December 12, 1963
By Belle Singletary
I did not hesitate to say "I will" when Evelyn asked me to serve as chairman of the Dry Creek area on Historical Research.
Fortunately, I have for a number of years been talking with older kinfolk, writing letters, copying family Bible records, looking through newspapers searching through documents, reading yellow clippings, etc. relative to an early settler of Dry Creek. I will begin Dry Creek history with this pioneer's arrival on Little Dry Creek 105 years ago. From the story of my great grandfather burkett Lindsey and his descendants and his neighbors and their descendants should come historical information for Beauregard Parish.
Yesterday, after casting my ballot in the gubatorial election, I truned my Corvair toward my Uncle Robert Lindsey's home. I drove past Frank Miller's pasture to my left, for a while. My thoughts were that I must before too long walk through it. I must return to the place of my birth, to the place where my mother Martha Lindsey (Mattie) played as a child and later made her home for years until her death, to the place where my Grandfather albert grew up. This is the place the same spot where Burkett Lindsey in 1859 built a home for his family in Calcasieu.
The greater part of the Burkett Lindsey estate is within Frank's pasture, including the Lindsey Cemetery. I'm glad the land is in family hands. Frank is a great-grandson of Burkett Lindsey.
Soon I was seated before an open fireplace warming myself and listening for three hours to tales of long ago Dry Creek. Uncle Rob, who was 76 on the 20th of November, is a good teller of tales. As he talked, he held and moved in his hand, from time to time, a stick. An unusual one. I learned that this was the 8-square walking stick that Burkett's son-in-law, Tolliver Martin had made of Bois d'arc called by my forbears "bodoc" or "bodark" wood, in his carpenter shop near Minden. He had given it to Greatgrandfather as a farewell gift when Burkett was leaving for Southwest Louisiana.
Burkett Lindsey, the son of Caleb Lindsey, was born near the "Lead Mines" of Kentucky in 1808. At an early age, he moved to Missouri with his parents and brother Eli. At 18 years of age (1826), he moved to Arkansas (Palaski County) where he hunted bears. (Dr Ras Miller, age 90, told me in a letter that his grandfather carried a scar on one of his hands where a bear had bitten him. The scar extended across the back of his hand. As Dr. Ras played checkers with him in the late 1800's he was greatly interested.)
Great Grandfather took up residence in Benton, Arkansas, where he married Harriet Williams, the daughter of Benjamin Williams and Sarah Battle of Mobile, Alabama. Several of their children were born in Arkansas.
He moved to Claiborne Parish, what is now Webster Parish, where his other children were born. There Jane married Tolliver Martin and Laura married Jim (JJW) Miller. Here Burkett built the courthouse at Homer.
In late 1858, Burkett's family left North Louisiana in an ox wagon, heading southwestward. After weeks of travel, they stopped at a house a few miles from Little Dry Creek for water and to inquire of land. The man of the house was William Green, whom he had known back north. Burkett had not known where William Green settled.
He learned that in this area of the wilderness of Calcasieu Parish were located a few families--- William Hanchey; "Doc" Williams; Thomas M. Williams, father of "Doc" Williams; Dempsey Iles; and a man named Clark. And those were the present Dry Creek - area settlers. That is until his son-in-law Jim Miller moved to Big Dry Creek months later. And until three or four other families moved in just before and during the civil War.
As Burkett's family moved on down toward Little Dry Creek, Greatgrandmother Harriett saw a clear water hole. She asked that they camp so she could rest and do the family wash.
Burkett looked around and liked what he saw. However, he pushed on to scouut the country for many miles around. He left at the encampment his family -- the wife and four sons and three daughters. The children were Asbury Monroe (18), James Albert McKindre (11), Mary Aurilla (13), and baby Louisiana Florence (1).
On the second day the scout returned. He told his family "This is the place". And here it was that he entered land.
NOTE: Other articles will tell of Burkett's big log house, of how they lived, of the first school at Dry Creek (1850), of Jay Hawders, of Burkett;s descensants -- lawyers, doctors, educators, and even a lieutenant governor of Louisiana. And of those other early settlers, before and during the War Between the States.