Recollections of Dr. W. F. O'Kelley - Page 2

Photo Number twenty three -
Stewart House.  That photo is formerly the Stewart house and currently the Farley house at the corner of Elm St. and Homer Rd.

Identified by Clare Bennett and Ann Mays Harlan, Class of 1958

Photo number twenty-four -
This photos has a sign for Hightower Drug Store on the building.  According to the 1940 phone book that was listed as being at 123 N. Broadway!  I wonder if the young man at the counter in #22 is working at Hightower Drug store?  Did they have a soda fountain?

Identified by Clare Bennett

The white building in the background of this photo was Dr. Sentell's clinic, and was right behind the hospital.  There was also a dentist in the building named Dr. Banks.  My mother took me to see him several times when I was a young girl.  The building is still there, being used for offices.

Submitted by Carolyn Sale McDaniel

 I forwarded the pic of City Drug(?) to Barbara Jo Williams Wiley '66...she would have info, I believe.

Submitted by Katie Carey Sims

If the picture in the other message is inside City Drug (which was my first reaction although I never saw the inside of Hightower Drug, so I can't say for sure) the man in the picture would be one of the Williams brothers, based on size and appearance I would say David. Assuming this picture was taken prior to 1943, when the O'Kelley's left Minden, David would be no more than 25 in that picture as he was born in about 1918 since he graduated from MHS in 1935 with my Daddy. I believe he, along with Paul Mattingly, are the last surviving members of Daddy's class.

Submitted by John Agan, Webster Parish Historian

Number Twenty-Five   Minden High School - This building was demolished.

The MHS gym was built on the corner of this lot. The new high school was

built in 1954. The class of 1955 was the last senior class to use this building

and the first senior class to use the 1954 building.

Photo Number twenty-six             

Were these houses located close to MHS?

Photo twenty-seven

Photo twenty-eight

Photo Twenty-nine Minden Water Tower

Located on North Broadway (Main Street)

in downtown Minden.

                                   And a few more pictures from Clare Bennett

Picture thirty is the Homer Road

Picture thirty-one

  I recognize two of these pictures from this group.  Picture 30 is the Homer Rd. and the 1st house is my grandparents house---Dr. and Mrs. S.M. Richardson, Sr. when I was growing up.  Not sure when they moved there so when this pic was taken it might not have belonged to them.  My parents and us kids lived across the street until I was ten which was 1952. The other one is the Presbyterian Manse when I was growing up.  Rev. and Mrs. Phillips, Marsha and David lived there until they moved to Alabama.  My mother and Mary Frances Phillips were very good friends and Mary Frances sewed clothes for me when I was a senior in high school and when I went to Tech.  For the life of me, I cannot think of his first name and we were very good friends with them.  David is the only one living from that house. 

Thanks for all the pictures.  They are so fun to look at and see whom I remember.  There are people that I never knew, but of course, I wasn't born until 1942. 

Thanks for all the hard work.

Mary Elizabeth

Picture thirty-two  A Minden  Church in winter.

Two more!!

Picture thirty - three is Margery O'Kelley, valedictorian of MHS Class of 1938

Picture thirty four - This photo is of some young boys having tremendous fun making friends with a raccoon.  I have no idea who they are.

The first picture is the old Minden Presbyterian Church that was replaced in about 1924.
This was picture number thirty-five.
John Agan, Webster Parish Historian

I am not sure, but, could this church be the one at Mt. Lebanon?  Seems like I have seen pictures of this house as there was a college in Mt.Lebanon way back yonder.  The church is the only structure standing now.
Mary Elizabeth

                     Picture 36
Sherry, I thought of something I should have said about this church.  It is south of Gibsland, La.  Used to be a stage coach stop back in the long ago.
Mary Eelizabeth

Picture thirty-six.
The second picture is the Minden Female College, it would have been taken before Dr. O'Kelley came to Minden as the buildings were either destroyed or moved by 1910.
John Agan Webster Parish Historian

 Picture 36 - I thought of something I should have said about this church.  It is south of Gibsland, La.  Used to be a stage coach stop back in the long ago.
Mary Eelizabeth

Our thanks to Clare Bennett for sharing her grandfather's memories with all of us.


