Early Businesses in Catahoula Parish
This is from DeBow's Review Vol 12 ca 1852 --- Historical and Statistical Collections of Louisiana, Parish of Catahoula.
Rezin Bowie, Jim Bowie's brother, put up a whiskey-distillery on the Bayou Bushby in 1803, and made several barrels of whiskey every year for some time. After cotton began to attract attention, he quit the still and raised cotton.
The first saw gin and gin house in the a parish was put up for John Henry, on what is now know as the Troy place, at the mouth of Little River, about four hundred yards up from the junction of the two rivers. The exact date of it's building cannot be ascertained, but it was 1804 or 1805.
The first water sawmill in the parish was built on Hemphill's Creek, in 1806, for Matthew Stone, by James Brownlee. It was about 5 miles from the bay where Capt. G Spencer's sawmill now stands.
The next gin was put up for Edward Lovelace on Sicily Island, at the head of Lake Looah, in 1807. He and his brother got out the house timbers and did most of the work in framing, covering, etc. They were nearly two years building the house and getting the machinery completed. Shadrach Taylor made the running gear and the woodwork of the gin-stand; while James Wright made the saws and all the ironwork. This gin stood for many years, cotton being taken to it from Catahoula and Breuff praries by boats, as late as 1835.
The next gin was put up where Spencer's mill now is, by Brownlee, Elias Carter and John Clarke, for themselves, in 1808-9. They accidentally found the situation one Sunday evening, and soon bought the land around there from Edward Bullen, without intimating their designs to him, or any one. They went to work under many disadvantages, and soon raised the mill, and set it going.
Lacey, and Henry Gutherie, and Charles Craig, were "hatters" here from 1810 down to 1820. If a person would furnish either of them with 16 fox-skins, or the same number of raccoon-skins, they would make a hat, which would last, with constant wearing, for ten years.
Joseph R Carter had a "tan-yard" in Catahoula prairie as early as 1812.
James Stokes built a gin in the town of Harrisonburg in 1813, which was burnt down by an incendiary in 1819.
Jacob Lanius had a “tan-yard” in 1816, near Harrisonburg.
Zacharias Taliaferro built a large double mill on Gray's Creek, in 1816-17.
The first gin on Little River, after Henry’s at Troy Place, was put up for Dr John McBride Thompson, in 1834, by McClennon and Cornwall; the running gear was made by Peter Row.
The first gin put up on Black River, in this parish, was for P D Mason, in 1837, by Ferrill and McCamish; Peter Row made the running gear. The house is still standing on the place now owned by J Metcalf, four miles below Trinity.
The first "steam-engine" was put up on Black River in 1839, by R C Martin and Henry Shriver. This mill, or the machinery, was moved in 1849 into a large house in Trinity, so as to be in a more central place. It is now owned by H Shriver and John M Phillips.
Moses McDaniel and Joseph Francis established their tannery here in 1844, and still carry on their business.