Rayville (Richland) – Rayville, the parish seat of justice, was named for John Ray, a citizen of Monroe who had large land holdings in this section. Ray was more than a landholder; he was a politician. He was, in fact, the Republican leader from Ouachita during Reconstruction. In 1868, Ray introduced a bill to the Louisiana legislature calling for the creation of a new parish to be called Richland. Democrats opposed the bill, asserting that it was merely a political strategy. Nonetheless, Act No. 115 of the General Assembly of Louisiana was passed, creating Richland Parish. It comprised contiguous portions of Ouachita, Morehouse, Franklin, and Carroll parishes. John Ray was not the only Ray connected with Rayville. His brother James Ray had established a store on the east side of the Boeuf River; several settlers were attracted to the area by his store. The community was known then as Little Creek, but later its name was changed to Rayville. Rayville began its development shortly after the Civil War, when it became the junction for the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad (now the Illinois Central) and the New Orleans and Northwestern Railroad (now the Missouri Pacific). In 1889, the town was incorporated. In 1890 and 1891, fire destroyed much of the town, but it was quickly rebuilt.
How Richland Parish’s RAYVILLE Got It’s Name
Leeper, Clare D’Artois. Louisiana Place Names: Popular, Unusual, and Forgotten Stories of Towns, Cities, Plantations, Bayous, and Even Some Cemeteries. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2012. Print.