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Bienville Parish, Louisiana

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Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.

Official Website


In the 1830s, Ruben Drake moved his family from South Carolina to what he named Mount Lebanon, the first permanent settlement in the parish. As the Drakes were devout Baptists, they established a church and school, which evolved into Mount Lebanon University, the forerunner of Louisiana College in Pineville in Rapides Parish in Central Louisiana.

On March 14, 1848, the Louisiana State Legislature created Bienville Parish from the lower portion of Claiborne Parish. Bienville Parish was named in honor of the French Canadian explorer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, who was governor of French Louisiana for a total of thirty years.

The original parish seat was Sparta, a defunct community located between Bienville and Ringgold. All that remains of Sparta are two cemeteries. Among the early settlers of Sparta were the brothers Green and James Huckaby, ancestors of later U.S. Representative Jerry Huckaby of Louisiana's 5th congressional district. The courthouse was moved to Arcadia in 1893.

During the American Civil War, Bienville Parish was strongly Confederate but was spared fighting in its immediate area. Instead parish residents participated in the building of fortifications on the nearby Red River. Much of this work was done by slaves hired out by planters.

In 1864, Gov. Henry Watkins Allen named Dr. Bartholomew Egan of Bienville Parish to establish a laboratory for the manufacture of medicines. Egan bought out the former Mount Lebanon Female Academy and nearly a hundred acres of land to turn out turpentine and medicinal whisky. He also produced castor oil (The Bienville Parish community of Castor, established in 1900 is named for castor oil.) and a quantity of opium. Winters explains that the "native wild white poppy produced an opium equal in strength and effectiveness to the imported product."

The notorious bandits Bonnie and Clyde were shot dead in Bienville Parish on May 23, 1934. The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland contains memorabilia about the killing. It was operated by Linton Hinton up until his death in 2016, the son of Ted Hinton, one of the officers involved in the ambush.

Adjacent Parishes

Towns, Villages & Communities

  • Arcadia (Parish Seat)
  • Bienville
  • Brown
  • Bryceland
  • Castor
  • Fryeburg (formerly Hope)
  • Gibsland
  • Jamestown
  • Lucky
  • Mount Lebanon
  • Pine Grove
  • Pleasant Hill
  • Ringgold
  • Roy
  • Saline
  • Sparta
  • Taylor



Roots Web

Genealogy Trails

The Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum

National Register of Historic Places

Louisiana Genealogy & History Network

USGW Archives