Some of the families that once lived on my street and a couple of streets away...
The Yanceys. I never knew Mr. Yancey [Stephen Richard Yancey]. I knew Mrs. Yancey. She was a Wood from over around Newellton or St. Joseph.
Gus Krause and his wife, Wardie. Mrs. Wardie was a Reeves from Gilbert.
Oscar Krause and his wife. Birdie. Mrs. Birdie was a Talbert from around Arcadia or Ringold.
Henry Krause and his wife, Earle. Mrs. Earle was one of Mr. Zeb York's daughters.
Henry Krause House
Claude Enright and his wife, Vivian. Mrs. Vivian was from Winnsboro.
Tom Enright and his wife, Lilla. Mrs. Lilla's maiden name was Sorg.
Tom and Claude Enright were born here on the Island. I've heard two former slaves telling about the day Tom was born. One of the former slaves was Uncle Henry Brown and the other was Uncle Hardeman Brown. Hardeman lived down around Foules and Uncle Henry lived up the road at a place that belonged to the Peck family.
Tom Enright House
Those two Browns weren't kin. Both had been slaves when they were boys. They could remember back in the slave times. In 1951, my mother and I spent a couple of hours up town talking to them. They told us some stories!
Uncle Hardeman told us that during part of the Civil War, he was living over around Waterproof. He said they could hear the guns firing at Vicksburg. Maybe it was thunder they heard. I don't know. Waterproof isn't too far down the Mississippi River from Vicksburg so I guess it's possible that he did hear the guns firing.
He said the first money he ever saw was when three Yankee soldiers rode up on horses to the little cabin where he lived and got him to water their horses. They gave him a nickel a piece. Uncle Hardeman said he was afraid someone would take the nickels away from him so he took the three nickels and crawled up under the cabin and hid them on a sill.
Ed Enright, who was the son of Tom and Lilla Enright, married Irma Stutson from Harrisonburg.
Joe Bryan and his wife, Mamie, lived right across the street from my family. Mrs. Mamie was a Bennett.
On down the street, towards the bluff, was Mr. John Knight. He was originally from Mississippi. He married Lil Ballard. One of Mrs. Lil's sisters, Nellie, married Big Walling Chisum. Another of her sisters, Laura, married Walling's brother, Big Emmett Chisum. A sister named Maude married a Kendrick [William Dudley Kendrick]. Mrs. Maude was the mother of Mrs. Gladys Saltzman and Mrs. Sadie Hardin. There was another sister [Sena Ione] who lived up in Kentucky. They had a brother named Charlie. I never met Charlie. He married Katie Smith; one of Uncle Buck [James William] Smith's daughters.
Willie Benge was a rural mail carrier. He lived over on the bluff next to Mr. John Knight. The Benge family was from Mississippi.
Jesse Whitlock, the barber who took over from Mr. John Randall, moved here from Ferriday. He was originally from Arkansas. He came here in about 1933 or 1934 before moving up to Monroe in the late 1940s. He had a son named Vernon who was also a barber. Vernon's barber shop was close to the Northeast University campus. I think Vernon is retired now. I spent many a day playing with Vernon. I remember just as well when they moved here. Vernon started first grade the next year after they moved here. Mr. Jesse's daughter, Jo Ann, was younger than me. I didn't know her that well.
Maurice Saltzman was born in Cook County, Illinois. His father came through here as a sort of peddler. He settled here on Sicily Island. There were several more boys besides Maurice and two or three girls. I think most of his siblings were born here. He married Gladys Kendrick.
Alvin Seal married one of John Knight's daughters, Olga. I grew up playing with two of their daughters, Ouida and Juanita. They had two younger girls, Patsy Ann and Carolyn. Alvin was the son of Sam Seal who came from Mississippi in the early teens.
Mr. Sam Seal had three other sons named Walon, Garrel and Charles Lee. His daughters were Lily Mae, Mildred and Lorelle. Sam Seal and his wife [Lula May White] died years ago. All the children are gone except Mildred. She married a Prescott [William Andrew] and they had a bookstore on the LSU campus.
Rufus Knight, son of John Knight, married Willie Evans. Mrs. Willie is still living. Her sister, Sue, married Asa Kiper from Wisner.
Pop Denham's son, Earl, married one of Mr. Joe and Mrs. Mamie Bryan's daughters, Bea. Earl and Bea Denham had one daughter named Jo Ann. Jo Ann still owns the old house across the street from me.
Mrs. Duncle and Mrs. Winstead were sisters. I didn't know their husbands' names. The sisters came to Sicily Island from Mississippi.
One of Uncle Frank Smith's daughters, Jessie, married Mr. T. J. Peniston. Another daughter, Sadye, married Marvin Nolen. Marvin was originally from Arkansas. He was a railroad man. Uncle Frank's daughter, Mollie, married Fred Chambless who was from Arkansas. Mr. Chambless was the depot agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Another daughter, Jennie, married a Cantrell [Shelleah Cantrell]. I never knew them as they lived away from here.
Uncle Frank had four sons. Buck [William Edward], married Mildred Harris. Mildred was a sister to Katie, Mack and I-Bo Harris. Clayton married Willie May Sapp. Sidney [married Lillian Vic] was another son. Isom married Otis McNair. She was from Gilbert. There was no kinship with the McNair family living on Sicily Island. Isom and Otis had a son named Howard and a daughter named Eugenia.
Sicily Island Depot
Uncle Jim and Aunt Lena McLelland lived here. They never had any children. Aunt Lena was my Grandpa Steele's sister. They moved to Sicily Island several years after Grandpa Steele moved here.
Dr. Gordon was from around Fayette, Mississippi. He married one of Uncle Tom Chisum and Aunt Kate Smith's daughters, Eva. Cousin Eva had a sister named Jessie who married John G. McNair. She also had two brothers, Emmett and Walling.
We called the brothers, Big Emmett and Big Walling because they each had sons named after them. We called their sons Little Emmett and Little Walling.
Little Emmett Chisum lives out in Laramie, Wyoming. He is the living authority on the Indians who once lived here on the Island.
There are signs that a lot of Indians lived around here. Dr. Chisum can tell you about the Natchez Indian Tribe who were run out of Mississippi by the French. Many of them escaped and came over to this part of Louisiana.
There were Indians here before the Natchez Indians arrived. This part of the country dates back to the Mound Builders. There are still Indian mounds here on Sicily Island.
Indian Mound on Ferry Plantation
If anybody should ever want to know more about the Indians who lived here, they should contact Dr. Emmett Chisum. In later years, after he's gone, I'm sure his writings and discoveries would provide plenty of information. He was the one who knew the most about the Indians who lived here.
Sicily Island must have been a paradise when the Indians lived here and before the white people moved in. All the lakes, rivers, forests, swamps and hills provided ideal places for hunting and fishing. There must have been many Indians who lived here because people are still finding arrowheads and axe heads and pottery.
Note: Parts 1-15 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of the blog.