Visions of Vernon: Vernon Parish's Founding Families, Hayes - Hewitt

Stanley Fletcher
Local Historian
James A. Heard, 1870-1946

Hayes - The founding fathers of the Hayes family in Vernon Parish were brothers William Franklin Hayes (AL 1852 - LA 1915) and Monroe McDuffy Hayes (AL 1860 - LA 1898).  Their parents were Henry (AL 1816 - LA 1898) and Mary Palmer (1830 - Unk.) Hayes from Bibb County, Alabama.  They came to West-Central Louisiana in the 1880s.  William married Elvia Dixon (1870 - 1928) in Leesville in 1892.  Monroe married Sarah Poe (1848 - 1878) in Blount County, Alabama in 1876 and Martha Marsh (1870 - 1957) in Leesville in 1888.  In all enumerations both were farmers. 

Monroe claimed 160 acres in 1894 on Sandy Creek in the Monks Hammock community.  William also claimed 160 acres in 1906 in the same community on Dogwood Branch.  

Henry and son William are buried in Bethsadia Cemetery in Sabine Parish with their wives, Mary and Elvia.  Monroe's and Martha's burials are unknown. 

Haynes - Dennis E. Haynes (IRL Abt. 1820 - Unk.) was the only land purchaser in what was then Rapides Parish.  He purchased eighty acres in 1860 on Liberty Creek on Liberty Creek Road east of Leesville on LA HWY 8. 

Dennis was born in Ireland in about 1820.  He arrived in New York from Liverpool, England on the ship Hope Goodwin in 1852.  He married Elizabeth ___ (GA Abt. 1822 - ___) from Georgia.  In 1860 he lived in Rapides Parish with wife Elizabeth and four children.  In the Civil War Dennis served as a captain in Co. B, 1st LA Cav. Scouts (USA).  His sons, William and Patrrick, served in the same unit as corporal and commissary sergeant.  In 1870 he lived in Winfield in Winn Parish as a school teacher and postmaster in the household of John M. Long.  In 1874 Dennis turned in a claim to the U.S. Southern Claims Commission for financial loss.  It was not unusual for Union soldiers in the South to submit claims for losses suffered in the Civil War. 

Dennis' and his family's death and burial are unknown.   

Hazlett - The only Hazlett land owner was Lillian Amarilla "Lola" Franklin Hazlett (LA 1865 - LA 1934).  She also went by the nickname "Rilla".  Lola was the daughter of Thomas (1826 - 1891) and Martha Davis (1834 - 1900) Franklin.  She married Richard "Dick" Allen Hazlett (1854 - 1926) in 1903 at 37 years old.  Lola moved to Vernon Parish from Sabine Parish between 1875 and 1880.  She homesteaded 120 acres in 1905 on Hickory Ridge Road in Standard's township below Lake Vernon west of Leesville.  She died in 1934 in DeSoto Parish and is buried in Mitchell Cemetery in Anacoco with her husband, Dick. 

Clora Nolen Heard, 1880-1968

Heard - The only Heard homesteader in Vernon Parish was James Addison Heard (LA 1870 - LA 1946).  He was born in Dry Creek in present day Beauregard Parish to John Thomas (MS 1845 - LA 1912) and Sarah Lindsey (AR 1840 - LA 1925) Heard.  James married Frances Clora Nolen (LA 1880 - LA 1968) in Pitkin in 1897.   

In all enumerations he was a farmer.  In 1889 and 1902 he was a student in a normal college in Lake Charles, which became McNeese, yet he was never enumerated as a teacher.  James homesteaded 160 acres southwest of Pitkin in 1906 on Campbell Branch on G. Moore Road.  In the 1930s he served on Vernon Parish's school and fair boards.    In 1940 he recorded two years of completed college.  James died in 1946 and is buried in Sugartown Church Cemetery in Beauregard Parish with his wife, Frances. 

Henderson - Two seemingly unrelated Henderson families lived in Vernon Parish.  The first Henderson family purchased eighteen parcels containing 1,000 acres from 1854 to 1860 in Stille's township.  The second family homesteaded eighty acres in 1898 in Pickering's township.  

