Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bossier Parish in the 1850s

Newspapers are an excellent source for local, national, and global news. Even as early as 1894, The Bossier Banner was printing articles that provided a glimpse into the past here in Bossier Parish. The following excerpts are from an article, “Bossier in the Fifties,” that appeared in The Bossier Banner on Dec. 13, 1894.

“The Bossier Times was the first newspaper published in this parish. It was printed in the Court House at Bellevue for several months; removed to an office south of Mrs. Lowry's residence, and finally to a building erected for the Times a few months before its suspension, and since 1859 known as the Banner office. W.C. Mitchell and Edward A. Lowry were the editors and proprietors of the Times, and the first issue appeared on Saturday, September 17, 1857. — On April 24, 1858, Mitchell sold his interest to Mr. Robert J. Looney, and the paper was issued by Looney & Lowry, until Aug. 6, 1858, when Mr. Looney disposed of his interest to Mr. Lowry. In the next month, Sept. 3, 1858,

Lowry sold the Times to his original partner, Mitchell, who continued the Times until June 17, 1859, when it was suspended. In a transfer sale, Messrs. A.A. Abney, T.M. & B.F. Fort became owners of the Times material.

“From the files of the Times of 1857-8 the following early history of the parish is gleaned:

“The first quarterly meeting for 1858 was held by Rev. S.S. Scott at Walker’s chapel in January.

“Jan. 4, 1858, the Police Jury met, the following members being present: C.C. Bates, ward 1; Wm. Arick, ward 2; A.M. Rogers, ward 3; W.A. Kelly, ward 4; James Ford, ward 5; E.L. Strange, ward 6. James Ford was President, Wm. H. Hill clerk and stray master, B.F. Fort Parish Treasurer, and R.J. Looney counsellor.

“Cyrus W. Field sailed from New York for England on January 4, 1858, for the purpose of making arrangements for ‘laying the Atlantic telegraph in the spring.’

“Losses by fire in the United States during the year 1857, $16,000,000.

“February 1, 1858, ‘Cottage Grove Seminary, six miles south of Collinsburg,’ commenced its second session. Mrs. Louisa M. Ricks was Principal, Mrs. Louisa M. Doles Matron, Zach. Doles agent, and Joshua J. Lewis, D.A. Childers and D.E. Dickson, trustees.

“Lewis F. Steele, Sheriff and Tax Collector, advertised that he would visit officially the following places during March, 1858: Pemberton’s store, Collinsburg, Rocky Mount, Gamble’s store, Sligh’s Mill, Mrs. Deck’s, Bellevue, Fillmore, Doyle’s precinct and Philip Mays.

“May 28, 1858, Dr. Levi H. Fisher advertised that he had permanently located in Bellevue.

“On June 28, 1858, section 16, township 20, range 11, was sold at public auction for benefit of school fund.

“Rev. Moses S. McDonald died June 5, 1858. He was an ordained Baptist minister, and moved from Mississippi to Louisiana in 1841. He was a member of Cypress Lodge, then located at Collinsburg, and the resolutions of respect published are signed by G.W. Sentell, Jas. T. Turnley and N.A. Cooper.

“At a Democratic convention held at Natchitoches on Sept. 13, 1858, T.T. Land was nominated for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. The election was held October 4, and out of a voting population of 909 in Bossier, only 247 votes were polled. Land received 161 and John Ray, Know Nothing candidate, 86. Land received a majority in the District of 470.

“In December a market house was built in Bellevue.

To access the past through old newspapers, whether your researching local, national, or global history or family history, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center at 2206 Beckett St., Bossier City.

