Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 12, 1891

Deplorable Tragedy
On last Saturday evening Joe Patterson, colored, living on Mr. John A. Sewall’s place, in this ward, shot & killed a colored man. His wife commenced to scream, when he shot her to death. He then went to Mr. James B. Lay’s store, about a half mile distant, and entering it, without warning, shot and wounded Mr. Lay. Mr. David Wallace, who was at the store, was about to get into his jumper, when Patterson shot & fatally wounded him. Mr. Wallace died Saturday night at 12 O’Clock.
Steps were immediately taken to capture the murderer, and after trailing him over a long circuit, he was finally run to earth Sunday night in his own home, where he barricaded himself and defied arrest. Then the pursuers opened fire on the house with Winchesters. Two shots were heard within. On forcing an entrance, Joe’s body was found near his wife’s, with a bullet hole through his head. His body was dragged out; after removing the dead woman, his body was carried back into the building, which was set on fire and the fiend’s corpse cremated.
Mr. Wallace was nominated at the parish primary election last Thursday for State Legislature. He was a farmer and a prominent and popular citizen – a man of sound practical sense, a sterling Democrat; a man of noble qualities of heart, and a citizen who was deeply and earnestly interested in the welfare of the parish. His sad and truly unfortunate death is universally deplored.
Bossier Banner Progress, December 17, 1891

David Wallace was my great-grandfather. My grandfather, Robert E. Wallace, was nine years old when his father was killed. He told me this story but never mentioned that his father was headed to the legislature. David Wallace had won the Democratic primary election, defeating W. B. Boggs, who was the first mayor of Plain Dealing. After Grandpa Wallace’s death, Mr. Boggs got the nomination and served in the State House and in the State Senate.
Another interesting note is that my grandfather told me that the ‘shootout’ in which Joe Patterson was killed was at the site where the Palmetto Country Club is now located. Something to think about when you tee off next time.
The picture below is of the Wallace house, where David Wallace was taken after he was shot, and where he died that midnight, December 12, 1891. My grandfather grew up in this house with all of his siblings. The house burned down in 1920, so the picture below was taken sometime before that. Grandma Wallace had moved out years before, and although the house was lived in, it was in disrepair when this photo was taken.
The house was on Linton Road.
The bottom photo is of his widow, Louisa Wallace.  She lived to the age of 93 and died in Benton in 1936.
Louisa Yarborough Wallace


  1. Genealogy is a great thing. The more you trace your family tree the more interesting things become.
    If you have a Genealogical Library near you, its worth the visit.
    I found out there was a famous town named after my paternal grandmothers family. Never had thought about the connection till I became interested in tracing my family roots.

  2. Alex, that's very true. My grandfather had told me this story, but I never saw the newspaper account until I found it at the library just a few years ago.
    I was impressed that it was just as he had told me, down to the gunfight and burning of the house. Sometimes family stories tend to get exaggerated, but it was very accurate.

  3. Jim, this is fascinating. My great grandmother lived to 104, and I was 34 when she died. Mine was a rare case of knowing as an adult someone who could pass along family history from her grandparents (Civil War days).

    Even though she was from Mom's side, she had a grandmother with Dad's surname...about 4'8" tall, and just that wide around, too. She fell into a fire-pit while cooking, and was too round to extract herself...burnt up! True story.

    Man, what a different world theirs was from ours, huh.

    Thanks for your story. I will NEVER pass by Palmetto CC again without thinking about it.

  4. You are from a very interesting family. So sorry to hear about the tragedy that befell your great grandfather.


Rules of the road:
1. No personal attacks or insults.
2. No accustory statements about wrongdoing or criminal acts against anyone.
3. Say all you want about the pros and cons concerning the candidates and the issues, or the general subject of the blog post, just follow Rule #1 and Rule #2.