone, clerk. The camp has about 63 members. W. G Caldwell is C.
C. and J. H. Boone, clerk.
St, John's Branch No. 912
Catholic Knights of America was organized July 5, 1903,
with Leo Vandegaer, president, and F. B. Blake, recording
secretary. The following have served as president of the branch:
Leo Vandegaer, J. R. Buvens, Rev. Q. Vanderburg, C. W. Leary
John Blake and C. J. Hubley. Rev, A. Anseeuw was the first
chaplain. The present officers are: Rev. Q. Vanderburg,
chaplain; J. G. Belisle, president; Louis Davis, vice president;
Dan Vandegaer, Jr., recording secretary; A. S. Clanan, financial
secretary; J. J. Blake, treasurer; F. N. Buvens, sentinel; W. R.
Robinson, escort; Leo Clanan, guard.
Source: History of Sabine Parish,
Louisiana, by John G. Belisle, Sabine Banner Press, 1913.