Historically Speaking: Lanesville becomes Sibley

By Jessica Gorman

Sibley traces its origins back to John G. Lane who brought his family to what was then Bienville Parish from Houston County, Georgia. While school had been taught in the homes of the community, the first school building is said to have been provided by Mr. Lane. This building also served as a church, Lane’s Chapel, until a Methodist church was built in 1895. The community came to be known as Lanesville.

In 1884, the V S & P Railroad was built through this area. It is said that the railroad rejected the name Lanesville, the claim being that the name was too long, and instead chose Sibley as the name for its station. And so, Lanesville also came to be known as Sibley. In fact, there are newspaper articles that refer to the community by both names within the same article. 

As reported in the Minden Democrat in 1912, “finally the citizens were willing to have the name changed to Sibley, but in the meantime a post office in Union Parish was established and named Sibley, which prevented the change, as the Post office regulations would not admit of two post offices by the same name in the same state. Lately, however, the Sibley post office in Union Parish was abolished and then the change in the name of the Lanesville post office was made by the Postmaster General.” The official notice of the name change, sent to Congressman J. T. Watkins, was dated 30 April 1912. 

Seven years earlier, in 1905, the village had been incorporated under the name of Lanesville. While it would commonly become known only as Sibley, an ordinance officially changing the name was not passed until August 1959.

This column is intended to share snippets of Webster Parish history. Please direct any questions or suggestions to dorcheatmuseum@yahoo.com or visit us at the museum. 

(Jessica Gorman is the Assistant Director and Archivist for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in Minden and is an avid genealogist.)