Cicero Malachi Breland was my maternal great grandfather. This obituary was published on Oct. 4, 1917, in The Era-Leader newspaper in Franklinton, Louisiana. I have not changed any of the spellings; I have reproduced them here exactly as they appeared in the original.
Mt. Hermon, La., Sept. 30 — Era-Leader: Mr. Cicero Breeland was found dead in the woods near his home last Monday evening. He had gone to his mailbox in the afternoon and when he did not return the family becoming anxious began to search and found him. He had been dead about an hour. Dr. L.W. Brock was immediately summoned. He hurried to the scene and pronounced his death caused by heart failure. Mr. Breeland was born in Washington Parish in the first ward near the Parish line on the 29th day of January, 1857, was married to Mrs. Fannie Carter, May 30, 1883. He joined the Baptist church when quite young and lived a consistent christian life and was a member of the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. He had three sons, Robert, Murry and Alvin, who survive him. He was buried last Tuesday in the cemetery by the side of his wife near the home of Mr. I.W. Carter. The funeral rites were conducted by Rev. Early Corkern, and a large crowd of sorrowing relatives and friends were present to pay their last tribute of respect to the departed one. A Friend.
Recently I learned that my mother’s mother, whose maiden name was Cora Esther Peirce, was born in a place called Breland, Louisiana. In fact, when Cora was born in May 1891, the U.S. post office for Breland was located on the property of her grandfather, John Ticknor Peirce, and her grandfather’s second wife, Salissa E. “Dora” Peirce, was the U.S. postmaster for Breland.
Cora’s father, Adolphus Elliot Peirce, was later appointed U.S. postmaster for Breland, in August 1904. According to family lore, Cora worked in that post office before her family moved to the nearby community of Sunny Hill in 1905, when she was 14 years old. When she began attending school in Sunny Hill, Cora was assigned to the same class as Robert Milton Breland, my grandfather, whom she married in Baton Rouge five years later.
This story is interesting to me for several reasons. First, Cora was born in a place called Breland. Then she moved away from there to Sunny Hill — where she met a boy named Breland, who later became her husband.
It also raises these questions for me: Where was Breland? Why was it called Breland? And, does the community of Breland still exist?
My brother, Brian Hughes, answered the first question by finding maps from 1900, 1906 and 1914 showing Breland located roughly half way between Franklinton and Kentwood. These maps also show Breland’s proximity to Sunny Hill.
As for why the place was called Breland, the earliest record I can find shows that William G. Breland (1839-1890), who was a 2nd great grand uncle to me, was appointed U.S. postmaster for Breland in September 1890. He died just a few months later, in December 1890. (The next person to be appointed postmaster for Breland after him was Salissa E. Peirce, in March 1891.)
The place was called “Sibila” before it was called “Breland.” My guess, and this is purely a guess, is that it came to be called “Breland” simply because the first person appointed to be postmaster for the place happened to be named Breland.
Does Breland, Louisiana still exist? To the best of my knowledge, it does not. Records indicate that the post office at Breland was discontinued, i.e., closed for good, in 1906. And, although the location of Sunny Hill can still be found via Google Maps, I have not been able to find any mention of Breland, Louisiana, on any current maps of the area.
Do you know any additional details about Breland, Louisiana? If so, I’d love to hear from you!