Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Questions and Answers from 1901

On June 22, 1901, the St. Tammany Farmer featured a list of random questions and answers about the people and history of St. Tammany Parish.These are all very interesting questions, and they refer to several statements which, at the time, were considered facts:

1. It was long believed that Audubon was born in Mandeville. 

2. The Indian maiden in Abita Springs was named Velasco.

3. Fontainebleau State Park land was once owned by G. W. Nott.

4. Monroe Street in Lewisburg was once named "Route du Roi" for the King of France, Louis Phillipe. He was one of the Royal French princes who rode up and down Monroe Street in Lewisburg while he was the guest of Bernard Marigny. He later became the King of France.  

6. The name of the popular steamboat Camelia was changed to the "New Camelia" in 1878.

7. There was a home in Lewisburg that was identified as the fictional place in the novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" where Little Eva died. 
Here is the list of the Questions and Answers published in the Farmer June 22, 1901. Links have been placed on the topics expanded upon in other Tammany Family blogs.


We have received the following questions from a correspondent and will answer to the best of our ability. In doing so, we have been rendered valuable assistance by our talented young attorney, Mr. Harvey E. Ellis.

After whom and when was Lewisburg named?

 Lewisburg was named after Joshua Lewis, a native of Virginia, and appointed territorial Judge of Louisiana, by Thomas Jefferson.

Q. Give the year and date when Audubon was born in Mandeville.

Audubon was born May 4, 1780.

Q. When was the town of Whar­ton changed into that of Coving­ton?

March 11, 1816.

Q. Why was Abita so named? Who wrote the beautiful poem of Velasco the Indian Maid in con­nection therewith.

Legend of Abita—Published in the New Orleans Times between 1874-76.

Q. Give the name of the Judge of the Supreme Court of Louisiana who was born and reared in Cov­ington.

Judge Henry C. Miller.

Q. Who was the famous orator and member of Congress who was also born in Covington, and when did he die? 

 E. John Ellis. Died in Washington, D. C., Apnl 25, 1889.

Q. Where is Fontainebleau lo­cated in St. Tammany, and from whom did the name originate?

"Fontainebleau" is a plan­tation a few miles back of Mande­ville. It originally belonged to Mr. Bernard Marigny's father, and was named for the royal palace and forest in France. It is now owned by Mr. G. W. Nott, of New Or­leans.

Q. What is the name of the pub­lic road running from Mandeville to the spring ot Lewisburg? After whom was it named? Why was it first called Route du Roi?

The name of the road is Monroe Street, and was thus called in honor of James Monroe. It was first named  "Route du Roi" for Louis Philippe —afterwards King of France.

Q. Who were the royal princes that frequently rode up and down there, one of whom afterwards be­came King of France?

Louis Philippe and his courtiers; he was King of France from 1830 to 1848.

Q. Which of the Marigny family was their host?

Mr. Bernard Marigny, son of Marigny de Mandeville.

Q. Where did Dr. J. W. Thompson first locate in Covington? Whose residence did he occupy?

In the old home of Judge Penn.

Q. Give the name of the tribe of Indians whom Sanvolle, the first royal governor of the Province of Louisiana in 1698 found inhabiting the site now occupied by Lewisburg, Mandeville and Fonntainebleau.

Choctaw Indians, some­times called Apalaches, and Mar­tin's history says there were also here about sixty Oumas (Red men)

Q. What three steamboats made excursions from Milneburg and the old wharf at "Bucktown," to Cov­ington, in 1857-1861?

A. G. Brown, Pamlico and Arrow.

Q. Who was "Chahta Ima?" Near what village was his little chapel built? What was his French name?

Pere Rouquette, who former­ly lived near Bayou Lacombe.

Q. Who wrote the poem which ends as follows:
"I will thank the great Jehovah for the work that he has done,
When he made the Bogue Falaya by the town of Covington."

Charles Colton, of New Orleans.

Q. In what year was the Parish created and who was the governor then? What train station is named after him?

Dec. 22, 1810. The Gov­ernor was William C. C. Clai­borne; he was Governor of the ter­ritory of Orleans and all the coun­try east of Ponchatoula. Clai­borne Station. See Vol. 2, P. 542, Digest of Moreau Listel

Q. After whom was Lakes Pont­chartrain and Maurepas named, and by whom?

Named after Louis de Pontchartraine, Minister of the Marines to Louis the Fourteenth and his Secretary Jerome Count de Maurepas. See Grace King's & Ficklen's History.

