THE first organization of the Farmers' Union in the State of Louisiana was at Smyrna, in De Soto Parish. This local was organized by I. J. Burgess, January 19, 1903. Eighteen members joined at the time. J. H. Franklin, of De Soto Parish, was elected President of this local Union, and J. J. Poag, Secretary. Grand Cane, in De Soto Parish, soon became the center of activity in the work of organizing the Farmers' Union, and the influence set to work in this center reached out and affected other sections. Almost from the day when the Union was introduced into Louisiana the work became prominent, and such men as J. W. Boyett, Jr., L. N. Holmes, and J. E. Bullard, became prominently identified with the movement, and by their aid and assistance helped to make" the Union a success in their state. The order grew very rapidly in the different parishes throughout Louisiana. Organizers went into every nook and corner of the state, calling the farmers to action in behalf of the Farmers' Union. April 4, 1905, delegates met and formed the first State Union. L. N. Holmes was the first State President; J. E. Bullard, first Vice-President; J. W. Boyett, Jr., first Secretary-Treasurer; J. A. Ambrose, Chaplain; Thomas McCain, Doorkeeper; A. B. Cole, Conductor. L. N. Holmes served two years as President, having been re-elected at the second convention. J. W. Boyett, Jr., served three years as Secretary-Treasurer....
LOUISIANA BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES
ANTONY, Miss MAUDE, Rattan, La. — She has been a good and faithful worker in the Pleasant Hill local, and is doing all she can for the Union.
AMBROSE, J. A., Ruston, La. — Is first of all a Baptist minister of the old school, who became associated with the Farmers' Union as soon as it made its advent into his section, and from the very first took an active part in organizing work; was in the organization of the State Union, and was made Chaplain, which position he has held continuously since, having been re-elected from year to year without opposition. Ambrose is a model farmer, and one of the few hill farmers of Louisiana who has made a success of farming. He attributes his success to having always raised his living, together with his feed for his stock on his farm, and only raising cotton as a surplus.
ALFORD, W. R., Ft. Jesup, La. — Was one of the men who left Texas to carry the gospel of Unionism to Louisiana. He was actively engaged in organization work in the northwestern part of the State. After Louisiana obtained her charter and organized her own State Union, and took over her organization, Alford continued to do local work in connection with his work of teaching school, and is still engaged in teaching in Vernon Parish.
ARCENEAUX, J. F., Brittany, La. — Young Arceneaux was one of the many young men of Louisiana who became associated with the organization from the very first, and, being a teacher of Ascension Parish, he devoted his best efforts to the organization, and was from the start an acknowledged leader in his parish, having served as Parish Secretary-Treasurer one term; also Parish Lecturer one term; was a delegate to the State Union held at Winnfield in 1908, where he took an active part in the proceedings of the convention, serving on important committees; was nominated as a candidate for Secretary-Treasurer, and was only beaten by eight votes. He was later nominated as one of the delegates to the National Union, and won out on the first ballot.
BAIRD, F. T., Moorehouse, La. — Ex-Vice-President of the State Union and a big planter.
BOYETT, JASPER, Winnfield, La. — Was born January, 22, 1872; is a son of J. W. Boyett, Sr., who lives eight miles east of Winnfield. His father is a successful farmer. Jasper Boyett joined the Alliance in 1880; joined the Union at the first opportunity, and when the State was organized was chosen Assistant State Organizer. In July, 1906, the State was divided into two districts, and he was elected State Organizer for the northern half of Louisiana. In 1907 he was re-elected to same position.
BOYETT, J. W., JR., Winnfield, La. — Ex-Secretary-Treasurer, and Lecturer of Louisiana; was born in Winnfield, La., in 1875, in which town he is still living; worked on a farm till grown; had few school advantages, but improved every opportunity, attending the schools near him for a few months each year till of age; married Miss Josie Jordan, of Winnfield Parish, 1899; bought a farm in 1899, upon which he lived till elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Louisiana Division of the Farmers' Union, April 4, 1905; served in this capacity till August 1, 1908, when he was elected Organizer and Lecturer for his State; was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Union Cotton Company, with offices in New Orleans. J. W. Boyett, Jr., is one of the leading men of the State, having joined as a charter member of his local, and was elected President of one of the first locals organized in his State, since which time he has been active in pushing Union matters. He has attended all the State meetings in Louisiana, and all the National Conventions, where he has held prominent places on important committees. Boyett is a hustler.
