June 4, 2016

Katie Coney Becomes First Woman to Serve on Sicily Island Council, 1975

The following article appeared in the February 19, 1975 edition of the Concordia Sentinel:

Concordia Sentinel - 2/19/1975

Partial Transcription:

At Sicily Island
Mrs. Coney Takes Office
The Sicily Island Town Council joined the ranks of most other governing bodies in Catahoula by swearing in the first woman to serve on the council recently.
Concordia Sentinel - 2/19/1975
Taking the oath of office, Mrs. C. B. Coney became the third member of her immediate family to serve in the post.  She was recently elected by the council to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband.  Their son, Dr. W. C. "Billy" Coney presently of Jonesville, had served as an alderman in Sicily Island prior to his entering medical school.
Clerk of Court W. A. Book administered the oath at the 6 p.m. meeting of the board held at Town Hall.
Present for the occasion were the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, Town Clerk, members of their families and friends.
After the oath was given and Mrs. Coney's commission signed, the new alderman was honored at a steak supper at Frontier Town restaurant, with various politicians, their wives and family members present.
Mrs. Coney was elected to her position during a special session to fill the vacancy after the death of her husband.  The election was made under the provisions of the new constitution which permits such bodies to fill vacancies without submitting names to the governor for appointment.
The late Mr. Coney was serving his second term as alderman at the time of his death. 
Their son, Dr. W. C. Coney, is believed to be the youngest person to serve the town as alderman.  He was elected in 1962 at the age of 25.  He resigned the position in 1964 to enter medical school.
A check of a 1927 Jonesville Booster revealed that Dr. Coney's grandfather, who was also Dr. W. C. Coney, was elected to a public office, that of coroner, thus making three generations of this family.
With the election of Mrs. Coney to the Town Council in Sicily Island, women further penetrated the ranks of the one-time all male politicians of the parish.

Katie Archer Drake Harris was the daughter of Richard Hines Harris, Jr. and Laura Archer Scott.  Her husband, Cameron Beard Coney, was the son of Dr. Walter Clarence Coney and Caroline "Carrie" Beard.

May 27, 2016

Sicily Island Graduates of 1942

The following was reported in the Monroe Morning World on May 31, 1942:

Graduation Held by Sicily Island
Monroe Morning World

13 Members Of Senior Class Receive Diplomas At Commencement Exercises

SICILY ISLAND, May 30 -- (Special)

Thirteen graduates of Sicily Island High School received their diplomas at the graduation exercise held Thursday night in the school gymnasium.

The baccalaureate sermon was delivered by Rev. Harold Teer of the Methodist church in the school gymnasium.  Special music was in charge of Mr. E. Chapman with the anthem sung by the fifth and sixth grades.

Honor students were Miss Ouida Seal, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Seal, valedictorian, and Miss Margie Bird, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Eldred Bird, salutatorian. Miss Seal was also winner of the American Legion award to the outstanding girl in the senior class, while Aaron Charles Bowman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Homer Bowman, won the Legion award for the outstanding boy in the same class.

Winners of scholarships were Miss Ouida Seal, Louisiana State University; Miss Helen Moss, Louisiana State Normal; Miss Wanda Cooper, Louisiana Tech; Miss Margie Bird, Louisiana College; Miss Louise Stringer and Miss Dorothy Tarver, Business and Commerical College; and Edgar Garrison, Southwestern Louisiana Institute.

Other candidates for graduation were Misses Erin Wright, Eva Broome, Jima Lea Stubbs, Bernie Hinton and Charles Bourke.

May 22, 2016

Sunday's Obituary - Sophie Lee Crawford Haley

Concordia Sentinel - 10/9/2002

Sophie Lee Crawford

Born on October 24, 1910

Daughter of
Samuel Cooke Crawford and Rachel Victoria Seal

Sister to 
William Marcus "Dub", Franklin Adolphus "Bud", Eva Dell, Margaret, Addie Bell,
Ernestine, John Henry, Flora Kathryn, Anna Forest "Dot", Samuel Victor and Helen Maxine

Wife of
Claude Benton Haley

Mother to
Charles Michael Haley

Died on October 8, 2002
Buried in Highland Park Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Tombstone photograph was taken by FindAGrave member, Dorothy S Tiser.

