Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Captain Johnny Almer Jones, Sr. 1953
Anonymous Donor, 2002.031.001
The Plain Dealing Progress announced in its October 25, 1934 issue a “mammoth rodeo and Armistice Day celebration.”

“With a large number of printed advertising circulars, Roach-Strayhan Post No. 20 of the American Legion at Plain Dealing announces a great Armistice Day Celebration and Wild West Rodeo to be held at Lions Park in Plain Dealing on Saturday and Sunday, November 10th and 11th.”

“Those in charge of the arrangements for the forthcoming rodeo and celebration here state that although definite plans have not yet been worked out, the rodeo will include bronco busting, steer bull-dogging, calf roping, wild cow milking, goat roping, trick and fancy riding and roping, along with a number of other contests, with liberal cash prizes being awarded in all events.”

“Wild stock for the rodeo here will be secured locally and from all over the Southwest. Professional rodeo performers will be here for the occasion from over the Southwest also. A number of local riders and cowmen have already registered intention of competing for prizes also.”

“The rodeo will begin at noon next Saturday week with a big parade down Plain Dealing’s main thoroughfare. The actual contests will begin in the Park at 2:00 p.m. Saturday and another performance will be held at the same hours the following Sunday afternoon. Fees of 35 and 50 cents will be charged at the gate at each performance, the proceeds to benefit the welfare fund of the local unit and post of the American Legion Auxiliary.”

“Those in charge of the arrangements for the rodeo state that the usual rules and regulations governing rodeos throughout the Southwest will be observed in the contests here, and the Legion and Auxiliary will not be responsible for accidents.”

“The rodeo and Armistice Day Celebrations and activities will be culminated on Saturday evening, Nov. 10th, with a public dance and cowboy and cowgirl costume and liberal cash prizes will be awarded those / attired in the most unique costume. Admission to the dance will be $1.00 for gents, and ladies free, it is announced.”

Armistice Day, November 11, is now celebrated as Veteran’s Day. To discover how other holidays were celebrated in Bossier Parish, visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


The July 4, 1889 issue of the Bossier Banner announced the success of the Vanceville Tournament held a few days earlier.

“According to published announcement, the tournament, barbecue and basket dinner and ball took place at Vanceville, this parish, on last Thursday and Thursday night, 27th ultimo, and was a big success it was in every sense of the word.”

“The fifteen knights were: SILVER STARS—S.N. Arnold, AMERICA—J.M. Belcher, CRESCENT CITY—E.A. Carmouche, UNKNOWN—J.F. Etheridge, LANCE—G.E.Gilmer, NO PRETENSIONS—T.Y. Graham, SOUTHERN CROSS—W.T.Gracey, HOPE—R.B. Hill, OLD DOMINION—R.R.T. Herron, HONEY GROVE—Leon Haas, STAR AND CRESCENT—T.J. Oglesby, GOLD POINT—W.W. Rushing, ANCHORAGE—J.H. Stinson, IN BLUE—W.A. Wyche, LOST CAUSE—F.M. VICKERS.”

“Mr. J.F. Etheridge, the successful knight, crowned Miss Mary Gilmer Queen of Love and Beauty.”

“Mr. W.A. Wyche crowned Miss Lucy Stinson first Maid of Honor.”

“Mr. R.J. Herron crowned Miss Birdie Meares second Maid of Honor.”

“Mr. J.H. Stinson crowned Miss Bessie Carmouche third Maid of Honor.”

Mr. D.F. Stephenson, Knight of ‘The Sunflower,’ crowned Miss Mollie Vance ‘Queen of the Sunflower.’”

A.J. Murff, Esq., of this place, was present and addressed the people by invitation, and his speech was listened to with marked attention by the large crowd.”

“After the speaking came dinner. The good wives and daughters of Bossier can always be counted on or assistance on such occasions in providing good things to eat, and this occasion was no exception to the rule. We have long since exhausted our vocabulary of words in describing the excellent dinners always served on these occasions.—Suffice it for us to say that the spread was simply grand and a true reflex of the efforts in the culinary department of the good ladies in the Vanceville neighborhood.”

