Red River Parish History

Red River Parish Louisiana
















"We will revive those times, and in our memories preserve and still keep
fresh, like flowers in water, those happier days." Richter.


This name was adopted in 1871, when the boundaries of this modern parish were
established by the Legislature. Of the 386 square miles known as Red River
Parish 165 are Red River bottom lands, and 221 oak uplands. In 1879-80 there
were 33,930 acres in cultivation; 19,200 under cotton; 10,566 acres corn 88
acres sweet potatoes, and 9 under sugar cane. There were 11,512 bales of
cotton produced, of .6 of a bale per acre; 855 pounds of seed cotton, or 285
pounds of cotton lint. The uplands form the divide between the Grand Bayou of
Black Lake and Red River. Here the river flows through a narrow channel cut
through solid blue or red clays to a depth of forty feet. Fresh land produces
from 1,500 to 2,000 pounds of seed cotton per acre, and age shows only a
slight decrease in capability. It is rich in valuable timber, and has a soil,
both alluvial and upland, of unsurpassed fertility. All the vegetables and
fruit known to horticulturists, when properly cared for, grow luxuriantly, and
yield a rich return for the labor bestowed upon their cultivation. Sweet and
Irish potatoes both produce wonderful results. An average of 150 bushels per
acre of Irish potatoes is now an uncommon yield, and as much as 300 bushels to
the acre of sweet potatoes have been produced. The average yield of cotton is
one bale per acre, but it is not uncommon to obtain one and a half and even
two bales per acre, under judicious cultivation. Corn is produced on an
average of 30 to 40 bushels per acre, and in many instances from 75 to 100
bushels have been gathered per acre. The common field pea, planted with corn
on the same ground and at the same time, will yield from 20 to 30 bushels,
besides acting as a superior fertilizer to the land planted. Sorghum grows
luxuriantly, and proves rich in saccharine properties. Millet, oats, rye and
clover yield large results. The native grasses and cattle food grow in great
richness, and possess as much nutritive properties as any known food for

The population in 1880 was 8,573, of whom 2,506 were whites and 6,007
colored. In 1890 the population is placed a 11,339*, of which 638 are subject
to military duty, 764 are white voters and 1,575 colored voters. There are
18,44 white males, 1,769 white females; 3,822 colored males and 3,903 colored
females; 1,209 white and 2,776 colored children, between the age of nine and

*Returns by Assessor Wamsley.


Prior the 1835 Natchitoches was the head of the Red River navigation. From
Coushatta Bayou, for almost 180 miles up the river, was the "Great Raft," the
collection of trees and debris of the upper waters for years. In 1830-31 the
United States Ware Department complained of the expense of transporting
supplies to Fort Towson, in the new Indian Territory, and this complaint,
added to the treaty promises made the Choctaws and the Chickasaws, led to an
appropriation by Congress, in 1831, for the removal of impediments to Red
River navigation. Capt. Henry M. Shreve was employed to take charge of this
work, at a salary of $5,000 per annum. He was not a United Stated officer,
but a bargeman between Louisville and New Orleans up to the time he took
charge of the third steamer ever seen on the Mississippi. The Government
furnished him with two powerful snagboats, two transports and four barges,
manned by 200 regularly enlisted men. The men received $20 per month. In the
fall of 1832, work was commenced at a point below Shreveport, 140 miles by
river. In the winter of 1835, the raft was removed as far up as Shreveport,
but the work of natural accretion had been carried on so industriously by the
river, from 1832 to 1835, that it was found there were over thirty miles of
raft formed above Shreveport, and the work of removing this or making new
channels, where the mass was too solid to remove, was at once entered upon and
completed in 1840, leaving the river navigable for 1,100 miles. The
"Concord," commanded by Capt. Hildreth, and the "Indian," lay at Shreveport
for a month before completion on the work, and on its completion followed the
Government boats to the newly formed head of navigation. They were loaded
with supplies for Fort Towson, four miles northeast of the Red River, in the
Indian nation. Within two years a new raft formed for eight miles between
Hurricane and Carolina Bluffs, so that another appropriation of $100,000 had
to be made by Congress. In 1842 Gen. T. T. Williamson bought the contract for
this work, and chartering the freight boat "Southwestern," had little
difficulty in clearing the river. His contract bound him to keep the channels
clear for five years, and to effect this at little cost, he boomed the river
above Carolina Bluffs. Shortly after Capt. Washington Robb arrived at the
boom with his boat, expecting to trans-ship the cargo to an upper river boat,
but failing in making arrangements, he cut the boom and proceeded on his way,
leaving the river free to continue the work of raft-making. In 1850 another
appropriation of $100,000 was made, and Capt. Fuller, U. S. E. C., was placed
in charge of the work. Instead of cutting the twelve miles of raft between
Carolina Bluffs and Gilmer, he contented himself with cutting canals at the
head and foot of Dutch John's Lake and to sundry work on Dooley's Bayou, with
the object of throwing the water into Soto Late. This useless work cost the
United States $90,000. The plans on which Fuller acted were said to be
inspired by James B. Gilmer, who at this time was hostile to Shreveport.
Gilmer also had a ditch excavated, 5,100 feet in length, from the point where
Tone's Bayou leaves old river into Bayou Pierre. The fall in this short
distance, seven or eight feet, attracted the waters of the river, and soon a
ship channel was in existence and Tone's Bayou* or Antoine Pourier's Bayou,
was formed.
*The head of Tone's Bayou was closed by Surveyor Shreve, about 1843, with
driftwood from the raft above. In 1849 James B. Gilmer, a planter, and a
ditch made through the obstruction, which gradually widened, until the water
found its way to Bayou Pierre Lake, and again falling into Red River through
Wincey Bayou, below Coushatta. In 1853 Representative R. White won a
appropriation for straightening the river at Scopinis. This work was done in
1859-60, but the first boat did not pass through the cut until 1862, when
Capt. Phelps backed the Rinaldo through. During the war Dr. Hotchkiss under
instructions from the secretary of war, closed the bayou, which was washed
away not to be rebuilt until 1872-73. In 1874 the United States engineers has
the raft removed and Tone's Bayou re-closed.

