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Grant Parish
History: A Grant Parish History by Louis R. Nardini, Sr., Grant Parish La
Source: The Colfax Chronicle August 24. 1962
Submitted by
Gaytha Thompson
540 May Drive
Madison Tn 37115

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by Louis R. Nardini, Sr.

Grant Parish was one of the "Reconstruction" parishes of Northwest Louisiana. It was created out of the Southern part of Winn Parish and the northern part of Rapides Parish. The name "Grant" applies in honor of U. S. Grant, by Act 82 of March 4, 1869, page 79. (The Democrats of the local area did not like the idea of their parish being named after a northern General and declared that the Parish of Grant was named after R. H. Grant who was a cabin boy on one of the steam boats which ran the Red River. This boy later worked himself into the position of Captain of the Packet U and I which ran the Red River from Alexandria to Jefferson, Texas, (only the most skilled captains were qualified to operate in the upper Red River waters).

The area of Grant parish consists of 642 square miles and the boundaries are: commencing at the confluence of Bayou Darro with the Red River, eastward to a point of confluence of Little River and Catahoula Lake; thence up Little River to the junction of Castor Bayou and Dugdemonia; West on the south boundary of Winn Parish to the Range line to the Township lines 8 and 9, and west to where this line crosses the Red River, the Red River being the western boundary of Grant Parish. Thus, Grant Parish of Louisiana was formed in the year 1869.

The formation of Grant Parish was born in the minds of some of the best and most loyal citizens Louisiana ever had. In the year 1869, C. C. Dunn, H. V. McCain, Phillip Bernstein, M. Gans, David Hardy and J. M. McCain of Montgomery, then in Winn Parish, and James Hadnot, L. Yarborough, T. K. Smith and others of prominence of the Rapides Parish area, conceived the idea of forming a new parish out of the north portion of Rapides Parish, the south Portion of Winn Parish and the west portion of Catahoula Parish. To this end a petition was drawn up giving specific boundaries of territories to be ceded from the above mentioned parishes. A larger petition was signed by the citizens of these territories and was sent to the legislature, then in session, to pass an act forming the new parish to be known and designated as Red River Parish, with Courthouse at Montgomery, Louisiana, which was the River Center of the new parish to be formed.

The petition fell into the hands of William Calhoune, a Republican and then an heir to his father's estate consisting of 1,000 slaves and land with a river frontage of seven miles on Red River, interstate. Calhoune changed the petition, leaving off some of Winn Parish to the north, thus making the estate of his father the Red River center of the new parish. And in this new forged petition it was asked that the new parish be called Grant and that the new parish site center by located on the Red River and on the Calhoune plantation and that the new parish seat be called Colfax, after one Schuylar Colfax who was the vice president of the United States at that time. One can well understand the travesty of this act and it will be better understood when we recall that this was done in reconstruction days when Louisiana was under martial-law, and in the hands of provost-martials, all of whom were under the protection of the Federal government. Such men as these provost-martials were to eventually be reasonable for the many small groups of Southern organized resistance, which were at this moment reaching a fever-pitch throughout the southern states.


Perhaps the best way to execute the writing of the history of an area, is to drop back into the history of the area, and to describe the flags which have flown over that area, for out of this comes the stories of the adventures, the warriors and the settlers.

1. The RedHawk pennant of the Caddo Nations of Indians, when this nation became a federation, when it split into separate tribes and each group following a leader to settle elsewhere. Thus the Yatacees settled on Nantachie Lake near present day Verda, Louisiana.

2. The Spanish flag of the explorer, the Leon and Castile which were carried by Columbus and Hernando DeSoto, in 1541.

3. The French Fleur-De-Lys, carried by LaSalle, Iberville, Beinville and St. Denis, 1700

4. The Spanish Bourbon flag of 1762.

5. The French Tri-color of 1802.

6. The United States Flag of 15 stars and 13 strips in 1808 after the Louisiana Purchase.

7. The Independent flag of Louisiana when Louisiana succeeded form the Union.

8. The Stars and Bars of the Confederacy when Louisiana entered the Civil War.

9. And then again Old Glory.


Each fall of the year came the Buffalo in their annual fall-migration, out of the Great Plains area of the present United States, through Oklahoma they passed, and in Texas at the Trinity River they turned eastward and the Buffalo being a large and heavy beast left a well-marked trail, past the present day areas of Nacogdoches, San Augustine and Milam in Texas. They crossed the Sabine River into Louisiana and then past the areas of Many, Natchitoches fording the Red River there, then near Montgomery. They crossed the stream of water, later to be called the Rigolet de Bon Dieu past Verda, Dry Prong, Bentley and Pollock in Grant Parish. Then they went past Jena, Jonesville, to the Ferriday-Vidalia area near the Mississippi River. Many parts of the different herds of Buffalo spread out to graze on the lush grasses of Texas and Louisiana.

That part of this old Buffalo trail from the Trinity River in Texas to Natchitoches, La., became knows as "El Camino Real" and from Natchitoches, La., to Vidalia, La., that portion of the Buffalo trail became known at the Natchitoches to Natchez Trace.


The passing of the Buffalo each fall of the year attracted Indians of many different tribes and federations for here along this trail was their winters supply of meant to be taken whit little effort. Many Indians tribes came to settle permanently along this trail. There are many relics of these past tribes which have been found and many are being found today. The locations of the discovery of these Indian relics bring out the true locations of the Natchez Trace which followed the Buffalo Trail.


In the year 1000 AD came the Mound Indians to settle along the Buffalo Trail and mounds have been found in many locations along the Buffalo Trail as far west at Nacogdoches, Texas some of the mounds were Burial-Mounds and others were prayer mounds. Only the burial mounds contained artifacts which gave us information as to the abilities of the Indians of that early period. The Millage Indians were somewhat earlier than the Mound Indians and artifacts found of these Indians do not show the intelligence of the Mound Indians.


I will list here the Indians who used the Grant Parish area to settle on or those which used it for a hunting ground and as this history each tribe be brought in as the History programs.

1. The Caddos. The tribes were, the Natchitoches, the Yatssee, the Doustonies, the Nakassa (a small branch of the Natchitoches Indians), the Wauhsti and the Kossatti (Coushatta branch of the Wauhatti.

