The Jennings Daily Record

Jefferson Davis Parish

The town of Jennings, Louisiana, was named after Jennings McComb, a contractor for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Its first settler, A. D. McFarlain, arrived there from St. Mary Parish in 1881. Most of its earliest settlers were Midwestern wheat farmers who had been lured to the fertile prairies of southwest Louisiana in the 1880s by land agents and agricultural promoters. These farmers applied their knowledge of grain production to a crop that was well suited to the region’s geography and climate—rice. The North American Land and Timber Company promoted the area  further around 1900. Much of Jennings burned in 1901, just one year after it was officially incorporated and the same year that it became the site of the first oil well drilled in Louisiana. Now the seat of Jefferson Davis Parish, Jennings was part of Calcasieu Parish until 1912.

The Jennings Daily Record was published by Nelson L. Miller (1860-1934).Born in Iowa, Miller moved to Cameron Parish in 1891 and began publishing a newspaper, the Lakeside Review, with his father C. F. Miller. In 1896 he moved to Jennings and published the Southern Record a weekly. The Daily Record, founded in 1900, billed itself as an independent newspaper and the “unofficial organ of the town of Jennings.” It was published Monday through Friday in four pages and on Saturday in eight pages.

Reporting covered a wide variety of domestic and international topics. Local news focused on the Jennings oil boom and the developing rice market. Agriculture was discussed throughout the paper, but also in special columns such as “Dairy and Poultry” and “Road and Farm Improvement.” Social issues were covered in some detail, including the international labor movement, strikes at local rice mills, and the nationwide temperance crusade. Fiction was printed for readers of all ages, together with illustrated stories on subjects ranging from art and science to sports, fashion, and theater. The Record offered stirring accounts of the Jennings fire of November 4, 1901, and chronicled the subsequent rebuilding of the town. Also of interest are accounts of oil well blowouts and fires, both in Louisiana and the neighboring state of Texas.

In 1903, the Jennings Daily Record merged with the Daily Times of Jennings to form the Jennings Daily Times-Record.