Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Short History of Georgetown, La.

This short history of Georgetown by Kay Thompson-Brown is copyrighted by USGenWeb Archives at
It's a good site with a an extensive collection of local information.

Check it out.

Bill Fullerton



The early settlers in the Georgetown area homesteaded on the rivers, Dugdemonic, Castor and Little. Supplies were brought up these rivers and they were kept navigable for a long time. Later these settlers moved farther out and settled on creeks, Bear, Indian, and Fish.

After the building of an East-West Road from the Red to the Mississippi River which passed through Georgetown, and the building of the Three Notch Road from the Ouachita River at Columbia to Alexandria, the number of settlers in this area increased.

The Missouri Pacific Railroad was built through this area in 1891: built by Jay Gould and was named the Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad. The state of Louisiana gave him every other section of land through which this railroad ran. A depot and section house was built about every five miles along the track, each one having a name. The one at Georgetown was named after Gould's son, George, although there is an interesting ledged of it being named after "hobo George."

The Louisiana and Arkansas railroad was built in 1901. Thus Georgetown became a crossroads for highway and railroad, and became a center from which construction crews were provided with all necessities of the time including lodging, food and drink. This has been the main reason for Georgetown to survive, long after the passing of the sawmills, and the fading away of many other towns.

Among the sawmills to operate in this area were the Old Boston Mill located at Selma, the Georgetown Lumber Company built in 1898, the Grant Timber and Manufacturing Company (three miles) in 1905, and the Tremount Lumber Company at Rochelle in 1907.

Oil was discovered in this area in 1926 and for a short time the town boomed again. Land was leased for a good price, and everybody was happy until the oil stopped flowing, and the great depression of 1929 brought an end to the short lived prosperity.

Today, Georgetown with its modern school facilities, four churches, (Baptist, Methodist, Seven Day Adventists, and Pentecostal) welcoming all who wish to worship, and its quiet peaceful atmosphere and pleasant climate is a good place to live in, retire to, and to visit.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

WHERE WERE YOU? A Tale of Grant Parish Politics

Stump Speaking
Former La. Gov. Earl K. Long

What follows is a more-or-less faithful retelling of the great “Date Debate” that occurred during a race for the Louisiana House of Representatives back in the fall of 1951. However, due warning is hereby given that being as how the story involves politics in my home state, no claim is made, either explicit or implied, as to whether “more” or “less” predominates.


by Bill Fullerton

It’s no secret that politics ranks second only to football as Louisiana’s favorite sport. This was especially true in the years after World War II when populist Democrat “Uncle” Earl Long seemed to move in and out of the Governor’s Mansion on a four-year rotation. With each parish (county) having at least one member of the House of Representative (Senate districts were, theoretically, based on population) there was a nice farm system for those who wanted into the game.

Two such men faced off in the second primary of the race for the house seat from bucolic Grant Parish that fall. W. T. “Brandy” McCain, who’d served in the house from 1940-48, wanted the job back. W. L. “Willard” Rambo, related to the politically powerful Long family by marriage, opposed him. McCain was from the bucolic town of Colfax, Grant Parish's seat of government. Rambo came from the even more bucolic village of Georgetown.

Back in those days, campaigning consisted of going door-to-door, showing up at any event where three or more voters might gather, the usual deal making, and a lot of “stump speaking.” The only available “mass media” in that rural area of north Louisiana was the local weekly paper, The Colfax Chronicle, which came out each Thursday. About a month before the election, at the bottom of the standard full-page ad extolling Willard Rambo’s candidacy, was a simple question: “Brandy McCain, where were you the night of…”followed by an otherwise insignificant date a few years previous.

The exact date used in the ad is lost to the ages, or the Chronicles’ archives. That’s okay because the exact date wasn’t important. The important thing was McCain having no idea what he’d been doing back then.

Next week, the Rambo ad concluded with a note asking McCain who he’d been with that night. By now, just about everyone in the parish was considering possible answers. After all, McCain had been in the state legislature back then. No telling what he’d been doing.

This put McCain in a bind. Any response would be a week late and might focus even more attention on the issue. For the rest of the campaign he tried, with uneven results, to deal with his inability to answer the weekly questions.