2. The Natchez

3. The Tensas

4. The Choctaw, The Kora tribe of this Nation and The Iatts.

5. The Attapass These tribes, the Calcusi, the Oupalusi.

6. The Yazoo

7. The Appalachi Ibitoupa combined some of the Mouscohigan.

8. The Tunica.

9. The Biloxi and the Mobile.

One wonders what was in the Grant parish area apart from the Buffalo Trail and the beasts which used it, to attract so many tribes of different Indians to the area. There were these things, Nuts: Chinquapin, Hickory, Pecan, Acorn and Black Walnuts, all of which are available today. Fruits: Persimmon, of which the Indians made a dried bread called Sanqumin, Peaches, Musquadines, Wild grapes, Wild Plums, Mayhaws, Berries: Huckleberries, Dewberries, Blackberries, Mulberries, Elderberries (which when the wood was cut and dried, was used as arrow shafts). Wild Strawberries were found in cool marshy places, wild Game included bears, deer, buffalo, squirrel, opossum, rabbit and raccoon. Wildfowl found the area included wild ducks and geese of many species, wild turkey, grouse, such as quail and sage hen, carrier pigeon, morning dove, robin and blackbird.

There was an abundance of fish for the taking in the rivers, streams, lakes and bayous.

Many of the mentioned tribes grew such vegetables as melon, squash, pumpkins, corn, a species of potato, beans and peas. Gourds were grown as food containers, when dried and processed.

There was the Sassafras tree, the dried leaves of which were beaten into a powder and used as a seasoning. (We know this product today as file, a seasoning for gumbo.) The roots of this tree was dried and then boiled to make a delicious tea, which was sweetened with wild honey. The small chips of a fallen tree were used to be burned in ceremonial and courtship fires, which when burned in small pieces produced a pretty blue flame and the smoke had a pleasant odor.

The inner bark of the black locust tree was used as a toothache medicine. Dried and ground coontail moss of the lakes was used as a pacifier for teething babies. Powdered buffalo horn, burned in rich lighted pine, was an easement, when the smoke was inhaled, for the sufferers of asthma or hayfever. The Indians even had their intoxicating beverages that were made from the fermenting roots of the waterlily or nenocks.

Wild rice and onions were used by the Indians to make their Kombo-lichi (gumbo).


Hernando DeSoto, born in Badajos, Estramandura in Spain in 1501 died and was buried in the Mississippi River May 21, 1542 and according to others June 5 or June 30, 1542.

DeSoto was in Spain fresh from the conquest of Peru with Pizerro, when he was appointed governor of Florida and Cuba with orders from Spain to explore and settle the land of Florida. On May 12, 1539 with nine ships loaded with 570 men, 950 horses, 350 swine and all other necessary equipment, landed at Tampa Bay, Florida and began an exploration of the interior of the present United States.

The following clues from the Chronicles of the DeSoto expedition shows that DeSoto traveled the Natchitoches to Natchez trace:

From the Chronicles of Goarsdo Quadrado Charmillo de Zafra and Garcilamo de LaVega, both of which were on the DeSoto expedition and who were hardy enough to stand the vigors of travel and both lived to reach Panuco on the Coast of Mexico. These two give the most vivid accounts of the expedition. Both later in Spain became priests to repent for their part in the cruelties inflicted on the Indians during this expedition.

The Chronicles shows that La Vega had this to say: We wintered in the year of 1540 among the Haysoozs (Yazoos) who lived in the mid-Mississippi state area. We took all of their food and sent them into the wilderness thus depriving them of their homes. In January of 1540, we crossed the Mississippi River. On the east side of this large river were high bluffs. When one looks westward he could see for a great distance the low flat land area. The Indians of this area deserted their villages long before we arrived taking with them all of their food and burning their homes so that we had to live off the swine which had been brought along for just such a purpose. We followed an animal trail westward and on occasions we killed many of the beasts. They were not unlike cows of Spain except that they have a large hump above their shoulders or forelegs. We came out of this valley into hill land and fresh water was in abundance as it gushed out of the earth in many places. Notes One such place could have been Choctaw Springs. (A campground east of the present-day Montgomery and at the site of Fraziers old saw mill.) Thus LaVega's description of the area which began at Natchez Bluff, the animal trail, the buffalo trail and the buffalo were according to that just completing their winter migration to the Mississippi River.

Charmillo de Zafrea:
"We marched one day west from he Rio de Cannis in all this cold country this Wednesday, March 21, 1541, at the end of the day we came to a place called 'Toalli.' All of the Indians have houses built so, the houses are built of reeds in a manner of tulles and daubed with mud which show as a mud wall. They are very clean and have a small door; when you shut it up and build a fire within it is as warm as in a stove.' All of the Indians have houses built so. Note: The Red River near Natchitoches at this time had an unusual heavy cane growth; Thus the Spanish description Rio de Cannis, Cane River. Later Spaniards also referred to the Red River of this area as Rio de Cannis. The Adais Indians lived on Spanish Lake as it was later called. This lake had an abundantly heavy growth of cattails which resembled the Tules of Spain. "Toalli" a slang, Spanish expression referring to houses built of tules. The Mud and Reed houses so described were typical of the Caddo Federation of Indians of which the Adais near present-day Robeline, Louisiana was a tribe, as was the Yatasee, which was settled on Nanachie Lake near present Verda, Louisiana. The Adais or "Toalli" were about fifteen miles from the Rio de Cannis or Red River at Natchitoches. Fifteen miles was the usual distance of soldiers, foot and horseback, traveled in one day. To further substantiate the Buffalo trail; DeSoto encamped at Toalli and his Lieutenant, Louis De Muscoso, followed the Buffalo Trail westward as far as the Trinity River in Texas where the animal trail turned northward. Charmillo was also with Muscoso.


Le Vega wrote "In much of this area traveled, I noticed cut into trees, three notches, as if they were marking a trail though the wilderness. We followed these marking of 'Natchez Trace' trail of notches, northward from Toalli." Thus it was after DeSoto had traveled the Natchez Trace and El Camion Real as far as the Trinity River, that he traveled northward into the Arkansas and Missouri area, then returning along the Mississippi River to the Confluence of the Red River where he died. The Spanish then built boats and descended the Mississippi River and followed the Gulf Coast line to reach safety at Pannco on the Mexican gulf coast.

La Vega gives us our first clue of the Caddo Indian Trail System of which El Camino Real and the Natchez Trace was a part. This three notches trail system extended as far north as the Illinois and Ouisconsin; as far west as the Coahile below the Rio Grande River; south to the gulf coast and east to the Natchez Indians. Because of the similarity of the spelling of the Spanish word for notches and Natchez the Three Notches is often wrongly credited to the Natchez Indians. The Three Notches are the mark of the Caddo Federation of Indian Trail System. The Natchez Indians were no the long distance traders, as were the Caddos. The Caddo trader or Jumas, as he was called, was a specialist in his job. He was the eye, the spy, the goodwill ambassador, or, to put it to modern day vernacular, the Public Relations Executive of his people. This explains why the Caddos were not in wars with their neighboring tribes as were many of the other tribes and nations of Indians. Thus in less than fifty years after Christopher Columbus discovered America, the white man trod the soil of Grant Parish. And no one knows how long before this time the Red Hawk Pennant flag of the Caddos waved over this area.


