Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Glimpse of Bossier Parish History

I have done a couple of blogs recently on the history of the Bossier Strip. Let's go a little further back in time, 125 years this week to be exact.
This old boy was my great-great-great grandfather. He was a gunsmith at the Caddo Indian Agency at one time and moved to what is now Bossier Parish and established a home and plantation at Irwin's Bluff, on the river just outside of Benton.
He was married to Mary Edwards, the daughter of Larkin Edwards who was the interpreter for the Caddo Indians. Larkin Edwards is said to be buried at Coates Bluff, just across Burt Boulevard from the courthouse in Benton.
Coleville is about 5 or 6 miles east of Benton.

Major Jacob Irwin, one of the first settlers of this section of Louisiana, died at his residence, in this parish, on last Saturday at 5:30 PM in his 95th year. Maj. Irwin located here many years before Bossier parish was organized, and was, at the time of his death, the oldest citizen of Bossier Parish. Indeed, a venerable landmark has fallen – Bossier’s pioneer has been called home and his earthly labors are ended forever. He has been prominent as a business man and done faithful work in the service of his country. His deeds of charity have been numberless and as noiseless as the falling snow and he goes to his long home now amid expressions from the lips of every class of the community of the love and esteem he has inspired. As a friend and neighbor he was a model in any community. But with it all he was quiet and unostentatious. Major Irwin was a truly good man, in the boradest meaning of that word, and his good deeds and life of usefulness will long be remembered by his relatives and friends
“And to live in hearts we leave behind
is not to die.”
Last Monday morning, at Colveille cemetery, amid many expressions of regret from sorrowing relatives and friends, the mortal remains of Major Jacob Irwin were laid, solemnly to rest in the city of the dead, in faith and hope of the glorious resurrection morning.
Bossier Banner Progress, March 26,1885

5 comments:

  1. That is cool, Jim. What an amazing time that must have been to live. I had the joy of having my great grandmother until I was 34 years old.

    She was born in 1890...man, the stories she could tell.

    It's good to look back at your come-befores and have honorable, decent folks in there.

    I didn't have any idea that there was a Bossier publication that far back. Interesting.

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  2. Jim,

    I was tansplanted here by the military years ago and stayed. One of the fascinating aspects of this area is its history.

    If I'm not mistaken, and I know I heard this somewhere, that along the time frame you are talking about, there was a push to have this portion of Louisiana annexed by Texas, but due to some disease (Yellow Fever or something just a deadly) plagued this area, and the annexation by Texas fell through. Do you know anything about this?

    ReplyDelete
  3. G R - there was talk about it, but I don't think it ever got too serious. The yellow fever plague came in the l890's if I'm not mistaken, and killed thousands. There are many victims buried in the old Oakland Cemetery behind the Municipal Auditorium.
    I'll do some followup on it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Jim,

    I am writing a book on the 1873 yellow fever epidemic here in Shreveport, which was the third largest epidemic in the history of the United States. The official death toll is 759, however it probably passed 1000.

    After the Civil War, the Union's Reconstruction government replaced many elected officials in the Southern States with their own people, some being Black, to the great disdain of Southerners. The Radicals would fan the flames of racial tension, one of the results being the Colfax Riot (aka Colfax Massacre) of April 13, 1873, where 300 Blacks and several whites were killed in gun battles.

    As a result, the parishes of Caddo, Bossier, and DeSoto petitioned the Texas Legislature to annex them into Texas in the summer of 1873. Opinions were favorable in Texas and the three parishes. Eventually, William Pitt Kellogg, Republican governor of Louisiana, quashed the move. But if things had gone differently, we would be "Texians" today.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Jim,

    I am writing a book on the 1873 yellow fever epidemic here in Shreveport, which was the third largest epidemic in the history of the United States. The official death toll is 759, however it probably passed 1000.

    After the Civil War, the Union's Reconstruction government replaced many elected officials in the Southern States with their own people, some being Black, to the great disdain of Southerners. The Radicals would fan the flames of racial tension, one of the results being the Colfax Riot (aka Colfax Massacre) of April 13, 1873, where 300 Blacks and several whites were killed in gun battles.

    As a result, the parishes of Caddo, Bossier, and DeSoto petitioned the Texas Legislature to annex them into Texas in the summer of 1873. Opinions were favorable in Texas and the three parishes. Eventually, William Pitt Kellogg, Republican governor of Louisiana, quashed the move. But if things had gone differently, we would be "Texians" today.

    ReplyDelete

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