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Greenville’s Elk’s Lodge

Greenville’s Elk’s Lodge, in the city’s downtown, was completed in 1906 or 1907. Once a mainstay of the city’s social scene, today it is facing destruction for a downtown “greenspace” (i.e. empty space)

Built for the local “Cotton Pickers” lodge of Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the two-story, Greek Revival, concrete building was almost complete in August 1906, when the newspaper reported it “is one of the prettiest club rooms anywhere.”

Designated a Mississippi Landmark in 2002, the building is also a contributing structure to the National Register Greenville Commercial District. Contributing resources adds to the historic significance of a district. Despite this significance, the city seems set on a new “greenspace” to replace the Steinmart Square that has been designated for a new downtown Federal courthouse. Smart downtown greenspaces are nice in thriving urban area, but destroying an iconic downtown in Greenville’s struggling downtown isn’t. It will leave a hole in the historic downtown corridor where there was once a majestic 100+-year-old building. The city’s decision is also troubling given the fact that an out-of-town developer, Joshua Cain, has expressed interest in restoring the building into a boutique hotel. Cain has a proven track record in California and with the 1857 Belmont Plantation at Wayside. Ignoring a potential investment and creating an empty space in Greenville’s downtown is obviously a lose-lose situation for the city.

 

MDAH Historic Resources Inventory Fact Sheet for Elks Club

Mississippi 10 Most Endangered List 2003

MissPres News Roundup 9-26-2017

MissPres News Roundup 10-3-2017

Suzassippi’s Mississippi: The “Cotton Pickers” B. P. O. Elks Lodge

“New Members for Elk’s Lodge,” Greenville Weekly Democrat, August 16, 1906



Lakeport Plantation to Feature Polk Family Plantations for Lakeport Legacies

George W. Polk, a Chicot County planter, completed his home, Rattle & Snap, near Columbia, Maury County, TN in 1845. Courtesy Library of Congress

Lakeport Plantation to Feature Polk Family Plantations

9/18//2017

LAKE VILLAGE — “The Polks’ Plantations and the Creation of Cotton Kingdom in the Old South” will be presented by Dr. Kelly Houston Jones in the latest Lakeport Legacies monthly history talk on September 28 at the Lakeport Plantation, 601 Hwy 142, in Lake Village.

The event gets underway at 5:30 p.m. with refreshments and conversation, and the program starts at 6 p.m. The program is free and open to the public. For more information and to Register, contact Dr. Blake Wintory at 870-265-6031.

Jones will discuss her research on the Polk family’s extensive cotton plantations across Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas. The prominent family moved at the center of the historical processes that created King Cotton in the newest parts of the Old South. James K. Polk himself invested in cotton, while his relatives ran cotton plantations in the Mississippi Delta. The Polks’ and their business network represent patterns of cotton investment that characterized the late 1840s and early 1850s and built the slave empire of the Old Southwest.

James K. Polk, who served as president from 1845 to 1849, purchased a plantation in Yalobusha County, Mississippi in 1834. A nephew, William Wilson Polk, owned a large plantation at Walnut Bend in Phillips County, Arkansas and financed his uncle’s presidential run. George W. Polk, a cousin of President James K. Polk, co-owned the Hilliard Plantation on Grand Lake in Chicot County. Polk with his brother-in-law, Isaac Hilliard, owned 151 slaves and 550 acres of improved land in 1850.  In 1845, he built a magnificent Greek Revival home near Columbia, TN he named “Rattle and Snap.”

Dr. Jones is an Assistant Professor of History at Austin Peay State University specializing in the history of slavery. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas in 2014. Her most recent work will appear later this year in Bullets and Fire: Lynching and Authority in Arkansas, 1840-1950, edited by Guy Lancaster.

Lakeport Legacies is a monthly history talk held on the last Thursday at the Lakeport Plantation during the spring and summer. Each month a topic from the Delta region is featured. The Lakeport Plantation is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site. Constructed in 1859, Lakeport is one of Arkansas’s premier historic structures and still retains many of its original finishes and architectural details.

Open to the public since 2007, Lakeport researches and interprets the people and cultures that shaped plantation life in the Mississippi River Delta, focusing on the Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction Periods.

Arkansas Heritage Sites at Arkansas State University develops and operates historic properties of regional and national significance in the Arkansas Delta. A-State’s Heritage Sites include the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center, Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, Lakeport Plantation, the Historic Dyess Colony: Boyhood Home of Johnny Cash, and the Arkansas State University Museum.

 

Attached image: George W. Polk, a Chicot County planter, completed his home, Rattle & Snap, near Columbia, Maury County, TN in 1845.  Courtesy Library of Congress

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Press Contact:

Blake Wintory

870.265.6031

bwintory@astate.edu

Lakeport.astate.edu



Lakeport Legacies · Ironclads, Cotton & Corn: The Civil War in the Mississippi Delta · Jim Woodrick (Mississippi Department of Archives & History)

Ironclads, Cotton & Corn: The Civil War in the Mississippi Delta

presented by

Jim Woodrick (Mississippi Department of Archives & History) 

Thursday, July 27

Refreshments & Conversation @ 5:30 pm
Program @ 6:00 pm

“Seizure and Handling of Cotton in the Southwest.” Harper’s Weekly (May 2, 1863), documented the confiscation of cotton hidden at American Bend near the Worthington Plantation by Union troops. According to the paper, “three thousand bales” were “pledged to the British Government at seven cents per pound.”

Many Civil War historians have treated the Mississippi Delta region as a sideshow to more significant campaigns in the east. However, the Delta’s plantations supplied Union forces, witnessed some of the first ironclad battles of the Civil War, and the emancipation of thousands of slaves. Historian Jim Woodrick will explore how the Delta was vital to Confederate interests and was the target of repeated Union attempts to utilize the region’s waterways as an avenue of invasion.

Jim Woodrick, a native of Meridian, Mississippi, serves as Director of the Historic Preservation Division at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, where he worked for a number of years as the Civil War Sites Historian. In that capacity, he managed the Mississippi Civil War Trails program, participated in a number of battlefield and campaign studies with the National Park Service, and worked closely with the Civil War Trust and the American Battlefield Protection Program to identify Civil War battlefield properties in Mississippi for acquisition and preservation. He is a graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson and the author of The Civil War Siege of Jackson Mississippi, published by The History Press (2016).

Signed copies of Woodrick’s book, The Civil War Siege of Jackson Mississippi, will be available for purchase — $24.00 (includes tax, cash or check only, please). 

Register for this FREE Event
(by phone, email or online)
870.265.6031 · lakeport.ar@gmail.com

601 Hwy 142 · Lake Village, AR 71653



Lakeport Legacies · A Case Study in Diversity: Southeast Arkansas Legislators, 1868-Jim Crow · Rodney Harris (University of Arkansas)

A Case Study in Diversity: Southeast Arkansas Legislators, 1868-Jim Crow

presented by

Rodney Harris (University of Arkansas and Williams Baptist College) 

Thursday, June 29

Refreshments & Conversation @ 5:30 pm
Program @ 6:00 pm

William H. Grey (left) and James T. White (right) superimposed on an 1873 roster of Arkansas State Senators. Grey, born free in Washington, D.C., came to Helena in 1865. He served in the 1868 Arkansas State Constitutional Convention and as a representative in the Arkansas House in 1869. James T. White, native of Indiana, represented Phillips County in the Arkansas House in 1868 and the Senate in 1871 and 1873.

During Reconstruction (1867-1874), Republicans, including the first African American office holders, controlled most political positions in Arkansas. Many people assume that African American office holding ended with Democrats’ political “Redemption” in 1874. Despite Redemption, office holding on the local and legislative level remained quite diverse until 1893. Southeast Arkansas continued to elect Republicans, both black and white, along with Democrats at the county level and to the general assembly. This electoral diversity makes Southeast Arkansas unique and worthy of further examination.

 

Rodney holds a B.A. in Political Science from Arkansas State University, and a M.A. in History from the University of Central Arkansas. Rodney spent 10 years as a real estate broker, ran for State Representative in 2004, and was named one of the 25 Outstanding Young Executives in Northeast Arkansas.  Rodney wrote his Dissertation, “Divided Saints: Democratic Factions in the 1874 Arkansas Constitutional Convention” under the direction of Dr. Patrick Williams at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Rodney specializes in Political History and Southern History. He will join the faculty at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas this fall.

 

RSVP to this FREE Event
(by phone, email or online)
870.265.6031 · lakeport.ar@gmail.com

601 Hwy 142 · Lake Village, AR 71653

 



Lakeport Legacies · From Mosaic Templars to Royal Circle of Friends: Identifying Arkansas’s African American Fraternal Headstones

From Mosaic Templars to Royal Circle of Friends: Identifying Arkansas’s African American Fraternal Headstones

presented by

Dr. Blake Wintory (Lakeport Plantation) 

Thursday, May 25

Refreshments & Conversation @ 5:30 pm
Program @ 6:00 pm

Organizations like the Knights and Daughters of Tabor (above), Mosaic Templars, and Supreme Royal Circle of Friends issued standard monuments to deceased members.

Arkansas’s African American cemeteries are dotted with monuments from fraternal organizations founded in late 19th and early 20th centuries. Membership was often social, but also came with desirable sickness and death benefits. Several Arkansas-based fraternal organizations, like the Mosaic Templars, Supreme Royal Circle of Friends, and Knights and Daughters of Tabor, provided standardized monuments as part of their benefits.

In this presentation you will learn about the rise and decline of these organizations and see examples African American fraternal monuments throughout Arkansas and the Mississippi Delta.

 

RSVP to this FREE Event
(by phone, email or online)
870.265.6031 · lakeport.ar@gmail.com

601 Hwy 142 · Lake Village, AR 71653



Summer Hour at Lakeport 2017 — Extra Saturday Hours

In addition to Lakeport’s regular weekday schedule, Lakeport will add Saturday hours (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) from May 20 until July 29.

Summer Hours 2017
May 20 – July 29
Monday-Friday Tours 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Tours begin on the hour at the Lakeport Education Center.

Open Saturdays to visitors 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (Last tour will start at 2 p.m.)
Closed Sundays
Closed Memorial Day, Monday, May 29
Closed Independence Day, Tuesday, July 4

 

Lakeport Plantation is open year round; summer hours add extra Saturday tours to our regular Monday through Friday schedule.

For group tours and other questions, please call us 870.265.6031.



Press Release Lakeport Plantation releases schedule for 2017 Lakeport Legacies and Information on March 30 Talk

For immediate release 3/13/2017

 

The Lakeport Plantation is pleased to announce its 2017 schedule for Lakeport Legacies, a monthly history talk focusing on history in the Delta. Speakers this year will discuss a wide-range of Delta topics including, a history of one of Arkansas’s oldest African American churches, the Civil War in the Mississippi Delta, and a look at the Polk family’s plantations and investments from Tennessee to the Delta. Lakeport Legacies meets on the last Thursday from March through October at 5:30 p.m. The program will begin at 6:00 p.m. Note exceptions in the schedule. All events are free and open to the public. The Lakeport Plantation is located at 601 Hwy 142, Lake Village, Arkansas. For more information call 870.265.6031 or visit http://lakeport.astate.edu.

2017 Lakeport Legacies Schedule

Lakeport Legacies, a monthly history talk, is free and open to the public.
Refreshments and conversation at 5:30 pm · Program at 6:00 pm

March 30 · Building Delta Plantations: Connecting Washington County, Mississippi, and Chicot County, Arkansas  · Dr. Blake Wintory (Lakeport Plantation)

April 28-29 ·  In leiu of Lakeport Legacies · Behind the Big House w/ Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project (Joint Program of Preserve Arkansas & Lakeport Plantation)

May 25 · An Unconventional Conveyance: Rev. Jim Kelly and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church · Reverend Demetria L. Edwards, M.Div., J.D. (New Hope Missionary Baptist Church) and Dr. Blake Wintory (Lakeport Plantation)

June 29 · A Case Study in Diversity: Southeast Arkansas Legislators, 1868-Jim Crow · Rodney Harris (University of Arkansas)

July 27 · Ironclads, Cotton and Corn: The Civil War in the Mississippi Delta · Jim Woodrick (Mississippi Department of Archives and History)

August 31 · Grasping Shadows: Evolution of the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum · Emily Jones (Delta State University Archives & Museum)

September 28 · The Polks’ Plantations and the Creation of Cotton Kingdom in the Old South · Dr. Kelly Jones (Austin Peay State University)

October 19 ·  Influence of Southeast Arkansas in the Arkansas Historical Association · Maylon Rice (Arkansas Historical Association) [program on Third Thursday and will start at 5:30 due to DST/Standard Time change]

The first Lakeport Legacies of 2017 will feature Dr. Blake Wintory, director of the Lakeport Plantation on March 30. Dr. Wintory will present, “Building Delta Plantations: Connecting Washington County, Mississippi, and Chicot County, Arkansas.”.

 

Although the Mississippi River divides Washington County, Mississippi and Chicot County, Arkansas, their histories are intertwined. Kentuckians like the Johnsons, Wards and Worthingtons, settled in both counties in the 1820s and 1830s. Decades later, the families displayed the optimism and prosperity of Antebellum plantation life with the construction of large plantation house. The Johnson and Worthington families built stylish Italianate and Greek Revival homes in this era: Mount Holly (ca. 1856), Belmont (1857); Willoughby (1858), and Lakeport (1859). A careful restoration of Lakeport by Arkansas State University and thorough research of neighboring plantations suggests a group of carpenters from Madison, Indiana constructed several homes for the Johnsons and Worthingtons. This research thus reveals that Kentucky planters in the Arkansas and Mississippi Delta reached back to the Ohio Valley (Kentucky and Indiana) for materials and builders of their iconic “Southern” homes.

 

For more information and to RSVP, contact Blake Wintory 870.265.6031



Press Release: Preserve Arkansas to Present “Behind the Big House” Program at Lakeport Plantation

Contact: Rachel Silva Patton
501-372-4757
rsilva@preservearkansas.org

For Immediate Release – March 9, 2017

Preserve Arkansas to Present “Behind the Big House” Program at Lakeport Plantation

LITTLE ROCK—Preserve Arkansas, in partnership with the Arkansas Humanities Council, Arkansas State University Heritage Sites, Black History Commission of Arkansas, and Lakeport Plantation, is proud to present “Behind the Big House” on April 28-29 at Lakeport Plantation in Lake Village, Arkansas. The Behind the Big House program moves beyond the “Big Houses,” or stately historic homes, to explore extant slave dwellings and interpret the experiences of the enslaved people who inhabited them. This workshop will include live historical interpretations and lectures to highlight the important contributions African Americans made to Arkansas’s history and provide a broad understanding of the importance of slave dwellings and their role in heritage tourism.

Registration is free, but space is limited. Register at www.preservearkansas.org by April 14. Registration does not include lunch. An optional box lunch may be pre-ordered for $12. For more information and the full schedule of events, call 501-372-4757 or visit www.preservearkansas.org.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Preserve Arkansas works to build stronger communities by reconnecting Arkansans to our heritage and empowering people to save and rehabilitate historic places. For more information about Preserve Arkansas or to become a member, contact Rachel at 501-372-4757, rsilva@preservearkansas.org, or visit www.preservearkansas.org.

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Lakeport Legacies Schedule for 2017

March 30 · Building Delta Plantations: Connecting Washington County, Mississippi, and Chicot County, Arkansas  · Dr. Blake Wintory

April 28-29 ·  In leiu of Lakeport Legacies · Behind the Big House w/ Joseph McGill of the Slave Dwelling Project (Joint Program of Preserve Arkansas & Lakeport Plantation)

May 25 · From Mosaic Templars to Royal Circle of Friends: Identifying Arkansas’s African American Fraternal Headstones · Dr. Blake Wintory (Lakeport Plantation)
An Unconventional Conveyance: Rev. Jim Kelly and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church · Reverend Demetria L. Edwards, M.Div., J.D. (New Hope Missionary Baptist Church) and Dr. Blake Wintory (Lakeport Plantation)

June 29 · A Case Study in Diversity: Southeast Arkansas Legislators, 1868-Jim Crow · Rodney Harris (University of Arkansas)

July 27 · Ironclads, Cotton and Corn: The Civil War in the Mississippi Delta · Jim Woodrick (Mississippi Department of Archives and History)

August 31 · Grasping Shadows: Evolution of the MS Delta Chinese Heritage Museum · Emily Jones (Delta State University Archives & Museum)

September 28 · The Polks’ Plantations and the Creation of Cotton Kingdom in the Old South · Dr. Kelly Jones (Austin Peay State University)

October 19 ·  Influence of Southeast Arkansas in the Arkansas Historical Association · Maylon Rice (Arkansas Historical Association) [program on Third Thursday and will start at 5:30 due to earlier sunset]

Lakeport Legacies is a monthly history talk held at the Lakeport Plantation focusing on history in the Delta. Lakeport Legacies meets on the last Thursday from March through October at 5:30 p.m. Note exceptions in the schedule. All events are free and open to the public. Guests are asked to RSVP. The Lakeport Plantation is located at 601 Hwy 142, Lake Village, Arkansas. For more information call 870.265.6031 or visit http://lakeport.astate.edu.



Adolph Meyer arrives at Grand Lake in 1867

Adoph Meyer, an early Jewish merchant in the Grand Lake/Eudora area, recounted his 1867 arrival to Grand Lake in a 1925 Arkansas Gazette article:

Adolph Meyer of Eudora, one of Chicot county’s well known business men, opened a business at Grand Lake in the year 1867. The old pioneer tells of the great Mississippi Delta, when the river was the only artery of transportation and before the era of levees, reminiscent of the earlier days in this section.

"Arkansas Boasts of Real Seaport: Ocean Steamers Soon will be Stopping at Grand Lake," Arkansas Gazette, August 16, 1925.

“Arkansas Boasts of Real Seaport: Ocean Steamers Soon will be Stopping at Grand Lake,” Arkansas Gazette, August 16, 1925.

In the year of 1867…I went from Bizell [sic], La. on the steamer Robert E. Lee to Memphis on a business trip. On my return the steamer docked at Grand Lake to load on 600 bales of cotton. It took some four or five hours for the boat to be loaded, and while this was being done I walked out over the little town, and to my surprise I saw at least 100 wagons loaded with cotton and wool, and the business people were not able to handle his tremendous trade.

Some of these wagons were from Bonita and Bastrop, La., some from Wilmont, Portland and Hamburg, and from various places out west. During that same year I established a business at Grand Lake, and operated a general store there until the advent may years later of the old Memphis, Helena and Louisiana Railroad through this section, now part of the Missouri Pacific system. 

The old grand Lake of 1867…is not the Grand Lake of today. The river’s banks constantly caving has moved its channel some one and half miles to the west and the Grand Lake of 1867 is not in the state of Mississippi.

According to Goodspeed’s Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas (1890) and other sources, Adolph Meyer was born the son of Jacob and Sarah Meyer in Germany near Frankfurt in 1848. He and his brothers emigrated from Germany– likely in the mid-1860s–perhaps just after the Civil War. Meyer made stops in New York City and Louisiana, before arriving at Grand Lake in 1867. He married Carrie Pfeipher of New Orleans in 1875. His first store on Grand Lake was at Bernard, but was moved in 1886 to Cariola [Carrieola] Landing. Cariola was named for his wife and Eola Ford, spouse of his business partner, Judge Peter. H. Ford. The business moved again in 1905 to Eudora (or Readland in some sources) with the coming of the railroad that year.

Adolph Meyer died on March 31, 1929 in St. Louis, Missouri. Carrie died almost a year later in St. Louis on March 27, 1930. Both are buried in New Mt. Sinai Cemetery in St. Louis.

1929_00013732 1930_00011398

Sources:

“Arkansas Boasts of Real Seaport: Ocean Steamers Soon will be Stopping at Grand Lake,” Arkansas Gazette, August 16, 1925.

Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas. Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1890, pgs. 1080-83.

Cashion, Elbert Thomas, Sr. A History of Eudora, Arkansas, Chicot County. Eudora: 1937, n.p.

“Reynold Herbert Meyer,” clipping in private collection of Carrol Meyer, source unknown, n.d. [ca 1935].

“Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1965.” Online database. https://s1.sos.mo.gov/records/Archives/ArchivesMvc/DeathCertificates: 2017.

Will Record Book D, Chicot County Courthouse, pgs. 566-575.

Wintory, Blake. Images of America: Chicot County. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2015, pg. 93.

 



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