Homesteading in Southern Louisiana

I recently wrote about how my Landry family came to southern Louisiana.  That was 250 years ago and it was before the United States was formed.  My mom’s side of the family came here more recently.  Not all at the same time, but pretty close.  The main lure was the opening up of this area by railroad and an offering of land for homesteading.

I found some documents online last week that show when the homestead papers were filed for some of my ancestors.  They keep putting more and more historical information online.  Of course, I have to look in the right places to find those things that are already there.  So I was excited to find these records that I hadn’t seen before.  They pretty much support the information I had concerning when my ancestors arrived in southern Louisiana.  The first group to arrive here was the Bucklin family.

1884 register of homesteads in southern Louisiana

The names on the register start with my great, great grandfather James Bucklin.  He and two of his children – Joseph and Jennie – filed for homestead claims on April 2, 1884.  They had come from Hampden County, Massachusetts, by way of Coffins Grove, Iowa.  Even though her name is not on the register, my Irish great great grandmother Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin was involved with the whole endeavor as well.

My great grandfather Louis was only 11 years old at the time and was not able to file a claim of his own.  He did work on the claim and kept a journal for many years about the day to day farming that was done.  I remember seeing the name of Shoesmith in that journal and now I see it on this homestead register.

1887 homestead register for southern Louisiana

According to the information I found, the next to show up in the area was Martha Ann Keys.  Her claim was filed on November 11, 1887.  She was born in England and had arrived in America with her five children just four months earlier.  I know they lived in a chicken house for a while (thank you Thomas Lord MacVey!), but I’m not sure how long it was before a house was built.  A photo of the house they lived in has information on the back that says the house was built in 1888.  Another factor that comes into play was the second husband of Martha Keys.

“What’s that?” you ask, “Another husband?  Say it isn’t so!”  Yes, there was another husband that isn’t talked about much.  It was in the days before social media, after all.  She and William T. Davis were married for only a short time because she got rid of him.  It was said that she did not like the way he treated the kids.  (Maybe they had gotten in the habit of scratching the floor with their toes – you know, like chickens! – and it drove him crazy and he’d send them to the barn.)  Whatever the issue was, they didn’t stay together.

This next part doesn’t make sense to me.  In the family history book it says she lost her claim because of this marriage.  In the register you can see that the claim was “cancelled for relinquishment” on  November 13, 1889, which is just over two years after the start of the claim.  She never divorced Mr. Davis, but did not take his name.  Details have a way of being lost with the death of a few generations.  (An interesting name on this page in the register is Thomas Buller, who I think is the great grandfather of Pam Buller.)

1892 register for homestead in southern Louisiana

Our next arrival was the Hine family from Indiana.  This claim was dated February 10, 1896, though other information says they arrived in Louisiana in 1894.  The name on the register is George H. Hine, my great great grandfather.  He came was his wife Sue and their six children ranging in ages from 10 to 20.  The oldest was my great grandmother Addie.

To help out with the family or possibly to earn some money on her own, Addie would help people with chores around the house.  One of these people that she helped was Mary Ann McGrath Bucklin, whose son Lou just happened to be the right age for marrying.  (Lou’s journal entry for July 6, 1896 – I went over & got Miss Hines to help mother, she commenced work at noon.)  Addie and Lou were married in 1898.  (Notice the name in the register under George Hine.  It is Henry Kohl, an ancestor of Joseph Connors.)

H. C. Phenice signed Daisy’s autograph book on Dec. 24, 1900, which was three days before their marriage.

That leaves the Phenice side of my mom’s family.  That generation of the Phenice family did not immigrate to southern Louisiana.  They were from Pennsylvania and had homesteaded in Nebraska.  One brave son name Harry – my great grandfather – came to Louisiana seeking his fortune.  Why he came to Louisiana is a mystery.  But he arrived in 1898 at the age of 24.

He did not homestead.  At least I have never heard of him homesteading and did not find a record of it.  And according to the verse he wrote in Daisy Keys’ autograph book, he found his fortune in a little English girl.  He said she was “all to me.”  They were married in 1900 and lived in the China/Hathaway area for the rest of their lives.  Though they did spend a year in Colorado hoping to find that monetary fortune at a gold mine at Cripple Creek.

So that’s how those families came together to bring about my maternal grandparents and my mom.  They came from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Indiana, England, and Ireland with dreams and ready for hard work.  I, for one, am glad they did.

My mom’s family tree.

Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church

Have you ever heard of Fairview Methodist Episcopal Church?  Not many people have.  I’m not even sure the church was ever called that except in its planning stage.  It was to be the name of the church located in Jefferson Davis Parish just south of the Hathaway/China area in 1894.  At about the same time a post office was to be located in the same area with the name of Fairview.  But since that name was already taken in another location in Louisiana, the name for the new post office was changed to Raymond.  So now we know that area as Raymond and the church that was built there was the Raymond Methodist church.

I found this out recently from a history of the church that my grandmother Myrtle Phenice Bucklin left to my cousin Mary.  Another very interesting fact that the publication contained was a bit of information about my great great grandfather George Henry Hine (my mother was Betty Lou Bucklin Landry, her parents were Myrtle and Fred Bucklin,  Fred’s mother was Addie Hine Bucklin, and Addie’s father was George.)  There is a section in the history that states, “In 1908, Rev. Dan Hayes was appointed pastor.  He and Rev. Gillman, a local preacher, held services regularly for some time.  On November 29th, Rev. George Hines, residing Elder, preached in the church.”

I had never heard anything about him preaching in church, much less being referred to as a reverend.  Of course, that was a long time ago and bits of information like that get lost along the way.  Until you find a photo or a church history that fills in a few gaps.


3/9/2018 – Some old Jennings newspapers have become available online through the local library.  In the process of searching for family names, I noticed a name that came up from time to time.  There was a Methodist preacher located in Lake Charles who would go to different cities to preach.  Now here’s the important part – his name was Rev. George B. Hines.  Hines, not Hine.  It was not my great great grandfather who was the preacher.  In that church history, I noticed that the name Hines was spelled differently than any other time they named members of the Hine family.  I thought it might have been an oversight, but I think they were indeed speaking of a different family.


1945 Raymond Methodist Church Fellowship Hall

1945 Raymond Methodist Church Sunday school classes

Speaking of gaps, I’m leaving a big one here as I jump forward to the time of this photo I’m sharing today.  This photo was taken around 1945 in front of the Raymond Methodist Fellowship Hall.  A photo from the same day was posted just over a year ago by Joseph.  It was a group photo also, but not as large of a group.  This photo itself was quite small, yet the details are really good.

My mom and her sisters are in it as young girls.  Their grandmother Addie is standing behind them.  Her brother Ollie Hine is sitting in a chair to the left in the photo as his wife Lenora stands behind him.  I can name a few others with the help of other old photos and postings on here.  Let’s see how many we can name!  Won’t that be fun?

1945 Methodist Church in Raymond, Louisiana

Photo of the Raymond Methodist Church circa 1945.

Tractor in the Mud

John Koll digging stuck tractor out of mud during rice cutting in 1929.  Ada Weaver wonders if the guy supervising is her dad, Jesse Whittington.  He would have been 23 then. Do you think he would have worn such an unusual hat?

Koll Women

On our recent trip to the farm, I was able to scan some old photo albums thanks to Ada and Effie Whittington. This was an interesting photo found in Effie’s collection. My Great Grandmother Ada May Whittington Koll seems younger than most photos I remember seeing her in. Based on the age of the baby, I guess the photo was taken around 1930. That makes Ada about 50 here. I know I have seen a few younger photos, but there certainly are more of her in her later years so that is how I think of her.

On the left is Rosa Andrea Briggs Koll (1886-1976) holding her step-daughter Shirley Mae Koll (1928–1990). She was the second wife of Edward Henry Koll (1899–1983).

In the center is Ada May Whittington Koll (1881-1963) next to her sister-in-law, Maria Dora Koll Compton (1886-1958). And in the background is my Great Grandfather, Ada’s husband, John Rudolph Koll (1884–1965).

Let me know if I got any of this wrong.

Sunday Congregation

Kathy Jester Mack posted these photos from the Raymond Methodist Church from the early 1950s a few days ago on Facebook.  She scanned them from Thelma Brown Jester’s photo collection.  People, especially Genevieve Compton Nash were able to name a bunch of them, but it was hard to follow with so many people.  So I added numbers and got mom to help fill in a few more blanks.  We still need lots of help filling in the blanks.

Reverend Krumnow in front of the congregation.

Rev Krummow at Raymond UMC Rev Krummow at Raymond UMC-2

2. Judy Litteral
3. Glenn Litteral
4. Mrs. Litteral
5. Darla Litteral
6. Elta Phenice
7. Orville Phenice
8. Paul Phenice
9. Grace Marshall?
12. Maria Dora Koll Compton
13. Anna Compton Jester?
14. Harry “Buck” Jester
16. Millie Derks Compton
17. Ruth Brown
18. Harold Brown
19. Nancy Jester?
20. Dickie Jester
21. Clifford Jester
23. Bobby Compton
24. Charles Litteral
25. Roy Talley
26. Earl Brown
27. Ora Brown
29. Genevieve Compton
30. Effie Whittington
31. Barbara Brown
37. Fred Bucklin
38. Louise Bucklin?
39. Dora Koll Bucklin
41. Bertha Koll Whittington
50. Rob Compton
51. Benny Krumnow
52. Lela Mae Jester
53. Claribel Brown
54. Marilyn Phenice
55. Loris Bucklin
56. Alma Bucklin
57. Betty Brown
58. Ada Mae Whittington
59. Yvonne Krumnow
60. Herman Talley
61. Earl Walker
62. Pearl Walker
63. Elsie Talley
68. Harvey Dell Marshall
69. Alfred Marshall
70. Lindy Marshall
71. Donald Marshall

A second picture taken the same day in front of the church where people used to gather after the service to visit friends and relatives.

Outside Raymond UMC Outside Raymond UMC-2

1. Louise Bucklin
2. Dora Koll Bucklin
3. Sally Marshall
4. Joe Tupper
5. Earl M. Brown
6. Herbert Bucklin
7. Lindy Marshall
8. Alfred Marshall
9. Harry “Buck” Jester
10. Lela Mae Jester
11. Betty Jo Koll
13. Claribel Brown

And a view of the old Parsonage, Fellowship Hall, and old Church.

Raymond UMC

I read on the Hathaway Blog that one of Reverend Krumnow’s hobbies was photography.  I wonder what kind of photos he took.  There must be lots of the congregation in his family albums. Since Rev. Krumnow was a photographer, he may have planned this shot. I wonder if they cleared out the center behind him hoping everyone would be in the shot. They did miss a few though. My grandpa, Herbert Bucklin is only visible in the outdoor shot.

Fellowship Hall Group Photo 1945

A group photo in front of the Raymond Methodist Church Fellowship Hall about 1945. Mom helped me ID these. Did she get them right? She reminded me that all these men were farmers. If not, they would have been in the war. Farmers provided essential services that the country couldn’t do without.


1. Alfred Marshall
2. Wesley Reeves
3. Clifford Jester
4. Jesse Whittington
5. Mary Adelle Brown Compton
6. Cecil Compton
7. Herman Talley
8. Roy Bucklin
9. Robert Compton
10. Effie Hetzel Bucklin
11. Herbert Bucklin
12. Dora Koll Bucklin
13. Bertha Koll Whittington
14. John Whittington
15. Grace Marshall

John R. Koll and Ada May Whittington

Mr. and Mrs. John KollAda May Whittington was the daughter of Thomas Whittington and Mobelia Bryant.  She was born on December 27, 1881, in Bayou Chicot, Louisiana.  She married John Rudolph Koll on April 4, 1908 when she was 26 years old.  She died on May 25, 1963, in Jennings, Louisiana, at the age of 81, shortly after their 55th wedding anniversary.

John Rudolph Koll was born on January 31, 1884, in Kiron, Iowa to Henry Frederick Koll and Anna Fredericka Wulf.  After leaving Iowa, the Koll family spent four years in Arkansas before moving to Jennings, Louisiana in 1900 when he was 16.  His father helped him and four of his brothers buy their own land.  A 1957 newspaper article says John operated a 620 acre farm, with 172 acres in rice and the rest in pasture for 250 head of cattle.  He served on the parish school board for 36 years and held the position of president.  He gave a silver dollar to every Hathaway High School graduate while he served on the school board.  He died on February 17, 1965, in Jennings, Louisiana, at the age of 81.  Both he and Ada are buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Jennings.

Mom says when he was at a grandkid’s birthday party, he would count the birthday candles in German.  He said he didn’t remember much German.  He was young when his grandparents died so I wonder if he just never had much exposure to the language.

In his later years, he would drive his tractor to his nearby children’s houses when he wanted to visit.

John and Ada had four daughters:
1. Bertha Mobelia Koll, born March 19, 1909 in Elton, LA
2. Dora Anna Koll, born October 14, 1911 in Elton, LA
3. Marie Gertrude Koll, born December 11, 1912 in Elton, LA
4. Esther Maria Koll, born April 27, 1920 in Elton, LA

I didn’t do as heavy research on these Kolls because I know many of you actually knew them and can probably tell me more than I could find online or in old newspaper articles.

John R. Koll on tractor  John and Ada Koll


Johann and Dorathea Kohl

John and Dora Kohl Cabinet CardOur first Koll ancestors in this country, Johann, Dorathea, and two children, arrived at the port of New Orleans on June 13, 1853 on the ship Johann Schmidt after sailing for 72 days. They had uprooted and traveled South from their home in Schleswig to set sail from Hamburg, Germany in the Holstein region.

Johann Rudolf Kohl (John Rudolph Koll) was born March 3, 1817 in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany (then Denmark). He died June 24, 1887 in Preston, Jackson County, Iowa.

Dorathea (Dora) Claudine Mohr was born December 25, 1819 in Kochendorf, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. She died on July 31, 1890 in Preston, Jackson County, Iowa and was buried August 2. Her death date is “Jun 31” on church records and her gravestone, but there aren’t 31 days in June.  Her burial date suggests July is probably correct.

They made the trip with daughters Anna age 8 (or 11) (1842-1925) and Maria (Mary) age 5 (1848-1934).  Their nine month old son, Christian, died during the voyage on May 28, 1853.

The passenger list of the ship says they intended to live in Iowa, his occupation was farmer, and they came from Sleswick (Schleswig).  John finalized the purchase of 40 acres of Iowa public land from the government in June 1854.

There were two other Kolls listed just below on the passenger list, maybe John Koll’s sister or sister-in-law: Anna Koll who was 20 and baby Dorothea who was under a year old. And there were several Mohrs including Dorathea’s mother, Frederica Juliane Thams that came with them.

The name recorded on the passenger list is Johann Koll and later as John Rudolph Koll on the land record.  His gravestone says Johann R. Koll.  Our family records say that his son Henry was the one to change the family name from Kohl to Koll as an adult.  Those records make me question that, but I have not seen his name in his own handwriting so it’s possible people just kept misspelling his name and it finally stuck in the next generation. John’s daughter Mary was still using Kohl when she got married in 1870.

In Iowa, they had three more children, Dora (1856-1941), Hans Karl (1856-1932), and Henry Fredrick (1861-1937). Dora moved to North Dakota with her husband Henry Brinkman. Anna, Mary, and Hans stayed in Iowa.  Henry Fredrick moved to Arkansas and later Jennings with his wife Anna Wulf.

The photo is a Cabinet Card style print with the mark A. Nott, Preston, Iowa. I found photographer Arthur Nott had a studio in Maquoketa, Jackson County, Iowa in the 1870s and 1880s. The features of the card also appear to be from the 1880s meaning they were probably both in their 60s when it was taken.


The variation in place names and countries when researching was confusing me so I had my brother John explain it:

To delve into their Danish (at the time) place of origin and why we and they considered it German we must run through the issues that plagued the people of the area and touched most of the Europe in the 19th Century.  Perhaps also giving some insight into possible reasons for their immigration, leaving a conflicted land with more war looming for the promise of America.

First off, their origin is currently in the German State of Schleswig-Holstein the northernmost state bordering Denmark.  The area has a long and varied history, comprising the majority of the Duchy of Holstein and the southern part of what was the Duchy of Schleswig (or Sleswick in old English translations).  Duchies are similar to Counties or Parishes within the later larger State.

But at the time of their departure, these same lands were under the sovereign rule of the Danish King.  For many centuries, the King of Denmark was both a Danish Duke of Schleswig and a Duke of Holstein within the Holy Roman Empire (the larger entity that ruled over Germany at the time).

Which brings us to the daunting Schleswig-Holstein Question which was the name given to the complex issues arising in the 19th century out of this odd regional situation.

With the abolition of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, Denmark claimed Holstein as part of their kingdom which was unpopular among the majority German population in Holstein and southern Schleswig. In the early steps of unification, Germans felt differently and also claimed the Duchy of Holstein within their new Prussian led German Confederation.

This unpopularity led to strong unification movements and gave a pretext for Prussia to declare war on Denmark in order to seize Schleswig and Holstein, by ‘liberating’ Germans from Danish rule.  Though due to alliances, this first 1848 attempt at the liberation ended in a status quo.

Due to unrelated wars, Denmark’s backing had eroded by 1860 and the conflict culminated in Prussia and Austria invading Schleswig on February 1, 1864.  After a short campaign, Denmark capitulated whereby Prussia and Austria took over Schleswig and Holstein respectively in October 30, 1864.

The following war between Prussia and Austria in 1866 unified the two duchies now both under Prussian rule along with most of Germany.  Finally, Germany was formed as a country after defeating France in yet another war, the Franco-Prussian War, on January 18th, 1871.

Presidential Relation

Uncle Ray Bucklin sent me this.  Ray is the one that got us into genealogical DNA testing.  Through 23andMe, he discovered our long lost 2nd cousin Van.  He wasn’t really that lost, we just didn’t know he was into genealogy and old photos too.  We have also discovered a bunch of other distant relatives and found some valuable information to build our family tree.

We are related to Barack Obama through Sir Thomas John Whittington born 1488 in Pauntley, Solers, Gloucestershire, England.  If you trace your family back far enough there is a good chance you can find a common ancestor somewhere.

Barack Obama is descended from Thomas John Whittington’s daughter Margaret Whittington Thockmorton.  We are descended from Thomas’ son Alexander Whittington on the Koll side.  We are also descended from Thomas’ daughter Jane through the Bucklins.

Louise and Ray are Barack Obama’s 15th cousins once removed through the Bucklins.  Joseph, John and Van are his 16th cousins.

Louise and Ray are Barack Obama’s double 13th cousins three times removed through the Kolls. Joseph and John are double 14th cousins twice removed.  We are descended twice from John Whittington 1698.  The question on the Whittington stuff is listing Edward as Grief’s father.  But the numbers work out whichever Whittington was his father in that generation.

Barack Obama is 18th on the list, so if Thomas John Whittington is 14 generations back for me, Louise and I are somewhere around being 14th cousins 3 times removed and Joseph and John are around 15th cousins 2 times removed.


Great Great Grandchildren
Great Great Great Grandchildren
President Barack H. Obama, Jr 1960
Great Great Grandchildren
Stanley Ann Dunham Obama 1942
Bucklin Children
Great Grandchildren
Stanley Armour Dunham 1918
Addie Hine 1876
Ruth Lucille Armour Dunham 1900
Susan Stanbrough Hine 1851
Koll Children
Gabrielia Clark Armour 1876
John Stanbrough 1820
Ada May Whittington 1881
Susan Overal Clark 1849
Evan Stanbrough 1790
Thomas Whittington 1857
George Washington Overal 1820
Solomon Stanbrough 1766
Elisha Whittington 1804
Anne Browning Overall 1780
Nehemiah Stanbrough 1736
Grief Whittington 1762
Susannah Hickman Browning 1745
Josiah Stanbrough 1685
Edward Whittington 1726
James Hickman ??
John Stanbrough 1665
John Whittington 1698
Edwin Hickman 1690
Sarah James Stanbrough 1648
Smart Whittington 1676
Martha Thacker Hickman 1667
Thomas James 1627
William Whittington 1649
Eltonhead Conway Thacker 1646
John Jones 1591
William Whittington 1616
Edwin Conway 1610
Elizabeth Jones Morgan 1572
John Whittington 1578
Dorothy Ann Tracy Conway 1563
Elizabeth Bodenham Morgan 1538
Richard Whittington 1541
Ann Throckmorton Tracy 1546
Jane Whittington Bodenham 1518
Alexander Whittington 1511
Margaret Whittington Throckmorton 1518
Thomas John Whttington 1488
Thomas John Whttington 1488
Thomas John Whttington 1488
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