L To R, Josh Perkins, Elmer Willis, Solomon Doyle, Mae Ashworth Willis, Nora Ashworth Griffin, Shelby Ashworth

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Old C.V. Logging Camp Fight

The three men in the photos to the left were in this fight. Top L. is Austin Ashworth, 2nd man is Josh Perkins and the third is Owen Ashworth.
There has been many accounts written about this all out fight and killings. In most accounts of this story, there were numerous false statements stated as the truth about what happen.
The first report of this fight was written in a paper of that day and time. The name of the newspaper was the The Galveston Dailey News, dated Aug. 6 1891. Two of the most read accounts of this fight between the Redbones and the Whites in Beauregard Parish, was written at first by Mr. W.T. Block. A very well noted historian of the Southwest Louisiana and the Southeast Texas area. Then by Don Marler. He is an author on the subject of Redbones. He has been researching and studying them for years. Being first captured by their mysteriousness as a child.
Mr Block accounts of this fight came mostly from old written articles from different newspapers that reported small accounts of just what happen for this fight to take place.
Don Marler was able to find a written article in a Lake Charles paper called {The Lake Charles Post} from that day and time with the story. The fight took place in August 5, 1891.
Both accounts of the above authors were riddle with false statements, which was no fault of theirs. They were merely reporting what they had found in doing research on this fight.
In today's world with the ease of researching with a home PC. I and others in my family did uncover other facts from that fight. Added along with family history and tales we have been able to get a better account of just what happen that day.
I wish to add here, as I did in writing this story for the Dequincy News back in Dec. 13th 2006. That with the telling of old stories and history. What you hear and the facts you get on these old tales depend on who is telling the story. It is common knowledge that humans will add and pad a story, certain ways to make it fall in line with just what they believe happen.
First, the fight was first called a Calcasieu Parish Tragedy, Next came "The Bearhead Massacre". I believe the title "The Bearhead Massacre" was added to help increase the sale of books. The name for this fight has always been call the old C.V.Logging Camp Fight. I am sure the reason for this name is because it happen in the very logging camp known by those letters, C.V.
The first fact is this. The fight did not take place in the community known then and now as Bearhead. This fight took place in a small community named Smokey Cove. Some six miles from Bearhead.
The fight did happen in the old C.V. logging camp located on Locke-Moore Lumber Co. land. It merely started this way.
There was a foreman named Hooker Morris, he asked one of his crew hands, just where the hell were those Dam Redbones? Their job was to drive the oxen to skid the logs out of the woods. For they had not shown up to work that day. Mr. Morris was either new to the area or just did not realize that you never spoke about these people that way or refered to them as REDBONES. The REDBONES hated that name and would defend themselves at all cost to avenge being called that. This is what got the anger brewing in the REDBONESthat day.
Word got back to the group of men {The Redbones} that Hooker Morris had made that comment and he had refered to them as REDBONES.
This led to the men gathering up a group lead by Austin Ashworth. They went to Hooker Morris house and call him out. That told him to come out for an ass whipping and to leave the country and never return. Of course he refused. He was then informed by Austin Ashworth, that they would lay in wait for his ass. They then rode off.
The next day, a Sunday morning. Hooker Morris and seven others went to Dupree LaComb's saloon to get whiskey. As they arrived at the saloon, they came upon about ten of the REDBONES. At that time Jesse Dyson {He Was With The REDBONES} emerged from the saloon and made a statement and reached for his gun and was shot by Jesse Ward, he had sided with the whites in this argument. He died some hours later.
It was at this point when all the shooting and killing took place.
This part of the story is from my family history that has been passed down through the generations about the fight. My two GG Grandfathers were in this fight. They were Owen Ashworth, brother to Austin Ashworth. My other GG Grandfather in this fight was Josh Perkins. He lived right near the saloon.
The first stories had Owen Ashworth and a old man named Seth being killed in this fight. That is not correct. Owen and his brother Austin survived the fight and died years later. Proof of that is that Austin died many years later and was buried at Goodhope Cemetery near Singer, La. My GG Grand Father Amos Owen Ashworth also lived a few year longer. He died abt. 1897 or 1898. He died at Angola State Prison here in Louisiana and is also buried their. That also was the same thing that happen to Josh Perkins. He lived until 1933 and is buried at Goodhope cemetery.
The family story of Josh was that he was sitting on his front porch watching what was about to take place. When the shooting started it is told in our family history that he had his pipe shot out of his mouth and others say he had on a western neck tie. The ones that look like tied shoe strings. Some say it was this that was shot off his neck.
He told everyone that he stayed and fought until he ran out of bullets. They found one man dead under Josh's front porch. He was credited with killing four more of the others.
Story has it that when he ran out of bullets he took off running with the other men hot on his heels. The only way he got away from them is that when he got to Beckwith creek, he jumped it from one side to the other. The stream itself is small. It does have high banks and is today about 15 to 20 feet at places across it. So he must have been one hell of a broad jumper.
This is just a brief story of what has been passed down through the generations in our family about this fight. There are many other names from both sides in the fight that was in this fight. Some were killed and lots of others were just wounded.
I have never been able to find or speak with any of the ancestors of those other folks, so I won't go into detail about what the papers printed about their part in this fight.
In another newspaper of that day out of Lafayette, La. They gave the following information on the aftermath of the killings. In the Lafayette Advertiser dated 8/19/1891. A grand jury in Lake Charles, La, had returned true bills of indictment for murder against 10 people in the fight. they were Josh Perkins, Dempsey Dial, Austin Ashworth, Louis Dupree, G. Hooker Morris, Rufus Mouton, Olly Gleason, Jesse Hilton, Wm. Yellott and James Baggett.
No one knows just what happen to these men about being charged in these killings. The reason for that is that the Courthouse in Lake Charles burnt to the ground around the year of 1912 and most all records kept in the courthouse were lost forever. The records of any trial or the dismissing of charges being in those records.

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