The next question, “Brandy McCain, just what were you doing on the night of…?” kept folks talking, not about the McCain campaign, but about what he might have done years earlier.

By election day, voters went to the polls still unsure where McCain had been that night, or what he’d been doing, or who he’d been doing it with, or why he wouldn’t say. Rambo won.

A few months later, the two men, who while not close friends, were long-time acquaintances, ran into one another at a watering hole on the road to Baton Rouge. After the usual exchange of family news, local gossip and talk about politics, McCain asked Rambo the obvious question, “Willard, what the hell was I doing that night? My wife’s still giving me funny looks.”

It’s reported, though not verified, that Rambo grinned, picked up the check, and said, “Brandy, if you don’t know, how the hell do you expect me to? I’ve no earthly idea. My wife thought those questions might stir things up a bit. As usual, Mary Alice was right.”


NOTE: There's a well-done, informative Wikipedia article about former State Representative and Senator Willard Rambo. Here's the link:

ANOTHER NOTE: An e-mail arrived yesterday from Jim Brown who served as Lousiana's Sec. of State, Insurance Commissioner, and member of the State Senate (not at the same time). To folks outside the state, he's probably best known as the father of CNN's Campbell Brown. He said he'd enjoyed this piece and asked if I'd add a link to his site. http// I was, of course, just a tad puffed up by this notice and more than happy to oblige.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hometown Photos

Georgetown, Louisiana, located in the north-central part of the state, has never been a big place. Way back when, it featured four grocery stores, a store that sold dry goods and appliances, plus a garage, a washateria, and a couple oil field related businesses. Today, there's one grocery store and a beauty shop. The town still has a high school (Bulldogs), post office, Masonic Lodge, and several churches. About 300 people continue to call it home.

Bayou Bill

The original homestead. This house was built by my
grandfather who was the local carpenter. It's about
75 years old and in much better shape than me.


Skyline of the Georgetown, uh, business district.


Georgetown's skyscraper. The Federal Building
(aka post office) can be seen at bottom left.

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Rivers and Creeks

While Georgetown, Louisiana lacks a Wal-Mart and
McDonalds, Kisatchie National Forest is next door so
outdoor activities are plentiful. Fishing, hunting,
swimming are all minutes away. The first day of deer
season was considered an excused absence when I
was in high school, but only if you went hunting. The
following photos were taken on the same day following
several days of rain, so the water is high and muddy.

Bayou Bill

Fish Creek is a meandering, spring-fed source of
recreation south of town. This is "Iron Bridge," a small,
shallow swimming hole where Elizabeth Barrett taught
me how to swim. A modern, safe, dull bridge has
replaced the old structure and it's intricate iron girders.


Several miles upstream from "Iron Bridge" was the
"Kent Hole," considered the spot of choice by teenagers.
Located in a sharp, "L" shaped bend, it featured high
bluffs on one side, a small sandy beach on the other and
a rope swing for showing off. Several years ago the bluff
collapsed. The photo was taken facing upstream from
the bluff area.


North of town is Little River. Way back when, this
river was a poster child for pollution. It is now
much cleaner. This shot was taken from the old
bridge facing downstream toward the "new"
US 165 bridge. In this case, "new" is a relative
term since the bridge was built in the mid '50's.
Georgetown is a couple miles to the right in this
photoe, while Tullos is about the same distance to
the left. A large lumber mill was located on the
right side of the river. There are accounts of
small steamboars navigating this far upstream.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

Kisatchie National Forest

Images of Kisatchie National Forest

Those who grow up in the Georgetown-Tullos area take having a national forest next door as a matter of course. There comes a time when we realize not everyone is blessed with so much nature around them, but usually years after Santa Claus has been unbearded. A friend who lived across the street from me used to wake up early to go squirrel hunting behind his house. He always got home in time to clean both himself and the squirrels, and be ready to catch the school bus. On my side of the street, I'd wake up just in time to catch the same bus. Maybe that's why he became a general and I, well, let's just say, I didn't.

Bill Fullerton

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Georgetown: an artist's view, pt. 2

Elbert Price, aka my Uncle Elbert the artist, has sent four more paintings of scenes from the area around Georgetown. The term "area" is rather loosely defined in this case. While two paintings are of homes in or near that place of bucolic bliss, the other two or of a church in Fishville and the late Governor Earl K. Long's famous Pea Patch farm in Winnfleld.

These four paintings, along with the two displayed in the previous post, have been sold or donated. Those interested in prints should contact Elbert Price through his web site,



This house, located just south of Georgetown on US 165, with its cattle, out-building, cistern, and basketball goal, was a classic example of homes built by the early settlers to the region.

A word about the family name. My uncle is a talented artist, not a linguist. When it came time to give the painting an official title, he recalled the name of the family living there, but not how it was spelled. Hence the phonetically close Lindscombe, instead of the actual spelling, Lincecum.



Best I recall, this was a Methodist church. In the pre-air conditioning days of yore, Fishville, located south of Georgetown, was a favorite get-away spot for city folks trying to escape the summer heat.

Jean Williamson Smith was kind enough to send a nice note about this blog and fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge base about the church:

"The church your uncle painted is Eden Methodist Church located in LaSalle Parish on Highway 8 between Fishville and Jena near White Sulphur Springs. Thanks for the memories."



During my growing-up years, Ed Carter and his family were the only black people in Georgetown. His home, located along the Missouri Pacific tracks just north of where they crossed those of the might Louisiana Midland, had to be one of the most unique and colorful dwellings ever created. The yard was filled with windmills, bird-feeders and a sign that proclaimed this the home of ED CARTER.



Sometimes you just get lucky. Shortly after this painting was finished, the famous sanctuary of former Louisiana Governor "Uncle Earl" Long burned. The original work hung in the Washington offices of the late Congressman Gillis Long when he represented the area.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Georgetown: an artist's view

Elbert Webster Price is my mother's "kid" brother. Uncle Elbert is a professionally trained artist who, after putting four kids through college while toiling away as, among other things, a stock broker and United Way executive, now lives in Santa Barbara, California, where he "works" full time on his painting and sculpture.

Way back when, he and the entire Price posse (see photo below) would come to the hacienda Fullerton to, among other things, visit his sisters Sybil and Marian (aka my mother and my aunt) plus assorted in-laws and his two favorite nephews.

During these family get togethers, he usually managed to get in a little painting. His frequent partner in these artistic pursuits was Georgetown's own, Stanley Pollard.

While most of the originals have been sold or now hang in my home, I've bugged him so much, he's agreed to try and dig up some prints of those Gerogetown paintings. What follows are the first two of what he promises will be many more.

Those interested in prints and/or seeing more art by the talented member of the family are advised to check out, Art by Elbert Price at:



The "old" Dean's Grocery Store was located just north of Georgetown near the Maxwell property. The last time I checked, the building was still standing and being used for storage. Whether the people in the painting are members of the mighty Maxwell tribe is not clear.



This is a view of Georgetown facing south from the Louisiana Midland RR crossing. To the right are what was then the Missouri Pacific RR tracks. To the left of the road is the old La Cavinia Hotel. At the time of this painting, the old depot had been demolished and the hotel was the "new" site of Dean's Grocery in addition to being the home of Stanley Pollard and family.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Tullos, the Blues, and Junior's Juke Joint

The following photos and captions come from, Why Junior Loves the Blues, one of many great articles in, JUNIOR'S JUKE JOINT, the award-winning blues site of Tullos native and my friend, Junior Doughty.

Junior's Juke Joint is the sort of place where inquiring minds can learn the difference between a juke joint and a honky-tonk, what it's like to be in a bar shoot-out or a Druid wedding, the how-to's of bootlegging, why Nellie Jackson's wasn't listed on the Natchez tour of homes, plus a world of information on the blues, blues musicians, blues joints, and other things vital to a well-rounded education.

In the immortal words of Mr. T, I pity the poor fool who doesn't check it out.

