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Lakeport Legacies Schedule for 2016

March 24 · Meandering Rivers in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley: Influence on Human Civilization and Forest Resource Management  · Dr. Brian Lockhart

April 28 · The Life and Wives of James Worthington Mason · Dr. Blake Wintory (Lakeport Plantation)

May 26 · The Adventures of the Bastianelli and Pianalto Sisters: History from the Tontitown Museum  · Dr. Rebecca Howard (University of Arkansas)

June 23 · Clean Lines and Open Fields: A Look at Mid-Century Modern Architecture in the Arkansas Delta  · Mason Toms (Arkansas Historic Preservation Program/Main Street Arkansas)

July 28 · Revising the Mississippi Capitol · Jennifer Baughn and Brenda Davis (Mississippi Department of Archives and History)

August 25 · The Other Lycurgus Johnson: U.S. Colored Troops and Civil War Pension Files in Chicot County  · Dr. Blake Wintory (Lakeport Plantation)

Lakeport Legacies is a monthly history talk held at the Lakeport Plantation focusing on history in the Delta.  Lakeport Legacies meets on one of the last Thursdays of the spring and summer months at 5:30 p.m. with the program starting at 6:00 p.m. 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

Southeast Arkansas’s African-American Legislators, 1868-1893

Reconstruction gave black males (freed former slaves) the right to vote for the first time. This had enormous consequences for civil society.  During Reconstruction and in the following years, eighty-six black men were elected to represent Arkansas in the General Assembly. Of the eighty-six, fourteen were elected from southeast Arkansas. Active participants in the legislative process, black legislators engaged in debate, introduced bills, and voted. They tended to support civil rights, education, public improvements, and immigration into the state. Black legislators from the southeast included the wealthy son of Chicot County’s largest planter; a noted abolitionist from Illinois; a former slave who became a college president and physician; educators; ministers; as well as men who eked out their living as farm laborers into the early 20th century. Laws designed to disenfranchise black voters (poll taxes, complicated election procedures and ballots), ultimately ended the election of African Americans in the late 19th century.


  • James W. Mason, 1868, 1871   (Ashley, Chicot, Drew, Desha)
  • Samuel H. Holland, 1873, 1874   (Ashley, Chicot, Drew, Desha)
  • W. H. Logan, 1887, 1889   (Chicot, Desha)
  • George W. Bell, 1891, 1893 (Chicot, Desha)


  • Edward A. Fulton, 1871  (Ashley, Chicot, Drew, Desha)
  • James A. Robinson, 1871, 1874-75  (Ashley, Chicot, Drew, Desha)
  • John W. Webb, 1871  (Ashley, Chicot, Drew, Desha)
  • John C. Rollins, 1873  (Ashley, Chicot, Drew, Desha)
  • Isaac G. Bailey, 1885  (Desha) [born in Chicot]
  • Green Hill Jones, 1885, 1889 (Chicot)
  • Hugh L. Newsome, 1887 (Chicot)
  • Henry A. Johnson, 1891 (Chicot)
  • R. C. Weddington, 1891 (Desha)
  • Nathan E. Edwards, 1893 (Chicot) 
Legislator Term Party Birth Antebellum Status Occupations
Bailey, Isaac G. 1885 (H)  R

b. Chicot Co. (1846)

d. 1914

Slave Baptist Minister, Educator, son attended Howard University
Bell, George W. 1891 (S), 1893 (S)  R

b. MS/TN (ca 1855)

d. after 1927

Slave ? Teacher, Doctor, Southland College President, Insurance Salesman
Edwards, Nathan E. 1893 (H)  R

b. AL (1855)

d. 1900-1910

Slave ? Farmer, Farm Laborer; Minister
Fulton, Edward A. 1871 (H)  R

b. KY (1833)

d. St. Louis, MO (1906)

Slave (KY & MO) Abolitionist, U.S. Intelligence Officer, Farmer, Census Taker (1870), Tax Assessor, Editor, Farmer, Postmaster, Laborer (1900 Census)
Holland, Samuel H.

1873 (S),

1874 (S)

 R  b. OH (ca 1844) Free ? Sheriff, Jailer, Principal, Teacher
Johnson, Henry A. 1891 (H)  R  b. Jackson, MS (1856) Slave ? Farmer/Planter, Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, Graduate of Alcorn State University
Jones, Green Hill 1885 (H), 1889 (H)  R  b. TN (1842) Slave (TN & AR) Sharecropper, Farmer, Co. Treasurer, Co. Assessor, Slave on Kenneth Rayner’s Plantation on Grand Lake in Chicot County. Joined Comp F, 3 U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery in 1863. Educated at Hillsdale College, Michigan, 1870-1873.
Logan, W. H. 1887 (S), 1889 (S)  R  b. OH (1850/55 Free ? Justice of the Peace, Preacher, Teacher, Farmer
Mason, James W.

