The early history of DeQuincy is reflected in the lives of many of our earliest citizens and their homes, but none more so than that of Drew Dow Herford and the Herford House at 105 Hall Street.
Drew Dow Herford was a graduate of Baylor College, and came from Texas to Louisiana originally to the Big Woods settlement in the late 1890’s as a young schoolteacher. His teaching career brought him to the new community of DeQuincy where he would become the first schoolteacher.
His original teaching certificate was written and signed in long hand by then Calcasieu Parish School Superintendent John McNeese, and Mr. Herford rode on horseback from DeQuincy to Lake Charles to receive it.
Mr. Hereford became Mayor Herford when the Village of DeQuincy was founded in 1903, and he served as mayor on three occasions: 1903-04, 1910-12, and 1916-24.
His brother, J. Lee Herford served as mayor from 1904-10.
In subsequent years, he was elected as Justice of the Peace, and later as DeQuincy’s first representative to the Louisiana State Legislature. He was also a Notary Public, an early real estate agent and dealer in pine timber, and founded DeQuincy’s first insurance agency
Judge Herford, as he would be known in later years, was a charter member of the DeQuincy Masonic Lodge #279 when it was formed in 1903, and, served as Worshipful Master of the lodge on six occasions.
Mrs. Herford (Ellen Perkins) was DeQuincy’s first postmistress and was a sister to Jeff Perkins, one of DeQuincy’s earliest businessmen. Her nephew, Lether Frazar, would serve as president of McNeese State College, and later as Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. He spent summers in the Herford home during his childhood.
After the death of Judge Herford, their daughter, Frankie, and son-in-law, Robert L. Douglass, joined Mrs. Herford in her home in 1950. Mr. Douglass had come to DeQuincy in 1919 as an engineer with Acme Products, Inc., and both he and Mrs. Douglass were active in civic and business affairs.
Mrs. Douglass was a teacher for many years, and Mr. Douglass served the DeQuincy area as a Calcasieu Parish School Board member. They are also remembered for their involvement with the All Saints Episcopal Church, a local historic landmark.
Built in 1907, the original house was 1 and 1/2 stories with a wooden shingle roof. A large parlor wing extended eastward from the front of the house as well as a corner porch. The house had 12′ ceilings and a large wood-burning fireplace.
Mayor Herford also built a small building next to his home, which would serve as DeQuincy’s first municipal address, and, in later years, his personal business office. With the arrival of the Douglass family in 1950, the house was remodeled. The east parlor wing was removed, the lower floor bedrooms were converted into a large living area, and a new bedroom and bath were added on the west side of the house.
Three dormers were added to the front roof, and a pedimented entrance porch covering an elegant door with sidelights and an elliptical fanlight completed the Colonial Revival style of architecture.
Mr. and Mrs. Darryll D. Pruitt are the present owners of one of DeQuincy’s most historically significant residences.