Q. Give the name of the author of "Halimah, A Legend of the Tangipahoa."
"The voice of old Chinchnba echoing still, With fatal warning of the mystic hill."

Octu Nash Ogden, of Amite, La.

Q. What positions did Jessie R. Jones and Lyman Briggs occupy during the year 1835? Likewise D. B. Morgan, Henry Curtis, Thomas S. Mortee, and Samuel Smith.

Jessie R. Jones was Judge the 8th Judicial District. Lyman Briggs was Parish and Probate Judge. D. B. Morgan, Civil En­gineer. Thomas Mortee, Clark of the Court. Samuel Smith was Sheriff.

Q. What was the first name of the New Camelia, and where did she run in 1846?

The original name of the steamer was Camelia. It was changed to New Camelia in 1878. She was in the Lake Pontchartrain trade.

Q. After whom and when was St. Tammany Parish named?

St. Tammany Parish was named after a Delaware Chief, Tammenund, or Tammany, who lived in 18th century, and was tra­ditionally famous for his wisdom in council, and his friendliness towards the whites. He was faceti­ously canonized as the patron saint of the republic, and his name was  adopted by the Tammany Society, founded in New York in 1789, which subsequently became Tam­many Hall, a political club controlling one wing of the Demo­cratic party.

Unanswered Questions

The Farmer was unable to answer the following questions. The editor hoped that some of his readers could do so:

1. What was the name of the first steam boat and in what year did she commence running from New Orleans to Covington?

2. Can any one give the site of the home in Mandeville where lit­tle Eva in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" died, as described by Mrs. Har­riet Beecher Stowe? (Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in 1852)

3. Give the name of the United States Regiment that occupied Madisonville in 1864, and who were the officers?

(Thanks to Randy Hayno for above newspaper clipping)

4. When did General Morgan die? He commanded the U. S. forces below Algiers, La., on the 8th of January, 1815, and subsequently removed to Madisonville?

5. Give the date that the first U. S. shipyard was established at Madisonville?

6. Give the names of those who constituted the lottery company in Covington over sixty years ago.

7. What books give an account of the history of St. Tammany Parish and the names of the first settlers?

8. After the capture of the En­glish armed sloop "West Florida" by the Americans under Capt. Pick­les, Sept. 10, 1779, who were the settlers between Bayou Lacombe and the river Tangipahoa," that desired to be known as citizens of the United States ?

Here is the newspaper clipping of the Questions and Answers article. Click on the image below to make it larger. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Brock Elementary's Group Portrait

Brock Elementary School in Slidell was damaged extensively in Hurricane Katrina, but it was repaired and restored, and one day in 2007 I was sent out to take a portrait photograph of the finely-renovated building and all of its students. 

I enjoy taking pictures that are challenging, and this one was going to be one of those. First we had more than 100 students and teachers involved, secondly there were powerlines all over the place, and thirdly it was going to require a high angle photo, so a scissors lift was brought in to take me up 15 or 20 feet off the ground.

The students and the teachers were all great, I took a dozen or so pictures, all the kids cooperated by saying "Cheese" at just the right time, and I had fun with the scissors lift, which, when it started going up, you could hear all the kids going "wow." Most of them had never seen a scissors lift before. 

Here's a video of the scissors lift photo session.Click on the "play" triangle to see the video.

Here's the final photo of the building, with powerlines removed via Photoshop. Click on the image below to see a larger version.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

WWL--TV Spotlights Tchefuncte Lighthouse

Here's a link to a WWL-TV video report on the Tchefuncte River lighthouse at the southern end of Madisonville.

Click here to see the video.

Friday, February 21, 2020

100 Years Ago This February 21

What was going on 100 years ago this week? CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer Issue of  February 21, 1920. The link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service.

Click on the sample images below to see larger versions.

A.D. Schwartz

Anais Boudousquie

Madelyn Pauline Planche - Albert Burns

Landon and Smith

Reuben S. Harlan returns to Covington

Captain G. M. Lester

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Dixie Queen Photos

The Dixie Queen malt stand was next to Talley's...