April 9, 1682 Cavalier Roberto de La Salle, having descended the Mississippi River to its mouth and planted a plaque there, claimed all land drained by this river for France. He named it Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIII and Queen Anne.

Returning up the Mississippi River he established Fort St. Louis near Starving Rock among the Illinois Indians and left Captain Henri De Tonty, the Iron Hand, as Commandant.

La Salle departed for France via the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. He had given De Tony orders to remain there and that he would return by sea and sail up the mouth of the Mississippi River and establish a settlement.

La Salle on his return trip missed the mouth of the Mississippi River and mistakenly landed in Matagardo Bay on the Texas Coast where he established another For St. Louis in 1685. In attempting to reach Canada, La Salle was assassinated by some of his fellow men. At this time, Father Joutil took command of the remnants of the ill-fated Fort St. Louis on the Texas Coast.


Fearing something was amiss in the plans of Sieur de La Salle, I departed from Fort St. Louis among the Illinois, taking with me eleven others, and in November of 1689 we left in search of La Salle, for it was four years since he departed from this place and we have had no word from him. From talking with the visiting Indians, I learned to follow the southern Indian trails by following the Encoches de Trace chemin du arbresbois, (Notches marking a road or trail thorough a forest). After having traveled as far south as I had previously with Sieur de La Salle in 1682 we returned up stream to the Village of the Natchez ad traveled La Trace du Encoches (Trail of the Notches) westward. In May 1690 I was among the Natchitoches Indians. These Indians spoke the same tongue as those visiting the Illinois. I followed the Encoches westward tot he Hassinnals (the Hassania - a Caddo tribe which was located on the Trinity River in Texas near present day Salcado. Here the Frenchmen I had with me refused to go further, so I gave up the search for La Salle. Note: De Tonty listed the Caddo Indian Tribes in this order; The Yatasi (Yatasee), The Natchitoches, The Haydays (Adais), The Hayish (Ais or Ayish near San Augustine, The Nabodkas (Nacogdoches near Nacogdoches), the latter two tribes being in Texas and Hassinnais or Hasinai near Salcado in Texas. Thus Henry De Tonty, the Iron Hand, before or in the early days of May 1690 followed the Natchez Trace through Grant Parish.

Father Joutil later found the trail of the Notches and had this to write in his memoirs "Among the Hasinnas (Hasinai) at this place we found a trail eastward which was as well marked as the trail Paris in France to Florence in Italy" (he was referring to the trail through the Alps Mountains between France and Italy). Joutil caught up with Henry De Tonty among the Arkansas Indians near present day Pine Bluff, Arkansas.


The Journal of Father Paul DuRu, February 1 to May 8, 1700

Iberville having established Fort Biloxi in 1699 to Mississippi and taking sick at the Village of the Tensas, we returned down the Mississippi tot he Natchez. At this village was a Wichita Indian who stated that he had visited a Spanish Mission in the Tejas (Texas) Country. Here among the Natchez on March 29, 1700 Iberville decided to return to Fort Biloxi, but he sent an expedition westward with the Wichita Indian acting as guide to scout for the Spanish, Father Paul Du Ru writes: "The Party consisted of 22 Frenchmen. I included in that number with Sieur de Bienville, Sieur de St. Denis, the Two Tulon brothers, Roberto and Pierre, Sieur Le Vasseur, a maker of maps, and 16 others. We followed as easy trail westward and April 20 we reached the Yatasee Village situated on Nantachie Lake. Here we rested for two weeks but in the meantime, Sieur Bienville and Sieur St. Denis and four others left to visit another tribe of Indians of the same family as the Yatasee where they obtained several gourds of salt. Note: This tribe of Indians would have been the Dustonis (Salt Indians on Saline Bayou near Goldonna, Louisiana). Bienville Diary mentions his visitation there in April 1700. We departed this area on May 5 and while I was crossing a small river near Petie Ecore, my canoe capsized and I lost the Images with which I perform the services of the Mass. Thus, this stream of water was named 'Rigolet De Bon Dieu', Small River of God. Notes: This location was called Ecore Rouge or Petite Ecore or Petite Ecore Rouge, Red Bluff, or Little Red Bluff, respectfully. At low water stage the French later called this location 'Roche Passerelle', Rocky Ford or Rocky footbridge. Later this site became known as Creola Bluff and the beginning of Montgomery, Louisiana, which is the oldest town in Grant Parish. On May 8, 1700 we were among the Natchitoches Indians of the same family as the Yatasee. They lived on an island formed by the Riverie Rouge (Red River). At this place Sieur de Bienville purchased boast (Caddo Pirogues), when he was made to understand that the Riverie Rouge emptied into the Mississippi River. St. Denis and nine others were left to further scout the Caddo family of Indians. I departed with Sieur Bienville and the others. In 1702 and again in 1710 St. Denis and Jules Lambert had come over the Trail of the Notches to trade with the Natchitoches Indians.


Penicaut had come to Louisiana with Iberville in 1799 as a Ships Carpenter and he had had a formal education superior to many who held higher portions than he on this continent. He kept a diary of his travels in Louisiana from 1699 to 1720. Thus this eye witness account concerning the area of, or bordering on Grant Parish.

Thus, I use Andre Penicaut's narrative at source material for the following. "All together we entered the Riverie Rouge which flows east into the Mississippi, coming from the northwest. After we had traveled upstream for eight leagues we came upon a stream flowing from the north call Des Quachitas (this stream getting its name from the Quachita Tribe of Indians which resided on its west bank - however, the stream flowing into the Red River at this location is the Black River and the Quachita River empties into the Black River). Eight leagues upstream is another stream flowing from the north (Saline Bayou which separates La Salle and Rapides Parishes). Fifteen leagues upstream we came to a waterfall which extended the full width of the Red River and we had to portage our boats around these falls. (This was the Rapides near present day Alexandria.) Four leagues upstream is a small Rigolet, Bayou Darro. Six leagues upstream from this place the Red River forks of which one on the right M. de St. Denis said was the Rigolet de Bon Dieu. (This was at the site of present day Colfax, Louisiana. St. Denis must have explored this area in 1710 when he and Jules Lambert were in the area.) From this point we took the left stream. Seven leagues up this stream (now Cane River) we came to Ecore de la Croix or Cross Bluff (Moinet Bluff near Chopin, Louisiana). One league upstream from this place we took the left branch of the Red River (Old River which is a short distance upstream from present day Cloutierville, Louisiana). Nine leagues upstream from this point we found the Natchitoches Indians on an island in the Red River, on which they lived. We arrived November 25, 1713."

