|New Courthouse located in Benton, built 1893. BPLHC Collection; 0000.001.011|
“We notice in the Bossier Banner of the 13th inst., that a bill will be introduced at the meeting of the next Legislature to move the Court House from Bellevue to Benton.”
“We believe that we are representing the voice of the people when we state that an action of this character, by our Representatives is decidedly premature, and is in strict violation of the wishes of the citizens. Although a large majority are for removal, yet they do not propose to be deprived of their franchise in being forced to vote for a point that they do not consider suitable for a parish site. We claim this right as citizens and tax payers, to have a voice in the location of the parish site, which we are deprived of if such a bill is introduced in the Legislature and becomes a law.”
“If it is the intention of our Representatives to act in conformity with the wishes of the people and the good of the parish generally, we suggest that they introduce a bill in the Legislature looking to the removal of our parish site, and provide for holding three separate and distinct elections, to accomplish the purpose: 1st. Election for ‘Removal.’ 2nd. Election for all points put in nomination. 3rd. Election to decide between the two points that have received the greatest number of votes.”
“This will give general satisfaction to all parties.”
“In removing the Court House, it is expected to add greatly to the convenience of the people in going to and from the place, and if a law is made giving us the right to settle our own matters, by election, everyone will be satisfied with the result. But, if we are to be taken in hand by the Legislature, and have our Court House question decided by designating the point we are to vote upon, without giving us a voice in the matter (except ‘Hobson’s choice’ [a choice of taking what is available or nothing at all]), we had better petition our law makers at Baton Rouge to select the spot for the Court House and place it there.”
“In the event the proposed bill is introduced and becomes a law, and Bellevue and Benton the only points we are allowed to vote for, in this case the cherished hopes of the father of the bill would be thwarted, and the babe would be still born.”
“Although we feel that the act of removing the Court House is assuredly necessary, for the interest and welfare of the parish, and place it at some healthy spot; but before we will be coerced into the measure of voting and locating the parish site at a place so little suited for it as Benton, we will continue to cross the bridge, and have a good time with the Bellevue people for another season. [Signed] MANY VOTERS.”
After several fraudulent elections and vote buying, the Courthouse was finally moved to Benton in 1890 under somewhat surreptitious circumstances.
To learn the rest of the story of the Bossier Parish Courthouse visit the Bossier Parish Library History Center.
By: Ann Middleton