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HISTORY OF CLOUD AND EVANS LAND IN LOUISIANA


J. Bruce Evans

2006


BACKGROUND


"John Cloud, the Revolutionary soldier, his sons, William and Noah, and his wife's Lacy and Folsom relatives and Edward A. Brackenridge are known to have come from Kentucky and settled in Ward Ten before 1820."

"Township 13 North, Range 5 West is in the extreme northwest corner of present Winn Parish. It is bounded on the west by Saline Bayou and on the north by Bienville Parish. The Township line dividing Townships 12 and 13 North, Range 5 West crosses Saline Bayou three miles upstream from Drake's Salt Works and about two miles from Cloud's Crossing."

(From Winn Parish As I Have Known It, by H.B. Bozeman, printed in the Winn Parish Enterprise, July 12, 1962)


John Cloud was my ggggrandfather.


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John Calhoun Evans, born 1833 in South Carolina, and his wife of 3 years, Florence Levicy Fickling, left South Carolina in 1871 by boat and came to Louisiana, bringing their son, John Byron and an adapted child, Billie Grimes. They sailed from Charleston and came around Florida, through the Gulf of Mexico, up the Mississippi River, landing at St. Maurice, then on Red River. They came to Natchitoches Parish and visited with Captain Babers at a log house (Near Belton Blewer Place in l979).

Soon they built their own home in Natchitoches Parish, thus beginning my branch of Evans history in Louisiana.

Their second son, Martin Bunyan Evans, my grandfather, was born February 14, 1872.


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SUMMARY DEED HISTORY


1824: Deed to John Cloud in Monroe, LA.  From family notes: "Deed to John Cloud 1824; 2200 ft. west of Monroe (Flat Creek), 20 miles south of Monroe (4460 A. league and labor).


1834: March 6, Book 19, p 363 in Natchitoches Parish Court House: "Jno. Cloud to F.D. Barrier, No. 422."


1835: "In the Parish of Jackson/Ouachita June 24, 1835, Noah Cloud (John's son) and John Dickerson purchased the NW1/4 of Section 10, T16N, R1E. Patent issued July 1, 1841; cash entry #1985 (160.31 acres @ $1.25/acre; $200.38." They also purchased a tract in Madison Parish, 123.74 acres; Section 25, T16N, R13E.


1838: "William (Noah's brother) and Delitia (Noah's wife) Cloud entered the E1/2 of NW 1/4 and W1/2 of SW 1/4, Section 24, T21N, R15W; 160.34 acres. Was patented 1848 and appears in book 385, page 35 of the records of Caddo Parish." Signed Judge Digby of Monroe, by C. W. Lane.


1839: William Cloud: Granted U.S. Land Patent East of Dudgemona Bayou.


1843: William and Delitia Cloud purchased 158.44 acres in Natchitoches/Winn Parish; Section 29, T12N, R5W.


1843: William Cloud purchased 80.1 acres in Winn Parish, Section 21, T13N, R4W.


1844: William Cloud purchased 80.69 acres in Union Parish, Section 24, T22N, R2W.


1849: William Cloud purchased 40.23 acres in Bienville Parish, Section 36, T15N, R6W.


1850: Noah Cloud: Granted U.S Land Patent in Natchitoches Parish (probably Sections 19 & 30, T13N, R5W).


1852: William Cloud purchased 39.82 acres in Bienville Parish, Section 25, T15N, R6W.


1859: Noah Cloud purchased 79.04 acres in Natchitoches/Winn Parish, in Section 25, T13N, R6W.


1860: William Cloud purchased 119.48 acres in Bienville Parish, Section 25, T14N, R6W. Also he purchased 163.12 acres in Section 26, T15N, R6W.


1866: Noah Cloud Jr. married Mary Izora (Icy) Smith, on May 3. She was 16 years old. She acquired land known as the Hill Place from Mrs. W. Pitts, wife of Dr. Pitts (whose daughter, Emma Della, later became Noah's second wife). The Hill Place was about 1 1/2 miles from the Tom Clifton Place--NE1/4 of NE1/4, Sec. 36, T13N, R6W. Current maps still designate this 40 acres as "M.I. Cloud, Est." This land was later purchased by S. B. Evans when estate was divided in 1956-59.)


1880: Natchitoches Parish Agriculture Census lists John C. Evans with 40 acres of land in Ward 2. (Probably in Section 11, T13N, R6W)


1883: April 19, John C. Evans purchased 80 acres land from J.G. Readhimer for $80; N1/2 of SE1/4, Section 11, T13N, R6W. (This is site of original Evans log house built around 1871. Original deed in file)

1889: On June 17 Noah Cloud Jr. signed a mortgage in Natchitoches Parish acknowledging a debt of $1,600 to Suinion (?) Bloch, resident of New Orleans. As security he gave a mortgage on the SE1/4 of NE1/4of SE1/4 of Section 33, T12N, R7W, appx. 6 acres. (See copy in file)


1895: Oct. 29, M.B. Evans purchased 160 acres in Natchitoches Parish from G.L. Lucky for $146.80; N ½ of SW1/4, SW1/4 of SW 1/4 and NW1/4 of SE1/4, Section 10, T13N, R6W. (Appx. 1 mile west of his father's land in Section 11. Original deed in file of Cloud Lands)


1897: Noah Cloud Jr. purchased 167.91 acres in Rapides Parish, in Section 17, T1S, R4W.


1899: Aug. 28, M.B. Evans purchased from John B. Evans (his older brother): N1/2 of NW1/4, and SW1/4 of NW1/4, Section 13, T13N, R6W; 120 acres for $180. (Recorded Jan. 6, 1900; No 250186, Book 2 of Conveyances; Folio 115 & 6)


1904: M. B. Evans purchased 176.31 acres from Mrs. Fannie Brown and Mrs. Carrie T. Dorman for $1,059: E1/2 of SW1/4, SW1/4 of SW1/4, Section 3 E. of RR; also N1/2 of NW1/4 Section 10; also NE of NE E. of RR, Section 9. (See survey and deed in file)


1907: Feb. 15, Mrs. F.L. Evans, widow of John C. Evans, sold 110 acres to W.R. Riggins for $300: 15 a on N side of NE/SW; 15 a on N side of NW/SE; 20 acres on S side of SE/NW; 20 a on S side of SW/NE; and NE/SE, Section 11, T13N, R6W. (Deed in file)


1907: M.B. Evans purchased 80 acres from John B. Evans for $300: E1/2 of NE1/4 and NW1/4 of SE1/4, Section 14, T13N, R6W (See original deed in file)


1909: M.B. Evans purchased 20 acres from W.M. Hughes for $150, in SE1/4 of NW1/4, Section 10, T13N, R6W. (See original deed in file)


1918: July 5, M.B. Evans purchased 40 acres from Edward Nolley: NE 1/4 of NE14, Section 14, T13N, R6W.


