George and Martha Knight built their cabin in 1857. This cabin models notch and pin construction with hand-hewn sills measuring 18 X 22 feet. The cabin was in place to celebrate our country’s bicentennial in 1976. The Knight cabin is listed in the National Historical Register and the Louisiana Division of Historical Preservation. This simple, single room, frontier log cabin with window shutters was probably built in 1857and may regarded as typical for a pioneer family in rural LA. Apart from the area beneath the sleeping loft, the cabin is completely open to the rafters providing more light to this usually dark environment.9
Branch Corn Crib
Built circa 1875 by Claiborn Blackwell, the Branch corncrib is one-half of an early dogtrot-type barn with a breezeway down the center. Wagons were sheltered in the breezeway much like a modern day garage. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ray Branch donated the crib in 1976 in memory of Austin Branch.
The split rail fence, built by Andrew Kemp in 1902, was donated by the Emerson Kemp family in 1976 and is located west of the Grandpa King House on Dry Creek.
This cabin is actually a combination of two homes, donated in 1977 by the Sylvest and Magee families of Washington parish. The Sylvest cabin built by Nehemiah Sylvest was built circa 1880-81 while the family of five children lived in the dirt-floored smokehouse. As the family grew, the house was expanded from a single pen to a double pen by the addition of a hall and front porch. The fear of fire led pioneer families to built detached kitchens. The Magee cabin circa 1909-1910 by Marcus Magee is a board and batton building of long-leaf pine with exposed wide boards on the inside of the cabin and covered on the outside with narrow strips of lumber. Saddie and Ethel Magee donated the cabin in memory of their brother Jacob Nathaniel Magee.
Mount Hermon School
Due to the large number of children in the Mt. Hermon area and the long distance they were required to travel to school in Silver Springs, MS, the residents of the community built the school shortly after the Civil War. The Denman Ott estate and David Jackson Ott donated the school in 1978.
The one-roomed log structure was replaced in 1885 by a one-room frame building, furnished with wood desks and benches. The students were seated with the girls on one side and the boys on the other side.
The school contained a stage that was used by the student as well as the community for performances. There were two teachers and while there were no individual grades for students, it is known that they studied the McGuffey’s Fifth Grade Reader. Primary and music rooms were added later with the primary room being the only remaining structure of the school.
Half Moon Bluff Baptist Church
Half Moon Bluff Baptist Church was the first Baptist church in LA and the first of two Protestant churches of any denomination organized in the state. It was located on the Bogue Chitto River about 4 ½ miles north of Franklinton at Half Moon Bluff.
Shortly after the 1810 West Florida Rebellion ending Spanish control, a few settlers met and erected a small log building with clay flooring. On October 12, 1812, the church was granted Constitution and gained admission into the MS Baptist Association. Nearly all of the Baptist churches in this area have their roots dating back to the original Half Moon Bluff Baptist Church. The church in MBS is a replica of the original church.
The church was built in 1978 with aid and support of the Southeast LA Baptist District, LA Baptist Convention, and the Washington Parish Baptist Association. The Half Moon Bluff Baptist Church is of outstanding significance and while it is a Baptist church, under the regulations of the MBS, all displays, activities, and programs are of interdenominational faith. Visitors of all faiths are welcomed by cordial invitation of the Baptist Association and the MBS.
Bankston General Store
A very welcome addition to MBS, the Bankston Store was built in the late 1890’s by Claudia Bankston and was located about 10 miles northeast of Franklinton. Will Wilkes repaired saddles and harnesses in the Bankston General Store prior to the selling of food items. Chickens and eggs were also sold in the store. Today, lemonade, cookies, pickles, hoop cheese slices, multi-flavored jellies, and post cards are sold in the Bankston General Store. A bigger than life white cotton bale beckons visitors from the front porch.
Warnerton Post Office
Located within the Bankston General Store, the post office dates back to 1900 around the time the K & E Railroad began its service through Warnerton. Isaiah Pigott served as the first Postmaster, followed by John Warner. At his death, Mrs. Stella Bickham Warner was appointed the first Postmistress. The post office remained open until August 31, 1954. The J. J. Warner family donated the post office in 1978.
In 1993, under the sponsorship of the Quality, Work, Life-Employees, International (QWL-EL), the post office was officially opened during the Fair to sell envelopes and stamps. Mail could actually be deposited for processing. Marilyn Bateman designed a MBS postmark. Harvey Shoemake, Bogalusa Postmaster, and Margaret Hill of QWL-EL, assisted with the implementation of the project. The post office was staffed by volunteer postal mail carriers from Franklinton and Bogalusa.
Burrel Jones Cabin
A one-room structure built shortly after 1885, this log cabin measures approximately 19 X 20 feet. The chimneys are made of mud with three doors to the outside and porches across the front and back. Split shingles comprise the room and sills are made of heart pine. The foundation rests on huge split wood blocks. Mrs. Freeda Jones Kaylor and Earl Jones donated the cabin to MBS in 1979.
