How Richland Parish’s START Got It’s Name

Start (Richland) – Start is on Highway 80, six miles west of Rayville, the parish seat. For a number of years James Madison Morgan was postmaster of the Start post office, which was in his store. Nearby was a small rail station, Crew Lake, where most of the trains stopped. The people there decided they wanted a post office and began working for the post office to be moved to Crew Lake. The United States Postal Service recommended looking in the postal guide to find a name that was not listed, so they could let Crew Lake have the Stark post office. The United States Postal Service would then establish a new office at Start, which had a school, two churches and a few stores. James Madison Morgan, the first person to settle here, suggested the name Morgantown, but it was not accepted. He then suggested the name Charleston, but there were already sixteen Charlestons. Morgan searched and searched, but every name he could think of already had a listing. One day he thought of Start, since he was making a new start. He sent the name in and, much to his surprise, the United States Postal Service accepted it and sent a commission, dated April 13, 1921, to his daughter Rachel Morgan. The other post office was moved to Crew Lake station. The Start post office was in James Morgan’s store. John Germann’s Louisiana Post Offices gives a different account that lists Rachel M. Strickland as the first postmaster, appointed in September 1918. He states that Start was “also known as Eager.”

Start High School, ca 1963
Start High School, ca 1963
Third Ward School - abt 1904
Third Ward School – abt 1904

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.

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