By: Amy Robertson

Sunday, December 1, 2019

This Month In Bossier Parish History

December: Through the years

Dec. 4, 1965: The Bossier Parish Restoration Foundation was organized. 
Dec. 9, 1965: The Bossier Banner
Hughes house before and after restoration. 
Price Collection
 Bossier Parish Restoration 
Foundation Collection 

Dec. 22, 1972: Oysters for breakfast: It' s a family tradition.  
The Purcell  family tradition is gathering at the Purcell family home for a 9:00 a.m. breakfast consisting of frird oysters, crackers, coffee or milk. 
What is your family tradition? Comment and let us know . 
*please enjoy photos of the Purcell family.
Dec. 22, 1972: The  Shreveport Times 
C. 1900’s: Purcell family home
 Bryce Turnley Collcetion.

Dec. 24 - 25, 2019: Happy Holidays! From the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center
*Please enjoy the holiday greeting advertisements, photos, and cards from around our parish.

Dec. 23, 1937: Bossier Banner 
Jan. 1940:  "Benton Esso Service, Scarboro's, 
Cypress Lodge Hall #89

C. 1940’s: Tom A. Tidwell, 
Clara Britain Tidwell, Daisy "Doodle"
 (holding a cat) andMarie Brown, 
and Mrs. B.F. Britain
2002.035.167  McKim Collection
C. 1940’s: Christmas Cards to the 
Thomas A. Tidwell family 
from Dr. JB Hall.
McKim Collection

Dec. 31, 1936: Advertisement for the newly opened “Bossier Horse and Mule Co.”
 Dec. 31, 1936: Bossier Banner
*Please enjoy the photos of mules through the years in Bossier Parish.

 Dec. 31, 1936: Bossier Banner 
1997.070.001     Buford Collection

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Morgan S. Freeman: A Man of Courage and Honor - Part 2

Very interesting closeup view of Martin B-26C Marauder.

Staff Sgt. Morgan S. Freeman in his WWII uniform c. 1943
Morgan Earl Freeman Collection: 2019.061.001
Ten days after the mission, The Shreveport Times printed the news that Freeman was missing in action. Then, on June 4, 1943, The Shreveport Times announced that two Bossier City soldiers were officially listed as prisoners of war by the War Department. The report listed Staff Sgt. Freeman as a POW of the German government and that he was “slightly wounded.”

By mid-July Freeman's, “parents received 18 cards and three letters from shortwave radio listeners in 8 states. These messages have all told of SERGEANT FREEMAN speaking from Europe and telling that he was safe, well and receiving good treatment. He told that he would soon be assigned to a German prison camp and would be allowed to correspond with his relatives,” according to The Shreveport Times, July 16, 1943.

That same month, Freeman sent a card to his parents, which did not make it to them until December. According to the Dec. 19, 1943 issue of The Shreveport Times, Freemans card stated, “that he had been out of bed a week at that date and asked that his family keep in touch with the Red Cross. He said that he was getting along well and was taking exercises. It is presumed that he meant he was taking exercise after being a hospital patient from May to July.”

Five months went by without any word on Freeman’s condition. Was he still in the POW camp, and how was he doing? Finally, his parents received a telegram from Staff Sgt. Frank Batterson stating, “Just arrived back in this country from prisoner of war camp where your son is held by Germans. His health is good and he sends his love to all.” Right after the telegram came, the Freeman’s received a letter from their son reassuring them “he was fine and had received their letters, packages and pictures.”

The Shreveport Times later revealed that in Freeman’s letter to his parents, dated May 24, 1944, he told them that Staff Sgt. Frank Scorsune of Bossier City had just arrived at the camp a few days earlier and caught Freeman up on the latest news of friends and family back home in Bossier City.

On April 26, 1945, The Shreveport Times announced, “Three Bossier City boys, MILTON J. DEVILLE, MORGAN FREEMAN AND FRANK SCORSUNE, were held prisoner in a German camp, Stalag 17B, which was among those listed yesterday by the war department as liberated by Allied armies.” This news was confirmed a month later when Freeman’s parents were informed directly by Freeman in a letter that “he had been freed from Stalag 17-B, German prison camp, and that he would be home ‘just as soon as I can make it.’ He wrote that he was in good health.”