For many years after the Fuller fiasco the United States let this raft
severely alone. In 1872 there were several raft formations, aggregating
twelve miles of solid raft for thirty-two miles above Carolina Bluffs.
Another appropriation was made and confided to Maj. Howells, U. S. E. C. He
placed Lieut. E. A. Woodruff in immediate charge, and within a year the
obstruction were almost removed, owing to the fact that a nitroglycerine
factory was established and the powerful explosive used in blowing up the
island. The condition of the raft of 1872 may be explained by stating, that
on several of its sections groves of willow trees sprung up, some of which
reached twelve inches in diameter. During the epidemic of 1873 Lieut.
Woodruff came to Shreveport to aid the people, but was himself carried off.
On the total removal of the raft the United States steamer "Florence" was
stationed here. In 1882 the new appropriation of $85,000 won by Congressman
Blanchard, and $25,000 balance of former appropriations, were available.
Appropriations for Cypress Bayou and other improvements have since been made
and improvements effected. In 1890 Capt. Lydon removed the 300 year old raft
at Young's Point, cutting a channel 600 feet wide for five miles.


An attempt was made immediately after the war to form a new parish out of
Natchitoches, DeSoto, Bienville and Caddo, but for many reasons the scheme was
not brought to perfection until 1871, when a Legislature was found willing and
capable of giving the authority to organize. In May, 1871, the first police
jury organized within the old store building of Lisso & Bro., at Coushatta
Chute, M. H. Twitchell was elected president, and he, with P. E. Roach, George
A. King, F. S. Edgerton (killed in 1874), E. W. DeWeese (killed in 1874) and
Prior Porter (colored) formed the board. D. H. Hayes, deputy district clerk,
was clear; Homer J. Twitchell (killed in 1874), recorder; J. T. Yates,
sheriff; Julius Lisso, treasurer; and F. S. Stokes, tax collector. The jurors
entered on the duties of office without ceremony or delay, and the tax
collector's work began a few days later.

On January 9, 1872, E. W. DeWeese, representative, called up his bill
authorizing Red River to issue $20,000 bonds to build a court-house and jail.
D. Cady Stanton, of Bossier, in opposing this measure, stated that $13,000 had
already been misappropriated for this purpose, and he emphasized this
assertion by stating that the jail built under this $13,000 was not paid for.
W. H. Scanland opposed the bill here as the taxes were already heavy, 14 1/2
mills State, 2 percent to Natchitoches for court-house and jail purposes, and
14 1/2 mills parish taxes, or nearly 6 percent. W. L. Hain, whose lowest bid
for the building of the court-house was rejected, published his complaints.
In January, 1872, the treasurer's (Julius Lisso) report for 1871 was
presented. This showed $11.321.55 paid to him by F. J. Stokes, collector and
$11,318.27 expended. The whole amount was simply paid back to F. J. Stokes
at intervals, and as the jury was in secret session, few citizens ever knew
the details. M. H. Twitchell was senator from this district, and E. W. DeWeese,

of DeSoto; L. J. Souer, of Avoyelles; Charles S. Able, of Bossier; Mortimer Carr,

of DeSoto, and D.C. Stanton, of Bossier, non-resident representatives in 1871-72.

