Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Prof. J. E. Johnston
Just a few days before school opened in Bossier Parish, The Bossier Banner recalled several
early school teachers in the parish. The September 8, 1938 issue named some of the first school

“… Jim Manry, veteran newspaper writer, who resides in Plain Dealing, writes in to suggest that
the proper authorities take steps to secure the pictures of two pioneer Bossier Parish school
teachers [and] have them framed and displayed in the proper schools so that present and future
generations of school pupils might ‘know them.’”

“As [Manry] says: Miss Birdie Scott, daughter of the late Dr. J.J. Scott, a one-time resident of
Red Land, up in North Bossier, was the first teacher in Bossier City. As some ten students was
considered the minimum number to make up a class at that time, Miss Scott had to exact tuition
from her pupils, since she began her class with but five.”

“Miss Birdie is now Mrs. Blackman, beloved wife of the late Dr. R.H. Blackman, of

“Bossier City’s second teacher was Miss Mary Gilmer, a resident of Plain Dealing. Her school
was located at the foot of the old V. S. and P. bridge, then used by the railway and for vehicular
traffic and before her death she often told many amusing stories of the children’s actions when
the late Dr. T. E. Schumpert would drive over the bridge, in full view of the school children, in
his automobile, the first one in this section and the first one to be seen by the students. ‘They’d
crowd into the door and windows to catch a glimpse of the “gasoline buggy,”’ Miss Gilmer said.
This was about 1886. Miss Mary taught in Plain Dealing for many years, before her passing.”

“Another bit of interesting history of education in Bossier Parish concerns Plain Dealing High
School, which was founded by the late S. J. Zeigler and the late Prof. J.
E. Johnston. The first day
of school there were 14 students to enroll. Now there are nearly 1000 attending this school
which is steadily growing.”

The archival collection of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center contains quite a lot of
information about the growth of schools in Bossier Parish. Pay us a visit to learn more!

By: Ann Middleton

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


The Bossier Banner-Progress proclaimed the virtues of Plain Dealing in its January 1, 1959

"Plain Dealing, the simplest name for Golden Rule, passed on from Gilmer’s plantation to the
incorporated village in 1888, has continuously been the guiding motto in the minds of her
citizenry since that day.”

“Today, January 1, 1959, we are that same municipality, a fast growing town, featuring that
principle in the greatest trade expansion in its history. There seems to be a real upsurge in the
enthusiasm of all our business firms and with a real appreciation for the growing sentiment
among our people that home trading is by far better especially when we have all commodities
easily available and at prices that are certainly not excelled for savings.”

“By way of diverging, it seems that just the wear and tear from Benton north, by far over
balances any savings that could be found on the ordinary household buyings. In this matter we
checked with the best prices offered in Shreveport metropolitan area and the balance seemed to
fall in favor of Plain Dealing.”

“It isn’t a case of people being strange. They, like all of us, like to be appreciated and that is just
what adherence to the Golden Rule ideal implies.”

“In talking to one of our hustling young businessmen recently, he said, ‘Mr. Phillips [F. G.
Phillips was the editor of The Bossier Banner-Progress in 1959] we really appreciate the new
business we are receiving and we do our best to make them know it. We just like new friends,

“We predict that this new year will be the greatest in Plain Dealing history in which event we all
should be more grateful and in humility offer our thanks to a beneficent Providence.”

To learn more about the captivating history of Plain Dealing visit the Bossier Parish Library
Historical Center.
By: Ann Middleton

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


The August 22, 1940 issue of the Bossier Banner announced the beginning of operations for train service between Kansas City and New Orleans.

“Beginning regular schedule Monday, September 2nd, the Kansas City Southern-Louisiana and Arkansas Railway will inaugurate the ‘Southern Belle,’ streamlined train service, between Kansas City and New Orleans.”

“Described as the ‘Sweetheart of American Trains,’ the three new super-streamlined aluminum trains will offer the traveling public served by these lines unexcelled service and comfort, available on few railways in this country.”