Although the letters and the reports to the newspapers painted a nice picture of POW camp, the reality is that prisoners often did not receive the best treatment, and food was scarce. When Freeman enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps, he weighed 148 lbs., but after two years in the German POW camp, Stalag Luft 17B, he weighed only 80 lbs.

Freeman received an honorable discharge from his military service on Oct. 18, 1945, and returned home to Bossier City. George Dement introduced Freeman to Georgia McMillan, who he married in 1947. In 1948 their first and only child, Morgan Earl Freeman, was born.

Thanks to Freeman’s son, Morgan, we know that Freeman did not remember the crash,
and as a result of it, he suffered a leg injury losing some of his hamstring on one leg, and he
sustained burns. We also learned that he did not talk about his time overseas with just anyone;
most of what Morgan learned about his father’s time in the war was told to him by his mother.
Despite his injuries, Freeman never walked with a limp, and he worked as a self-employed
contractor installing flooring and countertops, a trade he learned from his father-in-law.

To learn more about Bossier Parish during wartime or to research Bossier Parish veterans
in your family, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center at 2206 Beckett St., Bossier

By: Amy Robertson

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Morgan S. Freeman: A Man of Courage and Honor - Part 1

Morgan Samuel Freeman was born on Jun. 11, 1915, in Ruston, La. to James and Elizabeth Freeman. He had two brothers and four sisters. In the early 1920s, the Freeman’s moved to Bossier City, where Freeman lived the rest of his life, which ended suddenly on “a beautiful, sunny January day,” according to Freeman’s son Morgan Earl Freeman. He died on Jan. 6, 1972, of a brain aneurysm while at the VA medical center when he was picking up a prescription.

Bossier High School 1932 graduating class.
Morgan S. Freeman is on the second row on the right.
Gaye Englad Colelction: 2018.034.005
Freeman graduated from Bossier High School in 1932, where fellow students voted him as the "wittiest boy" of his senior class. He was a member of the Bossier City Athletic Club, where he learned to box, training under Babe Kennedy. By the time he started college at LSU in Baton Rouge, his boxing skills were already well known in north Louisiana.

As a freshman at LSU, he earned the title as the champion of the featherweight fighters of the LSU freshman team and was declared “the best prospect” that Captain Brink, coach of the team, had ever had to that point. He completed three years at LSU, where he continued his boxing career and for at least the next few years afterward. After college, he worked in the oilfield in Rodessa, LA.

Staff Sgt. Morgan S. Freeman in his WWII uniform c. 1943
Morgan Earl Freeman Collection: 2019.061.001
On Jan. 22, 1942, Freeman enlisted in the U.S. Air Corps. After gunnery school, Freeman was offered a position as an instructor, but he declined this opportunity. Instead, he served on the 452nd Bomb Squadron, and in March of 1943, he was sent overseas to Rougham, Bury St. Edmunds, England, where he was an engineer/gunner for the 322nd Bomb Group commanded by Lt. Col. Robert M. Stillman.

Freeman was on the B-26 Marauder 41-17982 that was shot down on a low-level mission on May 17, 1943. The goal of the mission was to raid a Velsen power station in IJmuiden, Holland. The Marauder plane was hit by German flak and crashed into dunes west of Rozenburg, Holland killing three of the six crewmembers. The surviving crew members were Lt. Col. Robert Stillman, pilot; Sgt. Clyde D. Willis, radio operator/gunner tech.; and Staff Sgt. Morgan S. Freeman, engineer/gunner were pulled from the wreckage by Germans and placed in a prisoner of war camp.

In light of it being aviation history month, I feel it necessary to explain in greater detail what happened on May 17, 1943, as it served as a pivotal point in the history of the B-26 Marauder.
The B-26 Marauder that Freeman was on that day was only one of the 11 Marauders that went on this mission. All but one of these 11 Marauders were shot down by flak on that mission. The only plane not shot down that day experienced mechanical problems and turned back to base. There was a total of sixty airmen shot down in enemy territory, 22 survived as prisoners of war.