1918: On July 20, M.B. Evans sold all his rights in NE1/4 of SE1/4, Section 19, T13N, R5W to Noah Cloud for $15.


1919: Feb. 4, M.B. Evans paid Taxes of $120.98 on his 555 ½ acres in Sections 13, 15, 21, 22, T13N, R6W.


1926: March 2; M.B. Evans mortgaged 176 ½ acres in Sections 3 and 9, T13N, R6W. His financial statement of that year listed "550 acres of land" valued at $10,000.


1931: M.B. Evans tax assessment listed 550 acres of land: 90 acres at $10/acre; 460 acres at $3/acre; 1 horse, $30; 2 cows, $20; 2 yearlings, 10, merchandise, $400; Store Building $300; total: $2940.

1932: Financial Statement of M.B. Evans listed assets of 550 acres of land valued at $5,500, and liabilities to Bank of Saline, first mortgage on real estate, $2,000.


1956: Estate of Noah Cloud Jr.: E1/2 of NE1/4, Section 30, T13N, R5W (80 acres); plus NE1/4 of SE1/4 of Section 19, T13N, R5W (40 acres), all in Ward 2, Natchitoches Parish. Also: NE1/4 of NE1/4, Section 36, T13N, R6W (40 acres). In the succession this was all valued at $8,000 with dispersements to 11 heirs @ $530.30, and 5 heirs @ $379.20.


1956, 1957, 1959: "This 160 acres sold to Sidney B. Evans, husband of Lillian K. Evans in 1956-1957 & 1959." J.O. Evans. Constance Evans wrote: "Sidney Evans, son of Delilah and Martin Bunyan bought all of this Cloud property--the 120 acres owned by Noah Cloud Jr. heirs and the 40 acres known as Hill Place which was owned by heirs of Mary Izora Smith Cloud, Noah's first wife."


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PUZZLES


Family records and lore reveal several puzzles regarding land and "treasures"  relating to the Clouds and Evans's. I begin with tales of gold.


BURIED TREASURES


I suppose that every family who digs deep enough comes up with some tales of buried treasures, some hope or dream of family wealth which might magically distinguish us from the masses. Ours is no exception. Two of our stories involve two of my grandfathers:


NOAH CLOUD SR


In the early part of the Civil War, Sam Cloud, Noah's nephew whom he had raised, and an Elkins' boy (Uncle of J.T. Elkins, who later married Mollie Cloud, oldest daughter of Noah Jr.) plotted to rob Noah Sr., who, according to tradition, “had quite a bit of money and silverware.”

Mrs. Elkins, the boy's mother who lived about a mile from Noah, heard them plotting; she slipped off to Noah's house and told him about the plan. He put his money, we are told, in a buckskin bag and went around the house toward the smokehouse to bury it. He had his daughters, Mary and Ann, and his wife, Delilah, watching for him. He came back in about 10 minutes and said that it was alright. It is also supposed that he moved it that night and planted a cedar bush to mark the place. The boys came to take the money as plotted, and in the skirmish, Noah was shot by Sam Cloud. He died a month later from gangrene poison without telling anyone where he buried his money.

This buried treasure has been the subject of much conversation and search. It has been suggested that it was buried in the bottom of a 60 foot well; another idea is that it was buried under the smokehouse. About 1908 Noah Jr. pointed out the location of the original smokehouse which was 18 by 18 feet, and said the original logs of his father's smokehouse were still there. After he marked off the spot, Lee Cloud, his son, and M.B. Evans, his son-in-law, dug 3 or 4 feet deep but did not find any money. They also dug where Noah Jr. said the cellar under the front

porch was. They found pieces of dishes, a piece of chain, and a spur--but no money. They and many others, including Noah Sr.'s great grandson, Max"Buddy" Evans in 1970, have dug hunting the money many times, but no one has reported finding any.



ANOTHER VERSION

(From the Brewton Family)


“It seems as if Samuel George Brewton and his brother-in-law Noah Cloud sold a herd of mules in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and with the money, they got into a game of poker and won about $10,000 in gold. After the game was over Samuel Brewton was talked into having a drink with the losers; the drink was supposed to have been doctored. Noah cloud took the money back to Goldonna, Louisiana, by one route and Samuel Brewton took a different trail; but the doctored drink took effect and he fell out of the saddle and was found the next day. He was brought home where he lived for a couple of days and died. Later Noah Cloud was shot late one night in front of his home, supposedly for the same money. The men that shot Noah Cloud were never caught, however, it is believed that a man by the name of Elkins was the leader of the men.” (From James P. Brewton)


JOHN NELSON SMITH


A second treasure tale involves John Nelson Smith, father of my great grandfather Noah Cloud Jr.’s first wife, Mary Izora Smith. Quite apart from the buried treasure tale which I am coming to, John Nelson must have been a memorable person, a “one-er” in cross-word terminology.

On Nov. 13, 1814, he enlisted in Captain Thomas Gordon’s Company of the 10th Regiment of the Tennessee Militia, at Giles County, Tenn. He fought in the Battles of Horse Shoe Bend and New Orleans in the War of 1812.  When he was applying  for a pension in 1873 when he was 74 years old he wrote in his application:  "While employed by a contractor who furnished cattle and hogs to the army I reached Horse Shoe Bend just at the time of the battle with the Creek Indians. I volunteered and fought in that engagement."  He also said "When Gen. Andrew Jackson called on Tennessee my Mother state for volunteers to meet the British foe at New Orleans  I responded to his call and volunteered on the 13 of Nov 1814 to then become a soldier and according to my best  recollections we reached New Orleans on the 1st day of Dec 1814.  Skirmishing was going on almost every day until the 8th of January 1815 when the memorable Battle was fought. NEVER NEVER (his own capitalization; I have copies of this document) shall I forget that time I was in the Ranks and in the ditch and owing to a dense and dark fog we could not see the British Troops but about 8 or 9 o'clock a little wind rose and the fog disappeared and ...Great God to my youthful eye I thought we had met a British well-armed foe to the amount of millions.  I felt miserable but after a few rounds of firing I did not feel so bad."

He was discharged on the 25th of January, 1815, in Nashville, Tenn. Sometime after the war, according to my grandmother, his granddaughter, Delilah Cloud,  "Pres. Jackson appointed John Nelson Smith to appraise the land claimed by Indians. When they were paid off Smith bought several hundred barrels of whiskey and sold to them. They were so eager and so thirsty for the drink each came with a canteen and rushed in saying 'Me first, me first,' until the last one was gone. The Government tried to prosecute Smith but he was too shrewd for he had gotten on a strip of un-surveyed land and the Government had no authority. As Indians were paid for their land they packed and moved." (Document in my possession). She also added:  "Smith then put up first store at Memphis."

In 1836 John Nelson Smith married Mary Izora Hinkle, a wealthy widow with a son named Morgan. Thirteen years later they had a daughter, Mary Izora, who by destiny or chance was to become my ancestor. Unfortunately her mother died at the time of her birth.

Mary Izora, who was a beautiful girl (confirmed by a picture I have of her taken shortly after my grandmother’s birth), apparently became the focus of a fierce conflict between her older step-brother, Morgan Hinkle, and her father. Both wanted to keep her, but, according to my grandmother, her “father took her and a trunk of gold to a farm.”  Morgan had his step-father arrested but Smith was clever and put his daughter “on a boat and sent her to Alabama to evade Hinkle.” He “kept her hid and slipped her out to Louisiana” where she was kept in a convent at Natchitoches.

In 1856, when Mary Izora would have been 7 years old, “the entire Negro slaves camped at Natches Miss where he (John Nelson) treated Negroes to cider and candy for New Years. (He) moved on in wagons and one buggy with trunk of gold toward Black Lake (LA).” Grandma’s story becomes confused at this point, but she concluded, “Billie Pierce came with a squad of Negroes and Billie Woods another. There was about 310 Negroes.” Apparently his step-son, Morgan Hinkle, was still trying to get his sister away from his step-father.

Evidently Smith was able to keep her in Louisiana however, because in 1866, when she was 16 years old, she married my grandfather, Noah Cloud Jr. Her father never liked Noah and strongly disapproved of the marriage.

After his daughter and Noah had been married about 7 years, and were living at Cloud’s Crossing in Natchitoches Parish, he finally gave in and decided to come visit them. He was living in New Iberia, LA, at the time, where he had become very wealthy, reportedly "owning a large portion of the town." Was he also curious about his four grandchildren by the daughter he must have loved excessively (given how possessive he had been of her)?

He came, it is said,  with two servants in a surrey and brought two satchels of gold. Somewhere around Cloud's Crossing, perhaps fearing or at least not trusting his son-in-law any more than he had his step-son, he stopped and had the servants wait while he went out and buried the gold. He became ill while visiting them, and as the story goes, when it seemed he would die, he was asked where the gold was buried. He got mad, spit at them, turned over, and died. No one has, so far as I know, ever able to find where he buried his gold.

John Nelson Smith is buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetery, near the grave of his daughter, with no dates on his grave.

So this is my second buried treasure story. I tell it as I have heard it in the family; but given that ole “Colonel Smith” was applying for a government pension in 1873, the year before his ill-fated visit to his beloved daughter, I am inclined to doubt much of what I have been told.


SMITH PROPERTY


It is also said that his slaves in New Iberia kept his house open for many years, “waiting for the old man who never returned.”


In later years some of my grandmother’s sisters and their descendants have returned to New Iberia trying to lay claim to their never-received inheritance. They found that “he was indeed wealthy,” but supposedly the statute of limitations on possession of property had run out, and none were ever successful with their claims. Of one such trip my mother recalls my grandmother who accompanied her sisters telling her: “They told me as we drove through the town, ‘Just think, this should all be ours.’”


Following is some of the correspondence I have found regarding this property:


1936, Jan. 24, from Manie Cloud (youngest daughter of Noah Cloud Jr. and Mary Izora Smith), 4010 Bering St. Houston Texas, to Mollie Cloud (her oldest sister) living in California.


"Dear Mollie and family, Your letter contained all the information I needed. Robert and I got back from New Iberia last night. We didn't have enough money to get a room so we sat in the car all night, so I am suffering from a slight cold today. We made the trip on $10. Found one girl servant still living. Grandpa had that gold with him in New Iberia, the silverware too. We may not get the gold back but I am sure they can't beat us on the land, though it may take a law suit. He had a large house, about six rooms and upstairs. He lived upstairs, the servants downstairs. I am fighting on the grounds that my mother died when I was born and I did not know about this property. The home was on Main St. (Valuable business property) about an acre of it. A foundry has been built on the ground. I don't regret making the trip. I may have to have an abstract...

"Sis said she would help on expenses in as much as I don't have any work, but I don't need any money unless I have to make another trip over there. Really should stay there about a week until I locate what was done with his money. I think I have some of the silver located. The servant was glad to see me and is helping me. Send this letter on to sis by next mail. I have so much writing to do. It is 12 o'clock. Good night, Manie"


On the back of the letter she wrote: "Could you describe any of the silver or gold. I may be able to trace the gold through the government, if it was placed in a bank....I may have to go back to New Iberia next week. I'll get there if I have to hitch hike it. The servant is going to write me right away...."


1936, Jan. 29, from Mollie Cloud (oldest daughter of Noah Jr), 2208 F. St., Sacramento, Calif. To Delilah Cloud Evans (her next younger sister, my grandmother), Saline, La. :

"My Dear Sister, Just a note. Here is the nos. of our 40 acres on the lake. SE 1/4, Section 27, T12N, R7W. Tell boys to see if this is correct....See Manie's letter. She is on the right track and has found the right place. I remember hearing the folks speak of the house in New Iberia. There is a lot of land in Iberia parish. I'm not sure but I think Grandpa entered it, if he sold it, I never heard any mention of it. Eslie and Eva (Mollie's children) wired her $30 so she could go back and do some investigating. Here's hoping she gets every thing back. Enclosed please find and keep this copy of a letter Viola (Cloud) received from the records in Washington D.C. She said she spent $25 on research work. Eva furnished the money.

"Mary Hinkle, Grandpa's wife died in 1849 when our mother was born. I think they were married in Ohio. That is what Pa told me when I last saw him. I have some other old papers here that will help some should we have to prove our connections with Grandpa. I've told Manie a lot about the history on Ma's side of our family.

"There was no children by Mrs. Moore (John Nelson Smith's first wife). Our grandmother (Mary Hinkle) is the one who had all the money. Pa told me that too and a lot more. I have not time to write just now. I'm not well but lots better. Hope you and Bunyan are well by now. Love to all, Mollie"


1936, Feb. 3: From Mollie Cloud, 2208 F. St., Sacramento, Calif. To Delilah Cloud Evans, Saline, La. :


"My Dear Sister, I had a letter from Manie. She wants to try to locate some one who knew just where Grandpa's farm land was. She asked me to write you and tell you to go see anybody who might know the whereabouts of any of those Kimball people. Don't tell them everything you know but try to get all they know. Mary knows some about this case but the does not know what I write to Manie. Mary is as good as she can be and I don't know what we would have done without her. Guess you can remember Dave Kimball's wife was Francis Weaver, a sister to Old man Henry Weaver. Dave and Frances moved to New Iberia with Grandpa. Dave was overseer or foreman of the cattle farm. Dave died and Frances married again....

"...So go and see her and write Manie what she said. Don't put off writing Manie. Did she write you she found one of our old negroes? She located the old home. An acre of ground with a big iron foundry on it. I think, altho Manie did not say so, we older children have slept over our rights, according to La. laws, but can get the land back through Manie, as she was born when her mother died. It's ours and we ought to have it....Write Manie right away and write me when you have time. Love to all, From Mollie..."


1936, Feb. 13, from Manie Cloud, 4010 Bering St, Houston, Texas "Special Delivery to Mrs. M.B. Evans (Delilah Cloud), Saline, LA, % Owen Evans, Very Personal"


"Lake Charles, Saturday night: Dear Sis, Why didn't you stick to me. You old slacker. Four negroes and myself went in a old truck out to the dairy farm about 3 ½ miles from town and it just would be my luck to locate Grandmother's gold, about $80,000.00, some so old that each piece was worth $5 more. Now I have found the pot of gold, will you be my valentine? (No!!!)"


(Bruce Note: I suspect this is tongue-in-cheek talk between sisters, as there is no other evidence of this sudden wealth.)


She continues: "The negroes were afraid for me to stay in New Iberia or stay over to try to locate the chest of money and silverware that Grandpa had. The old negro was 82 years old that carried me to the place. Lizzie hugged me and the negro boys shook my hands. Advise me what to do next. Write by special delivery. Don't wire of tell anyone. I talked to the young man who found the money--very nice to me. No reward has been offered. Nor an attorney employed--don't need any. I will arrive in Houston at 3:45. Manie..."


1936, April 29, from Mollie Cloud (2208 F St, Sacramento, Calif.) To Izora Cloud Lewis (third daughter of Noah Jr.) in Wilmar, Calif. Izora later sent this letter to Delilah Cloud in Saline on May 11, 1936.


"....If I had been well I would have been with Manie working on our case. Guess she told you that some one took some of the records out so she could not see them. They also went thru all the records and changed his signature. They changed the M (?) She said any fool could tell it. The land, that the Oil Co was working on and where the oil is, is located near Opelousas and the Oil Co wants to get an abstract of this piece of land for a lease. I don't know how many acres in this tract. Manie said this was the track for which the Oil Co advertised for the Jno. N. Smith heirs. She wrote me she had gone as far as she could without the assistance of an attorney and an abstractor. She could not get either in New Iberia.....She is waiting to hear from Washington D.C. concerning the land where the oil is located...

"...Now here is our idea: As soon as school is out, June 12, Eva and I will buy 2 tickets from here to Washington D.C. via New Iberia. I will stay in New Iberia and Manie can take my ticket and go on with Eva and they can look up records and get nos. of all land owned by Grandpa for that is one place they are not allowed to change the record, so we were told by the recorder here.

"...Just came back from Western Union Telegraph station. Eva and I went and wired $30. Manie will get it in 4 hrs if she waits at Telegraph Station....I'm glad Manie has a nice place to live--its much better in a business way. She is living in Grandpa's hotel; it is valued as $40,000. She found this on record and wrote me. I remembered that he owned a hotel....Love to you, I am your sister, Mollie...."


1938, May 17, from Mollie Cloud in Sacramento, Calif. to Delilah Cloud Evans, Saline, La.


"...I'm writing the Genealogy of our branch of the Cloud Family. In the last few weeks I had a letter from a Mrs. Hicks, one of Aunt Jennie's great grand daughters. She didn't tell me what she wanted but asked if our people ever lived west of Monroe, and lots of other things that I haven't time to mention in this letter.

"Sister don't you remember William Cloud was Pa's uncle. He died down on Saline near, or on the old Mary place. Delitia (we spell it Delithia) Delilah Cloud was our father's mother and a sister-in-law to William Cloud, Noah Cloud Sr's brother. It seems Uncle Bill hadn't taken up all the land that he was allowed by law, and grandfather had his amount. So Uncle Bill wanted this tract and he (my idea) and grandmother entered it together (See 1838 deed listed above in SUMMARY DEED HISTORY).

"William and Noah Cloud lived close together all their lives and their father, John Cloud, lived with them. About a year ago Ida Brewton (Ida Brewton was daughter of Nancy Ann Cloud, youngest daughter of Noah Sr.) wrote Vionia to ask me if I knew of our grand people ever living west of Monroe. I answered yes. To make the story short: Talley Dickerson went to Monroe and looked up the records and found that John Dickerson, Tallie's father had entered land, also Noah Cloud (I'm not sure but I think it was 120 acres. William Cloud, 160 acres. None of it was ever sold.

"Now until the records are searched thoroughly, there is no telling how much land we have in there. There is no use in giving a lawyer ½ to collect it as we are familiar with the legal proceedings and we will just pay a lawyer to transact the legal part and we will do the work.

"We learned from our other case (reference, I suppose, to the Smith land). We are going to get that too. It takes about 3 ½ to 4 years when they fight you. So I'm confident that 80 acres of this tract or an undivided ½ of 160 acres is ours. You were named after our grandmother. Cousin Malissie Cloud Morgan Rushing named her first child Delithia Morgan Bates (cousin Lithia) after grandmother. Cousin L said you were named "Delithia" for her, but I heard mother say you were given grandmother's full name. Cousin Malissie stayed with grandmother when Aunt Mary was born (So Aunt Mary told me) and she was always very fond of grandmother and when her first baby was born, she got the name. Then she had Bill and Christine by Morgan and I guess you know the rest.

"Eva was going to try to look all this land up this Summer if she can make ends meet as she is planning. We have 2 lawyers in our family. Robert Cloud and Hayward Vick, both decendents of our grand people.

"I must get to writing the genealogy of our Cloud people, Love to all, From Eva and me"


"PS: You and Bunyan try to make an effort to come and spend the Summer with me. I think I am going to be alone. You know how much room we have. Be sure and come."


1938, July 9, From Mollie Cloud, Sacramento, Calif. to Delilah Cloud Evans, Saline, La.:


"My Dear Sister: ...Just received your letter, so much for me to say--hope I don't forget first. I knew what would have to be done so I drew up a statement and had it typewritten. (Veonia sent it to Ida) stating the undersigned knew Delitia Delilah Cloud. Ida didn't let any time pass. She had it signed by Laura Monroe and Georgeann Cloud and noterized and sent back to Veonia. She called me and told me who had signed. I advised her to return it to Ida and tell her that I knew both those people were well acquainted with our Grandmother, but as Georgeann Cloud's (Huey's wife) children were parties concerned in the case, I didn't know if the legal authorities would accept her statement or not.

