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116 Pearl Street Then

116 Pearl Street Then
1920's Photo of Pearl Street

116 Pearl Street Today

116 Pearl Street Today
Our Museum!

Welcome To The Minden, Louisiana's Dorcheat Museum Blog

Thank you for visiting the Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum Blog. The Dorcheat Historical Museum is the only museum inside the city limits of Minden, Louisiana. The museum opened June 10th, 2008. Admission Free with donations welcomed. Our hours are, Tuesday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., closed for lunch from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m., open again from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday we are closed but open by appointment for special showings and meetings. We would like to invite you to visit our location at 116 Pearl Street in Minden, Louisiana. We look forward to sharing our history with you. For more information please contact museum director Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or 318-423-0192.

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This Minden, Louisiana Webster Parish Muesum is Funded in part by a grant from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission.
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Membership and Contribution Levels

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Membership Dues and Contribution Levels:
· Individual - $20.00

· Family - $40.00
· Sustaining - $75.00
· Patron – $125.00 -
· Benefactor – $250.00 -
· Corporate - $500.00
· Bronze - $1000 - $2,499
· Silver - $2,500 - $4,999
· Gold - $5,000 - $9,999
· Platinum - $10,000 – 24,999
· Diamond - $25,000 & up

In return for your support, you will receive not only a tax deduction, but also, invitations to all museum activities. Please give every consideration to helping with this endeavor. Be a part of Webster Parish history by becoming a member of the Webster Parish Dorcheat Historical Association and Museum.
Dues and pledge contributions may be mailed to:

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum
PO Box 1094

Minden, Louisiana 71058.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Third "Night At The Museum" 2015 with the Dietrich Family


The Dietrich Family

 

April 13th, 2015 “Night at the Museum” will be a special treat.  Hear the story of Warren and Sue Dietrich of Minden.  Sue and Warren Dietrich, affectionately known as “Sue Dee” and “Dee”, established their residence in Minden in the late 1930’s.  Sue was from southern Arkansas, and Dee from New Orleans.  Although they had no prior connections to Minden, they met here, and created a life together rich with lasting friendships and service to the community.  On April 13th, their daughters, Susan Dietrich Rolfs and Kristine Dietrich Keating will tell the story of their love for Minden and their contributions to the community.   

Don't miss your chance to hear about one of Minden's long time families.  The museum events are held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lost Minden with John Agan


2nd "Night At The Museum" 2015

"Lost Minden" Book Signing And Talk With John Agan

 
March 9th, 2015 "Night at the Museum"
Don't miss it
 

John Agan is a native and life-long resident of Minden. His love of history began as a small child during the Civil War Centennial of the 1960s and has been his passion ever since, eventually becoming his career.

He earned a B.A. , M.Ed. and M.A. in History from Louisiana Tech University and completed work toward his Ph.D. at both Louisiana State University and the University of Mississippi. After working in banking and government, he began a teaching career in the early 1990s. He has been an Assistant Professor of History at Bossier Parish Community College since 2004.

Agan is active in the Dorcheat Historical Association, the Minden Cemetery Association, and the Friends of the Germantown Colony Museum and serves as Chairman of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Board for the Germantown Colony Museum. He has been named the official historian for Webster Parish by the parish governing body, the Webster Parish Police Jury. For 10 years, he wrote a weekly newspaper column on local history for the Minden Press-Herald. He is the author of seven books on local history, including three previous works for Arcadia Publishing.

It is the author’s hope that this book will provide a lasting record of the people and places that shaped the community of Minden for its residents to enjoy and appreciate.

What lasting impact do you hope your book will leave?

My hope would be that this book will provide a place where these various images of what our community looked like and who shaped the community can be found without having to search. These people and places are not forgotten but in a small town sometimes there is no source where one can find images of those people and places. I hope that in the future it will allow local residents to see where we “have come from” so they can appreciate our heritage and use those lessons to shape our future.

