Friday, July 30, 2021

100 Years Ago This July 30, 2021

What was going on 100 years ago this week? CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer Issue of  July 30, 1921. The link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service.

Click on the sample images below to see larger versions. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Tammany Trace Map

 About a year ago some Tammany Trace enthusiasts asked me to draw a cartoon map of the Trace and the landmarks and other fun things to do along the way. Here it is. Click on the image to make it larger. 

Hopefully some of the trailheads and nearby businesses will print up copies of the map and hand them out to folks interested in the Trace and its recreational opportunities. 

To download a high resolution version for printing, CLICK HERE.

See also: 

Tammany Trace Opens

Tracing the Old Railroad 

Tammany Trace Tunnels  

Cartoon Maps


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

The Covington Cantonment

For a brief time, the Covington area had a military cantonment on the Little Bogue Falaya River, just a few miles upriver from Claiborne Hill. It was located where the "Old Military Road" branches off and heads up to the Bogue Chitto River. 

Don Sharp in his research says the following:

In 1805 a crossing over the Bogue Falaya River at Covington was located on land owned by Massey West Baker, and a wooden bridge was built at the site. Things began happening quickly in that area as new settlers came in. 

The military cantonment was established in 1811  with the cooperation of Governor Claiborne of Louisiana and Governor David Holmes of Mississippi Territory. Lt. Colonel Leonard Covington of the U. S Army assigned the 3rd Regiment stationed in the Mississippi Territory for the job. Barracks for the troops and housing for Officers were built five miles from the Bogue Falaya Fork on the road to the settlements northeast on the Bogue Chitto River.

 Click on the image to make it larger. 
Covington is at the blue dot in the lower left corner, the location of the abandoned cantonment is the red mark at the top of the map, and Abita Springs is located at the green dot, lower right. The New Orleans railway line is located across the bottom (although it was not there at the time of the cantonment.) Of interest are the dotted lines, showing the roads to Pearlington (Ms.) at bottom, and the road to Bogue Chitto (Military Road La. Hwy. 21)

A declaration of War with Great Britain was received in July, 1812, and the Military Cantonment on the road between the Bogue Falaya and Bogue Chitto Rivers was closed because the troops were needed elsewhere. The Detachment of the 3rd Regiment stationed at the Cantonment was recalled back to Mississippi Territory.

In 1813 Governor Claiborne wrote to Governor Holmes of the Mississippi Territory and tells Holmes that since the Cantonment was closed on the Little Bogue Falaya roving bands of Choctaws have become increasingly hostile along the area of the Bogue Chitto River.

On November 29, 1814, General Jackson and five aides, including Major Howell Tatum, who kept a dairy, came down the Military Road from the Bogue Chitto River settlements. They passed the abandoned Cantonment at the crossing of the Little Bogue Falaya and entered the newly dedicated town of Wharton.

It was Samuel Ott who had the saw mill next to the "old cantonment" that was mentioned in Howell Tatum's diary, and Ott's property is clearly marked on the  Tobin map shown above. 

A hundred years later, in 1916, there was a small group of Louisiana Marines stationed at Demourelle's on the Bogue Falaya River a few miles south of Covington.

 See also:

The Early Settlement of the Tchefuncte River Corridor 

The Timeline Along the Tchefuncte River Corridor  

Major Tatum's Whirlwind Tour Through St. Tammany 

River Landings Map


Madisonville's Navy Shipyard

 Don Sharp has written some amazing material about the navy shipyard on the banks of the Tchefuncte River just a mile or so north of Madisonville. 

 Here are a couple of links to his information. 

The Naval Shipyard and Its Personnel

 The Establishment of the United States Navy at New Orleans, after the Louisiana Purchase, and its Influence on West Florida

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Downtown Sidewalk Flower Bins

 Downtown Covington is covered with flower boxes filled with all kinds of colorful blooms and green leaves. Sort of brightens the day after several of drenching rains. 

And, of course, the crape myrtles are back...

Monday, July 26, 2021

Ten Years Difference

 Here is an aerial picture of the eastside entrance to Covington in March of 1965. Click on the images to make them larger:

Here is the same picture with some landmarks labeled.

Ten years later, here is another aerial picture, zoomed in on the Boston St./Lee Lane intersection. 

In 1975, ten years later, the Bogue Falaya Plaza mall has been built, the six story condominium apartment building has been put up, as has Otasco's, Gibsons, and Pasquale's Pizza. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Ozonia Health Resort, a Covington Tradition

The Ozonia health resort in Covington was open the year round and patronized by guests from all States and Canada. It was described as sunny and warm in wintry weather, and ideal in spring when its spacious grounds were abloom with wild azaleas, yellow jasmine and purple wisteria.