Bayou Bill

Looking northward at the west side of downtown Tullos. The white steeple of the First Baptist Church pokes skyward in the far background. The now-roof-less building just beyond the pickup truck was Aaron Ashley's Western Auto Store. Just this side of the tree in the center once stood Monroe Masters's Bar. The bar's 1-hole outdoor toilet stood behind the bar. Just beneath the toilet's seat was the 6-inch casing of an abandoned oil well. I figure there's lots of coins, watches, jewelry, and even a few wallets located about 1,500 feet straight down.


Looking northward at the east side of downtown Tullos. From front to back you see (1) the rubble of Russell's Dry Goods; (2) Jimmie Bardin's Pool Hall; (3) Ott Milam's Drug Store; (4) Martin's Dry Goods; (5) the white front of Huffman's Hardware; and, (6) the edge of Jack Jarvis's Pool Hall. Huffman's Hardware, now a church activity center, is the only building in use. The roof-less rear of Russell's Dry Goods contains shelves and racks filled with rotted clothing.


This shut-down oil well, located in weeds about 100 yds from the Tullos Town Hall, once belonged to my father. Today, it would probably make about 1 barrel of oil a day, which would barely pay the electricity bill.


Here's the remains of Moore's Bar. It's about to fall down. Amos and Clara Moore, dead now for several years, lived in a house to the right of the bar. On Sundays and from a closet in their living room, they bootlegged beer and pints and fifths of Old Charter and Old Crow whiskey. I think the thirsty ghost of Hank Williams sometimes glides through one of those broken plate glass windows.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Brothers-In-Arms and Life

Johnny Clark and Terry are brothers from Georgetown, Louisiana. If Terry wasn't two years younger than me, I could claim, with remarkable honesty, to have known both all my life. Each man served our country in a different war. These short biographical sketches were written by long-time newspaper columnist Jack Willis for The Jena Times. He can be contacted at jbucktwo(at) (note: replace (at) with @)

Bayou Bill

Korean War Memorial


Johnny Clark Maxwell, Jr. could hardly wait to graduate Georgetown High School so he could join the U. S. Army. His uncle Phillip Maxwell, only three years his senior, was in service stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and according to him, he was having one more high-heeled good time. He would have probably changed his mind had he known what lay ahead of him in June 1950 and months to follow.

Johnny Clark, as he was always known by friends and relatives, was born on December 27,1930, and was the eldest of six children born to Clark and Ernestine Miles Maxwell. He began his schooling in 1937, graduating Georgetown High School in the last of the 11-year classes in 1948. On July 20,1948 at the tender age of 17 he boarded a train in Alexandria headed for Ft. Jackson, South Carolina for Basic Training. This took a little over two months, then a short furlough home, and it was off to Ft. Dix, New Jersey, and from there he was sent to Landshut, Germany serving in the 51st Constabulary in the U.S. Army Occupation of post WWII Germany. In June of 1949 he returned home for a two- week leave and then reported to Ft. Hood, TX where he remained for a year in Advanced Individual Training. Then it was back home one more time for two weeks, prior to shipping out on a troop train bound for San Francisco, California.

Meanwhile, on the morning of June 25th, 1950 North Korean troops swarmed across the Han River, plunging southward through South Korea bent on capturing the whole peninsula. On June 27th President Truman declared a police action, not war, and sent American troops ashore on July 1 to begin defense of the Republic of South Korea.

During the month of August 1950 Johnny Clark was in Japan training in amphibious landings. He was assigned to the 7th Division, 32nd Infantry Regiment, and Company B. In September at the age of 19, participated in the landings at Inchon Harbor, which was considered one of the most hazardous sites in the whole world to attempt to stage an amphibious landing because of the tremendous fluctuation between tidal elevations at high and low tides. The success of the invasion was a feather in Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur’s cap. Johnny Clark and his comrades in the 7th Division of the Army called the X Corps, along with the 1st Marine Division landed at Inchon and fought their way inland capturing Seoul, the capital of South Korea.

After this action they returned to shipboard in the Sea of Japan awaiting further orders. First indications were that they would to invade at Wonsan, North Korea but instead Allied forces were sent to Iwon, Korea because the North Koreans were retreating too rapidly. When they waded ashore there was no resistance as the North Koreans had bypassed the coastal route in their retreat. The 7th Division turned north and surged towards the Chosin Reservoir area where they were met and overwhelmed by the Chinese Communist Army in force.

