Julia and I held our wedding ceremony in Ouachita Parish on Bayou Desiard, but we decided early on that we wanted to apply for our marriage license in my home parish of Richland. I have spent many hours in the courthouse in Rayville, looking through the old handwritten and manually typed certificates they have on file. And our license experience was a good one. We didnt have to wait in line, and we sat patiently while the clerk typed up each form.I knew that my maternal grandfather and grandmother had gone to this same courthouse for their marriage license over 65 years earlier, and that made me begin to wonder how many other direct grandparents or great-grandparents had also obtained a marriage license in Richland Parish. I was actually surprised to learn that I had at least 8 direct descendants (grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.,) that had a wedding license filed there, dating all the way back to 1840. And that doesn’t include cousins, aunts, or uncles.
In my branch of the family tree, there is a very similar path that each migrant family followed. Most of them came along the East coast, down through Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. And then they inevitably wound up for one reason or another in the Northeast Louisiana Delta. The rich, flat, fertile farmland nestled between the Ouachita and Mississippi Rivers certainly helped this area in becoming home for a majority of the families. And among the nine to ten parishes in Northeast Louisiana, Richland Parish eventually became home to all eight of my great-grandparents. Their surnames include the Letlow, Johnson, Clement, Landers, Taylor, Harvey, Sullivan, and Sims families.
RICHLAND PARISH MARRIAGE LICENSE
2013 – Luke Joshua Letlow, self, of Start, LA to Julia Barnhill, of Monroe, LA
1947 – Richard Henry Taylor, Grandfather, of Start, LA, to Mary Catherine Sullivan, of Start, LA
1919 – George Henry Taylor, Great Grandfather, of Start, LA to Minnie Harvey, of Forkville, MS
1916 – Vernon C. Clement, Great Grandfather, of Start, LA, to Nobie Hastletine Landers, of Alto, LA
1897 – George Houston Taylor, 2nd Great Grandfather, of Start, LA, to Lelia Doughty, of Girard, LA
1891 – Wiley E. Landers, 2nd Great Grandfather, of Alto, LA, to Hattie Jane Boies, of Alto, LA
1877 – Edward S Landers, 3rd Great Grandfather, of Alto, LA, to Amanda Mangham, of Alto, LA
1867 – Edwin A Boies, Sr., 3rd Great Grandfather*, of Alto, LA, Sarah Prewitt, of Alto, LA
1840 – Lafayette C. C. Boies, 4th Great Grandfather*, of Nelson Bend, LA, to Nancy Nelson, of Alto, LA
OUACHITA PARISH MARRIAGE LICENSE
1968 – Johnny Lynn Letlow, Father, of Start, LA, to Dianne Taylor, of Start, LA.
1916 – Garrett Sullivan, Great-Grandfather, of Calhoun, LA, to Lillie Sims, of Calhoun, LA
1897 – James Charlie Sims, 2nd Great-Grandfather,of Calhoun, LA, to Frances Sims, of Calhoun, LA
1893 – Graton Sullivan, 2nd Great-Grandfather, of Calhoun, LA, to Lillie Smith, of Calhoun, LA
1867 – Michael Sullivan, 3rd Great-Grandfather, of Calhoun, LA, to Laura Adline Impson, of Calhoun, LA
1867 – John Smith, 3rd Great-Grandfather, of Calhoun, LA, to Telitha Grisham, of Calhoun, LA
1853 – Jeremiah Grisham, Jr., 4th Great-Grandfather, of West Monroe, LA, to Sarah McGuire
1859 – James Huey Sims, 3rd Great-Grandfather, of Calhoun, Mary Catherine Sims, of Calhoun, LA
1844 – Jeremiah Grisham, Sr., 5th Great-Grandfather, of West Monroe, LA, to Susannah Bassett
1841 – William Smith, 4th Great-Grandfather, of Calhoun, LA, to Eliza Butler, of Calhoun, LA
1944 – John M. Letlow, Grandfather, of Start, LA, to Mary Janet Clement, Start, LA.
*Lived in Start, LA, but married in Orlando, FL.
1898 – William T. Letlow, Great-Grandfather, of Strong, AR, to Minnie Johnson, of Strong, AR.
*Lived in Strong, AR and Start, LA, but married in Strong, AR.