Within the Legislature the efforts of the parish jury to strip the old inhabitants

and many of the new inhabitants of their property were ably sustained.

The new rules regarded them as prey, and so continued to regard them and

trifle with then until 1874, when human nature asserted herself by as just a

rebellion as history records.


A riot originated at Brownsville, August 26, 1874, when two negroes were
killed while sneaking round the home of one of the two planters who were
threatened with death. Next evening a ball was held at Coushatta, but in the
midst of the dance reports from Brownsville came in, stating that the negroes
were going to exterminate the whiles. Steps were taken to collect the whites
for defense, while Sheriff Edgerton and Tax Collector DeWeese accompanied a
number of citizens to Brownsville (Edgerton sent a courier in advance to have
the negroes disperse), but on their arrival there were no negroes to be seen.
The white garrison at Coushatta placed pickets along the roads. While
passing the house of Tax Collector Homer J. Twitchell, fire was opened on the
squad and Joseph Dixon was wounded. Suspicion pointed to Twitchell and he,
with Sheriff Edgerton, tax collector of DeSoto, DeWeese, Parish Attorney
Howell, Justice of the Peace Willis and Registrar Holland were arrested.
Twitchell made confessions which led to the arrest of several negroes. The
latter were held to be tried by a committee of twelve.

While these proceedings were taken place, exasperated people marched toward
Coushatta, to aid the citizens, and the scared officer were driven to propose
resignation, which they did on August 29. They wished to leave the State at
once, but were told to be careful, as the people might attack them. They were
too anxious to leave, and selecting a guard of twenty-five young men, under
John Carr, set out for Shreveport, and carried out the first forty-five-mile
race successfully. At that point the "Texans" under "Capt. Jack" came up with
the guarded fugitives, and after a short parley, shot them down. The negroes,
who were making ready for war in the Bayou Pierre Swamp, were dispersed, their
leaders arrested, tried, condemned and executed and peace restored. The men
killed deserved their end richly, but the methods of rendering them justice
were not so entirely honorable as they might be.

Prior to November 13, 1874, thirteen arrests were made at Coushatta, and on
that day four more citizens were arrested by Merrill's United States Police.
The thirteen original prisoners were released on $5,000 bail each, and were
ultimately cleared of participation in the punishment of those political
ragamuffins. The police carried matters so far as to preface those wholesale
arrests with the arrest of Editor Cosgrove. In 1875 G. A. King (ex-sheriff)
was serving as president. M. H. Twitchell (later president), J. W. Watts and
Benjamin Perrow, members; D. H. Hayes, clerk; W. P. Peck, recorder; J. P.
Hyams, district clerk; and Lieut. P. H. Moroney, superintendent of
registration; John D. Collins, Printer. In 1876 J. W. Watts presided with Ben
Perrow and W. S. Mudgett. Madison (Howard) Wells and James Grant (both
colored) were also members of the jury about this time. J. W. Harrison, who
in 1875 was postmaster at Coushatta, and tax-collector, will killed September
14, 1878, at Starling plantation, four miles up the river. The whole year was
one of Civil War.

The oppressor and the oppressed were in the field daily, and the latter would
have succeeded, undoubtedly, in the unequal contest with the former, had not
the power of the Freedman's bureau been so overwhelming in the adjoining
parishes of Caddo. Bienville and Natchitoches.

The shooting of Capt. M. H. Twitchell, and the murder of King, took place May
2, 1876. A stranger who knew their whereabouts, waited for them on the
Coushatta bank of the river. Twitchell and King, on arriving on the west bank
jumped into a skiff unsuspectingly, and when near the eastern landing the
avenger fired. Twitchell got into the water, holding on to the boat, leaving
King to be shot dead by the second fire. Twitchell luimeme, had both arms
broken and the ferryman, who went to his rescue, was wounded in the hand.
Twitchell was taken to Springville, where his are was amputated, while the
desperate avenger defied arrest and rode off.

