Friday, December 14, 2007

Plain Dealing, Louisiana


Plain Dealing, Louisiana is a sleepy little town nettled amongst pine and Dogwood trees. It is located about 30 miles north of Shreveport, Louisiana in Bossier Parish.

It is the not too distant ancestral home of many of both my mothers'and fathers' relatives.

It was initially occupied by the Caddo Indians which is short for "Kadohadacho." They also occupied much of the adjoining Caddo Parish along the Red River and were well known for their beautiful leather goods, pottery and clothing.

History has it that they decided to sell their land and move further into Texas. It is more likely that they were forced out because of the appeal of the area for its natural springs and abundance of livestock.

Years later my mother and my Aunt Gladys spoke of how they as children in the 1940's often found remnants/artifacts of the Caddo indians previous presence in the area such as jewelry, pots and pans, bows and arrows, clothing and such that were often unearthed by their respective fathers when plowing during the planting season. My mother kept a lot of her finds but unfortunately it all burned in 1966 with my great-grandmother Anne Bell Green's house. However, her eyes still light up in awe when she remembers how beautiful those indian relics were.

According to the official history of Plain Dealing, In 1839 it was a vast, unsettled wilderness in 1839 when the Gilmers, who were among the first settlers of North Bossier Parish, arrived. George Oglethorpe Gilmer and his oldest son, James Blair Gilmer, bought from the United States Government thousands of acres of land on both sides of the Red River. Also, George O. Gilmer bought 5,000 acres a few miles from the Red River where he found beautiful rolling hills and pure springs.

The community of Plain Dealing was, for a short time, known as Guernshein, a name of a prominent stockholder in the railroad company. The name was soon changed to Plain Dealing after the Gilmer former Virginia plantation.

The area attracted many more families, most of them wealthy Plantation Owners from other southern states who brought with them their families, live stock and slaves.

The town was chartered April 24, 1890.

The Gilmers moved to and established Plain Dealing Plantation which was as mentioned previously was which was supposedly named for their golden rule of honesty and integrity.

Most of my ancestors and relatives arrived in the area as slaves of the Plantation Owners from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Virginia and other slave states.

Many labored in the fields and households of these slave owners for up to 25 years after they arrived in the area until slavery ended in 1865. Most remained and worked as sharecroppers, cooks, field hands, cotton pickers and the like until the mass exodus in the 1960's when most of them relocated to the big cities in California, Michigan and Missouri.

Present Day Plain Dealing still has a small town feel. The current population is about 1,048 as of July 2006.

In this town, there is love, beauty, honor, respect and good home cooking. The people are very warm and welcoming and hospitality is second only to a love of God and family values.

The homes are cozy and inviting and situated in a rural setting with many sprawling green acres, pastures, gardens and often times livestock.

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