Don C. Marler
We are ending the 2nd year of publication of the Hineston Chronicles, a quarterly journal in electronic format only. The Chronicles are about more than just Hineston; the intent is to include the broader area of small communities.
In this issue we will get a glimpse of Ft. Polk that has had an impact, both positive and negative, on many families in the area. The negative was the disruptive effect of having homes, property and way of life permanently altered in the early 1940s when the military needed land for its training activities. And after the foreign hostilities ended there was neglect and disregard of cemeteries, home-sites and other cultural resources. In the last decade this has all changed for the better.
Perhaps better than any other such facility in the country Ft. Polk is trying to assist in healing the wounds of those past painful experiences. In October we attended the 6th annual Heritage Day; a gathering of Heritage Families and descendants of these families. Staff and military personnel of Ft. Polk hosted us. The event was actually a two-day event with the second day reserved primarily for tours (guided and unguided) of cemeteries and home sites.
In October there was also a meeting of the newly created Heritage Family Association. This is a non-profit group whose main purpose is to work with Ft. Polk personnel in preserving the heritage and cultural resources at Ft. Polk.
The Fort Polk enterprise involves tens of thousands of acres of land in its immediate vicinity and on Peason Ridge in Natchitoches Parish. The land is owned by both Ft. Polk and the U.S. National Forest Service.
Of keen interest to Heritage Families are the 19 cemeteries located on the reservation. These cemeteries are now fenced and maintained by Fort Polk. The old home sites are also of interest to displaced families.
The new association will be involved in the decisions made regarding these cultural resources as well as the relationship between the broader community and Ft. Polk leadership and personnel. The fort commander and his able staff led by Mr. Charles Stagg, encouraged and facilitated the creation of the Heritage Family Association.
The association is in the formative stages and all interested parties are invited and encouraged to participate in its activities and to take advantage of the resources and opportunities made available through it. Mr. Gene Haymon, a lifelong resident of the area and retired businessman is the first chairman of the association’s board of directors. He will need our assistance and cooperation; what he and the new board does now will affect the future relations of Heritage Family members and Ft. Polk and the cultural resources of which it is custodian.
Elsewhere in this issue you will find sources you can access for more information and how to join the new association.
THE FAMILY HERITAGE FAMILY ASSOCIATION:
AN OPEN MEMBERSHIP NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION
Hello! My name is Gene Haymon and I am the newly elected president of the Heritage Family Association. This past weekend in conjunction with Ft. Polk personnel and the Heritage Family Association, the families and their descendants who lost their homes and land in the early 1940’s with the building of Camp Polk, were again recognized and honored for the great sacrifices made for God and country!! On a very cool October weekend those present met for the 6th annual celebration, ceremony and reunion.
New this year, however, was the introduction of the Heritage Family Association. The idea of recognizing all the families that lived on the lands now occupied by Fort Polk, started with the military and over the past six years the officials at Ft. Polk, beginning with the Commanding General, recognized that in order for the celebrations to grow and prosper a non-profit organization was needed to serve as a vehicle through which more people could become involved in helping to build a complete footprint of each and every family’s sacrifice and to preserve the heritage and cultural resources that are so bountiful on the 1000’s of acres now owned and used by the United States Army in Central Louisiana, including land in the Leesville vicinity and Peason Ridge.
The U.S. government is in process of acquiring another 100,000 acres at the present time and as those lands are purchased, more families will become members of the Heritage Families of Fort Polk. The association will be involved in capturing and preserving the cultural and heritage resources of this new acquisition. The new association will be the perpetual and unified voice for the affected families as they express their desires and needs regarding cemeteries, schools, home sites, churches and other historic sites on lands owned and used by Ft. Polk.
I want to thank Mr. Don Marler and the Hineston Chronicles for providing me this opportunity to invite anyone who is interested in preserving the culture of Louisiana families to become a member and get actively involved in helping us grow this organization. There is room for anyone who wants to work with one of the ten committees that are presently being formed. Our desire is that when we meet again in 2013 for “Heritage Day” weekend at Ft. Polk, not only will you be in attendance you will be actively involved in helping to build this great organization. I leave you with this quote, author unknown: “How will our children know who they are if they do not know where they came from.”
You may contact me at: 337 353 1080 or email: email@example.com
A membership application follows at the bottom of these choronicles; please join us for a satisfying adventure.
THE FORT POLK SPONSORED SIXTH ANNUAL HERITAGE DAY CELEBRATION
This annual event, designed to afford opportunity for Ft. Polk Heritage Families and their descendants to share memories and visit the sites the residences of ancestors, was again a great success. The meeting was, as usual, held at the base chapel where the cultural resources staff is housed. The first day is filled with programmed activities at the chapel and the second day is reserved for tours to the various cemeteries and home sites.
Tables are provided for display of family artifacts, selling of books and memorabilia, sharing genealogical information. Wonderful food and fellowship is the highlight along with music and reenactments. Military personnel are eager to assist in parking and carrying items to the meeting area if needed. There is NO CHARGE for these amenities.