Thus in the spring of 1714 when St. Denis had erected the two block houses among the Natchitoches Indians and manned the location Fort St. Jean Baptiste Des Natchitoches which destined to become the oldest permanent settlement in the area of the Louisiana Purchase and so, too, one must realize that the Natchitoches to Natchez Trace was to become the first of Louisiana's busiest trails for trading with Fort Rosalie among the Natchez and with the Natchitoches post. Here also is the beginning of Louisiana History which the former historians have so carelessly neglected.

When St. Denis departed on his expedition from Mexico, he left ten men to maintain trade relations with the Caddos and other neighboring tribes. Indian campgrounds were established near Montgomery, Louisiana and at the old Eboneezer Spring area. These were locations where the Courrier Du Bois, as the French traders were called met to trade with the Indians.


During this period the area of Grant Parish and the Natchitoches to Natchez trace was intermittently inhabited by French trappers, hunters and traders. And along the Red River Post Du Rapides was established in 1723 to protect the portage at the Rapides (near Alexandria, Louisiana) with Captain Etienne Layssard as Commandant. This French post was to have considerable bearing concerning the future of the area of Grant Parish. Layssard at Post Du Rapides had a company of fifteen men. Of the very early families to develop from the personnel at the Natchitoches Post and Post Du Rapides and whose descendants are living in Grant Parish are: Derbonne, Lemoine, Dupuy, Layssar, Prudhomme, Poissot, Le Caze, Vallerie, Lavespere, Vercher, Levasseur, Barberousse, Rachal and Lacour. These family names are listed today in Grant, Natchitoches, Winn, Rapides, Vernon, Red River and DeSoto Parishes. Trading posts and overnight resting-places were established for the flatboat men who began navigating the Mississippi and Red Rivers from New Orleans to Natchitoches. One such place was established by the Layssard brothers, Nicholas and Jean at the present day site of Colfax, Louisiana in 172. In this same year tow ex French soldiers, Lavespere and Brosselier began maintaining 'Travaner' (a kind of flatboat) service from New Orleans to Natchitoches. These two men had rigged their boats with pulleys that enabled them to pull their boat through the shallow places in the river at low water stage. Thus, these two men became the talk of the year as they maintained year round water service in the Louisiana frontier.

Throughout the Grant Parish area during this period were trappers and Indian traders named Pierre Largen, Jena Lagross, De Lery, Beaulieux, Allarge Bejoeux, who incidentally had traded in the Grant Parish area and along the Trail of the Notches as early as 1708-1709-1711-1713 with St. Denis. Bejoeux blazed a trail from the old Opalousas Trail near Sieper and Simpson, Louisiana to the Point of the confluence of the Red River and the Rigolet de Bou Dieu across from Colfax, Louisiana. Actually this man was being considered to lead the trading expedition into Texas at the time St. Denis was selected to head the excursion. There are also letters and data stating that Bojoeux was the Frenchman who had received Father Hidalgo's letter of 1711 inviting the French to come ad trade with the Spanish Mission in the Coahile Region south of the Rio Grande. Other traders were la Frenires, Lobotinerre, the two Barberousse brothers and Jean Baptiste Derbonne.


In 1762 Louis XV of France gave Louisiana to his cousin, Charles III of Spain. It was not, however, until 1767 when Commandante Louis George de la Perrier, on September 7th, met Don Antonio Ullos and had the sad responsibility of turning over the Natchitoches District 7 of the Province of Louisiana to the Spaniard.

The district 7 of the Province of Louisiana encompassed all land on the west bak of the Quachita River to its confluence with the Red River and all land drained by the Red River upstrteam from that point. So actually all early history pertaining to this area is also part of the early history of Grant Parish.

In 1776, Athanase De Mezieres was appointed Commandant at Post St. Jean Baptiste des Natchitoches and Etienne Layssard was appointed Commandant at Post Du Rapides. Under the Spanish domination the French and the future settlers were to fare better than under the French rule. The Spanish were more lenient with their land grants and such business at this time was left entirely in the hands of the commandants of the various Army Posts.

In the 1780's, Louis Charles De Banc became Commandant at the Natchitoches Post and in the name of Spain he granted land to Hosea Sos and Hosea Marie Ortiz. This land grant was in the immediate vicinity of present day Montgomery, Louisiana. Four miles north of Montgomery a section of land was granted to Victor Rachal, called 'Guatto', and Rachal established a store there which soon became a redevous for settlers and Indians. Soon afterwards, the Priest of the Jesuit Order established Bon Dieu Mission there. (This Mission was later moved to Creola Bluff after the Red River had taken the Rigolet De Bon Dieu as its main channel which occurred over a period of years from 1832 to 1836).

During this period, the Appalachie Indians took the site which is now Colfax as their village site.

Michel Gaspardo Fiol, a friend of De Blanc, was given trade and freight right privileges to aitain a route from Natchitoches to Natchez. He had also obtained a floating grant of land from De Blanc. It called for six square leagues of land according to the Spanish measurement which extended from and included Coochie Break in Winn Parish and astraddle the Natchitoches to Natchez Trace.

By 1886, Fiol was leading immigrants from the United States from Natchez overland to Natchitoches. There was during this period many Anglo Saxons who had sided with Great Britain in the American Revolution and these people were now unpopular in the Thirteen States.

Fiol had taken this grant of land with the intention of selling homesties and farms to the Americans, but at this, he was not successful. The Anglo Saxons arguments being: "Just a little farther to the west I can acquire land by homesteading right." Fiol had to also have the misfortune, he stated at Natchitoches, to have the land pirates which infested the Natchez Trace to rob him of the payroll which was to be brought to Natchitoches for the soldiers stationed there. However, he was never caught spending such monies of the Spanish Realm. Fiol eventually established himself a residence near Coochie Break, which was nothing short of being a fort. This residence was said to have been a hangout for the lawless of the Natchez Trace area.

By the end of the eighteenth century, Louisiana had become a useless and most costly barrier in the possession of Spain. The treasure report of 1779 showed that the total amount of revenue from the Province of Louisiana amounted to $537,869. $453,046 of this came from the Mexican subsidy. The expenditures for maintaining the Militia and Government Officials and operating expenses amounted to $769,602, thus leaving a deficit of $257,993 in order to protect this insolvent province. Thus, Spain realized that the gift of the Province of Louisiana from France in 1762 was not as valuable as it was first thought to be.

Spain in a secret treaty of San Ildefonso, October 1, 1800 returned Louisiana to France. The treaty was ratified at Aranjues March 21, 1801, thus Spain relieved herself of her most useless provincial burden.

The United States was not notified of the transfer until 1802 and by the time an equally serious cause for alarm had occurred: Juan Ventura Moralas, the Spanish Governor of Louisiana, had on October 18, 1801 closed the port of New Orleans to American Shipping.

Congress authorized by President Jefferson sent James Monroe to France to seek for this country only the purchase of New Orleans.

Napoleon, fearing that England would take Louisiana as she had Canada, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland state: "They shall not have the Mississippi River which they covet. The United States asks for only one town but I already consider Louisiana lost. "So when Monroe arrived in France Napoleon was in a selling mood and quickly resulted the Louisiana Purchase Treaty on April 30, 1803 for $15,000,000.

William Charles Cole Claiborne was appointed territorial Governor of Louisiana in 1804. However, he had been in New Orleans acting in that capacity since December 20, 1803 when he had met with General Wilkinson there and taken over the Province of Louisiana in the name of the United States from Don Juan Manuel de Salcedo, then Governor of the territory for Spain.

Almost immediately after 1804 settlers began to move into the Grant Parish area. Thomas Hubbs, John Herbert, Jr., Gillard Layssard already in the area acquired more land.

Alex Fulton and William Miller had induced the Appalachie Indians, whose village was at the site of present day Colfax, Louisiana to sell their land to them for $3000. Dr. John Sibley, the Indian Agent for the area, reported that this debt had not been paid as late as 1813 and that Miller and Fuller tried to claim the land under the pretext that the land had been given to them by the Coushatta Indians who were living with the Appalachies in 1804.

Dr. John Sibley wrote: "There is a lake eight miles east of the village of the Appalachie, where late in the evening one can stand on its bank and the ducks and geese come to roost there; two men can stand and as quickly as they can load their guns, the wildfowl come over in such droves until it is not unusual for them to kill as many as 250 ducks and geese in one hour's stand. The fish in this lake are plentiful and rise readily to the fly." (Iatt Lake-1811)

The settlers soon learned that the United States quickly recognized land claims of land purchased from e Indians when definite proof was given ad Louis DeBlanc was the man to see. DeBlanc and the Pascogula Indians seemed to have a deal between them. The Indians would settle a piece of land and DeBlanc would intercede for them to the prospective buyer. Pacide Bossier tells how Colin LaCour picked himself a piece of land three and one half miles south of the mouth of the Rigolet De Bon Dieu on the Red River. The Pascogulas settled the land and then Louis DeBlanc would buy the land from the Indians for LaCour. On this occasion, he purchased the property for two horses and three cows and paid a notary fee of $40 to LaBlanc. DeBlanc was alter recognized as chief of the Indians.


Prior to the beginning of the flatboat men on the Red River and the Rigolet De Bon Died used the Indian dugout or pirogue as their method of transportation. The Caddos, such as the Dustonies on Saline Bayou, the Nantachie Lake Indians, the Natchitoches Indians and the Yatasee Indians were the first commercial water travelers on Red River. The Indian dugout was made by burning down a large cypress or cottonwood tree and burning it in two at desired lengths. From there they proceeded to burn out a hollow in the tree by guiding the flames with mud and scraping off the charred part with mussel or tougher sea shells. These boats, which were expertly made, were about 20 feet long and could accommodate four paddlers and 1200 pounds of merchandise.

The Dustonies Indians traded gourds of salt while the Yatasees, who were experts at tanning deer hides, used those a s a trade product. Deer hides were very popular among the Indians and the early French settlers for making clothes. The chief by product of the Natchitoches Indians was powdered leaves of the sassafras tree. The Adais Indians sold fish traps and were recognized by the Caddos as the best fishermen. All of these tribes had gourds of bear oil, hides of the buffalo, mink, beaver, raccoon ad otter as trade items. In return they received such articles as small bells (about the size of a thimble), mirrors, beads of assorted colors, loin cloths (called bragetts), brass buttons and buckles, guns, powder and shot. Incidentally the Caddo Indians had developed a spoon made from the buffalo horn long before the white men arrived in America. The first white men who settled this country were still eating with their hands long after the Caddo Indians had and used the horn spoon. (This article was taken from the recollection of excursions of Cabeza DeVaca in 1530.)

A few years after the development of water travel the Indians of this area were known to have gone as far as New Orleans with their wares where they met the French traders.

The first of the Mississippi flatboats was developed by men named Lavespere and Broisellier. This flatboat was very advantageous to the trading French and Indians as it was not as deep as the flatboat and could be moved down the streams faster. It was also much easier to control by paddle or pole, especially upstream. The flatboats of the travasseur design became more numerous by the turn of the century and many of the planters of 1795 were building their own and hiring Indians or using slaves for locomotive purposes.

In 1792 Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and in the same decade Etienne DeBore granulated sugar n his South Louisiana plantation. The land of Grant Parish was adaptable to either the growing of sugar cane or cotton and the demand for slaves became greater as they were needed to clear the land.

By the year 1806 the neutral strip was established, boundaries being the Sabine River on the west, the Calcasieu River north to the Kitaschie Bayou on the north and to the Arroyo Hondo, seven miles west of Natchitoches. The neutral strip became known as the backdoor to the United States as the area was unpoliced and such persons as Gulineau and Tully, who had connections with Jean Lafitte, the pirate, were importing slaves to the area. Lafitte was transporting slaves to the United States through he Gulf of Mexico even though the law of the U.S. forbade such importations.


The people of Grant Parish soon understood what it meant when Gunlibeau contacted them and stated that Lafitte would trade slaves for wagonloads of food which was to be delivered on the Sabine River at the Texas Crossing. Through such trading the Sabina trace came into being. The Sabina trace was described as being the land from Petite Ecore across the Rigolet De Bon Dieu to Bermuda, past the Prudhomme plantation and Cypress to Red Dirt and Vowells Mills. From there it extended westward to intersect with the El Camino Real near the present day Fort Jesup. Lafitte was getting the slaves by capturing ships belonging to England and Britton and using the ships' hands as slaves.

Bills of sale for slaves were signed in advance by several persons known in those days as Savoldo (a merchant from New Orleans, Gambi (one of Lafitte's Lieutenants), Tully, of the neutral strip and Gunidreau of Natchitoches. Residents of the area soon learned that signs appearing on trees and crossroads and other prominent places, reading Sabina 28, meant that on the 28th day of that month slaves would be for sale on the Sabine River.

On April 30, 1812 Louisiana was admitted to the Union and became the 16th star in the American flag. Alexandria, at that time, had grown into an important shipping center and Natchitoches was considered to be the head point of navigation on the Red since transportation north to Shreveport was hampered due to the log jams in the shallow places. This was also about the time that McGee and Guietrez were planning an expedition into Texas and travelers throughout the area were answering to his call for companions.

The Natchez Trace had broadened into a road and was traveled heavily by persons in covered wagons. The thieves and land pirates of the trace were so bad that the people traveling gathered into groups thus cutting down the danger involved. One of the easiest ways of getting killed was to travel alone, on a fine horse, wear fine clothing or possess a gold watch or diamond stickpin. Any person displaying an excellent knife or brace of fine pistols was in just as much danger.

People leaving the states of Virginia and Pennsylvania and traveling south to settle in Louisiana and Texas ran a gamblet of rigors while traveling. They had to be able to fight the diseases incurred from insect bites, land pirates, outlaws and be able to tell at the wink of an eye whether the approaching stranger was honest or an outlaw.


There has never been an instrument yet invented which changed so quickly the economy of a nation or an area as that of the steamboat. Captain Henry M. Shreve, master of the Enterprise, was the trailblazer of all steamboats. The steamboat Enterprise entered the Red River on May 6, 1815 and reached Alexandria on May 9th. This boat was at the confluence of the Rigolet De Bon Dieu on May 11. This site is located just opposite Colfax. The boat arrived at 10 a.m. on May 16, 1815 at Natchitoches and Captain Shreve at that time considered Natchitoches to be the head of Navigation on the Red River.

The people of the Red River valley north of Alexandria realized that because of the rapids and waterfall north of that riverport, that steamboat traffic would only be possible during the winter and spring or wet season or high water months, since the rapids and waterfall became emerged under the flow of a high water stage. Thusly, they set themselves for an approximate six month service out of each year.

This steamboat service on the Red River caused large plantations to come into being along the rivers's edge in Grant Parish. Plantations named for their owner of that period included: Layssard, Gillard, Boyce, Calhoun, Smith, Mulhollond, Ritchie and Lacour. They were followed by such named plantations as Randolph, LeSage, Teal, Hunter, Hickman, McNeely, Miller, Fuller, Dean and many others. Plantation home sites came into being along the river and boat landings were established on the right and left banks.

By 1818 the steamer, Perseverance, had established a regular trade schedule between Alexandria and New Orleans. In 1820 Captain John Black, with the steamboat, Beaver, successfully navigated through the falls and rapids just north of Alexandria. The Beaver was built on the design of the Travesseur, the flatboats of the Red River of an earlier period. Dimensions of the boat were 60 feet long and 21 and one-half feet wide. It could maneuver when fully loaded in 38 inches of water. With the Beaver leading the way the smaller packets began an almost year around service up and down the stream from Alexandria. This new boat had two side wheels of paddles and was invented by Captain Shreve, who saw the necessity of this type of steamboat to negotiate the sometimes shallow and narrow inland waters.

With the steamboats came the development of landings, steamboat agents, cotton buyers and woodyards to feed the hungry boilers on the steamboats. Towns and cities were developed from some of these landings such as Marksville, Alexandria, Boyce, Colfax, Montgomery, Marco, Cloutierville, Bermuda, St. Maurice, Grand Ecore, Campti, Coushatta, East Point, Lake End, Caspiana, Rambin and Shreveport.

Lumber mills and sawmills were also developed for now their by products processed from trees could be gotten to market. Farmers also sold hogs, cattle, cotton, molasses, chickens, corn meal, potatoes, turkeys, ducks and geese.

The commercial hunters of the different areas sold deer meat, wild ducks and geese for the Bill of Fare of the pleasure steamboats. Everyone in all areas on the Red River Valley derived some benefit from the steamboat lines.

Louisiana, because of the steamboat, was to rise to the position of being the second in wealth of then existent states of the union and the people of Grant Parish were receiving their share just prior to the Civil War.

I will not attempt to list the more than 250 steamboats which used the waters of the Red River for such a list can be found in the Colfax Chronicle of the date Friday, August 19, 1960.

The first steamboat to travel the Red River was the Enterprise in the year 1815. The Beaver was the first steamboat to navigate the rapids at Alexandria in 1820. First to travel the Rigolet De Bon Dieu was the Charleston in the year 1830 and on this trip Captain Ruth Edwards continued on to Shreveport and on this same steamship was the first two white women to embark from a steamer in Shreveport.

The Archimededs was a steamboat used by Captain Shreve in clearing the log jams from Natchitoches to Shreveport in 1833. The Jessie K. Bell steamer also called "loud mouth Jessie" because of its loud whistle was another that frequented the waters of the Red.

The Valley Queen was called the statesman, because the Captain was George Washington Rea and the clerk was Henry Clay Bozeman. LaBelle Mary was known as 'dirty Mary' because the boilers consumed so much fuel and the smokestacks belched an unusual amount of soot and ashes. The Edward J. Gay was known as 'mocking bird' due to the melodious whistle; the Parish C. Brown was called 'wildcat' for her siren like whistle.

The Caddo set a record run from Shreveport to New Orleans making the trip in three days during the year 1851. Other steamboats commonly known by residents of the parish included the Capital, Charleston, Cherokee, Charles Morgan, Decotaha, Daniel O. Conner, Delaware, Eleanor, Levant, Banjo, Arkansas and Anna Emerson, which each set records of some kind in their day.

After the steamboats were organized and traveled the Red River frequently they brought practically every item needed in this area from the needles and threads to houses.


Montgomery was first on the Buffalo Trail which forded the then stream which was later called the Rigolet De Bon Dieu and the crossing was later designated by the French as Petite Ecore Rouge. The Trail of Notches, the mark of the Trade trails of the Caddo Nation of Indians who adopted this buffalo trail as part of their trail system and later, during the French period, as the Natchitoches to Natchez Trace.

Cabeza De Vaca was among the Natchitoches and Adais Indians in the year 1530 and could have very well wondered also into this area of the very town site of Montgomery.

Hernando De Soto in following the buffalo Trail westward in 1542 passed through the townsite.

St. Denis and Bienville in 1700 passed through the area and Father Paul Du Ru Dairy gives a written account of their visitation.

Long before the coming of the White man the Buffalo Crossing was a site for the slaughter of buffalo by the different tribes of Indians who knew of it's existence. There were tribal wars between them to determine who would control and inhabit the area.

In the early 1880's Hosea Sos and Marie Hosea Ortiz had obtained a Spanish land Grant which encompasses the site of the present town of Montgomery. Later this land was sold to Vallery Lemoine, who in 1840 sold the land to General Thomas Woodward. In 1840 the Bon Dieu Mission had been reestablished in the near Montgomery area.

Montgomery in tracing back its location of continuous occupancy by the white man, this writer believes it to be the third oldest town in the State of Louisiana from the date of 1719 when Jean Baptiste Deprez Dion Derbonne, who was at that time the guardian of the storehouse of the Company of the West and stationed at the Natchitoches Post, had established a trading post at Petit Ecore (Creola Bluff). This was approved by Lieutenant Phillippe Blondelle, then Post commandant at Natchitoches. These men were assigned to this post, for trading purposes only. An old Natchitoches Record; Book 1 page 41 in unbound volume states, "At La Poste Du Petite Ecore are Julian Rodain, Marley Dupuy, Ensigne and Pierre Closseau, Lieutenant on half pay, assignees to the Yatasees."


