Union Parish Louisiana

Geography of Union Parish Louisiana

As European descendents migrated into the Ouachita Valley of northeastern Louisiana and southern Arkansas, their settlement patterns depended upon the physical geography of the region, especially the water courses and available farmland. Then as regions formed local governments, the political geography determines how settlers are located today in census, tax, and other government records. Thus, knowledge of both the physical and political geography forms an important tool in genealogical research.

Overview of Union Parish
The region we now know as Union Parish lies in northeastern Louisiana on the west side of the Ouachita River, the western border of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The land generally consists of gently rolling hills, originally covered mostly with beautiful pine trees. There are numerous cypress swamps, especially along the various waterways that crisscross the parish. Most of Union Parish consists of sandy soil peppered with deposits of red, sticky clay. The region was not particularly desirable for cultivation by the wealthy plantation owners, who generally chose the alluvial lands between the Mississippi and Ouachita Rivers. However, the Union Parish soils did attract thousands of small farmers from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee experienced in cultivating similar soils in those regions. For more details on how middle class farmers in the Old South migrated westward by choosing areas with similar soils, see Professor Frank Lawrence Owsley's Plain Folk of the Old South, Louisiana State University Press, Reprint edition (October 1982 – ISBN #0807110639).

Some of the known earliest descriptions of the soil and water of Union Parish come from brief comments about Union Parish made by George A. Hammond and A. C. Wade, the 1850 and 1860 census enumerators for the parish. Two later descriptions of Union Parish and its people were both made in 1892: the first by Martha R. Field and the second published in Goodspeed's History. A 1952 Shreveport Times article gives information on Union Parish in the mid-twentieth century.

Union Parish Louisiana Ward Designations
Union Parish Louisiana Water Courses
Union Parish Louisiana Maps
Union Parish Louisiana Land
Union Parish Place Names – US Geological Survey

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This page was last updated on 6 March 2010.

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