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94 yr. old recalls changes

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In its June 24, 1926 issue The Bossier Banner reprinted an article from the June 20th issue of The Shreveport Times in which a 94-year-old man took note of how the Shreveport area changed from 1896 to 1926. Mr. Jeremiah Bryant, about whom the story is written, moved to Ward Five in Bossier Parish about 1878, settling about three miles north of Durdin’s Ferry where he and his family resided for several years. “Mr. Bryant later lived near Bellevue and after that purchased a home some six miles east of Benton. Several members of his family are still residents of Bossier although Mr. Bryant finally moved to DeSoto Parish. Here is what The Times says:”

“Shreveport of today is vastly different from the struggling village that nestled in a bend of Red River thirty years ago, according to Jeremiah Bryant, 94 years old, Confederate veteran of Grand Cane, who states that he was a flag bearer at the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee and who visited his grandchildren, Mr. and Mrs. I. N. Pharis, 3001 Milton Street, last week.”

“This was Mr. Bryant’s first visit to Shreveport since 1896, although he formerly lived here, having settled at Bossier City in 1866. He was astonished at the great change in three decades. On an automobile trip around the city he was able to recognize only two landmarks, the court house square and an old house on the river front, which he said was here when he first came to the city in 1866.”

“Born in Malcomb, Ga., December 3, 1832, he went to Florida when he was a young man, married Miss Annie Manning at Jacksonville, in 1858, joined the Confederate Army at the outbreak of the Civil War, enlisting in the 2d Florida Regiment, under the command of Gen. A. O. Hill, he went through the war without a scratch, saw General Lee surrender his sword to General Grant at the Appomattox Court House at the close of the war, came to Louisiana in 1866 and has lived in the vicinity of Shreveport since that time.”

“Mr. Bryant stated that he came to Louisiana in a wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen, and settled where Bossier City now stands. Shreveport consisted at that time of Texas Street, which he says was the only street in the city, and a saloon that stood at the bank of Red River.”

“He lived to see steamboat navigation on Red River, as there was no river traffic when he landed in Louisiana, saw the first railroad come through Shreveport, saw the first telephone and telegraph wires strung, and before the advent of the railroad, hauled many a bale of cotton to the market in Shreveport by oxen and mules.”

“Mr. Bryant stated that his father was a veteran of the Mexican War, and that he had been paid off in ‘land warrants’ after the war.”

“’My grandchild says that we came up here to get a marriage license for me,’ was the remark that Mr. Bryant made. When told that if he wanted one, arrangements could be made to secure it for him, he remarked ‘have to see the gal first.’”

To find out more about how the Shreveport/Bossier area changed through the years, visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.

 

 

Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us