Driskill Mountain is the highest point in the state of Louisiana, and that is its claim to fame, but is not the reason it is labeled a Mountain. That distinction should go to the man who settled it.
In 1803 President Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory. New lands were opened for settlement, purchase and grants were given for military service according to the provisions of Congress in 1820’s. By 1840 settlers were flowing in by the thousands seeking land and opportunity. James Christopher Driskill was one of these settlers.
James Christopher Driskill was born on June 27, 1817 in Henry County, Georgia. Sometime during the early 1840’s James set out to help settle the west, purchasing a section of land in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, where he married Eugenia Isabelle Walker on December 15th, 1840 and started raising a family. The Driskill’s raised nine children: William B., Nancy Isabelle, James B., John H., Samuel R., Henry D., Joel Dorch, Washington Titman, and Woodard Dawson Driskill. Clearing the land and creating a crop, he was able to trade in Trenton, which was approximately sixty miles away, for supplies.
By 1860 the Driskill’s had a foot-hold on the land growing cotton and corn, until the onset of the “War between the States,” when James lost three of his sons. This was devastating to his family. On March 17th, 1874, James donated two acres to the Mt. Zion Independent Presbyterian Church, bringing a social environment to the area and creating the Driskill community. This community included but was not limited to the Smiths, Crawleys, and the Culbertsons, who still meet today at the church on the forth Sunday in May, to bring flowers for the graves of the early settlers. James died in 1901 at 84 years of age, but with so many nicknames on which no one can agree, it brought true the myth, “That man must be a mountain.”