The Desoto Parish Historical Society met at the home of Sally Burford Owens, owner of a new home on the historic Welcome Hall site in Stonewall, La. on Sunday, May 21, at 2:00pm. Their quarterly meeting’s speaker was Fellow Historical Society Member and Treasurer, George Gilmer.
Gilmer told about the birth of the Stonewall area when residents of South Carolina traveled to DeSoto Parish in search of fertile land to be farmed for cotton. When the travelers arrived, accompanied by a large group of men and equipment to start clearing this wild new land, they found rolling prairies ready for the plow.
Shortly great plantation homes like Welcome Hall, Land’s End, and Roseneath were erected on each large land grant. These great houses were spared at the end of the Civil War from the torch of General Bank’s Union invaders because of his humiliating defeat by Confederate General Taylor in the decisive Battle of Mansfield. This battle turned the invading army back to Alexandria, La. and ended the burning and pillaging they’d done on the way up the Red River.
Also, on the program was the donation by fellow member Diane Long of a framed “Tally Sheet” from the 1916 DeSoto Parish elections to the Mansfield Female College Museum. This Tally Sheet has hash mark tallies for the races of State Representative, Sheriff, Assessor and Police Juror with notable old parish names like Porter, Rives, Nabors, and Hewitt. Very timely since we have these same elections coming up in a few months. Reporter’s inquiry, “Maybe we should return to this old Tally System?”
If you are interested in joining the Historical Society call George Gilmer at 318-925-6682 for our next meeting at the Mansfield Battle park Museum.