The death of Capt. Twitchell gave the tax payer at least time to breathe, H.
S. Bosley, G. W. Robinson, B. S. Lee, and W. S. Williams, president, were
jurors in February, 1877. They estimated the expenditures at $8,070 for the
fiscal year ending in 1878. {The records of the police jury for this and
preceding years could not be found at the court-house.}

In 1878, W. S. Williams was president with B. S. Lee, H. S. Bosley, James
Grant, and B. G. Kenny, members, and D. H. Hayes, clerk. An ad valorem tax of
4 mills, a road and bridge tax of 1 mill, a public building tax of 1 mill, an
election tax of 1 mill, a judgement tax of 2 mills, and an incidental tax of 1
mill were authorized in April, and $224 granted to George H. Russell for
repairing court-house. In August the quarantine ordinance was adopted, and in
September, the ordinance, establishing the boundaries of the five wards was
carried. In January, 1879, T. L. Terry, of Ward 1, was elected president, J.
M. T. Elliott, Ward 2; T. G. McGraw, Ward 3; S. F. Spencer, Ward 4, and F.
Roubien, Ward 5. J. P Clarkson was parish printer, and Dr. Guthrie,
physician. The tax levy for 1879 was similar to that for 1878, but the
estimate of expenditures was only a little over $7,000. Julius Lisso,
treasurer, was succeeded by W. F Eames.

In October, 1879, the 4-mill tax for jail building purposes was defeated by
ninety-three votes against fifty-three. In March, 1880, J. J. Sprawls was
clerk, succeeding Hayes. S. B. Harris, qualified as representative of Ward 2,
in June. In February, 1882, the jail building was completed, and the iron
cells constructed by Pauley Bros. were also completed and the building
accepted from the contractor. The sale of the old building and lot was
authorized. In November, 1882, the proposition of J. W. Pearce, principal of
Coushatta Male and Female Academy, to educate two pupils, selected by the
police jury, free of charge, was accepted. Laura McGraw and J. P. Kent were
chosen pupils. The police jury of July 23, 1884, comprised T. L. Terry,
president; F. Roubien, Sameul Harris, W. H. Treadwell, and J. H. Rich, J. C.
Egan, Jr., was chosen clerk. Dr. W. A. Boylston, physician, and W. T. Eames,
was re-elected treasurer. In September the vote for the sale of liquor was
510, and against such sale, 295. In 1885 John Crichton was a member of the
jury vice Treadwell; Ben. Wolfson, clerk, vice Egan, and Dr. Guthrie,
physician, vice Boylston. The clerk resigned in December, when Ed W. Lisso
was elected to fill that position. The election on the liquor question held
December 8, shows 307 votes for the sale of liquor, and 111 against such sale.
In February, 1887, H. C. Stringfellow and J. Pugh C were appointed delegates
to the Inter-State Agricultural Convention at St. Charles; W. S. Atkins and C.
J. Conley, with Messrs. Terry Harris and Crichton formed the jury. In 1888 G.
J. McGee and L. W. Stephens qualified as jurors; Robert Stothart as treasurer,
and W. S. Atkins as president. The jury in January, 1890, comprised L. W.
Stephens, president; G. J. McGee, Ward 2; c. J. Conly, Ward 3; J. Crichton,
Ward 4; and T. R. Armstead, Ward 5, with Ed W. Lisso, clerk. In February the
vault construction by the Diebold Safe & Lock Company was received by the
police jury, and 6 per cent notes for $4,350 were given to that company. A
10-mill parish tax was authorized to meet the estimated expenditures
($10,000). In September, 1890, the ordinance regulating the sale of meat in a
part of Ward 5 was adopted. This ordinance provided that the dealer of
peddler in meats should expose the ears and hide the animal during sale with
the object of preventing the sale of stolen meat. In October Louis Scheen was
elected treasurer.

In 1876 the vote for governor shows 413 for Nicholls (D.) and 832 for Packard
(R.). In 1879 Wiltz (D.) received 694, and the opposing Republican, Beattie,
79. In 1884 McEnery (D.) received 574, and Stevenson (R.), 552; while in 1888
Nicholls (D.) received 1,679, and Warmoth (R.), 78. The voters' register
showed 1,938 names for April, 1888, 690 being Caucasians. Of the whites there
were then 110 who could not write their names, while there were 1,062 Africans
deficient in this manner.