At this particular season, in the dead of winter, temperatures were hovering at 40 degrees below zero. It was a constant battle to maintain dry socks, and to wear gloves to avoid frostbite. The weary group that limped southward was often referred to later as the “Chosin frozen”, and for good reason. The parcels of food and supplies air-dropped to the desperate men was frozen so hard in a short time after landing that they were almost impossible to open.

They had to temporarily stop and dig in after the breakout and it was a constant battle to avoid the debilitating effects of frostbite. Johnny happened to be sharing his foxhole with lad raised in the city that knew nothing about survival or realized that even rubbing your hands together would help maintain circulation. When the group moved out they would march for 50 minutes, then take a 10-minute break. This would give Johnny Clark the opportunity to go back and retrieve the young man’s back pack and bring it and him ahead to join the rest of the troop.

The weather continued to worsen, temperatures dropped, and more and more of his comrades were dying from different causes with dead men stacked everywhere like cordwood. They were traveling along a rail line that ran around the perimeter of the mountain, with ditches along the rights-of-way full of dead Chinese Communist soldiers. The two regiments were dug in awaiting air support, surrounded by bugle-blowing troops that kept up a nerve-wracking clamor day and night. The survivors of what had once been over 750 troops were reduced to just over a hundred men. Running low on food, ammo and medications, the men made up their mind on the morning of the 11th day that they were going to attempt a breakout even if the weather didn’t clear.

At daylight there was a break in the clouds and in comes two Sabre jets loaded with napalm, and one inadvertently dropped his deadly jellied gasoline cargo on the edge of the huddled troops, with some of the men suffering horrible deaths. What saved Johnny Maxwell was that he was on the back edge of the perimeter they had been defending, dropping phosphorous grenades into the barrels of abandoned mortars, burning the guts out of them, so they couldn’t be used against them later.

What men were left of the two regiments taking all their surplus gasoline burned and destroyed all the equipment and supplies they were going to have to leave behind.

As they left the perimeter they had been striving to defend, the convoy was faced with one Chinese Communist roadblock after another. They had about 20 truckloads of wounded men, but men who were able to walk tried to defend the convoy on the right and left flanks and to the rear with Johnny Clark ending up on the left flank. As the defenders were wounded and incapacitated they were thrown up on the top of the wounded already on the trucks, and if a truck stalled, and other trucks couldn’t get around, they had no choice but to push that stalled truck off down the side of the mountain with its load of wounded cargo. The remaining two partial regiments hit the final roadblock where it seemed there would be no passage. The Communists had machine guns on both sides of the road and the Americans had to pick a lull in the deadly fire to run through the gauntlet. Many of the men made it through and they were back to Chosin once more, looking for friendly forces, going into several villages to attempt to find a warm place to sleep, but the Chinese had gotten there ahead of them and were lying in ambush. More casualties! Survivors got word out to the others to avoid the villages at all costs.

At this time a particular verse from the Scriptures comes to mind where it says, “Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends”, and this came abundantly true when Johnny Clark and his buddy Clarence Stuckey from Redding, Pennsylvania pulled and drug another frozen member of their company southward in a sleeping bag trying to save his life, and to add to their misery, it began to snow only making matters worse. The trio would hide in gullies and thickets during the day and travel at night and several times Johnny Clark saw pairs of Chinese quilt-uniformed legs pass by within five feet of where they lay concealed.

Finally making contact with a 1st Marine Division outpost, the first question asked by the sentry was how they had made it across the minefields? In reflection the men realized what had happened was that the ground and the triggers of the mines were frozen and wouldn’t detonate like they were designed to.

They were escorted to a first aide station, immediately flown to a hospital ship off the east coast of Korea in the Sea of Japan where Johnny was treated for double pneumonia and put on antibiotics every four hours. His hands and feet were so frozen and he could clap his hands together and it sounded like the banging of two chunks of ice together. When the ship filled up with wounded they sailed for a hospital in Yokohama, Japan, and then it was to another hospital in Tokyo for another 30 days.

