October 5, 1939
Body’s Proceedings of First Meetings Show How Parish Started
Nothing can tell the history of a parish better than the records of that parish’s governing body the police jury.
Fortunate is Union Parish in having an almost continuous record of the minutes of its police jury from the time of the creation of the parish until the present date.
Feeling that brief condensed extracts from these records will give a more complete history of the parish than any other source, the following brief extracts of the early minutes of the Union Parish Police Jury are published herewith. The page number on which the minutes appear is carried also.
Page 1: Election of police jurors called May 13, 1839 by W. W. Farmer. From Ward 1, John N. Farmer was elected with nine votes and no opposition at an election at the home of Susanah Farmer. Ward 2, election held at home of John Stone, Jeptha Colvin was elected without opposition. Ward 3, Phillip Feazel was elected by a majority of two votes. Ward 4, Matthew Wood elected. Ward 5, Needham Bryan elected. Ward 6, Bridges Howard elected. Ward 7, D. P. A. Cook elected. Matthew Wood was chosen president of that first police jury.
Page 3: William C. Carr was appointed parish tax collector to collect taxes for year 1838. Seat of justice to be located at or within five miles of center of parish. Adjourned until next day at 9 a. m. to name seat of government. (Pages 1, 2, 3 comprise the first meeting, May 15, 1839.
Page 4: Thomas Van Hook appointed first clerk. Matthew Wood appointed to enter quarter section of land for seat of justice. Adjourned until next morning.
Page 4: Permanent seat of justice shall be located in E1/2 SE1/4. Section 30, Township 21. Range 1 East. The seat of justice in and for the parish of Union shall be called by the name of Farmerville. Matthew Wood appointed justice of the peace, (May 17, 1839)
Page 4 Permanent Fourth meeting of body on June 5, 1839 at home of Matthew Wood.
Page 7, 8, 9, 10: Stray law of Ouachita Parish adopted.
Page 11: To meet at parish seat on Friday, July 14, 1839 to lay out townsite of Farmerville.
Page 13: Called session July 15. James Roan presented certificate of election as juror from Ward 2. Townsite laid out (July 15).
Page 14, 15: Plot of Farmerville
Page 16, 17: Sale of town lots. (List of buyers given).
Page 18, 19: Plot of town given.
Page 20: Met at home of Matthew Wood, July 17, 1839 — called session.
Page 21: “The Parish of Union to Matthew Wood: To 21 days work on the parish site, $21. To digging a well on public square, $45. For curbing the well, furnishing water bucket and rope and water trough, $6. This bill ordered paid.
“De Loutre Ferry”
Page 22: Donation of $50 by Matthew Wood accepted. A public ferry ordered established at public crossing on De Loutre near P. Jones place. P. Jones made ferryman and ferry rate adopted. W. C. Carr allowed seven and one-half per cent of all taxes collected for year 1839. Ferry established across Ouachita River at mouth of Bayou Bartholomew.
Page 23: Daniel Payne’s $5,000 bond as parish treasurer with Matthew Wood and N. M. Bryan as sureties. Adjourned to meet Monday, July 29, 1839.
Page 24: Called session at Farmerville on July 29, 1839.
Page 27: Line between Townships 21 and 22 be line between Wards 6 and 7 from Bayou De Loutre to Ouachita River.
Page 28: Meeting of first Monday in September, 1839. P. J. Harvey appointed administrator of public schools to take place of John N. Farmer, resigned. Each police juror appointed overseer of the roads of the wards in which they reside.
Court House Plans
Page 29, 30: Plans for court house and jail made.
Page 31: W. C. Carr allowed 6¢ per foot for digging public well in Farmerville. W. C. Carr appointed tax collector to collect 1839 taxes. Full state tax levied as parish taxes for year 1839. Parish and district courts to meet in home of W. C. Carr in Farmerville. $100 appropriation to Daniel Stricklin for his support. Matthew Wood appointed Philip Feazel and Thos. Van Hook as committee to superintend letting out and building a public jail and court house in Farmerville. To let contracts to lowest bidder. Power to draft on president of group for money given this committee.
(Lot 59 was appropriated for the jail. A sale of lots was authorized with terms of sale given. The court house plans were altered to build brick walls.)
