July 26, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - David Erastus Guice

Monroe News Star - 3/9/1972

David Erastus Guice

Born on June 12, 1899

Son of
Christopher Columbus Guice and Sarah Elizabeth McCarty

Brother to
Charles Eagleston, Christopher Columbus, Jr., Henry Eli, Jefferson Monroe,
Enos Nathaniel, Abijah Grover, Chester Elmore, Mary Ann, Martha Katherine,
John Fielding, Alice and Ira Christopher Guice

Husband to
Katherine Elizabeth "Katie" Dennis

Father to
Doris, Arlene and Kathryn

Died on March 8, 1979
Buried in the New Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

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

July 25, 2015

Sports Center Saturday: Catahoula-Franklin Parish All-Star Basketball Team, 1932

The 1932 Catahoula-Franklin Parish Basketball All-Star team was comprised of former high school and college stars.

Team members included the following:
K. Brooks - Manifest
R. Swayze - Jonesville
Pat Gibson - Harrisonburg
S. Gibson - Harrisonburg
B. Trichel - Harrisonburg
S. Trichel - Harrisonburg
Ernest Foster - Wisner
Beverly Faulk - Wisner
A. L. Brooks - Sicily Island
Simon Meyers - Sicily Island
Sprague DeWitt - Sicily Island
The All-Star team was formed in November of 1932 in advance of meeting the Brown Paper Mill basketball team in the Sicily Island High School gymnasium on December 2.

Monroe News Star - 11/22/1932

The Brown Paper Mill basketball team, known as the Safety Firsts, was comprised of players employed at the paper mill in West Monroe, Louisiana.   They were part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) which was a non-profit, multi-sport organization founded in 1888.

The 1932 team manager and player, Cary Phillips, later went on to coach basketball at the Northeast Center in Monroe. Other Safety Firsts team members were Lindy Hood, Ray Roden, Stone, Lawson, Evans, McNeely, Broom and Dowden.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate any articles references the outcome of the December 2, 1932 game.  If anyone has more information on members of either team or the outcome of the 1932 game, please leave a comment below or email me at rootsfromthebayou@gmail.com.

July 24, 2015

Fort Hill Bloody in Civil War Battles - 1958 Account

The following article appeared in the August 3, 1958 edition of the Monroe Morning World:

Transcription below picture:

Judge McGee--Judge Jesse McGee, amateur historian, is shown in his office in the Harrisonburg Courthouse.  It was through his help that the information in this article was brought to light.  (Staff photo by Sam Hanna)

Transcription of accompanying article:

By Lynn Garrett
Staff Writer

Happy shouts of playing children, the occasional rumble of a truck and the barking of a dog are all that break the silence in the small town.

The river is placid in the summer sunshine.  The streets look calm.

It was not always so, for the children's playground is Ft. Beauregard, the river is the Ouachita, and the streets are of the town of Harrisonburg.

Nearly a century ago, Ft. Beauregard, also known as Ft. Hill, and three other Confederate forts at Harrisonburg were the last stronghold to stop Yankee gunboats from plying their way on up the river to the Monroe area.

Bloody battles were fought here and many houses in the town were burned.

Harrisonburg would have been completely destroyed, if the Yankees had not halted their burning spree when they realized the town was filled with women and children.

And a mere quirk of nature kept Monroe from being the next target of the gunboats.  Fast-dropping water on the Ouachita changed the minds of the Yankees and they headed for Mississippi after the Harrisonburg siege.

The very name of the Fort itself was in tribute to Gen. P. G. T. Beauregard, who resigned his commission in the U. S. Army in 1861 and was in command of Confederate forces at Charleston, S. C.  By his order the first shot of the Civil War was fired at 4:30 a.m. April 12, 1861.

"We'll hold the fort forever."

Demands Surrender

That was the reply Confederate Col. George W. Logan hurled in answer to the Federal Commodore who demanded unconditional surrender of Fort Beauregard during the third year of the Civil War.

Ft. Beauregard was one of four forts set high on a hill overlooking Harrisonburg.  The network commanded a good view of the Ouachita River and any Federal gunboats which might be approaching.

In May, 1863, Commodore S. E. Woodworth was commanding Federal gunboats which were slipping up the river.  They anchored a short distance from the fort and demanded surrender.