After recovery Johnny Clark was sent back to Korea, because the Armistice wouldn’t be signed for another two years and from January 1951 until October 1951 his new company seesawed back and forth up and down the peninsula. It was actually a new company because they had to bring in replacements three different times.

Finally, his tour was up and he was sent to Ft. Chaffee, Ark. where he was finally released from service on April, 28,1952 at the age of 22. The Korean Police Action wouldn’t end until July 27,1953.

Johnny Clark took time back home to recover from his ordeal, and would work a variety of jobs, mostly in the oil patch until September 20,1955 when he went to work as a Roadway Inspector for the Louisiana Department of Highways. He was employed in this meritorious capacity for 40 years retiring on September 5, 1995.

At the tender age of 30 he married Bertie Marie Floyd and they had two sons, and now have five grandchildren.

Johnny Clark isn’t in the best of health these days; he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but he hasn’t let it get him down. He fights it with the same tenacity he did against the Communist hordes in Korea.

Author’s Note: I have personally had the pleasure of knowing and working with Johnny Clark Maxwell for over 40 years. He is the very best friend I’ve ever had or could ask for. I’ve never met anyone that possesses a servant’s heart to match his. There is no doubt in my mind, that when Jesus decides enough is enough, and it’s time for Johnny Clark to be ushered home, it will be one of the largest homecoming celebrations ever witnessed in heaven. And the Words Jesus Christ will utter should be what every saint should seek to hear, but are especially appropriate concerning this man. “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of the lord.”


Three Soldiers at the Vietnam War Memorial


When Terry Maxwell was only three years old, his older brother Johnny Clark Maxwell, Jr. was in Korea participating in a still undeclared war fighting the North Koreans, and later the Chinese Communist hordes. Little did Terry know that 17 years later he would be fighting the North Viet Nam swarms, which were also sponsored and supplied by the same evil source-Red China.

Terry Maxwell was born in Georgetown, LA on August 20th, 1948, attending schools there, graduating from Georgetown High School in 1966. Upon the receipt of his diploma, he immediately went to work for Kansas City Southern Railroads as a Signals Maintenance Tech. He stayed with the railroad until he was drafted for Military Service on June 4th, 1968. He took Basic Training and A.I.T. at Fort Polk at Leesville, LA and arrived in South Viet Nam on December 10,1968. He was stationed at 4th Division, 1st and 8th Battalion Brigade Infantry, Bravo Company.

Upon arrival he was integrated into a Helicopter Air Assault Team and was immediately shipped out by “chopper” transport with stops at Pleiku, Kartoum, Dactau and then on to Firebase 30. The North Vietnamese were famous for beginning offensives on their significant holidays like Tet, Ho Chi Minh’s birthday and the beginning of the Lunar New Year. Firebase 30 was located in the central highlands, and featured some of the most inhospitable mountainous terrain in the world. It was covered in lush rain forests, with bamboo forests featuring some species eight inches in diameter and growing 80 feet tall. They began conducting SLERPS (Short Range Reconnaissance Patrols), which consisted of going out for four days and nights. Their task was to stay hidden and spy on enemy troop movements along the Ho Chi Mign Trail. Their enemies were mostly made up of the North Vietnamese Army, and not the Viet Cong, which were stationed mostly further south. They would stay in one area from two weeks up to 30 days conducting patrols. The Army’s Logistical Command would ferry into the field all supplies needed by chopper. Food, clothing, medicines and potable water were brought in every day, and sometimes the re-supply was conducted through intense enemy ground fire. During military operations at least a half-dozen different varieties of helicopters were utilized at one time or another. The two main workhorses were the Huey for transport, which were ably guarded by the Cobra gun ships.

A whole new vocabulary came into being during the ‘Nam campaign featuring names like “Puff the Magic Dragon.” This was a huge C-47 aircraft bristling with Gattling guns and cannon and used for close support of infantry operations. When they were utilized at night, their firepower lit up the sky much like a Christmas fireworks display.

Meanwhile the NVA discovered their presence and attacked them. The Americans called in two battalions to a small, temporary base camp with a runway constructed out of portable metal mats. The landing ports were laid out on roads already in place, and built at night by the NVA. The clandestine roads had bamboo woven together over them as camouflage that made them undetectable from air reconnaissance.