As a result of this ill-fated mission, tactics of how the military implemented the B-26 changed. The 322nd Bomb Group was stood down, and the B-26 Marauder program was put on
hold temporarily. Flying the B-26 at low-level was deemed suicidal and was only used at
medium levels from then on.

Be sure to pick up the Bossier Press-Tribune next week to read the second part of
Freeman’s ordeal. Remember, if you are researching veterans in your family tree that are from
Bossier Parish, be sure to visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center at 2206 Becket St.,
Bossier City.

By: Amy Robertson

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

America's Heroes

America, the great nation where within our borders live many different ethnic groups. Our nation permits individuals of all ethnicities the right to pursue the American dream: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights are often taken for granted, but if not for price that was paid by many men and women who fought to protect or inalienable rights we as a nation would not be a strong as we are today. Standing united our nation gives thanks for those men and women who fought so selfishly to ensure our citizens free rights. Today we stand together to give Thanks to our Veterans for their unwavering courage and honor for our great nation.

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. Speaking the following words he honored the men and women who fight and fought for our freedoms: To us in America the refection’s of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the Victory, both because of the thing which it had freed us and because of the opportunity it had given American to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially changed the name Armistice Day to Veterans Day. The Uniform Holiday Bill of 1971 passed by Congress moved the celebration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October, but do to the historical significance of Veterans Day President Gerald Ford returned Veterans Day to November 11, in 1975. It is on this date every year that America offers it Respect and Gratitude to those how have served our country,both past and present.

With World War II in full force it was essential that men and women of the United States take a stand to protect our great nation. One individual answering the call was Charlie W. Dieball. Volunteering for service Charlie Dieball enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on January 5, 1940. After completing basic training Pvt. Dieball was issued orders to participate in action against the enemy within the Asian-Pacific Theater. In July 1940, Pvt. Dieball began engaging the enemy in action. For over the coming year Pvt. Dieball continued in battle showing great courage, honor and faithfulness to the United States. In December of 1941 Pvt. Dieball participated in the Bataan, P.I., a battle that led to great loss for all who participated. May 6, 1942, Pvt. Dieball became a Prisoner of War. Arriving at the Hoten/Mukden Prisoner Of War Camp November 11, 1942, Pvt. Dieball remained imprisoned until August 20, 1945.

On August 16th, 1945 the Hoten/Mukden POW Camp was liberated by an American six-man American OSS (Office of Strategic Services) team that parachuted into Mukden to liberate the camp. Soviet troops entered Mukden a few days later and helped the evacuation of POW's.

At the time of his release Pvt. Dieball had in his possession two small note pads, and a pencil worn to the numb, one he had used to log the daily life in camp. His entries depict life inside the camp and the atrocities the men were forced to endure. With the second notepad Pvt. Dieball recorded the names and addresses of the men he came into contact with. On some occasions there are recorded entries of death dates of fellow prisoners. These entries bring to life the conditions of which these brave men endured and their will to live. Pvt. Dieball’s detailed history of the work, clothing, and lack of food provided are a vivid reminder of the price men payed for freedom.

Prior to his discharge Pvt. Dieball was promoted to the rank of Corporal and honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps on the 15th January, 1946. The atrocities that Cpl. Dieball and thousand’s other endured in our fight for freedom bare reason that our great nation proudly celebrate Veterans Day.

The United States has stood proudly against its’ enemies with each passing century. New battles have risen but our nation’s brave military men and women continue to answer the call. The unwavering love of country, honor, selfishness, and commitment these individuals demonstrate stands tall in our nation today. America is secure in knowing that “we are secure” for our men and women in the military continue to stand for our freedoms. It is for these reasons that honoring our Veterans past and present is an honor and a privilege. Please join the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center in saying THANK YOU to our military personnel for continuing to stand between the United States and those who oppose us.

By: Ann Toellner