“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Gilliam in Caddo Parish, Louisiana — The American South (West South Central)

Gilliam Louisiana

Gilliam Louisiana Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Armstrong, March 13, 2021
1. Gilliam Louisiana Marker
Inscription.  The village is named for R.L. "Bob” Gilliam who owned property from which he donated right-of-way for the T.S. & N. Railroad which ran from Texarkana to Shreveport. The understanding was that the railroad would establish a depot on the banks of Red Bayou and name it Gilliam, which they did in the late 1890s. Trains continued to operate on the line until the 1960s. Cotton was the main-stay of the economy for the area. Contributing to the development of the town was a period of oil-related activity nearby after the discovery of oil in northwestern Caddo Parish in 1904. An article published in the Shreveport Times on November 8, 1898, described "Caddo's New Town” as having a post office, competent physician, drug store, public gin, and mercantile store, as well as a brick-making industry. In 1902, Red River was very high and the Red River levee broke at the Thompson place some few miles northeast of Gilliam flooding the area, including the town of Gilliam. A cyclone hit Gilliam in 1908, destroying all homes except the Noel's. About 40 people were killed and 140 were sent to hospitals. The T.S. & N. Railroad loaned box cars for the people of Gilliam
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to store their belongings until homes were rebuilt. Also, the railroad provided a tank of fresh water until other means were restored.

Will Adger, Sr. opened a general mercantile store in 1916. In 1939, W.E. Adger Jr. joined his father in business and operated the store until his death in 1989 when it remained open under new ownership. In the early 1900s other stores owned by families like Cox, Byers, Douglas, Lay and Adger were built and operated along Main Street and developed the town into a bustling community with a railroad depot, post office, bank, barber shop, drug store, ice house, gas station, and cotton gins - as well as a telephone office located in a home. The services of skilled craftsmen, such as blacksmiths, were very important to a farming community in the first half of the century.

Realizing the need for a religious influence in the village, in 1900, early settlers established Gilliam Methodist Episcopal Church, which was destroyed in the cyclone of 1908 and rebuilt after the storm as First Methodist Church. This building was replaced by the current brick building and in 1968, after a denominational merger, became the Gilliam United Methodist Church. The Linda Lay Memorial Baptist Church in Gilliam was organized June 6, 1919, with 12 charter members, and named in honor of Mrs. I.P. (Linda) Lay who had been a strong supporter in the development of

Red River Historical Mususem image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Armstrong, March 13, 2021
2. Red River Historical Mususem
Marker sits to the left of the building.
the spiritual life of the town. There was an elementary school in the town until 1940, when it was consolidated with the Belcher School which served all 12 grades.

Cotton was once "King". This crop is now joined with fields of corn and soybeans. With cotton being the principal crop of the area, several gins were located in Gilliam throughout the decades. The early gins located on farms were replaced by larger mechanized gins still operating today.

This early cotton press has been preserved by the Red River Crossroads Historical Association near Old Cotton Gin, Lynn Plantation the Crossroads Museum in Gilliam.

The small town atmosphere and friendly people make Gilliam a pleasant place to live or visit.
Erected by Red River Crossroads Historical Association.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1890.
Location. 32° 49.639′ N, 93° 50.694′ W. Marker is in Gilliam, Louisiana, in Caddo Parish. Marker is on Main Street north of 2nd Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 12801 Main St, Gilliam LA 71029, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Caddo Prairie Crossroads (a few steps from this marker); Town of Gilliam (a few steps from this marker); TS&N/T&P Railroad

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(within shouting distance of this marker); Gilliam United Methodist Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Reuben Thom Douglas Home (about 600 feet away); Linda Lay Memorial (about 700 feet away); Justice Chapel Baptist Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); Lynn Plantation (approx. 2˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Gilliam.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 7, 2021, by Jason Armstrong of Talihina, Oklahoma. This page has been viewed 374 times since then and 55 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 7, 2021, by Jason Armstrong of Talihina, Oklahoma. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 14, 2024