Vernon Parish, Louisiana
|Vernon Parish, Louisiana|
Vernon Parish Courthouse
Location in the state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
|Founded||March 30, 1871|
|Named for||Mount Vernon|
|• Total||1,342 sq mi (3,474 km2)|
|• Land||1,328 sq mi (3,441 km2)|
|• Water||13 sq mi (34 km2), 0.98%|
|• Density||39/sq mi (15/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Communities
- 5 Notable natives and residents
- 6 Education
- 6.1 Primary and Secondary Education
- 6.2 Continuing Education
- 6.3 College Campuses
- 6.3.1 NSU Leesville/Fort Polk Campus
- 6.3.2 Fort Polk Education Center
- 6.4 Public libraries
- 7 National Guard
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
On March 30, 1871, the Louisiana General Assembly passed an act designating the creation of Vernon Parish, by taking territory from the parishes of Natchitoches, Rapides, and Sabine. While there seem to be four stories surrounding the naming of the Parish, only one is affirmed officially by the State which is that it was named in honor of Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington. Other stories, though folklore, are: 1) that it was named after a race horse owned by Joe Moore, one of the members of the committee chosen to name the parish, who claimed that by naming the parish after his fast horse the committee would insure the growth of the parish to be as fast as his horse: 2) that it was named after a popular teacher who had been an officer in the Royal Navy, only mentioned as "Mr. Vernon". This was not to honor him, but to avoid disputes among the parish founders whom each wanted to name the parish after themselves. The final story is similar to the first and claims that the committee had been arguing over the name while drinking in a store, and in an attempt to preserve his precious whiskey and profits, the host suggested the committee stop a local man with a mule pulling a cart and that they should name the parish whatever the man said. The man answered them "I calls him Vernon, 'cause he's the fastes' mule in de country." Originally the area comprising Vernon was a part of a tract of land that was in dispute between the United States and Spain, this land was called the "Neutral Strip". As a result of this dispute the area became a haven for outlaws. Prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the only persons who came to the area were a few French and Spanish settlers. It was also during this period that Dr. Burr established the community of Burr Ferry. This community was known as the "Gateway to Louisiana". Also located near this community, there still stands an artillery site (now called the "Confederate Breast Works"), which was manned by the Confederacy to guard against Union movements along the Nolan Trace during the Civil War.
Leesville has been the parish seat of Vernon since the parish was created, though it was not incorporated until February 15, 1900. The city, although founded by Dr. Edmund E. Smart, was named by Senator R. Smart, his father, in honor of General Robert E. Lee. At the time of Leesville's founding, the site was the home of a plantation owned by Dr. Smart. The house from that plantation is still found today at the corner of Lula and First street.
In the late 1890s the timber industry, which was the dominant industry in the parish from its creation, began to boom with the arrival of the Kansas City Southern Railway in 1897, which is still in operation today.
In the period after World War I, Vernon became the site of two socialist based communities; the Llano Del Rio Cooperative Colony (which became New Llano) established in 1917 and the Christian Commonwealth Colony. These colonies attempted to attract economists and sociologists for the purpose of conducting an experiment in communal membership and the sharing of labor duties. Of the two colonies the Llano Del Rio was the largest with over 10,000 people and was also the longest surviving community. Both colonies failed in the 1930s when the depression hit.
In 1941, the United States Army opened Camp Polk, shortly after the 1939-40 maneuvers. Camp Polk quickly surpassed the timber industry as the dominant force in the parish's economy, which became evident in the parish seat of Leesville when its population jumped from 3,500 to 18,000 after the camp opened. The Camp receives its name from Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal Bishop in Louisiana, known as the "Fighting Bishop of the Confederacy" and served as one of the major training camps during World War II. Today, now called Fort Polk is the 5th largest military installation in the nation, containing approximately 200,000 acres (800 km²). With the constant movement of soldiers and their dependents in and out of the parish, Vernon experiences a unique blend of culture from numerous states and countries creating a true "melting pot." Hodges Gardens???. Fullerton Sawmill ghost town???
The parish has a total area of 1,342 square miles (3,474 km²), of which, 1,328 square miles (3,441 km²) of it is land and 13 square miles (34 km²) of it (0.98%) is water.
Adjacent parishes and counties
- Sabine Parish (northwest)
- Natchitoches Parish (north)
- Rapides Parish (east)
- Allen Parish (southeast)
- Beauregard Parish (south)
- Newton County, Texas (west)
||Sabine Parish||Natchitoches Parish|
|Newton County, Texas||Rapides Parish|
|Beauregard Parish||Allen Parish|
National protected area
- Kisatchie National Forest (part)
As of the census of 2010, there were 52,334 people residing in the parish. The population density was 39.4 people per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 75.70% White, 14.2% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.50% Pacific Islander, and 4.1% from two or more races. 7.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In the parish the population was spread out with 9.2% under 5 years of age, 27.7% under the age of 18, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. Vernon parish residents are 48.8% female and 51.2% male.
There were 18,590 households with an average household size was 2.644. The median income for a household in the parish was $42,322. The per capita income for the parish was $14,036. About 16.2% of the population were below the poverty line,
Census Designated Areas
Notable natives and residents
- Walter O. Bigby, Louisiana state representative from Bossier Parish from 1968–1979, known as "Dean of the House".
- Frank A. Howard, former Vernon Parish sheriff and Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Vernon, Sabine, Red River, and De Soto parishes.
- James Otis "Jim" McCrery, III, Republican U.S. Representative from 1988–2009, was born in Shreveport, but grew up in Leesville, where he graduated from Leesville High School in 1967.
- Bryan A. Poston, member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1964–1992, was a Hornbeck businessman.
- Frank A. Howard, a Hornbeck visionary and former Vernon Parish Sheriff, has been representing the 24th district in the Louisiana House of Representatives since his election in 2007.
- Elizabeth "Beth" Carr, J.D. (1982) Former co-editor of Louisiana College Wildcat (2001–2004). Practicing attorney at The Smith Law Firm, L.L.P., Leesville, LA. One of only two female attorneys in the 30th JDC.
- Charles M. Poston, Sr., of Hornbeck, was a Louisiana state senator, 1960–1964; father of Bryan A. Poston.
- Eddie Fuller - National Football League player, running back with the Buffalo Bills, also played for Louisiana State University and was part of the play which became known as the "Earthquake game".
- Demond Mallet - Professional basketball player, guard. Played in the German League and currently with Spanish Joventut Badalona.
- Claude Anthony "Buddy" Leach, Jr. - Politician, former member of the United States House of Representatives, Louisiana House of Representatives, and Louisiana Democratic state chairman; unsuccessful candidate for governor in 2003 and for the Louisiana State Senate in 2007
- Tommy W Jinks Jr - Professional in the Financial industry and author
- Kevin Mawae - National Football League All-Pro Center for the Tennessee Titans
- Keith Munyan - Born in Leesville in 1961 but moved away as a toddler, he is a Los Angeles photographer known for his multiple celebrity clients.
- Kresskala R. Stewart became the first African American to become a member of the Golden Cavalier Danceline in 1986.
- D'Anthony Smith - National Football League Born in Berlin, Germany, but spent his teen years in Leesville while family was stationed at Fort Polk. Attended Pickering High School in Leesville and played collegiate football at Louisiana Tech University. Currently plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Primary and Secondary Education
- Evans High School (Grades PK-12)
- Hicks High School (Grades PK-12)
- Hornbeck High School (Grades PK-12)
- Pitkin High School (Grades PK-12)
- Simpson High School (Grades PK-12)
- Anacoco High School (Grades 7-12)
- Pickering High School (Grades 7-12)
- Rosepine Junior/Senior High School (Grades 7-12)
- Leesville High School (Grades 9-12)
- Vernon Parish Optional School (Grades 7-12)
Central Louisiana Technical College
The Louisiana Technical College (LTC) system operates the Lamar Salter campus south of New Llano. The Central Louisiana Technical College Lamar Salter campus is one of 40 LTC campuses across the state.
- Adult Education/WorkReady U/GED
- Air Conditioning & Refrigeration
- Automotive Technology
- Building Technology Specialist
- Business Office Technology
- Care & Development of Young Children
- Industrial Electronics Technology
- Outdoor Power Equipment Technology
- Practical Nursing
NSU Leesville/Fort Polk Campus
Northwestern State University (NSU), is a four-year public university primarily situated in Natchitoches, Louisiana and a part of the a part of the University of Louisiana System. The NSU-Leesville/Fort Polk Campus is located on Highway 467 near Fort Polk and serves the civilian communities of Vernon, Beauregard, and Sabine parishes, as well as the military community at Fort Polk. In addition to providing the first two years of preparation for almost any degree NSU offers, NSU-Leesville/Fort Polk students can earn the following complete degrees on this campus: http://leesville.nsula.edu/
Fort Polk Education Center
The Fort Polk Education Center offers self-development opportunities for Service members, military family members, Department of the Defense employees, military Retirees, Department of Defense contractors, and civilians from the local community in the classroom, distance learning, and online environments. Civilian students coming to the post for classes are required to use the main entrance located off U.S. Highway 171.
