Remembering Carl W. Earle, of Clear Lake (1891-1966)

50+ Year Member of Richland Parish Police Jury

Carl W. Earle, by Caroline Richardson Whitman

From Richland Memories, Volume 1. pages 166-167.

Carl W. Earle, a planter and merchant, was born in Richland Parish July 12, 1891, to Henry W. and Laura Shipley Earle.

Carl also had one brother, Patrick Henry Earle, who also was a planter and resided on the old family home site, not far from Clear Lake. Carl attended school in Richland Parish and later became a student at Mount Lebanon Academy near Gibsland, Louisiana. He returned home after finishing his course of study and taught school. In 1918, his father passed away. At that time he concentrated all of his efforts on farming. Over the years he accumulated over four thousand acres of land, which he cultivated with the help of over one hundred tenant families. For their ben­efit and convenience, he established a mercantile store on his farm.

Other operations on the farm included a sawmill, a one hundred eighty-five cow dairy and over one thousand head of beef cattle. He established the Carl W. Earle Gin in Start, Louisiana which is still in operation today. In 1913, Carl married Bertha Burk. She was the daughter of S. P. and Cornelia Burk who resided at Burk Station in Richland Parish. They had two daughters, Catherine Earle Richardson and Helene Earle Lowery.

They made their homes on the banks of Clear Lake. Bertha was a wonderful gardener, and she had the yard to prove it. Her rose garden was a sight to behold, and her roses were in great demand throughout the area. She was always more than happy to share. She also made a hobby of raising chickens and of course selling the eggs.

Carl was elected to the Richland Parish Police Jury in 1916, and was elected president of that organization seventeen times. The State Police Jury Association elected him “Mr. Police Juror” in 1964 for being the member with the longest number of consecutive years of service. He was the sponsor of the building of the new Court House, the unified road sys­tem and the parish drainage system. In 1955, Carl and Bertha Earle were presented the Master Farm Family Award by Progressive Farmer Magazine. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Union Compress and Warehouse Company in Memphis, Tennessee.

Carl was a dedicated public servant, as well as husband, father and grandfather. He was an avid outdoorsman-mainly fishing. He was a mem­ber of the Sunshine Fishing Camp on Lake St. John and later built a camp on Black River lake which his grandchildren and great grandchildren still enjoy today. Carl Earle’s contributions to his community and his family were mon­umental, and we, his family, take pride in his legacy.

-by Caroline Richardson Whitman, 2001

Obituary for Carl W. Earle

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 22 Jan 1966, Sat  •  Page 1

Residents of Richland Parish were saddened by the death of a leading parish official and one of its most prominent citizens, Mr. Carl W. Earle, 74, a lifelong resident of Clear Lake Community near Rayville.

Mr. Earle succumbed of to we the a us today at say, Sunday, January 16, at 5:20 a. m. in St. Francis Hospital in Monroe. He had been in the hospital for several weeks prior to his demise.

He was president of the Richland Parish Police Jury and was a veteran Police Juror with nearly 50 years of outstanding representation from Ward Six of the parish. First elected to the Police Jury in 1916, Mr. Earle took the oath of office that year and had served continuously from that year to the present, he had served as president of the parish governing body seventeen times and had rendered service to the people of the parish of the highest order.

He was a member of and served as chairman of most of the important committees of the Police Jury with a kind, understanding intelligence and a basic patriotism that was always appreciated by his constituents, and was highly beneficial to Richland Parish. His decisions were made in an unbiased manner and many advances in parish improvement were made possible through his leadership. He played an important role in securing for Richland Parish a new courthouse, a unified road system and a drainage system, second to none in Louisiana. On April 4, 1961, he was singularly honored by the parish Police Jury, when he was named “Mr. Police Juror.” This honor designated by this body, was given for “outstanding ability and longevity of service. “

On April 23, 1963, “Mr. Carl” was again honored by being named one of the top ten Police Jurors in the state by the governing body of the Louisiana Police Juror’s Association at their annual convention, which was held in Baton Rouge. In a subsequent action by this body, he was named “Mr. Police Juror” for the State of Louisiana, a signal honor indeed. In 1965, he was recognized as “Mr. Local Government” by the National Association of County Officials in the official journal of the organization, the “American County Government.”

He had served since 1954 on the executive board of the State Police Jury Association. Mr. W. A. Breedlove, secretary for the association said that he had never known a more dedicated public servant.

“Mr. Carl” was born July 12, 1891, the son of the late Henry W. Earle and Laura Shipley Earle, of Richland Parish. He attended Mt Lebanon College near Gibsland, La., and after returning, taught school briefly near his home in the Clear Lake Community. Following this teaching experience, “Mr. Carl” owned and operated a mercantile business in that same area. At the age of 18, however, he assumed the management of his father’s interests and became well known as a successful cotton planter; cattleman and dairyman.

In April, 1913, he was wed to the former Bertha Burk of near Rayville. and from this union two daughters were born. “Mr. Carl” was a devoted family man and a generous provider. He was revered by his associates of both races. He was a member of the Methodist Church, Rayville. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Union Compress and Warehouse Company of Memphis, Tennessee.

“Mr. Carl” lived a most dedicated and beneficial life as a public servand and as a private citizen. His contributions will remain a monument in which his many friends may take pride and his family may declare a priceless legacy.

Close friends knew him to be an avid outdoorsman in leisure time and he was, for many years, a member of the Rayville Sunshine Fishing Camp on Lake St. John, and in recent years enjoyed camping in his family camp on Black River Lake near Monterey, La.

Funeral services were conducted at 2 p. m. Monday, January 17, at the Rayville Methodist Church. A large number of friends and public officials paid their respects at this service. Rev. Richard E. Walton officiated at the final services. Interment took place in the Rayville Masonic Cemetery, under the direction of the Mulhearn Funeral Home of Rayville. Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Bertha B. Earle; two daughters, Mrs. Lasley Richardson and Mrs. Oliver Lowery; one brother, Mr. Pat H. Earle, all of the Clear Lake atCommunity near Rayville; four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Acting pallbearers were Lasley Downes. Richard Downes, Basil Doles, W. V. Samuel, William, Thomas, Russell and David Burk.

Honorary pallbearers were all members of the Richland Parish Police Jury and all friends of the family.

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