Saturday, July 31, 2021

Don Sharp Speaks to Historical Society

 In 2003 Don Sharp spoke to the St. Tammany Historical Society about "Gunboats and Block Ships on the Tchefuncte River."


 

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:

 http://www.tammanytrace.org/ 

Tammany Trace Opens

Tracing the Old Railroad 

Tammany Trace Tunnels  

Cartoon Maps

 The History of Panoramic 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 

NOLA.com Article 2017  

NOLA.com 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 https://ncpedia.org/biography/tatum-howell, 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 ncpedia.com article went on to say. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

St. Tammany Day Is May 1

 Way back in 1777, the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, voted to set aside the first of May to honor the Lenape sachem Tamanend, the Native American chief who made a Great Treaty with William Penn at the founding of Pennsylvania. 

 According to Gus Wiencke "Tamanend was a partner with William Penn in a boldly conceived agreement dated 1683 that Europeans and Indians would live together in peace as long as the creeks and rivers run and while the sun, moon, and stars endure.

"As an Indian, Tamanend trusted Penn and his lofty ideal of a commonwealth of freedom, peace, and tolerance for all inhabitants," Wiencke stated.

Tamanend Celebrated

Residents of the new nation recognized Tamanend as the Patron Saint of America, calling him "St. Tammany," and May 1 is celebrated in numerous states even today, especially in the state of Pennsylvania, as "St. Tammany Day."

He became a legend, and years later St. Tammany Parish was named after him to recognize and honor the Native American heritage of the St. Tammany area. 

Re-establishing the Continental Congress' Tribute

 On March 26, 2003 U.S. Representative David Vitter of Louisiana's First Congressional District introduced a Concurrent Resolution into Congress that would have made May 1 of that year "Tamanend Day" nationwide.

The proposed Concurrent Resolution aimed to declare St. Tammany Day on May 1, 2003, as a national day of recognition for Tamanend and the goals and values he represented.

The resolution read in part as follows:

"Whereas in 1810, President James Madison declared the Territory of West Florida to be a part of the Louisiana Purchase, and in 1811, William C. C. Claiborne, the first American territorial Governor of Louisiana, named the area north of Lake Pontchartrain as ‘St. Tammany Parish’ in honor of the saintly Amerindian Tamanend, who was a sachem of the Lenni Lenape;

"Whereas Tamanend is admired and respected for his virtues of honesty, integrity, honor, fairness, justice, and equality for the common person;

"Whereas, in colonial times, May 1st was celebrated in honor of Tamanend and the common person; and

"Whereas the St. Tammany Parish Council of St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, has passed a resolution designating May 1, 2003, as St. Tammany Day, and urging the reinstatement of May 1st as a national day of recognition for Tamanend and the values he represented.

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress supports the goals and ideals of St. Tammany Day as a national day of recognition for Tamanend and the values he represented.

    -----------------------------------------

Tom Aicklen of Lacombe remembers taking part in the research and  promotion of designating May 1 as Tamanend Day. It was an important recognition of why St. Tammany Parish was named as it was, promoting the spirit of peace and harmony that Chief Tamanend personified.


 
There are statues, plaques, and murals depicting St. Tammany all over the northeast United States.  


Dozens of communities across Pennsylvania and the northeast still honor St. Tammany for his many contributions, with special recognition on May 1, keeping alive the tradition of the holiday established by the Continental Congress in 1777.

An internet search revealed that there is no other county/parish in the United States named after St. Tammany or Tamanend, even though there is a park and several schools that bear his name. There is also a large new real estate development in the center of St. Tammany Parish north of Lacombe named after him, and just north of that is the community of St. Tammany.

Aicklen pointed out that St. Tammany Day (May 1) is also first day of National Tourism Week (May 1 - 7). That first week of May, starting off with St. Tammany Day followed by six days of promoting the many unique tourist attractions of the parish, could become an annual event spotlighting all of St. Tammany's outstanding people and places. 

See also:

The Legend of St. Tammany's Name


Monday, July 19, 2021

Lacombe Heritage Discussed

 St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper met with Lacombe area resident Tom Aicklen Monday afternoon to discuss ways in which to highlight Lacombe area heritage. They looked at a number of potential ways to help Tammany Trace visitors become aware of the history of the parish as they pass through some of the most scenic and culturally significant locations between Slidell and Covington.

 
Tom Aicklen and Mike Cooper

Aicklen has over the years developed several projects in which the area heritage could be showcased, either through informational display boards on Tammany Trace, a live theatrical performance, or a television interview program with local residents familiar with historical points of interest in St. Tammany and across the Florida Parishes. 

