August 31, 2014

Sunday's Obituary - Victoria Reeves Alexander

Monroe News Star - 11/12/1974

Victoria Reeves Alexander

Born on March 7, 1892

Daughter of
Oliver Singleton Reeves and Almeda K. Welch

Sister to
Laura, Arminda, William, Maggie, Timothy, Richmond,
Mattie and Oliver "Ollie"

Wife of
Daniel M. Alexander

Mother to
Zelma, Daniel, Nolan, Allie, Cecil, Inez,
John "J.R." and William "Billy"

Died on November 11, 1974
Buried in the Harris Cemetery
Franklin Parish, Louisiana

August 30, 2014

Sports Center Saturday - Tigers Receive Honors, 1973-74

LtoR:  Coach Raymond Peace, Robert Douglas, Ed Hall, Prince Dunbar, Ronnie Loftin, Pete Cooper, and Kenny Dennis

District 2-A
All District
Robert Douglas
Ed Hall
Prince Dunbar
Ronnie Loftin
Pete Cooper
Coach of the Year - Raymond Peace

Louisiana All-State - Class A
Ronnie Loftin
Pete Cooper
Kenny Dennis
Most Outstanding Coach - Raymond Peace

August 27, 2014

Donkey Basketball at Sicily Island, 1962

Monroe News Star - 10/23/1962

Wednesday's Child - Edna Steele

Edna Steele

Born on February 27, 1899

Daughter of 
Isham Alfonso "Al" Steele and Mary Virginia "Mollie" Blackman

Sister to
Mary Allye, Clara Lucille and Lena Juanita

Died in August of 1899
Buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Wedding Wednesday - Mount and Jones

Monroe News Star - 12/29/1961

August 25, 2014

Amanuensis Monday, The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 53

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
The Hall Family...
Uncle Ab [Albert B.] Hall and his wife [Ammie Mattox] lived over behind where the post office is now.  I believe they came from over around Philadelphia, Mississippi.  Two of their children were John Phil and Ammie Delle.  
Former site of the Ab Hall house behind the Post Office
A lot of people living here on Sicily Island don’t know that Uncle Ab Hall was Uncle Jim McLelland’s uncle.  Uncle Jim’s mother was Ab's sister.  I didn’t know this until a few years ago.
Uncle Jim McLelland was from out in Limestone County, Texas.  I’d have to guess that Uncle Ab’s sister married a McLelland and they moved from Mississippi to Texas or she moved to Texas then met and married a McLelland.  
Uncle Jim married Aunt Lena Steele who was a sister to my grandfather, I. A. Steele.  I believe Uncle Jim and Aunt Lena had moved to Sicily Island before Uncle Ab arrived here.  It could have been a coincidence that Uncle Jim and Uncle Ab ended up in Sicily Island but I bet there was some kind of communication between them. 
After I learned about the connection I could see the resemblance.  Uncle Jim was a much bigger man than Uncle Ab Hall but they did look alike.
I saw Ammie Delle Hall off and on through the years.  The last I heard of her she was living up around Shreveport.
John Phil Hall left Mississippi and moved off to Chicago.  He moved to Sicily Island in about 1936.  He bought the old Dr. Usher house.  He also put up a café and a tourist court on the corner at the triangle.  
Former site of John Phil Hall's Cafe
John Phil died in 1967 up in Illinois so he must have moved back north but I don’t remember.  I used to see John Phil up town in his later years.  We’d sit and visit.  He’d sold his café business by then.  
He had once been a casket salesman and covered several states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois. 
He told me one time that he knew Al Capone, the gangster from Chicago.  He said he knew Capone well and that Al Capone knew him well, too. 
One of the stories he told me about Capone was about the day he was standing in the lobby of a hotel in Chicago and Al Capone and three or four of his bodyguards walked in.  Al Capone said, “How are you Hall?"  Then he followed his greeting up with, "You ought to get out of here, there might be some trouble.”

