Monday, January 24, 2011

Abolition sentiments

2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Several states, including Louisiana, are planning commemorative events for the sesquicentennial. Here at the History Center, we would like to demonstrate what daily life was like for Bossier Parish residents before, during, and after the Civil War. Our newspaper collection is integral to aiding our understanding of these turbulent times. We have issues of the Bossier Banner from 1859 to the middle of 1860. The Banner ceased publication during the war, as editor William Scanland departed to fight for the Confederacy. Another important source is The Southwestern, a Shreveport newspaper published by L. Dillard and Co., that printed throughout the war. News from Bossier was printed in The Southwestern, so we can get a glimpse of what was happening in the parish.

The January 30, 1861 issue of The Southwestern relates some news from Bossier:

The Bossier Banner states that on Monday, 24th instant, there was a meeting of the citizens of Bellevue and vicinity, of Bossier Parish, appointed a committee of five to wait upon Mr. Jesse McHenry; said committee being instructed by the meeting to invite the said McHenry to leave the town and parish within twenty-four hours, because of his abolition sentiments and proclivities which have been too strongly evinced by his speech and acts to be tolerated in a southern community. The committee discharged their duty, and the said McHenry complied with their request by rolling out on Wednesday's stage, eastward.

The same paper informs us that a company of light infantry was organised in Bellevue on Saturday, the 19th inst. Old and young have alike pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors, to the maintenance of the protection of their homes, their firesides, and their family altars.

I am currently searching through the 1850, 1860, and 1870 census records for the parish and will be on the lookout for Mr. McHenry. Does he return to Bossier by 1870? I don't think it's likely, given his hasty exit from the parish. Do you think he will be living in the North or the South?

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