Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Free State of Bossier

In the year 1900, Abney Downs Scanland, the son of William Henry Scanland, editor and proprietor of The Bossier Banner, set out to create a new newspaper for Bossier Parish. It was first announced in The Bossier Banner on Aug. 2, 1900, when Abney Scanland revealed his plans for the publication, and that the name he chose was The Free State of Bossier, stating, "this is the way some one, long since has nicknamed the great parish in which we live."

It appears that this nickname dates back to before the Civil War. According to Bossier Parish's official historian, Clifton D. Cardin, a group of citizens convened in Rocky Mount at the Hughes' home months before the civil war broke out, and "On November 26, 1860, Bossier voted to secede from the union and proclaimed itself the Free State of Bossier." Yes, this is the Hughes house that was relocated and restored by the Bossier Restoration Foundation and now is a part of Heritage Village in Benton.

In his announcement, Scanland asserted, "My final aim is to make of the Free State an interesting annual journal of a locally historical and advertising nature, through which the people of the parish may be brought closer in touch and have a medium that will be like unto a big scrap-book for the whole parish – in which we can publish biographies of our best citizens, write up our parish, towns, schools, churches, public and private industries and enterprises of any and all kinds whatsoever; in which we can publish minor affairs, little local anecdotes and all the 'funny stories.'"

The Free State of Bossier made its debut on Sep. 27, 1900, and it was everything Scanland intended it to be. The Shreveport Journal's editorial notice, published Oct. 3, 1900, remarked that "The annual deserves particular praise for its valuable historical, industrial and biographical features, as well as for its pictorial and typographical appearance." Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to this writer, Scanland did not continue publishing this annual newspaper, making this issue a real treasure today.

Archived newspapers are precious time capsules of history, and this first and only edition of The Free State of Bossier is a cherished relic for historians and genealogists alike. But you don't have to be a researcher to enjoy the contents of this paper, and it is available on microfilm at the Bossier Parish Library's History Center.

The History Center's curator, Randall Palmer, is excited to announce that he is working with and The Bossier Press-Tribune to digitize the newspapers on microfilm in our archives. The Free State of Bossier will be included in this digitization project, which consists of 190 rolls of microfilm. Digitized versions will be available for patron use upon completion.

While the BPL History Center is closed during the pandemic, our staff members are still available to answer any research questions you may have. What do you want to know about Bossier Parish History? Email or call us at 318-746-7717.Be sure to follow our Facebook page, @BPLHistoryCenter, for more Bossier Parish history, including lots of great pictures of its past.

By: Amy Robertson

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Plain Dealing's Volunteer EMS

This being the third week of May, is National EMS week, where we honor emergency medical service practitioners for their contributions to communities across the nation. National EMS Week began in 1974 after President Gerald Ford declared the week to acknowledge the crucial and often lifesaving work these first responders provide.

In 1979 the town of Plain Dealing started the process of securing an ambulance to serve North Bossier Parish, which had to rely on “Shreveport ambulance services – some 30 miles away – or the Springhill service – 18 miles away – when emergency medical treatment was needed. The wait for an ambulance took from one and one half to three hours,” according to Shanda Thomas, Bossier Metro writer for The Shreveport Journal. “Some of the people’s conditions worsened as they waited for medical care. Others died before an ambulance reached the small north Bossier Parish town.”

Mayor Leon Sanders, Jr. was determined to bring the much-needed emergency medical services to the community. “He contacted the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, which studied the area and found that it needed emergency services and qualified for state monies to implement the medical program.”

The ambulance cost $22,900, which was funded by a grant from the highway commission of $15,000, and the Bossier Parish Police Jury split the remaining $7,900 with the Plain Dealing town council. The EMS program cost an additional $4,600 and was funded by the Bossier Parish Police Jury as well.

What made the medical service a real success was the 21 citizens who not only volunteered their time, but they also paid for their course manuals, the certificate fee, and their uniforms. The volunteers completed 81 hours of classroom and practical training over several months to qualify state certification as emergency medical technicians.

Among these volunteers was Billy Tom Weeks, a lifelong resident of Plain Dealing and the longest-serving EMT volunteer for the service. In an article appearing in The Shreveport Times on Nov. 10, 1993, Bob Monk reported that Weeks was the town’s first EMT certified in Plain Dealing in 1979 when the service began. Not only was he the only one of the original volunteers to still reside in Plain Dealing, but 14-years later, he was still volunteering as an EMT. In the interview with Bob Monk, Weeks exclaimed, “I love this community. I’ve lived here all my life; I just want to help people and serve my community in the best way possible.”

By having a dedicated EMS in North Bossier Parish, and committed volunteer EMTs like Weeks, the mortality rate for the region improved, and many lives were saved. This week, be sure to show your appreciation to these first responders that provide lifesaving medical care. If you are posting on social media, be sure to include #NationalEMSWeek for others to see.