Don't miss a chance to hear some great history and get your autographed copy of "Lost Minden" from John Agan.  The museum events are held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

First “Night At The Museum” 2015 The Jamieson & Life Families


First “Night At The Museum” 2015

The Jamieson And Life Families

 

February 9th, 2015 “Night at the Museum” will be a special treat.  Hear the story of the Jamieson and Life families of Minden.  Ann Mays Harlan and Bonnie Jamieson Culverhouse are first cousins.  Ann’s maternal grandparents and Bonnie’s paternal grandparents were Fielding and Sadie Jamieson.  Fielding Jamieson had a 40-year career working for Louisiana Power & Light Company.  Sadie Jamieson was an LVN in the nursery at Minden Hospital.   Ann’s mother was Elizabeth Jamieson Mays.  Bonnie’s dad was Pearce Jamieson, founder of the Jamieson, Wise, Martin C.P.A. firm.  Bonnie’s mother was Martha Life Jamieson.  Bonnie’s maternal grandparents were Will and Johnnye Life, owners of Webb Hardware.  Most everyone in Minden was touched in some way by some member of these families.

Don't miss your chance to hear about two of Minden's long time families.  The museum events are held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 

For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

 

 

 

A Christmas Miracle "A Truck For Bobby"


The Christmas Gift

 

            When you work on a project you never know where it will take you and what will happen afterward.  “A Christmas miracle is what we call this,” states Cora Lou Robinson along with Schelley Francis.  Schelley comments, “The project of writing a Christmas memories book had been on my mind for years, especially since I began my job as director of the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in 2007.  One of my favorite Christmas traditions that I have been doing for several years now is to read the book "Christmas Gift" by author Ferrol Sams.  This book takes me back in time and always makes me cry for the past.  It has become my special gift, for those like minded people that love the way things once were.” 

            Folk artist, Cora Lou Brown Robinson grew up in Minden.  Her artwork graces the cover of the new book.  A few years ago, her idea to write down her memories for her children and grandchildren gave birth to the idea to do a collection of stories from people here in Webster Parish.  Francis states; “This project began in February 2014, the memories began the day I was old enough to remember what Christmas was all about.  I think you will see from all of these stories recorded in this book, that feeling is shared by many.  We grew up in a time of feeling safe, of being sheltered from the harshness of the world outside our small town; we knew our neighbors and we cared about them.”

            Francis commented, “As the stories began to come in Cora Lou and I realized that some of the stories were not your typical feel good stories.  In fact many were about the harsh realities of life and how in a moment the smallest things can transform your life forever.”  The following is how this book evolved into more than just some stories but turned into a Christmas Miracle.

            This is just a part of Cora Lou Robinson’s story that she told that night at the October museum event to over 100 people and quotes from her about what has happened since the night she told this story in October of 2014. 

 

The following is an excerpt from my story that is in the Memories of Christmas Past book available at the Dorcheat Museum:

 

And then there was Bobby.  Bobby sat behind me in the second grade.  I don’t remember his last name, but I will never forget him.  I think of him throughout the year but I especially think of him at Christmas.  I remember stabbing him in the hand with a pencil one day but he never told on me.  He just kept holding on to his hand and I’m sure it was very painful.  He talked a lot and would tell me stories of what he and his cousins would do. 

 

At Christmas time in grammar school (that’s what elementary school was called back in those days) we all drew names and would bring a gift to our school party for the person whose name we drew.  Now each person was supposed to receive one gift, but there were a few girls in our class who got piles of gifts given by lots of children in class.  Our teacher stood at the front of the room and went on and on about how many gifts those girls received.  You can imagine how the rest of us felt.  I don’t remember what I got, but Bobby got a little wooden truck that he kept rolling back and forth across his desk.  I guess he must have sensed that I was somewhat upset over only getting one gift because he said, “You don’t need a lot of presents to be happy.  This little truck is all I need.  Don’t you see what a good time I’m having with one simple little truck?”  Those were his exact words and I won’t ever forget them.