"Veonia asked me about Mollie Walker Gunter and Edd Gunter and several others. So as soon as you get this go immediately to Goldonna (there are two copies) and see Ida, and see if she has secured other witnesses (The poor Kid has to walk everywhere she goes). Tell her I said give you one copy and you will be saved of getting all this evidence as it is already when time comes to present it to the court and ask if they want any more proof--if they don't need any more then it will have to be advertised in some paper in Caddo Par. for 30 days, then if no one disapproves or says we are not the legal heirs, then we are sent in possession of the land.

"Our family will have you for our representative. You will have to go out to the land, get out of your car and walk on the land. Tell Aunt Mary and Aunt Ann's children's representatives they will have to do the same. Tell Chester he will have to go through the same routine. Only his noterized statement will have to be worded a bit different from ours, for the simple fact, Uncle Bill (Aunt Bettie and 4 of their children) died during the civil war with typhoid fever (one right after the other). There is no one living who knew him.

"While on the Delitia side, She died in the summer of 1883, and there are a few old people living who personally knew her. Show him our form and he can make his similar. There are plenty of people who can testify that they have always known William Cloud to be the father of Malissie Cloud Morgan Rushing, Mary Cloud Dickerson and Sam Cloud by his first wife Rebecka Jane Roe Cloud--and Newton Cloud, Huey Cloud, Frank Cloud, Nancy Cloud Blakely and Bettie Cloud Calhoun by his 2nd wife Bettie Johnson Cloud.

"Chester will have a harder time getting all the heirs on Uncle Bills side, than we have had, because there are so many of them. I personally knew every one of Uncle Bill's children and would be a good witness if the legal authorities would take me. In your dealings spell the name like Grandmother spelled it, which was the correct way--Delitia. You remember cousin Litia Bates? Well just put De in front of it. Aunt Mary told me that Grandpa John Cloud always called her "Delitia." Tell Chester to be sure to leave out all heirs like cousin Litia Bates, who are deceased and have left no living heirs...It all saves time and beats nobody out of a pennie. Enclosed you will find nos. to 160.31 acres in Ouachita Par--entered by Noah Cloud and John Dickerson, June 24, 1835...

"You might get Hayward Vick to look after that piece as no one else has bothered with it so far. I think he should do the legal part free of charge for the rest of us, in as much as we have furnished all the knowledge of the old people, gotten old people for witnesses and located the land. I think he should, don't you? I think all should pull together and work for the good of all. I am rushing this to you so you can get that list of witnesses before Ida sends it back here. Guess that is all I can think of. Love to all, Your Sister Mollie"


Below this she wrote: "In Parish of Ouachita, June 24th 1835 Noah Cloud and John Dickerson, purchased the NW1/4 of Sec 10, Township 16N, Range 1 East in Ouachita Parish.

Patent for that tract issued to them, July 1st, under Ouachita cash entry No. 1985. The tract contains 160.31 acres and they payed $1.25 per acre for the land.

"Tallie Dickerson got these nos. from Washington D.C. He says there is a section of land in Madison Par. bought by Noah Cloud and Jno. Dickerson. All this land is still on record and in their names. They never transfered it--very valuable."

"Sister C. it is a habit of our people to enter land together. I mean a member of one family and a member of the other go together and enter land jointly....."


1938, July 9, from Lee Cloud, Alexandria, La. to his older half-sister Delilah Cloud Evans, Saline, La.:


"Dear Sister, Received your letter the other day...I guess you run into all kinds of people looking up that bunch of heirs, I am glad you have got things started for I think it worth while. I believe you will be able to work up just as good a claim as anyone else and I don't know who could come in and try for it any way. About all the Clouds I no anything about is William Clouds heirs...I don't guess Delithia was the name of William Clouds wife, that is going to be one point that you will have to prove when you get in court, that William Cloud did not marry a woman by that name ....

"I no that it cost money to run around over the country looking up all that information that is necessary in order to proper present your claim, and I will send you a few dollars pay day and all along when I can, for there are so many of the bunch that cant do anything. I am also willing to assist you in any other way that I can


1938, July 22, from Manie Cloud Stothard, Box 294, New Iberia, La., to Delilah Cloud Evans, Saline, La:


"Dear Sis: Received your letter yesterday. They are giving me a hard fight here also, that is to fight the thirty year prescription. We were all minors when mother died and I never heard of this property. I wish you would go to see Judge Wimberly who told you that there was a law to give us everything back that was sold after Grandpa and Mother died. Attorneys in Shreveport told Mother Sid that we could come back on these people for the property even if it was one hundred years old if we were minors at the time it was sold. I was born in 1883, Nelse in 1875, died in 1922 at 49 years. Flo was a minor, she is now 34 years old. Our Father appointed our tutor, and Dr. Pitts, under-tutor.


"This is what Mollie wrote me about the William Cloud family:


"Now back to the Clouds--Yes, I know the names of Uncle Bill Cloud's wives--William Cloud (was a brother of our Grandfather Noah Cloud) married Rebecca Roe (first wife). They had three children--the oldest was Malissie Cloud Morgan Rushing, Mary Cloud Dickerson, and Samuel Cloud was their baby. Sam is a grandfather of Robert Cloud of Houston. Uncle Bill's second wife was Bettie Johnson, they had five children to be grown and married. I don't know just how many young children of theirs that died in childhood. All of this was before my time and what I know is what I have heard the older people say--I know it is all true.

"Now back to Uncle Bill and Aunt Bettie--they raised five children viz: Newton Cloud, Huey Cloud, Frank Cloud, Nancy Cloud Blakely and. Bettie Cloud Calhoun--she was the baby and married quite well--Calhoun Station on Vicksburg, Shreveport Road in Ouachita Par. is named for her family. I personally knew all of Uncle Bill's two sets of children and know which was the oldest, then the next in order as they were born.

"I'll give them to you--Malissie, Mary, Sam. 2nd set, Newton, Huey, Frank, Nancy and Bettie. During the Civil War Uncle Bill's family was stricken with typhoid fever. It killed Uncle Bill, Aunt Bettie and four of their children. Our father said the last time he saw Aunt Bettie he was standing in the door, crying as we rode off to War.

"I don't know who ("we") were unless it was Sam, Newton & Pa. Huey was too young. Sam was several years older than our dad. Hattie Pitts personally knew our Grandmother who died in Aug. or 1st part of Sept. before you were born in Oct. Dr. Pitts attended her. She died at Aunt Ann Brewton's. I helped wash and dress her for burial. Our mother made a pretty bobinet lace trimed cap for her to be buried in .....

"Ida Brewton is getting statements of old people who personally knew Grandmother to be Delitia Delilah Cloud and knew all of us to be the true and legal heirs. I thought best to get their evidence while they were living and have it ready when needed, etc. ..."


Manie continues:

"You will see from the above letter that Dickerson married William Cloud's daughter Mary, and not the daughter of Lee Cloud. Ursula said that Lee Cloud was an old bachelor she thought.


"Also had a letter from Viola (her older sister, fourth daughter of Noah Jr.). She writes the following:


"Great Grandfather Cloud came from England. His two brothers accompanied him--the three boys, Williams, Noah and John ( John was our greatgrandfather) G-grandpa was under General wolf when he took Quebec. He also went through the Revolutionary War under Washington when Cornwallis surrendered. Either of those war records will tell where they were born. The other boys may have gone through these wars for after the Revolutionary the three brothers went to South Carolina and separated.

"I don't know exactly where or who, but our grandfather Noah was born in Ky. April 28, 1800. He had three brothers, four sisters. Wm. married Roe first time, she died, then he married Bettie Johnson. Cousin Malissa Rushing (his daughter by first wife) children can give their name, also old man Sam Cloud's children could tell as it was their Grandmother too.

"His older brothers, Lee and Jerry, I don't know who they married. Grandpa Cloud was the baby. Sisters: Annie married a Villars, Minerva married a Cole, Marilda  a Cummins, Mary married Dickerson. Grandpa was buried in Jackson Parish, he was 110 years old.


(Bruce Note: Viola's information is different from mine. I do not have a "Marilda" as child of Noah Sr.; also I have Minerva married to "a Cummins," not a Cole. Nor do I have Noah as "the baby" in the family. I show Lee in this position. Also, my data shows Noah Sr. dying in 1864 in Natchitoches, not Jackson Parish in 1910.)


"Aunt Mary or Aunt Ann's children or Mollie could tell you more about the Folsoms than I can. They came from Holland. Greatgrandpa Folsom died and his widow married a Davis. I don't know if she had any Davis children. She had two sisters, Mrs. Hughs, Mrs. Bassett. Mrs. B died and Granma Cloud raised her son Noah Bassett. One brother was a captain on a steamboat, he too sick fell overboard and was never found. Gma was born at Grand Ecore, La., so Mollie said.

(Bruce Note: I have not been able to confirm this "Folsoms from Holland" connection; nor the reported marriage of "Greatgrandpa Folsom's widow to a Davis"; nor a connection to her two sisters, Hughs and Bassett. According to my data these are Folsoms from America.)


"Ursula says Debbie knows quite a bit that our father told her and she wrote it down, so you may go by her house and she may be able to help you prove Delita was our grandmother. Who was Cousin Lita Bates named for?

"I am sending you copies of these letters as you will see that Dickerson married Mary Cloud, William's daughter. Here's hoping and with love to everybody, Lovingly Manie."


1938, July 24; from Mollie Cloud in Sacramento, Calif. to Delilah Cloud, Saline, La.:


"My Dear Sister:.....It seems there is always something to give us a slam and try to beat us out of our just dues. This Caddo land is ours by rights. The thing is to try to keep other people from getting it away from us. I never heard of the Delitia Cloud, in all my life, until about 6 or 8 weeks ago. A great great daughter of Aunt Jennie Cloud--named Mrs. Mannie Hicks wrote me, trying to find out all she could about the Clouds. I ans. her questions and asked where she got my address. She said Viola Cloud Turnbow (Ann Cloud's girl) gave it to her.

"You remember Turnbow woman wrote you wanting to know about the Clouds? You sent her letter to me and I ans. it. She never replied, not even to thank me for the information. I thought something wrong then. I was answering questions in letters to this Hicks woman, after I found out about this Caddo land and told her to write Viola T. and tell her there was a piece of land my Grandmother Delitia C. And her Great grandfather W.C. had entered and it was said to be valuable.

"Hicks wrote back that Delitia was not my grand m--but a niece of William C--who was keeping house for him and they had known about the land for a long time (I can see now how they are trying to work). I wrote Manie in the meantime to phone Rob. Cloud in Houston who is attorney for some Oil Co there and tell him (I was honest and wanted everyone concerned to have his part) She phoned him, and he went out to see her; he knew all about the land--wouldn't tell her a thing, not even what Oil Co he was working for (all this tends to give me a stronger impression that something is radically wrong).

"Robert C. wanted Manie, or the heirs, to give him $500 to investigate. I wrote and told her he could go to thunder with his investigating--that he was not the only smart Cloud. I haven't written this Hicks woman any more. She says she will be 41 years  Aug 15, 1938. You see, she is quite young to know more than a lot of the older Clouds.

"Now back to this Delitia C. Dickerson woman and her keeping house for Uncle Bill. I never heard of her, as I stated above, but Uncle Bill had two girls who were large and old enough to keep house for him. Malissie C Rushing and Mary C Dickerson. Malissie C.R. waited on our grandmother, Delitia Delilah Cloud, when Aunt Mary was born, which was Nov. 13th 1834 or 35.

"If Delitia C Dickerson was 20 yrs. older than our father it would make her birth 1822 and she would be only 16 yrs. old when this land was entered (1838 and patented 1848). Would the laws allow a child to enter land? In looking over old records that the Pools may have, note very closely, every little detail, dates could be easily changed, notice the ink and see if it was the same. Notice the paper and see if it is real old, if so it would be almost too old to handle. Don't trust anything, even records could be changed. When it comes up it would be a good idea to have Haywood with you if possible. I think a statement from Talley Dickerson might have some weight in our favor.

"Hun (?) Brewton Quarles lives within a block or 2 of the court house in Shreveport and she is like we are, she says for all to keep quiet and just pull together. She said for you to represent our family and she would represent Ann and Ann's and Haywood could rep. Aunt Marys. She wants to see and talk with you. She said Henry Cloud was at her home and she mentioned something about this Caddo land and he said "the Clouds and the Dickersons are always trying to get something for nothing."

"She said she shut up and never said a word. Hun says, "Henry works for some Oil Co and has lots of holdings and appears very prosperous." You can imagine for yourself. Manie is about right when she says they have known it for a long time and are trying to "cover it up" so their families will be the only ones to benefit by it. If you go to Shreveport and see Hun on a friendly business like trip, tell her I wrote you that she wanted to see you. I have put off writing these few days, looking for Veonia to bring the letter you ask me to return to you; She has it; however I have the nos. of the land. I copied them down before I gave her the letter. When she returns it, I will immediately mail it to you. I also wrote and had it typewritten (the girl made 2 copies). I gave them to Veonia and she mailed them to Ida to have old people who know Grandmother personally to give a noterized statement.....Love to all from Your Sister Mollie"


1938, July 26, from Mollie Cloud, Sacramento, Calif. to Delilah Cloud, Saline, La:


"My Dear Sister: Just received an air letter from Manie, wanting me to help you. I mailed a letter to you yesterday 25th. You should have it by the 29th inst. I wrote you what I thought of Delitia Dickerson being the true owner of the Caddo land. Don't let this be thrashed out until you have all of your proof. You are right about her marriage date making it void. It ought to be on record somewhere.

