Home Advocate

Union Parish

Farmerville is the seat of Union Parish, Louisiana, a rural, agricultural parish that forms part of the state’s northern border with Arkansas. Founded in 1839, the parish had grown in population to about 15,000 by 1885, when the Home Advocate was founded by Thomas Charles Lewis (1838-1900). A well-known lawyer and judge, Lewis had formerly edited the Union Record [LCCN: sn85034337]. Around 1879, a political dispute with a rival editor, the northern-born judge James Etherington Trimble of the Farmerville Gazette [LCCN: sn88064076], became so heated that Lewis feared for his life. He left the parish, not returning until 1884, when he purchased the printing equipment of the North Louisiana Appeal and began publishing a new paper, the Home Advocate. The feud with Trimble was soon reignited and only ended when Trimble and Lewis’s friend James Ramsey, an attorney, killed each other in a duel in 1887.

In addition to expressing Lewis’s Democratic political views and promoting the development of Union Parish, the Home Advocate, a four-page weekly, typically carried domestic and agricultural advice, fiction, essays, news of fraternal organizations, school notices, and advertisements for local businessmen, many of whom were Jewish. Letters to the editor range in topic from state politics to prohibition of alcohol.

The last extant issue of the Home Advocate dates from June 1887, but publication is thought to have continued until 1890, when Lewis moved to Ruston to assist his son Savory Lewis with the publication of a newspaper there.