Constructed of logs circa 1879 from a building donated by the J. Alton Richardson family in 1979, the cabin was located originally in Sunny Hill, LA. The building was used since its inception as a workshop, storage area or tool shed.
Stafford Syrup Mill and Iron Kettle
In 1979, Mrs. Collins Pope donated the syrup mill and iron kettle. The kettle dates back to 1900 and is typical of implements used in syrup making prior to the use of rectangular tin pans. The kettle measures 4 feet in diameter by 2 feet deep and weighs approximately 250 pounds when empty.
Bankston Blacksmith Shop
This blacksmith shop built by Claudia Bankston is typical of an 1890’s country farm shop. The shop was used by Mr. Bankston to repair items from guns to plows, wagons to buggies, as well as for shoeing horses. This was also a viable source of income for the Bankston family. Some of the original implements are on display: plows, wagons, bellows, forge, anvil, block, grinding stone, benches, and various smaller tools of the trade. The heirs of Mrs. Kate Bankston Burch donated this superb example of a workable blacksmith shop in 1980.
The cabin, originally located on the Old River Road in the Pearl River Swamp about 5 ½ miles north of Bogalusa, was not far from the area known as Pigott’s Crossing. The two-room structure was hand-hewn on all sides from virgin pine logs and put together with pegs and square nails. The Pigott cabin has a partition wall one plank thick between two rooms providing insufficient acoustical privacy.10 The 33-foot “lighter” pine sills rest on large sandstones and wooden blocks or pillars. Including the front and back porches, the building measures 38 x 40 feet. Original and somewhat unusual features include the original frames of two clay chimneys. Other members of the Pigott family until about 1923-24 further occupied the cabin.
In July of 1982, Thomas Hamilton Pigott, joined by his children William Thomas Pigott and Betty Rose Pigott Hunt, donated this log house to the Settlement in memory of Mr. Pigott’s parents and grandparents.
In addition, they donated several items of the original cabin furnishings, including the structure used to furnish the house’s water supply. The huge counter balance post and wooden pole were used to raise and lower the water bucket into the old box dug well.
The cabin was built in the mid-1800’s. About 1882, the cabin, with the exception of the rear portion, was dismantled and moved. The cabin was later dismantled and moved again, this time west of the Bogue Chitto River Road, where it remained and was used for many years by various families as a home. Names of those who at one time lived in the home included Johnson, Jones, Knight, Lee, Hunt, Varnado, and Watson. Mrs. Wanda Jones Watson, wife of the late George Watson, Jr., donated the cabin to the Settlement in 1981.
Donated in 1980 by Mr. and Mrs. Leon Knight, the mill was placed next to the Branch corncrib. One of three mills previously used by Murphy Bateman Building Supply, the mill was ordered from Meadows Mill Co. of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in the early 1940’s. During the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Washington Parish Fair in 1983, the mill was in operation, grinding corn into fresh corn meal, the demand for which was greater than supply. Fresh ground corn meal is available along with a country cornbread recipe.
Ben’s Ford Kitchen
This tiny kitchen, was constructed by Morgan Adams, was found nestled between several tall pines trees in the Ben’s Ford Community, near Bogalusa, La. The building, which serves as the kitchen to the Jones
Cabin, was donated by Mr. And Mrs. Elmer Rogers III and moved to the settlement in 1983. The kitchen was complete with all the furnishings, including the old chicken coup fastened to the outside of the house up off the ground. The kitchen volunteers provide samples of sassafras tea and homemade biscuits.
The old barn, approximately 30-feet square, was constructed of cypress logs, and donated to the Settlement in 1985 by Mr. And Mrs. Wyatt A. Fleming, Jr. in memory of Mr. Fleming’s father, Dr. Wyatt A. Fleming. Mr. Fleming feels that the barn was constructed between 1870 and 1890.
Varnado Corn Crib
In 1987, the log crib, donated by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Morgan, was moved into the Settlement. James Oliver “Barlow” Varnado probably built the crib, 12’x 14’, in the early 1900’s. The structure, constructed of “heart” pine logs, was previously located in the Stoney Point Community.
The smokehouse, previously located south of Franklinton in the Bonner Creek Community, was built circa 1924 by William C. Penton. Mrs. Fricke and her nieces, Mrs. Byrd and Mrs. Perry, donated the smokehouse in 1988, memory of William C. Penton.
Buddy Crowe Outhouse
In 1910, Johnny Edgar Crowe built the split-shingled outhouse of hand-sawed heart pine. Originally, the property was located in the Stoney Point Community and was homesteaded in 1882 by John Y. Maples. The outhouse, donated to the Settlement in 1989 by John K. and Bonnie Waskom, is now located immediately behind a section of the Emerson Kemp split rail fence. The structure features one door located slightly to the left and has two holes, which is rather unique in that the occupants would be positioned back-to-back, rather than side-by-side.
Fricke Grist Mill
The mill was located in an enclosed shelter about seven miles south of Franklinton on the original Fricke homesite. Moved to the Settlement in 1990, the mill was placed under a lean-to structure attached to the Varnado Corn Crib. Walter Stafford, husband of the late Neva Fricke, donated the mill to the Settlement in 1989.
“Grandpa” King House
The house was probably built in 1830 by Thomas Iverson King (TIK), one of the early settlers of Washington Parish. In 1991, the house, known among the members of the King family as “The Grandpa King House”, was moved from an area often referred to as the Benny King Place, five miles northeast of Clifton, LA to the Settlement. This house is referred to as “probably the finest dogtrot cabin remaining in LA.”
Tree length logs were cut, hilltop shapes, and used as floor joists. The flooring was notched on the bottom at contact points with joists to reduce floor thickness, yet maintained a smooth surface on top. Also distinguishing the King Cabin as a “fine home” are its early glass sash windows, which appear to be original.12 Large native sandstone rocks were used to raise sills off the ground and for leveling. The front and back Chamfered post porches were tied the room structure with full-length one-half notched logs that traversed the full width of the house.
The ceiling joists were hand-hewn down from round logs to 5″ x 5″ square beams used over the exposed ceilings of the porches. The original roof was constructed of hand-split shingles. Each room had intricately worked Federal style fireplace mantles. In one of the rooms, on the mantle-piece, the initials T.I.K. were carved from wood strips. The attic and the dogtrot were floored and used as sleeping lofts. The area could be accessed from both rooms and the dogtrot.
The kitchen was separate from the house with a raised walkway between the two buildings. The house has never been connected to electricity or had running water. Two dug wells – one near the kitchen and the other near the barn – supplied water. Beaded ceilings and siding were installed on the interior walls and the dogtrot area was enclosed. Six-inch drop siding covered the exterior walls and split shingled roof was replaces with tin sheeting. Brick chimneys replaced with original clay. One side of the back porch was also enclosed to make a bedroom, dining room, and kitchen. Glass windows were installed throughout the house in the late 1800’s.
In 1996, William Roy King and Ellis Bateman added a functional pitcher water pump near the King House. In 1997, an additional pitcher water pump was drilled in front of the King Barn. A watering trough was also added for the farm animals.
The house was donated to the Settlement in 1991 by Bessie Warren King, her children William Roy King, and Dorothy King Tickler in memory of James Samuel (J.S.) King Jr. Related families Magee, Richardson, Smith, Brumfield, Warren, Wilson, Dillon, Branch, Bateman, Haley, and Bickham.
Probably built circa 1835 by Thomas Iverson King after he built the “Grandpa House” in 1830, the barn is 64-feet long and 30-feet wide. This is the largest barn known to have survived in Washington parish measuring 64’ X 30’.13 The 1850 census indicates that Mr. King possesses 40 acres of improved land, 100 acres of unimproved land, three horses, four oxen, ten milk cows and 15 other cows, one sheep, 50 swine, livestock, valued at $481; 250 bushels of Indian corn, 100 bushels of sweet potatoes; and farm equipment valued at $20.
The King barn contains two long ox stalls and one log crib, all situated about seven feet apart and about 13’ x 14’. The stalls were used to house oxen and have much lower doors than those usually found in a stable. Each stall has a hollowed out one-half log feed trough and hayrack. The ceiling over the stables was floored and loft area used to store hay. The loft was accessible by a narrow stairwell located inside the east stable.
The corncrib has a wooden floor supported by log sills and floor joists. The enormous pitched roof extends approximately ten feet beyond the stalls and corncrib on the three sides. Two large feed troughs were located along the back of the barn. A small milking pen was used as a buggy storage shed. The barn back and both ends were closed with board sidings and dirt flooring.
The barn was donated to the Settlement in 1991 by Bessie Warren King, William Roy King, and Dorothy King Tickler in memory of James Samuel (J.S.) King, Jr.
Included in the farm equipment are six two-mule farm wagons. These wagons date back to the early 1900’s. Manufacturers were Studebaker, Weber, Sears Roebuck, and a civil war military wagon. All wagons are in good to excellent condition.
“Bluff” Seal Outhouse
J.D. Broadway and his sisters, Dorthy O’Bryant and Joanne Mixon donated the outhouse to the Settlement in 1993. The structure was originally located in the San Pedro Community, about eight miles west of Franklinton.
In 1993, Clyde Morris of Mt. Hermon donated a cypress water cistern, circa 1900, to the Settlement. Mr. Morris, donated the cistern just prior to his death. Now positioned next to the King Barn, the cistern was loaded on a trailer and moved into the Settlement by Mike Cassidy and Wayne Riley of Mt. Hermon.
The 14-foot virgin long-leaf pine stump was found on the property of Judge A.J. Jones in the vicinity of Pigott’s Crossing. The stump was moved from a swampy area to Mile Branch in 1993. The stump, probably much larger when alive, perhaps came from a tree which could have been as tall as 300 feet. Apparently broken or twisted off in a storm years before logging operations began in Washington Parish, the stump was moved to the Settlement through the cooperative efforts of Frank Prisk and the Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative.