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CHARLES PLEASANT HAMPTON - A CALCASIEU PIONEER

Charles Pleasant Hampton (hereafter referred to as Charlie) was born in Gilmer, Upsur Co, Texas on 10 July 1844 the son of Benjamin Newton Hampton (hereafter referred to as B N) and his second wife, Mary Ann "Polly" Whetstone Hampton. B N Hampton was born in 1808 in Georgia and had married his first wife (name unknown) before 1828 when his first son George Wade Hampton (1) was born in Alabama. Another son, Newton Hampton (2) was born in 1831 also in Alabama. The family moved to Texas in about 1841 where B N Hampton claimed land under a George Hampton head right. (He also received some grants on his own.) Soon after he arrived in Texas, he met and married "Polly" Whetstone (b.1826,TX-d.abt 1851,TX) dau. of Peter Whetstone (3) and Dicy Webster of Marshall, Harrison Co. Texas. B N and "Polly" married on 22 Dec 1841 in Harrison Co. Their first child was Peter (b. 1843 Upshur Co TX-d.during the Civil War of Small-pox). The next child was "Charlie" Hampton. Then, son John Joseph (b. 1846 TX) (4), son B. (b. 1847,TX) (5) and Daughter, Polly (b. July 1850, married an Anderson).

Sometime after the birth of B N and Mary Ann Hampton's daughter, Polly, Mary Ann died. Charlie told his daughter, Virginia, that when his mother died, he missed her terribly. His father, B N hired a governess for his children named Martha Ann Phillips and on the 25th of September, 1852, he married her. By this time they were living in Sulphur Springs, Hopkins Co, Texas, where B N owned a lodging house and a ferry. (6) B N died in Feb 1858 in Sulphur Springs. The 1860 census for Hopkins Co. lists Martha Ann Hampton and her two children by B N, Martha Ann Hampton (b. 1854) and Samuel Houston Hampton (b. 22 May 1877,m 22 May 1877 to Elizabeth Ann Roberts). Also listed is Hiram Spencer, a farm laborer, whom she married in 1862. By 1860, Charlie has gone to live with his uncle, Anderson Whetstone in Rusk Co. Texas.

In 1861 Charlie Hampton joined Co H, 10th Texas (later dismounted) Cavalry on September 25th, 1861 at Taos, Texas. He was 17 years old. He told his daughter, Virginia that served as color guard. He was discharged at Meridian, Mississippi on May 4th 1865 after being a prisoner of war at Citronelle, Alabama, and went back to Texas. In 1868 he was with his sister, Polly, and her husband, Mr. Anderson in Freestone Co. TX. From there he moved to Rapides Parish, Louisiana, near Alexandria, where he was associated with a large sugar plantation.

In the early 1870's he moved to Calcasieu Parish, LA , and became employed by Allen J. Perkins, of Perkins and Miller Lumber Co. During the next few years he courted and married Allen Perkins' only daughter, Catherine Lavonia.(7) They were married on 11 Feb 1876. By 1880 he had established himself as a leader in the community. An article that appeared in the Lake Charles Echo newspaper on 7 Aug 1880 lists "C P Hampton" and 7 other men who were appointed to a committee to investigate dredging the sand bars out of the Calcasieu River to make it more navigable for schooners that carried the lumber to various ports on the Gulf Coast.

In 1882, Charlie Hampton struck out on his own. He moved his growing family to Edgerly, Louisiana, where he built a large sawmill and a narrow gauge railroad that eventually extended through the large forests of southern yellow pine all the way to Sugartown, LA. In 1884, along with Murphy J Foster, the grandfather of Mike Foster, Charlie was elected to the state senate from the old third congressional district. He was elected to a second term in 1888. While serving in the senate he was closely associated with such men as Senators John Vance, John Dymond, Charles Parlange, who would later become a State Supreme Court Judge, Joe Vreaux, Governor S D McEnery and Governor Newton C. Blanchard. Charlie Hampton and Murphy Foster shared an upstairs apartment located at 509 St. Louis Street that was very close to the old State Capitol in Baton Rouge. The house is still there, but is now used as an attorney's office. While in the Senate, Charlie was not known as a great orator, but was said to be very active and effective in committee work. The thrust of his efforts was in working to better education and transportation in this state. In interviews with members of his immediate family, it was learned that Charlie Hampton was responsible for one of the first paved public road in Louisiana. It was between Lake Charles and Vinton and was a bricked road.

He was also instrumental in starting the first public school in Vinton. He personally donated the land for the building. He also kept several schools open with his own money when public funds would run out.

In 1890 he moved his family to Vinton. He built a large house that was typical farm house style architecture that was indicative to those of east Texas. It was a two story, T shaped house with a porch across the front on the first and second floors. The house had running water inside, which was a rarity for that day. The water was stored in a cistern. The dining room had the convenience of a faucet at the dining table. By that time the family had grown to 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls, but it would eventually expand to 11.

Charlie Hampton was very active in the local community, serving a term as the first elected mayor of Vinton, LA, and often served as an exert witness in land disputes and was well known for his accuracy as a surveyor, his knowledge and his honesty. He was an active member and supporter of the Methodist Church in Vinton and was a 25 year member of Lake Charles Masonic Lodge. He was a pioneer in artificial irrigation for rice growing in southwest Louisiana. When it was evident that Germany must be defeated in World War I, Charlie Hampton spoke at rallies to encourage the young boys to do their duty, helped with Liberty Loans, Red Cross and YMCA work.

He truly had a passion for education. He was a scholar up to his last days. For many years he had the only set of encyclopedias in Vinton. They were a 1894 set of Encyclopedia Brittanica that were leather bound. He had an extensive collection of books in addition to the encyclopedias and willingly loaned any of his books to anyone who wanted to borrow them. Consequently, when the encyclopedias were passed on to the next generation, there were several volumes missing. He loved mathematics. He was a pioneer in the development of artificial irrigation for rice growing in southwest Louisiana.

On the 23rd of February, 1924 Charlie Hampton died at his home in Vinton, surrounded by his wife and all eleven of his children. The following is a list of those 11 children and their descendants.

Footnotes: (1) George Wade Hampton married Miss Yearry (Youry/Youhry). At least one child was born of this union, a daughter, Emma. He was a colonel in the Confederate Army in Green's Brigade.
(2) Newton was lost in the Civil War.
(3) Peter Whetstone was in the 1835 Texas census in Sabine District. He received a league of land (4444 acres) in a Spanish land grant in northeast Texas in what is now Harrison Co..and was a founding father of Marshall, Texas. He was shot and killed in a Moderator/Liberator dispute on 3 Nov 1843 in Marshall.
(4) John Joseph Hampton m. Dicy Anderson, a cousin. Their children were Lola, Charles Boone, Lavinia and Emmit.
(5)"B" was listed in the 1850 census as male , age 3, born in Texas. Nothing more is known of him and it is probable that he died young.
(6) B N Hampton had built boats and ferries in Upshur Co, Texas also. Farming is given as his occupation in the 1850 census so apparently he did some of that, too.
(7) Catherine Lavonia Perkins was born 11 Jan 1858 in Calcasieu Parish,Louisiana and died 7 Jan 1929 in Vinton, Louisiana. She is burried in Orange Grove Cemetery beside her husband and with her parents who were Allen Jefferson Perkins (b. 25 Jan 1836 - d. 10 May 1895) and Margaret Andrus (b. 8 Jan 1838 - d. 15 Apr 1910)
SOURCES: 1. Southwest Louisiana Historical and Biographical by William Henry Perrin, Part 1 p. 163, Part 2 p.162. 2. Obituary of C P Hampton from the American Press, Lake Charles, La. 25 Feb 1924 3. 1850 Texas Census, Upsur Co., 1860 Texas Census and 1870 Texas Census 4. Cemetery Records. Orange Grove Cemetery. Broad Street, Lake Charles, LA 5. The History of Lake Charles, Louisiana, A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the Louisiana State University by Stewart Alfred Ferguson, March 1931.(at Cal. Par. Library) 6. Hopkins County Texas Court records for the estate of Benjamin Newton Hampton. 7. A History of Upshur County, Texas by Doyal T Loyd. 8. History of Sulphur Springs Lodge # 221, A.F. & F. M. from 1856 to 1921. 9. 1840 Citizens of Texas Vol 3 Land Grants by Gifford White. 10.Interviews with and recollections of family members who knew and loved Charlie and Lavonia Hampton and their children.
Charlie Hampton making a speech at the opening of the Orange and Northern Rail Road: Vinton, La.