An early postcard of the Ozonia Rest Cure
Click on the images to make them larger.

"Cool and shady in summer, surrounded by grand old oaks and health giving pines," the description of the facility went on to say. "Alluring in autumn, when the bracing air invited to walks" in the forest and boating on the Bogue Falia River.

The tables were supplied with the best the market affords and the purest of artesian water, the Ozonia promised. "Modern in every aspect, sanitary plumbing, gas, hot and cold water baths, here there is no danger of malaria or yellow fever." 

Ozonia Rest Cure

Located on America Street at the corner of 17th Avenue, the Ozonia Rest Cure conducted by Dr. Geo. R. Tolson was a beautifully situated private home-like resort for those desirous of "real rest and recreation."

 It was situated right in the heart of the Ozone belt on the outskirts of Covington. The grounds were laid out as a natural park and comprised twelve acres overlooking the scenic Bogue Falaya River.   Through these grounds were well-kept walks and drives and an ideally rustic environment. The grounds were "delightfully" shaded with oaks, magnolias, pines, and other trees. 

 The Ozonia in a later postcard

The water supply was touted as abundant and perfectly pure; home comforts, home cooking made the Ozonia Rest Cure a place never to be forgotten. The house was open throughout the year and had accommodations for as many as thirty guests.  The owners assured guests that there was a "perfect" system of heating, hot and cold baths and other con­veniences.

1910 Advertisement 

The Ozonia was just one of several facilities in Covington and Abita Springs where visitors could recuperate from illness, stress, and various addictions.  The right combination of pine-scented air, pure water, the rivers, the oak trees and the flowers helped many thousands of sick and over-stressed people recover their health and balance.

Information source: 

Along The Line - Covington Article 2017 Article 2015

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Lacombe People Pictures- 1976

 Forty-five years ago, in 1976, the community of Lacombe celebrated the American Bicentennial. Programs were held, a museum was established, festivities flourished, and a book was published telling about the history of the area, the homes, the scenic beauty and the people.

Here are a couple of pages of pictures of the people of Lacombe from that book. Click on the images to make them larger. 

Tom Aicklen put together the book, and it was quite a treasure trove of research, pictures, and old documents. The library probably has a copy for folks who want to go see the whole publication.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

100 Years Ago This July 23, 2021

What was going on 100 years ago this week? CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer Issue of  July 23, 1921. The link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service.

Click on the sample images below to see larger versions.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Major Tatum's Whirlwind Tour Through St. Tammany

 Much has been gleaned from the diary kept by Major Howell Tatum that described General Andrew Jackson's trek across St. Tammany Parish, through Covington, and on down to Madisonville in 1814. He and his men then crossed Lake Pontchartrain and a few weeks later met the British troops in Chalmette on January 8, 1815, at The Battle of New Orleans.

Major Tatum was Jackson's acting Topographical Engineer. He was sixty two years of age while traveling with Jackson through St. Tammany. We start looking at his journal just after he and Jackson have spent the night at Ford's Fort in Sandy Hook, Mississippi.

On page 93 of his diary, he describes the area along the Pearl River, in Mississippi, and says: "A considerable number of settlements are stated to be on Pearl River, above this place, and some few below, on each side of the river. It appears probable, from Mr. Fords information, that the upper part of this country will afford valuable settlements within the space of a few years."

Ford's home is on the Pearl River in Sandy Hook, Mississippi. It also known as Ford’s Fort and was built in 1805 by Reverend John Ford. On November 27-28 in 1814 the Ford Home hosted General Andrew Jackson, who stopped there on his way to defend New Orleans from the British during the War of 1812. (Information source)

After coming into Louisiana, they finally arrive at the "Bogue Lucy."
In his journal, Tatum describes crossing a number of creeks, some with settlements, along the way while heading to the Chifonta (Tchefuncte) River. 

In his own words:

"Proceeded from hence to John Alstons on Bogue-Chitty 10 miles, in all 30 miles, and halted after night. Bogue-Chitty and all other waters crossed this day, empty into Pearl-River. This Creek (Bogue-Chitty) is about 50 paces in width and stated, by Alston, to be navigable to the distance of 40 to 50 miles above this place.

In The Vicinity of the Village of Sun

"He states it to be 10 or 12 miles to its junction with Pearl river," Tatum says, speaking of the Bogue Chitto River.  "It contains a narrow strip of good lands on each side and is well settled near the creek, on both sides. Big Creek is the English of Bogue Chitty, or Chitta."

"It is 80 miles from hence to Baton-Rouge---16 1/2 miles to the Town of Wharton (Covington) on the waters of Chefonta, and 24 1/2 or 25 miles to Madisonville 2 miles above the mouth of Chefonta. On this day the party had to swim three creeks.