While the BPL History Center is closed during the pandemic, our staff members are still available to answer any research questions you may have. What do you want to know about Bossier Parish History? Email or call us at 318-746-7717.

By: Amy Robertson

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Fallen Peace Officers of Bossier Parish

On Oct. 1, 1961, Congress authorized President John F. Kennedy to designate May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the calendar week in which it falls, as National Police Week. Then, in 1962, President Kennedy made the proclamation setting this week aside to honor and remember local, state, and federal law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others.

Bossier Parish was established in 1843, and throughout its history, there have been six officers killed in the line of duty. The first recorded death of an on-duty officer was in 1905, when Constable and Deputy Sheriff Thomas William Isaac Heath drowned in Bodcau Bayou, at Calico crossing on his way to serve papers on Thur., Oct. 5, 1905. The bayou was about 12 feet deep, and it was reported that an eyewitness, who was fishing some distance from where he was crossing, stated that he saw him fall from his horse. Heath was 43 years old.

Twenty years later, Officer Neil Yarborough became the first State Highway Officer to be killed in the line of duty. He was an officer with the Louisiana Highway Commission, which emerged as the Louisiana State Police in 1936. He was stationed at what is now known as Louisiana State Police Troop G here in Bossier City.

On Jan. 25, 1925, Officer Yarborough was assisting with the arrest of a fugitive in Bossier Parish when he was shot and killed. At the time of his death, Officer Yarborough was 32 years old and had been a State Highway Officer for just three months, and was a former deputy sheriff in Bossier Parish.

Yarborough was a native of Bossier City, and his son Col. Neill A. Yarborough, who was only ten years old when he lost his father, authored the book History of Bossier City, Louisiana From the Early Years (1833-2006). His book is available for checking out at any Bossier Parish Library (once open back to the public), and copies are available for purchase at the BPL History Center.

The second Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Officer killed while on duty was Deputy Sheriff Maurice M. Miller. He was shot and killed on Sat., Feb. 27, 1954, after four years on the job, he was 45 years old. Miller’s career in law enforcement began in 1941 when he joined the Louisiana State Police. Two years later, he found himself serving in the Army as a military policeman during WWII. Jan. 9, 1946, Miller joined the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office. Miller was the last officer of the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office to be killed in the line of duty.

The Bossier City Police Department was formed in 1949 and has lost three officers while on duty. First was 23-year-old Patrol Officer Kenneth F. Roy, whose watch ended on Sun., Jul. 12, 1970, when he was killed in an auto accident while responding to a call. Officer Roy had been on the job for two and one-half years.

The second was Patrol Officer Clyde Warren “Hoppy” Pearson, who was only 22-years-old and had been on the job for fourteen months when he was shot and killed on Sun., Dec. 17, 1972. He had been a Bossier City resident for nine years.
The last officer to die in the line of duty was 27-year-old Patrol Officer Trey Michael Hutchison, who met his untimely death on Wed., Aug. 1, 2004, only 11 months after joining the department. He began his career in law enforcement with the Lufkin Texas Police Dept., and after five- and one-half years there, he returned home to work for the Bossier City Police Dept. Working in law enforcement was a lifelong dream, and there was nothing he wanted more than to come home and work as a Bossier City Police Officer.

Vivian Eney Cross, the surviving spouse of the first line of duty fatality of a U.S. Capitol
Police Officer, proclaimed that “it’s not how these officers died that made them heroes, it’s how
they lived.”

While the BPL History Center is closed during the pandemic, our staff members are still
available to answer any research questions you may have. What do you want to know about
Bossier Parish History? Email or call us at 318-746-7717.

By: Amy Robertson

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Remembering a Good Neighbor

Today is National Nurses Day and the start of National Nurses Week, where we raise awareness of the contributions and vital role that nurses play in society. And, the month of May is National Military Appreciation Month. In light of these observances, this writer would like to remember Shirley Jane Cox Delaney, a nurse, a veteran, and a good neighbor.

Delaney was born in Tremont, Illinois, in 1924, and after graduating high school, in 1941, she went to nursing school. When Delany graduated as a registered nurse in 1945, she worked in Gulfport, MS, at the VA. Then in 1954, she began her career in the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant and continued her training in nursing.

In 1956, Delaney was selected for the Air Flight Training School in Montgomery, AL, where she trained and worked as a flight nurse on aeromedical evacuation missions in the Pacific Theater. Air Force aeromedical evacuation crews contributed to the decreased death rates during wartime. Her tours of duty in the Air Force took her around the world and landed her at Barksdale Air Force Base in 1973, where she served as Chief of Nursing at the BAFB Hospital.

