Louisiana History and Genealogy Project-Lafayette Parish


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 was 28,733.


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 station.


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 station.


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.


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This website created September 8, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
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