Page 35: Session November 5, 1839. Conditions for letting out and building of court house and jail. One-fourth of the price on March 1, 1840 and the balance payable on January 1, 1841. Amount not paid on completion to bear 10 per cent interest. Jail to be finished six months from November 1839. Court house by January 1, 1841. Additional jail plans were given.
Page 40: Building committee ordered to pay W. C. Carr $1,500 parish bonds due January 1, 1841. Receipt of Robert Cook for $750 as part payment for building court house and jail.
Page 41: Meeting of April 6, 1840. Bridge authorized across Bayou De Loutre between Bridges Howard’s place and James Ramsey’s.
Page 42: Sale of lots ordered first Monday in May, 1940.
(Additional pages give mostly details about court house and jail construction.)
Page 55: Additional $25 allowed to David Stewart for support of David Stricklin. $150 appropriated Stewart for support of Stricklin. Ferry across D’Arbonne at mouth of Cornie to be let June 1.
Page 56: Election superintendents for general elections appointed. A. B. Roberts and John Feazel and Alexander Wafer appointed for district 1. Second district, Matthew Wood, Campbell Lassiter, Daniel Payne, Third district, Thomas Norsworthy, B. Howard and Wiley Underwood.
Page 59: Meeting September 7, 1840. Joel Mixon sworn and seated as police juror for Ward 2. $2,245.00 paid Robert Cook for court house and jail.
Page 60: List of lots sold on November 3 and 4, 1840.
Page 61: Five per cent fee allowed tax collector. Election of R. J. Haney parish tax collector to collect 1840 taxes. Seventy-five per cent of state taxes levied as parish tax for 1840.
Page 63: J. D. Cooper and S. S. Moses appointed captains Patrol Ward 4 and 5 and all persons liable for military duty will be subject to their orders. Fences shall be at least six feet high and close so small animals cannot pass through between rails.
Page 68: Meeting of November 3, 1840. P. A. Banks allowed $50 for nursing and burying George McCowen. Provision for stock brand regulation.
Page 71: Bond of Robert Cook with George Jessuys and H. Holmes as sureties to build court house and jail.
Page 72: Bond for N. M. Bryan as treasurer.
Page 73: Bond of Hendrick J. Harvey as tax collector.
First Conservation Measure
Page 74: Bond of Matthew Wood and John Taylor to keep bridge across Bayou De Loutre in good repairs for five years. ($800). Meeting of December 7, 1840. First conservation measure passed. Ferry one-fourth mile below Bayou Bartholomew let to James H. Seals elected assessor for 1840.
Page 75: Meeting of December 8, 1840. Bill for $10 allowed for advertising sale of lots in Ouachita “Standard”. Building committee authorized to change roof of court house to square roof.
Page 78: W. C. Carr allowed $100 for use of his home for holding parish courts and police jury meetings.
Page 79: Title made to Willis Austin to lots 30 and 304, Square 17.
Page 80: Meeting of June 17, 1841. Wiley Underwood elected Ward 7, two years; Lewis Lamir, Ward 6, two years; W. J. H. Dees, Ward 5, one year; P. Boatright, Ward 4, one year; Dandridge Acree, Ward 1, William Pipes, Ward 3, one year; Joel Mixon, Ward 2, two years. Joel Mixon elected president and James M. Turner, clerk.
Settle Ward Boundaries
Page 84: All that land in from between Bayou D’Arbonne and Bayou Cornie west to Claiborne Parish line be included in Ward 3. Scarborough Landing on Ouachita River mentioned in proceedings. Road from James Ramsey’s ford on the De Loutre to the Arkansas line, the nearest and best route to intersect the Arkansas line at Cook’s old road leading to Scarborough landing.
Page 85: Ferry established across Ouachita River at John Parker’s landing. (Meeting of June 8, 1841). General election commissioners appointed. First precinct, John N. Farmer, W. H. Culberson, Elias Wheat; second precinct, W. H. Eubanks, N. M. Bryan, G. W. Magee; third precinct, Richard Bass, John Hill, James H. Harvey.
Page 91: John Feazel, Thomas Van Hook, N. M. Bryan, W. W. Farmer, John Hill appointed administrators for public schools.
Page 91: Trustees of Union Male and Female Academy authorized to locate on any lands of parish not otherwise disposed of said lands not to exceed five acres.
