Just across the railroad tracks from US Hwy. 171, halfway between the
community of Neame and Pinewood in southern Vernon Parish, there once
existed a notorious saloon called "Doggie." During the 11 years the
whistle stop was in existence, more than a dozen people had occasion to
"give up their life" on or near the property. Most of these unfortunates
were buried in unmarked graves near the saloon, as there was no one to
claim their body.
The saloon came into existence about 1896 when the Kansas City
Pittsburgh and Gulf Railroad was being extended through Vernon Parish
toward Port Arthur, Texas. At this time the community of Neame was only a
wilderness, but with the advent of the construction work it became a small
boomtown. Many of the railroad workers, some who had just immigrated to
America and had no families, came to the area to work. Before the dust
had settled on the railroad community, the saloon man with his wagon,
tent, and whiskey arrived.
The railroad contractor would not allow a saloon to be erected near
their campsite. In fact, an appropriate distance had to be too far for a
man working twelve hours a day to want to walk over to the saloon for a
drink. With these guidelines, the proprietor of the saloon moved his
gear down the road, and operated out of his tent for the next two years.
When work on the railroad was completed in the area, the company moved
to the next location. Ordinarily the whiskey business would also move
to the new location, but a new sawmill was being built at Neame, and
the saloon proprietor decided to become more permanent. He quickly built
a frame building in the same location, and "whistle stop liquor" was no
longer served in the tent. The new building was larger than most
drinking establishments of the day, and now took on the name of Doggie.
In short order, Doggie became a virtual den of iniquity with all types
of gambling available, saloon girls to encourage customers to drink,
and anything else that could part the customer from his money was
allowed. As most men used the railroad track as a walkway from Neame to
Doggie, it is not surprising that in the dark of night, many a man lost his
bankroll, and sometimes his life, to highwaymen.
The ownership of Doggie changed hands several times during its eleven
years of existence. The best-known owners were the partnership of
Howell and Hill. Howell had a dark complexion, was heavy set and wore long
hair that dangled on his shoulders. One night an argument arose when
Howell accused Hill of taking $500.00 from the moneybox. Hill, of
course, denied the deed, and during the ensuing altercation he was killed.
The fight occurred behind the bar while the two men were supposed to be
waiting on customers. Hill's body was moved to the back room and
business continued as if nothing had happened. It was reported that
Howell walked in Hill's blood while he continued to serve his customers.
In short order, Howell was arrested and placed in the Vernon Parish
jail, where he was held without bond on a murder charge. He was
represented at the trial by the brother of the prosecutor. The case
resulted in a mistrial, whereupon Howell's bond was quickly paid by the
gamblers who had come to witness the trial. Once free, Howell left the
country and was never heard from again. Several years ago, it was reported
that there were several graves just a few yards from the site where Doggie
was once located. Only two of the graves were marked, one with a small metal
marker that was no longer readable. The remaining large tombstone was obviously not from the
Doggie era, but the unmarked burials probably were. In later years when
the trees in the area were cut, a fence was placed around the small
Submitted by Jane P. Mc Manus
- Added: 8 Jul 2012
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #2456660
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