At the recognition ceremony
Faye Swain Paolino in the wheel chair. Behind her in the camouflage uniform is the Ft. Commander. Note display tables.
Domestic horses gone wild near the Smith-Maddox Cemetery
Large Live Oak Tree at the Old Jerry Smith home place.
Note: The cemetery photos were taken about 3 weeks before the Heritage Day Celebration.
Brigadier General Clarence K. K. Chinn, Commander Ft. Polk
Mary Lee Delk Wells, 69, of Hineston, passed away on November 1, 20012.
Connie S. Lewis, 71, passed away on September 7, 2012.
Rosie B. Toney Woodham, 95, passed away on October 11, 2012.
See the application for joining the new Family Heritage Association—last page of these Chronicles—print it out and join us. Help us preserve the family heritage and cultural resources of Ft. Polk.
Please feel free to print out the Hineston Chronicles; keep them in hard copy for your records and pass them to those who do not have email capability.
If you know someone who would like to get the electronic copy please send their name and email address.
We have been asked to recommend a DNA program. We recommend Family Tree DNA out of Houston. It is, in our opinion, the best. Google it by name.
BRIEF HISTORY OF FORT POLK AREA COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES
By: Don C. Marler and Sherry Wilson Manuel
The urgency and magnitude of the coming war with Japan and Germany in the early 1940s demanded drastic action by the U.S. Government and sacrifices by the people. The U.S. Military needed and still needs a large tract of land for its training exercises. In the early 1940s there was little time for negotiations over land transactions between the military and the landowners and no doubt mistakes were made and inequities occurred. Nevertheless, precipitously and unwillingly giving up ones home and livelihood is among the most emotionally unsettling events.
In recognition of the sacrifices made by the settlers who owned the land acquired by the military in Vernon Parish, Fort Polk is trying to collect data that will be used to recognize and memorialize those sacrifices and contributions.
It is toward this end that Fort Polk has asked the authors to collect additional data on those historic communities, roads and families about which it has little or no data. As the reader will see, historical distance has already dimmed the trail and in some cases it is almost obliterated already. Perhaps the sketchy material provided here will stimulate production of more data to assist in refreshing our collective memory.
The material presented here is in no particular order except that people and places are presented together. Example: Smithville, the community, is presented and the families associated with it are presented immediately following.
No doubt there are some errors and omissions in the data presented here. Corrections and additional data are welcomed.
Founded by Jeremiah (Jerry) Smith around 1871, Smithville is located in Vernon Parish, Louisiana. The exact date Jerry settled there is difficult to establish. The birth dates and places of birth of some of his many children provide the best clues. One was born in Mississippi on October 3, 1870 and the next was born two years later on October 12, 1872 in Vernon Parish, Louisiana. Family tradition has it that in the meantime he went to Texas and then moved back to Louisiana. Apparently the Texas move was unsatisfactory and short. No doubt Jerry saw the beauty of the country as he passed through to Texas. These pioneers often traveled to a new and distant home in large groups. As a result the traveling group often were friends or relatives or soon became such.
The Smithville community was located north of present day Pitkin, east of Fullerton and west of Westport. The exact site of the Smith home place is known as is the site of the post office of which Jerry Smith was postmaster. The only remaining visible improvement to the area is the Smith/Maddox Cemetery, maintained by Fort Polk.
Smithville had a population of 150 in1891. The post office opened in 1891 and closed in 1899. Upon closing, mail service was transferred to Cora — aka Smith’s Mill. For many years Jerry Smith had relatives living in the Cora area.1 16
Smith/Maddox Cemetery Fort Polk # 8
This cemetery is approximately a half-acre in size, surrounded by a fence. It is located north of the old Jerry Smith home place. Oral family history has it that there are many unknown and unmarked graves there. Family history also recounts that before the site was fenced and before Fort Polk took responsibility for care and preservation of the site, there were many grave markers destroyed by timber workers and military personnel on maneuvers and other training activities. Moreover, in the early pioneer days suitable materials available for more permanent markers were scarce, and had they been available the financial resources were often not available to procure them. Consequently, they used what was available and affordable — wood. The most lasting wood was the heart of the longleaf pine–called lighter pine or pitch pine.
These two names were derived from the flammable qualities of the wood. Though it did not rot it was highly flammable and the practice of cattle and hog farmers was to burn the woods almost every year. Thus, many markers were burned in those days by fires that knew no boundaries. In some cases concrete was used and names were hand written in the wet cement. Less than a hundred years later many of these were unreadable. A reading of this cemetery in 1979 by Mr. Jack Hadnot revealed the deterioration.
During a family visit to this cemetery in 1998 some children of the visiting party, while digging in the ground, found two concrete markers that had been covered with dirt. With some effort they were read as follows:
Philips, Philonease –[Note: First married to John Watson, Westport Fight actor].
