Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Local museum updates past

Staff Report

Dorcheat Historical Association Museum has several new exhibits to highlight the recent work being done in the Military and the Religion section of the museum and a new temporary exhibit showcasing the Chaffe family in Minden during the 1800s.

Museum director, Schelley Francis said admission is free, Tuesday through Saturday, making it possible for anyone who wishes to tour the museum to have that opportunity.

"I encourage people to book group tours by calling the museum at 377-3002," Francis said. "You get so much more out of your museum experience if you plan the guided tour."

The following description of the Chaffe family is from Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana printed in 1890.

"Christopher Chaffe, proprietor of Minden foundry and livery stable, Minden, La. Among the enterprising, pushing, thoroughgoing and public spirited citizens of Minden and Webster Par., Louisiana the above mentioned gentleman ranks among the first. He is a native of England, born in Devonshire County on January 8, 1818, and his parents, John and Johanna (Skelton) Chaffe, were natives of the same country.

"John Chaffe was a blacksmith and farmer, and carried on a prosperous business until his death in 1848. His widow survived him several years, and died in her native country when eighty-two years of age.

"Christopher Chaffe learned the blacksmith's trade with his father, and remained with him until twenty-nine years of age, at which time he started out for himself. He remained in his native country until 1840, and then immigrated to the States, locating at Minden, La., where he has since resided. Here he has met with varied success. He built a shop and started in business here in 1851, but an enemy burned his shop in the same year. He soon bought out a foundry, established himself here, and also built a barn in 1854 in order to engage in the livery business. He has been carrying on a successful business here for years. In 1880 he met with another loss by fire, his gin house being burned. In 1887 his residence was burned. He rebuilt the house the same year, but this too, was destroyed by fire in 1888, together with his livery barn and office.

"At no time has Mr. Chaffe been discouraged, but began anew with renewed energy and determination, being better fixed to-day than at any past time. He has a large, new, substantial residence, a farm of about 500 acres with 300 acres under cultivation, the gin is kept busy and he is doing a fair livery business.

"In 1854 Mr. Chaffe took a mail contract and started a mail line to Monroe from Minden. In 1856 he also took a mail contract from Shreveport to Vicksburg, and established a daily line. He had several mail contracts during the war, and is still in the Government service as a mail contractor.

"Mr. Chaffe was married in England on May 29, 1848, to Miss Jane Farley, a most estimable lady, who died here in 1867. She was his devoted wife and helpmate for nineteen years, and was a faithful and consistent member of the Episcopal Church. To his marriage were born six children, viz.: Charles (married, resided in Texas), Arthur (married and resides in Minden), Clarence, Jeanette, Lizzie and Trebly. Mr. Chaffe and family are members of the Episcopal Church."

To learn more about the museum you can visit the web site at www.museuminminden.blogspot.com or find Dorcheat Museum on Facebook.

The museum, located at 116 Pearl Street, is the perfect place to learn more about Webster Parish.






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