John Thomas Heard

john-t-heard-family

Written by Gene Barron
Picture Provided by Gene Barron

In 1883 the John Heard family lived in the Simp Ramsey house and John worked in the saloon a the Rabun store (the store had, by this time passed into the hands of R. F. Rabun’s son, T. J. Rabun). After work one night John came home and, after removing his shirt, exposed a knife wound he had received while working in the saloon. John Heard was married to Louisa, the 5th child of early settler Tyre Boone Trammell. The couple had a daughter named Mattie. When Mattie grew up she married Berson Monroe Stone. They had 4 children, Clarice, George Heard, Janet and Melvin, better known as “Guts”.

John Heard was a rough character. In his spare time he did vigilante work for those who needed it. Under the cover of darkness, he dealt out punishment to those who needed to be taught a lesson whether they be black or white. He seemed to enjoy the rough and rowdy ways as did many others in the area at the time. These were wild and dangerous times in Spearsville’s history.

John finally met his end while on one of these missions after moving to Lisbon in Claiborne Parish in March of 1901. He and a group of armed men had gone to teach a black man a lesson. They were to surround the man’s house. John went one way and the rest of the men went the other. One of the men saw a movement and shot. After they worked their way around to where the movement had come from they found John lying wounded from the gunshot.

For several days, John was thought to be recovering from his wounds but made a turn for the worse and the doctor lost hope of saving him. Before he died he told his family not to try to take his body back to SpearsvilleĀ for burial but to bury him in Lisbon. The stream, called Middle Folk, that flowed between there and Spearsville had overflowed from the heavy spring rains and he knew that it was virtually impossible to cross.

The poor black man was captured, charged with the killing, found guilty and hanged.

 

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Gene BarronGene Barron is a native of Spearsville, Union Parish, Louisiana. He has a genealogy database of 182,000 names, who are all connected to his family.

Gene has also written two historical books on Union Parish. I highly recommend both.

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