Logan, with about 400 men under his command, was relentless.  The gunboats broke into four hours of steady shelling, but no harm was done except slight damage to the parapet at the fort, and destruction of one house in the town.

Two Failures

Woodworth withdrew his boats and they wound their way on up the Ouachita. A second effort of the fleet that same summer also met with failure.

But the Confederate forts fell on Sept. 4, the same year, when Gen. M. M. Crocker marched a land expedition of Yankees over from Natchez, Miss. Logan, with only 40 able-bodied men remaining, evacuated the fort.  Yankees took the town.

Several stores were burned in the skirmish, large amounts of ammunition which had been stored in the warehouses were destroyed, and corn and cotton were confiscated.  The Federalists also destroyed the grist mill, and captured 20 prisoners from among the town folk.  Crocker then led his troops back to Mississippi.

During the time Logan was evacuating the fort, another Confederate Colonel, Horace Randal, moved in his troops from northern Louisiana to draw attention away from Logan and his men.  Randal's troops left by way of the Alexandria Road, to prevent any flank movement from the rear.


Randal, in a letter to Maj. E. Surget on Sept. 5, reported that the Confederates were outnumbered five to one.  He added that he and his troops were heading for a Federal camp near Trinity, now were reported to be 16,000 strong, and would go from there to Alexandria.

Logan, his 40 men, and a few wagons, horses, mules and four pieces of artillery, had rendezvous with Randal at the Confederate camp in Alexandria on Sept. 10.

Harrisonburg was a town long before Catahoula was formed as a parish in 1808.  The first white man to settle on the present town site was Jacob Simmons.  The land was later acquired by a John Hamberlin, who eventually sold it to a John Harrison.  It was Harrison who had Edward Dorsey survey and make a plat of the town site in 1818.

More Boats

The Harrisonburg forts again enter the war picture in 1864.  On March 2 of that year Capt. T. A. Faries, stationed in a field near the forts, wrote Maj. O. Voorhies of the Louisiana Infantry about another fleet of federal gunboats.

"We took position at daylight today on an Indian mound in an old field," Faries wrote.  "The federal gunboat Osage appeared at 10 a.m., followed by five stern-wheelers.  We fired and I could tell we did considerable damage.  We had no injuries but one of our horses was killed."

The day before, on March 1, the same boats had shelled the Trinity area. Gen. C. J. Polignac wrote Maj. L. Bush that "six gunboats had appeared off Beard's Point on Black River."  He said after the attack on Trinity the boats left.

"We decided," Polignac wrote, "that they were intending to attack Harrisonburg, so we ferried across Bushley Bayou on our way to the forts."

Riddle Houses

Polignac's troops joined Faries' men and they opened on the Yankee boats. The boats kept moving slowly up the river, firing as they went.  Polignac records that the Yankees riddled "several houses containing women and children."  One boat was damaged and dropped back, with the others proceeding on up the Ouachita.  About an hour later, the gunboats returned and thew incendiary bombs at several homes.

"We helped put out the fires," Polignac wrote.  All the boats, including the crippled one, went back downriver and spent the night near Trinity.  "We had 3 killed, 13 wounded."  Polignac recorded.

On March 4, Polignac wrote Bush that he was moving two regiments back to Trinity.  He said the distance and bad roads between Harrisonburg and Trinity made it difficult to cover both points.  He said his troops were running short of food, and he asked for some incendiary bombs to throw at the Federal fleet.

Apparently he never got a chance to use the bombs for on March 5, Federal Commander F. M. Ramsey aboard the Choctaw gunboat wrote Rear Adm. D. D. Porter that after his fleet had burned the Harrisonburg houses they headed toward Meridian, Miss.

"Very Formidable"

Of the forts he wrote, "They are high on hills and command a view of the river for over three miles."  He termed 'very formidable.'  He told his admiral that the boats burned some houses, and would have burned the whole town, except there were so many women and children in the area.  The gunboat crews suffered 2 dead and 12 wounded, he added.

"After this battle we would have gone on up the Ouachita to Monroe," he said, "but the water was falling so fast we deemed it best not to attempt it."

On March 6, Porter wrote the Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy in Washington D. C., that the expedition up the Black and Ouachita was "perfectly successful."

"The Rebels were driven from  point to point, he said, "and we destroyed the entire works."  He said the federals took all the cotton they could find, and destroyed a bridge to cut the Rebels off from Alexandria.