Click on the image to make it larger. 

Lacombe Residents Share Wagon Train Ride

In 1976, the American Bicentennial year, several residents from Lacombe took part in a special "wagon train" that went from Baton Rouge to Slidell. It created a lot of great memories, and they made a lot of friends along the way.

Here is an article telling their story.

Several Lacombe residents experience wagon train trip


"The reactions of people toward the wagon train was unbelievable," commented Mrs. "Freddie" Boudan as she returned home after traveling with the Bicentennial Wagon Train from Baton Rouge to Slidell last week.

Mrs. Boudan, along with the rest of her family and several other Lacombe citizens, left Lacombe to go to Baton Rouge to participate in the Louisiana segment of the wagon train on Its way to Philadelphia.

The group met at LSU and proceeded to New Orleans stopping along the way in several towns. On their venture to New Orleans, Mrs. Boudan said, "One of the biggest receptions we got was at Port Vincent by Justin Wilson. Hundreds of people came out to see the wagon train, just as many people participated in the ride."

Upon arriving in New Orleans the train spent the night at Lakeside Shopping Center where the crowd seemed less than other places, but none-the-less, the people who did come out to see the wagons were totally enchanted with the splendor of them.

From New Orleans the train rolled along to east New Orleans and then onward to Slidell. "Crossing the five-mile bridge into Slidell was the weirdest feeling," added Mrs. Boudan. "The lake was very choppy and it was pretty windy arid you were right out there in the open."

The biggest reception that received the wagon train sinceBaton Rouge was in Slidell. Mrs. Boudan said that they had received word that approximately forty or so riders were to meet them at the end of the bridge. However, upon reaching the end there were several hundred riders waiting to greet the train and join them to the state line.

The wagon train then spent the night in Slidell where entertainment was provided for everyone. The entertainment included the singing of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by the Bicentennial choral group from Lacombe. Under the direction of Mary Lee Daniels and accompanied by Leah Landry and John McGee, the group gave an outstanding performance.

Members of the Choral group were Gordan Campbell,  Rex and  Bakey Hoover, Vic Landry. Ruth Anthon, Chris and Thelma Nielsen, Sandra Lewis, Sharon McGee, Jo Ann Williams, Eva Mae Deckwa, Susan Deckwa, April Williams, Vera Oliphant, Jim Rust, Ronald Williams, Lewis Leatherbery and Gaile Russo.

Tuesday morning the train left Slidell on its way to Mississippi to continue on its trip to Philadelphia in time for the July 4th celebration of the nation's birthday.

Along with Mrs. Boudan her family, Douglas, Teri, Craig,  and Brett participated in the route from Baton Rouge to the state line. Also riding in the train from Baton Rouge were Sheila Scala, and Nancy and Sharon Lorio. Some other riders from Lacombe that met the train at Slidell were Pat, Lisia, and Kenneth Stevens, Terri, Evet, Paul and George Tyler and Lorian Schaefer.

Asked to sum up the adventure Mrs. Boudan said, " It was fantastic and once in a lifetime. I totally enjoyed it as I'm sure everyone else did."'

 Click on the image below to read the text. 

From the News Banner newspaper, March, 1976

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Madisonville Businesses 1919

On January 11, 1919, The St. Tammany Farmer newspaper ran a special advertising section showcasing the people and businesses of the area. 

Several of the Madisonville area businesses were spotlighted in the Tammany Family blog of January 14, 1919. Here are some additional feature items on other businesses and residents of the Madisonville area. 

Click on the images to make them larger and more readable.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Bittersweet Dreams and Broken Hearts

 Once again we turn to the fascinating articles of Polly Morris of Lacombe, a prolific writer of human interest feature stories for the News-Banner newspaper in the mid-1970's. 

This article tells the story of several men who had big dreams for St. Tammany, and right on the verge of success, fell upon hard times. Break out a box of Kleenix for these are heart-rending stories spotlighting some historical figures we know and some unknown dreamers of which we may be unaware.

Here is the text of the article from 1976, some forty-four years ago.

Bittersweet Dreams and Broken Hearts

By Polly Morris

Somewhere in St Tammany there should be a small cemetery for shattered dreams and broken hearts, a quiet place where blighted hopes could be laid to rest.