The founding father of the first Henderson family was Joseph Francis (NC 1764 - LA 1855) and Rose Anna Harrison (1783 - 1862) Henderson.  He married Rose in 1798 in Natchez, Mississippi.  In 1800 they were enumerated in Rapides Parish.  Their 1810 address was Cotile in Rapides Parish.  Joseph  was a slave-owning, cotton-growing planter in Boyce.  In 1850 he owned 82 slaves and a real estate worth of $30,000.00, which would be worth $1,027,130.77 in 2021 dollars.  His son,  Robert Miller Henderson (LA 1819 - LA 1860), owned fifteen slaves in 1860 and a real estate value of $14,950.00 which would be $478,400.00 in 2021 dollars. 

There's no record the Hendersons lived in present day Vernon Parish, however, founding father Joseph purchased 360 acres in 1854 and 1859 in the Jericho-Stille township on the present day Rapides Parish line.  Wife Rose purchased 240 acres in 1860 in the same township.  Son Robert purchased eighty acres in 1859 in the same township, but closer to the Calcasieu River.  He also partnered with Mercy Anne Henderson and formed multi-patentee group # 37 which homesteaded 320 acres in the same community in 1859.  Mercy was probably older sister Minerva, born in Rapides Parish in 1800.  

The Henderson family is buried in Henderson-James Cemetery in Hot Wells in Rapides Parish.  Founding father Joseph and wife Rose plus son Robert and his wife Amelia (1828 - 1878) and nine other Hendersons are buried there. 

The second Henderson family in Vernon Parish was African-American, Peter Henderson (LA 1853 - LA 1943).  Information about him is very limited.  He was the son of Dan and Mary Henderson of Rapides Parish.  In 1880 he lived in Ward Three of Vernon Parish as a single farmer.  In 1898 he homesteaded eighty acres on present day Lebleu Road behind Pickering School.  In 1900 and 1910 he lived in Ward Four.  He married between 1900 and 1910.  Peter died in Leesville in 1943, burial unknown. 

Hennigan - Childs H. Hennigan (LA 1883 - LA 1952) was the only Hennigan homesteader in Vernon Parish.  He claimed eighty acres in 1917 on Dry Branch on Vernon Parish Road # 69 in Knight's township in southwest Vernon Parish.  Childs was the son of James Emmanuel (LA 1853 - LA 1919) and Cordelia "Puss" Dunning (TX Abt. 1866 - LA 1891) Hennigan.  He married Mary "Rena" Trussell (MS 1876 - LA 1958) in Mississippi in 1897 when Mary was only fourteen years old.  Childs grew up in Merryville which was Calcasieu Parish before 1913.  As a farmer he moved to Vernon Parish between 1910 and 1920 and lived on Evans Ferry-Rosepine Road.  Between 1920 and 1930 he moved back to Beauregard Parish.  Childs died in Merryville in 1952 and is buried in Hennigan Cemetery in Merryville with his wife Rena and 28 other Hennigans. 

Henning/Heinen - The Henning family came to America from Germany.  The family's name was spelled Heinen.  The founding father of the family was Joseph "Fred" (DEU 1834 - LA 1901) and Mary O'Quain (LA 1847 - LA 1920) Heinen.  According to records, Fred never lived in Vernon Parish, but his second born son, John A. Heinen (LA 1882 - TN 1910), did.  Son John moved to Texas.  Around 1903 he moved back to Louisiana and homesteaded 160 acres in Caney-Standard township at the confluence of Anacoco and Prairie Creeks, under Anacoco Lake today.  In 1904 he married Bonnie Reeves (TX 1883 - Unk.) in Jefferson County, Texas.  In 1904 he married Bonnie Reeves in Jefferson County, Texas.  In 1910 he was enumerated in Memphis, Tennessee as a well driller.  In 1910 he died in Memphis at 28 years old after a fall from a drilling tower onto a nail.  John is buried alone in Forest Hill Midtown Cemetery in Memphis.  His wife Bonnie's death and burial are unknown.  

Herington/Herrington - The founding fathers of two seemingly unrelated Herrington families were John Tom Herrington (MS 1850 - LA 1880) from Mississippi and Charles Jefferson Herrington (TX 1877 - LA 1967) from Texas.  John settled in Anacoco and Charles settled in Rosepine. 

