Newellton, Louisiana

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Newellton is a town in northern Tensas Parish in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The population was 1,482 at the 2000 census. Newellton is 65 percent African American. It is just west of the Mississippi River on Lake St. Joseph, an ox-bow lake. Further south toward St. Joseph is Lake Bruin, another ox-bow lake, a part of which is the popular Lake Bruin State Park.



The French explorer La Salle passed through the Newellton area in 1682 as he followed the Mississippi River to its mouth near the future New Orleans. Newellton itself was founded in the early 19th century by the Routh family, for whom the former Routhwood Elementary School was named. John David Stokes Newell, Sr. (1837–1899), a planter and lawyer in St. Joseph, the seat of Tensas Parish, named the settlement for his father, Edward D. Newell (1810–1888), a native of North Carolina who relocated to Tensas Parish in 1834.

John Newell was a Confederate veteran who joined the Tensas Cavalry and fought in 1862 in both Shiloh, Tennessee, and Corinth, Mississippi. In 1864, he married Nannie Newell, a first cousin, and they had four sons. After the Civil War, he returned to cotton planting on the Cypress Plantation and resumed his legal practice. He promoted public education and was named president of the Tensas Parish School Board in 1866 and again in 1892. He died in St. Joseph and is interred at Vicksburg.

The Newell Cemetery on State Highway 575 offers the history of the Newell family on a marble archway at the entrance.[1]

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