May 18, 2016

Wedding Wednesday - Knights Celebrate 50th Wedding Anniversary, 1947

John Henry Knight and Lillie Margaret Ballard Knight - 1947
Courtesy of Carolyn Seal Barbay and Deadra Doucet Bourke

John Henry Knight was born on August 14, 1871 to the marriage of William Bryant Knight and Sarah "Sallie" Myers.  He and his family moved from their home in Mississippi to Texas before coming to Louisiana and settling in the Sicily Island area.

Lillie Margaret Ballard was born on April 11, 1876 to the marriage of Oliver Goldsmith Ballard and Margaret Sargent Ballard.  

John and Lillie were married on December 5, 1897.  

John Henry Knight and Lillie Margaret Ballard Knight
Courtesy of Carolyn Seal Barbay and Deadra Doucet Bourke

The following children were born to this marriage:
John Barkley (1898-1977) m. Ursula Dupoint
Margaret "Maggie" (1899-1984)
Sallie Ione (1901-1977) m. Dr. Russell Usher Fairbanks
Olga Laura (1903-1977) m. Alvin Lewis Seal
Coan Ira, Sr. (1905-1977) m. Nora Louise Dennis
Rufus (1907-1966) m. Willie Evans
Ione Nellie "Babe" (1915-1994)
John Henry Knight died on January 30, 1956 and Lillie Margaret Ballard Knight died on April 5, 1960.  Both are buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery near Sicily Island.

Special thanks to Carolyn Seal Barbay and Deadra Doucet Bourke for allowing me to share their family photographs.

May 16, 2016

Military Monday - Sicily Island Buddy Quartet in Air Corps, 1942

From the July 26, 1942 edition of the Monroe Morning World:


Four Lifelong Friends Join U. S. Forces At Same Time Here

Four fine, patriotic Sicily Island youths trooped into Sergeant McNemar's office in the Monroe post office building last Tuesday afternoon, hot and tired, and informed him that they were ready to go.  

He talked to them informally for several minutes and then inquired as to which branch of the service they would like to enlist for, at which point one of the young men spoke up and said, "Well, Sergeant, down at Sicily Island the folks all say that you are an honest man and that you stick to your word and that you do everything possible to please the people who come to your office so we are going to leave it up to you, big boy."

The recruiter quickly sized each of them up and said that the air forces would be indeed glad to have them, and that he believed each of them would be a decided asset to the air forces and to apply for that branch of service when they arrived at the reception center at Camp Beauregard.

Monroe Morning World
The four young men mentioned are:  Charles David Bourke, 20, son of Mrs. Ida Bourke, who was so anxious to enlist that he forgot to get his mother's written consent, but a long-distance telephone call from McNemar soon remedied that situation, and within an hour he had her telegraphic consent; Charles Clinton Cloy, 20, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Horace Cloy; William Harmon Randall, 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Calvin Randall; and Edsel Girard Thurman, 19, son of Mr. and Mrs. Rastus Lee Thurman.

All four of these splendid young fellows were born and reared at Sicily Island, attended the same schools and churches, and have been lifelong pals and friends, and now that they had reached young manhood, they decided that they wanted to continue their close companionship and enlist together in the same branch of the service.

At noon on Thursday, these four boys were back to see Sergeant McNemar, with their pre-enlistment papers completed, their releases from the draft board, and were ready to set out on the great adventure of their lives.

The sergeant said later that he knew the people of Sicily Island, who had seen these boys grow up into the peak of their splendid young manhood, are indeed proud of them, and that he feels that each of them will go a long way in the army.