Visions of Vernon: Vernon Parish’s Founding Families, Killen – Lane

Published 12:28 pm Friday, August 27, 2021

James and Laura Nash Killen

Benjamin Franklin Killen

Emma Lecroyx Killian

Killen – The founding father of the Killen family in Vernon Parish was Benjamin Franklin Killen (MS/TN 1808 – LA 1879/1880). He was the son of William (IRL 1775 – MS 1834) and Nancy Miller (MD 1760 – GA 1832) Killen. Benjamin married twice to Penelope Rogers (1820 – 1860) in South Carolina in 1838 and Levicia Huff. Benjamin moved to Louisiana between 1866 and 1868 and settled in Mora in Natchitoches Parish. In the 1870s he moved to Vernon Parish then back to Natchitoches Parish by 1880 where he died, burial unknown.

Benjamin didn’t homestead land in Vernon Parish, but son James Madison Killen (MS 1855 – LA 1938) did. James married Laura Nash (LA 1859 – LA 1939) in 1879. He moved often from Mississippi (1860) to Natchitoches Parish (1870) to Sabine Parish (1880) to Vernon Parish (1900) to Calcasieu Parish (1910), to Allen Parish (1920, 1930) to Caddo Parish where he died in 1838. While in Vernon Parish James lived in Ward Two and served as Hawthorn’s postmaster in 1899. He lived on forty acres on present day Paul Sowells Road which he claimed in 1903. James is buried in Mt. Gilead Cemetery in Vivian with wife Laura.

Killett – The Killett family was headed by John Washington D. Killett (AL/GA 1840 – LA 1895). He was the son of John (1783 – 1874) and Elizabeth Edwards (1802 – 1874) Killett. John married Viania Martin (LA 1855 – LA 1915) in Gandy, Sabine Parish in 1868. John lived in Ward Two of Vernon Parish as a farmer. He died in 1895, burial unknown.

John did not homestead any land but his son William Washington Killett (LA 1869 – LA 1948) did. There’s no record William married. Over the years he lived as a boarder with the McInnis and Weathers families. He claimed 160 acres in 1902 on Bell Branch on LA HWY 117. William died in 1948 and is buried in Mitchell Cemetery in Anacoco with his parents.

Killian – Michael James Killian, Sr. (GA 1835 – OK 1910) was the founding father of the Killian family in West-Central Louisiana. He was the son of Henry (NC 1804 – AL 1891) and Mary Alford (TN 1813 – AL 1880) Killian. He married Emmaline “Emma” Lecroyx (LA 1840 – AR 1900) in 1867 in Rapides Parish. Michael came to Louisiana from Georgia through Alabama arriving between 1855 and 1864. In the Civil War he served in Co. G, 2nd LA Cav. Regt. (USA). From Louisiana he moved to Texas then to Arkansas then to Oklahoma where he died in Millerton in 1910.

Michael, Sr. did not homestead any land in Louisiana but his son Michael, Jr. (LA 1870 – LA 1944) did. Michael, Jr. was the husband of Florence Cox (LA 1885 – LA 1920) who he married in Catahoula Parish in 1899. He moved often as a laborer, farmer, and saw foreman living in Arkansas, Ward Four of Vernon Parish, Rapides Parish, and Sabine Parish. He claimed two lots on the Sabine River in 1919 in T1SR12W, Sec. 14. Mike and wife Florence are buried in Cooper Cemetery in Pickering.

Kirk – The founding father of the Kirk family in Vernon Parish was John Isiah Kirk (NY 1812 – LA 1892). He was the son of John (NY 1789 – NY 1846) and Jane Irwin (NY 1788 – NY 1874) Kirk. Isiah married Jane Smart (MS 1820 – LA 1917) in Marion County, Mississippi in 1844. He came to present day Vernon Parish between 1846 and 1849. In 1860 he purchased five parcels containing 320 acres for $400.00 on East Anacoco Creek under present day US Hwy. 171, where Lake Vernon is today. He constructed Kirk’s Mill, which was a sawmill, gristmill, and cotton gin. Isaiah’s occupations were carpenter in 1850, merchant in 1860, and miller in 1880. In 1860 he owned six slaves and a real estate worth was $3,800.00, which would be $123,246.00 in 2021.

Isaiah was a business and political leader. He owned and operated one of the largest Antebellum mills in Vernon Parish. In 1860 he was a merchant. From 1871 to 1874 he served as bondsman and sheriff of Vernon Parish. From 1875 to 1899 he served as Anacoco’s postmaster. From 1882 to 1886 he served as state representative.

Isaiah died in 1892. He is buried in Old Anacoco Cemetery. Jane died in 1917 and is buried in Provencal Cemetery in Natchitoches Parish.

Kilpatrick – The founding father of the Kirkpatrick name in Vernon Parish was Samuel Alexander Kirkpatrick (NC 1818 – LA 1895). He was the son of John Dodd (NC 1796 – AL 1891) and Elizabeth Callen (NC 1796 – AL 1860) Kirkpatrick. Samuel married Sarah E. Davis in 1839 in Dallas, Alabama. Samuel moved to present day Vernon Parish from North Carolina stopping in Alabama and Union Parish, Louisiana. He arrived before 1860. In all enumerations Samuel was a farmer.

Samuel did not homestead any land but sons Alexander Marvin (AL 1840 – LA 1898) and William Pinkney (LA 1860 – TX 1951) did. Alexander claimed 160 acres in 1894 at the intersection of present day LA HWYS 28 and 465. William claimed forty acres in 1900 on Slagle Loop.

Samuel is buried in Holton Cemetery in Slagle with wife Sarah. Alexander is buried in Pine Island Cemetery in Simpson with wife Mary. William’s burial in Jasper County, Texas is unknown.

Knapp – Vernon Parish’s Knapp family came from Kentucky. The founding father was Cary Knapp (KY 1799 – LA 1880). His father was Artemus (KY 1775 – MS Unk.) Knapp. Marriage records disagree. He married Lucy in 1815 in Amite County or 1820 in Lawrence County, both

records in Mississippi. He moved to present day Vernon Parish between 1853 and 1859. In all enumerations Cary was a farmer. Cary’s burial in Vernon Parish is unknown.

Cary’s grandson, James W. Knapp (LA 1859 – LA 1951) was the only Knapp homesteader. He claimed 160 acres in 1899 on Wyatt Creek south of Lions Camp Road.

Cary’s and Lucy’s burials are unknown. James’ burial is unknown also.

Knight – The Knight surname claimed 23 parcels containing 1,320 acres in Knight, Hicks, Evans, Cypress Creek, and Cottonwood from 1860 to 1908.

There are two seemingly unrelated Knight families in Vernon Parish, one in Ward Six and one in Ward Three.

Robert Washington Knight (NC 1791 – LA 1877) was the founding father of Ward Six’s Knight family. He was the son of Robert (NC 1761 – GA 1805) and Bethany Merritt (NC 1748 – GA 1841) Knight. He married Mary Mosely (1798 – 1850) in Jefferson County, Georgia in 1811. Robert moved to present day Vernon Parish from Georgia through Florida arriving between 1850 and 1877. He is buried in Ebenezer Cemetery in Hicks with 21 other Knight burials. Mary’s burial is unknown.

The Ward Three Knight family was headed by Thomas Spier Knight (GA 1830 – LA 1901). He was the son of John (SC 1782 – FL 1844) and Nancy Cary (GA 1795 – LA 1869) Knight. Thomas married Parezady Turner (GA 1829 – LA 1882) in Holmes County, Florida in 1852. He came to present day Vernon Parish from Georgia through Florida arriving between 1856 and 1858. In all enumerations he was a farmer. In 1860 he was listed as a Rapides Parish slave owner with two slaves. In the Civil War he served in Co. K, 6th LA Cav. Regt, also called Martin’s Scouts. After the Civil War in 1882 and 1885 Thomas homesteaded 280 acres in Knight and forty acres in Cottonwood. In 1885 he married a second time to Ultima Marie

Ardoin (LA 1862 – TX 1915) in Leesville. From 1891 to 1899 he served in Rosebud as a postmaster, a community more commonly known as Knight. Thomas died in 1901 and is buried in Hinson Cemetery with first wife Parezady. His second wife Mary is buried in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.