In 1840 when General Woodard laid out the town site, he named it Creola Bluff, in honor of Creola, an Indiana princess, with whom he had fallen in love but whose chieftain father had forbade their marriage. The tribe had moved on westward and though separated by miles and years, Creola continued to watch for her Calvary Officer, but in vain. Romance came again, and she married a young itinerant preacher, Montgomery Rogers. But still remembering her first fond affection, she named the son who was born to them Montgomery Woodard Rogers. This son became a great Missionary and teacher among the Indians. (This man later became the father of a most famous movie personality, Will Rogers.)

Montgomery Woodard Rogers searched for and found the man for whom he was named. The old General was so delighted he called in all of the citizens of Creola Bluff and told them the story. Then and there they changed the name of the town to Montgomery, honoring not only a great teacher and preacher, but his faithful mother as well. Aside from Woodard, two other men figure well in the history of the development of Montgomery. They were: Dr. Thomas D. Harrison, Montgomery's first physician and Phillip Bernstein the town's first merchant. It was they who assisted in laying out the townsite and in building the first Protestant school and church. Soon other merchants came into the area, men like Mike Gans, for who Gansville in Winn Parish is named, Colonel C. C. Dunn from Brookhaven, Mississippi and Major H. Van McCain and later, W. O. Harrison whose business grew to be one of the largest mercantile businesses in North Louisiana.

There is more to the history of this Petite Ecore Bluff where Dr. Harrison built his home. In the spring of 1864 when the United States Naval Gunboats, under the command of Admiral Porter steamed up the Red River during the Red River Campaign of the Civil War, the Gunboats of Porter began shelling the buildings of Creola Bluff. The wife of Dr. Harrison, nee Elizabeth Sullivan, went out on the porch amid the shelling and with an apron gave the Masonic sign of distress. General Banks, who was on one of the leaders of the flotilla, recognizing the sign, immediately gave cease fire signals, hence for the time being the town of Montgomery was saved by the courage of this woman.


Creola or Creola Bluff was chartered by Act 224 of the year 1859 and its name changed to Montgomery by Act 73 of the year 1860 and then again by Act 348 of the year 1876. State of Louisiana.

Montgomery moved from its river location out to the tracks of the Louisiana Railway and Navigation Company in 1901.


The site which was later to become the town of Colfax has had more or less continuous occupancy by the white man form the year 1756 when, at the land opposite the confluence of the Rigolet De Bon Dieu and the Red River, Etienne Layssard granted permission from Post Du Rapides for his two sons, Jean and Nicholas Layssard, to maintain a trading post there for the Indians of the area.

Act 82 of the year 1869 page 79 provided that the Parish of Grant be established and in the same provision the Act designated that a County seat be established opposite the point formed by the Rigolet De Bon Dieu and the Red River. At this site the town of Colfax was laid out and was named Colfax in honor of Schuyler Colfax who was at that time Vice President of the United States, and was later incorporated by Act 56 of the year 1878, page 94 with its boundaries being one half of a mile square with a public square in the center and the town located on the Calhoun Plantation. (The Calhoun Plantation was said to have been before the Civil War, a landed area of 1400 acres with a river frontage of 7 miles and maintained 1000 slaves.) As late as 1814 Dr. John Sibley reported that the Appalachi Indians had at this location 25 huts in which the tribe resided.

The first store to open up in Colfax was that of William S. Calhoun in 1867, S. Shakelford built his store in 1868 and the store was also used for Courthouse purposes in 1873. L. H. Levy opened up the third store in 1869 in a brick stable which had been built by Meredith Calhoun, father of William and the original owner of the Calhoun Plantation. Others were soon to follow in this order; Peter Borland, a Negro, who is believed to have opened the first store bya man of his race in both Grant and Winn Parishes, C. S. Curry, C. H. Mumford, A. A. Dean, who already had a store at Fairmont Landing, C. C. Nash, C. K. Teal, John H. McNeely, Joshua Kemp, Lewis and Price, J. V. LaSage, LaCroix and Price and Mrs. Mary L. Crow.


William Pitt Kellogg, a lawyer and the 19th Governor of the State of Louisiana, will go down in history as one of the most despised Governors this state ever had. In 1872 he was nominated by the Republican party for the governorship of the state of Louisiana, and by means of an injunction, granted by the United States District Court restraining the returning board from announcing the returns of the election, was declared elected. Lawyers from New Orleans went to Washington in protest. U. S. Grant who had been elected for a second term the same year, refused them an audience. Thus Grant too, our eighteenth President of the United States, because he turned a deaf ear to justice and in defiance of the Bill of Rights by not granting an audience to these men, was partly responsible for what was to follow.

The lawyers left a letter for Grant which stated that the only way Kellogg would be able to maintain his governorship would be with Federal Military aid. Thus Grant and Kellogg were responsible for the organizations of The Peoples Party, which was statewide in its membership and The Order of the White Camellia, another statewide organization. From these organizations was to develop such ruthless gangs of white men as the Laws Kimbrell gang and the John West gang which at first were in defense of the ruthless gangs of Negroes who rode through Grant Parish threatening murder and outrage and firing homes and who were in part protected by the Carpetbaggers who were in power and had by this time bled the landowners of most of their material wealth. There was in existence at this time other Free Negroes who had formed and were often in mortal conflict with the Negro bands. These Negroes, most of whom were land owners and could appreciate the value of property, were often infringed upon by the outlaw Negroes. Thus even in their own race there were those for and against Kellogg.


At left are the only two relics now visible today. The cannon used in the Colfax Riot of April 13, 1873 on Easter Sunday is now a garden piece at Melrose Plantation kept and preserved by the late Mrs. C. G. Henry. This cannon, a little 24 incher made by the Mills factory of New Orleans was seat to the white people by Captain William F. Boardman, owner and Captain of the Steamship, W. F. Moore.

This picture of the old brick building was at one time a syrup mill belonging to William Calhoun. This building is the only remaining one, standing in Colfax from the time of the Riot.

The Colfax Riot originated from the fact that Governor Kellogg, after the elections of 1872, sent out recognition of two sets of officials for Grant Parish with the view, it is alleged, of bringing about just such results as a riot between the white and colored races. This riot was to give Louisiana one of its darkest pages in history. As in nature, there has to be a storm before the elements become at ease again, and such was the result of the Colfax Riot which was to gain National scope because of this one Easter Sunday when nearly 100 Negroes were killed and three white men and more than thirty more of each race were wounded and crippled for the rest of their lives. This one riot set the wheels in motion which was to break the Carpetbaggers hold on all of the Southern States. The officials in Washington realized that the State of Louisiana was on the verge of a Civil War within its borders and that the enemy was not the Negro but the Federal and State officials who were in power and that such could again spread all over the Southland.

