Webster Parish Data
Webster Parish Neighbors
Welcome to Webster Parish!
|Welcome to Webster Parish, Louisiana Genealogy & History Network. Our purpose is to provide free resources for genealogical and historical researchers. This site is FREE and will always be FREE to all researchers!|
|If you have genealogy or history information to share, send an email to email@example.com and we will be pleased to include it here. If you have information for other Louisiana Parishes, please consider clicking on the Louisiana Genealogy & History Network link in the Main Menu and visit the appropriate parish. Thanks for visiting and good luck with your research!|
About Webster Parish...
Webster Parish is located in the beautiful pine hills of Northwest Louisiana. The area that is today Webster Parish was first settled in about 1818. Dorcheat Bayou, which bisects the parish from north to south, was the transportation artery that brought the first settlers to the area, and it remained the main connection to the outside world until the coming of the railroads in the years after the Civil War. Today, the bayou, which ceased to be a commercial artery in the early 20th century, is a lovely reminder of the source of settlement and is enjoyed today for fishing, boating and for its scenic value. When the first settlers arrived they were living in Natchitoches Parish, which covered all of Northwest Louisiana in those days of early statehood. Webster Parish was formally created on February 28, 1871, with lands taken from Claiborne, Bossier, and Bienville parishes. The parish seat was located at Minden, the largest town in the parish, which is located in the south central part of the parish.
While settlement in the area of Minden dates back to the second decade of the 19th century, the community itself can trace its beginnings to 1835. In that year, Charles Hanse Veeder, a German-American born in New York State but most recently a resident of Southern Indiana, came to Louisiana and built an inn on a hilltop a few miles from Bayou Dorcheat. Legend has it that the inn was constructed on a salt lick that was the best deer-hunting site in the region. By 1837, Veeder had laid out a town in the shape of a parallelogram and divided the area into lots. He named the settlement after the home of his ancestors in Germany -- Minden. The little town grew and prospered and soon became the largest town in the vast area covered by old Claiborne Parish. In 1838, Minden received one of the first charters for a public school from the State Legislature. Although the school did charge tuition, it was open to all white children. This original Minden Academy later split into two schools, the Minden Male Academy and the Minden Female College, which both operated into the 1890s. The Minden High School of today sits on the site of Veeder's original Minden Academy.
In its early years, the economy of Webster Parish was based largely on farming, with cotton as an important but not dominant crop. The rolling hills that cover the eastern part of the parish were not conducive to the crop, although in the areas along the bayou the land did allow for some large cotton growers to prosper. In fact, one community in the parish, Cotton Valley, drew its name from the principal product grown in that section of the parish.
By the late 19th century, timber was already becoming a primary industrial product and it remains so today. Springhill -- the second largest town in the parish -- located at the far northern end of the parish, abutting the Arkansas border, owes its existence to the logging industry. Although today it is enjoying a rebirth with a growing economy and friendly people sparking a boom in tourism. The discovery of the Cotton Valley Oil Field in the 1920s transformed the economy of Webster Parish, as later discoveries of oil and natural gas were made all over the parish. Today, oil and gas remains a major economic factor in the parish.
Today, Webster Parish is economically prosperous, and offers the visitor the opportunity to take part in all of the various recreational opportunities that make Louisiana the Sportsman's Paradise. For those coming to reside, Webster Parish is a place with friendly hardworking people. It is close enough to the city but retains the charm of country living. It is a wonderful place to call home.
1818 - The first settlers arrive in what will become Webster Parish.
1822 - Newitt Drew establishes a saw and grist mill at Overton, the junction of Cooley Creek and Bayou Dorcheat. Over the next few years commercial traffic picks up on the stream and steamboat trade through the Red River, Loggy Bayou and Lake Bistineau reaches Overton six months of the year.
1836 - Overton becomes the seat of government for Claiborne Parish and a new town; Minden is founded just north of Overton on the hill over Bayou Dorcheat
1848 - After being hit by two Yellow Fever epidemics, Overton loses the title as Claiborne Parish seat to Athens. By the mid-1850s, the town at Overton will be abandoned, with only the commercial structure at the bayou landing left in operation.
1864-65 - During this winter, more than 10,000 Confederate troops are quartered at Camp Magruder in the hills above Cooley Creek east of Minden. A large Confederate Quartermaster's depot is also located in Minden.
1865 - From June through December, the Minden area is occupied by soldiers from the 61st United States Colored Troops.
1871 - Webster Parish is created on February 28, out of portions of Claiborne, Bossier and Bienville parishes. It is named for Senator Daniel Webster. Minden is named as the parish seat.
1882 - The Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad begins construction of the first east to west rail line across the parish as part of its line across North Louisiana. The Webster Parish station on the line is at Lanesville, today known as Sibley.
1898 - The Louisiana and Arkansas Railroad begins construction of the first north to south rail line through the parish.
1901 - Springhill is founded, supported by the timber industry.
1923 - The shops and offices of the L&A Railroad relocate to Minden from Stamps, Arkansas.
1937 - International Paper opens a huge mill at Cullen near Springhill.
1941 - The Louisiana Ordnance Plant, a large shell-loading facility, opens near Minden.
1955 - The operations of the L&A Railroad are moved from Minden to Shreveport.
1979 - The Cullen plant of the International Paper Company closes, although smaller industries owned by the company remain in the Springhill area.
1991 - The Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, successor to the Louisiana Ordnance Plant, closes permanently.
The parish has a total area of 615 square miles, of which 595 square miles is land and 20 square mile (3.23%) is water. The population recorded in the 1900 Federal Census was 15,125. The 2010 census recorded 58,903 residents in the Parish.
Neigboring parishes and counties are Lafayette County, AR (north), Columbia County, AR (northeast), Claiborne Parish (east), Bienville Parish (southeast), and Bossier Parish (west). Communities in the parish include Cotton Valley, Cullen, Dixie Inn, Doyline, Dubberly, Heflin, Minden, Sarepta, Shongaloo, Sibley, and Springhill.
Webster Parish Records
Birth Records - The Louisiana State office maintains records for 100 years after the date of birth. Birth records are considered confidential for the first 100 years. For current information on who may obtain a birth record as well as how to submit a request visit the Office of Public Health, Vital Records Registry website or write to them at PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Birth records older than 100 years are available through the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Death Records - The Louisiana State office maintains records for 100 years after the date of death. Death records are considered confidential for the first 100 years. For current information on who may obtain a death record as well as how to submit a request visit the Office of Public Health, Vital Records Registry website or write to them at PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Death records older than 100 years are available through the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Marriage Records - For current information on how to submit a request for a certified copy of an Orleans Parish marriage record less than 50 years old, see the Louisiana Office of Public Health Director, Vital Records and Statistics website or write to PO Box 60630, New Orleans, LA 70160.
Marriage records over 50 years are stored by the Louisiana State Archives, 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809. (225) 922-1000.
Divorce Records - To obtain current information on how to submit a request for a certified copy of divorce records contact the Clerk of Court. For the address of the parish Clerk of Court visit the Webster Parish Important Addresses page.