The man behind the visions
Chances are if you read the Leesville Daily Leader, the name Stanley Fletcher might stick out as familiar. Fletcher currently writes a popular column for the paper titled “Visions of Vernon.” The column features a closer look at the history of Vernon Parish and the unique people and places that make it what it is.
“I’m a history buff. I’ve always loved history, and I’m a hometown person, Fletcher said. There is over 200 years of history here in this area with my family. I’ve always been curious about why things are the way they are. I’m a second-born child so that ought to tell you something.”
For Fletcher, studying the history of Vernon Parish is akin to solving mysteries from days gone by. He expressed that he takes a lot of pride in helping locals learn about their history and solving those mysteries from the past. He recounted a recent mystery he helped solve.
“I see things that have happened around me and I want to know how and why they happened. I have solved many many mysteries for different communities,” said Fletcher. “People in Cottonwood recently wanted to know why Miller Cemetery was called Miller Cemetery. So, I started digging and found out that it was because a Miller had moved there in 1798.”
He expressed that it’s small details like that go unnoticed after so many years go by. Then, over time, some things get lost to history entirely. Fletcher wants to ensure that that doesn’t happen on his watch.
Fletcher is a native of Pickering, where he would graduate from Pickering High School. After that Fletcher went to serve in the U.S. Army. His pride and respect for the military is often reflected in his writing.
Fletcher has even authored a book about soldiers from Vernon Parish who paid the ultimate price while serving their country. The book is titled “The Last Full Measure” and Fletcher expressed that he wanted to make sure that those brave men would not be forgotten.
“I wrote a book about the 170 men from Vernon Parish that died in our nation's wars. I didn’t want their names to be lost in history. In writing the book, I made a lot of discoveries about war history and history in general.”
After the army, Fletcher attended Louisiana College and became a teacher. He worked in education for 30 years teaching at Leesville and Rosepine High Schools. Fletcher even served as President of the Teacher’s Union which he said made him some enemies.
“I was President of the Teacher’s Union for four years, and made a lot of enemies in Vernon Parish,” he said. “I was once told by a leading official that if I was ever found dead, the Sheriff would have to build a fence around Vernon Parish and name everyone in the parish as suspects.”
Fletcher explained that he fought against government officials who were using their position in government to benefit their own personal business interests.
Fletcher said: “I saw many government officials in business with the government, and I didn’t think that if you were in government you should be in business with yourself.”
He noted that he saw many instances of self-service where many public officials were “trying to fatten their pocketbook.”
Today Fletcher is retired, but his passion for history remains the same. He continues to write his column for the Leesville Daily Leader, and can usually be found wherever there is a mystery from the past to be solved.