The first session of the district court was held at Coushatta (then in the
Eighteenth District) September 4, 1871. Judge L. B. Watkins, presided. The
first grand jury comprised of Henry Pickett, Robert Andrews, Judge Warren,
William Bedford, Edward Cason, Dave Austin, Richard Williams, Zion Carroll,
George Abney, Gabriel Grappe, David Powell, William Bryant, W. Allen, Henry
Armstead, W. O. Garrison, Azro Armstrong, William Mountjoy, G. W. Sherrod,
Beverly Turner, J. H. Coleman, S. J. Jackson, G. A. Friend, Benjamin Austin,
Robert Long, Joseph Dixon, Isaac Whitley, John Brunner, Henry Beck, Reuben
Williams, Isham House, Lewis Cox, Abram Baker, Richard Cunnagan, J. L. Denson,
Anderson Smith, Samuel Branch and Henry Dowden. Six other names were called
but were reported not in the parish, while E. W. Tower, entered on the venire
by Sheriff Yates, was the name of a woman. T. E. Paxton was the first clerk.
In August he was appointed district attorney, and was succeeded before the
close of the year by D. H. Hayes. John T. Yates was sheriff at this time. In
May, 1872, William Patterson was indicted for murder. The spring term of 1873
was open by Judge James E. Trimble, of the Eleventh district, who disposed of
a number of serious criminal cases. In September of this year resolutions of
the death of John R. Griffin, a lawyer of Bossier, were adopted, and the
report of the grand jury received. This report condemned a report by the
former grand jury, and declared that the court-house was not yet completed.
On the condition of the parish, the jurors affirmed their belief, that in the
midst of the political excitement of the times, Red River Parish was
comparatively free from crime and disturbance. J. P. Hyams was then district
clerk, with D. H. Hayes, deputy. There is no record of court for 1874, nor
was there a term of court opened until September, 1875, when Judge C. Chaplin
presided. Anthony Easton, Henry Nicholson and George Nicholson were found
guilty of murder, killing a Jew peddler, and sentenced to death; but of the
trio, Henry Nicholson was the only one who suffered the extreme penalty (A. J.
McCord being executioner), the others having escaped from jail. William Teary
and J. D. Lacy were indicted for murder, and the case of the State vs. M. H.
Twitchell was dismissed.

The colored desperado, "Banjo Joe," was killed by H. C. Stringfellow in April,
1876, while opposing arrest.

In May, 1877, Judge Pierson succeeded Judge Chaplin, and in June judgement was
given for the plaintiff in the case, J. W. Carnes vs. Red River Parish, but
his demand for the special decree for the assessment and collection of a
special tax was denied. On July 14, jury commissioners were appointed, viz.:
George W. Cawthorn, A. S. B. Pior, J. P. Dickson and P. L. Collins, and in
November a number of indictments were returned against road defaulters. A
year later Jim Moss, colored, was convicted of manslaughter, but escaped from
jail. In November, 1879, resolutions were adopted by the bar and officers of
court, expressing sorrow for the separation of Red River from Natchitoches,
and the consequent separation of the presiding judge from the parish. The
resolutions were signed by L. B. Watkins, W. P. Hall, district attorneys; J.
J. Sprawls and J. D. Roach, lawyers; W. P. Peck, clerk; D. H. Hayes, deputy
clerk, and J. A. Bell sheriff. Judge James L. Logan presided here in May,
1880. John D. Roach was admitted to practice here, and in November John A.
Hunter was sheriff. The tragedy of December 30, 1881, at Bonnie Doon, near
Coushatta, resulted in the suicide of Robert Lewis, after his attempt to kill
the widow of his brother, Mrs. W. S. Lewis, and her sister, Mrs. Thompson.
The suicide shot Clarence Pratt in a duel after the war. Pratt was, at the
time, a member of the Legislature from Claiborne Parish (Webster not then
being known). From the effects of this wound Pratt died. Mrs. Lewis died at
the Hotel Dieu, New Orleans, about a month after receiving the wound. The
indictment against Joe McGee for murder was retruned in November, 1883; he was
found guilty and sentenced to be hanged April 4, 1884. The return of this
execution was made by Sheriff Hunter, and witnessed by H. A. Hunter and W. H.
Wamsley. Lewis M. Howard qualified as clerk in 1880. In July, 1884, W. P.
Hall succeeded J. L. Logan as judge of the Tenth District, and is to-day
presiding judge of the new Ninth District, comprising Red River, De Soto and
Sabine. It is fortunate for him, as it is for the district, that the
lawlessness that prevailed here during the decade ending in 1884, had almost
disappeared before his commission was issued, and that the criminal docket of
to-day is as light as in any district of an equal population in the State. J.
M. T. Elliott succeeded John A. Hunter as sheriff in 1884, and in 1888 T. E.
Paxton succeeded F.B. Williams as clerk of the district court; Scheen is
deputy clerk.

