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243

 

 

SENATOR TWITCHELL AND THE SONS

OF NEWFANE MURDERED IN

LOUISIANA, 1874.

 

 

Among those who enlisted upon the breaking out of the war of 1861, was a Townshend boy who entered the 4th regiment. At its close be held a Captain's commission and a position on Gen. Sheridan's staff. That man, to-day, is known as Senator Twitchell, of the State Senate of Louisi­ana. Upon the close of the war he decided to make the South his home and married the daughter of an ex-rebel planter. Establishing himself at Coushatta, on Red river, in the district known as Red River Parish, he applied himself to business with all his Yankee energy, and soon amassed wealth and political power, for he was the freed­man's friend. In 1870 his brother Homer, mother, and three sisters, with their husbands, M. C. Willis, C. Hol­land, and Geo. King, all of Newfane, removed to Coushatta and established themselves in business under his direction. They remained undisturbed until the political canvass began, in August, 1874, when the old rebel element deter­mined to establish its political supremacy, and drive all the leading republicans from the Parish. Twitchell, Willis and Holland being office-holders were marked men. Capt. Twitchell at the time, fortunately, was in New Orleans. On the evening of Aug. 27 there was a large, noisy and threatening crowd upon the street. When young Twitchell inquired for the cause of this disturbance, he was told that a rising of the blacks was feared, but if he and the repub­lican leaders would surrender themselves it would prevent a massacre of the negroes and allay all political irritation. Upon consideration they accepted the proposition, and sur­rendered themselves and their arms, when they were further told that if they would leave the country their lives should be protected and they should be guaranteed a safe escort to Shreveport.

 

 

 

 

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They accepted the conditions of life, and on the night of the 30th, under a guard of thirty mounted men, who prom­ised them a safe escort, they started upon their last earthly march. After a ride of thirty miles, a second body of armed men came dashing upon them from another quarter, and the guard, with a treachery unequalled even by Indian perfidy, abandoned their victims to be shot down like dogs. But in the hour of their extremity, their courage, their honor, did not fail them. Holland, being supervisor of registration, they desired to retain for a while and told him to flee for his life, but he, believing that they simply intended to shoot him in the back, with the coolness of a veteran answered, "No, you have murdered my friends, now take me," then walking to the spot where he had seen Willis shot, he calmly opened his coat, folded his arms upon his breast and gave the order to fire, exhibiting a spirit that touched even the hearts of some of his murderers. Thus perished two of the sons of Newfane in her centen­nial year ; one a soldier who had faced the foe at Gettys­burg, the other a martyr, who gave the order for his own execution. The story of their captors is, that young Twitchell, being mounted upon the fleetest horse of the party, was only brought down after a wild ride of ____ miles for life. And as a fitting close to this dark and awful tragedy, their friends were denied the boon even of their mutilated bodies, until after decomposition had removed all traces of abuse. Nay, not until Capt. Twitchell obtained a military order for a company of cavalry, could he remove them and bury them like men. Homer Twitchell was 26, Clark Holland 24, and Monroe C. Willis 28 years of age.