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Visions of Vernon: Vernon Parish Communities, Sherwood - Simpson

Stanley Fletcher
Local historian

Sherwood (T1N, R10W) was a side camp on the 22 miles of the Neame, Carson, and Southern Railroad from Neame to Camp Baker.  The side camp was 16.4 miles from Neame and 5.6 miles from the end camp called Camp Baker, probably on today's Camp Branch.  It was named after John C. Sherwood (NY 1854 - MO 1945), was auditor for the company which owned the Neame mill, the Central Coal & Coke Company, which was known in Louisiana as the Delta Land & Timer Co.

Neame Sawmill

     The years of Sherwood as a side camp are not known.  Delta land & Timber Co. built railroads in Vernon Parish from 1902 to 1914.  The railroad through Sherwood was picked up in 1926 after the Neame mill burned in 1925.  Sherwood can be found on Vernon Parish maps from 1920 to 1947.

     Sigler was a hamlet in southeast Vernon Parish in the Ward Five community.  In the 1860s the location was on the Old Confederate Military Road and in the 1870s on the Sugartown to Hineston trace.  The name Sigler can't be found on any maps, except post office maps.  

Date 5 Jul 1950 McGregor Studio 1015 Chaparral St. Corpus Christi Texas.

Writing on back of Photo identify this as Mom's Grandmother and Grandfather.  Appears to be Dads (Pat Coward's) handwriting.  The date on the back must be when reproduced, as all of Grandma Jewel's grandparents where deceased by that date.  More than likely this is James Ellis and Annie Eliza Sigler (Ollie Siglers parents) rather than Joseph D and Martha Sigler (Mac Siglers parents).

     The exact location of Sigler is questionable.  There's much disagreement.  According to written records, it was a 20th Century hamlet on Brushy Creek six miles east of Slabtown (Pitkin) in the Occupy Church #2 community.  The problem is, even though the Occupy Church #2 community is five miles east of Pitkin, Brushy Creek is only three miles east.  The Occupy Church #2 community is on Steep Gully Creek.  According to post office records the hamlet was three miles east of Pitkin which is where Brushy Creek is.  This description would put Sigler where Dido was located.  A third source says Sigler was also called Liddy, which is not on any Vernon Parish maps.

     According to post office records, Sigler had a population of 100 in 1900.  The post office received its name from James E. Sigler (LA 1862 - TX 1937) who was Dido's postmaster in 1900.  Sigler received a post office from 1901 to 1908.  In 1907 it was relocated on the Santa Fe Railroad.  Postmasters were Eva E. Duhon in 1901, Nat Wasey in 1902, Green Foshee in 1904, and Ely Bedgood in 1906.  The post office was low-volume with a yearly compensation of $8.83 in 1901.  The post office was also called Cherryville.  Mail from Sigler went to Pitkin.   

Dido Train Depot 1921.

     Probably, the hamlet of Sigler did not exist.  The hamlet was called Dido by locals, Sigler by the United States Government.  It's another example of the postal service giving a post office the postmaster's name while the locals used the hamlet's name.

Simpsons Mail Carrier Elijah Williamson

     Simpson (31.256010 N, -93.018519 W) is an Antebellum Period community located in northeast Vernon Parish in Ward Six once located on the Beef Road between Texas and the Red River. 

     Simpson was first called Pine Island.  The community was located on present day Forest Drive, which is one mile south of Simpson's present location.  The hamlet was relocated one mile north to be on LA Hwys. 8 and 465.  

Rev William H Jackson Welcome Church Of God

     In the late 1800s Leesville was a struggling community.  Even though the parish seat was 19.1 miles southwest, Simpson looked east to Rapides Parish for goods and services.  Cotile Landing (Boyce) on the Red River and Hot Wells offered much needed supplies.  Eventually, merchants like Wesley Jackson, Frank Jackson, Joseph Parker, and many others opened stores in Simpson.

Simpsons Principal Joshua Peavy

     Settlers moved into the Simpson community early in Vernon Parish history.  Fourteen families homesteaded in the township in 1860.  Some of them were Cooley, Davis, Hayman, Jowers, Lewis, Parker, Spurgeon, Terrell, and White.

     During the Carpetbagger Period the timber barons had little interest in the area.  This was due to the lack of a railroad to move timber and lumber.  George E. Avery (PA 1872 - NJ 1957) had twelve patents totaling 2,200 acres in 1890 and Jay Gould (NY 1836 - NY 1892) had seven patents in 1888 also totaling 2,200 acres.   

     The hamlet's people sent and received mail at Walnut Hill which was six miles southwest.  Every Saturday Elijah Williamson (LA 1870 - TX 1958) made the weekly trip to Walnut Hill to take the outgoing mail and to pick up the incoming.  He was paid fifty cents for each trip.

     In 1891 the hamlet reached a population of 200 and received a post office with William A. Jackson (Unk.) as the first postmaster.  It was located three-fourth mile east of Welcome Cemetery on today's Welcome Cemetery Road.  Some of the earliest postmasters were Miles/Myles  Parker, Wesley Jackson, Frank Jackson, Robert Jackson, and many more.  The post office is still open. 

     The Simpson community had a school in 1867, four years before Vernon Parish was created.

Henry C. Parker (LA 1848 - LA 1906) from Ouachita Parish was the first teacher.  Once Vernon Parish was created, Ward Six received eighteen schools.  The Hicks community, which is Ward Eight, was part of Ward Six until 1938.  Some of Ward Six's early white schools were Boswell, Friendship, Glade Springs, Lone Oak, Mt. Vernon, Pine Island, Union, and Welcome.  St. Mathew was the only black school.   In 1905 Joshua Peavy (LA 1878 - LA 1967), farmer, teacher, then principal, pushed for consolidation of schools, which were reduced to five.  Simpson School opened with 65 students.  In 1915 Simpson School received a high school with 1919 as the first graduating class.  By 1930 Simpson School had 327 students with thirteen teachers.

     By 1870 two churches formed in the Simpson community.  A Methodist church formed in the present-day Pine Island Cemetery community and a Christian Church formed in today's Mt. Pleasant Cemetery community.  At the end of the century the Church of God denomination organized a church.  It organized in 1897 on Caney Creek by Robert H. Owens (LA 1872 - LA 1903) from the Holly Grove community in Ward Two.  The first pastor was William H. Jackson (LA 1876 - LA 1958).  In 1907 the church moved to today's Welcome Cemetery site and became the Welcome Church of God.  In 1937 the church moved again to its present location on LA Hwy. 8 and was renamed Simpson Church of God.

     With a population of about 491, Simpson incorporated as a village on Sep. 5, 1967.  By 2010 the population increased to 638.  The projected 2020 population is 586, a loss of 8.2%.  The population loss is nationwide as America's youth move to cities to find jobs.