The Red Cedars at The Old House
January 1, 2024
This red cedar coaster has a remarkable story. It comes from the limb of one of the majestic cedar trees in the front yard of The Old House.
When a pecan tree recently crashed on The Old House roof, the cedar’s limbs limited the damage.
The coaster you hold came from one of those limbs.
My great-grandmother, Theodosia “Dosia/Doten” Wagnon Iles, recalled the two cedars as saplings during her childhood, thereby placing them older than 130 years.
“Doten’s” parents, John Wesley Wagnon and Sarah Lyles Wagnon, traveled from Georgia as children with their families.
The Wagnons homesteaded on Dry Creek, while the Lyles settled further south on Barnes Creek.
When John Wagnon and Sarah Lyles married, they homesteaded their own 80 acres along Crooked Bayou. They built the simple log room that is the centerpiece of The Old House. Successive generations added rooms and porches to create what is now our unique family home.
Nearly every homeplace of that era featured a cedar in the yard. Our two cedars were planted by Doten’s parents when they built the log portion in about 1892.
John and Sarah Wagnon had two daughters, Louise and Theodosia. Louise, “Aunt Lou,” was a schoolteacher who never married. She lived her entire life on the Wagnon homestead. Although my generation never knew her, she is a rock-solid part of our heritage and should be remembered.
The second daughter, Theodosia (known as “Dosia”) married Frank Iles, a member of another pioneer family. This is when the Iles name became associated with The Old House.
The importance and impact of the two Wagnon sisters, Louise and Theodosia, and “Dosia’s” husband, Frank Iles, are essential links uniting our family to The Old House.
“Pa” and “Doten,” as Frank and Theodosia were known by family, had one son, Lloyd Iles, my grandfather.
“Paw Paw Lloyd” married Pearl Stockwell (“Maw Maw Pearl”), and they had six Iles children.
These generations had dual citizenship between Dry Creek and DeRidder. During the work week, they lived in DeRidder, while weekends and summers were spent in Dry Creek.
Lloyd and Pearl’s children, Clayton, Lloydell, Margie Nell, Bill, JoAnn, and Clint, grew up in a rich environment surrounded by three generations of Iles/Wagnons.
The Old House and its acreage is presently owned by eight heirs: Bill Iles, JoAnn Iles Edwards, Curt Iles, Colleen Iles Glaser, Claudia Iles Campbell, Jeff Mullican, Jess Mullican, and Jo Sarah Mullican Harrell.
Our generation will eventually pass on this legacy to you as descendants of the Wagnon/Iles clan.
You’ll inherit The Old House, the two red cedars, and our land along Crooked Bayou Swamp.
I’m confident you’ll be good stewards.
In a nutshell:
The Old House was built/constructed by John Wesley Wagnon and Sarah Lyles Wagnon in about 1892.
It was passed on to their daughters, Louise Wagnon and Theodosia Wagnon Iles.
Theodosia’s heirship was passed on to her only son, Lloyd Iles.
The six children of Lloyd and Pearl Iles were the next generation to have ownership.
The two surviving heirs of that generation, Bill Iles and JoAnn Iles Edwards, plus their six nieces and nephews, are now joint heirs.
Eventually, this ownership will be passed on to the children of these remaining heirs.