October 5, 1939
(Picture provided by Gerald Thurston)
Carr Sold Bell to Local School Following War
On these brisk fall mornings when the “clang-clang” of the town’s school bell calls Farmerville children to the classrooms, how many of you know the real story and history of that bell?
The peal that now cuts through the snappy fall air once called the slaves of one of Farmerville’s most illustrious forefathers to and from the fields.
Long before the Civil War, in fact before Farmerville was founded, William C. Carr had settled at Cherry Ridge, about 12 miles north of town, and, like practically all of the planters of that time, he had slaves to work his fields and harvest his crops. These slaves ate, slept and worked by a slave bell. Practically every slave owner had his plantation bell, usually located in a strategic position so that its sonorous peal could be heard for several miles.
Carr, who was Union Parish’s first sheriff and Farmerville’s first settler, sold this bell to the school trustees after the Civil War had forced the passage of the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids slavery anywhere in the jurisdiction of the Stars and Stripes.
The bell was placed in the school house of that time and in subsequent school houses. Today a full century later, the bell that used to call slaves to the fields now calls the school children of the same town to their books and it’s melody is just the same.