June 21, 2015

Catahoula Parish Sheriffs Roy and Mary Huff

Sheriff Roy L. Huff and Sheriff Mary Taliaferro Huff

Roy L. Huff was elected sheriff of Catahoula Parish in 1932.  He served two complete terms and had begun his third term when he died in 1940.

When elected sheriff in 1932, he was only twenty-nine years old.  In 1935 he was awarded a medal for being the youngest sheriff in Louisiana.

One of Huff's campaign promises when he ran for a second term was to provide free passage to the hospital for citizens of Catahoula Parish. 

Monroe Morning World - 9/20/1936

Sheriff Roy L. Huff died on July 29, 1940.  He is buried in the Harrisonburg Cemetery in Harrisonburg, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.  

Monroe News Star - 7/29/1940

Roy L. Huff Grave Site - Harrisonburg Cemetery
Roy L. Huff Grave Site - Harrisonburg Cemetery

Monroe News Star 1941
Monroe News Star 9/21/1962

His wife, Mary Elizabeth Taliaferro Huff, completed the first year of his third term in office then successfully ran for re-election.

She served as sheriff of Catahoula Parish from 1940-1944.

Mary Taliaferro Huff would later re-marry to Edward E. Swaggart.

She was appointed Registrar of Voters on June 9, 1956 and served in this office until her death on September 21, 1962.
Mary Elizabeth Taliaferro Huff Swaggart - Harrisonburg Cemetery

Roy L. Huff Family

Roy's father, Robert Lee Huff, was born in Arkansas in 1864 to the marriage of George C. Huff and Mary Guy.

Robert Lee Huff first married Nellie Ervin in Ashley County, Arkansas in 1889.  Children born to this marriage were Narrel "Narl" and Nellie Irene.

The 1900 U. S. census shows Robert Lee as a widower living in Ashley County, Arkansas with both children.

Robert Lee Huff apparently re-married soon after 1900 as two more children, Edna and Roy L. are born in 1902 and 1903, respectively.  A descendant of Roy L. believes the second wife's name was Ann Hughes.  I have no documentation to prove this nor have I been able to confirm the places of birth for Edna and Roy L.  Some census records from 1910 to 1940 show Arkansas as their places of birth, while others show Louisiana.  

The 1910 U. S. census shows Robert Lee Huff living in Pineville, Rapides Parish, Louisiana as a widower. Children living in the household included Narrel, Nellie, Edna and Roy L.

By 1920, the Huff family had moved to Harrisonburg in Catahoula Parish where Robert Lee married Ruth Wilson circa 1920.  Children born to this marriage were Sam, George Allen, Garlin, Sharel, Ima, Norma, Hirston and Robert Lee, Jr.

On November 12, 1919, Roy L. Huff married Mary Elizabeth Taliaferro.  Mary was born on April 15, 1902 to the marriage of Henry Bullard Taliaferro, Jr. and Carrie Mae Dosher.

One child, Thelia Marie, was born to the marriage of Roy L. Huff and Mary Elizabeth Taliaferro. Thelia Marie, born on September 8, 1920, married Albert Earl Krause, Sr. of Sicily Island.

Children born to the marriage of Thelia Marie Huff and Albert Earl Krause, Sr. are Linda (Evans), Albert Earl, Jr., Peggy (Bondurant), Henry Roy, Walter Markham "Pot" and Mary Elizabeth (Bruit).

Photographs of Roy L. Huff and Mary Elizabeth Taliaferro Huff are courtesy of their granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth Krause Bruit.

June 19, 2015

The Jonesville Lock & Dam

Entrance to Jonesville Lock and Dam - May, 2015

The Jonesville Lock and Dam was constructed in 1972 by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and is located in Catahoula Parish on highway 124 south of Jonesville.  This lock and dam is part of the Ouachita-Black Rivers Navigation Project which began in 1902 and covers 337 miles of waterway from Camden, Arkansas to Jonesville, Louisiana.

Jonesville Lock and Dam - May, 2015

The Ouachita River originates in Polk County, Arkansas as a small stream in the Ouachita Mountains.  It travels south toward Hot Springs, Arkansas where it flows into Lake Ouachita before continuing its southward journey into Louisiana.  The Ouachita River joins the Tensas and Little Rivers at Jonesville where the Black River is then formed.  The Black River meets the Red River forty-one miles south of Jonesville.

Original Map from Ouachita River Foundation

The lock chambers are 84 feet wide and 600 feet long with five tainter gates.  Tainter gates are radial arm floodgates used to control water flow in dams and control locks.

