Webster Parish, Louisiana

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Webster Parish, Louisiana
Webster Parish Courthouse, LA.jpg
Webster Parish Courthouse in Minden (dedicated May 1, 1953) was a project of the contractor George A. Caldwell.
Map of Louisiana highlighting Webster Parish
Location in the state of Louisiana
Map of the United States highlighting Louisiana
Louisiana's location in the U.S.
Founded 1871
Named for Daniel Webster
Seat Minden
Largest city Minden
Area
 • Total 615 sq mi (1,593 km2)
 • Land 595 sq mi (1,542 km2)
 • Water 20 sq mi (51 km2), 3.23%
Population
 • (2010) 41,207
 • Density 67/sq mi (26/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Webster Parish (French: Paroisse de Webster) is a parish located in the northwestern section of the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,207.[1] The seat of the parish is Minden.[2]

The parish is named for 19th-century American statesman Daniel Webster of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It was created on February 27, 1871[3] from lands formerly belonging to Bienville, Bossier, and Claiborne parishes.

Webster Parish is part of the Minden Micropolitan Statistical Area as well as the ShreveportBossier City–Minden Combined Statistical Area.

Among the first settlers in Webster Parish was Newett Drew, a native of Virginia, who about 1818 established a grist mill at the former Overton community near Minden. At this time the area was Natchitoches Parish and later Overton became the Parish Seat of Claiborne Parish in 1836 until it moved in 1848. His son, Richard Maxwell Drew was born in Overton and served as a district judge state representative prior to his death in 1850 at the age of twenty-eight. R. M. Drew's descendants held judicial or legislative positions in Webster Parish as well, Richard Cleveland Drew, Harmon Caldwell Drew, R. Harmon Drew, Sr., and Harmon Drew, Jr.[4]

Geography[edit]

The parish has a total area of 615 square miles (1,593 km²), of which, 595 square miles (1,542 km²) of it is land and 20 square miles (51 km²) of it (3.23%) is water.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties and parishes[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Law, government, and politics[edit]

The existing Webster Parish Court House in Minden, built at a cost of $876,000,[5] was dedicated on May 1, 1953, with Governor Robert F. Kennon, who was reared in Minden and formerly served as its mayor, as the featured speaker.[6] Planning on the courthouse began in 1950, when it was determined that the previous structure had become obsolete.[7]

At the time of its establishment in 1904, the previous courthouse, built at a cost of $45,000, was said to have "rivaled any other in north Louisiana for its graceful, domed architectural style and marbled hallways."[8] A modern multi-level jail was added to that courthouse in 1906 at a cost of $16,000. The new jail enabled constituents coming to the sheriff's tax office to avoid passing through the jail.[8]

From 1896 to 1900, Thomas Wafer Fuller of Minden, a descendant of a prominent area family, served as the state senator from Webster and the surrounding parishes of Bossier and Bienville. He was also a newspaper publisher, twice the owner of the former Webster Signal. From 1908 until his death in 1920, he was the second school superintendent in Webster Parish.[9]

From 1933 to 1980, the office of Webster Parish sheriff, who also holds the title of chief parish tax collector, was filled by only three persons, all Democrats, from two political families. Oscar Henry Haynes, Sr. (1888–1969), held the position from 1933–1952 and was a deputy sheriff for the five years prior to his becoming sheriff. His son, O. H. Haynes, Jr., a 1939 graduate of Minden High School, served from 1964 to 1980. Like his father, Haynes, Jr., had been a deputy. He then served for eight years as supervisor of the state driver's license office in Minden, and he was the Exxon distributor in Webster Parish for some four decades. Haynes, Jr., was the father of Louisiana State University football star, Fred Haynes (1946–2006). The Hayneses are interred at the historic Minden Cemetery.

Between the tenures of the Hayneses was their intraparty rival, John D. "J.D." Batton (1911–1981), who filled the post for three terms from 1952-1964. In the runoff election held on February 19, 1952, Batton unseated the senior Haynes by 43 votes, or 5,444 to 5,401.[10] Batton was the brother of a long-term Minden city official, former Mayor Jack Batton. In his 1956 reelection, Batton defeated a comeback bid by former Sheriff Haynes, Sr. The current Webster Parish sheriff is Gary Sexton, a Democrat elected in 2003, 2007, and 2011.

Leland G. Mims, a Minden businessman, served as a Webster Parish police juror (the parish governing body) from 1953–1976, president of the jury each year from 1956–1973, and president of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana from 1965-1967.[11] Mims' father-in-law, W. Matt Lowe, served on the police jury between 1940 and 1954 and was the mayor of Minden during the World War I era.