Page 93: Daniel Payne resigned as parish treasurer.
Page 94: Bill of James H. Seale of $100 for digging up 84 stumps and rolling, pushing and transporting logs on public square and filling up a large hole at end of court house was allowed.
Page 95: Meeting of July 12, 1841. At this meeting of July 12, 1841. At this meeting mention was made of W. C. Carr as sheriff for the parish. Resolution making people who disturb police jury by loud words or meddling with business in which they are not directly concerned subject to fine of not less than $1 and not more than $5. Sheriff to keep order and be paid $2 per day for such service.
Page 96: W. W. Farmer allowed $5 for repairing jail. Committee appointed to lay out road beginning where “negro Dick was hanged” on Claiborne to intersect Monroe road at or near Phillip Feazel’s home.
Page 102: Building committee authorized to alter plans of rooms for upstairs in court house from six rooms to four and that they cause two rooms to be made on the first floor and draw on treasurer for any expenses incurred.
Page 103: Meeting of September 5, 1841. Road overseers to measure and mark each mile in a legible manner and also index each fork. Fifty per cent of state tax levied as parish tax for 1841.
Page 104: Parish surveyor to survey and lay out land granted by police jury to trustees of the Union Male and Female Academy, Moses, Campbell Lassiter, Alen Moses, Cambell Lasestes, Allen Carr, Moses Pierson, James E. Jones, John Rabun and Peter O’Neil commissioned to lay out a road from Horsetrough Creek to line of Arkansas to meet Arkansas road where it strikes the line.
Page 105: William Culverhouse appointed physician to attend state prisoners who may want medical aid in said parish. Appointed for one year. James M. Turner appointed surveyor to lay out and run off lots of Town of Farmerville and to set up posts and names in accordance with a plot which is marked on minutes of police jury. Police jury clerk authorized to advertise for sale 100 lots, more or less, on fourth Monday in September, 1841. S. S. Moses appointed tax collector for 1841.
Page 106: Meeting of September 7, 1841. Rules of transaction of business within the Police Jury. William Underwood appointed president pro tempore of the meeting.
Page 108: That each respective ward in Union Parish in the future be known as magistrate’s districts.
Page 111: Robert Cook allowed $1 per day for 30 days of work on the court house square.
Page 115: Meeting of June 6, 1842. William Pipes presented certificate of his election as a police juryman from Ward 3, as did J. E. Jones from Ward 4, W. J. H. Dees from Ward 5. Wiley Underwood was elected president of the group. W. C. Eubanks elected clerk.
Page 116: Zephoniah Davis, Franklin L. Gipsont, Jesse Brantley and William M. Lawrence appointed constables. James H. Seale elected tax assessor. Z. B. Davis appointed constable to keep order and execute all orders in teh police court and to be paid $2 per day. John Coulter appointed captain patrol for Ward 2.
Page 118: Parish judge and his successors in office authorized to let out and rent public ferries..
Page 119: Committee appointed to lay out road from northeast corner of Underwood’s plantation on Ouachita River to Bachelor Peer.
Page 120: Meeting of June 7, 1842, Michael O’Neil appointed captain patrol Ward 1, C. Norman, captain patrol Ward 6; Samuel R. Farrar, Ward 7; James Manning, Ward 4.
Page 126: Bounty of $4 placed on each “troublesome animal called wolves” killed. Same bounty given for panthers. Sings of the dead animal must be produced and, for non-residents, two creditable witnesses must testify.
Page 130: James M. Turner, parish surveyor, allowed $352.76 for surveying the Town of Farmerville and lot of ground for use of Union male and Female Academy.
Page 132: Bill allowed M. W. Calicott for hauling timber for the frame of the steeple of the court house ($2), hauling planks from Bayou D’Arbonne ($4), sawing material for ladder ($1). Jacob Clingfost appointed building commissioner in place of Matthew Wood.
Page 135: Meeting of June 8, 1842. Parish treasurer ordered to pay Robert Cook $30 for completion of court house. (This shows that the first parish court house must have been finished around June, 1842).
Thus, by sketching over those brief police jury minutes the first part of the parish’s history, one can see that business was orderly and constructive. Those early office holders pushed the final completion of intricate organization details, as well as the setting of precedents for successive bodies to follow.