 

One morning that spring I came to school and I was told that Bobby had wandered into a pond close to where he lived and drowned.  He and some of his cousins slipped off and were going swimming, but Bobby did not know how to swim. 

Now Bobby at seven or eight years old knew more than many, many adults about the important things in life and what you need to be happy.  What you need are the simple things.  As I’ve often said – God and Country – Family and Friends. 

 

That of course brings us to the real meaning of Christmas.  We must never forget the fact that we celebrate Christmas because of the birth of Jesus Christ.

 

The decorations, gifts, all the get togethers and fabulous food are wonderful and they all make for great memories, but the greatest memory of all is a baby born in a simple manger.  He grew up and led a very simple life.

 

To borrow a paragraph from a paper read by Schuyler Marvin at a fifth grade graduation several years ago…. “Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for most of the human race.  All the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon earth as powerfully as this One Solitary Life.”

 

So you see Bobby was right…. The simple things are what’s important.  The greatest gifts you can give come from within you.  Love….Hope….and Kindness.

 

With a few key dates in hand Schelley began searching the internet death records for Webster Parish.  The very next day after the talk she found the only Bobby that fit the dates and age requirements matching up with the story.  She called Cora Lou with the news that she had found out who Bobby was and where he was buried.  By the next day museum board member Ann Harlan was able to contact a friend that she felt sure was related to this little boy and sure enough this woman was Bobby’s younger Aunt.  So all the years of not remembering Bobby’s last name and where he was buried were finally put to rest for Mrs. Robinson.

A few days later Schelley asked Cora Lou if she would like to take a wreath out to Bobby’s grave for Christmas.  Schelley searched for the perfect wood truck to attach to the wreath.  “We wanted something similar to what Bobby may have received on his last school Christmas gift exchange in 1943.  We wanted it to be special for a special little boy that made such a huge impact with such simple words so long ago,” commented Schelley. 

The original plan for the visit to the cemetery was to be just a simple wreath placement for Cora Lou and Schelley a few weeks before Christmas.  Others soon heard about the plan and Ann Harlan contacted (Bobby’s Aunt) Janell Boyce Dickinson and she wanted to be included in the plan to meet at the cemetery.  Soon the plans were expanded to include some of Bobby’s Aunt Janell’s life-long friends.  So on a sunny but cold and windy December afternoon a group of friends stood in front a little boy’s grave.  For 71 years the unselfish, wise words of a nine year old little boy had made a huge impact in one of their lives. 



Left-Right: Mary Jo Kirkland, Jenny Kennon, Lyda Madden, Janell Boyce Dickinson, Cora Lou Robinson, Ann Harlan, Laverne Kidd, Joyce Carey

The fact that Bobby’s words never left Cora Lou’s mind is amazing.  The fact that Cora Lou went on to be the person she is today, I believe is a part of Bobby’s legacy to Minden and the world.  Cora Lou Robinson has blessed so many people with her simple acts of kindness, sweet spirit, art, and her teaching of children.  I feel that was her way of saying “Bobby I heard what you said to me that day.”

Friday, November 14, 2014

Museum Making Plans For 2015 and Beyond


Lou Snook presents Thad Andress a commemorative plaque for his years of service to the museum.  
Dorcheat Historical Museum has come a long way since opening its doors in 2008.  “The museum is changing all the time” stated Schelley Francis.  This upcoming year the museum will continue to grow, work on expansion projects and new exhibits.  Longtime president of the museum board; Mr. Thad Andress steps aside this year to welcome the new 2015 president Mrs. Louise Baird Snook to the helm of the organization.  Andress brought with him the knowledge of importance of preserving family history and the diligence of seeing the job done. 