Dear Sherry,

In the 1928 photos, one of the little girls in the middle on the front row looks very much like my Aunt Frances.  Both of my aunts are identified in the 1938 photo.  My Aunt Margery will be 90 in September, and my Aunt Frances will be 88 in October, so there may not be many who can help us identify the subjects of these photos.  I regret the ones from 1928 are so blurry.

The children in this picture are identified


have been unable to send e-mail for a couple of days. Our cable was out due to sub zero weather in Albuquerque.  I agree with the answers you received on some of the houses. Picture 16 was taken in front of the Presbyterian Church looking across North Broadway. The house seen between the two men was the home of Mrs (Rollin?) Williams. Her sons ran the  Williams' Drug Store. It can also be seen in picture 18 as second on the right. I agree with the First Baptist Church also.
Judy Claassen, Class of 1954

The hat shop mentioned by Carolyn Sale McDaniel was actually located on Main (Front) Street. I think it was named Minden Millinary. The sisters were Della Craton and Emmie Craton Garrison, mother of Richard Garrison and Jamie Garrison. They were the sisters of my step grandmother, Annie Craton Gleason. Della was never married and lived with Annie in the Gleason home until Annie died, then she moved in with the Garrisons. I used to hang out in their shop as a kid to listen to all the latest gossip.
Judy Gleason Claassen (1954)

as recalled by Keith O'Kelley

My initial association with Minden Presbyterian Church came on Christmas Eve in 1927 at the arrival of Santa Claus at the Christmas Pageant.  The importance of the moment was punctuated by the plaintive voice of my six year old sister admonishing Santa to please remember that she had a new brother who had arrived that very day.  Thus began my association with the church of which my father, the Rev. W. Frank O'Kelley, D.D. was the pastor.

My father arrived in Louisiana in 1910, having served as a school principal and graduate of Union Theological Seminary.  His uncle was Dr. Jasper K. Smith, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport who had prevailed on him to come to this area from his home in Georgia to accept the pastorate of Dunlap Memorial Presbyterian Church in Shreveport.  He remained in that position until 1920 when he accepted the call to the pastorate of Minden Presbyterian Church.  My understanding is that the church building was a frame structure located on the present property slightly south of the current brick building.  The manse was a large rambling home located just around the corner of North Broadway and Homer Road.  I was preceded in the family by two sisters, Margery, previously referred to, and Frances.  Shortly after my birth, a new manse was constructed next door and facing on North Broadway, which my mother referred to as "the perfect home".  She carefully maintained a "guest room" which we children were allowed to enter only with close supervision.  This was always kept in perfect order for visiting preachers and other church related persons who often came through town unannounced.  Commercial hotel space was virtually non-existent, and besides, our accommodations were without charge.  During the years of the Great Depression, there was little money floating around.  We seemed to have an endless procession of "hobos" asking for a handout.  My mother would never deny any of them food which seemed to enhance her reputation in that community.

Someone had donated a small tract of land located near the Minden Natatorium to Red River Presbytery.  The land had little useful value at the time, but a local farmer (a Mr. Bridwell, I think) asked for permission to plant a garden on the land.  My father took his request to Presbytery and permission was granted.  One afternoon, Mr. Bridwell appeared at our back door with a two-mule team wagon load of sweet potatoes in appreciation for the use of the land.  My father tried to explain that he was not the landlord, just the messenger, but Mr. Bridwell insisted.  There were several hundred pounds unloaded on our back porch.  I do not recall disliking sweet potatoes prior to that time, but with my mother's conservative nature, we had sweet potatoes three meals every day for several months in every form anyone had ever heard of.  That was over 65 years ago, and to this day neither of my sisters nor I can look at sweet potatoes with any degree of affection, and we still think that the acceptance by my father was improper -- at least for our appetites.