Yes, there actually were tournaments in Bossier Parish in the 1880’s. Learn more about them by visiting the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

 This Month In Bossier Parish History

August: Though out the years

August 2, 1883: Telephone lines crossed the river from Bellevue to Shreveport.                                                  

C.1900's  Telephone operator for the Plain Dealing Telephone Company, Ms. Annie Bell. 
1997.062.165    Bryce Turnley Collection

Aug 3, 1922: The first automobile showroom in Bossier City was opened by 
                           Dr. A.M. Eichelberger

 Jun. 17, 1914: Wedding of Tom Adger and Clyde Herndon at the Plain Dealing Bapist Church
1997.062.111   Bryce Turnley Collection

1920's Photo of J.P. Keeth Store, gentlemen from left to right; Ben Keeth. Johnnie Nuckols, T. Benton Bixler
1997.062.102   Bryce Turnley Collection

Photograph of Johnny Allen Stroud driving on his front lawn.
1997.062.158    Bryce Turnley Collection

Aug. 11: Marks the end of "Dog Days of Summer".  But where did the term come from? And what does it have to do with dogs? 
               The name references to when the Sun is in the same region of the sky as Sirius (Dog Star), Jul 3 through Aug 11. During time that Sirius rises with the Sun and the scorching heat, the phrase was attributed by some, to bring forth fever in men and madness in dogs. Thus the term "Dog Says of Summer".

 Photograph of the Gardner children and family dog. 
1998.079.005    Barney Gardner Collection

c.1910's Hollis and Trava Bradford with their dog. 
2002.035.208C     Mr. & Mrs. Paul McKim Collection

1940-1950 Photograph of Roark Bradford, author, and his dog. 
2002.035.310    Mr. and Mrs. Paul McKim Collection 


Gravestone of  Benjamin F. Ratcliff 1862-1868 and Frances E. Ratcliff 1855-1862.
Bossier Parish Library History Center Collection 1998.027.004

The following article appeared in the May 3, 1951 issue of The Plain Dealing Progress.

“Since 1862, white iris reverently raised their heads over the long forgotten graves of Frances E. Ratcliff, born 1855, died 1862, and Benjamin F. Ratcliff, born 1862 and died 1868. But on this happy May Day, 1951, the secluded spot just three miles west of Plain Dealing and only a few paces off the now celebrated Plain Dealing Dogwood Drive, has assumed new significance. No longer will the broken marble slab placed there by loving parents, whose names we know not, desertedly lean against the towering oak that in years past burgeoned forth from the center of those forgotten graves. On this day, May 1, 1951, through the thoughtfulness of the Plain Dealing Home Demonstration Club, this spot is to be a shrine, sacred to the memory of Bossier’s early youth.”

“These two children, unknown to each other, doubtless in some way the tragic victims of those terrible Civil War and Reconstruction days, unquestionably were scions of one of Bossier’s early sturdy families. Meager reports have it that the Ratcliff, who lived somewhere near the present Gilmer Park overlooking the formerly famous Phelps Lake, migrated to Texas.”

“Digressing, Phelps Lake, shorn of its former glorious splendor, is now only the locale of a few hundred pasture acres, small cotton acreage, and mainly a vast expanse of willow brakes. With a possible half million tourists yearly driving along the bordering heights at the tip of the Ozark Spur, overlooking the former sportsman’s paradise, the thought of restoration [of Phelps Lake] inadvertently grips our attention. But back to our subject. The Ratcliffs definitely lived near Phelps Lake and enjoyed its wonderful beauty.”

“It is a most worthy project that this constructive organization has championed and already a real transformation in taking place. Additional and remarkably beautiful genii of iris were planted along the bordering road today, and the shrine is hereafter to be known as the Ratcliff Iris Garden, according to Miss Van Landingham, parish demonstration agent and prime motivator of the appealing project. The local club will see that the iris still grow about the graves of Benjamin and Frances, six and seven-year-old brother and sister of pioneer Bossier days.”

To see the headstone associated with these graves visit the Bossier Parish Libraries History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

Sunday, July 29, 2018

R & R with History: "The Great Influenza"

A discussion series on the book, "The Great Influenza" by John M. Barry that connects public health, disease, politics and history during the 1918-19 influenza pandemic. This unprecedented crisis, a.k.a. “the Spanish Flu,” infected an estimated one-third of the world’s population and caused 50 million deaths, about 675,000 in the U.S.

Tuesday evenings
September 4, 11, 18, 25, 2018
6:00-7:30 pm

Limited books and space, to register call
(318) 746-7717

The discussions will be led by historian and Benton (La.) High School history teacher, Rusty Beckham. Mr. Beckham has an M.A. in History from Villanova University in Pennsylvania.