During Andress’s time with the museum great strides have been made.  Foremost is that Webster Parish now has a museum that they can be proud of.  For many, many years a museum was only a hope and a dream to just a handful of people.  Under Andress nine years at the forefront of Dorcheat Historical Association, much money has been donated to get the Dorcheat Museum where it is today.  “Without all the successful fundraising efforts plus all the time and effort that have been made by so many that are working and have worked behind the scenes of this organization we would not be open today!” commented Mrs. Francis.    

The museum has special events, gives free tours to groups, and is a great source for finding out local history.  That is something that for many is a dream come true.  But the dream doesn’t stop here.  Last year the adjacent building was purchased with the goal of expanding at some point in the near future. 

Mrs. Snook…. like Andress has deep family roots in Minden, with her Treat and Brown family connections.  So many people that reside in Webster Parish have very deep family roots.  Having family history that dates back for so many generations is a big plus to any area and a great reason for the strong community involvement that Dorcheat Museum has seen. 

For many of these longtime Webster Parish families, that is where the importance of having a good museum steps in.  When those older family members are gone, many are faced with what to do with items.  The museum is a great place to donate family items and preserve the past for many future generations.     

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Christmas Morning" Now At The Museum










Don't wait....get your Cora Lou print "Christmas Morning" (8x10) $20, your "Glimpse of Christmas Past" Book for $25, "Christmas Morning" Christmas Cards pack of 8 for $10. We are also doing a give away on Nov 25th, 2014....for a $5 donation get your name in the hopper for a chance to win a beautiful tree decorated with handmade ornaments made by Lyda Madden plus a gift basket with the Cora Lou cards, prints and book.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Twas The Night At The Museum With Cora Lou Robinson


Twas The Night At The Museum With Cora Lou Robinson
A Glimpse of Christmas Past

Christmas Memories from Friends and Families of Webster Parish
is the title of our new project! And the theme for our October museum Event!


Come hear one of Minden's beloved teachers and artist read excerpts from our new book that has been months in the making. I promise that you will have a wonderful evening of Christmas memories. A very special silent auction item will be up for auction that evening.... CHRISTMAS IN OCTOBER will be our theme for the night!
We hope to have the books back by October and just in time for Christmas these will make a great gift for your family. It is a way to keep your family traditions alive for future generations. Call me if you have any questions or just need help.
This project has been on my mind for years, especially since I began my job as director of the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum in 2007. My favorite Christmas tradition that I have been doing for several years now is to read the book "Christmas Gift" by author Ferrol Sams. This book takes me back in time and always makes me cry for the past. It has become my special gift, for those like minded people that love the way things once were. The act of recording our memories is so important for our future generations. All of us have a special Christmas memory, tucked away in the back of our mind. This book was created in hopes of bringing those memories out of just our thoughts, to be put down in print and shared. Christmases are special to every one of us, but as a child I felt like they were more special here in Minden, Louisiana and North Louisiana.
My friend and folk artist, Cora Lou Brown Robinson grew up in Minden. Her artwork graces the cover of this new book. A few years ago, her idea to write down her memories for her children and grandchildren gave me the idea to do a collection of stories from people here in Webster Parish. This project began for me in February 2014, the memories began the day I was old enough to remember what Christmas was all about. I think you will see from all of these stories recorded in this book, that feeling is shared by many. We grew up in a time of feeling safe, of being sheltered from the harshness of the world outside our small town; we knew our neighbors and we cared about them.
I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed collecting the stories.

The cost of the book will be $25 dollars each and $5 shipping and handling if we need to mail you one. This book is over 250 pages long! Full of wonderful stories from people of our parish! Contact me at 318-377-3002 for when books will be available.


Friday, August 1, 2014

Museum Gala 2014 "Photographs and Memories"



You Are Invited To Help Make History Happen

    Monday, September 8, 2014, the Dorcheat Historical Museum will be hosting its sixth fundraising event since the 2008 opening of the parish museum. Last year the fundraiser was a huge success, and raised over $30,000 and was attended by over 150 guests.