Allied forces, principally Americans, captured a number of “deuce-and-a-half trucks loaded with howitzer ammunition. Red Chinese were driving the trucks and the munitions and trucks were manufactured in Red China. This gave a new meaning to the phrase often seen in the USA on manufactured goods, “Made in China.”

The Air Assault team set up camp on “high ground” and left a squad to guard the captured trucks over night. The NVA personnel attacked that night and recaptured the trucks. At daylight the next morning the Air Assault Team left their high ground camp and recaptured the trucks. They lost one man it the operation but killed several Red Chinese. They stayed in the area patrolling the roads built by the NVA.

They were relegated to the role of sacrificial lamb, as they summarily drew the fire of some entrenched members of the North Vietnamese Army, and four men in the patrol were killed, and all the rest were wounded. The survivors got on a radio and called in all available firepower that could be mustered. Meanwhile they withdrew to nearby hill, where they spent one day licking their wounds and recovering. This was near Polly Clane Fire Base, and next day they resumed patrols. Instead of a one-man point, they had three men up front and Maxwell was the middleman. About this time they got word that Delta Co. was under fire, so their group did a left flank and walked right into the middle of a NVA base camp. They immediately came under intense enemy fire and were told to pull back and artillery would be called in. They had just settled into fresh foxholes when suddenly a shot came from out of nowhere that severely wounded Maxwell. The round entered his abdomen, penetrating his liver, pancreas and shattered his left kidney.

About the time they got him back to Polly Cline Fire Base, a Colonel’s helicopter jarred the ground on a “look-see” mission. It was quickly commandeered for this Emergency Medical Evacuation mission. He was first taken to Fire Base Mary Lou, then forwarded to the 71st Evacuation Hospital, where he was experiencing massive bleeding, and had to have several surgeries, and all this was complicated by a resumption of stress ulcers during recovery. Maxwell stayed there for 30 days, and then ferried to Camron Bay for seven days, and on to Tokyo General Hospital. Then it was a succession of hospital until he eventually arrived back at where it all began at Fort Polk Army Hospital at Leesville, La.

After partial recovery, Terry Maxwell was given 30 days of medical leave and allowed to travel the 80 miles home. He came back and finished his tour of duty at Ft. Polk, assisting with Basic Training for new draftees.

Upon discharge, he went to work for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development where he’s been steadily employed for over 30 years, and contemplating retirement.

In commenting on his wartime experiences, he said, “I was born and raised to be patriotic, and to help defend this wonderful country if need be. Some people refer to it as the forgotten war; I believe we helped break the evil influence of Communism in the world culminating with the eventual destruction of the Berlin Wall, and the Iron Curtain. I didn’t really want to go to war but I felt it was my duty to serve. I established a relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ during that time of duress that has not diminished until this day. I felt if it was my time to go be with Him, I was ready to go, and still am!”

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Grass Roots and Cockle Burrs

An aerial view of Georgetown, Louisiana


A series of e-mails arrived yesterday from newspaper columnist Jack Willis of Jena, La., a “big city” (pop. 3000) about 15-20 miles east of Georgetown, La. (pop. 300). I’m encouraging Jack to take the plunge and start a blog of his own. Until then, I’m more than happy to accept his offer to showcase some of his articles.

Today I’m posting the first message he sent me and an article he did about Georgetown. Assuming Jack doesn’t change his mind, the ones on the Maxwell brothers will follow. Feel free to leave comments or questions here or email Jack at jbucktwo(at) (I’ve substituted (at) for @ to frustrate spammers.)


Bayou Bill


Hello, Bill...

The name is Jack M. Willis...I'm a native of Jena...Lived there over 60 years...I worked for the La. Dept. of Hwys. for over 20 years along with Earl Killingsworth and my very best friend Johnny Clark Maxwell, Jr.. I'm well acquainted with several of the residents of the "Windy City" as Earl calls it. Attached, please find a couple of features I did about Johnny and his younger brother Terry for The Piney Woods Journal out of Dodson, LA...I also write a weekly feature for The Jena Times called Grass Roots and Cockleburs ...been at now for about 11 years...It's 40's and 50's history, Civil War and about anything I want to write about...


