According to Mrs. Gunby’s article, the old Mangham residence was Rayville’s first house.
The article reads as follows:
Old Mangham Residence
Makes Way For Progress
By Mrs. Elizabeth Gunby
In September, 1967, a busy bulldozer up-rooted old-rooted oldfashed shrubbery and smoothed soft dirt to leave a cold, bare place in the heart of Rayville. And it left a sad spot in the hearts of the people, for this was the site of Rayville’s first house.
Built in 1869 by Wiley P, Mangham, founder and publisher of the Richland Beacon News, the little house had been occupied by the Mangham family until the death of Mrs. Eunice Mangham Trezevant in April of this year.
Mr. Mangham, a young Confed-erate veteran, emigrated to northeast Louisiana from his home in Alabama. It was on, a visit to see his brother, Henry G. Mangham, who lived in what is now Ward 4 of Richland Parish, that he meet and married Miss Carolyn Frances Emmeline- Lynn.
Their home, a modest structure of dog-trot design, was literally carved from the wilderness just about the time Richland Parish was created by Act 115 of 1868.
Made up of portions from Ouachita, Morehouse, Carroll and Franklin parishes, Rayville was designated the government seat for this newly created parish. Just across the rutted road from the Mangham, printing office and home, a white frame building became Richland Parish’s first courthouse.
Here in the shadow of the busy courthouse, the Mangham family began and grew with the growing town.
There was a large family of children, three of whom died in early childhood. Four of the children, Hervey, Horace, Eunice and Irma, survived through illnesses of swamp fever that plagued the early settlers. Mrs. Irma Mangham Buie is the surviving member today and makes her home in Houston, Texas.
In the early life of Rayville, the Mangham home was the meeting place for various groups and organizations. The first Baptist Church in Rayville originated in this house.
Mrs. Mangham, affectionately called “Miss Fanny,” was a devoted gardener. Besides a wide variety of flowers and shrubs, she was famous for her garden of healing herbs. These she used in the treatment of various ailments that beset the people. Nursing her neighbors was a big part of Mrs. Mangham’s life.
The Mangham house had more rooms added as the family grew.
Far to the rear stood a large barn that housed a team of horses and the family carriage. When time came to widen and pave the muddy road out front half of the high roofed front porch was sawed off to make a space for the cement sidewalk.
Through the years, Mrs. Mangham’s tiny shrubs became tall bushes that made a thickety place around the rambling weather-beaten house. A giant pecan tree out back stretched long protective arms over the house where Mrs. Trezevant lived all alone. Here in the front room she had filed and guarded almost every issue published of her father’s newspaper since the first one came out January 14, 1869. With her death in April, time came for disposition of the property.
There was a screech of ripping planks and thud of falling timbers as the town’s first house came tumbling down. The sight and sound saddened people who curiously roamed about the empty shell.
Faded wallpaper ripped from the walls revealed broad cypress boards, still in perfect condition. W
orn, warped planks pryed from the floor bared the foundation of band-hewn cypress logs. Square head nails that held the old house together, were treasured mementoes for the sentimentalist.
Three tall, multi-trunk crepe myrtle trees planted 90 years ago, still stand on the front porch corner of the lot and the giant pecan tree remains in the rear.
“The directors wanted to Ii!ave them,” said Fred Morgan, president of the Richland State Bank, which bought the property.
And when asked what the bank planned to do with it, he replied, “It will be used for future expansions.”
And so begins a new chapter in Rayville’s colorful history.