    Becky Marvin, Janice Mourad, Cora Lou Robinson, Louise Snook, and Kay Elzen, board members and gala event organizers report that the 2014 fundraiser promises to be no exception, with the "Photographs and Memories" theme set for this year. Guest will be thrilled with the variety of silent auction items and the great variety of wonderful Louisiana cuisine. "We are so fortunate to have the support of so many people from far and wide. "We are pleased with our progress and we know we couldn't do any of it without so many generous friends and supporters of the museum." stated museum director; Schelley Francis.

    Folk artist, Cora Lou Robinson, is in the process of painting another new original painting for this event. Robinson's paintings have been a highlight at the past auctions bringing in over $8000 last year for the museum. Everyone is looking forward to seeing her new 2014 piece. Other artists have also contacted museum board members about donating original works; and museum members are thrilled with the response to help.

    The museum has had hundreds of visitors this past year from all over the country. It is a showplace for our area and has received quite a bit of notice from the Shreveport area on local TV stations, magazines and newspapers. People are now seeing museum commercials on TV, large billboards and ads in area publications.

   Our expansion project is in full swing.  We raised the money to purchase the building in 2013!  We have a new roof and front on our new building!  Now our plans for our renovation and upgrading the building will take place.  Many Minden residents will remember when the two buildings were connected as Major Office Supply with a door between the two sections. With the purchase of the building we will once again hope to have a doorway between the two museum areas at some point in time.

   When the Media/Theater room opened several years ago, it gave the museum an extra advantage of being able to offer the facility to others. We can now rent this part of the museum out for meetings, reunions and parties, plus we have the added benefit of the theater system for Power Point or video presentations." commented Schelley Francis.

    If you would like to attend or donate a service or item for the 2014 Gala event contact the Dorcheat Museum at 318-377-3002 or visit at 116 Pearl Street. To sign up for updates visit the website at www.museuminminden.blogspot.com you can also find us on Facebook.   



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Colonel Charles Sherburne “Sherb” Sentell III to be the 43rd Museum Speaker



May 19th, 2014 “Night At The Museum”

A Night Of Family History

The 43rd “Night at the Museum” will take place Monday May 19th, 2014.  This event will feature Colonel Charles Sherburne “Sherb” Sentell III.  Sentell’s family has roots that date back over 100 years in Webster Parish.
  
Sentell was born in July 1966 in Minden, LA.  He received his commission in Infantry through ROTC and graduated as the Distinguished Military Graduate from Davidson College in North Carolina where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 1989.  Sentell graduated on the Commandant’s List from the Infantry Officer Basic Course and then completed Ranger School and the Pathfinder course at Fort Benning, GA.  He served three years on active duty with the 82d Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC and was an Infantry Platoon Leader during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, where he earned his first Bronze Star Medal. 

Leaving active duty in 1992, he attended law school at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.  While in law school, he wrote an article that was published in the Louisiana Law Review and won the Flory Moot Trial oral argument competition.  Sentell received his Juris Doctorate degree in 1995 graduating 5th in his class.  In 1997 while serving as a law clerk for a Federal Judge, Sentell reentered the active Army Reserve by joining the 4013th Garrison Support Unit (GSU) in Bossier City, LA.  He then attended the Transportation Officer Advanced Course at Fort Eustis, VA where he was the Distinguished Graduate of his class.  Sentell was a Company Commander while serving with the 4013th GSU.  In 1999, the Chief of Staff of the Army presented Sentell with the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award at the Pentagon after he successfully took command of an active duty company at Ft. Polk, LA. 