"Too, it stands to reason, that if she was old enough to enter land in 1838 she would have been married before 1848 time of patent and gain. Girls, at that time, were married younger than the girls of today are, from the fact, girls of today have a better chance to earn a livelyhood and are not so much dependent on men, as they were then, a lot due to educational training.

"Another thing according to the story--this Delitia was an orphan and living in the home of her uncle and his young lady daughters, (knowing girls as you and I do) would it always be peaceful and harmonious, year in and year out, or would altercations, wrangles, or the like arise? Who would be to blame. Naturally it would not be the daughters, and they had many disputes. I am sure for one time after I had visited Mary Dickerson in her home (She lived in Sparta then) I stopped in to see Malissie Rushing and was telling her that I had seen Mary D and I mentioned how nice looking Mary was and remarked that she must have been a beautiful girl. Malissie says, in a quick tone of voice, "that was always her trouble; when ever there was any place to go, Mary would say, "Lissie," you stay at home, you are the ugliest."

"So Malissie always held that against Mary. Now imagine, if the sisters disagreed, would it not be natural for Delitia to be mixed into the squabble too? For the above reason, wouldn't this cause Delitia to seek a marriage state sooner, than she naturally would have under other circumstances of more pleasant surroundings. Naturally she would not stay there 10 long years just for ½ interest in 160 acres of land, when, at that time, the woods was full of vacant land.

"I am still more convinced that it was our Grandmother, and not Delitia Dickerson, who entered this Caddo land. Another thing she was not his housekeeper, as reason would have a person to believe, for Uncle Bill had two daughters of his own, who, as reason would teach you, were as old, or older than Delitia.

"So our Grandmother has the name and the right age, Dec 31, 1808 was her birth, Delitia was her first name, Delilah was next. Total was Delitia Delilah Folsom Cloud. Grandmother's father-in-law, John Cloud, always called her Delitia. He was very fond of her, because she was so kind and good to him. He died at her home. We do know, for sure, that Noah Cloud (our grandfather) and his family and William Cloud (our Uncle Bill) and his family always lived close together, and at that time (1838) she was not more than a mile or two away.

"We don't know, for sure, that Delitia Dickerson ever lived in William Cloud's home. One reason is I never heard any of them speak of her. In fact, I didn't know there was such a person until a few months ago. On the other hand, I have heard all of them speak of Rosa and Rilda Cummings, who was first cousins of Pa's, Noah Bassett, Berrell Bassett, Reubin Grey and a number of others, even the old negros, Black Ann and her son Chris, Old Indian Sallie and her boy, I could name several more, but never a mention of Delitia.

"I tell you Sister, there is something wrong somewhere. This land is ours, by rights, and don't leave a stone unturned. Fight them as hard as they are fighting you. While they are having you to prove thus and so, have them to prove that Delitia actually lived with either of the two families. If there is any thing you want to know, write me and I will tell you if I know and you know it will be the truth. With best wishes for success I am Your Sister, Mollie Elkins."


1938, September 28: From Mary Izora ("Manie") Cloud Stothard--4010 Bering St, Houston, Texas, to her older sister Delilah Evans--Box 66, Saline, La.


"...Eva (Mollie's daughter) only spent about three hours with me...And by the way, have you heard from her since she returned to California? She has been my financier and dictator--I have done nothing without her O.K. She refused to send me any more expense money. My clothes are in New Iberia, typewriter, etc., but I will fight my way through some way and come out on top too.

"I asker her to give me the land numbers she obtained in Washington, but she said she wasn't going to write, and surely she hasn't so far written me a line. I would so much like to check the numbers over with what I found, and if she sent them to you, will you please send me a copy of them. She saw May and she said that the hotel belonged to Grandpa Smith. If you see May, please ask her to give you all the information she remembers regarding the hotel, the name, their moving there, etc, and advise me sometime soon...

"I am keeping up with my work in New Iberia--in fact, hear from the attorneys all the time. The Caddo land was no doubt purchased by Grandmother from William's succession or perhaps from Delita Dickerson is why the attorney looked you up. Eva should have gone deeper into this research while she was so near to Natchitoches. I am sure the land was disposed of by William and Elizabeth Cloud's Succession No. 5655 (Nov. 30, 1869) Abstract 63, Page 298. Ask your County Clerk sometime when you are in Natchitoches and see if Grandmother didn't buy some land from William's estate.....Love to all, Lovingly, Manie"


1939, April 24, from Mollie Cloud, Sacramento, Calif. to Delilah Cloud, Saline, La."


"....I haven't heard from Manie in a long time. She did not answer my last letter about 2 or 3 years ago. She wrote for $500 to finance lawyers and court. We sent it. In a short time she wrote for $250 more, for court cost. We sent that. Some of it we borrowed from the bank and Eva payed it back from her salary.

"When Eva was there last summer, they told her the court cost was $18 leaving Manie over $100 to use on the case as she needed it. ...Eva told Manie she could not send her any more money for awhile. So that is the way it stands. Manie has not written to see how I am. Guess she doesn't care, which is OK with me. That property is there and we are the rightful heirs. It's hard to get, unless there were lots of money available to carry it through. Other people get their inheritance claims. Why shouldn't we. Sidney Cloud's husband (Manie's daughter's husband Charles Henry Daniels Jr.?) has new oil wells on some of their property and they are getting royalties from them. She said it would be about 6 months before they would get big money. In that time they expect about $1,000 per mo. She sent a clipping from the paper about it. I surely am glad for her, aren't you....Much love to all, Your Sister, Mollie."


1939, May 2, from Mollie Cloud, Sacramento, Calif. To "My Dear Sister & Bunyan"


"Your letter received. By waiting for awhile, we have at least made a gain of the difference between $125 and $245. This property is as much yours as it is mine, so go ahead and do what you think best. I'll take your judgement and sign papers, for you are honorable and honest and so am I.

"Put your price up, say $300, and then you will have it so you can come down $5 and they can go up what amount they will--if you understand what I mean. You can use me, as holding out for more. So do the best you can and sell.

"Be sure to have a set time for the removal of timber, say 2 years. More time than that and the growth and price would be more, if timber is not removed by the end of 2 yrs, then it reverts back to us, or in other words, all timber standing, after the specified time is ours.

"After all this if over, lets try to get some oil concern interested and get a deep test well put down on the land.

"If you have to have legal papers drawn up, get Scarborough and Carver to do it. They are supposed to do it free of charge as they have 1/3 interest, same as we. If they should want a fee, just make it plain to them that you have worked up a timber sale and I have payed all taxes all these years and that you think the least they could wo would be to fix legal papers. So do the best you can and sell....Love to all, From Eva and me, I am Your Sister, Mollie."