BROOMFIELD, J. W., Leesville, La. — One of the most active men in Vernon Parish, is Broomfield; he has devoted more time to the Farmers' Union movement in his section than any other man; it is mainly due to his efforts that the warehouse at Leesville was ever built, and it is also due to his determination that it has succeeded as signally as it has.
BLACK, C. C., Deerford, La. — Was one of the first Organizers of his section, and did some good work in the early days; was on the State Executive Committee for one term; was a delegate to the State Union at all its meetings, except the last.
BRUNLEY, J. B., Clyde, La. — Has been organizing for his parish; has assisted in building a warehouse, and has done a lot of other work.
BULLARD, J. E., President State Union, Belmont, La. — Has been a prominent leader in behalf of the farming class since 1896. He was elected Vice-President of the Louisiana State Union at the time of its organization, which position he held for two years. He was elected State President in 1907, and re-elected in 1908. His demands for recognition of the farming class were such that Governor Sanders appointed him a member of the State Board of Agriculture, which appointment he declined. His personal qualities make his friendship very highly appreciated by those with whom he comes in contact.
COBB, W. M., Many, La. — The present President of the Parish Union of Sabine Parish is W. M. Cobb, a man who has done as much for unionism in the State as any man of his means and ability. Cobb is not an aspiring man, but is willing to do whatever he can in a quiet way. He has had associated with him all along that staunch man, I. N. McCollister, and to them is due the many accomplishments of the splendid system of warehouses in that parish, and other enterprises.
CULBERSON, DR. N. A., Bienville, La. — Was born on a farm in Union Parish, Louisiana, in 1857. All the literary training he had was gotten at a cross-roads schoolhouse. At the age of ten, his father and mother died. He joined the Farmers' Union in 1905 at Bear Creek; was a delegate to the State Convention held at Ruston on the following April. He was elected a delegate to attend the first National meeting at Texarkana, and was a member of several committees during that meeting. He is President of the Union warehouse at Arcadia. He served as President Holder local for one year; is Chairman of the Louisiana Trade Association, and is now a member of the State Executive Committee.
DAVIS, J. M., Crowley, La. — Began as a Local Organizer in the early days of the Farmers' Union movement in the State, and has organized more locals, doubtless, than any other person, save Freeman DeSoto, in the State, and when DeSoto resigned as one of the State Organizers, Davis was appointed to fill the vacancy, and to his efforts are due in great measure the splendid state of organization in Southwest Louisiana, known as the French section, at the State Convention held at Winnfield in July, 1908. He was elected a member of the State Executive Committee to succeed R. Lee Mills, from that part of the State. His last success was in organizing the rice growers into the Farmers' Union
DeLOACH, J.N., Winnfield, La - He is an example of the sucessful self-made man - of the man who fights his way bravely and purposefully through trials, hardships, and difficulties to success. Was born at Sills, Winn Parish, Louisiana, May 23, 1871. When he was only five his father moved to Rapides Parish, where young DeLoach aided in the farm work. He attended the common schools one or two months in the summer and two or three months in the winter until he was seventeen. He thus obtained the rudiments of an education, to which reading and observation added to greatly as he grew older. In his young manhood he was an active member of the Farmers' Alliance, and served as President of his Sub-Alliance. He has been a leader in school advancement in his section, and through his efforts and advocacy the parish schools are excellent. He has always been keenly interested in everything that advanced the interests of the farmer and laborer, and it was natural for him to enlist under the Union banner as soon as it entered his section. His deep interest in, and understanding of farming matters caused his quick recognition. In 1908, he was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Louisiana State Union, where he did fine service.
DeSOTO, F., Cottonport, La.- The line of his work has been confined to organizing and lecturing. He has traveled more than 10,000 miles in discharging his duties, and organized seventy-two local Unions.
DOSS, D. C., Hico, La. — Joined the Union in 1904, and was elected first President of his local Union; was first President of his District Union; delegate to the first State Union, and has done good work.
GOFF, JOSEPH M., Ruston, La.— His work has been done chiefly as Lecturer; has attended all the conventions in his parish, and many in adjoining parishes. He has devoted practically all his time to the work of the Union, and has established an information and censs bureau for the collecting and disseminating of information relative to the work of the Union.