Philips, W.L 2
These names were not available to Jane McManus when she published the series L’est We Forget in 1994. Jane identified 19 graves, not all of which had readable markers, and the two found later brings the total to 21.3 Could it be that there are other such markers buried inside and outside the cemetery?
The earliest readable marker is dated 1899 and the latest is dated 1933. Not included in the markers are ones for Jerry Smith’s first wife, Martha Ann Register Smith, or their infant son, William Webster Smith, who died in 1886. Both are almost certainly buried there. Since Jerry was a carpenter he may have made the markers of wood and they subsequently deteriorated or burned. Jerry’s son in law, Isaiah “Son” Maddox, who died in 1932 while the cemetery was still being actively used has no marker, but he is likely buried there.
Barbara Swire collected information on many of these Smith family members and recorded many names claimed by family members to have been buried at the Smith/Maddox Cemetery for whom there is no marker.4
Martha Ann Rester Smith
William Webster Smith
George Lenard Smith
Nancy Elizabeth Smith
Isaiah “Son” Maddox
Jeremiah (Jerry) Smith
Jeremiah was the son of Sherrod Smith who was the son of Nimrod. There have been many Nimrod and Sherrod Smiths throughout American history. This family named at least four members Sherrod during the 1800s. Jerry’s father and a brother were named Sherrod.5 Sherrod, the father of Jerry, was buried at Akin Cemetery in Allen Parish. Little is known about his life after he moved to Louisiana from Mississippi. He is reported by family members to have lived with Jerry at Smithville for sometime and that he is buried at the cemetery there. This may have been Jerry’s brother of the same name. Sherrod, the father of Jerry, must have been involved in floating logs down the Sabine River to Orange, Texas as there is a log brand book with his brand recorded.
The brand was stamped on the log usually on the large end (butt) of the log. There were several types of the actual brand. Most often it was a raised pattern of letters or designs on the face of a sledgehammer. When the log was struck it imprinted the letters in the wood. The sawmill was at the mouth of the Sabine River at Orange. When the logs floated to the mill they were snagged and the brand recorded along with the amount of lumber cut from the log. At the end of the month a check was sent to the holder of the registered brand. (See Attachment A)
Jerry Smith owned 162 acres at Smithville, a community named for him. He was the only postmaster Smithville ever had, serving from April 11, 1891 to February 15, 1899. It has been jokingly said that he needed a post office for his family alone having 22 children –19 of whom were living in the home at one time. He was born in Mississippi (Biloxi, ?) on April 5, 1845, and married Martha Ann Rester on October 29, 1865. Martha Ann was born about 1844 in Hancock County Mississippi.6 She and Jerry had 10 children. Mary Ann died in 1886 at the birth of her 10th child, William Webster Smith, who also died later the same year.
Jerry married Mary Caroline “Carrie” Wilson in 1877. (See Attachment B) Carrie was a cousin to Martha Ann Rester and she was a schoolteacher. She and Jerry had 12 children. Mary Caroline died on February 19, 1925 at the home of her daughter Cora Ophelia Smith Perkins. She is buried beside Jerry at Fellowship Cemetery near Hineston, Louisiana.
Jerry was a master carpenter and supported his family with this occupation and by farming and operating a syrup mill. His neighbors whom he was quick to assist when help was needed, loved him, but he was sometimes too rigid with his own family. He always owned a fine saddle horse that he kept close at hand in a stable and barnyard made especially for the horse.
The 1880 census lists some of the neighbors of Jerry Smith as: Brown, Hogan, Willis, Johnson, Wilson, Brady (Braddy), Dias (Dyess), Goldman, Bird, Johnson, Davis, La Caze, Hester, West, Thompson and Perkins. Many of these neighbors were related or would become related through marriage.
He moved his family to Little Valentine Creek, aka Dyess Creek, near Gardner, Louisiana in 1898 or 1899. Some family members say it was 1898, but the post office did not close until February, 1899. He was the only postmaster to serve the Smithville community. It is possible that he knew it was closing and left someone in charge during the last few months. Jerry owned 40 acres at Little Valentine Creek, where he continued farming and carpentry.
Bertha Dyess Marler and two of her brothers, Elbert and Oscar Dyess, told the story of the trip from Smithville to Little Valentine on many occasions. The trip to Little Valentine Creek took several days because the family had several turkeys that made the trip on foot. When late evening came the turkeys would fly up in the trees to roost for the night. The traveling party could not leave until they decided to come down in the morning. Sarah Matilda (Smith) Dyess and Cora Ophelia (Smith) Perkins, daughters of Jerry walked behind the wagon during the trip herding the turkeys.7
Jerry lived at Valentine Creek until his death in 1919. On May 6, 1919, while boarding a train at Woodworth Camp (near Gardner and west of present day Woodworth) to take his son, Wilburn Smith, to New Orleans for treatment of appendicitis, Jeremiah suddenly fell dead. He is buried at Fellowship Cemetery in Hineston, Louisiana.8
Elbert Dyess, a grandson of Jerry, was also a master carpenter who lived at Gardner until his death this year – 2008. For many years before his death he made miniature buildings of the period in which his grandfather lived and worked. One of his proudest achievements was the replication of the buildings on the Smith home place on Little Valentine Creek. This replica includes the stable and barnyard built for the Jerry Smith saddle horse.
