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Claiborne Parish, Louisiana
Parish of Claiborne
The Claiborne Parish Courthouse was built in 1860 in Greek style. It served as a point of departure for Confederate troops.
The Claiborne Parish Courthouse was built in 1860 in Greek style. It served as a point of departure for Confederate troops.
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Location within the U.S. state of Louisiana
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
Louisiana's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Louisiana
Region North Louisiana
Founded March 15, 1828
Named for William C. C. Claiborne
Parish seat Homer
Largest municipality Lisbon (area)
Homer (population)
Area
 • Total 1,990 km2 (767 sq mi)
 • Land 1,960 km2 (755 sq mi)
 • Water 30 km2 (13 sq mi)
 • percentage 4 km2 (1.6 sq mi)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 17,195
 • Estimate 
(2018)
15,944
 • Density 8.656/km2 (22.419/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Area code 318
Congressional district 4th

Claiborne Parish (French: Paroisse de Claiborne) is a parish located in the northwestern section of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The parish was formed in 1828, and was named for the first Louisiana governor, William C. C. Claiborne. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,195. The parish seat is Homer.

History

John Murrell moved his family from Arkansas to the Flat Lick Bayou area about 6 miles west of present-day Homer in 1818, and they became the first known non-natives to permanently settle in Claiborne Parish. As more settlers moved into the area, the Murrell house served as a church, school and post office. When the state legislature created Claiborne Parish out of Natchitoches Parish in 1828, all governmental business, including court, began being held in the Murrell house. This continued until the new parish's police jury selected Russellville (now a ghost town located northeast of Athens) as the parish seat. As the population began swelling in what was then the western part of the parish, the seat was moved to Overton (another modern ghost town found near Minden) in 1836, because of its position at the head of the navigable portion of Dorcheat Bayou. Due to flooding and health concerns, the parish seat was moved to Athens in 1846, but in 1848 fire destroyed the courthouse and all the records in it. Soon thereafter the Claiborne Police Jury chose the present site for the parish seat, which came to be named, Homer.

John Ardis Cawthon of Louisiana Tech University studied several Claiborne Parish ghost towns in his book of local history, Ghost Towns of Old Claiborne. He recalls the words of a relative, George Washington Dance, "When the courthouse moved, the glory departed. The village is now an old worn-out field."

Much of the area history is preserved in the Herbert S. Ford Memorial Museum, located across from the parish courthouse in Homer.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the parish has a total area of 767 square miles (1,990 km2), of which 755 square miles (1,960 km2) is land and 13 square miles (34 km2) (1.6%) is water.

Major highways

  • I-69.svg Future Interstate 69
  • US 79.svg U.S. Highway 79
  • US 167.svg U.S. Highway 167
  • Louisiana 2.svg Louisiana Highway 2
  • Louisiana 9.svg Louisiana Highway 9

Adjacent parishes

National protected area

  • Kisatchie National Forest (part)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1830 1,764
1840 6,185 250.6%
1850 7,471 20.8%
1860 16,848 125.5%
1870 20,240 20.1%
1880 18,837 −6.9%
1890 23,312 23.8%
1900 23,029 −1.2%
1910 25,050 8.8%
1920 27,885 11.3%
1930 32,285 15.8%
1940 29,855 −7.5%
1950 25,063 −16.1%
1960 19,407 −22.6%
1970 17,024 −12.3%
1980 17,095 0.4%
1990 17,405 1.8%
2000 16,851 −3.2%
2010 17,195 2.0%
2018 (est.) 15,944 −7.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Claiborne Parish racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 7,064 49.85%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 6,138 43.32%
Native American 43 0.3%
Asian 42 0.3%
Other/Mixed 404 2.85%
Hispanic or Latino 479 3.38%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 14,170 people, 5,917 households, and 3,718 families residing in the parish.

Communities

Map of Claiborne Parish Louisiana With Municipal Labels

Towns

Villages

Unincorporated communities

Gallery

Education

Claiborne Parish School Board serves the parish.

Claiborne Academy is a private institution in an unincorporated area in the parish, near Haynesville.

Notable people

Prominent Claiborne Parish residents include or have included:

  • Alfred Goodwill, landowner in Claiborne Parish who in 1880 established the largest general store in Louisiana in Minden in Webster Parish
  • T. H. Harris, pioneer educator and state education superintendent from 1908 to 1940, was born in the Arizona community in Claiborne Parish in 1869, the son of a Baptist minister. Another Claiborne Parish educator, John Sparks Patton, once ran against Harris for education superintendent and himself served on the Louisiana Public Service Commission until he was unseated in 1942 by Jimmie Davis. Patton is remembered for his crusade to establish taxpayer-funded school textbooks.
  • Andrew R. Johnson was a state senator from Claiborne and Bienville parishes from 1916 to 1924. He was previously the mayor of Homer and introduced electric lights and water works to the community.
  • John Sidney Killen, state representative for Claiborne Parish in 1871; placed in Webster Parish with its creation from Claiborne Parish, had farm and cattle operation north of Minden
  • Joe LeSage, state senator for Caddo Parish from 1968 to 1972; Shreveport attorney born in Homer
  • George H. Mahon, Former U.S. Representative
  • James T. McCalman, state senator from Claiborne and Bienville parishes from 1960 to 1964.
  • Enos C. McClendon, Jr., judge of the Louisiana 26th Judicial District Court based in Minden; Homer native.
  • Danny Roy Moore of Homer and later Arcadia in Bienville Parish is a former member of the Louisiana State Senate, with service from 1964 to 1968.
  • Dave L. Pearce, Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry from 1952-1956 and 1960-1976, was born in Claiborne Parish in 1904 but later served in the state legislature from West Carroll Parish.
  • Richard Stalder, former secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, is a former warden at David Wade Correctional Center in Homer.
  • David Wade, Lieutenant General of the United States Air Force, former commander of Barksdale Air Force Base, state corrections director and adjutant general, was reared in the Holly Springs community of Claiborne Parish.
  • Loy F. Weaver, a retired banker who served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1976 to 1984.
  • Mule Watson, pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1918–24, was born in Arizona, Louisiana in Claiborne Parish.
  • Pinkie C. Wilkerson represented Claiborne Parish in the state House from 1992, having defeated Kenneth Volentine in the 1991 general election. She served until her death in a six-vehicle accident in Bossier City on August 1, 2000. Volentine was subsequently elected sheriff in 1995 and 1999.

Frederick Douglass "Fred" Lewis, resident of Lisbon, was one of the first three African-Americans elected to serve on the Claiborne Parish School Board. He was the president of the civil rights organization known as the Claiborne Parish Civic League from 1965-1973. Lewis led the organization in filing a 1972 lawsuit that improved the lives of African-Americans in Claiborne Parish. Mr. Lewis's contributions helped the Friendship CME Church of Lisbon to be listed on May 31, 2016 in the National Register of Historic Places.

Frederick "Fred" Kirkpatrick was from Haynesville. He made an impact in the United States as an athlete, educator, civil rights activist, minister, and folksinger during the 1960s and 1970s. Most notably, Rev. Kirkpatrick was co-founder of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. The Deacons protected prominent civil rights activists when they visited the South, and they protected black families during the 1960s era of cross burnings and harassment. Fred Kirkpatrick received his Bachelor's Degree from Grambling State University where he also played football.

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