Rupert Peyton continued the story of how Mrs. Mollie Banks Curry Gray provided for her family in his Plain Dealing Progress article of April 11, 1947. After her husband’s death in 1892 she and her family moved to Plain Dealing.
“To earn a livelihood for herself and family, Mrs. Curry bought the lumber salvaged in the dismantling of two old churches and had a carpenter build her a modest combination home and boarding house. This little boarding house soon became famous. School teachers made it their home during terms and traveling men found it a haven of rest and good eating in their travels. Mrs. Curry’s chicken dinners became the talk of the ‘drummers’ of the day and fortunate was the salesman who could arrange his affairs so as to stop at Mrs. Curry’s hotel while calling on their trade in the nearby territory. With the income from the hotel she was able to pay off the mortgage.”
“After Mrs. Curry remained a widow 16 years, she married J. S. Gray, a merchant of Plain Dealing, now deceased. However, she continued to operate the hotel, and its fame increased. Among the former patrons of this hotel who are living in Shreveport and who enjoyed the sumptuous repasts it afforded are George Hearne, Walter Crowder and Henry O’Neal.”
“Mrs. Gray’s interest in civic and social affairs widened with the passing years and has never subsided. She is diligent and faithful in church work and is the friend and confidante of hundreds of people, young and old. Many young people still find her home a mecca of pleasant pastime. She is a member of Pelican Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.”
“Mrs. Gray takes great interest in current events and newspapers. Nothing occurs in her community that she misses. It was this interest that resulted in her becoming a newspaper correspondent, serving many years for the Journal as the Plain Dealing representative. It is proverbial among the members of the press that ‘if a chicken crosses the road in Plain Dealing, Miss Mollie will know about it.’”
“She has written many Negro dialect stories which have been published under the title of ‘Sis Mandy.’”
“If you do not know Miss Mollie you may go to the Curry home Sunday afternoon. The woman with the broadest smile, happiest look and cheeriest conversation will be Miss Mollie.”
“Belated, I want to thank this grand old lady for retrieving my cap long, long ago.”
Mollie Banks Gray Curry died in 1958 at the age of 96.
Visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center to find out about other interesting Bossier Parish personalities.
Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org