Koonce – James Philip Koonce (LA 1822 – LA 1902) was the founding father of the Koonce family in Vernon Parish. He was the son of Christopher (NC 1778 – LA 1844) and Mary Brinson (TN 1785 – LA 1825) Koonce of Bienville Parish. He married Mary Drinkard (AL 1823 – LA 1893) in Bienville Parish in 1845. James came to Rapides Parish in the late 1850s. He purchased 320 acres for $400.00 in 1860 at the confluence of Sandy and Koonce Creeks and built one of the largest water-powered mills in the area. In 1870 James’ worth was $10,006.00 which would be $209,900.00 in 2021. In 1871 he served as parish bondsman and in 1877 as parish treasurer in the formation of Vernon Parish’s government. James died in 1902 and is buried in Beech Grove Cemetery in Burr Ferry with wife Mary and daughter Sarah.

James’ brother, Rev. James Carroll Koonce (TN 1815 – TX 1889) moved to present day Vernon Parish from Nacogdoches, Texas for a short time. Rev. Koonce taught school at Laurel Hill in 1876 and moved back to Texas to Shelby County where he died in 1889. He is buried in White Rock Cemetery in Shelby County with wife Susan and 36 other Koonce burials.

Lacaze – Even though the Lacaze surname is one of the oldest in West-Central Louisiana going back to 1765, the surname was late in homesteading land. The surname claimed twelve parcels of land in Vernon Parish from 1884 to 1902 containing 960 acres in Pitkin’s and Pinewood’s townships.

The Lacaze surname has an interesting history from France to Canada to Illinois to St. Landry Parish to Natchitoches Parish to Vernon Parish. Charles Lacasse (CAN 1736 – LA 1814) was

came to the area from Canada through Illinois in about 1765. He was the son of Charles (CAN 1682 – CAN 1749) and Marie Fiteau (CAN 1705 – CAN 1787) Lacaze from Canada. Charles married Felicia Langlois in Illinois in 1761. He lived in St. Landry Parish, which was created from Opelousas Parish in 1805 and included part of present day Vernon Parish.

The Lacaze surname eventually moved into Vernon Parish. Great grandson of Charles, Phillip (LA 1832 – LA 1901) moved into the Pitkin community from St. Landry Parish. Great, great grandson of Charles, Louis (LA 1859 – LA 1938) moved into the Pitkin community from Natchitoches Parish. Both are buried in Blue Branch Cemetery with 58 other Lacaze burials.

Lamberth – Paris Childress “P.C.” Lamberth (LA 1828 – LA 1923) was the founding father of the Lamberth family in Vernon Parish. He was the son of James H. (SC 1803 – LA 1862) and Harriet Dykes (GA 1804 – LA 1869) Lamberth from St. Helena Parish. PC married Elizabeth Waller (LA 1838 – LA 1872) in 1859 in St. Helena Parish. In 1860 he lived in St. Landry Parish as a planter, in 1870 in Sabine Parish, and in 1880 in Vernon Parish. In 1860 PC reported a worth of $7,000.00 which would be $227,032.00 today. In 1884 he homesteaded 160 acres on present day LA HWY 8 on Pine Hill Church Road. In all enumerations he was a farmer. PC died in 1923 in Washington Parish. He is buried in Lamberth Family Cemetery on SPW Road with his wife Elizabeth and son Oliver (LA 1860 – LA 1894).

Lane – James T. Lane (IN 1844 – LA 1923) was the only Lane land claimer in Vernon Parish. He was born in Indiana in 1844 to unknown parents. He married Mary M. Eaves (LA 1860 – LA 1957) in Vernon Parish in 1888. He has no record from his birth in 1844 to his marriage in 1888. In 1900, 1910, and 1920 James was enumerated as a farmer in Ward Three of Vernon Parish. In 1897 and 1905 James homesteaded 120 acres on Elzi Jones Road on present day Clear Creek WMA. James and Mary are buried in Plunkaway Cemetery in Burr Ferry.

This article originally appeared on Leesville Daily Leader: Visions of Vernon: Vernon Parish’s Founding Families, Killen – Lane