Pages of history praise the men who lived or died courageously for a Cause, and there are monuments and memorials in their honor. But even more valiant are the men who lived day after long day when all hope was dead. The bravest of men must be those who kept smiling beyond a broken dream. Or who died just before their dream became reality.

These men could be called star-crossed, for there was something in their destiny that denied them the full measure of success. In St. Tammany there were seven men who had the bitter-sweet satisfaction of seeing their dream come true for a brief time before Fate
cruelly intervened. Perhaps their story could be best told by beginning at the end.

The Black Robe

In Hotel Dieu in New Orleans, an old man lay dying. His dim old eyes did not see the sterile walls of his hospital room They were seeing a meandering bayou that flowed through a heavily wooded land fragrant with pines and magnolia and jasmine. He saw a tiny chapel with a crape myrtle growing beside the entrance. Indians were coming quietly from the forest, and he held up a cross as a welcoming gesture.

Father Rouquette

Father Rouquette had lived with a broken dream for years. He had left the magnificent St. Louis Cathedral and a promising priesthood for the wild wooded area of St. Tammany. His dream was to bring the Faith to the Choctaw Indians who still worshiped gods of a pagan religion.

It was for them that he lived like an Indian. It was for them that he built his tiny chapels in the wilderness. They learned to love him as he loved them, and he hoped to bring the other savage tribes into his little flock.

When the Civil War came to Louisiana, Father Rouquette's dream began to die. His beloved Indians left their villages in fear, and a little church was burned to the ground. Many of them died from exposure, starvation, and sickness, and when the war ended a few straggled back to Father Rouquette's remaining chapels. His dream was only a pitiful remnant, but he stayed on in St Tammany for many years tending his tiny flock of converts.

When his health and memory finally failed, he was hospitalized in New Orleans. On his deathbed he still retained a very small dream. He wished to be buried on the banks of Bayou LaCombe, among his Indian friends. At the last, they were unable to help him and followed silently as his wasted old body was put into a cold tomb in a city cemetery. Not even in death did the Black Robe realize his last dream.

The Lily Man

In Abita Springs a man named Peter A. Chopin stood shivering in an open field. He was too heartsick to cry. All around him lay the wilted remains of what had been a half-acre field of 250,000 healthy plants.  Not a single one had survived the freeze of 1915. Had they lived they would have produced the most beautiful Easter lily in the world... a hybrid variety like no one had ever seen before. Chopin grimly turned away.  It had taken him ten long years of cross pollination to produce this beautiful flower. It had taken only one night of bitter cold weather to destroy his dream lily. He was too weary and wretched to start all over again.

The No-Ghost Town

Theodore J. Fischer looked at the Pearl River-Bogue Chitto bottoms where his town was marked off in streets. The church here... the school there... a fine hotel across the tracks. He envisioned a blacksmith shop, a general store, and a sign saying Fischerburg on the new depot. He saw it all clearly, but there were no tracks leading to the depot.

There never would be Fischer's little dream, for it had never been built. The railroad that was supposed to have gone to Fischerburg simply did not ever go that far, so the town had died before it was born.

Taken By Storm

The Yankee school teacher's jaw sagged in astonishment. He was looking at an organ and a writing table sitting out in the open They looked strange indeed, for they were definitely out of place there. Only a few minutes ago they had been suitably housed in a cypress building.

The school teacher was stunned by the strange circumstances that had hounded him since he left from Up North with an organ, a writing table, and a noble purpose. He had been sent to Mississippi to teach the newly-freed unfortunates to read and write, and he was fired with ambition for his worthy mission.

To his utter amazement, the prospective pupils were not interested in being confined in a schoolroom. Now that they were free, they resented any restrictions on their activities. The disillusioned teacher done an about face. If pursuit of pleasure was the thing, then he
would willingly oblige with a tavern. The towns people were not willing, however, so the teacher-tavern keeper crossed the river into Louisiana.

He felled a large cypress and made it into lumber. Then he single-handed built a tavern and moved in the organ and table. He would put in a stock of hard likker the next day. But before the day was over, the gods frowned down on his sinful establishment and sent a tor­nado that neatly lifted the saloon and took it aloft and away. The organ and table were kindly spared.

