The following are excerpts from the journal of Elder Tobe Felkins, the first Mormon missionary to proselyte in Union Parish, Louisiana; when visiting Holmesville for the first time, Felkins became friends with Liliston Leroy Pardue (1830-1906). At this time Elder Felkins was traveling with his missionary companion, Elder Thomas G. Fraser.
April 26, 1898
A lovely cool day. We ate a hearty breakfast and started out for the Homesville settlement. We first visited Mr. Wilson, the postmaster, and he proved to be friendly, and he gave us the names of the trustees of the Homesville School House. […]
April 27, 1898
A clear cool morn. […] Started on a 3 mile trip to see the 5[th] trustee, and we found him all right, and he very kindly gave us permission to hold some meetings in the school house. So then the next thing for us to do was to walk about 5 miles to get back to the Homesville settlement and notify the people of the meeting. […]
April 28, 1898
[…] This being fast we did not eat breakfast. So after we done our visiting we visited a few families, and one of the few was a very old gentleman, Mr. L[iliston] Pardue, Homesville, Union Parish, La. He met us at the gate and said, “I am glad that you came to see me, I have been looking for you for some time,” and invited us in and introduced us to his family, his wife, 4 daughters and 2 sons, all that he has at home with him. By and by the dinner bell rang and we answer the ring by appearing at the turning table spread with food, and the family proved to be very friendly to us, and the old gentleman was very jolly and made us welcome and told us that we was welcome to come to his house at any time and stay as long as wanted to.
We spent the afternoon with them and his daughters sang and played on the organ, and then we had a long talk upon the gospel and the afternoon passed away very nicely. Just before supper he told us if we had any washing that we wanted done to leave it, and he would have it done for us, and we thanked him and left our dirty clothes. So supper was prepared and we partook hearty of the apple cobbler and other food that had been prepared for us.
Then we started out to Homesville to hold meeting, and the old gentleman kindly invited us to come back and spend the night with them. So when we got to the meeting house we found the house lit and a large crowd came out, much larger than the night before, and the young people sang for us, and we had a nice time. So after meeting we returned to our friends, Mr. L[iliston] Pardue, and spent the night in peace. We sold him a Book of Mormon.
April 29, 1898
We arose this morning feeling ill, but a very cloudy morning and looking very much like rain. After breakfast we started out to visit a few families that we had missed when passing through the settlement once before.
We walked some distance and it began to rain, but not very hard. By and by we came to a meeting house known as the Nebo Church, so we stayed in as it was not any trouble to gain an entrance as 3 doors and 2 windows was open. We are resting and waiting for it to quit raining. I am writing my journal and Elder Fraser is sitting by my side a reading and everything seems very quiet. […]
Then we called on an old gentleman, Mr. Wilson. […] We stayed for about 2 hours and the old man did not come, and I said to Elder Fraser, “I think that we will go and visit a few more families,” and the old lady asked us to hold prayer with them before we left, and she invited 2 of her neighbors in and we sang a song, and I read the 6[th] chapter of Heb[rews] and prayed for them. […]
Then we went to Holmesville and held a meeting, and there was a large crowd out and we had a very nice time. […]
April 30, 1898
A beautiful morning. […] We called on a family of kind friends, Mr. L[iliston] Pardue, and spent a 2 or 3 hours with them, and they insisted that we should take dinner with them, but we had promised to take dinner with E. J. Calk, a very kind friend. So Brother Pardue’s girls sang a few songs and played the organ. They have treated us very kind. They done our washing very nicely for us. […] So after dinner I done some writing. We was sorry that we could not take dinner with the Pardue family for they had sent one of the boys out to gather some mayhaws to make some pies for dinner, and also some young Irish potatoes. They were preparing a nice dinner for us, so we learned, but our promise was out so we felt it our duty to make good our promise, and we did so. […]
So in the afternoon we went to a different neighborhood. We walked 5 miles to Rugg’s Bluff and spent the night with Mr. W[illiam] H[enry] Wall and was kindly treated.
Source: MSS 16312. Tobe Felkins papers, 1895-1932. Church History Library. Th Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Transcription, T. Antley, 2013.