Saturday, April 21, 2012

How 'Soldiers' Rest' really got it's name ???..

Nov. 18, 1965 East Carroll Democrat Newspaper by Unk Nook Hello Folks, I am going to share a secret with you but you must not tell a soul. I am going to tell you how Soldier’s Rest got its name and how much the name cost. Before the day it received its name it was just called the sage field. The sage field began at what is now Milligan Street and went one block west of what is now known as Artaud Street. The soldiers were just beginning to draw their pensions from the government and a man named John Stockner bought a lot on the corner of Milligan and Second for $5 to build a house on---then the lots in the sage field began to sell like hot cakes on a winter day--each lot sold for the sum of $5.00. The lots sold faster than the surveyors had a hard time keeping them measured. All kinds of houses were erected on these lots in the sage field, some of brick, some of wood, some of tin - anything that a house could be built from. Some of them fell down before the occupants could move in good. Now, back to the naming of Soldier’s Rest -- it all took place in my pop’s butcher shop one Wednesday before Thanksgiving in 1904 - the Real Estate dealer was in the shop having a beef cut up (the agent that was selling all the lots in the sage field). One of my little pals and I were rehearsing our Thanksgiving speeches by reciting to one another as were both on the Thanksgiving program at the school house that evening. The real estate dealer overheard us rehearsing and asked my pal, named Norman to recite his speech to him. Norman expanded his chest and began-- “Soldiers Rest, Thy warfare is over, Dream of battlefields no more”... etc, etc, etc.. The real estate dealer like the sound of it so much that he promptly named the sage field “Soldier’s Rest”, and paid Norman by sharing his peanuts and raisins with him. In those days a five cent bag of peanuts and raisins filled a 1 pound paper bag so Norman and I went to school the next morning well fortified with the “pay” for naming Soldier’s Rest. B C ing you, Unk Nook PS I think this was a joke that he was telling, but not for sure... what do you think?

Louisiana Swamp Doctor/Henry Clay Lewis, mid 1800's

Henry Clay Lewis was a doctor who lived on the Tensas River, Madison Parish, not to far from Lake Providence, in northeast Louisiana. He encountered many Lake Providence folks. He died at the early age of 26. He was helping with the Cholera epidemic at the time of the swollen bayous and flooding Mississippi River on an August day in 1850. Plunging his horse into the murkey waters his feet and his horses' feet was snarled on the dense willows pulling him and his horse down. The doctor was found the next day drown. The next few posts will be about some of the local folk that was mentioned in his book, "Louisiana Swamp Doctor".

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"La. Swamp Doctor and the Panther"