A lift from 12-30 feet allows a minimum 9-foot deep and 100-foot wide navigation channel needed by barge traffic to travel from the Red River to Camden, Arkansas.

Jonesville Lock and Dam - May, 2015

Entering the Jonesville Lock and Dam area - May, 2015

Swollen Black River at Jonesville Lock and Dam - May, 2015

Bend in the River before heading south to Jonesville Lock and Dam - May, 2015

Swollen Black River at Jonesville Lock and Dam - May, 2015

Livestock on the banks of Black River at Jonesville Lock and Dam - May 2015

Recreational Area at Jonesville Lock and Dam - May, 2015

Exiting the Jonesville Lock and Dam area - May, 2015

Ouachita River Foundation
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

June 14, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Katie Krause Ellis

Monroe News Star - 10/9/1963

Katie Louisa Krause

Born on January 7, 1882

Daughter of
Gotleib Krause and Caroline Rotham

Sister to 
Herny Markham, Albert Gotleib, Augustus Samuel "Gus", Oscar Otto,
Caroline "Lina" and Mary Gertrude

Wife of
Fort Ofney Ellis

Mother to
Ofney Krause Ellis

Died on October 7, 1963
Buried in the Harrisonburg Cemetery
Harrisonburg, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

Tombstone photograph taken by FindAGrave member, Eva Merryman.

June 12, 2015

Monstrous Bear Killed in Catahoula Parish, 1894

The following article appeared in the July 21, 1894 edition of the Logansport Chronicle in Logansport, Indiana:


Even in Death the Monstrous Bear Hung to His Victim.

The largest bear killed in this country for many years became the trophy of a party of hunters on Ouachita river, a few miles above Trinity, La.  On Sicily Island there have been signs of a bear for several months past, and all efforts to capture him have failed.  Finally a party was organized to hunt for bruin.
Twenty men and a pack of trained dogs started, and the island was carefully explored, but without success.  They then went down on the Bone river and the Little river and could find no trace of him.  A search along the Black river resulted in disappointment, and the party started up the Ouachita, all of these streams uniting here.  The trail of the bear was soon found, and the leading dog could be heard barking in a way indicating that the tracks were fresh ones.
Logansport Chronicle - 7/21/1894
In a few minutes they had the animal treed in a large cypress.  He crouched in the forks of the tree and snarled at the dogs and the hunters. One of the men who had never been on a bear hunt before went closer to the tree and fired, with a result that he had not anticipated.  In a moment the animal fell from the tree and in another moment he had the hunter in his close embrace.

Then followed an exciting dance.  The other hunters were afraid to shoot for fear they would kill their companion, and it looked for a time as if the man would inevitably be crushed to death, but one of the men with a large hunter's knife succeeded in cutting the bruin's throat and killing him almost instantly.  

Even in death he hung to his victim and it took the united efforts of two of the hunters to release their comrade, who was so exhausted that it was feared he could not recover.  However, he is now getting along well, although one arm and one rib are broken.  The bear weighed 600 pounds, and the hunters are very proud of their success in killing him.

*Note:  I have never heard of the Bone River that is mentioned in this article.  Was this a misprint by the newspaper or was there once a Bone River in Catahoula Parish back in the 1890s?

June 10, 2015

Wedding Wednesday - Knotts and Fitch

Donna and Ned Knotts

Monroe Morning World - 9/20/1936

Edward Bowen "Ned" Knotts was the son of Walter Scott Knotts and Annie Gathings Bowen of Sicily Island.  Donna Fitch was the daughter of Henry Fitch and Donna Hanes of Arizona.

Photograph is courtesy of Sharon and Walter Knotts.

June 7, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Elmo Murray Cruse

Monroe News Star - 11/7/1958

Elmo Murray Cruse

Born on January 6, 1891

Son of
George Washington Cruse and Selia Wooten

Brother to
Reginald Gordon and Eva

Half Brother to
William Ernest and Fredrick

Husband of

Father to
George, Paul, Christine and Elmo

Died on November 6, 1958
Buried in the Highland Park Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

June 6, 2015

Excavation of Prehistoric Indian Mounds in Catahoula and Avoyelles Parishes - 1939

Monroe News Star - 1/29/1939

The following article appeared in the January 29, 1939 issue of the Monroe News Star:


Old Home Sites Being Probed In Catahoula And Avoyelles By Scientists

A group of WPA workers, digging for prehistoric relics in the famed Indian mounds of central-eastern Louisiana, have traced the history of mankind in the Mississippi valley back almost 1,200 years.