Grass Roots and Cockle Burrs
by Jack Willis
first appeared in, The Jean Times
Feb. 8, 2001


Georgetown, Louisiana is a small hamlet in Grant Parish, situated on U.S. 165, south of where Rochelle used to be and north of where Selma used to be. Its speed limit is somewhere between slow and under 40.

There’s not much to see in Georgetown today. It’s been relegated to a wisp of a cobweb on the roadmap of time on what’s referred to as “old”165. It was replaced with a new ribbon of pavement in 1958. The “new road by-passed Rochelle and Selma and deftly sidestepped to the western city limits of what used to be downtown Georgetown. Located today on the “new” thorough fare is a thriving grocery store, a CB/Computer Shop and a convenience store in a perpetual state of “under new management”.

Someone raised the question of where the town got it’s name, and that was an excuse to research its origins. Come to find out, the town owes it’s naming to one Daniel Nicholson White.

The name White is often mentioned in perusing various histories of Jena, Louisiana, but it was never mentioned that the name might also be relevant to that Grant Parish community also.

In one alpha to omega account unearthed, it recanted Dan White’s origins. He was born in Copiah County, Mississippi in 1853,and departed this life in Jena, Louisiana in 1908. It went on, to paraphrase Longfellow; ”he left his footprints in the red clay of time”. He left Mississippi after gaining some saw milling experience and worked for some time in Arkansas. He then migrated to Grant Parish (then still a part of Rapides) in 1873. In 1875 he married Mathilda Brian, daughter of Reverend B. F. Brian, pioneer Baptist preacher, blacksmith, Confederate veteran, and for eight years a Louisiana State Senator.

Dan White operated “jerkwater” sawmills at several locales in Grant Parish. One was at White Spur, about two miles south of Pollack; others were at Iatt Lake, Georgetown and several other unnamed sites. Mr. and Mrs. White reared eight children and one, Bennie, the last born, died in infancy.

Somewhere around 1900 Dan White was operating a sawmill in the town which would eventually become the Village of Georgetown. Some of the local gentry and the founding fathers had called a town meeting of sorts. Their task was to choose an official post office name for the little hamlet. Dan White was probably the leading employer and possibly the top citizen in the community and he was therein person. There was some lengthy discussion but no conclusion was reached by the townspeople. There was an employee at the meeting by the name of George (whether it was his given or surname is not known) who was employed at White’s mill. White obviously liked him because he suddenly turned to George and said, “George, I’ll give you a new John B. Stetson hat if you’ll let us name this place for you.” George said, “Gimme the hat!”

Daniel Nicholson White was undoubtedly a man of vision. In 1904, he sold his holdings in the Georgetown area and relocated to Jena in what was then Catahoula Parish. He arrived in Jena about the same time as William Buchanan’s beloved Louisiana & Arkansas Railroad interests was building depots at Trout, Good Pine and Jena, and the Trout Creek Lumber Company mill was cutting their first logs.

Realizing the incalculable value of the telephone as a communications resource, White formed a partnership with a W.M. Coleman and started the first phone company in the area. Also about a block from the Jena Depot, White built an ice plant and next to it a bottling works, which bottled soft drinks with the name of the Jena plant inscribed on the base of the bottles. Recently an undetermined number of these old bottles were unearthed on the old site while excavating for a new business.

As stated before Dan White passed away in 1908 and is interred in the Belah Cemetery near Jena. But he passed the pioneering spirit onto his son William Walter White and his son-in-law Robert Wesley Wagner. Wagner had a general store in Verda in Grant Parish and started the first phone company in that area. Robert Wesley Wagner had a son Robert Walter, who in 1944 would assume ownership of “The Jena Times.” Walter White founded a newspaper in Jena in 1904 called “The Tribune”, which only lasted for a year or two. It was probably was not affiliated with “The Jena Times” which was founded in 1905.

One could safely say later generation of Whites and Wagners also “left footprints in the red clay of now Grant and LaSalle Parishes.”