..."Telling the people that I would not return unless they sent for me, and the sun being low, I mounted my horse and dashed off for home.  Coming to a fork in the path, I took the one I thought I had come in the morning and gave myself no further concern about the road.
I mentioned that I had filled my pockets with valerian on leaving home, and on this simple thing depended two lives, as the sequill [sic]  will show.  It is a root and when fresh of a powerful and penetrating odor peculiar to its species."...."The root possesses great attractions for the cat tribe which smells it at a great distance and resorts to it eagerly, devouring its fragrant fibers with great apparent relish."... "I had proceeded some distance when it began to appear to me that the path I was travelling was not the one by which I had come in the morning, but as it was some miles back...."   ...."I determined to proceed."   "It was near sunset, and, in despite of my endeavors to the contrary, I was becoming somewhat anxious as a gloom was upon the bayou or slough whose illusory appearance I have noted.  Not remarking that the part instead of crossing turned up the bank, I gave my horse the rein and he sprang into the stream..."  ...."I was mistaken in the slough and that in the instance the proximity of the knees to the surface was no illusion.  He had fortunately become wedged between two of the largest which sustained his weight and saved him from being impaled upon those beneath.  I had nothing in the shape of a cutting instrument except a small penknife which under the circumstance could afford me no aid. Dismounting in the water, by main strength I released my horse, and as the sun withdrew its lingering ray from the top most bough of the trees-jaded, wet, and exhausted--we stood in the midst of the swamp on the banks of an unknown slough without food, fire, or weapon--lost! lost! lost! I could form no idea where I was, and go as I would it would be haphazard if I went right.  The probabilities were that I would have to spend the night in the drearisome place."
..."An unusual stillness rested over the swamp, unbroken save by the tramp of my horse; not even a frog or chichado [cicada] was to be heard, and the wind had assumed that low, plaintive wail amidst the leaves..."   " such a glorious sun go down shrouded with darkness whilst it yet was day, when the ominous silence was broken by a sound which, God grant, I may never hear agin.  Like a woman's shriek in the damning anguish of desertion and despair--lost and ruined--was the long, piercing scream of the panther, whose awful yell palsied my heart and curdled the blood within my smallest veins.  Again and again it rose, filling the solemn aisles of the darksome swamp till echo took up the fearful sound and every tree, bush, and brake gave back the hellish, agonizing shriek." 
"It was evidently approaching us; my poor horse trembled like an aspen beneath me and seemed incapable of moving."....  "I struck my horse, and twining my hands in his mane, lay down on his neck, letting him go as he wished..."  "With a snort of terror he spring off through the darkness and trees with a speed that seemed miraculous." ...."I began to despair as I had no weapon save the penknife, and the animal, I knew, was one of the fiercest nature--else why did he follow for my blood? ( I never thought of the valerian.)"
..."Again and again the awful scream of the infuriated animal arose and fell like the weight of a mountain on my trembling frame.  Nobly my gallant horse strove to save me...."  ... "with fearfullness of my situation  made me half delirous, and my thought began to wander...."   "  I imagined that I was in the midst of a well-contested battle..."  ".... "Making an effort to draw my sword, my hand came in contact with the vial of prussic acid in my vest pocket with considerable force.  This aroused me, and taking it out I determined to commit suicide should the panther overtake me--preferring to die thus to being devoured alive."...   "... I heard the scream of the panther not two hundred yards behind and could almost hear his feet as they struck the ground after his leaps.  He seemed to be rejoicing over his approaching feast--his screams arouse fiercer-shriller--more horrid than before.  The heavens gave back the sound...." 
..."I tore the neck of my poor horse with my teeth to incite him to greater speed.  My time had come.  Again I heard the panther's scream so near that it perced my brain with its acuteness.  I heard his spring, as he threw himself over the lowermost boughs of the trees, and shrank withing my self, momentarily expecting him to alight with his sharp teeth in my heart.   The thought occured to me.."  ..."if I kill my horse, may not the panther be satified with his blood and allow me to esape?"  ..."With my penknife I felt carefully for the carotid artery and when it was found, I plunged the blade in, inflicting a small but deadly gash.  Give a terrible spring, the hot blood gushing all over, he ran as none but a noble horse in the agonies of death can run and then with a low, reproachful moan fell dead. I, disengaging myself, at a full run strove to make my escape.
I heard the yell of the panther as he reched the horse, and as he stopped I thought myself safe--but not so long.  Again his fierce scream came ringing o'er the air, and I was too well aware...."  "... when the quarry is being devoured his voice is still.  Suicide by poison or a more awful death was all that was now left me.  I heard the rapid leap of the panther, yelling at every spring.   I uncorked the vial and was raising it to my lips when, as if by inspiration, came the blessed thought that when the panther seized me to pour the instantaneous poison down his throat.  I uttered a low, deep prayer to God, and for one who, if she had known my peril, would have sought to die with me, and then bracing myself firmly against a tree with the vial clenched in my right hand awaited the deadly foe.  I heard his shriek, saw a huge form flying through the darkness, felt a keen pang in my shoulder, and then pouring the acid in the mouth of the panther, fainted.
When I recoved consiousness the moon was shining in my upturned face, and the huge form of the dead panther was lying by my side with the pocket holding the valerian firmly clenched in his teeth."

"La. Swamp Doctor and the Rattlesnake"

story coming soon......

Felix Bosworth of Carroll Parish

"According to the Richmond Compiler, the Louisiana Race Course was opened in Richmond early iun 1842. H. E. Downes, proprietor , announced a spring meeting in May and a fall meeting in November. A match race was advertised for June 25 between Downes' Georgia Maid and Lawson Dunn's "celebrated John Stacker". A second race the same day was scheduled between the two main events. The Alonzo Snyder Papers, Dept. of Archives , L.S.U., Baton Rouge, contained a letter from Felix Bosworth, parish judge of Carroll Parish, dated Jan. 2, 1846, in which Bosworth advised Judge Snyder to give Dr. Shadburne $100.00 and a horse which Bosworth owed the doctor "on a bet". So far as is known, the Richmond Course was still in operation whenb Lew came to Madison Parish, and it is entirely likely that he first met Shadburne there.