He is associated with the Lacombe Heritage Center and has written grant applications to foster appreciation of the environmental, historical, and cultural attractions of the Lacombe area.  

See also:

Tom Aicklen Promotes Heritage 

Choctaws Share Heritage at Lacombe Museum

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Suzanne King, Artist & Community Promoter

 One of  Covington's most prolific and appreciated artists is Suzanne King, not only for her skill and stylish technique, but also for her variety of work for a number of community organizations. The ChefSoiree, the St. Tammany Parish Fair Association, the Covington Heritage Foundation, and countless others have turned to her for special projects.

The St. Tammany Art Association has exhibited her mixed media works, and she was written up in the March 2015 issue of Inside Northside Magazine, as the artist who created the poster for that year's ChefSoiree event. CLICK HERE to read that article.

Her longtime devotion to producing award-winning fair posters is well-known, and in 2013  she created the memory-saturated Covington Bicentennial Poster.

Some of her fair posters:The first poster on the left, with the barrel racing theme, won first place statewide at the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals annual meeting. Click on the images to make them larger.
 
 
 

 Even as far back as 1981, she was doing posters for the fair association.

 
In 2015 her exhibit at the St. Tammany Art Association explored String Theory: The Art of Manipulation.  

Here are a few paragraphs from her biographical handout:

A native of Covington, Louisiana, Suzanne King is mixed media artist and a 1967 graduate of Southeastern Louisiana College (now University). She worked for Shell Oil's Graphics Department in New Orleans and Houston for 24 years, and those elements are evident in much of her work.

She attended evening art classes at Tulane in the early 1970s, and pursued photography, house renderings, silkscreen posters, pottery, and etchings while participating in numerous local and regional exhibits, winning several awards.

From 1992-95, Suzanne taught art at the expatriate school in Shekou, People's Republic of China. After traveling to many fascinating places in the world during the 1990s and exploring other art forms, she has returned to drawing and mixed media/collage/assemblage pieces combined with elements of graphics, a favorite form of artistic expression.

A solo show at the St. Tammany Art Association was a highlight of 2015, after which she completed illustrations for two children's books for local authors: The Mystery of the Missing Smile by Carroll Devine and New Orleans - 300 and Counting.... by Alice Couvillon and Elizabeth Moore. 


She has also created several posters for many local and regional events, including Playmakers Theater, Covington's Bicentennial poster in 2013, the 2015 Chef SoirĂ©e poster, and St. Tammany Parish Fair posters in 1980-84 and 2013-2019. 
 
Her 2013 Covington Bicentennial Poster was a labor of love and loved by all who see it. 


She recently created Christmas cards for the Covington Heritage Foundation's History and Holly Home Tour, depicting the two churches on that year's tour, Covington Presbyterian and St. Peter Catholic Church.

 


 In 2015, an article about her written by Kevin Chiri appeared in the St. Tammany West newspaper. CLICK HERE to read the article on the St. Tammany West website.

Here are several excerpts from that article:

Popular Covington artist Suzanne King is leaving legacy in parish with intriguing artwork

"King is unquestionably recognized as one of the top artists in St. Tammany Parish and has been exhibiting her extraordinary work locally for years through many different outlets. Describing herself as a “mixed media artist, she delights locals who have enjoyed her work for many years.

"King said she has always enjoyed the opportunity to use her art to exhibit many different things in surprisingly interesting ways. “I like learning and I see beauty and art in things that many people would never notice,” she said. “I noticed a birds nest the other day and was fascinated to see how the bird created it. I saw a dead tree recently and thought it was beautiful when someone else didn’t see anything special about it.

“I have always looked at things differently, but I guess that’s what most artists do and that’s where the creative side comes through,” she added.

"King has been a lifelong resident of the Covington area, graduating from Covington High in 1963 and doing the usual things in school that predicted a career in art.

Drawing has always been King’s strong suit, Chiri wrote. “I’ve never stopped learning–that is what I enjoy in life,” she said. “I took etching classes at Tulane when I worked at Shell, I love photography and have worked at that, I love doing house renderings and I even learned guitar and sign language.

Back in St. Tammany Parish in 1995 she has spent the past 20 years becoming very involved in the community here, supporting numerous charitable events and organizations through her work. She was among the founding members of the Covington Business Association and continually finding new ways to draw and display her work, even becoming the artist who draws the pictures on the pizza boxes for Covington’s “Pizza Man.”

“I’m sure a lot of people will be surprised that I’m the one who does the Pizza Man box art,” she added with a smile. “I enjoy it since it’s one more way to do something with my art. As I said, I love discovering new things to work with,” she concluded. 

 CLICK HERE to view her artwork on display at the St. Tammany Art Association