I was very fortunate in many ways to be raised as a 'preacher's kid' even though it was not thoroughly appreciated at the time.  Some of my father's rules were prohibition of appearance of something bad rather than evil itself.  Examples included the fact that playing cards were prohibited in our home.  We could not play Bridge, but Rook was O.K.  My father agreed that there was no sin in a deck of cards, but it gave appearance of impropriety.  It took some of our best legal skills to get him to allow the use of dice to play Monopoly.  It was O.K. to ride bicycle on Sunday, but roller skating was 'too noisy' for the Sabbath.  In spite of some of these seemingly ridiculous rules, we had a lot of fun.  We took summer vacations to interesting places all over the country.  We traveled on dusty, gravel roads with luggage strapped to running board, covering 200 miles or less and three or more flat tires per day.  We had some rigid rules under which I chaffed, but in retrospect they served me very well.

Members of Minden Presbyterian Church served as extended family.  In those days we had Sunday School, Sunday morning services, Young People's Meeting on Sunday afternoon, Sunday night services and Prayer Meeting on Wednesday evenings and it was expected that I attend all - no excuses.  It is probably accurate to suggest that I complied with this requirement with less than total enthusiasm.  I felt that often there were other areas of my nurture that had a higher priority than these, but my father's persuasive powers prevailed.  I recall regular church suppers where the ladies exhibited their prize recipes.  Some of these were quite delicious, but the advance billing on others exceeded the reality.  Many of the local businessmen accorded me privileges hiring me to do odd jobs probably just because I was Dr. O'Kelley's son.  Times were much simpler then.  At a recent class reunion, one of my school friends recalled that even those in our age group who were known as 'bad actors' were really only mischievous by today's standards, and many of those characters have turned out to be outstanding citizens.

My father left Minden in 1943 to assume the pastorate of Colonial Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas.  Being of just the right age for the military draft, I began to look for alternatives and found that I could enlist in U. S. Naval Air Corps flight training program provided I had parental consent.  My father felt that airplanes just may not be here to stay, and that a call to military service should be met by appearing complete with rifle and boots.  I was rescued from service in the infantry by a Minden native, Mr. McIntyre Leary.  Mr. Leary was a nephew of a Presbyterian minister who my father knew, but more importantly he was in charge of officer procurement for the Navy for this area.  He persuaded my father to agree to grant permission for me to enter that program.  I will be eternally grateful for Mr. Leary's efforts on my behalf.

Many good things have come my way from the household and surroundings into which I was born, and I can only hope that others could be as fortunate.






Picture forty-four

'll bet the picture of the children was taken outside the Presbyterian Church at
Bible School.  I think the boy second from left is Richard Hackett, Class of
1953.  The one next to him on the end may be Dickie Taylor, class of 1952.
The little boy in the middle with the very light hair looks like *Jimmy White, Class
of 1955 to me.  These are guesses, so check if someone else agrees with my
opinion.  If we knew which families attended the Presbyterian church we could
probably figure them out.  I know Claire Drake attended there as a child. Perhaps
she could identify them.

The first boy on the left standing next to Richard Hackett is Douglas Burt in the brown pants and beige shirt who graduated with the class of 1955)

Judy Gleason Claassen, Classs of 1954

*Note:  Funeral Services for James Walter White, Jr. were held on Thursday
March 4, 1992 at the Minden Presbyterian Church. Interment was in the Minden
Cemetery. He was 54. Chaplin Jimmy White was a member of the Minden
Presbyterian Church and of the Presbyterian of the Pines.


Old Minden Post office

Picture number 45


Picture forty six

One more!  My aunt tells me that this one is the manse of the Presbyterian Church that my grandparents and aunts lived in until 1928.  Sometime during 1928, the family moved into the new manse.  Both of my aunts were born here and it was their first home.