"Well Pleased"

He added that a number of houses were destroyed, but as the "community is all Rebel it is not to be regretted."  "We are well pleased with the results of the expedition."

Mute evidence of this "expedition" can still be seen today--the trenches in which the Confederates huddled during the battles.  This land of the Old Spanish Trail has other testimony to the gallant fight also--a Veteran's Memorial Park.

It is established on the site of Ft. Beauregard and was set up in 1954 by the Catahoula Parish Police Jury.  It honors the war dead, including those of World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

Tables under shady pine trees make an ideal picnic spot.  A large amphitheater has also been built on the site, and Masons of the area hold a conclave here early each summer.

A marker posted on the roadway says of Ft. Beauregard:  "This is one of four forts built by the Confederates in May, 1863, to prevent the ascent of Federal gunboats on the Ouachita at Harrisonburg.  Abandoned in 1863 and re-occupied in 1864."

July 22, 2015

Wedding Wednesday - Stutson and Baxter

Monroe Morning World - 9/16/1956


Miss Elizabeth Sue Stutson's betrothal to James Don Baxter, son of Mr. and Mrs. Don Albert Baxter, is announced by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Harmon Harris Stutson.  Both families are of Sicily Island.  

The wedding will be solemnized on Saturday, October 20, at 5 o'clock in the afternoon in the Sicily Island Baptist Church.

Elizabeth and Don Baxter

Daughters of Don and Elizabeth Baxter are Susan, Brenda and Jane.

Photograph is courtesy of their daughter, Susan.

July 21, 2015

Bowman Family's History as Postmasters in Northern Catahoula Parish

Rural Post Office in the late 1800s - Smithsonian Institution

On March 15, 1955 the post office at Foules in Catahoula Parish was closed and mail was re-routed to Clayton in Concordia Parish.  The closure of the Foules post office brought an end to eighty-three years of Bowman family members serving as postmasters in Ward One; an area which included post offices at Wildwood, Lee Bayou and Foules.

The first postmaster appointed to the Wildwood post office was Francis J. "Frank" Bowman.  His appointment was issued on June 26,1872.

Postmasters at Wildwood:

1872 - Francis J. "Frank" Bowman
1877 - Henrietta Eliza "Etta" Bruce Bowman (wife of Frank Bowman)
1888 - Charles Orvey Bowman (nephew of Frank; son of Samuel S. Bowman)
1891 - Henrietta Eliza "Etta" Bruce Bowman
1891 - May Eliza Davis Bowman (wife of Charles Orvey Bowman)
1920 - Anabel P. Register Bowman (wife of William Homer Bowman)

On December 31, 1920 the post office at Wildwood was discontinued and mail was re-routed to Lee Bayou.

Postmasters at Lee Bayou:

1902 - Ernest F. Gillespie
1903 - Charles R. Gillespie
1905 - Thomas W. Gray
1906 - Henry E. Hoover
1917 - William Homer Bowman (son of Charles Orvey Bowman)
1923 - May Eliza Davis Bowman (wife of Charles Orvey Bowman)

The Lee Bayou post office was discontinued on October 23, 1935.  Mail was re-routed to the Foules post office on November 15, 1935.

Monroe News Star - 4/21/1936
Postmasters at Foules:

1900 - Thomas F. Hall
1901 - J. E. Johnson
1901 - William A. Wiggins
1904 - Watson S. Finister
1905 - John W. Beasley
1907 - Oliver M. Martin
1908 - Marvin Lee Banyon
1908 - Watson Finister
1912 - William E. McGraw
1924 - Lydia R. McGraw
1931 - Anabel P. Register Bowman
1935 - William Homer Bowman

On March 15, 1955 the post office at Foules was discontinued and mail was re-routed to Clayton in Concordia Parish.  This not only ended the presence of a post office in the Ward One area but it also ended over eighty years of Bowman family members serving as postmasters.

Monroe News Star - 3/25/1955

July 20, 2015

In Memory of a Faithful Dog and Friend - 1937

Many of us consider our pets a part of our family.  The following article which appeared in the October 15, 1937 edition of the Monroe News Star shows to what extent some will go to honor the friendship and love of a faithful dog.

