On February 2, 1874, Harriet Jane “Hattie Jane” Boies, was born to the parents of E.A. Boies, Sr. and Sarah E. Prewitt Boies. She was a direct descendent of a Revolutionay War patriot, and the daughter of a decorated confederate soldier. Her life was cut short due to contracting “dengue fever” at the age of 49
On her father’s side, the Boies family’s Richland Roots and their presence in Louisiana date back to at least 1840, well before Richland Parish was formed in 1869.
She was the granddaughter of Lafayette Carrodone Camp Boies (often referred to as F.C.C.) and his wife, Nancy Nelson. F.C.C. Boies was born in Erie, New York, and moved to Northeast Louisiana sometime prior to 1840.
Hattie Jane’s great-great grandfather, Joel Boies, served in the American Revolutionary War, where he enlisted on April 20, 1775, in Blandford, Massachusetts, when he was 21 years old with Captain John Ferguson. Boies was engaged in the battles at both Lexington & Bunker Hill.
Her father, E.A. Boies, Sr., was a veteran of the C.S.A., where he served with Company E in the 8th LA Infantry. He was shot in the right thigh at the battle of Cedar Creek and was shot in the left arm at the battle of Gaines Mill. He carried a Yankee bullet in one leg from June 1862 to his death, and in compliance with his request made a short time before the end, this ball was taken out and presented to one of his sons.
Harriet J. Boies was likely named for an aunt, her mother’s elder sister, Harriet L. Prewitt, who died on January 27, 1873, just one year prior to young “Hattie Jane’s” birth.
She was the fourth child of fourteen and the first daughter born to her parents.
When she turned 18, she married Wiley E. Landers, who was born in Benton County Alabama to Edward S. Landers and Amanda Mangham. The Landers family moved to Richland Parish around 1870, and young Wiley grew up near her family around the riverboat community of Alto.
Together, they had four children. Lucy Landers (Clement), Edward Augustus Landers, Nobie Hastletine Landers, and Gordon Graves Landers.
Wiley and Hattie, like most other families in the region, worked a small family farm. By 1900, Wiley, Hattie Jane, and their four children were all living with her father and mother (E.A. Boies, Sr.) and six of her youngest siblings.
According the 1900 census, Wiley worked for his father-in-law a a farm laborer. Both he and Hattie Jane state that they can both read and write.
By 1910, Hattie Jane and Wiley along with all four children were back on their own and continuing to farm. Living very near to the Landers family was the Clement family. Two of the Clement sons would later marry the two Landers daughters Lucy, and Nobie. Ten years later, only Hattie’s youngest son Gordon is seen living with Hattie Jane and Wiley.
On July 31, 1922, at the age of 80, her father, E.A. Boies, Sr., would die. In December of the same year, Hattie Jane just 49 years old, became ill, and she would die from what doctor’s believed was dengue fever, a virus spread by the mosquito. She was buried in Prewitt Cemetery, near the community where she lived her whole life.
Her mother lived to be 80 as well, but died in 1929. Hattie Jane’s husband, Wiley Landers, would outlive her by twelve years, until 1934.
Many years later, two of Hattie Jane’s granddaughters both spoke to me about how well they remembered how much their mother reverred Hattie Jane. Both Edith Clement Greer, and her sister Janet Clement Letlow (both now deceased) shared that their grandfather, Wiley Landers, was known to them as Santa Claus. Though not wealthy, Janet remembered that he never came to see them without bringing them a gift. Edith and Janet also said that Wiley Landers and Hattie Boies strictly forbid girls working in the fields. During the onset of the depression, their grandfather Wiley enforced this rule with his his sons-in-law, and even though by the 1930’s most small farming families were exceptionally poor, this rule remained. Both Edith and Janet would reflect years later that this policy was not common in their community, but it left a lasting impression with them that their father would honor their grandfather, Wiley Landers’ wishes.
Harriet Jane Boies was this author’s great-great grandmother.