1868 (S),

1871 (S)


b. Chicot Co. (1841)

d. 1874 (Lake Village)

Slave, Free Planter, Postmaster, Sheriff, Judge
Newsome, Hugh L. 1887 (H)  R

b. Nashville, TN (1848)

d. 1900-1910 (Little Rock)

Slave ? Teacher, Postal Clerk, City Marshal (Little Rock)

Robinson, James A.

1871 (H) 1874-75 (H)

 R  b. AR (ca 1836) Slave Merchant

Rollins, John C.

1871 (H)


b. GA (1812/1835)

d. before 1880

Slave ?

Webb, John W.

1871 (H)


b. KY (1824)

Slave ?

Justice of the Peace, Farmer, Farm Laborer

Weddington, R. C.

1891 (H)


b. Rodney, MS (1866)


Farmer, Teacher, Principal

Adapted from Wintory, Blake J. “African American Legislators in the Arkansas General Assembly, 1868-1893.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 65 (Winter 2006): 385-434.

Updated April  4, 2018

WPA Slave Narratives for Chicot County

Between 1936 and 1938 the Federal Writers’ Project collected over 2,000 oral histories with former slaves. While Arkansas collected more histories than any other state, no interviews were collected in Chicot County. However, six narratives taken in cities across Arkansas are by former Chicot County slaves (or their children):  Fanny JohnsonNannie MaddenJames MorganLucretia AlexanderNannie Jones, and Mattie Nelson. A seventh narrative by a former Chicot County resident, William Lattimore, describes his move from Mississippi to Arkansas.

Fanny Johnson was 76 years old in 1936 when she was interviewed at her daughter’s house in Hot Springs. She recalled she was a 5 years old slave on the Woodfork Place near Grand Lake when the Civil War started. Her parents were born in Maryland and were brought to Nashville, TN by Woodfork, who owned several plantations throughout the South. Fortunate for her family, Woodfork “didn’t believe in separating families.” The overseer on their plantation was good to them “most of the time.” She recalled “Just once did anybody on the Woodfork place get whipped” unlike at the plantation next door. There the overseer could be mean with the whip. She stated “Why you could hear the sound of the strap…the ‘niggah drivah’ would stand and hit them with a wide strap…Some they whipped so hard they had to carry them in.”

Fanny was too young to work in the fields during slavery, but she helped her grandmother take care of babies while the women work in the fields.

After the war, they were taken (presumably by Federal troops) to the The Bend, Jefferson Davis’ former plantation near Vicksburg. She later returned to Arkansas, living and working in Jefferson County and in Oklahoma. She also worked as a cook in tourist towns like Eureka Springs and Hot Springs.

First page of Fanny Johnson's WPA Interview

First page of Fanny Johnson’s WPA Interview

Nannie Madden, interviewed in West Memphis at age 69, was born in Lake Village in 1867, just after slavery. It’s not clear from her narrative, where her parents were enslaved. Her father served in the Union Army, and after the war rented a farm at Red Leaf Plantation, then managed by Isaac M. Worthington. Her mother died there in 1876 and her father died in West Memphis at another daughter’s house at age 88. She stated, “I farmed and worked all my life.” Nannie recommended Booker T. Washington’s autobiography, Booker T. Washington’s Own Story of His Life and Work,and a biography, The Master Mind of a Child of Slavery–Booker T. Washington by Frederick E. Drinker.

James Morganinterviewed in Little Rock, was born in Chicot County in 1873. His father, Aaron Morgan, was brought to Chicot County as a slave by his master, Charles McDermott. Morgan believed his father and mother were brought here from Georgia and South Carolina, but the 1880 Census shows Aaron and Rosa Morgan were both born in Louisiana–where Charles McDermott was from. His mother’s first husband was sold during slavery and Aaron and Rosa met after freedom. Once free, Aaron stayed on the McDermott plantation and sharecropped. Later, according to James, Aaron bought 160 acres of government land for $1.60, and “built a house and cleared it up.”

Morgan worked 35 years on the Missouri Pacific Railroad; 22 years as a foreman. He retired in 1932 and received a pension from the government for his work on the railroad.

