Remembering Charles P. Balfour, of Girard (1849-1921)

Planter, Police Juror, State Representative, and President of the Tensas Basin Levee District

“The Balfours of Boeuf”

Written by Stella Balfour Jack, Deceased. Excerpted from Richland Memories, Volume 1. page 13-14

Charles Perry Balfour was 10 years old when his family moved to Louisiana. His father, Charles R. Balfour, had come to Louisiana from Mississippi in 1858 and purchased several tracts of land along the Boeuf River in what is now Richland Parish.

Charles and his sister Eliza had private tutors in the home for some time, and as they grew older attended private schools in the area. They participated in the social life of the young people and from all accounts were popular and well liked by their contemporaries.

Like his father and grandfather, Charles Perry became a planter, and he also entered into various other business enterprises, being in partnership at one time in a mercantile store. Throughout the years he invested in several business sites in Rayville, was owner along with J.W. Simms, of the Rayville Gin Company. The first telephone exchange in Rayville was operated from a building owned by him at the corner of Highway 80 and Louisa Street.

On July 9, 1873, about a year prior to his father’s death, Charles Perry married Miss Fannie Edwards. The ceremony was held in the home of the bride’s parents at Girard, Louisiana. Wiley P. Mangham, owner-editor of
the Richland Beacon News, a close friend of Charles Perry, was a guest. He wrote a glowing account of the wedding in the Beacon. The fallowing year Fannie died in childbirth; her infant son, J.R. Balfour died soon thereafter. Their burial is in the Balfour Family Plot, New Salem Cemetery, north of Girard, Louisiana.

Charles Perry continued with his business affairs. He also took part in the civic and political affairs of the area. In 1880 he married Lula Lethea Moore, also from Richland Parish. She was the daughter of Dr. Madison Tyler Moore and Mary Emily Webb. The Moore and Webb families had large land holding and were prominent in the civic and social affairs of Northeast Louisiana.

Lula and Charles Perry lived first in the home on Boeuf River built by Charles R. In 1891 Charles Perry bought what is now known as the Balfour House” in Rayville on North Louisa Street. On the death of Charles Perry in 1921, the house came to my father, Hugh Ben. We moved there when I was around 4 years old. I grew up there along with my broth­ers and sisters, Hugh, James, Catherine and Rosemary.

Charles Perry Balfour and his family were active in the religious, civic, social and political affairs of Richland Parish., On February 11, 1892, Charles Perry, along with P.H. Toler, E. McDonald, G.B., Brumby and W.P. Mangham, formed a corporation known as the Rayville Baptist Church. He was a staunch supporter of public schools and was instrumental in seeing that adequate buildings were constructed and teachers employed to instruct the children of the parish.

He served as President of the Richland Parish Police Jury from 1883 to 1888. He was President of the Tensas Basin Levee Board for a term which began in 1895. He also served two terms in the Louisiana Legislature, from 1904 through 1912.

– Stella Balfour Jack (Deceased)

Hon. Charles P. Balfour Dies

From The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 29 Jan 1921, Sat • Page 4

Hon. Chas. P. Balfour died at his home in Rayville on last Thursday morning at 7:10 o’clock, after a brief illness lasting only two lays. While he has not been a well man for many months and has been breaking rapidly of late, he was apparently in no danger of immediate death, and the end was not thought near up to just a few minutes before death came. He called one of his daughters, telling her his heart hurt, and before medical aid could be summoned he passed away.

He leaves of his immediate family two sons, Messrs. Hugh and Clyde Balfour, and three daughters, Mrs. C F. Newberry, Jr., Mrs. E. B. Lipscomb and Miss Polly Balfour, all of Rayville, and a sister, Mrs. D. R. Sartor, of Alto. The funeral services were held at the late residence of the deceased at 9:30 yesterday morning and the interment was in the New Salem Cemetery, north of Girard, at 11 a. m. The burial was with Masonic honors, the deceased being at the time of his data, the oldest past master of R. M. McGuire Lodge, F.& A.M., of Rayville.

Mr. Balfour was in his 72nd year at the time of his death, having been born in Madison County, Miss., on the 7th of May, 1849. He was the son of C R. Balfour, one of the pioneer citizens of Richland parish, who removed here in 1859 with his family.

The subject of this sketch has lived all his life since the age of tea years in this parish. He married Miss Lola Moore, and to the union eight children were born, the wife and three of the sons having preceded him to the grave during the last few years. Col. Balfour, as he was affectionately known to his friends, was one of the best brains the parish has afforded. Since early manhood he has occupied prominent public positions, being at various times president of the police jury, president of the Tensas Basin Levee Board, Representative in the General Assembly during both the Heard and Blanchard administrations, as well as holding numerous other places of responsibility and trust.

During all this public service, which occupied the greater part of his useful life, his service has been characterized by unselfish devotion to duty, unswerving honesty and absolute fearlessness. In all his public service he did his plain duty without hope of fee or expectation of reward except the satisfaction his conscience felt in doing what he thought was for the betterment and upbuilding of his parish and State. He had keener insight into the merits or demerits of a proposition than any man we ever knew, and once satisfying his mind of the right, pursued that course religiously and fearlessly. In the death of this grand old grand old gentleman, The Beacon-News and its editor find a keen personal sorrow. He was the friend and champion of our cause at all times, and the debt of gratitude which we owe for favors from his great warm heart we could

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