How Sweet It Was

In New Orleans an old man stumbled and fell...and died. He was not a clumsy old man, for in his youth he had been cat-quick, nimble, and as lithe as the slender reeds on Bayou Castine. Perhaps he fell because he was not looking down at his feet but was gazing at the shimmering horizon to the North where he saw an Etheral City not unlike his own dream town. 

Bernard de Marigny not only had a dream. He had everything it took to make it come true. The dashing and debonaire Frenchman was perhaps the wealthiest man in the Louisiana of his time. Moreover, he had plenty of influence and plenty of friends.

His fabulous plantation of Fontainebleau was a showplace set beside the sparkling lake, and his sprawling villa was open to all of his friends and associates. It was a fun place for everyone, but de Marigny wanted even more. Spacious as was the villa, it could not accommodate all the guests he wanted, so he decided to build a town.

Not just any town, but a model city populated by happy people. He planned it all down to the last detail. Wide streets, large lots, quaint bridges, and a strip of land along the lake front that would never be occupied by buildings that would obstruct the lovely view.

De Marigny loved all people, even the poorer ones, and he kept the prices on the lots as low as possible to enable them to buy, if they were his friends. Profit was not the objective, and money was no problem for the founder of Mandeville. He was a generous man, to others and to himself.

His generosities and the depression of 1837 ruined his rainbow-hued dreams. Lots were reclaimed, and creditors cried for payment on overdue bills. The huge plantation was sold, and de Marigny kept only a small house for himself in Mandeville. His dream had not died completely, but it was badly deformed.

Yet the old man lived to be 83 years of age, without bitterness. He had enjoyed life and love and luxury, and no man can ask for more. He had held his dream in his hand, and its memory cheered him until the day he died.

Collins Disappointment

In 1817 a lead coffin was brought across Lake Pontchartrain on a mail packet. Inside the casket was the body of a young man who was returning for the last time to his dream town, and to the spot that he had chosen as his final resting place. John Wharton Collins was coming back to Wharton. . . except it was no longer Wharton, but Covington.

Collins had bought a tiny town of four buildings for $2300 and had named it after a worthy ancestor. Like de Marigny, Collins planned his town with care. It was dedicated on July 4, 1815 and many lots were sold to some very important people. But he had only a few months of happiness in Wharton.

The next March the town was incorporated, and the name was changed to Covington. Collins deeply resented the change, which was both political and personal. Collins' health had been failing since the battle of New Orleans, in which he had served as Captain. His great disappointment about Wharton could not have helped any.

He died two days after Christmas, age 29 years. Collins had founded the town, and now he founded the cemetery. The exact location of his grave was forgotten, and he too was not remembered for long. About six months after his death, his widow married his nephew who had been living with the Collins family.

Dream Ranch

Then there was the dream of Joe Hanberry who so loved children that he dedicated his life to them- especially to children who desperately needed someone to care about them. Joe Hanberry had a home for children who came from homes where there had been an unfortunate domestic situation, but he wanted to fulfill an even greater need.

He wanted to get them out of the city where they could enjoy a freer life. He found the perfect spot in St. Tammany. Between Lacombe and Slidell was a Kiwanis Camp that had been used only in the summer months. The Kiwanis Club members listened to Joe's dream of a children's ranch, and assented.

Joe worked hard to help get the rather dilapidated building fit for year-round habitation. At last the K-Bar-B Ranch was ready. Governor Edwin Edwards came from Baton Rouge to dedicate it, and later the children began to be sent to the beauty and bounty of St. Tammany.

Joe would have loved to have seen all of his children gathered at the pavilion, or swimming at the pool. Joe Hanberry said, "Children who have been hurt by life desperately need help and attention. They need someone to listen to them." But Joe had little time left to listen.

Two months and five days after the dedication of K-Bar-B Ranch a small aircraft crashed into a field at Clinton, La. Joe Hanberry died on the brink of a dream.

One of Joe's former children said, "I cried... not for him or for myself, but for the hundreds of children who would never receive what he gave to us." 

There is indeed a sadness about a man who has held a dream, however briefly, and seen it fade away. But there is an even greater sadness for those men who have never had a dream at all.

Monday, February 17, 2020

B&PW Honors Past Presidents

The Business and Professional Women's Club in west St. Tammany held a special Bicentennial meeting in 1976. Several past presidents were honored by the group, and the 50th anniversary of its founding was celebrated. 

