Many, Louisiana

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Many is a town in and the parish seat of Sabine Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 2,889 at the 2000 census. The town was named for John B. Many, the commander of nearby Fort Jesup.



On March 21, 1843, the Louisiana Legislature under the administration of Gov. Alexander Mouton passed Act 46, which carved up the gigantic Natchitoches Parish creating new parishes, including Sabine, DeSoto and Bossier. Act 46 specified that the seat of government for the newly-created Sabine Parish would be named Many, in honor of Colonel James B. Many, one of the most popular and colorful officers serving at nearby Fort Jesup.

Col. Many started his Army life at Fort Jesup in 1827. There, he served as a genial host for many cotillions, band concerts, parties and gatherings which glamorized the social life of the post where civilians were always welcome. Legislative Act 46 further empowered the governor to appoint a sheriff and a parish judge for Sabine. The judge would be assigned to create 5-7 wards and to authorize an election for the selection of an equivalent number of police jurors.

The act also specified that the parish judge would then call a meeting of the newly-elected members of the jury for the "purpose of locating a seat of justice and causing to be erected the necessary public buildings." The act specifically stated that the parish seat would have to be located within three miles (5 km) of the center of the parish.

William R. D. Speight was named as the parish judge, and he created seven wards. Elected to the police jury were T. Arthur, B. R. Biles, W. Estes, Robert B. Stille, J. R. Smart, A. Savell and S. S. Eason. As instructed by the legislature, the new governing authority of the parish now had to determine exactly where the new parish seat would be located. As the first and still only permanent settlement in Sabine Parish, and the only place resembling a town, Fort Jesup seemed to be the likely candidate to become the parish seat. But because it was a federal military reservation and lacked a few miles from being centrally located in the parish, officials were forced to look for a different site for the parish seat.

The area that today is downtown Many was next targeted as the parish seat of government. The focus on the area was likely due to the popularity of a country tavern, inn and store that went by the name of Baldwin. Baldwin's tavern and Baldwin's Store were located along the El Camino Real at a point where some minor roads intersected. The store and tavern had become a popular stopping place for the many travelers of the El Camino Real.

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