Sentell then went to the 8th Battalion (TC), 95th DIV in Shreveport, LA where he served first as the Battalion S3 before assuming command as the Battalion Commander.  After command, Sentell was selected to lead and mobilize another unit as commander of the 519th TC DET from Camp Pendleton, CA.  Sentell earned his second Bronze Star during a one-year deployment to Iraq in 2004-2005 with the 519th TC DET as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Upon his return, he served as Executive Officer for the 2d Battalion, 379th REGT, 95th DIV in Arkadelphia, AR.  He was then selected as the Brigade S3 Operations Officer for the 7th BDE, 95th DIV in Little Rock, AR.  From April 2009 until July 2012, he was the Battalion Commander of the 2203rd Mobilization Support Battalion in Bossier City, LA.  In 2013, Sentell received a Master’s Degree from the United States Army War College, where he was a resident student and member of the Army War College Eisenhower Program.  He is currently assigned to United States Central Command at MacDill AFB, FL as a joint logistics planning officer.    

COL Sentell’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal (1 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (3 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (1 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (2 OLC), CIB, Ranger Tab, EIB, Senior Parachutist Badge and numerous mobilization awards.  He has completed the Command and General Staff College, the 90A logistician Support Operations Course, and is a graduate of the Advanced Joint Professional Military Education (AJPME) course. 

COL Sentell is employed as a Prosecutor for the State of Louisiana and maintains a private law practice with his father at the Sentell Law Firm, LLC.  He stays actively involved in his community, is a past President of the Chamber of Commerce, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Minden Medical Center, the Minden Lion’s Club, and Citizens National Bank.  Sentell has been inducted into the LSU Law School Hall of Fame. 

 Don't miss your chance to hear about some of our area history. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 
For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.


Friday, March 21, 2014

"Night At The Museum" with Butch Williams April 14, 2014



“Night At The Museum” Like Father, Like Son
Family and Education In Webster Parish
 with Mr. Butch Williams

The 42nd “Night at the Museum” will take place Monday April 14th, 2014.  This event will feature long time Minden resident Mr. Butch Williams.  Butch Williams was born in 1947, to Wayne and Irene Williams in Haynesville, Louisiana.  Wayne Williams had just returned from WWII and was serving as principal at Shongaloo High School, when Butch was born.  
In 1950 the family moved to Minden, where Wayne Williams continued his career moving throughout the Webster Parish School system, starting at East Side Elementary and ending up as Superintendent of Webster Parish Schools.   “Like father, like son,” a phrase that could easily be used when describing the two Williams men in the Webster Parish education system.  Butch Williams would start as Assistant Principle at Minden High School and also ended up as the superintendent of Webster Parish Schools.
Wayne Williams spent 44 years in Webster Parish school system: He taught Social Studies and Coached football, basketball, baseball at Shongaloo High, became Principal of Shongaloo, Eastside Elementary, Minden High, Supervisor, ESEA, Title I, High School, and then became the parish school Superintendent.  Butch Williams followed in his father’s footsteps, teaching Biology-Chemistry while coaching football, basketball, baseball at Minden High, at Sibley High he taught Biology-Chemistry, Adv. Phys.Sci. and coached track.  He was Principal for 25 years at Sibley / Lakeside before moving on to Superintendent of Webster Parish School system.
Williams will talk about his long time family involvement in the school system and the changes that have taken place in Washington and Baton Rouge that have completely altered educations as we recognize it.  He will reflect of the 82 combined years between he and his father and their experiences in the area.  He will also reflect on his family, wife Ki and the couple’s three sons.  Ki and Butch Williams have six grandchildren now to keep them very busy now in their retirement years.           
 Don't miss your chance to hear about some of our area history. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 
For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Standing Room Only Crowd At Dorcheat Historical Museum Monday Night



Standing Room Only Crowd At Dorcheat Historical Museum

The 41st “Night at the Museum” was held to a packed house, Monday March 10th, 2014.  Over 100 people turned out to hear four different speakers.  Webster Parish Historian Mr. John Agan began the evening with a brief history of the German Town Colony and its importance to our area.  Agan was followed by Susie Lester, Otto Krouse and LeVerne Kidd.  These last three speakers are of German heritage with ties to the original colony settlers.   They all spoke of their early childhood days and what it was like growing up in Minden.  Much was learned about Minden’s German heritage and influences that are still here today.
The 42nd speaker at the museum will be Mr. Butch Williams, on April 14th, 2014.  Don't miss your chance to hear about some of Minden's earliest families. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 
For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.