Here are some details of that event,as published in the News Banner newspaper some 44 years ago in 1976. 

On May 11, 1976, the Covington Business and Professional Women installed new officers, reflected on the club's 50 years of existence, and honored its long list of past presidents.

The event at Tchefuncta Country Club brought together more than 70 officers, members and guests to join in "Commemorating America's Bicentennial of Women Helping Women."

The past presidents recognized included Juanita Privette, 1931-1933; Elsie Galatas, 1933-1935; Eva K. Peyret, 1935-1937; Viola Badon, 1937-1939; Lucille Glisson, 1941-1942; Porter Heintz, 1944-1945; Doris Smith, 1946-1947; Mary Frances Morgan, 1949-1950; and Emily Kustenmacher, 1952-1953.

Also, Naomi Rausch, 195501956; Arlene Johnson, 1958-1959; Jessie Stakelum, 1960-1961; Sylvia Jourdan, 1962-1963; Florence Anding, 1963-1964; Pat Pelloat, 1966-1967; Frances McCarty, 1968-1969; Donis Jenkins, 1969-1970; Nettie Galatas, 1971-1972; Gloria Mulligan, 1972-1973, and Dorothy Schoendorf, 1973-1974; and Claire Sanders, 1975-1976.

The new officers for 1976-1977 included Mrs. Peggy Fineran, president; Mrs. Joyce Wolfe, first vice president; Jean Claire Crawford, 2nd vice president; Chris Canik, third vice president; Pat Lafitte, treasurer; Betty Pogue, recording secretary and Lois Thompkins, corresponding secretary.  

Click on the image above to make it larger.

In her welcoming address, Mrs. Frances McCarty said, "In this America's Bicentennial Year, our country looks back in proud nostalgia on its many accomplishments and upon those leaders who made America memorable. There will not, for many years to come, be a more appropriate time for our club to look back on its nearly half-century of being and on the 40 past presidents who worked to make our continuing club projects a memorable part of the history of Covington.

"Our club has contributed to innumerable civic projects, launched the War Bond Sales in World War 2, helped staff the local U.S.O., worked to assist the Red Cross programs and let our voice be heard on important political bills affecting women."

"We have contributed to the cleanliness and beautification of the town, aided and cheered hospitalized veterans of the wars and needy families. In this, our fiftieth year of existance, we provided three more scholarships, this time to Southeastern Louisiana University by money derived from the Bicentennial production of Choctaw folklore, "Owaisee and the Witch."

 Here is the actual clipping from the newspaper. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Profile of Mathilde D. Brunning

In 1976, some 44 years ago, this article appeared in the News Banner newspaper. It told the story of Mathilde D. Brunning, a well-known and loved community leader in western St. Tammany Parish, particularly the Lee Road area. Here is the article:

Profile of a Grand Lady: Mathilde D. Brunning

(Published 1976)

Although she is old enough to remember well the start of the 20th century, Mathilde D. Brunning is as active and progressive in her ideas as those one third her age.

Affectionately called "Tesi" by her contemporaries and "Mama Teal" by all the young people she has worked with through the years, Mrs. Brunning has certainly left her mark on our community.

Mathilde was born an January 19, 1891, in the family home on Lee Road. Rebuilt after a fire when she was five, the home still stands. Mathilde's life, as that of her parents, typifies the American ideal of the vast opportunities open to those who will pursue them.

Originally from Ireland

Her father Alexander Colville Dickson, grew up to Ireland in a very colorful family in history. His uncle John Mitchell a rebel who fought for Irish freedom from England was imprisoned for 20 years during which he wrote and published two volumes on the family and the Irish cause. After graduating from an agricultural university in Belfast, Mr. Dickson came to New Orleans with the dream of raising sugar cane and shipping it back to Ireland.

He bought acreage on Lee Road which he called Wolfe Tone Plantation, after General Wolfe Tone of Ireland. He raised sugar cane, processed it in his mill, and shipped the raw sugar back to Ireland. When too many ships sank on the rough seas, Dickson turned to raising cotton and built a lumber mill on the plantation.

Mathilde's mother Anna Marie Dumas was board in France. Her family settled in Canada then later moved to New Orleans. She met and married Dickson and moved to the plantation bringing many treasures her family had collected in their travels.