November 29th, 1814

"Proceeded from Alston's and crossed the Creek at 6 o'clock A. M. Passed over a good piece of Bottom Land and swam a Bayou at the extreme edge at William Roses plantation at about 3/4 miles. Passed the old cantonment on Little Feliah  (Falaya) at 11 miles.

Little Bogue Falaya Saw Mill

"Near this place there is an excellent Saw-Mill on the same creek. Proceeded in all 16 1/2 miles to the Town of Wharton on Big Feliah (or Big Long Creek) a fork of the Chefonta river. The Indians call both these creeks Bogue Feliah, and distinguish them by the Greater & Smaller, or Big Or Little, and these names are still retained by the settlers.

Covington Is Described One Year After Its Founding

"Wharton is a small new town containing but a few ordinary buildings. It is the seat of justice for the county in which it stands, and is situated at the head of navigation, on the bank of the creek. Sloops & Schooners ply between this place and the bridge on the Bayou St. Johns, two miles distant from the Town of Orleans.

"It is said to be 30 miles by water, and not more than 10 miles by land, from hence to the entrance into the Lake Pontchartrain. It is 8 miles from Wharton to Madisonville, making in all 24 1/2 miles from Alstons to the latter Town.

"The lands from near Alstons (say from Roses) are very poor and the growth altogether pine. About 5 miles of the distance between his residence and the Cantonment has been laid nearly bare of Timber by a severe Hurricane.

"The lands from Wharton to the Town of Madisonville are a mixture of Pine and Oak and contain several tolerable farms & plantations.

"The whole of this route contains excellent range for Black Cattle which has become an object of primary importance with the settlers in this quarter, cattle being considered as a species of circulating medium in most of their contracts. In fact, this currency circulates pretty generally from hence to, and on, the waters of Tombigby & Mobile rivers."

Major Tatum continues his narrative: "From Wharton proceeded to Madisonville & halted for the night, on the way crossed the Main Chefonta river (about 60 to 80 paces wide) at 3 miles.

(Note: This crossing may have been at the point of land between the Bogue Falaya and Tchefuncte Rivers, which is about three miles from central Covington)

"It is estimated that the whole length of this river, on a direct line tuning from So. East to North West does not exceed 30 miles. The Course traveled this day was about So. So. West.

1814 Madisonville Described

"The Town of Madisonville is situated on the West bank of the Chefonta river about 2 miles from its junction with Lake Pontchartrain. This Town is small and indifferently improved. It lies about 2 miles, also, from the Navy-Yard. The only importance that can be attached to this place is, its advantageous situation as a depot for country produce destined for New Orleans, distant about 30 miles, and also from its being the most advantageous place of landing, for all travelers from New Orleans, to Tennessee, Kentucky, Mobile & the back parts of Georgia. 

A painting by Marshall Joseph Smith entitled Laundry Day on Lake Pontchartrain at the Mouth of the Tchefuncte

Major Tatum continues:

"It is evident from this statement, that the growth prosperity of this place must eventually depend upon the whims and caprices of mankind, when it is considered, in addition, that the country around will scarcely ever be able to produce more than the necessary provision for the support of life. Great quantities of Tar-Pitch and Turpentine might be prepared for use and exportation in the adjacent country, but, I apprehend a new supply of (more industrious) settlers must first inhabit this country.

November 30th, 1814

"Embarked at 10 o'clock A. M. on board of (William) Collins' Packet and proceeded across the lake to Fort St. Johns at the mouth of the Bayou distant 22 miles at which place we arrived about 8 o'clock P. M."

End of Major Tatum's references to St. Tammany

And thus General Andrew Jackson arrived at New Orleans after passing through St. Tammany. Major Tatum basically noted that if the right settlers moved in it could become a nice place.  
A little over a month later, on January 8, Jackson and his forces met the British and after a short battle, he emerged the victor. As it turned out, however, the battle was fought after the Treaty of Ghent had been signed on December 24, 1814, thus ending the War of 1812. But news traveled slow those days, so the men fighting the battle two weeks later didn't know that the hostilities had already ended.
According to, on January 21, 1815, just over a week after the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson wrote a couple of paragraphs about Major Howell Tatum, telling his superiors that Tatum had "exhibited all the ardor of youth in the hour of peril."

Tatum dated his field report at New Orleans,  Feb. 20, 1815, and four months later on June
15 resigned from military service.

Later, "in a dispute over certain events of the New Orleans campaign, Jackson in 1817 referred his interrogators to Tatum's journal as the work of a man "whose impartiality is proverbial," the article went on to say.