1811 brings first American settlers to area. Following the Freeman/Curtis expedition and subsequent announcement of the area by Thomas Jefferson in 1806, immigration into Northwest Louisiana increased. In 1811 Isaac Alden traveled up the Red River into Lake Bistineau and Bayou Dorcheat and settled in what is today Webster Parish, about 8 miles east of Minden. Issac, from New Orleans, was the first English speaking man to make his home here and later became the first Justice of the Peace to preside over this area.
In August 1818, John Murrell, after leaving his home in Tennessee and traveling down the Mississippi and up the Red River into Loggy Bayou and Dorcheat with his wife, six children, a pack horse, his rifle and a dog or two found a cooling spring and settled his family near Isaac Alden's home in the "flat Lick" (small creek) area just east of today's Minden. At the time his only neighbors were Isaac Alden and a half-Indian named Fields. But that winter brought Mr. Allen for whom the settlement was later named (Allen's Settlement), Daniel Moore, Wm. Gryder, and Newton Drew who established the community of Overton on the east banks of Bayou Dorcheat. These first settlers found the country beautiful, pleasant and healthy. Game was plentiful and astonishingly tame. The black bear, deer, turkey, waterfowl, fish and quail were used as food. The panther, black wolf, wildcats and foxes were troublesome. Otters and some beaver provided fur. Even if John Murrell was not the first settler in the area, being preceded by Isaac Alden in 1811, the burial of his son in the fall of 1818 marked the first burial among the civilized in this area. Also, the birth of his son in 1819 marked the first birth in the area. The oldest graveyard in the area was located on the John Murrell plantation in 1822. This cemetery is today known as the Fuller Cemetery.
Charles Hans Veeder founded Minden, Louisiana in 1836. Mr. Veeder a German-American born in New York State came to Louisiana and built an establishment called The Rock Inn on a hilltop a few miles from Bayou Dorcheat and the town of Overton. Legend has it that the Inn was built on a salt lick that was the best deer hunting site in the area. By 1837 Veeder had laid out a town in the shape of a parallelogram and divided the area into lots. He named this settlement after the home of his ancestors-- Minden. Veeder left Minden to join the gold rush in 1849. He died in Bakersfield, California in 1875. The original parish seat for Claiborne parish was the Overton Community. A saw mill and grist mill was established at the junction of Cooley Creek and Bayou Dorcheat. Over the next few years commercial traffic and Overton grew. The economic life of Minden centered around commerce on Bayou Dorcheat. Three separate landings on the bayou served the Minden community, and the city served as a shipping point for goods from much of the interior of North Louisiana. Before the War Between the States, warehouses and commercial buildings extended from more than a mile along the East bank of Bayou Dorcheat. In 1848 after being hit by two Yellow Fever epidemics, Overton lost the title as Claiborne Parish seat to the town of Athens. By the mid-1850 Overton would become a ghost town. It was not until February 1871 when the new parish of Webster was formed with Minden the Parish seat as it is today. Charles Veeder probably never knew that his town was finally named the parish seat. A goal he had strived for, for many years.
Early Pioneers and Inventors Of Webster Parish