The court of appeals for the First Circuit was opened here in May, 1880, by
Judges Moncure and George.

The last record of the parish court was closed March 31, 1880, and signed by
Parish Judge A. Ben Broughton. In was opened May 29, 1871, by A. O. P.
Pickens; he was succeeded in 1874 by O. S. Penney, and his in 1875 by A. Ben.

The bar of Red River Parish in 1890 comprises J. C. Egan, J. F. Pierson, J.C.
Pugh, J. D. Roach and William Goss. Five years before the names of S.A. Hull,
M. S. Jones, J. f. Stephens, J. J. Sprawls, L. B. Watkins, J. L. Logan and
many of the lawyers named in the history of the adjoining parishes appeared on
the records.


The Coushatta Times was established early in 1871, by William H. Scanland, of
the Bossier Banner, and published by him until December, of that year, when H.
A. Perryman became owner. In May, 1872, he retired, and M. L. Pickens and
others carried on this journal almost to its close. In January, 1874 W. A. Le
Seuer took charge, and conducted it until August, 1874.

The Coushatta Citizen was issued December 9, 1871, by W. H. Scanland, who
carried it on until 1874, when J. L. Denson took charge. L. W. Cannery & Co.
purchased the office in 1874, and in March, 1875, J. P. Clarkson became owner.

The Red River Watchman was issued August 22, 1874, at Coushatta, by W. A. Le
Seuer, with W. O. Pickens, local editor. This paper was issued seven days
before the Coushatta riots, and was instrumental in ridding the parish of the
vilest set of cut-throats sent into Louisiana to rob a people.

The common-school system is still in its infancy here. The old Springville
Academy and the private schools at Coushatta and other points, afforded so
many opportunities for acquiring an education, that the free schools were
principally utilized by colored children.

The enrollment of white pupils in Red River Parish for the years 1878 to 1887,
inclusive, was 317, 375, 243, 309, 546, 274, 507, 458, 542 and 575. In the
same years the colored enrollment was 446, 442, 270, 403, 434, 499, 387, 507,
493 and 472. In 1890 Assessor W. H. Wamsley placed the number of white
children between nine and eighteen years of age at 1,209, and colored children
at 2,776.

The physicians of the parish, who registered up to the close of 1889, under
the act of 1882, are Walter E. Hawkins, a graduate of Mobile College, in 1883;
Ed. F. Beall of Louisiana University, in 1883, and Thomas L. Terry, of
Louisville College, in 1888.

As an organized division of the State, Red River was unknown in 1861-65, so
that whatever military history pertains to it, is given in the sketches of the
neighboring parishes. As early as 1840 W. D. Lofton and W. A. Martin, Mexican
War veterans, were residents of this parish. Many of the survivors of the
Civil War reside here, among them a few who were the first of the battle
fields of Virginia and last under arms when the last regiment of Confederate
soldiers was paroled.


Coushatta, the seat of justice, stands on the eastern bank of Red River , in
Latitude 32 degrees north, and Longitude 16 degrees 15' west. It is an
incorporated town of 564 inhabitants, and the market town for one of the
richest agricultural districts of Louisiana. The location was formerly known
as Coushatta Chute, near Springville. Coushatta Point, near by, was the site
of the Jones store and warehouse, which was destroyed in April, 1864, by Gen.
Banks' raiders. In 1866 Julius and Mark Lisso erected a building for trading
purposes here, and controlled trade until the place was selected as the parish
seat, in 1871. Twenty years ago the river swept along the eastern bank; now
the channel is on the other side.

In 1871 there were the following buildings: T. W. Abney's three cottages, on
Carroll Street; William Upshaw's dwelling, Abney & Love's Coushatta Hotel,
conducted by William Herring (William Powell in 1872); Charles N. Prudhomme's
store, opposite E. P. Pauvert's cheap store; adjoining Prudhomme's , G. W.
Cawthorn's livery; then R. M. Searcy's house. On Front Street, were J. M
Brown's saloon, the Citizen office, in Abney & Love's two-story building; the
stores of Abney & Co., W. W. Upshaw, O. P. Gahagan and Mrs. E. A. Carroll, the
office of the Coushatta Times, Fry's saloon, the post-office, then kept by
Julius Snead and Lisso & Bro.'s store. On Abney Street Capt. T. E. Paxton and
A. D. Self resided, while across the street J. M. McLemore's office building
was in course of construction, and the residence of J. W. Armistead; Miss
Fannie Picken's school was then in existence. In 1871 Prudhomme's store was
burned, but was rebuilt in 1872. In February, 1872, a church and lodge
building was erected near Treadwell's store. The steam gin in that vicinity
was burned some time before.

