Many, Sabine Parish, Louisiana

"When Sabine 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.

The first 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 business pursuits.

In 1847 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.

Among other 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.

The first 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.

Probably the 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.

Peter F. 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.

Another pioneer was Hosea Presley, who came here before the parish was created and acquired title to his plantation lying west of the town limits.

Previous to 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.

In 1909, 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 term.

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.

Mr. Baldwin 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 time.

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.

Leo Vandegaer 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.

Among the tradesman and mechanics of the old days were the following:

Louis 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.

Albert Clanan 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.

The first 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.

Before the 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.

The newspaper 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 mercantile business.

In 1881, 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 urgent.

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.

The Sabine 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:

Joseph D. 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 store.

O. E. 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.

H. A. 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.

W. B, 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.

At present 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 home.

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.

Among the 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.

For several 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.

The Pelican 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 enterprise.

The owners of the principal farms in the immediate vicinity of Many:

M. M. Duggan
Mrs. Hattie Addison
Jeff Peters
P. H. McGarrhan
Commodore and Asbury Byrd
Warren and Wilson Cutrer
M. V. Petty
Mrs. Quayhaeghen
Henry Julian and Thomas Andries
Estate of Louis and Francis Buvens
I. L. Pace and
R. Pattison
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
F. DeKeyser
J. L. Dees
Charles Henry

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 company.

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.

The 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.

Pugh Bros. (Arthur and Tullos) own the City barber shop. They are splendid young men, have an elegant shop and enjoy a good patronage.

The latest 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.

The early 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 forty-nine pupils.  

Graduates 1910-11

Miss Dora Currie
Misses Maude Duggan
Lena Jackson
Maudeola Presley
Messrs. S. D. Ponder, Jr.
Messrs. Jimmie Etheredge


Misses Willie and Katie Abington
Leone Addison
Josie Dillon
Rena McFarland
Lilburne Middleton,
Willie SoRelle
Messrs. William Ponder
Arthur Tramel
Van Vines

1912-13 Graduates

Misses Jessie Guile
Lola McFarland
Gertrude Moore
Bessie Ponder
Gladys Robs
Eulanee Presle
Delia Tramel
Messrs. Robert Jackson
Gilbert Pace

Definite aims 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

St, John's 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.


Many 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.

Sabine Parish | AHGP Louisiana

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


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