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Webster Parish, Louisiana
Webster Parish Courthouse, LA.jpg
Webster Parish Courthouse in Minden (dedicated May 1, 1953) was a project of the contractor George A. Caldwell.
Map of Louisiana highlighting Webster Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the U.S. highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1871
Named for U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Daniel Webster
Seat Minden
Largest city Minden
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

615 sq mi (1,593 km²)
595 sq mi (1,542 km²)
20 sq mi (51 km²), 3.23%
 - (2000)
 - Density

70/sq mi (27/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

The Webster Parish Library is located in the Minden Historic District. To the right is the library annex, which was the previous library proper. Prior to 1965, the annex had been the J.G. Ferguson home.

This site of the Louisiana National Guard west of Minden formerly housed the defunct Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, which opened during World War II.

The pioner Germantown Colony and Museum is located off Louisiana Highway 531 in Webster Parish.

The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, which contains exhibits from Webster Parish, is located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden.

Webster Parish (French: Paroisse de Webster) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The seat of the parish is Minden. In 2010, its population was 41,207.

Among the first settlers in the parish was Newett Drew, a native of Virginia, who about 1818 established a grist mill at the former Overton community near Minden. His son, Richard Maxwell Drew was born in Overton and served as a district judge state representative prior to his death in 1850 at the age of twenty-eight. R. M. Drew's descendants held judicial or legislative positions in Webster Parish as well, Richard Cleveland Drew, Harmon Caldwell Drew, R. Harmon Drew, Sr., and Harmon Drew, Jr.[1]

The parish is named for 19th-century American statesman Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was created in 1871 from lands formerly belonging to Bienville, Bossier, and Claiborne parishes.

Webster Parish is part of the Minden Micropolitan Statistical Area as well as the ShreveportBossier City–Minden Combined Statistical Area.

Geography[edit | edit source]

The parish has a total area of 615 square miles (1,593 km²), of which, 595 square miles (1,542 km²) of it is land and 20 square miles (51 km²) of it (3.23%) is water.

Major highways[edit | edit source]

Adjacent parishes[edit | edit source]

National protected area[edit | edit source]

Once navigable through Lake Bistineau to Minden, Dorcheat Bayou, shown here in Dixie Inn, is a popular fishing area with scenic beauty in many places.

Wooded road leading to Upper Caney Lake at Caney Lakes Recreation Area

Law and government[edit | edit source]

Daniel Webster, namesake of Webster Parish

The existing Webster Parish Court House in Minden, built at a cost of $876,000,[2] was dedicated on May 1, 1953, with Governor Robert F. Kennon, who was reared in Minden and formerly served as its mayor, as the featured speaker.[3] Planning on the courthouse began in 1950, when it was determined that the previous structure had become obsolete.[4]

At the time of its establishment in 1904, the previous courthouse, built at a cost of $45,000, was said to have "rivaled any other in north Louisiana for its graceful, domed architectural style and marbled hallways."[5] A modern multi-level jail was added to that courthouse in 1906 at a cost of $16,000. The new jail enabled constituents coming to the sheriff's tax office to avoid passing through the jail.[5]

From 1896 to 1900, Thomas Wafer Fuller of Minden, a descendant of a prominent area family, served as the state senator from Webster and the surrounding parishes of Bossier and Bienville. He was also a newspaper publisher, twice the owner of the former Webster Signal. From 1908 until his death in 1920, he was the second school superintendent in Webster Parish.[6]

From 1933 to 1980, the office of Webster Parish sheriff, who also holds the title of chief parish tax collector, was filled by only three persons, all Democrats, from two political families. Oscar Henry Haynes, Sr. (1888–1969), held the position from 1933–1952 and was a deputy sheriff for the five years prior to his becoming sheriff. His son, O. H. Haynes, Jr., a 1939 graduate of Minden High School, served from 1964-1980. Like his father, Haynes, Jr., had been a deputy. He then served for eight years as supervisor of the state driver's license office in Minden, and he was the Exxon distributor in Webster Parish for some four decades. Haynes, Jr., was the father of Louisiana State University football star, Fred Haynes (1946–2006). The Hayneses are interred at the historic Minden Cemetery.

Between the tenures of the Hayneses was their intraparty rival, John D. "J.D." Batton (1911–1981), who filled the post for three terms from 1952-1964. In the runoff election held on February 19, 1952, Batton unseated the senior Haynes by 43 votes, or 5,444 to 5,401.[7] Batton was the brother of a long-term Minden city official, former Mayor Jack Batton (1913–1996). In his 1956 reelection, Batton defeated a comeback bid by former Sheriff Haynes, Sr. The current Webster Parish sheriff is Gary Sexton, a Democrat elected in 2003 and 2007, and a candidate for a third term in 2011.

Leland G. Mims, a Minden businessman, served as a Webster Parish police juror (the parish governing body) from 1953–1976, president of the jury each year from 1956–1973, and president of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana from 1965-1967.[8] Mims' father-in-law, W. Matt Lowe, served on the police jury between 1940 and 1954 and was the mayor of Minden during the World War I era.

Since 1992, Webster Parish has been represented in the Louisiana House of Representatives by a member of the Doerge family. Democrat Everett Doerge, a retired educator and native of Minden, unseated the short-term Republican incumbent Eugene S. Eason and held the seat until his death in 1998. His widow, Jean M. Doerge, also a former educator, a Democrat, and a native of Natchitoches Parish, won the special election as his successor. She has since been reelected three times, twice without opposition but is term-limited in 2011.

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Census Pop.
1900 15,125
1910 19,186 26.8%
1920 24,707 28.8%
1930 29,458 19.2%
1940 33,676 14.3%
1950 35,704 6.0%
1960 39,701 11.2%
1970 39,939 0.6%
1980 43,631 9.2%
1990 41,989 −3.8%
2000 41,831 −0.4%
2010 41,207 −1.5%
Webster Parish Census Data[9]

The Yellow Pine Christian Church, formerly known as Union Church, located south of Sibley, Louisiana, was established in 1902. It has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Whispering Pines Missionary Baptist Church is located north of Dixie Inn off U.S. Highway 371 next to a stand of pine trees.

The Pine Grove United Methodist Cemetery north of Minden is among several rural cemeteries in Webster Parish.

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 41,831 people, 16,501 households, and 11,567 families residing in the parish. The population density was 70 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 18,991 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 65.51% White, 32.83% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 0.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,501 households out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.70% were married couples living together, 16.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.90% were non-families. 27.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the parish the population was spread out with 25.60% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 26.00% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 16.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.20 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $28,408, and the median income for a family was $35,119. Males had a median income of $30,343 versus $20,907 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $15,203. About 15.30% of families and 20.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.60% of those under age 18 and 16.10% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns[edit | edit source]

Map of Webster Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Education[edit | edit source]

Webster Parish School Board operates local public schools.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ "Drew Family". Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Gov. Kennon May Speak at Courthouse Ceremony", Minden Herald, February 27, 1953, p. 1
  3. ^ Minden Herald May 1, 1953, special edition
  4. ^ "New Parish Court House may be erected in Minden," Minden Herald, January 30, 1950, p. 1
  5. ^ a b Marilyn Miller, Sons of Darkness Sons of Light (Many, Louisiana: Sweet Dreams Publishing Co., 2000), p. 178, ISBN 1-893693-09-0
  6. ^ "Webster Parish hsitorian John Agan, "Webster Superintendents of Schools"". Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Batton Elected Sheriff," Minden Press, February 22, 1952, p. 1
  8. ^ "Mims Will Not Seek Another Term", Minden Press-Herald, undated 1975 article
  9. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Louisiana Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

Coordinates: 32°42′N 93°20′W / 32.70, -93.33

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