Historically Speaking: Webster Parish News 100 Years Ago

By Jessica Gorman

The following news was reported in the 14 June 1923 edition of the Webster Signal.

“Miss Winn Leads by Narrow Margin”

The Webster Signal was conducting a subscription campaign. Miss Hattie Mae Hamm had already been awarded $50.00 in gold offered by Palmer, Lowe, and Dupuy. Miss Sybil Winn had accumulated the most votes in the contest.

“Louisiana’s Champion Essayist”

Irene Shields, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ira W. Shields, had won first place in a state essay contest. Miss Shields was a resident of Sibley and attended school at Minden. The theme of the contest was “My Share in Make the Highways Safe.”

“Agricultural Club, Boy Scout Community Picnic Grounds and Campsite Movement Launched”

A campground located on Bayou Dorcheat between Hemler’s Inn and the L & A Railway was being prepared for an encampment planned for July. Youth from the parishes of Bossier, Caddo, Lincoln, Claiborne, Bienville, and Webster were expected to attend.  

“Tragedy Near Cotton Valley”

A fire at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Adkins took the life of an unnamed woman who worked in the Adkins home. Two Adkins children, a son and a daughter, were also badly burned.

“At the Presbyterian Church”

Mr. E.D. Brown was scheduled to preach at the Presbyterian church in Minden the following Sunday while Rev. W.F. O’Kelley of the Minden church was to take his place preaching at the Stamps Presbyterian Church.

“Utility Man for Webster Parish Schools”

The Webster Parish School Board hired a Mr. Taylor of Springhill to fill the position of utility man. His responsibilities included maintaining equipment and transporting supplies to the schools. 

“Accident on North Broadway Street”

Much of this article is illegible but the accident involved two vehicles. The occupants of one of the vehicles was a Mr. and Mrs. Shelton, possibly of Goldonna. They sustained cuts to their faces, but were able to continue their trip by train. The occupants of the other vehicle cannot be determined due to faded text.

“Principal’s Home for Parish High Schools”

The Webster Parish School Board was working to provide homes for the school principals at every school in the parish. Homes had already been provided at Doyline, Dubberly, Heflin, and Minden. An election had been called for construction of a principal’s home at the Leton School. 

“Minutes of the Meeting of the Mayor and Board of Alderman”

A special committee was appointed in regard to the installation of a sewer system in Minden. A resolution was passed “calling a special election for the corporation of the town of Minden, Webster Parish, Louisiana, and submitting to the qualified tax paying voters of the town of Minden, the question of incurring an indebtedness of the town…One hundred and five thousand Dollars to construct a Sanitary Sewerage System.” This election also called for the cancellation of a previous election requesting $120,000 for the same purpose. Mr. Garland from the fire prevention bureau made suggestions to lower insurance rates. 

“Union Springs Items”

The death of Mrs. Carlie Martin was reported. Rev. S.W. Nealy was to “preach at Liberty Hall the fourth Sunday of each month.” Mr. Claude Cox, his wife, Bess, and daughter, Frances, of Stamps, Arkansas, were visiting Mr. and Mrs. Jesse L. Cox. Lack of funds was to blame for the suspension of work on the Minden-Dorcheat Road. Two families, those of Mr. F.C. Reeves and Mr. S.E. Thomas, had moved to Stevenson, Arkansas. The marriage of Mr. Eddie Payne and Miss Mary Ratcliff was also reported.

“Regular Meeting Webster Parish School Board”

The budget was adopted for the coming school year as were “changes in the organization of the office force.” The appointment of principals and teachers was made.

“Town Council Meeting”

Permission was granted to residents of Drury Murrell Avenue in Minden to pave to road from South Main Street to or across Pennsylvania Avenue with the cost to be paid by the property owners. “Permission was granted to Sandefur and Palmer to build a brick building between North and South Main streets, opposite Hightower’s Drug Store.” The mayor’s report of cases tried was submitted. 

“Spring Hill”

The family of Mr. W.C.  Miller, of Port Arthur, Texas and formerly of Springhill, was in town visiting his mother. 

“Mt. Zion News”

Mrs. Gary Gantt had visited her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Bopp. Mr. Willie Cox had visited Miss Bashie Sanders. Mr. and Mrs. Dug Walker had visited Mr. and Mrs. Frank McGurk. Mrs. Frank Bopp had visited her sister, Mrs. John Coyle. Mr. and Mrs. Art Dick had visited Mr. Young Dick.

“Matthews News”

Mr. Tom Haynes had been added to the sick list while Mrs. Chester Sanders had recently recovered from an illness. Multiple visits among members of the community were reported. 

“Game Law Violators Warned to Stop”

A petition containing more than 150 signatures was presented to Sheriff Phillips in regard to open violation of fishing laws. 

“Annual Tennis Tournament”

The Civic Club was planning their annual tennis tournament held at Academy Park.

“Enlisted Man to Be Commissioned Officer”

George Kittrell Frazier had attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and passed the exam to become a commissioned officer in the United States Navy.

“Public Notice”

Notice was given to the depositors of, and anyone else who may have claims against, the Sibley State Bank to claim their deposits within six months.


Notice was given of the graveyard cleaning planned for Pine Grove on the following day.

(Jessica Gorman is the Executive Director for the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Webster Parish Historian, and an avid genealogist.)