Mr. Dyess created a large private museum in a separate building at his home near Gardner. Before his death he donated the museum to the Museum of West Louisiana in Leesville. The Museum of West Louisiana built a separate building to house his entire collection known as The Dyess Building. In addition the collection contains much related to the timber industry in Louisiana. This collection found its new home just months before he died. Mr. Dyess was especially pleased that out of state visitors coming to Fort Polk were visiting the collection.
Elbert and Oscar Dyess, recently deceased grandsons of Jeremiah Smith, said that Jerry sold his home place to his daughter, Mary Ann and her husband Isaiah (Son) Maddox. Mary Ann’s children say that Mary Ann and her husband later sold the home to their son, Bill Maddox and wife Eleanor Peterson Maddox. Bill and Eleanor lost two sons, (grandsons of Mary Ann Smith Maddox and great grandsons of Jerry Smith) from an accident involving live grenades in the Fort Polk Range.9
Maddox, David Leroy d. October 9, 1944
Maddox, Joseph Harold d. October 8, 1944
Since the Smithville area has been uninhabited since at least the early 1940s the area has returned to its natural almost pristine beauty. The pines are tall and straight and sage grass (or as the old-timer’s said sage brush) is doing well. This is the grass they used for making brooms.
The property taken from Jerry Smith’s descendents was reimbursed by the U.S. Government in civil suit # 14400 in 1967. (See attachments C and D)
Cora, Louisiana is located approximately 7 miles from Smithville. It is still an active community located about 2 miles from the Fort Polk Range. It was here that the Smithville post office moved in 1899. The Cora post office was established in 1887 and Michael Smith, son of Archibald, was one of its
Postmasters. The Cora Post office closed in 1957. In 1888 the population was 200. Cora was aka Smith’s Mill. The date of the community’s beginning is unknown.
Early Resident, Edmund Dyess
At the end of the Civil War (in early 1865) Thomas D. Dyess, his wife Nancy Jenkins, their five single children and married son, Edmund Dyess, his wife, Margaret Mathis, and their two children moved from Jones County, Mississippi to near Rusk, Texas. By 1868 they all contracted dysentery and Thomas D., his wife and two of his children died. Edmund, his wife Margaret Mathis, his two children and three younger surviving siblings, returned to Ward 5 of what is now Vernon Parish. They settled in the Cora area. The rest is, as is often said, history. The Smiths, Dyesses, Wilsons, Maddox and many other Cora/Smithville area residents were forever bound together in kinship and friendship. Edmund later moved to Little Valentine Creek near the home of Jerry Smith, the father in law of his son Josie B. Dyess.
The Dyess Family And Its Military Connections
Six Dyess brothers were born to the Dyess family in Barnwell, South Carolina. In the 19th century they began a trek west, some going to Texas and some returning from Texas to Rapides and Vernon parishes.
Members of the Edmund Dyess (son of Thomas D. Dyess, one of the six brothers) family married into the Maddox, Mathis and Wilson families in Vernon parish. Several of the six brothers moved to Louisiana and Texas. Two members of these families became national heroes during WWII. 10
Col. Edwin Dyess
Col. Edwin Dyess, whose parents once lived in Rapides parish was a hero at Bataan and was the first to escape from Japanese at Bataan. He exposed the horrors inflicted on the men who were prisoners of the Japanese and the atrocities suffered by them on the Bataan Death March. He was later testing one of the early jets and when it malfunctioned stayed with the plane to keep it from crashing into a school. He was killed in the crash. Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas is named for him.11
Lt. Colonel Jimmie Dyess
Major General (R), Perry Smith, is the son in law of Jimmie Dyess, a WWII hero. His book A Hero Among Heroes: Jimmie Dyess and the 4th Marine Division, is a biography of the only person to have ever received America’s two highest awards for heroism, the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal. In 2006, Perry produced a 60 minute DVD, Twice a Hero: The Jimmie Dyess Story.
The US Navy destroyer (U.S.S. Dyess DD 880) was named for Jimmie Dyess. This ship was built at Orange, Texas. His wife and daughter attended the christening ceremony. His daughter later married Perry Smith who is now a retired Air Force Major General. General Smith was Commandant of the War College and the military consultant to CNN until shortly after the beginning of the Iraq war when CNN ran a false and damaging story that America used nerve gas on its own troops and innocent civilians in Laos. They ran it without consulting him first and refused to retract it. He resigned and CNN, much later, retracted the story with an apology to him and the country.12 General Smith served at England AFB, Alexandria, La.