From 1992 to 2012, Webster Parish was represented in the Louisiana House of Representatives by a member of the Doerge family. Democrat Everett Doerge, a retired educator and native of Minden, unseated the short-term Republican incumbent Eugene Eason and held the seat until his death in 1998. His widow, Jean M. Doerge, also a former educator, a Democrat, and a native of Natchitoches Parish, won the special election as his successor. She was reelected three times, twice without opposition but was term-limited in 2011. The Webster Parish representative effective in 2012 is Democrat Harlie Eugene Reynolds, a retired educator from Dubberly.[12]

Webster Parish is generally competitive in most contested elections. The parish voted for Republican Barry Goldwater for president in 1964 and George Wallace in 1968, when the former governor of Alabama ran on the American Independent Party ticket. Richard Nixon won here in 1972, and Jimmy Carter of Georgia prevailed in 1976. In 1984, U.S. President Ronald Reagan won the parish by a nearly two-to-one margin over former Vice President Walter F. Mondale.[13]

In 2000, Governor George W. Bush of Texas won in Webster Parish with 9,420 votes (55.1 percent), compared to then Vice President Al Gore's 7,197 (42.1 percent). Patrick Buchanan of the Reform Party held 183 votes (1.1 percent).[14] In 2004, Bush again won the parish, having polled 11,070 votes (60 percent) to Democrat John Kerry's 6,833 (37 percent).[15]

In 2008, U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona carried Webster Parish with 11,417 votes (62.5 percent), compared to Barack Obama's 6,610 (36.2 percent).[16] Four years later in 2012, Republican Mitt Romney led in the parish with 11,400 votes (61.9 percent), 17 fewer ballots than McCain had received. In 2012, President Obama polled 6,802 votes (36.9 percent), 192 more than his 2008 tabulation.[17]

The last Democrat hence to have won in Webster Parish at the presidential level was Bill Clinton in 1996, who received 9,688 (55.3 percent), compared to Republican Robert Dole's 6,153 ballots (35.1 percent). Ross Perot, founder of the Reform Party, held 1,324 votes (7.6 percent). In that same election, the Democrat Mary Landrieu carried Webster Parish in her successful U.S. Senate race against Republican Woody Jenkins, 8,459 (51.3 percent) to 8,020 (48.7 percent).[18]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 10,005
1890 12,466 24.6%
1900 15,125 21.3%
1910 19,186 26.8%
1920 24,707 28.8%
1930 29,458 19.2%
1940 33,676 14.3%
1950 35,704 6.0%
1960 39,701 11.2%
1970 39,939 0.6%
1980 43,631 9.2%
1990 41,989 −3.8%
2000 41,831 −0.4%
2010 41,207 −1.5%
Est. 2012 40,940 −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
2012 Estimate[20]

As of the census[21] of 2010there were 52,903 people, 20,500 households, and 12,589 families residing in the parish. The population density was 92 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 18,991 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the parish was 65.51% White, 32.83% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. 0.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,501 households out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.70% were married couples living together, 16.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.90% were non-families. 27.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the parish the population was spread out with 25.60% under the age of 18, 8.60% from 18 to 24, 26.00% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 16.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.20 males.

The median income for a household in the parish was $28,408, and the median income for a family was $35,119. Males had a median income of $30,343 versus $20,907 for females. The per capita income for the parish was $15,203. About 15.30% of families and 20.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.60% of those under age 18 and 16.10% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[edit]

Map of Webster Parish, Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Incorporated[edit]

Unincorporated[edit]

Education[edit]

The elected Webster Parish School Board operates local public schools.

National Guard[edit]

The 39th MP Company of the 773rd MP Battalion and the 1083rd Transportation Company of the 165th CSS (Combat Service Support) Battalion reside at Camp Minden west of Minden, formerly the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant. Both of these battalions are part of the 139TH RSG (Regional Support Group).

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Calhoun, Milburn; McGovern, Bernie (2008-04-29). Louisiana Almanac (18 ed.). Pelican Publishing. p. 278. ISBN 978-1-58980-543-9. 
  4. ^ "Drew Family". mindenmemories.org. Retrieved June 5, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Gov. Kennon May Speak at Courthouse Ceremony", Minden Herald, February 27, 1953, p. 1
  6. ^ Minden Herald May 1, 1953, special edition
  7. ^ "New Parish Court House may be erected in Minden," Minden Herald, January 30, 1950, p. 1
  8. ^ a b Marilyn Miller, Sons of Darkness Sons of Light (Many, Louisiana: Sweet Dreams Publishing Co., 2000), p. 178, ISBN 1-893693-09-0
  9. ^ "Webster Parish historian John Agan, "Webster Superintendents of Schools"". mindenmemories.org. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Batton Elected Sheriff," Minden Press, February 22, 1952, p. 1
  11. ^ "Mims Will Not Seek Another Term", Minden Press-Herald, undated 1975 article
  12. ^ State of Louisiana, General election returns for state legislature, November 19, 2011
  13. ^ Marilyn Miller, "Webster follows trend", Minden Press-Herald, November 7, 1984, p. 1
  14. ^ "Webster Parish election returns, November 7, 2000". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Webster Parish election returns, November 2, 2004". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Webster Parish presidential election returns, November 4, 2008". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Webster Parish presidential election returns, November 6, 2012". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Webster Parish election returns, November 5, 1996". staticresults.sos.la.gov. Retrieved November 17, 2012. 
  19. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  21. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  22. ^ "New library in future for Webster Parish", Minden Press-Herald, October 18, 1993, p. 1
  23. ^ "Yellow Pine Christiam Church breaks ground", Minden Press-Herald, July 18, 2013

Coordinates: 32°42′N 93°20′W / 32.70°N 93.33°W / 32.70; -93.33