Albert B. "Ab" Hall and his wife Ammie Mattox Hall are both buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

John Phil Hall and his wife, Ruth Condit Hall, are buried in the Kingman-Cline Long Point Cemetery in Neoga, Cumberland County, Illinois.  Tombstone photograph was taken by FindAGrave member, Terry Hartley.

Ammie Delle Hall first married Isaiah Stewart then later married Guy Dorman.  She died in 1981 and is buried alongside her second husband in Oakman Cemetery in Waco, McLennan County, Texas. Tombstone photograph was taken by FindAGrave member, Cat.

According to a 1900 U. S. census record, Ab and Ammie Hall had two other children, both girls.  As of this date, I have been unable to find additional documentation on them.  Their names were listed as Holland and Mabel.

Note:  Parts 1-52 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of this blog.

August 21, 2014

Thriller Thursday - Murdered by Fugitives from Justice, 1882

The following article appeared in the May 16, 1882 edition of the Chester Times in Chester, Pennsylvania:


Murdered by Fugitives from Justice.

MEMPHIS, May 15.--Captain Jerry Hutchinson, of the River Mail Service, was killed near Trinity, Louisiana, May 7, while attempting to arrest Appleton and James Atkinson.  The Atkinsons were fugitives from justice, having been convicted and sentenced to be hanged for the murder of Mrs. Atkinson, wife of the one and mother of the other, in Pumiscot, Missouri, some time last summer.  

Captain Hutchinson, accompanied by Mr. Will T. Hudson, hearing that the Atkinsons were in the vicinity of Trinity, Louisiana, passed down a few days ago for the purpose of making the arrest, but the criminals were on the alert, and when the officers approached, the younger Atkinson shot and mortally wounded Hutchinson, who in turn shot and killed the elder Atkinson.  

The younger Atkinson made good his escape.  The sheriff of Trinity with a posse of men is scouring the woods in search of the escaped murderer, and a reward of $500 has been offered for his arrest besides the reward offered by the Governor of Missouri for his first crime.

August 20, 2014

Wednesday's Child - Melbourn Hardin

Melbourn Hardin

Born on June 18, 1883

Son of 

Brother to
Thomas Leo, Douglas Baker, Mary and John Calvin, III

Died on September 10, 1888
Buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

August 19, 2014

Harrisonburg in the Spotlight, 1927

The following article appeared in the February 18, 1927 edition of the Monroe News Star:



Gas Discovery Likely to Rejuvenate Quiet Village
Special to The News-Star

HARRISONBURG, Feb 18.--This little town of perhaps 300 people, located in the fastness of sparsely settled Catahoula parish of which it is the capital, awoke to new life when late Wednesday, news came of the blowing in of a gasser located midway between this town and Jonesville.

The interest was all the more pronounced due to the fact that thrills and front page news stories come seldom to this section of the state, which is among the more inaccessible of all the parish seats of Louisiana.  This is due to the fact that the railroad, when built in northeast Louisiana, failed to come nearer than Sicily Island, which is 12 miles away and where the mail, goods and merchandise for Harrisonburg are handled.

The only direct way to reach Harrisonburg, aside from the highways, is by means of the Ouachita river, where boats now and then make their trips up and down stream. Once this was a most active business but, as the years have passed, the boat service has been much curtailed.

The little town is in almost Arcadian simplicity, despite the march of time and progress outside of Catahoula.  The population has remained almost stationary for many years.  One unkind critic states that "Harrisonburg was complete forty-three years ago and that since, there has not been driven a single nail."  This is not true, however, for there has been some construction work the past few years.

When a telephone is sought, there is one located in a store building on Main street, and there the populace wends its way when there is need for a telephone call from the outside world.

The little town looks up upon on bluff that towers 230 feet above the town.  On the top of this bluff, years ago, was a fortress that protected the place from invasion. This need has long since past and only the ruins of the once important fort remain.

The leading building in the town, in matter of importance, is the little old red brick court house.  It was built in 1843 and for eighty-four years, accordingly, has meted out justice through its confines.  The building is about the size of a double garage and one can almost touch the low-hanging ceiling with his fingers when within.