Presidents of the Rotary Club, Lake Providence

Presidents of the Lake Providence Rotary Club
East Carroll Delta News
Nov. 4, 1965

From the original 27 members who on January 8, 1936 initiated the Lake Providence Rotary Club, only two remain active in the Club today (Nov. 4, 1965). Original officers who served with President Evans were J. Stuart Pittman, Vice President; Golden Leigh Levy, Secretary-Treasurer, and William H. Hamley, Sergeant-at-Arms. Original Directors included the first 3 officers together with Frederick H. Schneider, J. Hortaire Guenard, Frank Voelker, Sr., and A. P. Surles.

Thanks to C. Rupert Evans for this list of Past-Presidents

C. Rupert Evans
J. Stuart Pittman
Golden Leigh Levy
Edward D. Schneider
Crawford A. Rose
Dr. Frank A. Williams
Dr. Thomas G. Biggs
Mertie L. Levy
J. Walter Pittman
Dr. Don F. Davis
George Rundell
William Y. Bell
J. Hortaire Guenard
Mark H. Brown
Frank Byerley
James S. Green
Rev. H. Newton Griffith
Leo A. Lensing
William B. Ragland, Jr.
Frank Voelker, Jr.
Dr. Carl A. Kelly
Charles S. Perry
Paul Geisler
Captan Jack Wyly
C. T. (Bill) Hall
William M. Knobles
John O. Nelson
Buren A. Bayles
L. Percy Ragland
Baxter O. Deal
F. Alton Babb
J. D. (Red) White
(Henry G. Norris was elected but did not serve as he went to the army)

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Funeral of Col. Thomas Jefferson Randolph

East Carroll Delta News - October 21, 1965
As soon as the funeral services at the new-made grave of Col. Thomas Jefferson Randolph was concluded, and before the grave was filled up, a veteran negro stepped forward and asked if there was any objection to a service by his people. He was told that such a tribute would be acceptable to the family, and then a scene that should go down in history was enacted. Quietly Mr. Randolph’s former slaves assembled around him, and then swelled up from a hundred negro voices that most pathetic of hymns:
Am I a soldier of the cross - A follower of the Lamb?
A gentleman who was present says that in his whole life, extending over seventy years, he never witnessed anything so touching. When the last note died away amid the oaks of Monticello, there was not a dry eye in the vast assembly. --Richmond Enquirer - 1876.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

East Carroll History

Interesting East Carroll History:
East Carroll Delta News, Aug. 5, 1965
“According to some evidence, when DeSoto discovered and crossed the Miss. River in 1541 he was somewhere near what is now East Carroll Parish. LaSalle in 1682, when he successfully explored the Miss. River to its mouth, very likely spent the night on the banks of what is now Lake Providence. East Carroll remained a part of New France until 1763, when most of the western Mississippi Valley passed to Spain. The Spanish government sought to bring settles to northeast Louisiana. Settlements, however, clung to the hill areas. The Delta low-lands flooded every year and swampy, were regarded as too unhealthy and otherwise unsuitable for colonization.
East Carroll Parish returned briefly to French rule on March 26, 1803, when public announcement was made of the recession of Louisiana to France from Spain. This was soon followed on April 30, 1803, by the United States’ acquisition of the vast area from France for $15 million by virtue of the Louisiana Purchase.
After the war of 1812, development of the Delta region continued in earnest. Providence, as a name of a community, first appears in press accounts about 1835. War, reconstruction and yellow fever slowed progress but by the return of the century expansion resumed.
During reconstruction and lasting until about 1928 lands in the present sixth and seventh wards, about one-fourth of the parish land area, reverted to a forest primeval similar to a hundred years earlier. By 1930 reclamation of this productive area resumed when over 150 families moved in and established their homes. Now one can not tell the difference in this reclaimed area and the land along the Mississippi River cultivated since 1830."

Historical Land Item

East Carroll Delta News, July 22, 1965
"Looking at the large aerial photograph-map of Lake Hall Plantation owned by George T. Hider, a distinct triangular section of land appears annexed from adjoing Oakland (Plantation).
Mr. Hider supplies an interesting bit of relevant information as was told to him by the late Judge F. X. Ransdall.
During the days of the "floating palaces" on the mighty Mississippi, the owners of Lake Hall and Oakland were engaged in a card game aboard one of the famed river boats, going downstream to New Orleans.
Upon losing his cash and stocks in the game of chance, the owner of Oakland gambled a portion of his plantation, the plat of which he drew on a piece of papper.... and lost.
Thus the triangular section of Oakland was ceded to Lake Hall. It contains approximately 13 chains."