History of Morehouse Parish
Morehouse Parish – Morehouse Parish has a rich ancestry of Irish, English, German and French. It was originally part of Ouachita County, which was the area between the Red and Mississippi Rivers north to the Missouri River. The area became a Spanish territory in 1769 and in 1785, a Frenchman in the Spanish military was told to establish settlements. Ten years later, Felipe Enrique Neri, the Baron de Bastrop, who had been banished from France and whose French properties had been confiscated in the Revolution, was told that if he would help populate the area, he would be given a grant of over a million square acres of land. Abraham Morehouse of Kentucky was hired to encourage the immigration to the area and later bought the grant from Neri.
Morehouse Parish was created in 1844 due to population increases and included parts of what is now Richland Parish. River traffic and the steamboat era had a big impact on the population of Morehouse Parish, as well as the railroad, which came through the parish after 1890.
By 1900, Bastrop had a population of roughly 800 people, Mer Rouge had 500 people and Collinston, Oak Ridge and Bonita each had approximately 300 people. Today, Bastrop’s population is over 12,500; Collinston’s population is around 350; Mer Rouge has a population of around 700; Bonita, 335 and Oak Ridge around 150. The total population of Morehouse Parish is approximately 28,000. By most accounts, this is a small place and, in numbers, maybe it is. But, Morehouse Parish has a heart and sense of community that can not be found in big cities. Morehouse Parish has much to offer those seeking a “quieter, calmer” pace.