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History: 1861 editor of the Bossier Banner

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It was the habit of the editor of the Bossier Banner in the 1920s to feature a column called “Sixty Years Ago.”  In the January 20, 1921 issue of the paper there appeared the following within that column:

“In a signed statement run immediately under the masthead of the paper the late editor of the Banner said: ‘During my absence from the parish my brother, J.M. Scanland, will attend to all business connected with the office.’” This notice would have originally appeared in the January 18, 1861 issue of the Banner.

The Banner’s 1920 editor offered the following explanation: “For some reason the above notice only appeared in three issues of the Banner.  Without further examining the Banner’s files to verify our statements, will say that we think the younger brother of the two soon himself felt the call of his country and joined the Confederate colors.  Anyway, he was among the first volunteers to leave the parish for the front.  Soon following the date above written, the elder brother was in New Orleans as a member of the military company known as the ‘Bossier Boys.’  In that city the company was disorganized and he joined the Bossier Cavalry, perhaps returning home to do so, but we think he was not again actively engaged in the publication of the Banner until after the close of the Confederate War.”

Two weeks later in the February 3, 1921 issue the Banner printed the following: “The following short communication from Mr. J.M. Scanland now a resident of Los Angeles, Calif., came to hand last night.  Following out his suggestion it is published in order to make the record clear.  Also we trust his Bossier Parish friends of the 60s will be pleased to again hear from him.  He says:”

“Dear Abney: In the ‘Sixty Years Ago’ published in the Banner of the 20th instant the paragraph in reference to my brother and myself is not quite clear.  This will explain it:’

‘The Secession Convention met during January, 1861.  Brother went to Baton Rouge to see the state go out.  He left e in charge of the office, as per notice quoted in the article.  He was absent about three weeks when he returned and, of course, resumed charge of his paper.  That is why my name appeared in only three issues.’

‘On the 18th of April, 1861 I joined the Shreveport Grays and we left New Orleans for Florida, and thence Virginia.  Brother joined the Bossier Boys.  The company, owing to a misunderstanding with the civil authorities, disbanded at New Orleans.  Later brother joined the Bossier Cavalry.  He did not return home until the surrender of the Confederate forces.  The Banner had been suspended.’

‘During the war one Dr. Drury Lacy, publisher of the Caddo Gazette, at Shreveport, on learning that there was some print paper and ink in the Banner office, asked the valiant Kirby Smith, commander of the Department, to impress, or, rather, confiscate the paper and ink, which was done.  Lacy promised to return an equal quantity at the end of the war, which was not done.  I know that when brother returned after the surrender, to resume publication, that there was not a sheet of print paper nor a pound of ink in the office.  Nor did Lacy offer to accommodate the Banner with paper and ink.  Enough for a few issues was obtained from the Shreveport South-Western, published by Wm. Dillard.’

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