Minnie Lou Sigler operated a country store at Fullerton for years. She also sold her country goods by mail-order and was postmistress as the post office was located inside her store.
She sold things like jams, jellies, relishes, pickles, peppers, syrup, corn meal, grits and handmade items.
Born in Deweyville, Texas, Minnie grew up in the DeRidder and Sugartown areas. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 94.
Here's the text of a feature story on Sigler that was published in Louisiana newspapers in 1964:
Postmistress Minnie Sigler Successful Woman
By ANN Q. SMYTHE
"Of course Fullerton is on the map!" the soft spoken Minnie Sigler says with a suggestion of indignation.
And sure enough, if you go to DeRidder, then to Pitkin, go five-and-a-half miles down the gravel road, cross over the cattle breaks, and go to the dead end, there situated in a grove of trees is the Sigler Service Grocery Store which also houses the United States Post Office of Fullerton, Louisiana.
The postmistress is Minnie Sigler who has held the position for 15 years. She has lived in this area all of her life, and from her rural store, she operates a successful mail order business also.
Her post office has no routes, there are no postmen, yet through her ingenuity and with the help of Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Pinchback, 7,000 jars of jellies and relishes were sold last year.
Miss Minnie and the Pinchbacks make their home together in the comfortable cottage next to the store.
"I started my mail order business about 17 years ago," Miss Minnie says, "out of sheer necessity. Camp Polk had a rifle range practically out the front door of the store and it scared all our customers away. So I started selling gourd and dry pea seeds and quilt scraps by advertising in the market bulletin that the Department of Agriculture puts out."
"We (the Pinchbacks and Miss Minnie) wanted to stay here, so we decided to harvest what was growing and preserve it and start our mail order business on a bigger scale."
Today they operate from a canning kitchen built to state Board of Health specifications.
The storage room has shelves from floor to ceiling lined with gallon jugs of juice from Louisiana mayhaws, huckleberries (the South's blue berry) wild grapes, wild plum, muscatel, blackberry, apple and mayhaw pulp.
In another room there are cardboard cartons neatly stacked and labeled with such mouth watering Louisiana delicacies as watermelon rind pickles, hot pepper relish, chowchow, tomato jelly, plum butter, fig preserves, pickled okra and peppers, and every kind of jelly.
"Now is our slow season," says the postmistress, "my day starts at 6 a.m. in the summer. But, in the winter I'm up at 2 a.m. to fill my orders and get them packaged. I love my work and I take pains with my orders cause I want them to be as nice as I can."
"In the fall we smoke our own hams, sausage, and bacon. We have standing mail orders for these products just like we do for our other products. Our gift packages of assorted things are real popular at Christmas time and we just work around the clock."
Miss Minnie is going to attend the national convention of postmasters in New York City in August.
"I have always wanted to go to a national convention but they have been held at the time of year when I can't get away from my business, but this year because of the Fair they are meeting in August. I have a customer in the city and I promised to call when I get there."
The unique system of bookkeeping that this trio uses is that for every jar of preserves they sell they put a penny in a jar, and at the end of their fiscal year, which is Christmas time, the count of the pennies tells the number sold. They buy each other Christmas presents with the pennies.
Commissioner of Agriculture Dave L.. Pearce says he is encouraged by rural folks like Miss Sigler, who used their initiative and ingenuity to start new projects for income when they're needed.
"Miss Sigler has done something wonderful," he says, "by building her business through the mail and satisfying her customers consistently with Louisiana products."
Mrs. Pinchback adds to their items for sale with her homemade quilts, which she pieces and quilts, aprons, sun bonnets, pot holders and many other household items.
So, from Fullerton, La., to all points go native products from this country kitchen. Even home ground corn meal and grits, not to mention such things as cane syrup, Sour Cream cakes, or pecan pralines.
When Miss Minnie was asked if she ever helped with the quilting she replied, "Oh yes, in my spare time."
(Newspaper clippings from the Vernon Parish Library's historic photo stream)