“The inaugural run of the train will be made Friday of this week, when the train will carry railway officials, newspaper men and contestants for the ‘Miss Southern Belle’ beauty contest.  This contest, sponsored by the lines, will see 13 beauties, from as many cities along the route, vie with each other for the honor of being the new streamliner’s sponsor with the title of ‘typical Southern Belle.’ “

“Since Saturday of last week the trains of the line have been using the mammouth [sic] Mississippi River Bridge at Baton Rouge, thus eliminating the ferry at Angola.  A short section of trackage of the Texas and Pacific, from Torrence to Baton Rouge, is being utilized to get from the capital city, via the new bridge, to Torrence.  It is expected that when the piece of track has been improved, and improvements are already planned, the scheduled, already shortened considerably by the use of the old L.R. and N. line, via Coushatta and Alexandria, and the use of the new bridge, will be curtailed even more.”

“A bird’s-eye view of the train on paper shows that it offers all the comforts and conveniences that modern science and engineering skill can provide.  It is powered by diesel engines, eliminating smoke and dust.  It is air conditioned throughout.  Although each of the three trains purchased for this service is an articulated unit, they are designed to use standard equipment if the need arises.”

“The trains include baggage, mail and express car: chair cars, lounge, diner and bar car and ten-section bedrooms.  There are bedrooms for day use by weary travelers.”

“The inauguration of this Kansas City to New Orleans service will provide faster, more comfortable travel for people from the Middle West to the port of New Orleans.  It is predicted by many that these trains will result in increased passenger travel through Shreveport, to New Orleans and Port Arthur, also served by the lines.”

“Officials of the lines have announced that the train will remain in New Orleans through Sunday, on display to the public.  It will then be brought back to Baton Rouge, where it will be open to the public until it comes to Shreveport, to be open to public inspection between the hours of eight a.m. and nine p.m., Thursday, August 29th.”

“While the train is in New Orleans a full program of entertainment is planned for those who make the trip.  The sponsor-beauty contest, a dance, sightseeing and other pleasures have been planned by the railway.”

“It is expected that scores of Bossier Parish people, especially those who have availed themselves of the splendid service offered by the lines on ‘The Hustler,’ The Shreveporter’ and the ‘Flying Crow’ in the past will visit and inspect the ‘Southern Belle’ while it is on display in Shreveport.”

The train whose operating speed was 40-42 mph, ended service on November 3, 1969.

Learn more about the train lines in and out of Northwest Louisiana when you visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bossier Parish to Celebrate Birthday

As the 175th birthday of Bossier Parish approaches in 2018, the Bossier Banner-Progress reported on the history of the parish and how the 110th birthday would be celebrated.

“The one hundred and tenth anniversary of the founding of Bossier Parish will be observed at Benton next Tuesday, February 24. Two ceremonies marking the event will be held. The Benton Lions Club will have a special talk on the history of the parish given by Rupert Peyton, associate editor of the Banner-Progress, at the Court House CafĂ© at noon.”

“At 2:30 p. m. a ceremony will be held at the Benton High School auditorium to which the general public, civic and patriotic groups and the North Louisiana Historical Association will be especially invited.”

“Mrs. Mamie Edwards McKnight of Benton has been named chairman of the program at the school auditorium which will also be highlighted by a review of the history of the parish by Peyton.”

“Special invitations are extended to former residents of Bossier to attend the ceremony. The use of the auditorium was extended by S. Hudson Johnston, principal of the school.”

“Bossier Parish was created by Act 33 of 1843 of the Louisiana Legislature and was named for Gen. Pierre Baptiste Bossier, then Congressman for this district. When Louisiana was admitted to statehood Bossier was a part of Natchitoches Parish. In 1828 it became part of Claiborne and in 1843 it was carved out of Claiborne and its eastern boundary extended to Dorcheat Bayou. In 1873 Webster Parish was created out of portions of Bossier, Claiborne and Bienville Parishes and its eastern boundary was moved to Bodcau.”

“The first parish seat was Bellevue and it was moved to Benton in 1888.”

You can learn a lot more about Bossier Parish history at the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. The Historical Center will also be planning and coordinating programs for the 2018 175th birthday of Bossier Parish so watch for announcements of the activities and plan to attend.

By: Ann Middleton