John came to then Rapides Parish in the late 1860s.  He married Sarah Gill Graham in Rapides Parish between 1870 and 1876.  He did not homestead any land, but son Rev. Charles Glen Herrington (LA 1878 - TX 1968), did.  Rev. Herrington married Eliza Jane Cook (1883 - 1973) in Vernon Parish in 1900.  Charles never listed his occupation as pastor, but as a farmer in all enumerations.  In 1907 he claimed eighty acres in the secluded township between Hornbeck and Kurthwood.  In the 1910s he lived in Barham south of Hornbeck.  Charles died in Kirbyville, Texas in 1968.  He is buried in Mitchell Cemetery in Anacoco with wife Eliza. 

The other Herrington founding father was Charles Jefferson Herrington (TX 1877 - LA 1967).  He was born in Tyler County, Texas to Calvin J. (MS 1854 - TX Unk.) and Martha Bullock (TX 1851 - TX 1935) Herrington.  He grew up in Tyler, Texas and moved to lower Ward Four of Vernon Parish, which became Ward Seven in 1928.  Charles married Virginia Kay (1882 - 1977), year unknown.  In all enumerations Charles was a farmer.  In 1912 he homesteaded 160 acres on Cypress Church Road on Cypress Creek.  Charles and Virginia are buried in Old Cypress Cemetery west of Rosepine. 

Herrick - Francis Marion Herrick was the only Herrick homesteader in Vernon Parish, yet there's no record he ever lived in Vernon Parish.  He claimed 160 acres in 1903 in Hornbeck's township on West Anacoco Creek one mile north of Union Grove Cemetery.  Because ownership of  free homesteads took five years to finalize, many "poor" homesteaders sold after five years and moved on.  "Rich" homesteaders paid $1.25 an acre, which took six months for finalization. 

Francis was the son of Joseph Henry Herrick (NH 1816 - TX 1901) and Sarah Lambright (MS 1822 - LA 1910) Herrick of Nacogdoches, Texas.  He married Malinda "Minnie" McDowel (LA 1843 - FL 1913) in 1871 in Bienville Parish and Nancy Bogan Meadors (MS 1847 - MS 1927) in Clark County, Arkansas.  He moved often from Bossier Parish (1860) to Webster Parish (1870) to Clark County, Arkansas (1880) to Rapides Parish (1920) to Caddo Parish (1930).  In all enumerations he was a farmer except in 1920 Cotile, Louisiana where he was a track layer and tie maker.  Francis died in Caddo Parish in 1931, burial unknown.  

Hester - The founding father of the Hester family in Vernon Parish was John W. Hester (MS 1841 - TX 1919) from Stone County, Mississippi.  He was born to John (NC 1800 - MS 1864) and Deliah ___ (NC 1807 - MS 1865) Hester.  In the Civil War John served in Co. 11, Johnson's MS Inf.  He married Delpha "Delfa" Bond (1847 - 1917) in Harrison County, Mississippi in 1867.  John came to Vernon Parish between 1875 and 1878.  In 1880 he lived in Ward Five in southeast Vernon Parish.  By 1910 he lived in Texas.  He died in 1919 and is buried in Humble, Texas.  John did not homestead land in Vernon Parish, but son, William Cornelius Hester (MS 1874 - TX 1921), did.  In 1902 William claimed 160 acres in Cravens at the intersection of LA HWYS 10 and 399 on Cowpen Branch.  John and William are buried in Humble Cemetery in Harris County, Texas. 

Hewitt - In 1901 Amos Hewitt (PA 1868 - PA 1932) and Michael Kelly/Kelley (LA 1871 - LA 1932) formed a partnership and homesteaded two forty acre, nonattached parcels of land on Soapstone and Sugar Creeks in southeast Vernon Parish south of Pitkin.  The partnership was assigned Group # 38.   

Michael was born in New Orleans to Irish parents, Michael and Mary Kelly in 1871.  There's no record he ever lived in Vernon Parish.  He reported his occupation as shipping clerk in 1900, lumber tallyman in 1910, and lumber checker in 1920, all in New Orleans.  He died in New Orleans in 1932 and is buried in St. Patrick Cemetery # 1. 

Amos was more difficult to research.  The only Amos Hewitt I could find in Louisiana was born in Pennsylvania in about 1869.  In 1930 he worked in the sawmill at Bogalusa in Washington Parish.  Amos died in Pennsylvania in 1932 and is buried in East Ridge Cemetery in Westover, Pennsylvania.    

McNeese Normal College