History of Keachi

The town of Keachi was first incorporated in 1858. It was named after an Indian group that was related to the Caddo tribes. The spelling of the town’s name has been changed many times and there are still several spellings in use: Keatchie, Kechi,Keachie, etc. Folklore has it that the word means big cat, black cat , panther or cougar.

Early settlers (after the Indians) were mainly families of Scots-Irish descent from other southern states moving west. They were farmers who cleared the rolling hills and planted cotton and other crops.  Many were slave holders and early census records showed a population ratio of about 2:1, Negro to Caucasian. Commerce from Keachi moved down the Red River at Shreveport or the Sabine River at Logansport. Early family names included Gatlin, Fullilove, Mason, Gamble, Foster, Graves, Fisher, Hungerford, Williams, Rochelle, Crawford, Talbert, Hollingsworth, Schuler, Storey, Swearingen, Moseley, Harris, Peyton, Scheller, McMillan, Spell, Rich, Lee, Horn, Paxon, Moore, Spilker, Hall, Horn, Cathey, Eells, Lacy, Flagg and others.

Many of these families and their descendants still live in the area. Several of the homes, churches and other buildings built by the settlers in the 1800’s are still standing and many are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

(for more info see:  www.rootsweb.com/~ladesoto/nrhp,htm ) At one time Keachi was a prosperous community with a hotel near the train depot, a female college and a main street with at least 10 commercial buildings. Two of those are standing today; the Fullilove General Store and the Masonic Lodge. The Keachi Cemetary is the resting place of many early settlers and also has an interesting grave house, a custom thought to have been adopted from the Indians. It is located just north of the main crossroads on McCann road. Another interesting site is the Confederate cemetary located just west of town. During the Civil war, wounded from the battle of Mansfield were brought to the nearby Keachi Female College which served as a hospital. Both Union and confederate soldiers are buried there.

Today Keachi is a quiet town with about 250 residents. Community members enjoy gathering several times a year for traditional family activities such as music programs, hunter’s chili  cookout/hayrides, July 4th celebrations, and cemetery cleanup days. An active historical group meets regularly and sponsors several of the activities.

43 thoughts on “History of Keachi

  1. Came through Keachi a few days ago on my way to a family funeral. I remember the town and the buildings from traveling through as a child. Are there any plans to revitalize the town, the buildings? It would be a terrible shame for the town to disappear.

  2. Dear CJ, Yes those were great happenings in Keachi. But it was so much work and those events have a lifespan. Can’t go on forever. Come sometime for Halloween. It’s a special time.

  3. Hi Jonathan,
    I’m not the greatest Keachi historian and I’m about to leave town for two weeks, but I’ll see what I can find out for you when I get back. I know there is an old ledger book from the general store that goes back pretty far. Might have something. The closest river is in Logansport on the Texas border. I’m sure there was a ferry there. The public library there has a good Louisiana history collection that might be helpful. If you don’t hear back from me in two weeks, please remind me. And come for a visit!

  4. Our family, the Scoggins, sent slaves and overseer into the area in 1854, Graves came in soon and the Fishers. I am almost 90 and spent my summers there. The Wyatt store and Claud Armor’s were on each side of the street across from the Ford/gas station. There was a very old Post office there which was torn down and finally replaced with a brick small building. My mother was born in the old Fullilove place on the road out toward Texas which was still in good shape last time I was in Keatchie.. Chad Burford owns the land that belonged to my Fisher grandfather but had to burn the house down for such bad repair.

  5. You mentioned the fishers. Emily Pernicia Fisher is my great great grandmother she married John Allen Tharp Jr. They lived in Keatchi before settling in Roddy Texas.

  6. Hello, I just came across some new information that my great great grandmother was born in this town. I’m still trying to find information on her. I was told that she was Native American . Which tribes were in keatchie during the 1830’s-188’s? I know there was the Ouachita, Caddo there. If anyone have any information please let me know.

  7. I knew a man in Keachi who said his mother was native American, but I don’t know what tribe. I think the Keachi group were a branch of the Caddy, but I don’t really know much. If I find more I’ll let you know. Mary

  8. Some ancestors in Scotland were in contact with my parents, and sent copies of letters from Keachie’s who started the college. They were booted from history because they were active in educating the black youth of the time.

  9. Hi my family holds a legacy in Keatchie. My name is Shamorea McMillon/an. I love visiting my family’s land out there.

  10. Hi Shamorea,
    I think I met your family down on Smyrna Road. Next time you visit come see me on Hwy 5. There’s a sign at my gate that says HOMEPORT. My family has a legacy there too but I’m a relative newcomer…only 20 years now. Look forward to meeting you. Mary

  11. Hello, I have stumbled upon your site while looking for information regarding my great grandparents- my great grandmother was RI Scoggins from Keachie. I know she married Edward Beard and moved to Napa, California. Is Scoggins a familiar name in the community? I am just getting started in my research. Thank you

  12. Hello all,
    I recently completed the ancestry DNA and my results were mainly West African and Irish/Scotland. My great- great and great, and grandparents were from Keachi. Can anyone point me in the right direction to find out more info ? Thanks

  13. What was your family name? There were many living in that area that had both African and English/ Irish blood lines. Supposedly, mine did also, but no one will come forth with any documentation that verifies it, though they say they have it.

  14. My husband grandfather was born in Keatchie in 1896. His name was Alvah Elvin Estes. His father was Rueben Fitzgerald Estes. Is there any information you have on the Estes family?

  15. I don’t recall the name Estes from the cemetery records and I’m out of town so can’t ask around. If you could contact me again in August I could do a little looking for you.

  16. Hi there…I recently passed through your little town. What is the old building located at the crossroads? Looked like some work was taking place on the backside and it is near a confederate cemetery.

  17. Tracie, the Confederate cemetery is a bit west of the crossroads. The large building was an old plantation store dating to 1848. It is privately owned.

  18. I am a German. My family is from Keathcie. We used to go to the festival every year when I was young. The eldest living German I believe is my Aunt Shirley German. My grandma Annie “Kate “ German does several years ago. The state took our land because it was oil rich. I remember the court proceedings when I was a child. And yes Annie, Shirley, Tootie, Jessie, Huey, Jimmy, and Helen Marie, Sue, and Bobby, and others are Joe Germans kids. Sue and Bobbie moved the San Francisco in the sixties, and the rest moved to Houston. JImmy goes back and fourth.

  19. I don’t like how the article says Early Settlers, after the Indians. When in fact those black people the article speaks of are Indian. It’s time to stop this Black/African American narrative. We know who we are, the real Native American Indians. I’m sure all of the Indians did not die and some remained and were labeled black slaves. Please do more research!

  20. My ancesteral family lived on their1,200 plantation on John’s Road out by Four Corners. I have heard that my third great-granfather had a daughter that was black. Many say so and say they have documentation. I have asked numerous people to show me their verification of this and no one will. I also have heard that there were some local Indians involved in the family. Naturally “early settlers” were Native American. They were every where first.

  21. Im new at this planning a trip to visit would love more info.Found out my great great grandmothers name is Aggie Richardson McMillion.if anyone has info please share thanks

  22. Carla, I think there is a McMillion family that lives on Smyrna Road. Also south of Keachi there were McMillions. I don’t really know them but have heard the name. Happy ancestor hunting.

  23. I am seeking information on the Nathaniel Cargill Mason family. His wife Catherine Kesiah McMicken Mason died in the area in 1880. They had at least one son, John Randolph Mason who died in Smyrna in 1895. My great great grandmother may have been Kesiah’s sister, so I would like to get more information from their descendants.

  24. Hello, I’m interested in a few families that lived in Keachi in the 1850-1880: Moses Collins Jr, William Barnes, Richard Duke Foster, Jasper McMillan, John R Mason and Amanda Hollingsworth and Pipkins. Moses Collins’ plantation was on the north end of Smyrna Rd off Hwy 5. I’m particularly interested in Moses Collins’ slaves that were sold in his estate after his death in 1855.

    Hoping you can help. I’ve visited Keachi last year while researching for my book. I definitely intend to go back some day. Beautiful town and I have more to see. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Krista

  25. Krista, This is Mary Nesbitt. I live on family land in Keachi and am sorry I was out of town when you visited. One of my nephews is researching family history and can probably help you. We found what we think is the old Collins cemetery near Smyrna Rd. I’m terrible at history but would be happy to connect you. My direct email is tmnesbitt@yahoo.com and my cell is 318-347-2463. Keachi Acres is my farm and bnb on Hwy 5

  26. Hi Mary, Thanks for responding. I do plan on making another trip out there as soon as travel is safe again. I’d love to stay at your place. I appreciate the connection to your nephew.


  27. interested in the old fairview place about four miles outside keachie.

    I’m not familiar with the Fairview place but will ask around

  28. Ancestors from Keatchie (Keachi), Louisiana

    I am the great granddaughter of Jennie (Cornett) German and Joe German, I. and granddaughter of Joe German, II. Jennie was born in Keatchie in 1888 and lived there until around 1916 or 1917. She and her husband and mother, Sallie Williams Cornett moved to Palestine, Texas after her father Archibald’s death then to Houston. All three (3) are buried in the Baptist Chapel Cemetery (not sure of the cemetery’s name now). Other Cornetts and Germans buried in this cemetery are Julie “Jul” Cornett Jackson, Mary “Hun” Cornett Pipkin, Delia “Doll” Cornett Coleman, Beula Cornett, Rosie “Rosa” Cornett Lincoln, Mongo Cornett, Helen German Williams and several others. Cornett and German family members living outside Keatchie were brought back for burial until the early 1970s when safety and traveling costs became an issue.

    I am also the great great granddaughter of Matilda Talbert Delaney Perkins born around 1850 on the Talbert Plantation and Albert Perkins – born around 1859. Matilda is the daughter of James Leroy Talbert – a plantation owner in DeSoto (Caddo) Parish. Matilda is also the half-sister of Mariah (Maria, “Katie”) Williams Booten, my great great aunt, whose father is purportedly James Leroy Talbert as well. Matilda Talbert Delaney Perkins is said to be buried in the Talbert family’s cemetery at Four Forks in or near Keatchie, Louisiana.

    My great great grandfather, Arthur “Archibald” Cornett – an ex-confederate soldier and his close friends Wesley “Wes” Booten and Bonaparte “Bone” McMillon/an are all buried beside each other in the Confederate Memorial Cemetery in Keatchie, Louisiana. Archibald was from Missouri, Wes from Kentucky and Bone from Louisiana. They met while serving in the Civil War and mustered out near Shreveport, Louisiana. The 3 men took Black ex-enslave women as wives after the Civil War – Archibald – Sallie Williams, Wes – Mariah “Maria “Katie” Williams and Bone – Malissa Barnes. Archibald “Arthur” and Wes Booten initially settled in Panola County, Texas and later in Keatchie, Louisiana. Several of their children and grandchildren inter-married i.e. Carrie German Booten, Sallie “Pie” Cornett McMillon/an, Marvis Cornett McMillon/an, etc.

    As the story goes, Archibald operated a sawmill in Keatchie and a ferry on the Sabine River that took folks from the Louisiana side to Texas. He sold timber in Keatchie, Louisiana and Panola County, Texas.

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