Vernon Parish: Looking Back

A True Vernon Parish Historian
Andrew Jackson “Jack” Hadnot
by Billy Crawford

Editor’s Note: Mr. Billy Crawford was a young teacher at Leesville High School when he first met Jack Hadnot.  His interest in the history of Vernon Parish was sparked by Mr. Hadnot. The following is Billy’s recollection of Jack Hadnot.

As a history club project, members of the LHS History Club met on Saturday mornings to help Mr. Jack catalog grave markers in several Vernon Parish cemeteries.

On another adventure, he would take a group of us arrow hunting. He explained that the Natchez and Caddo Indian tribes inhabited this area. The most luck we ever had was in the ditches along both sides of the highway between Leesville and Kisatchie.

We didn’t discover many, but when we did it was most exciting! I don’t remember what ever happened to them, but I recently viewed a local collection of arrow heads that reminded me of some that we found over 50 years ago.

“I want the future generations to know about the beginning of this section of the country whether it’s our parish or any other. If a person doesn’t know his history, he’s in bad shape because he can learn from the past.  He can learn to not make mistakes that someone else did.”

“Usually there isn’t a day that goes by that someone doesn’t call me about some type of information on a family in the parish. Some even call me about an old criminal case because of my work in the Clerk’s office. But I’m glad to help them out because the people of Vernon Parish have been good to me”, explained Jack.

Jack first became a history buff in the 1930’s when he began tracing his descendants all the way back to the Revolutionary War period in North Carolina. It was piqued while listening to his grandmother’s constant reminiscing, and, as a result, “it wore off on me.”

In his writings Jack told his story that after graduating from Leesville High he worked at three jobs—first at the old West Louisiana Bank for five years.

He then worked in Central America for two years for a fruit company before returning to Leesville, where he went to work in the Clerk’s office. He spent 30 years in the Clerk of Courts office, 12 years as deputy clerk. His last official act was to administer the oath of office to R.L. Winfree.

In 1992, Mrs. Hadnot donated her husband’s collection of papers to the Vernon Parish Library. The papers are an important collection on the history of Vernon Parish and are available on the library’s Digital Archives.