GUILLORY, N., JR., Mamon, La.— Organizer for District No. 4, 1906. During the year, he organized 78 local Unions. He also organized three warehouses. During this time he traveled several thousand miles and made many speeches. He did good work for the Union
HOLMES, ELD. L. N., ex-State President, and ex-National Chaplain of the Farmers' Union, Bernice, La. — The subject of this sketch, Eld. L. N. Holmes, resides on his farm near Bernice, La. He is the son of H. W. Holmes, Sr., who moved from the State of Alabama to Louisiana in 1855, when Eld. L. N. Holmes was born on the 25th day of June, 1856. His father early enlisted in the Confederate army, leaving the subject of this sketch to the care of his mother and older brothers. His mother died in 1862, when young Holmes went to live with his aunt. The boyhood days of young Holmes, when he ought to have been in school, were spent on a farm, owing to the fact that there was no school for him to attend, the Civil War having disorganized society and broken up the schools of his -State. He, however, attended a country school for a few months during winter; the balance of his education was secured by study at night by the light of a pine knot fire. He with fifty of his neighbors organized a Farmers' Club in Lincoln Parish. This organization was later merged with the Farmers' Alliance, and L. N. Holmes became an active organizer in the Alliance. In 1904 he joined the Farmers' Union, and was one of the moving spirits in the promotion of the work in his State. April 4, 1905, he was elected the first State President of Louisiana. He was also elected National Chaplain at the formation of the National Union at Texarkana, in which capacity he served until the Fort Worth meeting in 1908. He has been an ardent admirer and is a persistent supporter of the Union cause ever since its introduction. He is a strong and faithful member and officer.
HANCOCK, J. T. M., Ruston, La. — Has been prominently associated with the movement in his parish all along, having been warehouse manager for the Ruston Warehouse Company since its organization. Hancock has been in all the annual meetings of the State Union, and has rendered good service to the membership as a whole, as well as to his immediate section. He served one term on the State Board. He is another model farmer, having one of the prettiest farms in his parish.
HESTER, Q. A., Calhoun, La.— A school teacher who has been prominently associated with the F. E. & C. U. of A. in his section, having done organizing work as a Local Organzer, when he could spare the time from his school duties. He has served his parish in the State convention a number of times, and also represented the State in the National Union at Memphis, Tenn
HILBURN, W. W., New Orleans, La. — Has been connected with the Louisiana State Union for more than two years; was assistant to Mr. Boyett for one year, and has been in the office since Mr. DeLoach was elected; joined the Union about two years ago, and has been active in the work
JONES, W. S., M. D., Jonesboro, La. — Was born in Louisiana in 1861; was educated in the common schools of his native State, and later studied medicine and had the degree of M. D. conferred upon him in 1886; was raised on the farm, and has farmed in connection with his practice; joined the Union in 1906, and has taken an active part ever since; has represented his people at State and National meetings. He is a member of the State Execuive Committee
KELLY, C. R., Duback, La. — Was born in Union Parish, Louisiana, February, 1876; was educated in the public schools of the county and has farmed all his life. During the last days of the Alliance, he became identified with that noble order, remaining in same till its final dissolution. Early in the life of the Union, he became a member, and was immediately elected Lecturer of his local, serving since that time in that position; also as local Secretary-Treasurer of the Executive Committee for the local; Secretary to the Duback District Union; secretary warehouse company; member of the board of directors for warehouse; President of the parish Union; Chairman Parish Executive Committee, and at present Lecturer of the parish. Two and one-half years ago was elected on the Executive Committee for the State Union, serving since then continuously, being secretary to the committee for past year and a half.
KENNEDY, R. B., of Winnfield, La.— Has been prominently connected with the movement in his parish from the very earliest history of the organization in Winnfield Parish, and one who has worked harder and did more to make the State central warehouse a success than any other man in the State, having devoted his personal time and attention to this undertaking, to the detriment of his personal affairs. He was one of the first Board of Directors and has been retained on the board continuously since its organization. He served as President for one term, and was arranging to open the warehouse up and run same with his own capital, when it burned.