Brig. General John R. Dyas (Dyess)
General Dyas never lived in Rapides or Vernon Parishes but is included here because of family connections. General Dyas was born 1917 in Mobile, Alabama. He attended Auburn University majoring in aeronautical engineering and aeronautical administration. He entered aviation cadet training in 1940 and went on to hold many important positions in the North Africa and European theater of operations. He received his training at Randolph and Kelly fields in Texas. General Dyas retired in 1971 and died in 2004.
General Dyas was inducted into the Alabama Military Hall of Fame.
Some of the positions he held were:
Tactical Squadron Commander, North Africa and European theater,
Adviser to the Peruvian air force,
Commander 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing,
Deputy Chief of Staff Deputy Chief of Staff for operations, 4th Allied Tactical Air Force in Europe,
Assistant deputy Chief of Staff, operations, at headquarters U.S. Air Force in Europe,
Deputy Director of military personnel,
Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force,
Command of .S. Air Force Military Personnel Center—Randolph Air Force Base,
Vice Commander of the Seventeenth Air Force, U.S. Air Forces in Europe,
Commander, Task Force Alpha, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, and
Chief of Staff, Headquarters Air Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base.13
Huddleston was located south of present day Leesville at what is now known as Billy Goat Hill. It was on the Old Beef Trail that ran from Cotile Landing (Boyce) and on to Burr Ferry and points west. On some maps a portion of this road is shown as the Hineston to Huddleston Road.
Isaac Huddleston became the postmaster of Huddleston on January 22, 1847 and according to post office records for Vernon Parish, served until June 22,1866 when the post office was discontinued.14 However, the Rapides Parish census shows that N. Sanders became the postmaster there in 1863.
We do not know the year of Isaac’s death; perhaps it was in 1863. Isaac was the first postmaster listed so it seems safe to assume that he founded the community about 1847 or earlier. Issac’s son married Penelope Saunders before 1863; could it be that it was her husband who was the postmaster in 1863? Confusion between Sanders and Saunders would have been fairly easy.
Erbon Wise, in Tall Pines, recounts that Huddleston was one of the first settlements in Vernon Parish.15
Steven Smith postulates that Huddleston was likely Vernon Parish’s first village. And it was the largest village in the Fort Polk area in 1860, having several mercantile establishments including those of Hatch, Robinson & Co., J.P. Eddleman & Co., a post office, Rapides Lodge No. 167 and during the Civil War it was a supply depot for the Confederate troops.16
Louise Tucker related that she owned a tract of land in the 1970s located southwest of Billy Goat Hill — less than a mile away as the crow flies. On this land there was a salt lick, a large cache of horseshoes and a small cemetery—McManus Cemetery. She and her family were curious about these artifacts and were surprised when a lady came to visit who related that this was the site of the Huddleston stage stop. She showed a photo of the stage stop that depicted a sign reading, SAN ANTONIO STAGE LINE. This lady wanted permission to remove the headstone of one of her relatives from the cemetery located on the property. She secured permission from the authorities and moved it to a cemetery in Leesville. Ms. Tucker does not remember who the lady was.17
A field trip to this property revealed the cemetery with 5 grave markers left in place and remnants of an old fence and gate. The oldest marker was dated 1811. Ms. Tuckers said there were 12 to 15 markers present when she lived there.
A building has been built on the site of the salt lick and horseshoes and this along with considerable bulldozer work that has disturbed the earth makes it impractical to attempt to locate and study this site. There was some “hard pan” dirt near the building but no test for salt was made.
Little else is known about Huddleston. Few of the “old timers” in Vernon Parish have ever heard of the community.
Isaac Newton Huddleston
Issac N. Huddleston, Sr. was shown on the 1840 Rapides Parish census in what is now Vernon Parish. He was born 1785 in South Carolina to James Huddleston and Susanah Miller. He married Mary Speights who was 1 year his senior. Isaac owned 13 slaves in 1840 and in the 1860 census he had 16 slaves; he was listed as a farmer.
His son Isaac Newton Huddleston, Jr. married Penelope Saunders and both registered land purchases in Vernon parish from 1860 to 1891. The 1860 purchase was listed as Penelope Hurdlestone.18 The date of death of Isaac Huddleston, Sr. is unknown. In 1866 he would have been 81 years of age. Mary died in 1855.
Petersburg was founded by John Peter Eddleman sometime after 1859. There is much confusion in the few written references to Petersburg and the oral history as recounted by local people. There are those who believe that John Peter Eddleman took over Huddleston and renamed it Petersburg. Post Office records do not list a post office at Petersburg nor does it list John Peter as a postmaster at Huddleston. Other accounts have Petersburg first (in the 1830’s) with Huddleston following.19 This account is clearly wrong as Eddleman came to Vernon Parish almost 30 years later.
Local people locate Petersburg as having been on Highway 10 south of Fort Polk, at Huddleston, at Pickering and on Entrance Road east of Highway 171. The St. Petersburg church was located at the northwest corner of Entrance Road and Jeanne Chapel Road. The church burned in 1984. Land records show that J.P. Eddleman purchased land in this area in 1874, and he moved to Johnson’s Bayou, Louisiana in 1878. It could be then that Petersburg was not established until 1874.