Steve Kimbrell, a well to do Negro land owner of the Montgomery area, went among the negroes who had took part in the riot but had escaped and asked them all, "Where are your leaders, the ones who led you to do this thing?" And true enough the Carpetbagger leaders had departed the day before on a Steamer for New Orleans, Kellogg, not to be outdone, issued orders to confiscate all of the firearms of the Louisianians. Lieutenant John Hamilton of Co. C. of the 7th infantry replied, "That is impossible. If the arms are taken it will violate their Constitutional rights and in the event the guns are taken they will acquire two in their place." Thus the seizure of arms was attempted but was stopped.

In March of 1887, while excavating a ditch on the main street of Colfax, Mr. A. Lindsey dug up Indian relics of arrowheads and pottery. Much of it was preserved by the late Jim Ethridge and some of the relics can be seen at the Grant Parish Courthouse in Colfax.


In February of 1882 R. C. Cameron reported evidence of placer mining for gold on Rocky Bayou and Bayou Darro. He was ridiculed and scoffed at so he sent samples of the creek bottom sands to New Orleans and the Assayers, Claussen and Lynch reported that the sands of these creek bottoms would yield per ton; $19.80 in silver ore and $179.84 in gold.

In April 1887, Edourd Gillard took 150 workers into the area and made a number of excavations. The project was successful as far as finding gold and silver but was not profitable and the project was abandoned.

Don Jose Bernardo Maxmillio Gutierrezde Lardo was a merchant and blacksmith at Revilla, a village near the junction of the Rio Salado and the Rio Grande in Mexico. Gutierrez was a follower of Padres Hidalgo Castille and Jose Maria Moralas who were encouraging a revolt among the Peous and Mestizos (half breeds) to overthrow the government of Mexico.

Gutierrez with Captain Jose Janchesca, a deserter of the Mexican Royalist army, and then others left Revilla with $30,000 in Mexican gold with which they were to finance a filibustering expedition into Texas. The men were pursued by the Mexican Royalist militia as far as La Ville Du Bayou (now Jordan Ferry, 3 miles west of Lake End). There are several confusing reports that the gold was taken by the Royalists troops and squandered by them. Gutierrez stated this fact but Manchaca stated that the gold was lost to bandits while Gutierrez was on his way overland to Natchez. Gutierrez was transporting the gold in a two wheeled cart when he left Natchitoches but did not have the gold or cart when he had reached the land of Fiol who supposedly had a way station near present day Dry Prong. Fiol did have several way stations along the Natchez Trace. Not long thereafter Gutierrez returned to Natchitoches and reported losing the gold to Land Pirates and procured a loan of $200.00 from Dr. John Sibley with which he went to Washington to seek support for his filibustering expedition into Texas. The question remains; did he hide the gold or was he robbed? None of Mexican minted gold eagles ever turned up in the Natchitoches area. This is just one of the many stories of lost treasures in the Grant Parish area.


In running the gauntlet down the Red River after Banks' Army defeat at Mansfield on April 8, 1864, Admiral Porter was now faced with a situation. The Union Army had deserted him and he was now running a gauntlet of Rebel gunfire at every turn in the Red River..

The Union Ram, Eastport, lies today on Grant Parish soil near Montgomery, being driven aground by Confederate gunfire and was blown up by the Union Navy to prevent the Confederates from later floating the boat and using her against them.

Then at a point five miles upstream from the mouth of Cane River the Rebels were at it again and here they had concentrated cannon fire to assist the sharpshooters. A detachment of 200 infantrymen for Poligoac's division added Minnie balls to the iron shower that was falling on the streamers, Cricket and the Champion No. 3, which was the first to go down. Her boilers were punctured by Confederate cannon fire and the boat blew up. The Champion No. 5 was driven aground on the Grant Parish side of Red River where her crew deserted her.

The total loss to the Union Navy was two steamboats sunk and three heavily damaged tinclads. The Confederates lost, aside from the expended ammunition, one Confederate sharp shooter wounded and an officer, Captain Cornay.

Grant Parish was not formed at the time of the civil War. In the parish records of Civil War participants, those from the area of present day Grant Parish served among the following companies. The Catahoula-Avengers-Fenciblels-Battalion Greys-Rebels and Guerillas. The Alexander Rifles and Independent Guards, Natchitoches-Rifles and Mounted Calvary Guards.


The bon Dieu Mission, first in the old Ebenezer camp area was started in 1820 and then moved to Montgomery in 1838. The Methodist Episcopal Church, south of Colfax, was organized December 5, 1881 by Rev. S. H. Whatley.

St. Luke's English Protestant Episcopal Church and Mission was established in Colfax on October 30, 1881 and in 1890 a lot was purchased from H. G. Goodwin for $50.00 on which the church was erected.

In August 1890 the Catholic congregation of Colfax placed, in the LaSage Hall, a neat alter and 18 benches for religious services. Some of the early families of the congregation were: The Shacklefords, Teals, LaSages, Faraldos, Valleys, St. Germains and Moreaux.

IN 1869 a Catholic church was erected near the Hickman Plantation and located on land donated by the Citizens Bank of New Orleans. This church was attended by the Priests of St. Francois Xavier of Alexandria.

The Summerfield Baptist Church was organized by the Rev. A. J. O'Quinn on July 24, 1886.

The Protestant Methodist Society in 1878 organized the Mount Zion Church six miles from Montgomery, La. The first pastor was H. M. Ragan.

Allesons Chapel (Methodist Church) was established in September, 1879 six miles east of Colfax.


The Mount Zion College was established in November, 1883 was presided over by a Mr. Harris.

The Montgomery Academy was established in November, 1883 with W. J. Calvet as principal and Mrs. Josie Ragan as assistant.


No history of Grant Parish would be complete without mentioning the Ebenezer Holiness Campgrounds near Montgomery. The Campgrounds was organized by a group of Montgomery church leaders and headed by the late J. Matt McCain, a noted legislator and Civil War veteran.

They selected a beautiful hillside covered with trees and with four springs in the vicinity. These springs contained a medical mineral of high curative value. The area for years was a health resort as well as a religious camp meeting area. A large tabernacle was built as well as a hotel and several rooming houses and for a quarter of a century this was one of the largest religious campgrounds in the south.


Judge A. V. Ragan, founder of the Colfax Chronicle, was the first Mayor of Montgomery, La.