Visions of Vernon – Vernon Parish Communities, Almadane - Aubrey

Vernon Parish Historian

When the community was founded by Daniel R. Knight, he named it Almadane by combining Al Damereal, Mann Huddleston, and his own name, Daniel.       

     Daniel became the first postmaster on November 3, 1882.  The post office serviced the village of 75 with a total population of 150.  John Knight took the position of postmaster in 1886 and James M. Oakes in 1896.  As the railroad became more economical than the steamboat, the population of Almadane dropped.  By 1892 the post office serviced sixty residents. It stayed open 51 years, closing on January 31, 1933.  

     The location of the community of Almadane was chosen because of its closeness to the Sabine River,  where residents could send and receive goods. Also, residents could cut and float logs on Anacoco Creek to the east or Sabine River to the west.  The logs were milled in one of many sawmills in Orange, Texas.

     In the early 1900s steamboat Cpt. Samuel Allardyce  moved to the community to manage the general store, cotton gin, grist mill, and sawmill.  Cpt. Allardyce, with John Lyles/Liles were owners of the steamboat Neches Belle. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Cpt. Allardyce brought newspapers to the Ward Three community.

     The timber baron era increased the population of the area.  The population increased to 88 families. From 1888 to 1890 Henry Lutcher and Bedell Moore received sixteen land patents totaling 14,047 acres.  Even though Lutcher and Moore did not build a sawmill in Vernon Parish, they built a railroad which carried logs to Niblett's Bluff, where they were dumped in the Sabine River and floated to Orange, Texas. 

     Almadane has one of the largest African-American cemeteries in Vernon Parish, containing 126 known burials.  The cemetery is located on Almadane Cemetery Road five miles south of Evans on LA Hwy. 111. The large black population on the Sabine River could be descendents  of former slaves. The Burrs with 29 slaves, Huddlestons with sixteen slaves, and the Knights with eight slaves were three of the largest slave-owner families in Vernon Parish.   Slavery was more common in Many Ward than Anacoco Ward due to the timber industry.

      Anacoco, once called Orange, has a history that is pre-railroad.  It's one of the oldest communities in Vernon Parish that goes back when Jonathan Franklin, a Revolutionary War hero, who was born in Virginia in 1766, came to present-day Vernon Parish in 1834 from Tennessee.  Other first families were the Miers/Myers, Conerly, McConathy, and Kirk. 

     Anacoco was located on the northern route of the east-west Hineston to Burr Ferry road.  At Hicks Crossing the road split and the northern route went to Hadden's Ferry through Anacoco and the southern route went to Burr Ferry through Huddleston.

     The Anacoco community, like other small communities in Vernon Parish, had numerous small water-powered mills.  The earliest mills were primarily sawmills, but many could grind corn and wheat plus gin cotton. One of the largest mills was the Kirk mill on Anacoco Creek East at present-day U.S. Hwy. 171.  Other mills were called Conerly (Anacoco Creek West), Koonce (Sandy Creek), Hughes, Langton (Sandy Creek), Leach (Mill Creek), and Palmer. Later and larger sawmills were Powell Brothers and Sanders and a second one built by the J. H. Anderson Lumber Company.

     Anacoco's first post office was established in 1875 with John Kirk as postmaster.  It closed or was renamed Orange, in 1899. The Orange post office opened in 1898 with John Cain as postmaster and a population of 200 in the village and a service population of 300.  Because Orange, Texas and Orange, Louisiana were on the same railroad, Orange, Louisiana was renamed Anacoco in 1912. The post office has remained open.

     The community has had many schools over the years.  Some of the earliest were Central, Cold Springs, Eddy, Edgefield, Good Hope, Sandy Creek, and Union.  The high school was called Orange High School until 1949, when the school's name was changed to Anacoco. 

     Historians disagree about the source of Anacoco's name.  The community was named after the bayou which drained the Anacoco Prairie to the east.  The bayou first appeared on a 1797 Spanish map as Lianaucucu Bayou. One source says Anacoco comes from the Spanish word "liana" or "ilano", which means plain or prairie and "coco", which is the raincrow, a native bird of Texas that sings before a rain.  A second source says Anacoco is a Native-American word that means "muddy sands."

     Anacoco was incorporated in 1979 as a village.  The village is growing with a population of 841 in 2016 and a population of 1,096 today.  In area, Anacoco is 3.089 square miles.

     Aubrey, also called Dido, is a community 35 miles southeast of Leesville and 15 miles west of Oakdale on LA Hwy. 10 at the intersection with LA Hwy. 377.  The community was on the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe Railroad which was built in 1906, but with no depot until 1918. It was located on the Military Trail which was built in 1862 during the Civil War.  It was built between Niblett's Bluff on the Sabine River and Alexandria to furnish the Confederate army with food and supplies after the Union took over the Mississippi and Red Rivers.

     Little is known about the community.  No one knows where Dido got its name. The word "dido" means to perform a mischievous trick or deed.  In history, Queen Dido was the first queen of Carthage, Tunisia in North Africa on the Mediterranean Sea.

     Some of the "founders" of Dido were John Jacob Weldon, Dr. James D. Stalsby and John Henry Davis.  John Weldon was the first postmaster. Dr. Stalsby was the community doctor and postmaster in 1901.  He was certified by the Certified Board of Medical Examiners as a doctor, but with no college degree recorded.  In the Civil War he fought for the Union in Co. B, 1st Bn., LA Cav. Scouts. His wife, Rozena, received a pension.  The third founder, John Henry Davis, was a retail merchant who had a store in Dido. In 1918 he appealed to the LA Railroad Commission to force the railroad to build a depot in Dido.  He won the case and Dido received a depot.