March 2016

Founding and History of Plain Dealing, Louisiana

Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Founding and History of Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Welcome to Plain Dealing
When the first family arrived at Plain Dealing it was a wilderness over a large area and without development. Before settlers began the move into the area, the federal government pushed the Caddo Tribe off their lands which were at present-day Plain Dealing. In 1839, the federal government looked to profit off these lands (as they had done with seized lands elsewhere) and sold them to families. Many of whom didn't know the story of the area or how the lands were acquired by the federal government. One of the first families to arrive in the area were the Gilmers. It was George Oglethorpe Gilmer and his oldest son, James Blair Gilmer, that purchase the lands from the government. They bought thousands of acres of land along both sides of the Red River. George had also bought an additional 5,000 acres a few miles from their Red River lands. 

After settling in, the Gilmers began to develop the Plain Dealing Plantation. It was named after the plantation that they owned in Virginia. Of course, that's also where the small town got its name. Plain Dealing is also a title that is interpreted as it is written. That the family was honest and had integrity. Which also applies to the town today. Though names don't always represent the truth.

Years passed and Mary Boutwell Gilmer Vance, who was the daughter of James Gilmer, lived in George Gilmer's old home with her husband, Dr. Samuel Whitfield Vance. Mary died in the year 1859 at age 23 and he died on May 18, 1877, at age 50. After Samuel's death their daughter, Sallie Vance, inherited the Plain Dealing Plantation. The George Gilmer home burned down in a fire in 1888.

Sallie Vance had married S.J. Zeigler in 1877. Though he was known to the family earlier on after he came to Bossier Parish around the year 1870. He was a businessman, and first vice-president of the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, and was working on planning the railroad route that would head to Shreveport. So he chose Plain Dealing to serve the railroad as a stop on the way to Shreveport.

The town began to develop and one of the earliest business, a store, was owned by S.J. Zeigler. The store was at the site of the present-day Walker Brothers Drug Store. As interest in the town began to increase, there was an auction held and Mr. Zeigler arranged for trains to be brought in. These trains carried those who were looking to purchase auctioned lots. A total of 348 lots were sold for a combined sum of $11,414.50.

Prior to the town being named Plain Dealing, it was briefly known as Guernshein after the name of a major stockholder of the railroad company. The town of Plain Dealing became official on April 24, 1890. At the time, the town had less than 100 residents. William Benton Boggs became the town's first mayor after he took office on April 5th, 1890. He would also later become an organizer and president of Plain Dealing first bank and a state senator.

In 1891, Mr. Zeigler donated land for the formation of the Plain Dealing Cemetery. Some of the Gilmer, Vance, and Zeigler families are buried in the cemetery.

The town's first newspaper, The Plain Dealing Progress, began printing in December 1929 under Felix Glynn Phillips. From 1926 to 1849, he was also the principal of Plain Dealing High School. He also helped create the Dogwood Festival, which attracted visitors all over Ark-La-Tex in celebration of the spring blossoms of the Dogwood trees on the North Bossier hills. Although the official festival was ended in 2003, residents still hold their own festival.

Christmas 2006

Historically, Plain Dealing has been prone to flooding and a project was carried out to reduce this. In 1955, the town and the local Lions Club held a meeting to find a solution to the flood. They applied for assistance through The Small Watershed Program and they had shorelines cleared and leveled, roads blacktopped, debris cleaned up and grass planted after one of these floods. The assistance they received was a total fo $52,000. To prevent future flooding, Dogwood Lake was formed. Dogwood Lake also serves as a resource for wildlife and is a fishing area. Lake Plain Dealing is also used by the public, for water recreation and fishing, and flood control. The third lake, which no longer exists, was used only for flood control. The dams for these lakes were finished in 1961 and Upper West Fork Cypress Bayou received a "Watershed of the Year" award in 1961.

Today, Plain Dealing is still a small town with a good sense of its culture and is known for its past notable residents.

History of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation

Monday, March 28, 2016
History of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation
The Tonawanda Reservation is located in Genesee County in Western New York and not far from the towns of Batavia, Elba, Oakfield, and Alabama. When I was younger, my father would sometimes take us on Sunday drives through the area and stop off at The Rez Smoke Shop to fill up the gas tank and buy stuff from the store. It's been a long time since I'd been there and their gas station has definitely been upgraded since then. If I remember correctly, they weren't a self-serve the last time we were through there, around 1998. It's strange, thinking back, how even these little experiences have formed who I am.

