Tracing Washington Parish's rich past



WPSO's Rich History

Thomas Dalphus Bickham

He was born April 28, 1844, near Franklinton. Elected Sheriff of Washington Parish in 1878 and served 6 years as Sheriff.

He was the owner, at one time, of the New Era, a newspaper published in Franklinton.

His father Thomas Carroll Bickham was Sheriff of the parish from 1849-1851. He was in the confederate military service and also in the cavalry as a young man.

Francis Martin Brown

He was born January 18, 1849, in Tangipahoa Parish. He served as Washington Parish Tax Assessor for 4 years. Brown was elected Sheriff of Washington Parish in 1884 and served 2 terms.

After the death of Henry Burkhalter in 1899, Brown was appointed Sheriff until an election could be held in 1900.

Brown and his family lived on 10th Avenue in Franklinton. After he retired from politics he became Vice President of the Washington Parish Bank & Trust Company.

Henry S. Burkhalter

He was born in 1854 in Washington Parish. Elected Sheriff of Washington Parish in 1892 and was re-elected in 1896. He was the Sheriff when the Courthouse burned to the ground in 1892 and all of the permanant records were destroyed.

Sheriff Henry Burkhalter was accidentally shot and killed when a deputy's shotgun discharged. Sheriff Burkhalter was riding with a posse in search of several family members wanted for murder. One of the deputies was dismounting his horse when his shotgun was knocked against the saddle. The impact forced one of the hammers down and caused the shotgun to discharge. The blast struck Sheriff Burkhalter in the chest.

Sheriff Burkhalter had served with the Washington Parish Sheriff's Department for 7 years. He was survived by his wife and six children and is buried in Ellis Cemetery, Franklinton, Washington Parish, Louisiana.

Henry Norman Simmons

He was born in June 5, 1866 in Washington Parish. He was elected Sheriff of Washington Parish in 1900. He took the oath of office in 1901, but resigned on July 20, 1903 for an unknown reason.

Simmons brother Thomas J. Simmons filled his brother’s unexpired term, and Henry Simmons remained a deputy while his brother was Sheriff.

Joe N. Magee

He was born and raised in Washington Parish. He served as Sheriff from 1904-1912.

During his tenure in office, he had a deputy killed by the name of Ed Pierce. Pierce was killed while trying arrest a man.

After leaving the Sheriff’s Office, Magee was employed by the Great Southern Lumber Company in Bogalusa. Later he was appointed District Game Warden, the position he held until his death.

Thomas Jefferson Simmons, Jr.

He was born in Washington Parish on July 10, 1870.

In 1903, he finished the unexpired term of his brother, Norman Simmons. He was elected Sheriff in 1912 but was defeated for re-election.

In 1911, the first fair was held in his Livery & Feed stables in Franklinton, and he and his wife opened Fern Hotel in Franklinton.

Jason E. Bateman

He was born February 10, 1869 in Washington Parish. He was elected Sheriff in 1916 and held the position for 2 terms.

March 1923, two of his deputies were killed. There was a memorial erected in their memory on the Courthouse Square.

Someone spoke with Sheriff Bateman’s daughter, before her death, and she talked about the murders and how the Sheriff contacted Mrs. King, a fortune teller, to help locate the missing deputies.

Hardy Chesley Richardson

He was born on April 1, 1869 in Washington Parish.

Richardson owned his own store and saw mill. In 1913, he received the appointment as Franklinton Postmaster. In 1923, he ran for Sheriff and was elected in 1924

He held the office for eight years, while in office there was a lot of gambling in Bogalusa. They gambled downstairs in a building where there was a balcony and spectators came to watch. The Sheriff put on an old cap, denim jacket and went single handed to raid the “casino.” They had gamblers and spectators jumping out of windows and off the balcony to evade capture.

After leaving the office of the Sheriff, he was elected to the Senate, a position he held for 2 terms.

The bridge in Franklinton over the Bogue River was named in his honor.

Jeptha Latimer Brock

Dr. Brock was born and raised in Washington Parish. He was a physician residing in Franklinton, when he was elected Sheriff in 1932 and held the office for eight years.

While Sheriff, there was a state law that all cattle had to be dipped and there were dipping vats dug in each community where you could drive your animals to be dipped. There was a family in the Clifton area that would not dip their cows and Deputy Delos Wood went to their home. Deputy Wood was hard of hearing, and when the owner of the home told him to stop coming near his home, he was unheard. As Wood continued to approach the home, the owner shot and killed him.

From 1912-1920, Brock was the Parish Coroner.

Lloyd H. Mulina

He was born August 27, 1889 in ward one of Washington Parish.

As a young man, Mulina moved to Franklinton and was elected Police Juror of the third ward. He also served as President of the Police Jury. He was elected Sheriff and served two terms 1940-1948. He served as Sheriff during World War II.

He was credited with keeping Washington Parish from questionable gambling as well as his predecessors.

After leaving office, he was appointed Parole Officer by Governor Earl Long. Later, he was assistant Warder at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

Mulina served on the Franklinton Board of Alderman, a position he held until his death in 1958.

Dorman A. Crowe

He was born on May 20, 1915 and raised in Washington Parish. He was in the army during WWII. When he returned home he ran for Sheriff and was elected. He held this position for 20 years and 1 month 1948-1968. When he took office the law was that you take office within 20 days after the governor signs commission. Later the law changed and now the Sheriff takes office July 1st. He is the only Sheriff that held office for 4 terms

He also was the first Sheriff to hire black deputies. He hired Creed Rogers and O’Neal Moore and approximately a year later O’Neal Moore was killed while on patrol with Creed Rogers.

In the mid 60’s in the midst of turmoil of integration he had to keep peace between the races.

Willie J. Blair

He was born in Washington Parish on November 17, 1925 and died October 6, 1991. After finishing Bogalusa High School, he entered the United State army and served in the 30th Infantry Division in Germany for the last years of WWII.

After the war he returned to Washington Parish and became the permanent deputy officer of the local Louisiana National Guard and remained with the Guard until his retirement.

Blair was elected Sheriff, the position he held from July 1, 1968 until June 30, 1980. His school training included a number of specialty schools including Louisiana Enforcement Training Academy

After leaving the Sheriff’s office, he operated a Basic Bond Service in Franklinton.

Robert Earl Lyons

He was born and raised in Washington Parish. He attended Southeastern Louisiana University where he attained his Bachelor’s degree.

Before being elected Sheriff, he was Juvenile officer for the city of Bogalusa

He was elected Sheriff in 1979 and took office July 1, 1980. He served as Sheriff until July 1982 when he resigned.

After leaving the office of the Sheriff, he returned to college and received his Masters of Social Work from Tulane University, in New Orleans. He worked for Greenbrier Hospital in the Mental Health division. He died in an automobile accident on October 8, 1988.

Billy L. Gill

He was born on August 20, 1936 in Washington Parish.

He was appointed Sheriff on July 1, 1982, when Robert L. Lyons resigned. He was the first Chief Criminal Deputy appointed Sheriff in Washington parish since this law went into effect. Before then the Coroner was appointed Sheriff until an election could be held. He held this position until December 9, 1982.

Before becoming Chief Criminal Deputy he was retired from Bogalusa Police Department.

Benny Rayburn

He was born on December 23, 1944 in Washington Parish.

He graduated in 1962 from Bogalusa High School and attended Southeastern Louisiana University.

He served as Sheriff of Washington Parish from 1982 until 1992.

After serving as Sheriff, he worked for the office of Rural Development and the B.B. "Sixty" Rayburn Correctional Institute in Washington Parish. He also was a horse trainer and was state steward for the Louisiana Racing Commission.

He died December 14, 2006 at the age of 61.

Duane Blair

He was born December 17, 1954 in Washington Parish

He is the son of the late, former Sheriff, Willie J. Blair and Wilma Ruth Smith Blair. After finishing Pine High School, Blair attended Nichols State University on an Athletic Scholarship. From 1988 until 1991 he was the basketball coach for Bowling Green High School in Franklinton. He was named Washington Parish coach of the Year.

Blair served as Deputy Sheriff for his father and when he left the Sheriff’s Office in 1980, he was Chief Criminal Deputy.

He was elected Sheriff and took office July 1, 1992.

Blair immediately asked the people to pass a Law Enforcement Tax, that would upgrade the department to better serve the people. He instituted the program, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.). In this program, officers give presentations in schools throughout Washington Parish and teach students not to use drugs.

He also served as sponsor and grant administrator for Washington Parish Rape Crisis Center. He had classes throughout the parish.

Blair also instituted the Triad Program for Senior Citizens, teaching them how to protect themselves.

He also computerized the department.

Jewell Scott Blair

He was born in Bogalusa on March 13, 1955. He is one of four children born to O.J. Blair and the late Roxanne Blair Burris. He married Theresa Jones Blair in 1976 and had 2 children, Jay and Michael Blair before Theresa passed away in 1987. He then married Susan Blair. After graduating Bowling Green in 1973, Blair attended both LSU and SLU.

He began his law enforcement career in 1975 working for his uncle, Sheriff Willie J. Blair. Blair left the Sheriff’s office in 1977 to enter private business with his father-in-law, Frank Jones. He worked with Jones until 1992, when he went back to the Sheriff’s Office as Chief Criminal Deputy for his cousin Sheriff Duane Blair. He remained in that position until May 2001, when he became Sheriff after Duane Blair resigned. He remained Sheriff until November of that year when Aubrey Jones was elected to fill the unexpired term or Duane Blair.

Blair left the office again and began All Star Graphics that he owned and operated until rejoining the Sheriff’s Office in July 2008. He was appointed Chief Criminal Deputy once again, this time by Sheriff Robert J. Crowe. He remained in that position until 2012.

Aubrey Jones

He was born July 31, 1949. Jones was the youngest of 14 children to the late Marvin and Gertrude Crain Jones. He was married to Jean McNeese Jones. Jones has one son, Brent.

Jones served in the United States Army in 1969 until 1970. He retired from the Louisiana State Police with twenty years of service. Prior to being elected Sheriff, he was employed by the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office for 9 ½ years. Jones served as Sheriff for 6 ½ years from November 27, 2001 until June 30, 2008.

Randy "Country" Seal

Since its formation in 1819, Washington Parish has been served by numerous sheriffs. Randy "Country" Seal was elected Sheriff in 2011, re-elected for a second term in 2015, and then elected again for a third term in 2019. His third term will expire the end of June, 2024.  Prior to taking office as Sheriff of Washington Parish, Sheriff Seal served as Tax Assessor for eighteen years and is a Certified Louisiana Assessor.

A native of the Village of Varnado in the northeastern quadrant of Washington Parish, Sheriff Seal received his baccalaureate degree in Social Studies Education for the University of Central Oklahoma and his Master's Degree in Administration and Supervision from Southeastern Louisiana University. He is a graduate of the National Sheriffs' Institute, the Louisiana Sheriffs' Institute and the LSU Law Enforcement Basic Training Academy.  Prior to his election as Assessor, Sheriff Seal worked as a deputy sheriff for the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office, a teacher at Rayburn Correctional Center, and a teacher in the public schools of Washington Parish.

Sheriff Seal is married to Sheila Brennan Seal. They have five children and eight grandchildren.