John Peter Eddleman
John Peter was born on December 18, 1823 in Rowan County, N.C. His mother, father and siblings moved to Mississippi between 1835 and 1840 and he with his wife and children moved to Rapides Parish, about 1859 or 60. He married Mary Guess in 1846 in Mississippi.20
Highlights of His Career:
- In 1860 he was elected to the Rapides Parish Police Jury.
- In 1861, after the start of the Civil War, he formed a Home Guard Company and was its Captain. This company was apparently disbanded and he was later the senior 2nd Lt. of the Martin Scouts (Co. K, 6th La. Calvary Regiment). This was the unit of Robert Washington “Bloody Bob” Martin, great-grand father of actor/comedian Steve Martin.21
- Shortly after the Civil War ended he had a minor altercation with Dennis Haynes, a Union sympathizer.22
- He owned a store near Gum Slough.
- John Peter Eddleman was elected to the Louisiana legislature in 1864. It is not known how long he served. (See Attachment E).
- In 1878 he moved to Johnson Bayou in Cameron Parish.
- On December 9, 1878 he was appointed postmaster of Johnson Bayou.
* In 1893 he and his youngest son bought a home in Orange, Texas. This home still exists as the Wilcox Home.23 (See Attachment F)
John Peter Eddleman’s grandson, Clyde Davis Eddleman, was born in Orange, Texas in 1902 and became a Four Star General in the U.S. Army. (See Attachment G)
0n a Rand McNally map dated 1915, Pringle is shown as being due east of Leesville, La. at the end of a 14 mile long railroad called the G & S R. The G & S R connects with the Gulf Colorado & Santa Fe at Nitram. Pringle is approximately 7 miles from Leesville and 7 miles from Fullerton. (See Attachment H)
Calls to many central Louisiana Pringles and other knowledgeable people in the area have revealed no one who has ever heard of the community.
EM Pringle and Associates Naval Stores
It is easy to assume that Pringle was associated with the EM Pringle and Associates Naval Stores located within what is now the city limits of Glenmora, Louisiana. Mr. Pringle had vast holdings throughout the area. The turpentine camps and stills were manned mostly by black workers, and the Glenmora site provided housing on the plant grounds for some of these workers.24
Camp Pringle was a logging/sawmill camp located southeast of Melder, La. in the old Camp Claiborne military training grounds. (See Attachment I) This puts it roughly between Melder and Glenmora. Again it would be easy to assume that this mill was owned by EM Pringle and Associates, but it may have been owned, as indicated by a hand written note on the attached map, by B.E. Smith (perhaps, Branch Smith—another large timberland owner and lumber mill operator who lived in that immediate area). Branch Smith may have been one of the many associates of E.M. Pringle.
The word Nitram is Martin spelled backwards. The community was located at the junction of the Gulf Colorado & Santa Fe and G & S. R. railroads. The G & S.R. was a 14 mile long line running to Fullerton and on to the mill at Pringle — owned by Gulf Lumber Co. (See Attachment J)
It is not known what years Nitram was in existence. One reference was found on the internet (genforum.genealogy.com) as follows:
“ADDIE LEE MATHIS..was born 25 Dec. 1896 in Nitram, by Pitkin, Louisiana….” The photo in Attachment H was taken in 1921. The owner of the mill at Pringle, Gulf Lumber Co., had “cut out” before 1921.25
Other Communities Not Explored
These communities have not been explored, but may be of interest for future research.
This was a town of 2000 or more that disappeared around 1930. It had a sawmill and a school with grades 1 thru 8.26
Mr. Hugh Sanders settled near Cooper and named his settlement Sandersville.27
Cole Central and Drakes Fork
Both of these communities were located about 5 miles east of Rosepine.28
Burton’s Station/Walnut Hill
Burton’s Tavern aka Walnut Hill is located near present day Glass Window Cemetery approximately 1 mile north of present day Walnut Hill. It was established in the early 1840s and was the most westerly voting precinct for what was then Rapides Parish.29
This community had a horseracing track as did Hineston. Local horse racing was a popular sport in the latter half of the 19th century. Legend has it that the Hineston races had an added attraction. A goose was picked, greased and hanged by its feet. The winner of the prize was the person who could race down the track and pull the head off the greased goose in the shortest time.
Hineston to Huddleston Road (aka Old Beef Trail)
Country roads of the 19th century were almost without exception plain dirt roads with no rock or other covering materials except in extremely wet places logs were sometimes laid side by side across the road. The roads were winding and crooked going around trees and other obstacles. During the heavy rainy season they were almost impassable. Tree stumps were often left too high for some wagons to cross especially if they were sinking due to the muddy conditions.
