NEWS FROM RICHLAND PARISH

 

The first newspaper published in Richland Parish was "Richland Beacon" established at Rayville about 1869 by Thomas J. Mangham. The first sheriff was  A. J Lidell with J Newt Pitts the clerk of the parish. In 1890 the town of Rayville was almost completely destroyed by fire. In 1891 a similar incident occurred and the town had to be rebuilt.
The Daily Picayune, (New Orleans, LA) Wednesday, June 06, 1888 Rayville La, A fire which destroyed considerable property and how the hotel was saved. June 3, Special--This morning about sunrise the usually quiet little town of Rayville became the scene of considerable excitement, occasioned by a fire, which originated in the craproom, situated in the rear of the Gem Saloon, now owned and occupied by J W Simms. The fire rapidly consumed this building and the storehouse and stock of goods adjoining , also owned and kept by Mr. Simms. The flames then proceeded to envelop the old Richland House owned by Mr. John H Abraugh  and kept  by Mrs. E.M. Carter as a branch of her hotel. These were all frame buildings and the house owned by J H Abraugh and the Gem Saloon  two story buildings. When the flames were at their utmost heat it seemed that the destruction of the main hotel buildings, situated about 30 feet from the Richland House could not be prevented. The last mentioned building is the only hotel in Rayville and is owned and occupied by Mrs. E. M Carter; and the many friends of this energetic lady  were unwilling to see her property destroyed and her business destroyed if any means could be employed to prevent such a calamity. Accordingly a timely and well directed effort was made to save this building. J. W. Willis quickly followed by Mr. B O Edwards by means of the surrounding lattice work, mounted the roof. These gentleman were assisted by a number of earnest workers who produced a ladder and brought water and blankets. The blankets were spread upon the roof and kept saturated with the water, and this well organized effort to save the house was successful.  Mrs. E M Carter lost considerable furniture in the building owned by Mr. Abraugh which however was insured in the Home Mutual Insurance Company.  The total loss is estimated about $12,000 or $15,000. All the buildings were insured. There having been no necessity for fire being about the buildings, the fire is supposed to be the work of an incendiary. The Regalia's of the Knights of Pythias and the American Legion of Honor were in the lodge situated above the Gem Saloon. Mr. B O Edwards made a daring but unsuccessful effort to save them.
SHREVEPORT, La., March 28, 1893—The work of the cyclone in Richland parish last Thursday is more serious than at first reported. The storm struck the vicinity of Archibald, on the New Orleans and Northeastern, and - barely missed the town. All buildings on W, A. Broughton's place were destroyed. Mr. Sarter's place shared the same fate. Two men and one child wore killed there and a number wounded, all colored. All the buildings on the Pruitt place were demolished and two negro children killed. The residences of S. A, Archibald and J. A. Archibald were wrecked, with all the outbuildings.! Other houses badly damaged were those of W. A. McVeigh ,D Bithy, L M. Montgomery, E. S. Archibald. J. J. Archibald and W. E. Spence. Ruston Daily Leader.
Bismarck Daily Tribune, (Bismarck, ND) Saturday, July 27, 1889; col C; _____Chas Sellers was executed at Rayville, La friday afternoon for the murder of Bunyou Adams in Richland Parish.
The Daily Picayune, (New Orleans, LA) Sunday, June 18, 1893; pg. 2  Back Water Receding a more hopeful outlook. Rayville, La June 17,  The back water after reaching a point within  about 8 inches below last year's high water mark is slowly receding, and a rapid decline is expected here in a few days.  The people of Richland parish have been cheerful and active and industrious. They have not only built numerous protection levees, but have kept their crop in good condition behind them in places where last  years crop were totally destroyed, notably the Rayville levees of B O Edwards and C P Balfour, about two miles from this town, each of whom saved more than 100 acres of fine cotton, which would have been have been lost for the sake of about one mile of levee built with the assistance of their hands at an expense of about $50.  Public sentiment here is much in favor of private  levees. This, too is partly due to the fact that to the persistence, liberality and activity of Mayor W T Oliver, Chas Titche, J W Simms and other prominent citizens in building about one mile of protection levee around this town, that this is the first overflow that failed to gain entrance into the town, which has been dry the whole season. From information from farmers in different parts of the parish and from observation your correspondent estimates the damage caused by the present flood of about one fourth of what it was last year, on an average throughout the parish and the people here are over-joyed to know that it will not be necessary to the government aid.
Southwestern Christian Advocate, (New Orleans, LA) Thursday, July 06, 1893___Rayille --M.H. Hunter-----This is to inform you that the high water has taken charge of my work so that we cannot have any access into the buildings. The church at Winnsboro is completely surrounded by high water, and the one at Rayville is about four feet under water and is liable to be washed off its pillars. Hundreds of people have lost all their crops, and their livestock, and considerable suffering prevails among the people. Pray for us. Many of our Brethern are in great distress on account of the overflow. Some substantial help will be rendered by the State, but our Brethern must remember their obligation to the people who are in the midst of these trying circumstances and help them.
 

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