Webster Parish Historian John Agan began the program for the evening

Susie Lester told of her early childhood

Otto Krouse a direct descendant of the Colony



LeVerne Kidd tells of her early childhood and her German Heritage
Over 100 people attended the event, many sharing Minden's German Heritage as direct descendants of the Colony

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Night At The Museum Our German Heritage March 10th, 2014



2014 Night At The Museum Our German Heritage March 10th, 2014


The 41st “Night at the Museum” will take place Monday March 10th, 2014.  This event will feature several guest speakers, including Webster Parish Mr. John Agan, Mr. Otto Krouse, LeVerne Kidd and Susie Lester.  We will learn much about Minden’s German heritage and influences that are still here today.  Most Mindenites have grown up knowing that Minden has a sister city Minden, Germany and most are familiar with Germantown Colony.  Many are not aware of what it was like to be of German decent in the United States during WWII.  This subject will be the main feature of the talk.
 The Germantown Colony and Museum is an historical preservation project north of Minden. It was among three sites in Louisiana founded by former members of the Utopian Movement called the Harmony Society in the early 19th century. The original colonists came from Germany having first settled in Harmony, PA in 1803, then in New Harmony, IN in 1814, and finally in 1825 in Economy (now Ambridge, PA).
About 250 former members of the Harmony Society, many of whom left Economy, Pennsylvania, during 1832, decided to leave because of disagreements over the society's customs. They followed a visionary named Bernhard Muller, who called himself "Count de Leon". The Count called upon all the heads of Europe to relinquish their crowns in a "new world to come."
Some community members would eventfully follow Müller and his family down the Ohio River via flatboat. They later started up again at Grand Ecore, twelve miles north of Natchitoches, Louisiana. There Müller died and was interred in Natchitoches Parish. When the Count died, a congressman obtained passage of a bill donating a tract of land to the colonists and to Countess Leon, the Count's widow. The roots of the Germantown Colony were hence established.
In 1835, the group, then led by Müller's widow, the Countess, settled seven miles northeast of Minden in what was then Claiborne Parish.  For nearly four decades, the colony operated on a communal basis until it dispersed in 1871, when Webster Parish was created from Claiborne Parish. The Countess then moved to Hot Springs, AR., where she died in 1881.
The colony and cemetery thereafter was maintained by members of the Krouse family, including Dr. Francis Otto Krouse.  In 1954, then Governor Robert F. Kennon unveiled a still standing historical marker of the Germantown Colony. The sign is located at the intersections of Broadway, Elm, and East and West streets, across from the Webster Parish Library. Today the historic Germantown Cemetery holds the remains of many of the settlers. Tombstone information reveals that a number were born in Germany. In some cases, the cause of death is listed on the markers.
In 1973, Krouse descendants, including Chester Phillip Krouse (1899–1981) and his sister, Ruby Florence Krouse (1906–2005), donated an acre of land to the Webster Parish Police Jury.  Three of the original buildings, the Countess’ cabin, the kitchen-dining hall, and the Dr. Goentgen cottage, survive at the site. The buildings contain items used by the early settlers.  Some of the original wallpaper remains in the large room of the Countess' cottage, paper which she had ordered from New Orleans to cover the rough walls. A refined woman, the Countess gave piano instruction to girls and young women in her cottage. 
 The Germantown Museum did not open to the public until May 10, 1975, with then former Governor Kennon, a Webster Parish native and a descendant of Germantown colonists, in attendance for the observation.  In 1979, the colony was placed on the list of the "Cultural Resources Worthy of Preservation" by the United States Department of the Interior.   As Germantown, the village was listed in 1979 on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2008, the Louisiana State Legislature under Act 847 declared it appropriate for the state to operate the Germantown Colony and Museum.  On July 1, 2009, the museum switched from parish to state control. The Germantown Colony Museum temporarily closed on June 3, 2013, for the construction of a new visitor’s center. The museum expects to reopen in 2014. The new visitor’s center will provide a climate-controlled area to display artifacts used by the settlers. The renovation also includes restrooms and new office space.
 Don't miss your chance to hear about some of Minden's earliest families. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 
For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday CLOSED. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

Mardi Gras in Minden New Exhibit Is Up

Mural done by Brian Carlisle

Exhibit with Carolyn Hale's Mardi Gras Dress

Back of Picture with people identified

Early Mardi Gras Court and Parade in Minden, LA.

