S Richard Yancey
Used with permission of Dennis Yancey
S. Richard Yancey. Among the citizens of Catahoula Parish who are contributing to the welfare of their various communities, one who has made himself well known by reason of his long and honorable connection with mercantile affairs is S. Richard Yancey, the proprietor of a prosper-ous mercantile enterprise at Sicily Island. Dur-ing the greater part of his career, ever since the completion of his education, he has been identified with matters pertaining to the handling of merchandise, although he also had an experience as a stockman, and his progress has been consistent and attended by success.
Mr. Yancey was born at Jonesville, Louisiana, and is a son of Richard Edwin (Captain Dick) and Josephine (Swayze) Yancey. His grandfather was Rev. E. W. Yancey, who came from Ten-nessee, and who was an itinerant minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but would never accept emoluments for his ministerial work. He was twice married and the father of a large number of children. Richard Edwin Yancey was born at Summerville, Louisiana, in 1843, and had few advantages in his youth, as he was one of a large family in modest circumstances. However, he managed to pick up an education, and for a short time taught at Aimwell, Catahoula Parish. Previously he secured employment at the Meyers store at Harrisonbnrg, where his duties included sweeping out the store, waiting on customers and keeping the books. He was a man of small stature, weighing but 125 pounds and standing five feet, seven inches, but was possessed of remarkable courage, and when the war between the states came on enlisted in the Confederate army and served six months. When his military services were over he became a merchant on the Black River, fifteen miles below Jonesville, and also operated small boats on the Tensas and Lit-tle rivers, making connections with the larger boats in the New Orleans trade. In 1872 he moved to what was then Troy's Point, where he built the first store at the place, the name of which was subsequently charged to Troyville, and finally to Jonesville, where he remained in business until his death, February 7, 1907. Captain Dick, as he was affectionately known by a host of friends, was a Mason Jonesville. He was chairman of the Democratic: Executive Committee of the parish for many years, but the only public office which he would accept was that of member of the levee board. He was possessed of some planting interests. His wife, Josephine, who was a daughter of Benjamin Swayze, died in 1910, when sixty-one years of age. The Swayze family was an old and prominent Southern family, having early settled at Woodville, Mississippi. Benjamin Swayze became a prosperous farmer near Manifest, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, and in the Civil war he served in the Confederacy as a soldier in Logan's Battalion, upon his re-tirement from which one of his sons took his place therein. His son William sacrificed his life in the cause of the Confederacy, as he was killed in battle. The son Benjamin, who took his father's place in Logan's Battalion, attained to the venerable age of seventy-five years, and was a resident of Catahoula Parish at the time of his death. Joseph Swayze, a younger son of the family, died in 1910, at the age of sixty years. James, a planter and stockman, died at the age of forty years. Jedediah, resides in Baton Rouge and is a steamboat man on tributaries of the Mississippi River. Alice is the wife of Bruce Hodges, of Jonesville, Louisiana. Mr. and Mrs. Yancey were the parents of ten children, of whom four survive: S. Richard; Levia, the wife of Dr. E. R. Yancey, of Monroe, Louisiana; C. W. and F. S. Eloise, who was the wife of J. H. Morri-son, district attorney at New Roads, Louisiana, left two children: Virginia, the wife of William Seibert, of New Roads; and J. H., Jr., a student at the Louisiana State University. The other children of Captain Dick and Josephine Yancey died young.
S. Richard Yancey went to the public schools at Jena and Harrisonburg and the Boys' High School at New Orleans, where his teacher in history was H. E. Chambers, the well-known author. He practically grew up in his father's store, where he was, associated with the elder man and his brothers until the time of their father's death, in 1907, when he became a stockman at Highland, on the Tensas River. During the following five years he bought, sold and shipped stock, with some measure of success, but eventually answered the call of the business in which he had been reared, and in 1912, in association with his brother, F. S. Yancey, opened a store at Sicily Island. In 1924 he became sole owner of this establishment, which,, conducted along modern lines, is proving a profitable enterprise with a large patronage. Mr. Yancey is a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Sicily Island, and is accounted one of the substantial men of his community. From 1905 until 1908 he was a member of the police jury. In politics he maintains a nonpartisan stand.
On February 6, 1907, Mr. Yancey was united in marriage with Miss Laura Wood, daughter of Gillam Wood, of Tensas Parish, and they have four children: Richard, Clarence, Fred and Eloise. Mrs. Yancey and the children belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church.