The Dorcheat Historical Association Museum, Inc announces the first “Night for the Museum” of 2009. These events were such a huge success in 2008 with 9 speakers’ total for the year. Each event was recorded and made into a DVD. These DVDs are a part of the fundraising efforts of the always expanding and progressing new museum.
Museum director Schelley Brown stated, “Last year with our June opening we wanted to get the word out about the museum and what better way to do that than to tell our parish history from people that have lived it or whose grandparents experienced it.” The events have included a wide range of subjects from the Civil War – the 1940’s and 50’s recreation at Hunter’s Playhouse. Each event was attended by 150-200 guests. Many of these people traveled a great distance to attend the monthly events.
Monday January 12th, 2009, Mr. John S. Willis will be the first guest speaker for the 2009 season. Mr. Willis a longtime Webster Parish citizen grew up in the Doyline area of the parish. John Stillmon Willis, Jr. was born on the Willis farm south of Doyline to Ada Kennon Willis and John Stillmon Willis, Sr. in June of 1919. Ada Willis would succumb to along illness when John was just 4 years old. John was then raised by his grandparents John Gladden and Anna Willis. He graduated with a degree in Agronomy from LSU. He farmed until Pearl Harbor. He spent four years in the service, the later three years in the Army Air Corps. His combat service was as a B-17 Pilot out of Deephen-Greene Airbase with the 452nd Bomb Group in England. The average casualty rate for the Bomb Groups was a staggering 77% with his unit having an 85% casualty rate. Willis flew amazingly over 30 missions. After leaving the service John spent 20 years in the family lumber business. The next 20 years many remember Mr. Willis and his late wife Mrs. Lillian Life Willis as a part of the Webb Hardware family. These two played important parts in the fabric of our community. They retired in 1988. Lillian died in 2006. Mr. Willis will be speaking on his early childhood days around Lake Bistineau as well as his amazing stories of WWII and life in our surrounding communities. Ms. Brown commented, “I know Mr. Willis is going to be a wonderful first speaker for 2009. We are so excited that he has agreed to do this for us. He has wonderful stories and I know that everyone is going to enjoy listening to him.”
Speakers are already lined up for an exciting and history filled 2009 schedule. The events will be held at Christopher’s located at 615 Main Street in Minden on the 2nd Monday of the month. Doors open around 5:30 refreshments are served at 6:00 p.m. with speakers to begin at 6:30. No admission is charged for the events but donations to the museum are welcomed. For more information on the museum you can visit the web site at http://www.museuminminden.blogspot.com/ or call Schelley Brown at 318-423-0192.