Carter, Hon. Prentiss.
History of Washington Parish:
As Compiled from the Records & Traditions
The Washington Parish Library in Franklinton, LA
has, among its various genealogical records, this typed report written by the Honorable Prentiss Carter. It is only a few pages in length but filled with information. The report is not dated but the pages are yellowed with age.
1. Early Colonial History
2. The Early Settlers of Washington Parish
3. Andrew Jackson Blazes Trail of the Military Road Through Washington Parish in War of 1812
4. First Families and Toll Bridges
5. Churches and Religion
6. Early Educational Efforts
7. First Newspaper
8. Franklinton the Parish Seat
9. First Railroad Facilities
10. Military Quotas in the Mexican and Civil Wars
11. Col. W. H. Sullivan and the Goodyears begin the Lumber Industry
12. Founding of Bogalusa
13. World War Enlistments
His honor writes:
“Most of the original settlers of what is now Washington Parish came from South and North Carolina, others from families having migrated from the State of Virginia to Kentucky and Tennessee.”
My Alford & Brumfield ancestors are among the early settlers he writes about.
“As to the actual settlers who brought about this condition, it might be well to state that none of a permanent nature appeared earlier than about 1810. The settlements were founded mostly on the headrights granted by the Spanish colonial power, issued in the first year of the century shortly prior to the Louisiana Transfer. From a careful examination of the survey made in 1848 and completed in the year 1849, under the heading of ‘Greenburg District’ headrights, it is interesting to note that no grants were made in the ‘bald piney woods’ as the natives term those sections where we find no creeks, branches or rivers. Instead settlers built their little log homes, and a bit later and oh, so proudly, their first ‘box’ or frame houses, along the banks or in the valleys and swamps of the creeks and rivers. Of the old families locating in this manner Abner, Thomas and Benjamin Bickman were among the first, coming in 1807. William Brumfield came in 1809; Exediel Brumfield in 1810; Amos, Benjamin and Thomas Richardson located in 1809 and 1810; David and John Mizell (then spelled Measles) in 1812; John Simmons in 1812; William Hays and William McGeehee in 1809 and Jonathan McGeeHee in 1812. Other early settlers, whose descendants still live in this section or in our neighboring parishes were: Joseph and Shared Adams, who were the founders of the Adamstown on the Pearl River; George and John Mitchell; the Fords who were among the very first to come; Stephen Stafford; Benjamin Toney; John Thigpen who settled the community that is now Spring Hill and through whose headrights ran Pushpetappy Creek which was crossed by the famous Jackson’s Military Roads and spoken later herein; George Ellis just across the Bogue Chitto River from the present site of Franklintown; John Bickman on the immediate site of the town; Colonel Thomas C. Warner between Franklintown and what is not the Enon Community; Edwin Fussell adjoining that of Abne Bickham near the present community of Mt. Hermon on the road to the parish seat; Jim Thomas and Fanny Richardson near what is now Sheridon on Bogue Chitto Creek; David Gorman and Samuel York who founded the community of Gorman; the Lawrences from who Lawrence Creek just south of Franklinton received its name; Jacob Alford and John K. Godf who settled what is now Alfordstown; John and Isaac Irwin (now spelled Erwin); Richard Graves; Delcy Byrd on Gorman Creek; James and William Hayes who gave the name to Hayes’ Creek; James Ginn on the site of the present town of Clifton; Burwell Percy and John Edwards near the present site of Rio on the St. Tammany side; and Richard S. Chappel whose place was on the Bogue Chitto where the famous Militia Road crossed, also the branch of the Tally’s Creek southwest of Bogalusa crossed by this road; Richard Burch, coming from Germany in 1811.”
This brief history is intriguing and sprinkled with surnames that may be of relevance to your research. Even if you do not connect to these names you will enjoy the picture that the Honorable Prentiss Carter paints of life in the parish. Read, for example, this image:
“It was in the springtime of 1906, when our fair hills and valleys were at their sweetest and most superb beauty, when the wild azalea and the yellow jasmine with their perfume mingled in the freshness of the majestic yellow pines made fragrant all the atmosphere; when the dogwood blossoms showed their startling purity against the soft green of the pine needles; when the parsley haw, and the rare rhododendrons with their pink and white blossoms graced every little vale; when the tiny white, the sweet blue, and the perfect ox-eye violets mingled with the sweet red turkey-berry creepers, and the sweetheart roots underfoot; when the coral vine and wild honeysuckle encircled every tree not already encircled by the muscadine and grape; when the sweet bay and magnolia were broadcasting their rich essences, and the new growth of the pines were like the many candles of the Christmas trees of the children.”
Unfortunately the final page of this report is missing. We can only wonder what other insights he shared on that page.