Picture taken right before the Mardi Gras Feb 13, 1923 Tragedy

Thursday, February 13, 2014

John Collins Is The 40th Speaker For "Night For The Museum"



Night At The Museum Kicked Off The Year With It’s 40th Speaker

Large Crowd On Hand For John Collins The Museum 40th Speaker
The 40th speaker for “Night at the Museum” at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum had a packed house, in spite of the extreme weather forecast on Monday February 10th, 2014.  Museum director Schelley Francis commented, “I was worried about the night’s crowd a little because of the weather forecast.  I felt sure folks would come out to hear John Collins under normal circumstances, I just wasn’t sure if the weather would cooperate for us.  We also were hit last week with another issue that I was dealing with.  The outside portions of three heating and air units were stolen and I could not heat the back section of the museum.  This turned out to not really be an issue once people started coming in, as most were dressed warmly anyway.”
Thad Andress excepts a $5,000 donation from businessman Mr. Jay Kumar
The evening started with a special presentation from a local businessman and hotel owner.  Mr. Jay Kumar presented a $5,000 check to Museum Board President Mr. Thad Andress to be used for a part of the renovation expense fund on the museum expansion project.  “Jay Kumar’s check was a welcomed gift!  We are excited with all of our donations big and small.  It takes a little bit of everything to keep the museum going.  We have had some large gifts given in the past and we are always thrilled when this happens.  We know not everyone can help this way so that is where the tips jar, the cookbook sales, DVD sales, and donation box come in.  Every little bit helps and every little bit is appreciated.  We don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t help or be a part in some way.” stated Schelley Francis. 
John Collins points out why he is wearing a bow tie for the evening.  Pointing to a picture of his grandfather A.J. Price
Mr. John Collins spent the rest of the evening telling his stories from his early childhood days in Minden.  Most everyone in Minden associates the Collins family with what is now A.J. Price, Incorporated.  The company operates the local downtown “OLD WESTERN AUTO STORE” among two other locations in Minden and Benton.  The downtown location was opened by John’s grandfather, A.J. Price in 1936.  After A.J.’s retirement, his daughter; Mrs. Evelyn Price Collins was the owner/operator until her son; John became manager in 1970.  John has worked at the Western Auto store for most of his life.  He could be seen at the downtown store working after school, on weekends, holidays, and Saturdays since his teen years.  John told several humorous stories of events that have taken place during his days spent at the store.  This talk will be available on DVD for $10 at the museum soon.
The next night for the museum will take place March 10th, 2014 with a night of our German Heritage history. Don't miss your chance to hear about some of Minden's early families. The museum events will be held in the Media/Learning room at the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, 116 Pearl Street, Minden, La.  Museum doors will open at 5:30 p.m., with first-come, first-serve seating.  Program begins at 6:00 p.m., admission is free with potluck desserts and snacks welcome. 
For more information contact Schelley Brown Francis at 318-377-3002 or visit www.museuminminden.blogspot.com to sign up for the museum email blast. You can also find the museum on Facebook. To learn more about Webster Parish's rich history visit the Dorcheat Historical Association Museum located at 116 Pearl Street in Minden. Museum hours; closed on Monday, Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. (closed from 1-2 for lunch), Saturday 10 a.m. - noon. The museum admission is free. Also open for special tours and rental by appointment.

Great Crowd In Spite Of Weather Forecast!