Red River Parish.—This comparatively modern parish was established in 1871, during the reconstruction period, while Henry Clay Warmoth was governor, and was named from the Red river. An attempt was made immediately after the war to form a new parish out of Bienville, Caddo, De Soto and Natchitoches parishes, but it was not until 1871 that a legislature met that was willing to give the authority to organize. The earliest history of Red River is that of the older parishes of which it so long formed a part. All during the period of early French exploration and French and Spanish occupancy of Louisiana, the largest settlement on the upper river was at Natchitoches (q.v.) and the river was the main highway to the northwest.


After Louisiana was ceded to the United States the supplies for Fort Towson in the Indian territory were sent up the Red river from New Orleans, and as soon as Shreveport was established, there was considerable traffic from there to Natchitoches. The country became well known and settlers began to locate along the banks of the river, in what is now known as Red River parish.


As early as 1840 W. D. Lofton and W. A. Martin were living in this district. Up to 1835 Natchitoches was the head of navigation on the Red river, as the "Great Raft," a collection of trees and debris which had been collecting for years, impeded the progress of boats.


After the organization of the parish the first police jury met in May, 1871, and organized in a store building at Coushatta Chute. M. H. Twitchell was elected president, and he, with P. E. Roach, George A. King, F. S. Edgerton, E. D. de Weese and Prior Porter, formed the board. D. H. Hayes was clerk; Homer H. Twitchell, recorder; J. T. Yates, sheriff; Julius Lisso, treasurer, and F. S. Stokes, tax collector. Coushatta, situated on the eastern bank of the Red river, was chosen as the seat of justice. The parish court was opened here on May 29, 1871, by A. 0. P. Pickens, and the first session of the district court began at Coushatta on Sept. 4, 1871.


The circuit court of appeals was opened in May, 1880, by Judges Moncure and George. The last record of the parish court was closed on March 31, 1880, and signed by Judge A. Ben Broughton.


The first paper of the parish was the Coushatta Times, established early in 1871, by William H. Scanland and published by him until December of that year, when H. A. Perryman became owner. The second paper was the Coushatta Citizen, issued Dec. 9, 1871. The common school system is still in its infancy in this parish, as the old Springville academy and the private schools of Coushatta have offered such excellent

opportunities for education that the free schools have been utilized almost entirely by the colored children.


Red River parish has an area of 401 square miles, one-third of which is Red river bottom land, and the other two-thirds are rolling wooded uplands, which form the divide between the Black Lake bayou on the east and the Red river on the west. The soil, both alluvial and upland, is of unsurpassed fertility, and fresh land produces from 1,500 to 2,500 pounds of seed cotton to the acre. There is a large quantity of valuable timber, such as oak, pine, gum, cypress, elm, beech, maple, cottonwood, etc.


The principal water courses are the Red river, Grand and Black Lake bayous and their minor tributaries. In common with all the Red river parishes, cotton is the great export product; sugar-cane, alfalfa, oats, hay, potatoes and peas all yield good returns, and fruits of every description grow abundantly. Stock is raised on a large scale on the uplands, and

cattle, hogs and sheep are exported in large numbers. Cheap transportation is afforded by boats on the Red river; the line of the Louisiana Railway & Navigation company traverses the parish along the eastern bank of the river, and the Texas & Pacific along the western bank. There are few large towns in the parish, as it is not thickly populated,

Coushatta, the parish seat, on the east bank of thee river, being the largest. Other towns and villages are East Point, Lake End, Alpha, Liberty, Pirmont, Carroll and Westdale.


The following statistics concerning the parish are taken from the U. S. census for 1910:

Number of farms, 1,830; acreage, 146,198; acres under cultivation, 66,793; value of land and improvements exclusive of buildings. $1,723,874; value of farm buildings, $532,614; value of live stock, $466,973; total value of all crops, $777,595. The population was 11,402.


[Louisiana, Comprising Sketches of Parishes, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons,

Arranged in Cyclopedic Form, Volume II, 1914, transcribed by C. Danielson]



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