Mathilde was the second of there seven children: Ethel D. Hodgson, Mathilda, Colville, John Mitchell, Marie D. Martin, Kyle and Hazel D. Northouse. As a child Mathilde and her brothers and sisters were taught at home by their father. Later, a school was opened at Pilgrim Rest Church during the summer months each year when the children could leave their duties on the farm.

Mathilde completed her education at the Meridian Female College in Meridian, MS.

In 1910 Mathilde married Thomas Earl Brunning, who had been orphaned when his father was killed on a railroad job and his mother died not long after. They married with $7.00 between them and moved into the plantation guest house, which they remodeled and enlarged. The original part of the house is well over 100 years ago (from 1976). Mathilde still lives there, surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of spreading live oaks.

Family Heritage

Tom and Mathilde had one child, Thomas Earl Jr. When he graduated from Southeastern Louisiana College, where he played exceptional football, T.E. went into business with his father and they called it the T. E. Brunning and Son Lumber Company. The business flourished until a series of fires led T. E. to finally close it.

Mathilde's three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren give her a great deal of pleasure, as her love of young people has never diminished over the years. These are Sue B. Osbon and children Carey and Ashley of Covington, Thomas Earl III and sons Lance and Casey of Luling, and Elizabeth B. Sawyer and daughters Brandy, Paige and Brooke of Poplarville, MS.

Community Service

Over the years Mathilde's life has been a beautiful example of involvement and service to her community and her fellow man. Her active participation in community projects has ranged over many areas including church, charities, service organizations, civic affairs, education, politics, and patriotism. Her 85 years have barely slowed her down and certainly not stopped her.

Mathilde has been a member of the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Guild since it was formed and chairman of the coffee and juice program until a few years ago. She is still active on the St. Tammany Parish Library Board, of which she has been a member for 12 years. Secretary-Treasurer of the St. Tammany Parish Farm Bureau for ten years, Mathilde was selected as Woman of the Year in 1964.

Fair Association Work

Serving as Board Member of the St. Tammany Parish Fair Association for many years, she was presented a gold watch for 50 years of service. Chairman of the Fair Association's Woman's Division for many years, Mathilde also won sweepstakes in the foods section as long as she entered. 

Over the years Mathilde has been Parish Chairman of the March of Dimes. She has held various offices in the Red Cross. During World War II she headed the local Red Cross financial drive and the group which knitted sweaters for the soldiers. She also served as chairman of her ward in the U.S. Savings Bond Drive under Bill Pitcher.

During the Depression she was chairman of the local Red Cross group which made clothing and distributed food and clothing to the many needy people in the parish. When fire damaged or destroyed a home in the community, Mathilde and Tom personally provided the lumber of rebuilding from their sawmill.

Always vitally interested in the education of the youth, Mathilde served as P.T.A. president several times and still continues to work with fund raising projects and suppers at the Covington and Lee Road schools. She began the hot lunch program in the Lee Road school. 

School Board Member

Tom was a member of the St. Tammany Parish School Board for 24 years and served as president of that group for six years until he died in office in 1955. Mathilde ably served out his unexpired term in office.

In addition to her campaigns for the School Board, Mathilde has been very active in Police Jury drives. On a broader political level, she and Tom worked in several Gubernatorial and Presidential elections. Mathilde received a citation from Franklin D. Roosevelt for her work in his campaign.

Mathilde's religious faith has always been very important to her. She is a charter member and a mainstay of the Fitzgerald Methodist Church. A member of the administrative board for about 50 years, she is still active on the board. She was the first treasurer this Church had and resigned her position only recently. 

Religious Service

Mathilde has taught both youth and adult Sunday School classes. Before the Fitzgerald Sunday School program was organized, she taught the Kindergarten Class at the Covington Methodist Church for 12 years.

A high point in her religions life was Mathilde's  selection as Louisiana Methodist Lay Woman of the Year in 1963.

Mathilde Brunning's life has been long and full, full of pleasure gained from involvement and service to others. She has truly been one of the outstanding women of our community.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

City Hall Oak Tree

The oak tree behind Covington City Hall is an amazing network of fern-covered limbs. It's a wonder to behold, plus there's a gazebo right there for people who want to gaze into its branches. 

Here are some pictures. Click on them to make them larger.