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History: Mystery of the stolen election ballot boxes

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It appears that “Uncle Monch,” whose story of 2 Confederate brothers was related in last week’s column, frequently dropped by the office of the Bossier Banner to share his stories. The April 23, 1931 issue of the paper ran the following story.

“Mr. W. M. ‘Uncle Monch’ Morrow while a visitor at the Banner office some days ago related a most interesting story of the stormy times just after the War Between the States. As promised in last week’s Banner, the story is printed here:”

“’Uncle Monch’ says that about 1866, or possibly a year later, things were red hot in Webster Parish, where he then made his home. The Republicans were in power and the Carpetbaggers’ ‘goose was hanging high.’”

“The Democrats, or old-line Southerners, were doing everything possible to wrest control of the local government from the intruders, but had seemed to get nowhere at the polls.”

“During the night, after the election had been held that day, ‘Uncle Monch’ says that he and several others learned that the commissioners who were bringing the Ward Five boxes in to Minden, where the votes were to be tabulated, were passing the night at one of his uncles’ home, Mr. Ed Kennon, grandfather of Robert F. Kennon, present District Attorney of the Bossier-Webster District.”

“After learning this ‘Uncle Monch’ was delegated to slip the boxes out of the house, and to substitute two others, which had already been fixed, or stuffed. In carrying out the plan he appeared at the back door of his uncle’s home and [called ‘Mister Ed.’] The uncle came out and conferred with him, informing him that the commissioners had already retired, and that they had the ballot boxes under their beds.”

“After waiting a while for the commissioners to get to sleep, ‘Uncle Monch’ says that he crawled under the bed, where he replaced the original boxes with the ones prepared for the occasion, and then slipped away.”

“These two boxes turned the tide of victory in favor of the Democrats, and they regained control of the parish government.”

While it is hard to imagine that ballot boxes were actually stolen, historical documents can provide us with some evidence that such things might have actually taken place in Bossier Parish, as well as in Webster Parish. Visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center to discover reputable accounts as well as some that may not be so reputable.

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