Monroe News Star - 10/15/1937

Tombstone Placed At Grave Of Dog

Harrisonburg, La., Oct. 15

(Special)--P. P. Bates, retired merchant of Harrisonburg, and former clerk of the court of Catahoula parish has just completed work on the erection of a tombstone in memory of his faithful dog, "Red."

When Red died, in July, 1933, at the age of four years, his master, believing him "too good a dog for the buzzards to eat," built a coffin and buried the dog in the shade of a large pin oak tree in the rear of his lot. The large tree was just outside of his property on land belonging to an old negro, John Moore.  Wanting the tree to stand "forever" as a shade to the grave of his dog, Mr. Bates made an attempt to buy the adjoining land. Terms could not be reached on the purchase of the property, so the tree was bought with the understanding that it would never be cut.

Today the large pin oak tree stands at the head of the dog's grave and shades the site of the grave throughout the day.

The following epitaph is inscribed upon the face of the monument:

"In Memory of 'Red,' my faithful dog--died July, 1933; age four years--death robbed me of a faithful friend.  P. P. Bates."

Seventy-eight years have passed since Mr. Bates sought to honor the memory of his faithful dog and friend.  I wonder if the old pin oak still stands and provides shade to Red's resting place?

July 19, 2015

Sunday's Obituary - Caroline Krause

Monroe News Star - 6/28/1944

Caroline Rotham

Born on February 10, 1852

Daughter of
Peter Rotham and Caroline Therisia Herzer

Sister to
Julie and Augustus Rotham
Louisa, Wilhelmina, Henry, John George, Theobald Paul, and Caroline Haag

Wife of
Gotleib Krause

Mother to
Henry Markham, Albert Gotleib, Kate Louisa, Augustus Samuel "Gus", Oscar Otto,
Caroline "Lina" and Mary Gertrude

Died on June 27, 1944
Buried in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery
Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana

July 18, 2015

Ancient Anilco and the Great Mound - An Account from 1966

The following article was written by E. W. Plummer and appeared in the October 23, 1966 edition of the Monroe Morning World:


Mankind's march of progress and the attritions of time have eroded away the great and lesser Indian mounds and the ancient city of Anilco in Catahoula Parish.  In the following account the dramatic sweep of events from the 16th century to the present day is fitted into place along with speculations on what might have been.  Accounts state that the Great Mound was visited twice by the Spanish Explorer Hernando De Soto.

The delta held between Little and Black rivers at their junction in Catahoula Parish is, indeed, historic ground.  It was the site of a city of 6,000 people who lived there when it was visited by De Soto in 1542, a mere hamlet and trading post when Acalde de Don Juan Herbard operated a ferry at Black River (now Trinity), and is now the site of a thriving commercial and industrial town with a great future.

The ancient city visited by De Soto in the 16th century, and about whose origin and demise very little is known, was called "Anilco" by the Natchesan Indians who lived there.  Later it was named "Troyville" for the 1,000-acre Spanish land grant acquired there by Don Juan Herbard in 1786 which he called "Troy Plantation."

It was subsequently named "Jonesville" honoring Col. Charles Jones, a native son of Civil War fame who formerly owned the town site.  Some sources claim that Colonel Jones donated the site under condition that its name be changed from Troyville to Jonesville.


Anilco might well have been called "Mound City" since the highest Indian mound in the south, if not in North America and nine lesser mounds are located there.

A number of Indian mounds of considerable height and area are located on Little River above its confluence with the Black, and along the south perimeter of Catahoula Lake.  These were called "paddle mounds" by the white settlers who stopped to rest or camp on them when paddling their boats to the Rapides hills during high water periods.

The "Great Mound" at the time of De Soto's visit to the City of Anilco might be best described as having three "stories", two quadrangular truncated prisms and a truncated cone each super-imposed on the other in that order, totaling a height of 80 feet.

The second story prism was built on the upper base of the first prism and set back approximately 10 feet so as to leave a ledge of that width around the perimeter of its lower base.  The third "story" was a truncated cone which later took the form of a dome.  A walkway wide enough for "two horsemen to ride abreast" led up from a lower corner of the first prism to the parapet surrounding the second story prism, thence to the parapet surrounding the third story cone.

Although the preceding description of the "Great Mound" is generally accepted, there are other versions.  The earliest modern description of the Jonesville mounds is that given in the journal of the first Americans to explore the Ouachita River after it became part of the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase.  On Oct. 16, 1804, the naturalist, William Dunbar, and Dr. George Hunter explored this area and submitted this report:

"There is an amendment running from the Catahoula (Little River) to Black River, at present about 10 feet high and 10 feet broad."

"This surrounds four large mounds of earth at the distance of a bow-shot from each other; each of which may be 100 by 300 feet at the top and 20 feet high, besides a stupendous turret situated on the back part of the whole, or greatest distance from the water, whose base covers an acre of ground, rising in two steps or stories tapering to the ascent, the whole surmounted by a great cone with its top cut off.  The tower of earth on measurement proved to be about 80 feet perpendicular."


Winslow M. Walker, author of "The Troyville Mounds, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana," published in 1936 makes this observation with reference to the preceding quote:

"If this last statement about the height of the Great Mound is correct, then it is necessary to also revise the other measurements in proportion.  Thus to support a tower of earth 80 feet high on a base 180 feet wide it is possible that the easy ascent of the first story was up a slope of 42 degrees to a height of about 30 feet, the slope to the second terrace about the same to an additional height of 15 feet, and the summit cone 35 feet high with steep sides at an angle of 50 degrees, leaving an actual summit of eight feet in diameter."

It is a reasonable assumption that many of the lesser Troyville mounds, as well as the 10 foot one on the west and south sides of the city, were built to serve as places of refuge during overflow periods, for there were no levees at that time.  Some of them served as sites for granaries where their maize (corn) could be safely stored.  A somewhat higher mound in the center of the city is thought to have been the site of the chief's residence, for it furnished him a vantage point where he could watch over the city, and also gave him a favorable position in event of attack.

A half-breed Creek Indian, who claimed that Anilco was a Creek city until that tribe was driven away by pestilences and the white man's rifles, said that under Creek rule it was called the "fire tower" and was a temple of worship.

The stupendous eminence was handmade.  Archaeologists believe that the thousands of cubic yards of dirt required to build the Great Mound were carried there from a distance in skins, and that each load, less than a cubic foot, was thoroughly trampled by its carrier.

But erosion, thoughtlessness, and expediencies of the white man's civilization have reduced the once awesome Mound and the lesser ones surrounding it almost to a mere memory.

During the period of the Civil War the Great Mound underwent alterations that greatly changed its appearance by having the central one virtually cut down to provide space for a rifle pit at the top.  The displaced dirt spread down the slope principally on the north and south sides to such an extent that made it 90 feet longer from north to south than from east to west, and so mutilated that it was difficult to determine just what its original shape had been.


The rapid disintegration of the Jonesville mounds began in the early 1900s when, they together with the embankment on the west and south side, were more or less leveled for home sites and other buildings.

The demolition of the Great Mound was begun in the summer of 1931 and continued without cessation for a period of more than a month.  Day and night shifts were employed, and it required steam shovels, mules and scrapers and gangs of laborers with picks and shovels, so hard and closely packed was the clay which the aboriginal builders had placed there.

During the cutting down of the mound nothing of interest was found except a variety of colored clays, red, brown, blue, grey and olive green.  Reports among the bystanders that human skeletons were discovered were not verified.

Dirt from the once Great Mound was spread over several blocks, which now compose the "mound lots," which sell at a premium because of their higher elevation.  Thus one of the wonders of Louisiana gave way to what modern man calls "Progress."

July 15, 2015

Wedding Wednesday - Franklin and Smith, 1946

Ruston Daily Leader - 5/20/1946

Mr. Elwood Smith was a Sergeant in the United States Army during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

He passed away on April 7, 2004 and is buried in the Highland Park Cemetery in Sicily Island.

Mrs. Yvonne Franklin Smith continues to live in the Sicily Island area near her daughters, Sharon and Glenda.

July 13, 2015

Louisiana Hog Dogs Back to Work - 1950

The following article appeared in the March 31, 1950 edition of the Altoona Mirror in Altoona, Pennsylvania:


Louisiana Hog Dogs Are Put Back to Work
By William Johnston

Jonesville, La.--The floods brought a new moment of glory back for the hog days of Catahoula parish, a vanishing breed that is the pursued instead of the pursuer.

Once more the dogs were out in the pecan and oak woods, looking for droves of hogs, turned out to fatten on the pecans and acorns, and wild after a few months of freedom.
As soon as the dogs found a drove of hogs they started nipping at the meanest looking boars they could find.  It was for the good of the hog, which would have drowned if the floods caught them.
But the boars, with savage grunts, took out after the dogs with all the sows, shoats and pigs following them.  The dogs led the hogs into pens and jumped into the clear on the other side.
Farmers closed the gates in the pens.  Thus some thousands of hogs were saved from the floods.  The renaissance of the hog dogs brought a touch of nostalgia back to Allen J. Swayze, aged 75, a retired Catahoula parish stockman.
Three generations ago there were three big families in Catahoula, the Swayzes, McMillans [McMillins] and Alexanders, and they probably developed the hog dog.
Thirty years ago the Swayzes, McMillans [McMillins] and Alexanders owned 30,000 hogs among them.  Everybody in Catahoula parish doesn't own that many hogs now.
"All this high water and the bad feeding just don't make woods hog raising as good as it was," Swayze said.  "They still got a few dogs that can work hogs.  But nothing like we used to have."
"A good hog dog might be yellow or leopard or have dark blue spots on a white or gray coat--look something like a hound, weigh about 60 or 70 pounds."

Altoona Mirror - 3/31/1950

"But a good hog dog won't have any hound blood at all.  Hound blood ruins a good hog dog, makes him timid.  They ain't exactly a breed.  We just call them curs.  But the best ones usually have glass (light colored) eyes."
"You have to train a hog dog a little.  But he takes natural to finding and driving woods hogs."
"I guess the best ones I ever had were a female named Tollie and a couple of males, Ring and Drummer.  Two or three of us neighbors would saddle up and take the dogs out in the swamp.  Tollie was a good find dog.  She'd locate a herd on a ridge and start circling."
"No barking, like hounds, unless we on the horses didn't know where they were.  Then the dogs would bay.  Drummer was my driving dog.  When the herd was pretty well gathered up, I'd yell at Drummer to get up front and start moving them."
"Drummer would nip and the boars and lead sows and all those hogs would rally, their tails rubbing and their faces pointed outward.  They'd lunge at Drummer and he'd take off in the direction we wanted to go.  Tollie and Ring would be follow dogs."
"If a hog tried getting out of the herd, he'd get chased back.  We'd move along like that as much as five miles.  Two dogs can handle as many as 100 hogs and not lose a single one."

July 8, 2015

Wedding Wednesday - Seal and Roberts

Emma Jean Roberts and Bernard Cooper Seal - 1954

Monroe Morning World - 6/13/1954

Photograph is courtesy of Derene Seal.

July 7, 2015

Catahoula Parish Moss Gins in the late 1930s

Louisiana Spanish Moss
In the 1930s, Catahoula Parish was one of several Louisiana parishes with gins that processed Spanish moss.  One such gin was mentioned in the September 8, 1936 edition of the Biloxi Daily Herald of Biloxi, Mississippi.

Biloxi Daily Herald - 9/8/1936

A description of the cleaning processes and uses of Spanish moss can be found in the following 1937 document from the State Library of Louisiana:

There are only two states which produce moss for commercial consumption--Louisiana and Florida.  Only about one-third of the former grows moss, and the out-put is approximately 90% of the product consumed in the United States.  Unknown to many persons, the annual receipts of the moss industry in Louisiana runs into millions of dollars and employs hundreds of persons.
The moss is picked from trees by farmers and their families and other persons who find time for such.  It is then carried to the gin where it is bedded out and soaked with water until the greyish outer coating has decayed, and only the black, horse-hair fiber remains.  It is then hung on wires, stretched on posts, to dry.  Next the moss is taken into the building where it is stacked until laborers, usually negroes, portion it out on crude tables and shake out the loose sticks, dirt and other foreign particles.  It is then put into the gin for further cleaning, and pressed into bales weighing about 150 pounds each.
Moss is used for upholstering expensive, springless furniture, pullman cars, coffins, etc. Formerly it was used for the upholstery in automobiles, but as it is quite expensive, the manufacturers have turned to a less costly article.
Do any of you know where the different gins were located in Catahoula Parish?  Did someone in your family operate or work in one of these gins?  Please leave a comment below or email rootsfromthebayou@gmail.com if you have information you'd like to share.