Delaney retired from the Air Force in 1976 as a Lieutenant Colonel and remained in Bossier City until she died in 2005. During her military service, she was decorated with the National Defense Service Medal, the Outstanding Unit Citation, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

As a Bossier City resident, she always looked for ways to serve others. She was awarded the Shreveport Journal’s “Good Neighbor of the Week” award, Oct. 16, 1979, based on the following nomination sent in by one of her neighbors.

“I would like to nominate Mrs. Delaney who is a retired Lt. Col. From Barksdale Air Force Base.

“She takes care of everyone’s pets, plants and mail while they are away on vacation. She even left food and soft drinks in my refrigerator so that we would have something to eat on our return home.

“She is always taking people places or doing something they need done. She came to my house and trimmed the grass around the house while my husband was out of town.

“She is also a registered nurse and she can be counted upon to help with all medical problems. Her concern is greatly appreciated by everyone.

“She never misses birthdays or Christmas. She always tries to make these days special for friends and neighbors alike.

“She is always sharing with her neighbors – fresh strawberries, peaches, tomatoes or a jar of homemade jelly.

“Although Mrs. Delaney is busy with her own life (which includes taking care of her elderly mother) she always has time for her neighbors.

“Her mother, Mrs. Cox, is also to be commended. Although she can’t get around very well, she is an excellent cook and all the neighbors have benefited from their combined talents.

“They are not only good neighbors, but great friends.”

Delaney also served as a community educator, assisted with community outreach, and she served on the state board of the Louisiana Division of the American Cancer Society. She was an active member of the Bossier Kiwanis Club, where she participated in the awards program and assisted in handing out more than 8,000 achievement awards each year to students in 13 elementary schools in Bossier City. And she was instrumental in the success of the annual Kiwanis golf tournaments.

With it being the centennial anniversary of women’s right to vote, it deserves mentioning that Delaney believed in a person’s right to vote, and she exercised her right to vote during every election. So, it will be no surprise to learn that she also worked at the voter polls for several years.

While the BPL History Center is closed during the pandemic, our staff members are still available to answer any research questions you may have. What do you want to know about Bossier Parish History? Email or call us at 318-746-7717.

In honor of National Nurses Day and week, a special thanks go out to all of our dedicated nurses, past and present, THANK YOU!

By: Amy Robertson

Friday, May 1, 2020

This Month In Bossier Parish History

May: Through the Years

May 1 - 31: National Pet Month
National Pet Month is a celebration of the benefits that pets bring to people's lives - and vice versa. It is observed annually in the United States in May.

*Please enjoy the photos relating to family pets from our parish. 

1940: Fabol Powell and her kitten
1999.131.013 Durham Collection

1940-1950's: Roark Bradford and his dog Nemo
2002.035.310 McKim Collection   

"Uncle Tom" and his colt. Back of photo reads: This is Miss Dixie Jackson. She is a perfect pet. Will shake hands with you and love you with her neck over yours. Come see her. 
2011.087.837 Allison Collection

May 4, 1946: May 4, 1946: 4-H Achievement Day was observed with a parade followed by contests in a verity of ; gardening, poultry, livestock, crop judging, food preparations and etc. Miss Alice Rose Cyer was crowned Queen of Achievement Day.

May 5, 1954: The Shreveport Journal

Alice Rose Cryer
1950: Haughton High Yearbook

 4-H Pledge...
I pledge my HEAD to clearer thinking
My HEART to greater loyalty
My HANDS to larger service 
My HEALTH to better living for
My Club, my community, and my country. 

May 16: National Armed Forces Day ; Armed Forces Day is a special holiday for people all over the world to come together and thank the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. First conceived by President Harry S. Truman, the holiday was established in 1949 to celebrate all five U.S. Armed Forces branches.  Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of every May.
*Please enjoy the photos of the military personals from our parish. 

William Gaston Boney (b.Aug. 29, 1898) in Naval 
uniform.C. WWI   
1997.044.006 Railey Collection

c.1930-40s :  Men in band are members of armed services, photo is believed to be have been taken at Barksdale Field, LA.
2013.036.095 Barksdale Officer’s Wives Club Collection

1943: WWII: Lester Franklin Malone of 
Plain Dealing, La. 
1999.142.015 Matlock Collection

May 23, 1953: National Bank of Bossier 
City Observes Open House.  The National Bank of Bossier was the first bank in Bossier City to offer the convenience of a Drive-In Teller’s Window. 

May 22, 1953 The Shreveport Journal 

Invitation to the National Bank of Bossier open house. Announcing - the opening of the National Bank Of Bossier City  601 Barksdale Boulevard  Bossier City, Louisiana    You are cordially invited to attend our OPEN HOUSE, Saturday, May 23, 1953.  The bank will be open for the regular transacting of business from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M., and until 7:00 P.M. for your visit.                   

1964: The National Bank of Bossier City
Citizens National Bank Collection