Programs Offered at This Location
- Master of Science in Administration
- General Administration
- Human Resources Administration
Central Texas College (CTC)
Central Texas College (CTC) is a public, open-admission community college offering associate degrees and certificate programs in academic, professional and vocational/technical fields. Due to its proximity to Fort Hood, CTC has evolved from a small junior college into a college catering to the military. CTC also help students transition from a 2-year to a 4-year degree through numerous articulation agreements with 4-year institutions nationwide.
Associate degrees offered at the Fort Polk campus of CTC
- Applied Management
- Applied Management w/Computer Applications
- Business Management
- Business Programmer Analyst
- Core Curriculum
- Criminal Justice
- Hotel Management Specialization
- Information Technology
- General Studies
- Paralegal/Legal Assistant
- Restaurant and Culinary Management
- Social/Behavioral Science
Louisiana State University (LSU)
Master of Arts in Liberal Arts
Upper Iowa University (UIU)
The Upper Iowa University (UIU) at Fort Polk offers classes on post to both military personnel and civilians in the area. It was opened in 1995 and offers bachelor’s of science degree in nine majors. Courses can also be blended with UIU distance learning programs (online and independent study) to complete 11 other majors. Certificate programs are also available. UIU offers courses on post during five eight-week terms during the academic year. All courses are offered during the evenings and on weekends. Although the list is always subject to change, these majors are currently offered at the Fort Polk center: (descriptions of the majors)
- Business Administration
- Human Resources Management
- Human Services
- Public Administration (with optional certification in Law Enforcement)
- Social Science
Certificate programs are available in Marketing on post. Students can also combine distance learning courses to earn certificates in Human Resources Management, Organizational Communications, and Organizational Leadership.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- The State of Louisiana maintains an official website for each of the State's 64 parishes at Louisiana.gov.
- All four found in "Tall Pines II: A History of Vernon Parish, Louisiana and its People" / Wise, Erbon, Library Of Congress # 87-51644
- The Nolan Trace
- Information in the History section may be found on the Greater Vernon Parish Chamber of Commerce Website.
- The map may be found at this website, and is the result of the hard work of Pam Rietsch.
- Not to be confused with the Llano Del Rio established in Antelope Valley, California in 1915 and abandoned in 1917.
- Hodges Gardens was originally a private park until it was offered to the State in 2005; some information about the park may be found at the State's website for the park  or on Wikipedia Hodges Gardens State Park; also, it should be noted that Hodges Gardens isn't in Vernon Parish, but is halfway between Hornbeck and Florien in Sabine Parish.
- Some rather lengthy documented information about Fullerton Sawmill may be found at the US GenWeb Archives website
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- North Fort Polk is actually a military community contained within Fort Polk Army Installation.
- South Fort Polk is actually a military community contained within Fort Polk Army Installation.
- "Rep. Frank A. Howard". house.louisiana.gov. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
- "Obituary of Bryan A. Poston, Sr.". Shreveport Times, October 4, 2009. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
- Representative Frank A. Howard's legislative personal page.
- "Vernon Parish School District - School List".
- "Vernon Parish Optional School History".
- "Central Louisiana Technical College-Lamar Salter-Campus".
- "NSU-Leesville/Fort Polk".
- "Fort Polk Education Center".
- "Central Michigan University at Fort Polk, Louisiana".
- "Central Texas College - Fort Polk Site".
- "Louisiana State University - Special Programs".
- "The Upper Iowa Center at Fort Polk, LA".
- "Sexual Predator Policy." (Archive) Vernon Parish Library. Retrieved on March 23, 2013.
- Snead, J., P. V. Heinrich, and R. P. McCulloh, 2002a, De Ridder 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangle. Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- Snead, J., P. V. Heinrich, and R. P. McCulloh, 2002b, Ville Platte 30 x 60 minute geologic quadrangle. Louisiana Geological Survey, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.