HISTORY AND GAZETTEER OF LAFAYETTE COUNTY, 1912
LAFAYETTE PARISH, one of the early parishes, was erected in 1823,
while Henry S. Thibodaux was acting governor, and then embraced
within its limits the present parish of Vermilion. It is situated in
the southern part of the state and as now constituted is bounded
on the north by St. Landry parish; on the east by St. Martin and
Iberia parishes; on the south by Vermilion and Acadia parishes, and
on the west by Acadia and St. Landry parishes. It lies in what was
known during the Spanish and French occupancy of Louisiana as
the "Attakapas district", named after the Attakapas Indians, a
tribe which once held possession of this region. During the first
half of the 18th century the only whites in this section were traders
and trappers. Andrew Martin was one of the pioneers of Lafayette,
having settled there as early as 1770, and used Indians as herders
and servants. He was followed by the Acadians soon after their
arrival in Louisiana. The increase in population was steady, and
at the time the parish was incorporated the population was 5,653.
The seat of justice was originally at Pin Hook, but was soon
moved to Lafayette, in the eastern part of the parish. John M. Mouton
donated the land on which the court house stands. Lafayette
parish has an undulating surface of 259 square miles, and is the
third smallest parish in the state. Its formation is chiefly prairie,
though there is some alluvial and some bluff land. Except where
there is forest growth or the land is under cultivation, the prairies
are covered with a heavy growth of nutritious grass, providing excellent
pasture for stock the entire year. The Vermilion river, running north and
south, divides the parish into two nearly equal parts.
East of the river the surface is quite rolling, breaking into hills of
considerable height, known as "Cote Gelee" hills, which were called
"Cote Gelee" or frozen hills from the fact that there was little
timber on them when first known to the early settlers, who suffered
from cold without firewood. To the south the surface gradually
undulates to the level stretch that reaches to the gulf. The hills
are devoted to agriculture. Prairie is the natural cattle country,
and though no less fertile than the hills, this section offers inducements
to the stockman unequaled by any portion of the state.
Water is abundant and of good quality. Transportation facilities
are furnished by the Southern Pacific R. R., which extends through
the parish, and has a branch line to Cheneyville in Rapides parish,
affording an outlet for the products of the parish south, west and
north. Lafayette, the parish seat, Broussard and Carencro are the
most important towns. Others are Duson, Scott, Milton, Ridge and
Youngsville. The U. S. census for 1910 gives the following statistics: Number of
farms, 3,216; acreage, 162,329; acreage, improved,
141,762; value of land and improvements exclusive of farm buildings,
$7,417,102; value of farm buildings, $1,150,666 ; value of live
stock, $1,399,992; total value of crops, $1,918,296. The population
Broussard, an incorporated town in the eastern part of Lafayette
parish, is on the Southern Pacific R. R., about 7 miles southeast of
Lafayette, the parish seat. It has a money order postoffice, an express
office, telephone and telegraph facilities, and is a shipping
point of some importance. Its population in 1900 was 290.
Carencro, an incorporated town in the northern part of Lafayette
parish, is situated on the Southern Pacific R. R., 6 miles north of
Lafayette, the parish seat and nearest banking point. It has a
money order postoffice, express office, telephone and telegraph
facilities, and is the distributing point for a very large district.
Its population in 1900 was 445.
Duson, a post-hamlet and station in the western part of Lafayette parish,
is on the Southern Pacific R. R., about 11 miles west of
Lafayette, the parish seat. It has an express office, telegraph station,
telephone facilities, and in 1900 had a population of 56.
Lafayette, the seat of government in the parish of the same name,
is located in the eastern part of the parish at the junction of two
divisions of the Southern Pacific R. R. and is one of the most important
cities on that line between New Orleans and the Texas
boundary. It was settled about the beginning of the 19th century.
On Feb. 7, 1824, the Louisiana legislature passed an act providing
that the town laid off by Jean Mouton, near the Bayou Vermilion,
in the parish of Lafayette, should be known as Vermilionville, and
about the same time the parish seat was removed there from Pin
Hook. By the act of March 11, 1836, the limits of the town were
designated and it was fully incorporated. It was reincorporated by
the act of March 9, 1869, and under this charter Alphonse Neven
was the first mayor. In 1884 the charter was amended as to boundaries
and the name was changed to Lafayette. In 1900 the population was 3,314,
and at that time Lafayette was the 12th largest city
in the state. The population in 1910 was 6,392, which will give
some idea of its rapid growth in recent years. The Southwestern
Industrial Institute is located here. The city has 2 banks, 3 newspapers,
one of the finest and largest cotton-gins in the state, cotton
seed oil mills, a cotton compress, an ice factory, a number of first
class mercantile houses, good public schools, and in fact all modern
utilities usually found in cities of its class.
Milton, a post-village of Lafayette parish, is located in a rich
rice growing district on the Vermilion river, about 8 miles southwest of
Lafayette, the parish seat and most convenient railroad
town. Population, 150.
Ossun, a post-hamlet in the northwestern part of Lafayette parish,
is located in the center of a rice-growing: district near the Bayou
Caron Cros, about 8 miles from Lafayette, the parish seat. Scott,
on the Southern Pacific, 4 miles south, is the nearest railroad
Pilette, a post-village in the eastern part of Lafayette parish, is
situated on the Vermilion river, 5 miles southeast of Lafayette,
the parish seat, and 3 miles west of Broussard, the nearest railroad
Ridge, a post-hamlet in the western part of Lafayette parish, is
about 12 miles southwest of Lafayette, the parish seat and nearest
railroad town. It has a money order postoffice, a rice mill and is the
trading center for this part of the parish.
Scott, a money order post-village in the central part of Lafayette
parish, is on the Southern Pacific R. R., 5 miles west of Lafayette, the
parish seat, in the great rice district of the southwestern part of the
state. It has a rice mill, telegraph and express offices, and a good
retail trade. Population 239.
Vatican, a post-hamlet of Lafayette parish, situated near the
northwestern boundary, 5 miles southwest of Carencro, the nearest
railroad town, and 8 miles northwest of Lafayette, the parish seat.
Youngsville, an incorporated town in the southeastern part of
Lafayette parish, is about 3 miles southwest of Billeaud, the nearest
railroad town, and 8 miles south of Lafayette, the parish seat. It
is located in the great rice district of southwestern Louisiana, has
a rice mill and other important industries, a money order postoffice,
and a large retail trade. Population, 328.
Return to Lafayette Parish AHGP
This website created September 8, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
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