The act to incorporate the town of Coushatta was approved April 22, 1872, and
in 1874 Representative De Weese introduced a bill to exempt town property from
the parish tax. George A. King was the first mayor. In February, 1876, d. H.
Hayes was mayor; P. A. Lee, secretary; John R. Carr, marshal; Messrs. Bullock,
Broughton, Gahagan and Bosley, councilmen. In 1879 Samuel Lisso was clerk.
In 1880 J. d. Patton was mayor, and H.R. Jones, clerk. In 1881, J. M. Brown
was mayor and J. F. Stephens, secretary, succeeding H. R. Jones and J. H
Scheen, respectively. J. J. Stanfill is the last mayor elect.

The Coushatta fire of February 5, 1874, destroyed Abney & Love's store, the T.
L. Terry store and J. M. Brown's saloon. The dwellings of J. W. Armistead,
George Beausoliel and John Burk were saved. In 1880 the Stanfill house was
destroyed, and since that time a few small fires mark the history of the

James McAllister was postmaster at Springville after the war. Later the
office was closely identified with the court-house, M. L. Pickens and J. T.
Yates, masters, and in 1875 Harrison, the tax collector, was master. D. H.
Hayes, J. R. Hayes and Dr. Winder have held this office. Samuel Lisso was
postmaster up to 1878; was succeeded in September, 1880, by Capt. T. B.
Shelby. J. R. McGoldrick was commissioned postmaster in 1881 to succeed Capt.

The Baptist Church of Coushatta dates to 1850, when J. E. Paxton organized a
society her near Coushatta Chute. In 1852 this church left the Saline
Association and united with the Red River Association. About this time a
house of worship was erected on United States land. In 1860-61 a Methodist
preacher named Read settled here, and learning that the Baptists had no legal
claim to the land, he placed his family in the house and defied the
disappointed Baptists. In 1861 Elder Kirtley settled at Springville, one and
one-half miles from Coushatta, and took charge of the academy. In the school
building the members worshiped for some time as visitors, but in 1864 the
church bought the building. In 1865 Kirtley moved to Ringgold, and not until
1869 did a preacher appear in the person of John Barron. Afterward G. W.
Singleton, a member, was ordained preacher, and he followed by J. W. Carswell.

The Baptist Church building commenced in August, 1880, and in September the
Baptist society at Spring Hill entered on the work of building. In the fall
of 1880 Contractor Zoder finished the building at Coushatta.


The Coushatta Male and Female Academy was chartered in September, 1880, with
Julius Lisso, president; J. M. Brown. J. H. Scheen, H. S. Bosley, T. L. Terry,
W. W. Wardlaw and James F. Pierson, trustees; Ben. Wolfson, secretary and G.
W. Cawthon, treasurer. The capitol stock was placed at $20,000. Prof. L. L.
Upton was principal and Mrs. Upton assistant principal of the high school,
then conducted on the first flood of the Masonic building. June 2, 1890, the
following trustees were elected: Robert Stothart, D. M. Giddens, Paul Lisso,
L. W. Stephens and J. M. T. Elliott. The board was organized by electing
Robert Stothart, president; D. H. Hayes, secretary, and L. E. Scheen,
treasurer. Mr. Fisher is principal.

The telegraph line between Coushatta and Minden was completed June 29, 1875,
and the first despatch sent to Buchanan & Davis, Minden, by Ben. Wolfson and
E. W. Rawle. July 27 the line was completed to Natchitoches.


Silent Brotherhood Lodge, 145, A. F. & A. M., was organized in 1857 under
charter No. 155. On the establishment of Coushatta as the seat of justice,
the meeting was also established there, and in 1872 the Masonic building was
erected for lodge, church and school purposes. The officers installed in
January, 1890, are named as follows: J. R. Hayes, W. M.; D. H. Hayes,
secretary, Dr. E. F. Beall, S. W.; T. B. Selby, S. D.; L. A. Stall, J. W.; W.
P. Hayne, J. D.; Dr. W. A. Boylston, treasurer; T. M. Howell, Tyler; G. W.
Singleton, Chap.

Coushatta Chapter claims the following names officers: Sam Lisso, H. P.; G.
W. Singleton, Treas., J. F. Pierson, K.; D. H. Hayes, Sec; T. L. Terry, S.; T.
M. Howell, G. M. 3d V,;J. R. Hayes, C. of H.;G. W. Singleton, G. M. 2d V,; Ben
Wolfsan, P. S.; James Foley, G. M. 1st V.; D. M. Giddens, R.A. C.; W. T.
Wilkinson, guard.

The Coushatta Temperance Council was organized in January, 1874, with L. W.
Connerly, W. A. Le Seuer, J. P. Hyams, H. R. Jones, A. Abel, J. L. Denson, O.
P. Gahagan and W. O. Pickens, officers. The serious character of public
affairs destroyed the enthusiasm of temperance workers, and the council passed
out of existence.

The Dramatic Club was organized in August, 1880, with J. B. Prudhomme, Pres.;
T. R. Bosley, V. P.; Thomas E. Paxton, Sec.; and Burnside Capers, Treas.
Literary and social clubs have succeeded this old club in time, but like it
they have all disappeared. The A. O. U. W. is an old and strong organization

The Abney residence, purchases in 1878 by J. J. Stanfill, was burned in April,
1880. On its site is the present hotel, conducted by Mr. Stanfill. This
house is an oasis in the hotel desert of the upper parishes of Northwest

There are no less than twenty-seven business houses in the town, all doing a
large trade. The oil mill of the Armisteads, on the opposite bank of the Red
River , gives promise of becoming the leading manufacturing industry of the


There is nothing left of Springville. It is the deserted village. In 1874
Mrs. C. Bumgartner opened a store where Beausoliel formerly did business. The
Springville Academy was opened by Prof. Paine.

Joseph Bierd, who in 1823 settles near Bayou La Chute, left a valuable
property of 2,200 acres to his son, Jerry H. Bierd. The J. M. and J. W.
Robinson plantation is a tract to 3,800 acres; the W. F. Hutchinson on of
2,000 acres; the J. V. Hughes, one of 1,400 acres; Capt. William Robson's
large plantation below Tone's Bayou; J. Ben Smith, whose settlement dates back
to 1850, owns a fertile tract, and A. N. Timon, who owns 1,500 acres, twelve
miles above Campti. On his plantation are the mercantile houses of B.
Williams and W. A. Oliphant.

Lac Dismure is one of the oldest settlements. There, years ago B. Pierre
Grappe located his plantation before the Archies, Bierds or Browns settles
hers. His son, Ben G. Grappe, is the present owner of the old homestead.

Brownsville, made notorious in 1874, was the property of Tally Brown, at his
death the third man in point of wealth within the parish.

The Atkins Bros. own the Lake End plantation above Brownsville, while
Kenilworth, formerly the plantation of H. C. Stringfellow, is a 1,700-acre
tract of rich land. The Powell plantation adjoining contains 900 acres.
Above is M. A. Cockram's 600-acre tract, then the plantation of Robert Brown
and J. B. Pire; Next the 3,000-acre tract of S. Q. Hollingsworth; part of
Capt. Marsdon's estate and part of the Thomas Armistead's lands. Ethel
plantation, owned by Mrs. O. H. P. Gahagan, is just above Coushatta; then the
Russ stock farm, formerly the Greening farm, the old Ben Lee plantation and
the Pettywick farm now the property of Judge Egan. Above are the plantations
of A. A. Farmer, Thomas Williams, the old Maj. Dixon lands; the 3,524 acres of
Emmett T. Robinson (part of which has been in cultivation since 1858), John
Murrell's 1,300, Capt. Marston's 7,000 acres (known as Ashland), and William
Scarborough's great tract are all well paying farms. Cotton Point a
plantation of 5,600 acres (formerly the home of George Robinson, who died in
1879), is now the property of H. C. Stringfellow and Georgia Robinson. In
1888-89 a large lumber and shingle mill was erected at Cotton Point by
Robinson and Stringfellow. Twelve miles below Coushatta, on the Natchitoches
road, is Cawley's lumber-mill and cotton-press, while at other points small
industries are carried on. Throughout the parish are Saline and some
fresh-water springs. Deer and wild cat are found in sufficient numbers to
entertain the hunter, and the mink, a resident since 1862, appear sometimes in
numbers. The minerals of the parish are similar to those of DeSoto and Winn.

Source: Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana
The Southern Publishing Company, Chicago & Nashville, 1890
Chapter IV

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