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Washington Parish Community Preservation Alliance

Oak Grove Community

Also see: History of the Bouey Moore Place

A Community Lost

By Winford E. Pittman

Back in the early 1800’s five families moved onto an approximate five to seven mile stretch of land along Bogue Lusa Creek (Bogalusa Creek) which means “Black water.” These five families were the Moores, the Jones, the Carters, the Williams, and the Resters.

Right hand side back row standing left to right: Ella Mae Moore, Ellen Carter
Left hand side back row standing left to right: Lucy Williams, Eliza Williams, Ada Moore Rester
Right hand side middle row seated left to right: George Moore, Lavada Moore
Right hand side front row seated left to right: Edith Moore, Callie Carter

They soon became related through different marriages that took place as the families got established. These early pioneers established the moral standards of an area that we now know as the Oak Grove Community.

These early settlers were, and are still known, for their hospitality and charity not only towards each other, but also towards strangers that would come into their midst. It was the custom in the early days that if someone was in trouble or needed help, surrounding families would come to that person or that family’s aid. Whether it was to help plant or harvest a crop, build a house (Thomas Moore was killed by a falling tree while helping to build a log house for another family), or a barn.

If anyone had a death in their family, the other families would put any personal feelings aside and come together and pitch in with whatever was needed.  They would cooking, clean, or even help dig the grave.

If there was a family that needed food, all the other families along the creek would contribute what food they had - sometimes at the risk of cutting themselves short. Such was the way of life on the creek in those days.

Another significant thing that bonded these families together was their love of God. They would travel by walking, horses, or buggies once a month to someone’s house on a designated Sunday to hear what used to be called, “circuit riding preachers.” Those Sundays were an all day event in their lives. As years went by going to church once a month turned into twice a month. They stopped congregating at someone's house and started gathering on a hill over looking Bogalusa Creek which had a stand of red oak trees on it. Following the morning service beneath the shade of the trees, they would have what we would call, “dinner on the ground,” followed by an evening service. This tradition went on for a couple of years.

Left to right: J.B. and Whitte Jones

After the introduction of the car and real roads instead of trails, our families started holding Sunday services every Sunday. They soon decided that it was time to have a permanent meeting place.

On July 4, 1924, a name was chosen and a building was built on the hill over looking the Bogalusa Creek amongst the same stand of Oaks that once provided shade for their outdoor services. They called it Oak Grove Baptist Church.

Hence the stretch of land on Bogalusa Creek from the Bouey Moore Place up to and along the Choctaw Trail became known as the Oak Grove Community.

Over the years, the old plank church has evolved in to a beautiful, majestic building tucked into the Oaks. It stands as a beacon and serves as a reminder of the moral and spiritual standards that the members of Oak Grove Community still hold dear to this day.

Oak Grove Baptist Church
The old church has seen its share of happy and sad occasions as evidenced by the graves in it’s cemetery that it fervently stands watch over. It has weathered many a stormy night but remains a strong historical symbol to the residents of the Oak Grove Community.

When you visit this church quietly nestled into the oaks, you can literally feel the peacefulness of the surroundings and appreciate the history of how it came to be. 

Oak Grove is a rare community with deep rooted integrity.  If you travel through it and find yourself in need of assistance, you can stop at any house and be assured that they will go out of their way to help you in any way they can.

Treasured because of its old fashion values, people have come to our little community seeking out a secure place to raise their families or to live out their lives in a peace and harmony that only Oak Grove can offer.

We have little to no crime because we take care of each other.  We watch out for each others children, and we respect each other. Oak Grove may have some challenges but they are ours and we own them and take care of them as they come up.

The Oak Grove Community has grown considerably over the years bringing in some of the best people this world has to offer. You could safely say that the Oak Grove Community is our little slice of heaven on this earth, and we like it just the way it is.

Oak Grove Baptist Church Easter egg hunt 1958

The residents of Oak Grove are peace loving and laid back. You will not here much from them in the way of writing editorials or being vocal about their opinions to the general public. Almost two centuries later, we are still known for our kindness, hospitality, and charity.  We still practice coming to each other aid just like our ancestors did back in their day. It has become the signature of community strength not weakness.

Take heed, though we represent and live a peaceful life, we are prepared to and will defend our community when it’s threatened through every means available.

Very recently, the legislators of our great State of Louisiana, along with a handful of land developers have decided that a reservoir in this area and money is more important than the way of life that the Oak Grove has spent nearly two hundred years carving out for itself.

Should a reservoir be built in our community, it will wipe away all traces of our peaceful lives and our rich heritage. It will ignore the sacrifices that were made by our pioneer families who blazed the trail to create what we have today.  Sadly, if the reservoir can not be stopped, then the Oak Grove Community will be forever, a community lost!

Also see: History of the Bouey Moore Place