Wednesday, June 20, 2018


The July 30, 1959 issue of the Bossier Banner-Progress told the story of historic Red Land and
its equally historic seminary/community center.

“Historic highlights of early Bossier Parish and its educational system were vividly revealed on
May 30th during formal dedication of Red Land Seminary, Inc.’s new $6,000 building for
community betterment.”

“A legal child of pioneer Red Land Seminary, a member-owned private educational institution
and first school in Bossier Parish with a history dating back to March 12, 1858, the new Red
Land Seminary, Inc. was re-chartered after much legal research on April 22, 1958, by a small
group of community-spirited men, some of whose grandparents founded the original seminary.”

“Using proceeds derived from oil wells and leases on the ancient 17-acre tract originally patented
in 1858 by Major Robert Wyche, a Civil War veteran and later sheriff of Bossier Parish, the
governing Board of Directors constructed a modern community center with auditorium and a
well-equipped kitchen under whispering pines where forefathers tread with slates and dinner

“About 80 people attended the dedication services and outdoor dinner. Vice-President W. H.
Rogers, Route 2, Plain Dealing, welcomed the group and explained the purpose of the rechartered
Seminary which stands within the shadows of Salem Baptist Church, another historic
landmark of Bossier Parish.”

“W. A. Johnson, secretary-treasurer of the project and a director of another home-owned, nonprofit
service institution, gave the history of the re-chartered organization along with some
interesting highlights of early education in the parish.”

“Guest speaker was Frank Kennedy, attorney for Fair Oil Company which under-wrote the
expenses for the complicated legal research work to re-charter the old Seminary. The Shreveport
lawyer said his searching of moldy records of the parish and state took him back to the original
state legislative act of 100 years ago which first created Red Land Seminary.”

“To understand the significance of the dedication to north Louisiana culture and to Bossier
Parish in particular, here is a gist of the history of Red Land community and the venerable
Seminary, as related by Mr. Johnson, a native of Red Land who taught in various Louisiana
schools for 38 years.”

“After General Andrew Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans and later
cleared the central South of hostile Indians, countless thousands of mostly small farmers from
the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama rolled westward in wagons in search of new land
on which to establish homes.”

“Shunning the now richer bottomlands because of mosquitoes and uncontrolled floodwaters, they
had established a recognizable community at Red Land by 1830. Long before Shreveport and
Bossier City were founded, Red Land boasted families from every state east of the Mississippi
River and south of Ohio, except Florida.”

“Prior to the founding of Red Land Seminary, it was customary for families to employ private
tutors to [teach] the traditional ‘three Rs.’ if this were impossible, education went lacking. By
1858 community leaders decide[d] that a cooperative effort would improve the educational

To find out more about the old Red Land Seminary and about Salem Baptist Church come to the
Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Thursday, June 14, 2018


Flag Day is June 14th.  In its June 17, 1920, issue the Bossier Banner carried the following article about the special day.

“Since the day when Betsy Ross, 144 years ago, sewed upon a flag symbolic of our union, the United States Navy with its ships and its men has always upheld the best traditions of our flag.  History tells us of many a fleet striking its flag under the stress of battle, but the stars and stripes have never been lowered by a United States fleet to signify surrender.”

The call of the flag all down through our history has been answered by the even tread of our manhood, coming from the work-bench, the field and desk.  Our first convoy of troop ships sailed away from America on Flag Day, June 14, 1917, under the command of Admiral Gleaves.  The ships were filled with earnest, determined men who were the first tap of the mighty hammer that was to sound the doom of the hope of Germany for world domination.”

“Colors at sea, on board warships, is an impressive ceremony.  At sunrise the flag is hoisted and at sunset it is lowered while the crews of the various ships stand at attention and salute until it is finally folded carefully and put away for the night.  Sunset to the troops and crews of the various ships, away from home for the first time in their lives answering the call of the flag, called forth hidden emotions.  The flag to these men seemed to be a symbol of might and determination.  Many months later, after our flag had been carried victoriously through the battles that tried men’s souls, these men boarded the same ships for home; in the dying sunset it seemed to be a forgiving flag as it was slowly lowered and seemed to issue a warning again that the legion of American manhood following it was ready at all times to defend its honor with their lives.”