1952, April 27, from Manie Cloud Stothart, 4010 Bering St, Houston 3, TX to Owen Evans & family, Saline, La.

"....Ursula and Walter (Ursula is daughter of Noah Jr. by his second wife, Emma Della Pitts; Walter is her husband, Walter Thiele) went to Alexandria last weekend to see Lee (Walter Lee, her older brother). Since mentioning Lee's name, he sent me the old letters to my mother and Grandpa Smith. Among them was the cotton claim which I immediately forwarded to Washington, D.C., and received two favorable replies. I sat down and took a big cry and do wish I could have had those old letters long long ago. Among them was the large river plantation at Campti and the land at Grapps Bluff. The plantation at Campti is the property of my guardian (Dr. W.W. Pitts) started to hang me about, just because I asked him who the land belonged to.

"His daughter begged for my life and that is not half the treatment I got under that crazy man. He had two brothers to die in the asylum and one at home, and the State of Louisiana is responsible for this along with the administrators. I am turning it over to an attorney with the information contained in those old letters. How many times did I walk down the mile lane in the frosty cold when I was about eight or nine years old to deliver milk to the big shots living on this plantation--just for one nickle--too bad, but not too late, and I am making a desperate shot at it again for once and for all.

"Lee mentioned something about the heirs owing Bunyan on the 40 acres that Sis was paying taxes. I thought all expenses was taken out when the last timber was sold, which, of course, was several years ago. I mentioned the land to Bunyan when Sis died, but he said just leave it as it was. So please advise what my part is and I will remit to cover.

"I would love to have the embroidered petticoat and the long train house dress that was my Mother's unless you have already disposed of her belongings. I don't have anything. Or did you give them to Lee or Eva?.....Lovingly, Manie Cloud Stothart"


1968, March 20, From Lee Cloud, Alexandria, LA to Owen and Coker Evans, Saline, LA:


"....My father Noah Cloud owned some land one half miles west of the Cloud Crossing on the Saline. In the fall of 1898, he moved his family from Bienville Parish to this land. We camped out there in the woods until the house was built.

"This was wild country in them days, a little dirt road, that people used to go to the creek to fish, not any bridge across the Saline at that time, but there was a large cypress log across the creek at the same location where the present bridge is located. We used that log to cross this creek for a year of two, then a bridge was built. It was wood construction. In a few years high water washed it away. Then a second bridge was constructed in about the same location.

"As the Cloud's was the only people living near this location, it was given the Cloud name, by whom I do not know.....Best wishes and lots of love, Lee."


2005, October 11; In email correspondence with Ken Ortolon, a Pitts descendent from Emma Della Pitts' younger sister, Hattie Irene, I sent a copy of a letter from Manie Cloud and the following emails ensued. First, a copy of one from Ken to his cousin Roy:


"Roy, Last night when I talked to Daisy, she said that it was your grandfather, Frank Clayze, who was trying to establish the claim to the land grant in Shreveport and that Lee Cloud and Debbie Henry--two of Dr. Pitts's grandchildren from his oldest daughter Emma Della Pitts Cloud--were helping in that endeavor. Hearing that, I decided to contact a guy I have met through the internet who is a Cloud descendant and ask if he had ever hear the story and the involvement of Lee Cloud and Debbie Henry, who I believe are his uncle and aunt. Here is his response, with an interesting letter from a woman named Manie Cloud, who was raised by Dr. Pitts and his wife. Let me know what you think of it. Ken"


Then this email to me:


"Bruce, I've got a puzzle I'm trying to figure out that involves two of the children of Emma Della Pitts Cloud, Emm'a sister Hattie Pitts Ortolon, and Hattie's husband, Frank Clayze Ortolon. I was wondering if you have ever heard a story about Lee Cloud and Debbie Henry being involved in attempts to prove a claim to a Spanish grant for a large tract of land in Shreveport?

"The story being told by my Ortolon relatives is that the grant is on file at the courthouse in Natchitoches and that Frank Clayze Ortolon was an heir to it. They say that he, along with Lee Cloud and Debbie Henry and some members of the Dembour family (Frank's mother was a Dembour) attempted to prove their claim to the land but were stymied because one of the Dembours refused to let his wife sign the deed. By the time Frank, et. al. were trying to secure the land, the woman in question was dead, so the land was lost.

"Have you ever heard this story? It seems odd to me, but that's all the
facts (or rumors) I have. Thanks, Ken Ortolon"


2005, October 12 Bruce Evans to Ken ortolon:

"Ken, No, I never heard that story, tho is quite interesting. I have heard, however, a similar story about Lee's step-mother's father, John Nelson Cloud. He was said to be very rich "owning half of New Iberia" and with many slaves on his plantation. After he died in Natchitoches Parish these stories circulated and I remember my father telling me about Lee's older half sisters wanting to go back and try to reclaim it. He said he "gave in" and took them there and sure enough the stories about the "rich man leaving and never coming back" were heard. But,  according to him the "statute of limitations" had run out and there was no way to reclaim the land.

CONCLUSION


I see now that the Ortolon questions were probably about the Caddo land purchased by William and Delitia Cloud in 1838, not about the New Iberia property of John Nelson Smith. Re-reading the above letters I realize there were perhaps three attempts at land recovery: first, which most of the letters are about, concerns the New Iberia land and property of John Nelson Smith, father of Noah Cloud Jr.'s first wife. This would have been the concern of Noah Jr.'s heirs.

Next there were questions about present ownership of the original John Cloud land near Monroe and/or land purchased by William and Delitia Cloud in 1843 (158.44 acres in Natchitoches/Winn Parish; Section 29, T12N, R5W). These seem to focus on a question of whether this "Delitia" was Noah Cloud Sr.'s wife, or, as some held, another Delitia in the home of William Cloud (Noah's brother).

Third attempts, which would involve these Cloud heirs along with the heirs of Emma Della Pitts, Noah's second wife, may well have included the Ortolon heirs as well (as noted in Ken's emails), since they were descended from Emma Della's younger sister. These were about the Caddo Parish land purchased by William and Delitia Cloud in 1838 ( E1/2 of NW 1/4 and W1/2 of SW 1/4, Section 24, T21N, R15W; 160.34 acres; patented 1848 and appearing in book 385, page 35 of the records of Caddo Parish).

Also Manie Cloud, Noah Jr's youngest daughter by Emma Della Pitts, who was raised by the Pitts, seems to have thought she had some rights to Pitts's properties in Campti and Grapps Bluff.


In summary, I have been fascinated by these tales of buried treasures and the family disputes regarding possible ownership by later generations. This curiosity has reflected in researching and trying to clarify purchases of land within the Cloud and Evans families, as reflected in the deed data noted above. This too has been a fun part of exploring my own roots.

Should others be interested, the noted letters and deeds are now in my possession.


Bruce Evans,

February, 2006