When a road was abandoned the heavy rains wound continue to deepen the ruts cut by wagons or more often fill them up with dirt, leaves and straw. Soon trees and grass were growing profusely in the old roadbeds making them unrecognizable within a generation or two. Such was the case with the Huddleston to Hineston Road.
Mr. Gil Jeane has spent many years searching the old roads of Vernon Parish, using traditional methods (old and new maps, old documents, oral history and physical on the ground tracing). He is now in communication with Ellen Ibert at Fort Polk who is using advanced geological methodology to study the location of old roads including the Hineston to Huddleston Road.
Jeane’s unpublished work portrays the Hineston to Huddleston Road roughly following current state road 121 to several miles east of present day Leesville where it veers south across the north section of the Fort Polk range and crossing Hwy 171 south of Leesville near Billy Goat Hill. From there the road proceeds west to Burr Ferry and on to near Mayflower, Texas on State Hwy 87 just south of that highway’s junction with R255 and then to points west. We eagerly await the results of the work by Ibert.
As an aside, during the American Revolutionary War cattle were driven from Nacogdoches, Texas to Opelousas, Louisiana to feed the army of Galvez who was fighting the British there.30 During the Civil War cattle were driven over the Old Beef Trail to Cotile for the Alexandria canneries.
- From data furnished by the U.S. Post Office and posted on the internet by Jane Mc Manus.
- Carolyn Dyess Bales, email to authors.
- Jane McManus, L’est We Forget, Parker Enterprises. Pineville, Louisiana. 1995., p. 137.
- Barbara H. Swire, Descendants of Sherrod Smith From Mississippi and Louisiana, Private Printing, 2000. We have relied heavily on this book in this account.
- Nimrod and Sherrod were indeed popular names going back to early settlement of the east coast. An Indian Chief was named Nimrod Smith and there have been persistent stories of the Cherokee connection of the Smiths of Smithville. According to Bertha Dyess
- Marler, a grand daughter of Jerry Smith, around 1919 the Jerry Smith family had their last chance to join the Indian roles. They refused because they would not be able to attend white schools as Indians.
- From Carolyn Dyess Bales by email to authors and Swire as in 4 above.
- Op. Cit., Swire, p. 54.
- Carolyn Dyess Bales, email to authors.
- Millard F. Martin, The Descendants of Thomas D. Dyess and Nancy Jenkins, 1817-1868, Polyanthos, New Orleans, 1975.
- Wm. E. Dyess and Charles Leavelle, The Dyess Story: The Eye Witness Account of the Geath March From Bataan and Escape From The Japanese Prison Camps, New York, G.P. Putnum’s Sons., 1944.
- From data furnished by the U.S. Post Office and posted on the internet by Jane Mc Manus.
- Erbon W. Wise, Tall Pines: The Story of Vernon Parish, Sulphur, Louisiana., 1971, p., 48.
- Steven D. Smith, A Good Home for a Poor Man: Fort Polk and Vernon Parish1800 – 1940. Funded by the Department of Defense, 1999. P., 66. Smith cites Wise, Cupit and Pritchard.
- Personal interview 10/16, 2008.
- Boyd, Gregory A., Family Maps of Vernon Parish, Louisiana,Norman, ARPHAX, 2007, pp.178 & 277.
Note: Vernon Parish was created in 1871 from parts of Sabine, Natchitoches and Rapides and much of the Rapides land records was destroyed in the Civil War burning of Alexandria.
- Op. Cit. Smith, p., 66.
- Nancy S. Bell, “John P. Eddleman (1824-1901)”. Internet article http://www.txgenweb4.org/txorange/bios/johnpetereddleman.html Used by permission of the author—see entire article with photo in Attachment E.
- Don C. Marler, Redbones of Louisiana, Hemphill: Dogwood Press, 2003, p. 148.
- Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr. ed. A Thrilling Narrative: The Memoir of a Southern Unionist, University of Arkansas Press, 2006., pp. 80 & 90.
- By email communication Ms. Windi Lynn Wilcox-Hinson confirmed that John Peter did purchase the home now known as the Wilcox
- Home. He had a dairy there that was inherited by the Burton family. Bonnie Burton married Charles Wilcox. This home still exists surviving many hurricanes.
- Telephone conservation with Mr. Edmund Hayes, Glenmora, Louisiana.
- Oral history interview with W.W.Mears by Russell Crump foundationonline at Russell Crump’s Archives. http://www.atsfry.com/OralHistory/Mears/pitkin.htm
- John T. Cupit, A Brief History of Vernon Parish, Louisiana, Typescript,1961, p.37.
- Ibid., p.38
- Ibid., p., 5
- Luther Sandel, The Free State of Sabine and Western Louisiana, Many, La., Jet Publication, 1982, p. 99.
- Robert H. Thronhoff, The Texas Connection With the American Revolution, Austin: Eakin Press, 1981, p. 46.
Note of Appreciation:
The following persons were especially helpful in assisting us in the research that forms the basis of this report.
Carolyn Dyess Bales
Barbara Smith Swire
A shadowy peek into our past….