KLEINPETER, J. B., Baker, La. — Did some local organizing in East Baton Rouge Parish during the early days of the organization, and represented his parish in the State Convention held at Baton Rouge in 1907, and at this meeting he was chosen as a delegate to the National Convention held at Memphis, Tenn. Kleinpeter is one of the best posted sugar men of Louisiana; has held positions of honor and trust
KLING, A. A., Donaldsonville, La. — Born in Ascension Parish in 1860, and was educated in the parish schools. When twenty-one years of age bought a farm, which he has farmed practically ever since. Was a charter member of the Dutch Town Local Union, and is now Lecturer. Organized the Farmers' Union Ginning Company, which has been very successful. Has served as deputy sheriff and parish treasurer. In 1908 was elected assessor of the parish. Is a loyal Union man.
McCOLLISTER, I. N., Member National Board of Directors, Many, La. — Was born in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, 1854. Young McCollister had a hard struggle with the world, his father dying, and the support of the family fell to him. He was then but seventeen years of age, but he faithfully provided for them. His educational advantages were very limited, but he studied and improved every opportunity. He joined the Farmers' Alliance in 1889, and 1891 was elected manager of an Alliance store in his parish. He served the Alliance as Parish Secretary, and later as President. He joined the Farmers' Union upon its advent into his community as a charter member. He has been a member of the Executive Committee since the organization of the State Union, and for some time has been chairman of that committee. He was elected a member of the National Board of Directors at the first Texarkana meeting, 1905, and was re-elected at Tex-arkana, 1906, Little Rock 1907, and Forth Worth 1908. As a member of the National Board he has done effective work for the Union, and has won the esteem of all his co-laborers by the way in which he has done that work. Served one year as State Business Agent. Is manager of the Farmers' Union warehouse at Many.
McCOLLISTER, B. C, Rattan, La.— Was a charter member of his local, and has done good work; has made many speeches in the interest of the Union, and has traveled thousands of miles horse-back in the work. Was a member of the Parish Executive Committee two years, and served two years as Vice-President of his local, and has served it as Lecturer.
McCOLLISTER, J. J., Olla, La.— Joined the Union 1904; has served as President of his Parish Union; was Business Manager of the warehouse; has been a hard worker in the Union cause ever since he joined the organization.
MILLS, R. LEE - Opelousas, La. - Was born at Armandville, La., December 5, 1870, and joined the Farmers' Alliance at the age of eighteen. Was a charter member of his local Farmers' Union, and served as its President. Was elected Parish President, which place he now holds. At the State Convention in 1907 was elected a member of the State Executive Committee, and in 1908 State Vice-President; has aided in organizing many locals.
PETERS, W. S., Tannehill, La. — Has been an active member of the organization since its earliest days, and has especially been active in his parish, attending all meetings of his local and parish. He knew what was going on locally, and to his credit is due in large measure the success of his local parish. Brother Peters is another of the few men who have succeeded as farmers by raising a living at home and letting his cotton be surplus. He has never held a State position, and has never sought any position whatever. He was one of the Board of Directors of the State Central Warehouse at the time the concern was dissolved
SMART, M. W., Leesville, La. — Has devoted a good part of his life working in the interest of the farmer. He was a member of the Grange and Alliance, and joined the Union soon after it was started in his parish; has been President of his local three years, and President of the Parish Union two years. He is now Lecturer and Organizer for his parish; has served two years as President of the Board of Directors of the parish warehouse; attended as a delegate the meetings held in Memphis and New Orleans, and a delegate to the State meeting at Baton Rouge. He has been a faithful attendant upon all Union meetings
SEEVER, JOHN M., Fisher, La.— Has been President of the District Union two years; Vice-President of his Parish Union one year, and president of the board of directors of the warehouse at Many since its organization; was delegate to Topeka, Kan.; delegate to the State Union, 1907, and delegate to New Orleans, 1908; has done all that he could to aid the Union.
VIERS, JOHN W., Grangeville, La. — Has served as President of his local Union, and as President of his Parish Union. As Parish President, he was by virtue of his office Organizer within the parish
WHATLEY, Miss LOUISE, Eden, La. — Miss Whatley joined the Union in 1906; was elected Secretary-Treasurer soon after joining; has made eight public addresses in behalf of the Union; won one of the trips to Fort Worth Convention offered by the Union Banner, in 1908. At Fort Worth she made a splendid address. She has been a good, strong worker for the Union.
WALLER, MISS JULIA, Forest, La.— She is a faithful worker for the Union, having written several letters for the press upon the good of the order, thus encouraging others to join. In 1908, she won a trip to the National Convention at Fort Worth.
WILLIAMS, S. T., Grand Cane, La.- First State Organizer
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