Find out more about local Flag Day celebrations by visiting the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Friday, June 1, 2018

This Month In Bossier Parish History

June: through out the years

Census records has been conducted by the United States government since the 1790’s, they are taken every 10 years. The 1830-1880 and 1900 censuses were taken June 1; the 1890 census was as of June 2 .
1850; Bossier Parish Census record for population was 6,962, (
2017; Bossier Parish Census record for population is 127,634.  (PopulationofStatesandCountiesoftheUnitedStates1790-1990.pdf)

Hershel and Geneva Wyatt:
Cliff Cardin Collection

Jun. 16, 1955Bossier Banner pg 4a . Plain Dealing will become the “crossroads of northwest Louisiana” when miller’s Bluff bridge is formally opened June 20th, 1955. It will be the first bridge over the Red River north of Shreveport.
The Miller’s Bluff Bridge was about a mile north of HWY 2 between Plain Dealing and Hosston and bout a mile below the old Miller’s Bluff Ferry.
Miller’s Bluff Ferry: This picture was taken by John H. c. 1910.                    
Beulah Findley Collection         

Miller’s Bluff Bridge: Bossier Banner; Jun. 16, 1955

William Coody Ferry : On the Red River
Mr. and Mrs. Paul  McKim Collection

Unknown Ferry: c.1920
2003.026.066 Mary Wheeler Corley Collection

June 19, 1843: On this day, the first meeting of the Bossier Police Jury was held with William Burns presiding. Police Jury members were: William Crowley, Isaac Lay, B.J. Williams, Joseph Graham, John C. Scott. (served has clerk).  The Appointed attorney was Andrew J. Lamton and J.A.W. Lowery for constable.  In 1843 the Parish seat was established in town of Freedonia, by the in of the year the town was renamed “Bellevue”.  In the 1890's, the Parish seat was  moved to Benton.

 Bossier Parish Courthouse:  Bellevue, built in 1853
Scanland Collection

Bossier Parish Courthouse: Benton, c.1900’s
Bossier Parish Library Collection


Wednesday, May 30, 2018


Dedication of the Traffic Street Bridge 15 Jan 1915. Bossier Parish Library Collection; 0000.001.051
The January 14, 1915 issue of the Bossier Banner announced the opening of the new traffic bridge.

“Work on the new traffic bridge across Red River at Shreveport, erected by this parish and the City of Shreveport, was completed on the 8th and the bridge was opened to traffic Tuesday morning of this week.”

“Mr. Ira G. Hedrick of Kansas City, retained by the builders as consulting engineer, stated before a joint meeting of the two bodies, held in Shreveport Monday, that the bridge was one of the finest of its kind in the South, that the work had been carefully done, and that the contractors should be complemented for erecting such a substantial structure. The actual cost of the bridge, he said, was around $350,000.”

“According to contract the bridge was to have been completed by April 8th of last year. It will be seen that the contractors were 274 days late in completing the work, but because of high water, the sinking of the barge on which the pile driver had been erected and the loss during the high stage of the water of about $3000 worth of steel they were penalized for only fifty-nine days, at the rate of $50 per day. Had they finished the work by December 8th they would have received a bonus of $3000.”

“Former Mayor J. H. Eastham and former Commissioner C.G. Rives of Shreveport were named as members of the committee to act with the Police Jury of our parish and the City Council of Shreveport in conferring with that city’s Chamber of Commerce regarding a formal celebration of the opening of the bridge.”

This bridge was built specifically for vehicular traffic whereas earlier bridges had been built for railroad trains. The old traffic bridge was torn down in the 1960s to make way for I-20.

To find out more about the bridges that connect Bossier to Shreveport visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton