VANORSDEL CEMETERY, Is located in the Southwest Corner of the Northeast
1/4 of the Northwest 1/4 of Section 15, Township 18 North, Range 10 West.
It is enclosed by a cyclone fence approximately 40 ft by 40 ft.
It contains 10 generic concrete headstones. It also contains one
headstone that includes the two following inscriptions.
HEADSTONE**DEATH**AGE AT DEATH
Gronison V. VANORSDEL**Aug 17, 1918**61 yrs, 8 mo, 20 days
Clara Jackson VANORSDEL.Oct 20, 1917**59 yrs,6 mo,4 days
An indepth search for an obituary on Gronison or Clara Vanorsdel, in
the Shreveport Times, the Minden newspapers and the Bossier Banner and
the Bossier Press Tribune of that time frame reveals nothing about this
The original archeological survey concerning this area included
testimony from a granddaughter of Granison & Clara Vanorsdel who revealed
others interred at the cemetery were;
OTHER POSSIBLE GRAVES
Mariah Vanorsdel HARRIS, a daughter
William VANORSDEL, a son
Candy VANORSDEL, a brother
E. H. FULLER, a grandson of Mariah Vanorsdel Harris
Unidentified grandchild of Mariah Vanorsdel Harris
Unidentified child of people who lived on the Vanorsdel place.
The same 1980's survey reported;
"Deed records and grave markers indicate that the Van Arsdale (sic)
Cemetery dates from the World War I period when Grandison (sic) and Clara
Van Arsdale (sic) were intered there. The site is not the location of
significant landscape features or funerary art; however, the information
gathered to date suggests that the Van Arsdales (sic) were an important
Black family in the eastern portion of the Plant who may have come to the
area as slaves and who later accumulated a sizable amount of property
which they farmed until 1941. Other sites are known to have been
asssociated with the Van Arsdales were so badly disturbed by the
government after 1941 that they cannnot be considered eligible for
listing on the National Register of Historic Places. As a result, the Van
Arsdale Cemetery remains the most intact and least distrubed site on the
Plant that is associated with this Black family. It is recommended,
therefore, that the Cemetery be considered potentially eligible for
listing on the National Register. A final, more complete assessment would
be made as additional historical research is carried out at the Plant.
Such additional research will contribute information concerning the
historical development of the area as a whole and thus the relative
importance of the Van Arsdale family."
The same archeological survey recorded that "Tom Vanorsdel built his
home and syrup mill southeast of the intersection of Fourth Street and
Java Road, Lucius Vanorsdel built a home just south of the water tower
adjacent to Fourth Street, Charles Vanorsdel's house was located north of
Lucius, and Clemmie Vanorsdel 's home was near the cemetery. Evidence of
most of these housesites is apparent on a 1916 Webster Parish soil survey
map and/or the 1939 aerial photograph of the area."
The author's interview with the great-nephew (Candy Vanorsdel's
grandson) of Gronison Vanorsdel revealed many interesting aspects of
Gronison Vanorsdel's life.
I had noticed in my research that the land was originally owned by Wm.
Vanorsdel, a white man who owned 38 slaves at the outbreak of the Civil
War. Mr. Vanorsdel's death in 1867 caused quite a stir because he was
murdered by three desperadoes from Texas. A $1500 reward was offered for
the capture of Kit Gregory, about 18 years old, black hair and eyes, and
a down-cast look, his complexion is dark or rather yellow, speaks very
little and slowly, and weighs about 125 pounds, 5 feet 2 or 3 inches
high; Ben Gregory, about 20 years old, black hair and eyes, his eyes
quite small, his complexion is yellow or sunburnt, about 6 feet high,
very slim and will weigh about 130 or 133 pounds; and also Jim White,
about 23 years old, dark hair and rather blue eyes, about 5 feet 8 or 9
inches high, well made, and a great talker, and one of his arms (thought
to be left) is crooked from being once broken. The money was offered by
several friends and neighbors of Wm. Vanorsdel, including A. McIntyre (of
McIntyre), D. B. Doyle (of Doyline fame), and W. F. Boon (who Boone Creek
is named after).
After Wm. Vanorsdel's death he apparently left no known descendents,
for out of state relatives claimed his massive fortune and forced it's
Years later Gronison Vanorsdel, mulatto, returned and purchased the
old homesite. My suspicions where confirmed when I interviewed the
descendents. He did reveal that Gronison was the son of Wm. Vanorsdel
(white) and had taken his fathers name after emancipation. (That was the
technique, negroes did not take the name of their master after the Civil
War, but that of their biological father.) The descendent revealed that
Gronison's mother had been a cook in the plantation of Wm. Vanorsdel.http://files.usgwarchives.net/la/bossier/cemeteries/laapgrv....