Oakland Region Proves Fertile For Rearing Governors

The Gazette
October 5, 1939

The present village of Oakland is an old established community of Union Parish. Its name until after the Civil War was Union Cross Roads, and was said to have been named by Reverend George Everett, one of the first settlers. In the early days, both ante-bellum and post-bellum, the community was the center of culture. Its history is rich with numerous accomplishments of its natives as it is the birthplace of many of the distinguished citizens of Arkansas and Louisiana. At Oakland or Union Cross Roads, one of the oldest Masonic Lodges of the state was located, Springhill Lodge No. ____.

Within a 25 miles radius of Oakland, which embraces parts of the parishes of Union, Morehouse and Claiborne of Louisiana, and a portion of Union County, Arkansas, the land is not considered rich for agricultural purposes. It is in the hills of North Louisiana, which are always so beautiful especially when Autumn has splashed the leaves of the forests with such brilliant arrays of color. But although the region mentioned is not rich in the sense of agriculture it is rich in its citizens born of its soil, particularly in the production of governors for three of our Southern states. Within that region seven boys were born who were destined to become governors. The following is quoted from the posthumos publication of Governor George W. Donaghey, “Autobiography of George W. Donaghey, Governor of Arkansas, 1909-1913.”

“Within a radius of twenty-five miles of my home (Oakland) were five boys struggling for existence, whom destiny had marked for prominence. Two of these boys became governor of Arkansas, Thomas McRea and myself and three became governors of Louisiana — Heard, Hall and Pleasant. Still unborn was Tom Terral, whose home was only sixteen miles distant. Before my time, Governor Hogg of Texas was said to have been born in Union County. Seven governors born in one poor region! Was it poverty of the land which they cultivated and the rustic neighborhood in which they lived, and the lack of schooling for farm boys, that gave them the impetus to fight for a place for themselves? I think it was.”

So these hills produced William Wright Heard and Ruffin G. Pleasant, of Union Parish to be governors of Louisiana, Tom Terral and George W. Donaghey, of Union Parish to be governors of Arkansas, Luther Egbert Hall, of Morehouse Parish to be governor of Louisiana, Thomas McRea of Union County, Arkansas, to be governor of Arkansas, and James Stephen Hogg, of Union County, Arkansas, to be governor of Texas.

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