Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Miss Mollie on her 90th Birthday
This is the final segment of the April 11, 1947 Plain Dealing Progress article about Mollie Banks Gray by Rupert Peyton.

“Mrs. Gray was born at Mount Holly, Ark., the daughter of Rev. A.R. and Mary Fitzhugh Banks. Her father was a pioneer Presbyterian minister in the South and delivered the first Presbyterian sermon in Shreveport more than a century ago. He served for 25 years as pastor at Rocky Mount and also founded the Cottage Grove Church near Benton, which he also served. He was a noted scholar in Greek and Hebrew and although not a lawyer, assisted his friends in preparing legal documents in his time. Her mother was a member of the famous Fitzhugh family of Virginia, which was related to the Washington family.”

“Mrs. Gray was one of six children. She and a sister, Mrs. Carrie Cryder, of San Antonio, Texas, are the only survivors. She is the mother of three children, Glen E. Curry, of Texarkana, Robert H. Curry and Mrs. Annie Bell (W.B.) Boggs, of Shreveport. She has 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.”

“When a young woman, Mollie Banks married Robert H. Curry, a well-to-do farmer of Rocky Mount. Mr. Curry served with distinction in the Louisiana Legislature during the famous lottery fight. C.G. Rives, of Shreveport, several years ago wrote a story which revealed Mr. Curry[‘s] sterling character. It was during the lottery fight, Mr. Rives said, that the lottery people offered Mr. Curry one day’s receipts from the lottery for his vote. This amounted to about $75,000. He voted against the lottery and turned down a fortune. Mr. Curry died in 1892, leaving his young widow with three small children. However, Mrs. Curry faced the future with fortitude and determination and by diligent efforts kept her family together and reared and educated her children. Shortly after Mr. Curry’s death she moved to Plain Dealing where she has made her home for 50 years.”

“To earn a livelihood for herself and family, Mrs. Curry bought the lumber salvaged in the dismantling of two old churches and had a carpenter build her a modest combination home and boarding house. This little boarding house soon became famous. School teachers made it their home during terms and traveling men found it a haven of rest and good eating in their travels. Mrs. Curry’s chicken dinners became the talk of the ‘drummers’ of the day and fortunate was the salesman who could arrange his affairs so as to stop at Mrs. Curry’s hotel while calling on their trade in the nearby territory. With the income form the hotel she was able to pay off the mortgage.”

“After Mrs. Curry remained a widow for 16 years, she married J.S. Gray, a merchant of Plain Dealing, now deceased. However, she continued to operate the hotel, and its fame increased. Among the former patrons of this hotel who are living in Shreveport and who enjoyed the sumptuous repasts it afforded are George Hearne, Walter Crowder and Henry O’Neal.”

“Mrs. Gray’s interest in civic and social affairs widened with the passing years and has never subsided. She is diligent and faithful in church work and is the friend and confidant of hundreds of people, young and old. Many young people still find her home a mecca of pleasant pastime.
She is a member of Pelican Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.”

“Mrs. Gray takes great interest in current events and newspapers. Nothing occurs in her
community that she misses. It was this interest that resulted in her becoming a newspaper
correspondent, serving many years for the Journal as the Plain Dealing representative. It is
proverbial among the members of the press that ‘if a chicken crosses the road in Plain Dealing,
Miss Mollie will know about it.’”

“If you do not know Miss Mollie you may to the Curry home this Sunday afternoon. The woman
with the broadest smile, happiest look and cheeriest conversation will be Miss Mollie.”

“Belated, I want to thank this grand old lady for retrieving my cap long, long ago.”

To learn about other Bossier personalities, visit the Bossier Parish Library History Center.

By: Ann Middleton

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