When court is in session, the farmers for miles around drive in to attend.  To be sure, they do not come always in late model automobiles, for the horse and buggy is still popular in many cases.  Nor do they wear "boiled" shirts, so frequently, but they represent the good, old-fashioned, hard-working honest farmers of the section.

Presiding at court, is Honorable Monroe Taliaferro, judge of the district court.  It is no unusual sight to see an offender, from the remote spots of Catahoula, plead his own case, with frankness and often success, in the absence of the advice of an attorney.

Judge Taliaferro looms as the leading citizen for many miles in the Catahoula country. His wisdom, his kindness, his general all-around helpfulness and well balanced make-up, have a strong appeal to all.

They consult him on all sorts of matters.  It may be as to how to plant their onions, how to cure a disease that threatens a child, or, and recently as that modern apparatus the radio has entered Catahoula, they are wont to go to the Judge to get information as to radio operation.

The court house is a two-room affair.  In its archives are some most interesting documents and the penmanship of the years before the Civil War, is said to be remarkably fine, a penman of rare skill then keeping the records.  These records show for later generations, the kindliness of southern bartering.  For example, a man is shown to have sold his place and with it he gave "10 milk cows, 10 young stock and a red male [mare?]," all as gratis, just to show that he was generously good in his dealings.

Better roads have come to Catahoula of late and the automobile is becoming more popular.  There is a gravel road that is partly completed to Jena, 20 miles west, and the gravel road is completed to Jonesville and Sicily Island, but to cross the river, the broad Ouachita, the ferryman has to be paid.  He has capacity business, charging from 60 cents up for vehicles such as Ford cars and more for larger cars.

Crime is little known in Catahoula, and it was a decided shock, that was occasioned last week, when O. C. Stribling slew Fred Goins and made his escape at Enterprise.  A manhunt ended in the capture of Stribling who is incarcerated in the jail at Harrisonburg, awaiting action by the grand jury.

The news of the gasser not many miles distant from Harrisonburg, was greeted with unusual interest.

Oldtimers state that 30 years ago, there was a very similar gas blow-out near Sicily Island and that it also sanded up and was abandoned.

Unusual numbers of people from Monroe, Natchez and other parts of the state are pouring in here today as a result of the well blowing in Wednesday in Section 26-9-6e, of the Lochagnar Oil Company.

August 17, 2014

Sunday's Obituary - Nora Dennis Knight

Lake Charles American Press - 3/15/1960

Nora Louise Dennis

Born on November 11, 1908

Daughter of
James William Dennis, Sr. and Tina E. Davis

Sister to
Warren Cameron, Ruby Allen, Katherine Elizabeth "Katie", Vernon Guy,
Tina Irene, Infant Brother, Carrie Lea, James William "Jim" and Annie Lucille

Wife of
Coan Ira Knight, Sr.

Mother to
Coan Ira Knight, Jr.

Died on March 15, 1960
Buried in the New Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Tombstone photograph was taken by FindAGrave member, Karen Klemm Pinckard.

August 15, 2014

Friday's Faces From the Past - Sheriff Thomas L. "Sonny" Jackson

Photograph is courtesy of Kathe Jackson Price

Thomas Louis "Sonny" Jackson

Born on August 7, 1932
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Son of
Enos Jackson and Lela Tarver

Brother to
Helen Louise and Windell

Husband of
Lila Augusta "Patsy" Smith

Father to
Steve and Kathe

Died on January 14, 2005
Buried in the Highland Park Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Life of Service
Veteran of the United States Air Force during the Korean War
Louisiana State Trooper for twenty years
Sheriff of Catahoula Parish for sixteen years (1976-1992)

Sicily Island First United Methodist Church
Masonic Lodge Keystone #213
Louisiana Sheriff's Association
Louisiana State Trooper Association
American National Trooper Association

Tombstone photograph taken by Gayle Price Evans

Family Recipe Friday - Jelly Roll

From the kitchen of Harrisonburg resident, Mrs. Norma Faye Huff McMillin wife of Charles R. McMillin:

August 14, 2014

Thriller Thursday - Desperado Shot Down by Actor at Troyville, 1888

The following article appeared in the August 8, 1888 edition of the Ouachita Telegraph in Monroe, Louisiana:

Ouachita Telegraph 8/8/1888

A Desperado Shot Down by an Actor.
NATCHEZ, MISS., Dec. 4.--The news comes today of a shooting scrape at Troyville, La., which resulted in the death of one man and the wounding of another.  L. L. Stubbs, who was in charge of a stave factory, a short distance above Troyville, was a quiet man when sober, but when too much under whiskey's influence was a desperate man.  He has been noted for his escapades, especially his insults to ladies when drunk.  Last night at Troyville he grossly insulted a lady who has charge of a hotel.  Not satisfied with this he repeated his insulting remark to the wife of a member of the Nickel Plate show, which left this city for Troyville last week.
The lady's husband interfered, resenting the insult which had been offered both ladies, when Stubbs, true to his reputation, fired upon and wounded him, and in return received a shot which produced death.  The slayer made his escape.
Stubbs, it is said, has a very unsavory reputation and was recognized as a desperate man, and his taking off is looked upon as a good deed.--Times Democrat.

August 13, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Coney and Weston

Monroe Morning World - 7/9/1961

Johnnie and Beverly Weston circa 1990

Wednesday's Child - Octavia Stockman

Octavia Stockman

Born on March 17, 1897

Daughter of 
Prentis Petaway Stockman and Laura Margaret Boothe

Sister to
Laura, Prentis, Elden, Claudia, Lottie, Dewey, Della, 
Walter, Ruby, Verdonia, Jesse and Teddy

Died on June 3, 1902
Buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

August 11, 2014

Mappy Monday - Harrisonburg Area Land Survey, 1829

The survey commenced on January 1, 1829 and was performed by Deputy Surveyor Reuben McCarty.
Surveyor General James P. Turner approved the survey on June 30, 1829.  At the time of this survey, John Henry and John Hamberlain were the only two claimants.

Bureau of Land Management

Amanuensis Monday - The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 52

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
Emily Cooper came by here today to visit then she rode to Vidalia with Mildred to do a little grocery shopping.  While she was here I asked her if she remembered her grandmother, Selene Cooper. 
Emily Cooper Thomas
Selene is mentioned in Mrs. Allena Stafford’s book because she worked for the Hopkins family and was a slave at one time.  Emily said she did remember her. 
Emily was born in 1922.  Her father was Charlie Cooper.  Everybody called him Yiya Cooper.  I remember Emily’s father but I don’t remember her mother.  Her mother's name was Nancy.  
Emily & Bruce's grandson
Emily had two brothers, Stemmie and Little Charlie who died in WWII.  Her sisters were Cora, Carrie and Lillian.  I’ve known Emily since I was six or seven years old.
January 1, 1964 we took over running the dairy queen from my mother and father.  Emily helped us at the dairy queen.  We ran it for about two years.  When we closed it down, Emily came to work for us at home.  She worked for us up until 1989. 
I would get Emily recorded but she won’t tell you anything if you ask her.  She brought me some alligator gar the other day and I asked her where she caught it and she refused to tell me. 
You could sure trust her with a secret because she wouldn’t tell anybody anything.
Grandma Steele
When Emily’s daddy died, her younger brother, Little Charlie, was about twelve years old.  Emily’s father had always plowed Grandma Steele’s garden for her. 
So when he died, Grandma Steele started letting Little Charlie work around in her house and later in her yard and garden.  Grandma Steele even taught him how to cook.  
Several years later when Little Charlie went in the army, he wrote her a letter.  I remember seeing Grandma Steele crying as she read the letter and asking her why she was crying. 
She let me read the letter from Little Charlie.  
He thanked her for all that she had done for him.  He was a cook in the mess hall. 

Note:  Parts 1-51 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of this blog.

Military Monday - John H. Cantwell

John H. Cantwell

Born in 1827

Husband of Elmira

Father of 
Virginia, Nathan and Albert Cantwell

Died on June 14, 1917
Buried in the Catahoula Baptist Church Cemetery
Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Co. D, 37 Battalion
Mississippi Infantry
Confederates States of America

Tombstone photograph was taken by FindAGrave member, Karen Klemm Pinckard.

August 10, 2014

Sunday's Obituary - Edward Walling Chisum, Sr.

Monroe News Star - 6/3/1955

Edward Walling "Big Walling" Chisum, Sr. was born in Sicily Island on February 27, 1886 to the marriage of Thomas Jefferson Chisum and Catherine "Kate" Smith.  His siblings were Thomas Jefferson, Jr. (1881-1882), Mary Eva (1883-1955), Jessie (1884-1962) and Emmett DeWitt, Sr. (1888-1949).

Big Walling married Nellie Elizabeth Ballard on November 16, 1906 in Sicily Island.  According to family history recorded by my father, Big Walling and Nellie were married in the Old Spencer House and honeymooned in the Old Steele House.  

The following children were born to this marriage:

Edward Walling "Little Walling", Jr., 1908-1991 (m. Roberta Cruse Graham, 1911-1998)
Aubrey Ballard "Buddy", 1910-2003 (m. 1. Majorie Louise Montgomery, 1914-1979; 2. Madlon)

Edward Walling Chisum, Sr. died on May 31, 1955 and is buried alongside his wife in the Highland Park Cemetery in Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

August 9, 2014

Lovelace Plantation - Where the French Overcame the Louisiana Indians

The following article appeared in the March 29, 1939 edition of the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau, Missouri:

[By The United Press]
Lovelace, La., March 29 -- This little section of Louisiana, historically known as Sicily Island, has changed in the past 200 years from the gathering grounds of the Natchez Indians to a wide expanse of growing cotton.
It was at Sicily Island that the power of the Indians in Louisiana was forever broken in 1729 by French soldiers and marines, under the command of Governor Perrier.  It was here that the tribes met annually for hunting trips and feasts that lasted for days.
The tract embracing the battlefield and Indian rendezvous is now part of the plantation acquired by the Lovelace brothers and owned by they descendant, Wm. S. Peck, Jr.
John and Thomas Lovelace stepped from their flatboat on the Black River in 1776 and found the battleground that had been forgotten by all except a few Indians who remained in the area.  Littered over the ground were parts of guns and warlike implements--signs of a major fight between Europeans and the red man.
Old Mansion Still Stands

Lovelace-Peck House

Four miles away, John Lovelace, grandfather of the present owner, built his home--a colonial edifice that stands today.
It was through this English pioneer that the facts of the fight between white men and Indians in Louisiana came to light.
On Nov. 2, 1729, the Natchez tribe, aided by allies, the Choctaws and Chickasaws, cut off and slaughtered 1500 men, women and children at Fort Rosalie.
Governor Perrier, after several punitive expeditions had failed to punish the Indians, organized a force of approximately 600 French soldiers and marines, placed his men on flatboats and set out in pursuit. He found the tribes, led by Great Sun, St. Cosme and Chief of the Four, in a well fortified position between the Ouachita and Tensas rivers in what is now Catahoula parish.
Not until the three chiefs had been enticed into the French lines were the Europeans able to make much headway.  Dragging up their cannon from their flatboats, the soldiers laid siege to the area for three days. Deprived of their leaders, the Indians surrendered.
Indians Sent Into Slavery
More than 400 Indians were taken prisoners.  Most of them were sent to Santa Domingo as slaves.  Only a handful of the Natchez escaped to mingle with the remnants of the Choctaws and Chickasaws.
The home built by John Lovelace also is surrounded with Indian lore.  Directly in front of its spacious front porch is the landing where Indians on fishing and hunting trips in the region tied their canoes.  The land on which the home stands is known as the Ferry Plantation.
Scattered over the plantation are five Indian mounds--a mecca today for the archaeologist in search of Indian relics.  Around the bases of these piles of earth the Indians held their feasts, and it was probably here that the massacre of the inhabitants of Fort Rosalie was planned.
Lake Lovelace - view from the Lovelace-Peck House