Written by Gene Barron
On July 16, 1894 Joseph David Platt was killed in a shootout in the Tiger Bend Community behind the home of Mr. Huey Green. The shootout had been brewing for several days since a rumor had come to light concerning a local young lady. The girl’s father demanded an investigation to find the source of the slanderous allegations. The culprit was narrowed down to one of two men – Joseph David Platt or Dan Pardue. It was decided that all factions would meet at Platt’s farm on Monday, July 16th to fix blame and settle the matter. On that Monday, Platt’s wife was sick so he could not leave her so they decided to meet late that evening. Platt and his father-in-law, Joseph Stewart met with a group of men that had gathered about 300 yards from Platt’s home. The group consisted of William T. Hollis, W. M. Tisdale, William Lee Tisdale, Jim M. Defee, Pleasant Green Defee, and Sam and Bill Williamson.
After Joe Goolett and a man named Brown joined the crowd, the question of the origin of the scandal was raised and hot words were exchanged between Dan Pardue and Joe Platt as to which was the originator of the slanderous remarks. The Pardue crowd raised their guns and were about to fire at Platt when Hollis and Brown had them lower their guns. The discussion continued to heat up, Pardue accusing and cussing Platt and Goolet while pointing his gun. Then Platt started at Pardue and the latter opened fire. Then a general war broke out between Dan Pardue and William Tisdale on one side and Joe Platt and Joseph Stewart on the other.
Both of Platt’s hands, his right leg, and his abdomen were all hit with separate loads of buck shot. He was also hit with pistol shot in the breast and a ball from a Winchester in his leg. Stewart was hit in the hip and was badly beaten on the head with a pistol. Goolet received a slight wound in his hand and Tisdale was hit once. Pardue escaped unhurt. Platt died on the scene.
The fight resulted in arrest warrants being issued for W. L. Tisdale, W. M. Tisdale, Dan Pardue, J. M. Defee, P. G. Defee, Bill Williamson and Sam Williamson. All were arrested except Dan Pardue and W. L. Tisdale. An informant reported that both Pardue and Tisdale mounted their horses and rode off immediately after the shootout. A total of fourteen arrest warrants were issued in connection with the killing of Joseph Platt.
In August J. M. Defee, P. G. Defee, W. M. Tisdale, Bill Williamson and Sam Williamson were found guilty of manslaughter. J. M. Defee was sentenced to 12 years, P. G. Defee to 9 years, Bill Williamson to 12 years, and Sam Williamson to 18 months.
On Wednesday, August 8, Dan Pardue and W. L. Tisdale were seen six miles south on the D’Arbonne. That night Sheriff Daniel and his posse searched the area for the men to no avail. For over a year W. L. Tisdale and Dan Pardue had been on the run but in September, 1894 an informant told the sheriff that they were hold up on the Buck Baker plantation which was located adjacent to the Ouachita River in Ouachita Parish.
On Sunday, September 22 late in the evening, sheriff deputies Taylor, Underwood, Rabun, Baughman, Smith and Hay traveled by horseback to the bank of the Ouachita, procured a skiff and rowed across to the Baker plantation. They surrounded the home of Baker and waited for daylight. As dawn broke, deputies Taylor and Underwood crept up to an open window and peered in a three men just waking up. The deputies entered the room and recognized two of the men as their queries. In October, Dan Pardue was tried, found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary and fine $25 plus court cost. On October 24, 1894 Dan Pardue was escorted to the state penitentiary by Deputy Sheriff John Murphy.
In November 1895, Tisdale was tried, found guilty of wounding less than mayhem (sentenced to one year and fined $10), shooting with intent to kill (sentenced to one year and all court costs), and manslaughter (sentenced to twelve years and fined $25 court cost.
In July 1899, P. G. Defee and Dan Pardue was pardoned by the Governoe – Defee because of poor health and Pardue because of his extreme youth at the time of the crime. Of the seven convicted of killing Rev. Platt, only Jim Defee and Sam Williamson remained in prison. Bill Tisdale, Bill Williamson and W. L. Tisdale had died in prison.
Gene 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.