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Before Belcher there was Horseshoe…


January 29, 2013 by elhseven

Situated at 32°45’02N latitude and 93°50’02W longitude, 30 minutes west of the Texas border, this little village with a current population of 262 villagers was an important launching pad for many of our shared, early ancestors. Located in the bow of Horseshoe bayou, the town was originally named Horseshoe and finally renamed, Belcher, after James Clinton Belcher, a former confederate soldier and overseer of Wild Lucia plantation, in 1899.  This little village, filled with a few plantations, churches, and cotton gins, began growing, particularly after T. & P. Railroad made its way through it in 1900.

Talking recently with some former sons and daughters of Belcher, this sleepy village appeared to be a booming spot for those lucky enough to be related to the Bradford clans after oil leases began popping up as early as 1915.  While some shared
in great prosperity, others did not. Those looking for a better life joined the mass migration of African Americans out of the rural south. Avoiding Jim Crow in search of greener pastures seemed like a logical decision but what happened to those who couldn’t leave..those who stayed behind for other reasons?

In the absence of birth certificates and death certificates, a gravestone is often the only evidence that someone existed. These poles represent gravemarkers located in St. Paul’s & Ebenezar churches and one can assume these are individuals who lived and died in Belcher. The poles are the only documentation.

To be continued…

Belcher, LA


















  1. Eddie Lawrence Jr says:

    Thank you. I enjoy reading your posts about the town of my birth. My grandmother was a Bradford; my grandfather a Jefferson. Both are buried at Ebenezer Church Cemetery. I spent most of my youth in the cotton fields, dirt roads and bayous around Belcher!

  2. Tisha Boyd says:

    Relatives informed me that in a wooded area just off Hwy 2 in The St. Mary area of Plain Dealing, LA (Before you get to the Red River), was a slave graveyard where Smiths slaves were buried. When your project was recording grave sights for the area, was the unmarked grave sight mentioned to you or recorded?

  3. admin says:

    Not that I am aware of but I will definitely look into this to see if anyone has surveyed the graveyard. Thanks for bringing this to my attention as I was not aware of this burial ground.

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