WHITE INDIANS IN TEXAS
George Catlin’s most famous portrait
The Mandan beauty “Mint”
In the early 15th century when Cortes and his Conquistadors were in the process of conquering the Aztecs of present-day Mexico, they glimpsed, for the first time the great Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, and were awed. The best traveled soldiers among them thought Tenochtitlan’s marketplace greater and better run than those of Constantinople or Rome or any other city of the old world that they had seen. The splendor of Montezuma’s royal palace far exceeded anything in Spain. Many of these men thought the pyramids and works of art they had seen here could only be the product of a superior culture.
Now that the Europeans realized that this land was not a part of Asia but indeed – a New World, speculation ran rampant. How did these massive structures, with the touch of an apparent master architect, rise? How did the science, philosophy, religion and governments evolve?
Most historians attributed the cultural rise in the Americas to a transplanted Old World culture. Individuals have tried to prove for centuries, that visitors from Egypt, Phoenicia, China, Japan, Wales, Scandinavia or Outer Space must have sparked the development of civilization in the Americas.
Recently there seems to be a move by an opposition force, those who say that civilization rose unaided in the Americas, that where ever man lives he will inevitably develop along a fairly predictable cultural path.
It’s not for an unread bushpopper like me to enter into an argument of this magnitude. However, one thing about the debate is puzzling. On our North American continent, as the early frontiersmen fought their way, biting and scratching, to the Big River, and then beyond, rumors and stories spread like wildfire.
Tales by our ancestors, of tribes, who had unmistakably European features, are far too numerous to ignore. Even today stories of “white Indians” live on in the folklore of some regions of the United States. These stories, which have been handed down from generation to generation of our ancestors, are far too numerous and documented not to be based on truth.
Theories have circulated for centuries about western cultures who have migrated voluntarily (or were forced) to the New World. The ten lost tribes of Israel coming to the New World is one such theory. Of course, virtually all the people on earth have been identified at one time or another with the vanished descendents of the tribes that rebelled against the rule of Solomon’s son, Rehoboam.
Other theorists have found evidence in the cultures represented here that reflect the Chinese, the Japanese, Egyptian, Phoenician, Scandinavian and finally, the Welsh. Perhaps the most popular of these tales and the one I will concentrate on (only because at one time this tribe wandered into Texas) is the legend of Prince Madoc AB Owain Gwynedd of Wales.
The story, first circulated in the 1580s, relates that in the year of 1170 Madoc and 120 of his followers fled a civil war in Wales, their homeland, to make a new beginning across the sea. According to the legend, Madoc and his party landed at what is now, Mobile Bay, Alabama and were the first Europeans to settle in America.
Prince Madoc was mentioned in Dr. Powel’s “Historie of Cambria” in the 15th century and again in the 16th century by Sir Walter Raleigh’s “History of The World”. However, it’s from more recent lips and more homespun men that the story gains credence. In the 17th century, a Welsh speaking migrant to Virginia, named Morgan Jones, was captured by white Indians. The Indians were fluent in the Welsh language. The American folk hero, Daniel Boone, once spent some time with a tribe of blue-eyed Indians who spoke Welsh. These “white Indians” all referred to an ancestral homeland across the sea which was on a small island to the north. Most theorists have concluded that the small island was England and that, indeed, these people were descendants of Prince Madoc’s colony – who had “Gone Indian”.
In the mid 17th century a French explorer, Sieur De La Verendrye, reached an unusual Missouri River tribe, the Mandans. The Mandans were fair complexioned with blue eyes, red hair and they spoke Welsh. Later in the same century, Captain Isaac Stewart was exploring up the Red River and encountered the Mandans once again. At this time their village was located in the northeast corner of what is now Texas.
It seems that the tribe was continually harassed because they were different from the neighboring tribes, and through necessity had become truly a migrant people.
In the early 1800s a self-taught artist whose name was George Catlin found the illusive Mandans along the upper reaches of the Missouri River. This driven romantic found this tribe to be so different from any other native Americans, that he stayed among them for months and captured their features as no other had done before. Catlin’s portraits of these “White Indians” so captured the imagination of people on both continents, that Catlin has earned a lasting fame for the fete.
Although the Mandans had begun, by the early l800s, to intermarry with their darker neighbors, their blue eyes and reddish hair was still very evident. Catlin’s portrait of the Mandan beauty “Mint” is still one of his most famous and shows unmistaken evidence of European forebears.
This little peek into the past is almost like looking through a knothole and viewing the shadowy realm of our deceased ancestors. The knothole is very small and the view is distorted by the swirling fog of by-gone times. Occasionally the fog will lift for a second and we can see bits and pieces – but never a whole. Undoubtedly these bits and pieces has been the spark that has ignited man’s imagination down through the ages and has created within us all a desire to know more.
I know these bits and pieces about “White Indians” in Texas has fired my imagination, and if it does nothing more, perhaps it will challenge you to put your eye to the knothole.
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