Directed by Professor J. A. Ford of Louisiana State University, these workers assigned to the WPA archaeological survey have thousands of archaeological artifacts to show for almost a year of labor; bits of broken pottery, projectile points or arrowheads, beads, skeletons and hundreds of photographs and observations.

"The Indians who habitated the Mississippi valley when white men first came here around 1700," explained Professor Ford, "were living in what we now identify as the Natchez period.  The people before that were never seen by white men, therefore their history can be obtained only through the study of relics of their civilization."

"Archaeologists have estimated that the Natchez period extended from 1500 to 1700 A. D., and the Marksville period, from about 800 to 1000 A. D."

"We have found pottery and other relics which we have established as belonging to the early Marksville period."

The WPA workers are now excavating at sites in Catahoula and Avoyelles parishes.  In Catahoula parish they have found an Indian burial mound and garbage pit from the early Marksville period from which they have uncovered 118 fairly well preserved skeletons.

From their study of the artifacts, the archaeologists have established these facts: that the people of the Marksville period were slender and small of stature, apparently showing a Mediterranean strain; that they were farmers; that their houses were made of wood, built into slight excavations and covered with dirt; that they buried their dead.

They may have been warlike, or at least lived in fear of attack, because the searchers have found traces of fortifications around what presumably were Indian villages.

By the time of the Coles Creek period, however, the attitude and characteristics of the people had changed.  For instance, in mounds which contained relics definitely identified with the Coles Creek period, the WPA workers found no traces of fortifications.  Instead of burial mounds, they found what appeared to be crematoriums.  There also was a distinct difference in style and art.

From a mound in Avoyelles parish, the WPA workers uncovered traces of what appeared to be a ceremonial square.  It was surrounded by the remains of six rectangular pyramids.  Scientists can only guess that atop these pyramids were thatched temples, adorned by three wooden birds.

"The first white men told of finding similar pyramids," explained Professor Ford. "With these new discoveries we can guess that the custom dated back into the Coles Creek period for several hundred years.  It is also significant that bits of pottery identified with this period were decorated with the picture of a bird."

Interesting discoveries in Avoyelles parish were the remains of two villages, about a mile apart, which obviously belonged to two prehistoric periods.

The first belonged to the Marksville period.  It was built on what once were the shores of a lake, probably cut by the changing course of the Mississippi river.  The village must have faced a high bluff with fortifications on three sides.  A mile away the WPA workmen found traces of another village, which belonged to both periods.

"There was the transition from one period to another," explained Ford.  "Some of the artifacts we found belonged to the Marksville, others to the Cole Creek period. In this mound we found the ceremonial square, the crematorium and the pottery and beads."

The excavating and laboratory work on the archaeological survey project is exceedingly exacting.  When a mound is located it is carefully surveyed in five-foot squares.  The stakes which mark these squares are numbered.  The excavators literally peel off five foot slices of earth.

As each discovery is made, no matter how minute, it is carefully located on a contour map, photographed and surveyed.  Strata of the earth is carefully studied.  As articles are removed from the mound they are given a symbol by the archaeologist supervising the work and sent to the laboratory in New Orleans.

There they are analyzed, classified and card indexed.  Bits of pottery from the same classification are pieced together.  The contour maps sent from the field are transferred onto larger maps.  Draftsmen make blue prints and charts by the dozens.

Bit by bit the story of prehistoric man unfolded.

"We have located hundreds of mounds in Louisiana," said Professor Ford. "We hope to excavate the sites in Catahoula and Avoyelles parishes before the spring floods.  Then we will go into north Louisiana.  We hope to outline a fairly comprehensive history of the Mississippi valley, of which we now know very little."

The jobless men and women who have been given work on the archaeological survey come from varied trades and professions.  They are clerks, statisticians, draftsmen, artists, photographers.  Mostly they are laborers, recruited from WPA projects in the vicinity of the mounds.  They have been painstakingly schooled and after several months' work, have become very proficient.

They are finding it interesting work.  But one man, who was assigned to an excavation crew working on a mound near Catahoula lake, asked for a transfer.

He wrote the WPA employment office in Alexandria:

"It ain't right to bother all them dead folks.  That place is ha'nted."

Monroe News Star - 1/29/1939

Earlier posts on the Indians of Catahoula Parish can be found at the links below: