January 23, 1964
By Belle Singletary
Burkett Lindsey, shortly after entering land on Little Dry Creek, built a large log house in the year 1859. Uncle Rob Lindsey told me that it was a double pen log house with two rooms twenty feet square, one on each side of a twelve foot-wide open hall. There were two smaller rooms joining the two large rooms.
The logs were hewed hand the floors were of split boards. Big chimneys of daubed mud were made for each of the twenty foot rooms.
A log kitchen was set off and back of the main house. Here was another chimney where Great-grandmother Harriett and the girls cooked over an open fireplace in huge heavy pots.
Winfrey Lindsey (80 last March), son of Asbury Monroe, of DeRidder, told me a few days ago that his Grandfather Burkett’s house was impressive and easily the largest structure in this whole area. It was well built, for Great-grandfather was a mechanic and a builder by trade. He had built a courthouse in Arkansas and, later, he had built the courthouse at Homer, Louisiana.
One of the first business transactions Great-grandfather Burkett made in Dry Creek was with Mr. Clark, who lived just across Little Dry Creek on land adjoining his claim. It seemed that Mr. Clark had had enough of living in the wilderness. He sold or traded (I wish I knew this part of the story) his entire claim—land, small buildings, field or two, as well as a pen of many hogs to Great-grandfather Burkett.
The Lindsey family, from the first, lived on wild game—turkeys, squirrels, deer, etc. They had brought with them barrels of staples—flour, meal, coffee,sugar.
When spring came Burkett began to plant. This was made easy for Clark had left small patches already cleared and fenced with rails. In time he became a planter of cane, cotton, and potatoes. He was the first man west of Bundicks to own sheep. When he had 50 head of sheep, five of them were white and forty-five of them were black. They were called the “black bunch”. Every night the sheep were penned in a siz-foot-high picket fence enclosure to keep the wolves from them.
My Great-aunts, Adeline (who married John Thomas Heard at the age of 26 in the ear 1866) and Mary, carded the wool and cotton and helped Great-grandmother Harriett at the spinning wheel and loom. Most of the garment the family wore before, during, and for a time after the Civil War were hand made (one might say hand grown) from the wool or cotton crop.
As Great-grandfather and his sons Monroe and Albert sawed logs and split or hewed them for the house, as they built, as they began to put in patches of foodstuffs across Little Dry Creek, he dreamed dreams. He dreamed of building a school for his children and for all the neighbors’ children.
Another article is being written to tell ou of this school, the first school built at Dry Creek. For lagniappe, I’ll talk about two or three other schools built later—in the 1880’s and 1890’s.