Ely Parker

Anyways, back on subject, the Tonawanda Reservation is settled by the Tonawanda Band of Seneca. Being federally recognized, they live by their traditional ways of governing. The treaty, which made them federally recognized, was the "Treaty with the Tonawanda Senecas." It was signed on November 5th, 1857, Ratified on June 4th, 1858, and Proclaimed on March 31st, 1859.

Former New York State Route 267

Charles Eli Mix, Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the time, represented the U.S. government and representing on behalf the Tonawanda Band were Seneca attorney and diplomat Ely Samuel Parker (Ha-sa-no-an-da), George Sky, Jabez Ground, Isaac Shanks, and Jesse Spring. Along with the treaty and being federally recognized, the land sales of the Treaties of Buffalo Creek were effectively reversed for the tribe and they were able to buy back the lands taken and sold by the Phelps and Gorham purchase.

marker – Ely Parker birthplace

The Tonawanda Reservation is along the region where the border of the neutrals lived back before they were wiped out during the Beaver Wars. The first tribe to take a hit from the Iroquois (specifically, the Seneca) were the Wenrohronon. They suffered mass casualties in the attack, had their land taken and were forced to flee to Huron lands. It's hard to find any information about the Wenrohronon, as their tribe was absorbed and lost to time. These attacks by the Iroquois were carried out due to the influence of the Dutch in trying to disrupt French trading.

Little by little, the lands of the Tonawanda Reservation are being sold to surrounding interests. Though, it's said the Tonawanda Seneca are more lenient in allowing land to be sold to non-natives, in comparison to other bands of Seneca in the region. In 2015, the population was 458 but that number may not be accurate. In 2010, according to the Census, there were 693 residents.

Bloomingdale Road contains a good amount of businesses on the reservation, including the Rez (mentioned above). Some of the other nearby businesses include:

T P Deli & Fuel Outlet
Two Eagles Smoke Shop and Gas Mart
Sacajawea Smoke Shop

Elba, New York History, Early Years, and its Founding

Thursday, March 24, 2016
Elba, New York History, Early Years, and its Founding
Elba, New York, a town best known for its mucklands, onion-growing, and farms, was developed by an act of NYS to divide Batavia. The act was passed on March 14th, 1820 and Elba became a town comprised of 38,000 acres. Back then, and before the second division on April 11th, 1842, Elba included what is now Oakfield. and today the town is 22,631 acres in size.

Old Photos of Elba, NY

On April 14th, 1820, a town meeting was held at Nehemiah Ingersoll's tavern on Oak Orchard Road.

Elected as the town's government were:

Lemuel Foster - Supervisor
Mason Turner - Town Clerk and Collector
Isaac Benedict, Erastus Wolcott - Overseers of the Poor
George Will, Charles Woodworth, John Underhill - Assessors
Dudley Sawyer, Mark Turner, Jeremiah Wilford - Commissioners of Highways
Lemuel Foster, Isaac Higley, Jeremiah Wilford - Commissioners of Schools
Eleazur D. Davis, Samuel White, Martin Wilson - School Inspectors
Nehemiah Ingersoll - Poundmaster (caretaker of seized or lost livestock and other farm animals)
Eleazur D. Davis, Ichabod Hinckley, Jessemin Drake - Constables

Elba's Earliest Businesses

In December of 1829, Samuel Laing had a blacksmith shop built (on a 7/10 acre lot)  and began the business of shoeing horses, making tools and various hardware, repairing plows and wagons, and building, repairing wagon wheels. Next to his blacksmith shop, he built a brick building to house a store where he sold merchandise. The business, and later the building, was passed around until the last owner John Benton used it for onion storage. In 1974, the Genesee Country Museum gained ownership of the building and relocated it to Mumford, NY.

Some of the other blacksmith shops that operated in Elba:

John Weber's blacksmith and wagon shop on Maple Avenue - opened December 1896.
James Gourley's blacksmith shop at Lancton Corners - opened in the 1850s.

There were about 10 blacksmith shops operating in Elba in the 1850s. Some of the blacksmiths were William Bradley, Caleb Wells, Ezeriah Wilson, Joshua Wicks, James Emery, Chauncey Hollister, William Dean, Gurley Dean, William Buckingham, Sylvanus Perry, Richard Carl, and Solomon Hill.

Solomon Hill was the most notable, as he was a Revolutionary War veteran that lived to be 104 years old. He moved to Elba some time after the war and died in 1857. Since he had no known relatives in the region, he was buried in an unmarked grave, That is, until 1880 when Sunday School children started a collection to give the Revolutionary War veteran a proper tombstone. He is buried in the Pine Hill Cemetery in Elba.

- - -

The earliest cobbler and bootmaker in the area was J. Emery, who opened his business around 1824 at Daw's Corners. By 1850, there were 13 shoemakers in Elba.

Some of the earliest cooperage shops in Elba were those owned by the Staples family, Genesee Manufacturing Company, A.A. Grinnell, and French & Rugg Company.

Benson B. French and William Rugg also owned a lumber company and had operated since before 1871. Their business was located north of the village of Elba.

Staples & Butterworth owned a lumber company that began operation before 1870.

A.A. Grinnell purchased Staples' business in 1902.

- - -

Some early mercantile shops and stores in Elba include:

A man named Mr. Raymond opened one in 1831 on 1 North Main Street. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1869 and was rebuilt. The rebuilt building still stands today.

The building on 3 North Main Street was a mercantile starting sometime in the 1880s and under the ownership of Milton Conner and William Brailey. This building also still stands today.

The 5th Main Street mercantile was owned by a man named Hundredmark and was built in 1881. The building burned down in 1931.

At 7th Main Street, this mercantile had its roots in a millinery run by Mrs. Emma Brown and Miss Mary A. Caple. They opened their business in 1880 and other business also began to operate in the building Which included a drug store, grocery store, and a bakery. This building still stands.

10 Main Street also got its start as a millinery and was a grocery store by the 1890s. The building was damaged in a fire on September 15th, 1903. Around 2 a.m., the fire was seen by a girl working at the Hotel Swartz and she set off the fire alarm. The Batavia Fire Department made their way to Elba after being told about the fire by telephone. The building was a complete loss and the lot was left empty until 1915 when the Elba Grange Meeting Hall was built.

11 North Main Street  began operation under Tristam Brown as a hardware shop in January of 1878. It was also a grocery store and a restaurant at one time. Also, it may still be a restaurant.

Barton's Store, at 15 North Main Street, was owned by Elliot P. Barton. By 1969, he was in partnership with Stephen L. Maltby and they sold groceries at the store. The building, with various businesses housed in it, changed hands throughout the years. The building still stands today.

- - -

Elba's first hotel, the Pine Hill Hotel, opened in 1815 and was owned by Steve Harmon. The Hotel was destroyed by fire in September of 1874. A new hotel was built and was in operation by July 23, 1875. It was passed down through the years and in 1979, after being acquired by Jim and Steve Goff, it became the Stumblin' Inn. More about the history of the Stumblin' Inn on the Facebook page of the Historical Society of Elba and on the Historical Society of Elba website

The Tornado Windmill Company was opened in 1874 by twenty-something year old brothers Frank E. Barr and Orin C. Barr. The business was quite successful but the Orin Barr's health problems, caused by his inflammatory rheumatism, caused him to 'retire' from the business. He died from complications from his rheumatism on December 22nd, 1880, at around the age of his early thirties. After the loss, Frank closed down their windmill business and found employment elsewhere. Frank caught mumps in 1889 and died on September 13th of that year, around age 40.

The Elba Creamery was opened in July of 1895 and began operations. The first day was very successful for the creamery but a drought soon hit the area and hurt the business. They survived though and the business successful for a while but they began to have more financial troubles over the few years. By 1910 the building was abandoned and sat vacant until a sawdust fire burned the building down. It was the fourth fire flare-up that was too much for the firemen to put out.

Tytoona Cave in Sinking Valley, Blair County, Pennsylvania

Monday, March 21, 2016
Tytoona Cave in Sinking Valley, Blair County, Pennsylvania
Tytoona Cave, Pennsylvania
A lesser known natural sight in Central Pennsylvania, with an interesting history, is Tytoona Cave in Sinking Valley. It's one of the newer nature preserves in the region. It is officially known as the Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve and is owned by the Huntingdon County chapter of the National Speleological Society after being bought on December 23, 1997 from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The size of the preserve is around 7 acres. 

On the Tytoona Cave's history, it was first described in maps and writings in 1788. One of the earliest stories is of soldiers chasing a few Native American men (who'd just attacked settlers) until they escaped into the cave, causing the soldiers not to follow them. In the 1947 and 1972 there were attempts to turn it into an attraction but nature didn't play along all that well and hurt these developments. The 1972 attempt was the last time anyone tried to commercialize the site.

Regardless of how the cave entrance appears in photos, it's actually quite big. Depending on the time of the year you'll be able to enter the cave and walk a ways in without getting wet. Though it's recommended that you pay attention to every step you take when going inside, for your own safety. Also, don't venture too far in unless you're a professional and never enter the water unless you have diving gear. Tytoona is dangerous and has even claimed the lives of experienced cave explorers, including one in the mid-80s.

The exit is nearly a mile down, at Arch Spring, and is located on private property. So viewing from that side will require permission from the landowner and entry may or may not be possible through the Arch Spring side due to past logjams.

For those interested in visiting Tytoona Cave, there's an opportunity to inspire visitors to learn about the cave and its history. It's a great natural sight to visit and will appeal to everyone, of any age. The entrance to the cave itself is unlike most caves elsewhere in the state and around the country. You can also volunteer to help take care of the cave, its grounds, and help in keeping them clean. They've had problems with vandalism, spray-painting, in the past and some of these volunteers also help keep vandals and "partiers" out.

Learn more about the Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve:

Tytoona Cave: a New NSS Nature Preserve by Garrett Czmor
Tytoona Cave on oocities (archived GeoCities pages)
Tytoona Cave Preserve: A NSS Cave Preserve
Tytoona Cave Nature Preserve
Flickr Photos of Tytoona Cave

The Pine Creek Rail Trail, Pennsylvania's Best Hiking and Biking Trail

Wednesday, March 16, 2016
The Pine Creek Rail Trail, Pennsylvania's Best Hiking and Biking Trail
Pine Creek Rail Trail
One of Pennsylvania's best trails, offering an escape into nature with its beautiful natural sights.

Pennsylvania's Pine Creek Rail Trail offers its visitors plenty trail length to walk along. Whether you just want to talk a short walk along the beautiful trail or travel along all 61 miles on a bike, the Pine Creek Trail is worth the visit. Along the trail you'll be able to experience the greatness of the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania" and all of its sights. You'll find campgrounds, rest stations, natural sights, including moderate waterfalls and rock formations, and small towns along the trail. The majority of the trail is alongside Pine Creek. Also, since the trail goes through forest land you'll likely spot a lot of wildlife from large to small. Including eagles, deer, beavers, turkeys and plenty of other wildlife.

The trail, like many trails in Pennsylvania (and given its name), was where a railroad line went existed. Beginning in 1883, the trains that passed through would provide timber and supplies to sawmills operating in towns along the gorge. Northward, coal was carried via this rail to New York State. Surprisingly, Pine Creek's rail was active for over a hundred years, with the last freight train going through the area in October of 1988.

Some other facts about the Pine Creek Rail Trail:

Before the rail was put in, and while still used by the Iroquois, the Pine Creek trail was actually a path used by them to move their forces to carry out raids further south. Before they were displaced by the War of 1812, small groups of Native Americans still lived in the area of Pine Creek Gorge.

All attempts to make the trail into a wagon road, long before the railroad, failed since the path was too rough for wagons to travel along.

Read More about the Pine Creek Rail Trail:

Pine creek from rail trailPine Creek Rail Trail_creekPine CreekPine Creek Rail TrailPine Creek near Cammal

Details of the Life of Bisbee, Arizona Prospector George Warren

Monday, March 14, 2016
Details of the Life of Bisbee, Arizona Prospector George Warren
Prospector George Warren
George Warren
By Unknown, published
by S.J. Clarke Publishing Company
 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
George Warren was born in 1835 in Massachusetts. When he was young, his mother died and he lived with his aunt until he turned ten years old. He was then sent off to New Mexico to live with his father. Tragically, he would lose his father when he and his father were attacked by Apaches. George only had non-fatal wounds but his father was killed. After the attack, the Apache took George with them and held him captive for nearly two years. He was let free when some local prospectors saw George and he was released for a trade of sugar. These prospectors would end up being the ones that taught George Warren his trade.

A few photos exist of George Warren since the photographer Camillus Sydney Fly would visit Bisbee and take photos of the miners as they collected their pay. The man on The Great Seal of the State of Arizona is based on one of Fly's photos of George Warren.

George Warren was talked into staking a mining claim by Lt. John Rucker and a man named Ted Byrne after a scout, Jack Dunn, found a good place to mine while looking for a water source. Their only requirement was for Warren to use Dunn's name on all mining claims. George Warren didn't stick by his agreement and got drunk and gambled away the mining stake. Later on, he would get backers to stake new claims. Which would lead to the creation of the Warren Mining District. He also held an interest in the Copper Queen Mine at this time.

George Warren had two serious injuries from fights. He was also known to be a heavy drinker. Once, in a duel, he was shot in the neck. Another time, he was shot in the arm and the leg and he survived both incidents. In other words, he was one tough 'son-of-a-bitch'.

Stories about George Warren, 
other individualsand the history of 
Arizona are presented in this book 
in the form of poetry.
He lost his investment in the Copper Queen Mine when (probably while drunk) he made a bet with his "friend" George W. Atkins that he could run faster than a horse over a distance of 100 yards. Fifty there and fifty back. The "race" took place on July 3rd, 1880. Warren had the belief that he could beat the horse around the turn back but he was wrong. Though it's said he might have outrun the horse for the first 50 yards until the turn.

In May of 1881, the scheming Atkins had a Cochise County Judge, J.H. Lewis, declare George Warren insane and had him held in an institution in California (possibly for a few years). A man named George Praidham became Warren's guardian and Praidham was ordered to sell the rest of Warren's assets. He sold them for $923 at an auction. Warren was released a while after the sale and only learned about the sale after the release.

George Warren, after finding out about the sale, took off to Mexico to begin mining. In 1885, he discovered a mining claim and had to become a Mexican citizen to take the claim. He went into servitude, working as an interpreter for a Mexican judge, to help pay off a debt of $40. A judge back named G.H. Berry, learned about Warren and his debt, so he paid off Warren's debt for him. Warren then came back to Bisbee after the debt was paid. Once back, Warren worked as a blacksmith and tool dresser while also receiving a small pension from the Copper Queen Mining Company.

His work as a blacksmith and tool dresser didn't last that long. His alcoholism caught up with him and he was little more than what would be considered a janitor, only worse. He was looked down upon by the miners and swept floors and cleaned the chewing tobacco spitting bowls (aka cuspidors) for drinks of whiskey. His lifestyle was little more than that of a rounder, someone who lives for the drink, by this time.

George Warren's Grave

A short time went on and George died in either 1892, 1893, or 1894. Though the most descriptive date puts his death as the date of February 13th, 1893 and the cause of death as pneumonia and heart failure. Broke at the time of his death, George Warren was originally buried in a pauper's grave with a wooden grave marker, with the text G.W. 24, marking his grave in the Bisbee-Lowell Evergreen Cemetery.

He was mostly forgotten until 1914 when the Bisbee Elk's Lodge wanted to put a monument over his grave. They located George Warren's grave, which was likely hard to find since the wooden grave marker was probably gone, and they had him reinterred to a better location in the cemetery. Over his new gravesite, the large monument was put in place. It features the a C.S. Fly's image of him and an inscription, "George Warren Born unknown Died 1892 Poor in Purse, Rich in Friends."

His grave, and the monument, are still present at the Evergreen Cemetery in Bisbee, Arizona.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman - 1974 Civil Rights Film

Wednesday, March 09, 2016
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman - 1974 Civil Rights Film
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a film, adapted from a book of the same name, telling the story of a black woman that was born to parents who were slaves. The film tells of her life as a slave herself from her childhood, into adulthood, and into her elderly years where she became more involved in the civil rights movement. The film sets a tone that makes it seem almost like a documentary in parts. Especially when they show the elderly Jane Pittman. Which had me believing that she was a real person and actually around 110 years old. Cicely's excellent acting and performance in the film is deeply convincing.

Cicely Tyson Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman 1974
By CBS Television (eBay itemphoto frontphoto back)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The book itself, that the movie is based on, was written by the African-American author Ernest J. Gaines. Although slavery ended long before he was born, he grew up in a poor family, who were sharecroppers. They lived in a former slave house, on a plantation, in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. His upbringing and experiences are where a lot of his inspiration for his stories came from.

In the story, she was born with the name of Ticey around the year 1850. When she was 10 years old she was given the name Jane Brown by a Union soldier who informed her that Ticey was a slave name. Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, in 1865, they left the plantation. While heading North they are attacked by a group of white men patrolling the area. Big Laura, the leader of the free slaves, and her son are killed by the men. Big Laura's other son, Ned, survives and Jane raises him as her own child. She wanted to make it to Ohio but didn't feel she could make it to the state. So she took up paid work at Mr. Bone's plantation. She worked on that plantation for twelve years.

In September of 1873, Ned moved out of the house and moved to Kansas to get away from the danger presented by racists who were after him. While in Kansas he joins the army. After Ned left, Jane meets Joe Pittman and they get married. The couple moves to a ranch on the Texas-Louisiana border where Joe has found a job at.

Three years later, in June of 1876, Joe Pittman dies after a tragic accident that occurred while he was trying to recover a horse that got loose.

To see the rest of the book/movie's time, see the visual timeline at Jane Pittman Timeline

Jane Pittman Timeline

Jane Pittman is a fictional character in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. This novel tells the life story of a 110 year old African-American woman born into slavery, and still alive at the time of the Civil Rights Movement.

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

Cicely Tyson Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman 1974
The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a 1974 film, based on a book, about a black woman's life from slavery to the Civil Rights era.

Directed by: John Korty
Starring: Cicely Tyson, Richard Dysart, Odetta Holmes

6 Facts about the Catalpa Tree and its Historical Uses

Friday, March 04, 2016
6 Facts about the Catalpa Tree and its Historical Uses
Catalpa speciosa flowers, leaf and bark
Catalpa speciosa flowers, leaf, and bark
(Public Domain)
Catalpa trees will grow quickly and can reach heights of up to 80 feet. The average and expected height of most Catalpas will be around fifty feet. This tree grows the quickest during its first ten years, reaching about twenty feet tall before it slows down.

The Catalpa is a deciduous tree whose varieties can grow nearly everywhere in the United States.

Northern and Southern Catalpa varieties available for purchase as either seeds or saplings

Visually, and feature-wise, you'll notice its blooming white flowers in the spring. Creating a unique look not seen on many trees. Especially not on trees that can grow as large as the Catalpa. Also, later in the season, you'll see the development of its seed pods. When autumn comes, the leaves of the tree will turn brown and fall off once the first heavy frost occurs. Along with its seed pods.

Some consider the Catalpa tree, with its flowers, to be an ornamental tree. Its white flowers certainly do grab your attention.

The Southern Catalpa tree has been known to be used as a medicine with its bark being boiled to make a tea. Other past uses of the trees leaves, flowers, bark, and roots were as a treatment for snake bites,
whooping cough and malaria. The flowers have been used as a treatment for asthma or as a light sedative. Its pods have also been used as a light sedative. Lastly, the leaves were used as a poultice for wounds. Though it's not recommended you use it for any of these purposes unless you know what you're doing.

The most common species of the Catalpa tree are the Chinese Catalpa, the Northern Catalpa, and the Southern Catalpa. The Catalpa tree also goes by the Indian bean tree, the cigar tree, and (historically) the Catawba.

Is the Catalpa tree edible?

Parts of the Catalpa tree are edible, but not very tasty or don't have much flavor. The bark, the roots, and likely even the leaves are poisonous.

The flowers aren't poisonous though and have a light sweet sweet taste to them. As for the bean pods, they are also edible but they do not taste all that great -- some say it's like eating cotton mixed with sawdust. So, you could eat parts of the tree, but it's not worth it for the taste.

Catalpa Tree Facts, Uses and Planting Tips

Katelyn Nicole Davis ? Forever Missed