The Legislative Act of March 30, 1871 that created Vernon Parish has sixteen sections. Section Six of the sixteen sections created a parish seat to be located on or near Bayou Castor in Section 23, Township 2, Range 7.
Leesville incorporated on February 15, 1900 as a town with a population of 1,148. Since
then, she has had 21 mayors who have served 23 terms in office. Oscar Edmund Morris
served three terms as ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth mayor. The first ten mayors were
Sterling Richardson, Dr. Pryor Lea/Dr. William Lee, Thomas Wintle, Henry Booker,
Thomas Harris, Dr. Francis Watson/T. A. Watson, Isaac Boyd, Thomas Davis, Oscar Morris, and Lawson Woosley The remaining eleven mayors were:
12. Jean Myriel King, 1934-1942 - Jean was born on May 14, 1899 in Lake Charles to
George Merritt and Elizabeth Brown Sterling King. In 1900, 1910, and 1920 he lived in
Lake Charles. He moved to Leesville after 1920. He married Ruth Perkins on
September 6, 1924. Jean graduated from Tulane with an engineer degree and listed his
occupation as a store stationary engineer and a lumber mill superintendent. He died in
Lake Charles on March 13, 1968 and is buried in Orange Grove Cemetery in the city.
14. Rosario Joseph "Fatty" Fertitta, 1950-1958 and 1962-1970 - Fatty was born in
Leesville to Joseph "Joe" and Olivia Maceo Fertitta. He lived his entire life in Leesville.
Fatty married Carolyn H. Allen, year unknown. On his WW II draft registration he
listed his occupation as Fertitta Brothers'. He served in the U.S. Navy during WW II,
discharged on October 8, 1945. Fatty died on October 7, 1976/79 and is buried in
15. Felix Eugene "Pete" Hernandez, 1958-1962 - Pete was born on August 30, 1907
in Leesville to Peter Philip and Ava D. Scaife Hernandez. He lived his entire life in
Leesville. He married Dorothy Dale Nolan, year unknown. In 1930 and 1940 he listed
his occupation as retail merchant and feed salesman. Pete served in the U.S. Navy
during WW II and was discharged on September 26, 1945. He died on January 10, 1984
and is buried in Leesville Cemetery.
16. Henry Buford "Boots" Sartor, 1970-1978 - Boots was born on August 26, 1914 in Louisiana to Thomas R. and Cora Runyan Sartor. In 1920 and 1930 he lived in Oberlin and DeRidder. In 1940 he lived in Leesville as a boarder of W. H. Pollard. He married Evelyn Self who died in 1986. He then married Winifred Ware. In 1940 he listed his occupation as a car salesman. Boots served in the U.S. Army during WW II. He died on February 20, 2003 and is buried in Leesville Cemetery.
17. Ralph Dillon McRae, Jr., 1978-1979 and 1982-1986 - Ralph was born on May 31,
1944 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida to Ralph Dillon, Sr. and Billie Sims McRae. He
lived his entire life in Leesville except his military service from 1966 to 1972. Ralph is a
Vietnam War veteran. He married Dottie McCormick in 1964 and divorced in 1988. He
then married Anna Langley in 2003. His occupations include a construction business,
owner of McRae Ford, and Shawson Gas Inc. As mayor Ralph improved the City of
Leesville in many ways: he used home rule charter to increase the strength of the city
administrator, he improved the water system by drilling a one million gallon water
storage and treatment facility, he built a new public works complex and improved the
industrial park, he built a new access road to the Leesville Airport and increased the
parking ramp, and he took over the ambulance service for Leesville and Vernon Parish
when the private company collapsed. He is living in Leesville.
18. Roger Glen Morris, 1979-1982 - Roger was born on October 1, 1941 in DeRidder
to Eldridge Leonard and June Yardbrough Morris. He lived his entire life in DeRidder
and Leesville. He married Margie ___. Roger's occupation was tire salesman and real
estate owning Morris Tire and Morris Real Estate. He served in the military in the U.S.
Marines Reserve. Roger died in Shreveport on January 10, 2012 and is buried in Lewis
Cemetery in Beauregard Parish.
19. Patrick "Pat" Anderson, 1986-1990 - No response to questionnaire
20. James "Jim" Stephen Shapkoff, Jr., 1990-2006 - Jim was born on August 1,
1941 in Forrest City, AR to James Stephen, Sr. and Victoria Sefcik Shapkoff. He moved
to Leesville in 1956. On June 15, 1963 James married Jody Westmoreland of Leesville.
Jim accomplished many goals for the City of Leesville: he obtained 100 acres for the
industrial park, he established the Office for Industrial Development, he built a fire
station in Lee Hills, he expanded the airport, he improved the water system, he
expanded the sewer plant, he negotiated for property for Walmart, he formed the
Mayor's Women's Commission, worked with military groups to build the Veteran's
Plaza, and he worked with military groups to bring the Veterans Cemetery to Vernon
Parish. He presently lives in Leesville as owner of West Louisiana Ice Service and
Vernon Moving and Storage.
21. Betty Carter Westerchil, 2006-2010 - Betty was born on November 19, 1940 in
Calvin, LA to Arvel Leon and Myrtle Long Carter. She grew up in Winn Parish and
graduated at Winnfield High School. She attended LA Tech and received a BA in
education. Betty married Joseph Wesley Westerchil from Alexandria in 1961. She
began her teaching career in Houma then moved to Leesville where she retired. She
also served on the Vernon Parish School Board, LA School Board Association, and as NSU/Leesville/Ft. Polk Community Relations Coordinator. As mayor she promoted the growth of the Leesville community. She is living in Leesville and presently serves on the Vernon Parish Library Board and the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission.
22. Charles Robert Rose, 2010-2014 - No response to questionnaire
23. Rick Allen, 2014-Present - No response to questionnaire