Lucretia Alexander, interviewed in Little Rock at age 89, was a 12 year old slave on the Rossmere Plantation in Chicot County when the Civil War began. She was born in Copiah County near Hazelhurst, Mississippi and arrived at Rossmere when she was “six or eight years old.” She remembered the plantation’s four overseers by name. The last overseer, Tom Phipps, was “mean…mean as he could be.” She recalled, “I’ve seen him take them down and whip them till the blood run out of them.” Once, he whipped her and “aimed to kill.” Protected by her mistress, Susan Chapman [Read], Phipps was run off the plantation.

Lucretia’s mother and father were both born in Virginia. Her mother, Agnes Toliver, “was treated well during slavery times”; but her father was sold five times, because he “would take nothin’.” Later, Lucretia’s mistress purchased him for $1500 without ever seeing him.

During the Civil War her mother stayed on the plantation because her children had been “refugeed…off to different places to keep them from the Yankees.” Lucretia’s brother returned in 1865, but she did not see her sister until 1869.

When freedom came they were told “You’re free as I am” by a Union soldier.  She recalled, “old colored folks…that was on sticks, throwed them sticks away and shouted.”

After the Civil War, Lucretia stayed on the Rossmere Plantation for about 4 years and was paid $12 per month, plus food and cloth. Next she worked in the fields, making more money. Around 1923, she moved to Little Rock. She stated, “I have been a widow for thirty years. I washed and ironed and plowed and hoed–everything. Now I am gittin’ so I ain’t able to do nothin’ and the Relief keeps me alive…I used to take a little boy and make ten bales of cotton. I can’t do it now. I used to be a woman in my day. I am my mother’s seventh child.”

Nannie Jones was 81 years old when interviewed at her home in Pine Bluff. Living at Dr. Gaines’ Plantation, she was only 4 years old when the Civil War started. She remembered being a cute little girl around the house…”a pet.” But when freedom came, she recalled people “jumped up and down and carried on.” Her mother was sold down river from Kentucky, but died when Jones was small. Her father likely fought for the Union Army for a short time. As an adult she worked “in the field and anywhere. I worked like man.”

Nannie Jones: “My father went to war on one side but he didn’t stay very long.”

Mattie Nelson was 72 years old when she was interviewed in Pine Bluff. She was born around 1865 during her family’s “emigration” from Texas. Her unnamed parents were enslaved by the Chapmans — Johnson and Elizabeth Chapman. The Chapmans, like many slaveholders in Arkansas trying to protect their property, took slaves to Texas in 1863. Mattie remembered “I member when I was a child mistress used to be so good to us. After surrender my parents stayed on there with the Chapmans…til they died.”

While her parents were illiterate, Mattie went to school. But still work called. Mattie began working at age six, rolling logs and cleaning up new ground.

Without her maiden name or her parents’ names, it was difficult to find more about her. However in the 1940 Census, she is still living in Pine Bluff.  The 75 year old is a widow and taking care of her grandson, Fred Burt, age 9.

William Lattimore, 78 years old when interviewed in Pine Bluff, likely only spent a few years in Chicot County. He was born in Canton, Mississippi in 1859. He remembered Yankees soldiers’ arrival in Canton during the siege of Jackson in 1863. His father joined Col Ziegler’s 52nd US Colored Infantry that year.

After the Civil War, the family moved to Vicksburg and shunned an opportunity to return to their old plantation. He remembered “Mr. Lattimore [old master] came and wanted my father to live with him…before the surrender old master whipped my father over the head with a walking stick…and I was afraid he would whip him again.”

William went to school after freedom and went until he married. It’s difficult to piece together a concise timeline. However, he moved to Arkansas, first Chicot County and then Jefferson County. He became a school director at 18 and was elected justice of the peace (probably in Jefferson County).

There were three men with the last name Lattimore in Company G of the 52nd USCI–Reuben, Hilliard, and William. In the 1930 Census, a 65 year old William Latimer [sic] of Pine Bluff lists his father’s birthplace as Virginia. According to service records, Hilliard Lattimore was born in Virginia. However, in the 1900 Census a William Latimore in Chicot County, born in Mississippi in 1852, lists his father as born in Tennessee. The William Lattimore that served was born in Davidson, Tennessee. Further research into the soliders’ pension files would lead to more information.

The full text of most of the WPA slave narratives are available on the Library of Congress’s Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938.

Lakeport Legacies · August 27 · Delta Modern · Jennifer Baughn

Delta Modern

presented by

Jennifer Baughn, Mississippi Department of Archives & History

Thursday, August 27

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

The "modernistic" Sunflower Grocery, designed by Harold Kaplan, opened in 1959 in Greenville.

The “modernistic” Sunflower Grocery, designed by Harold Kaplan, opened in 1959 in Greenville.


“White Pillars” is a Neoclassical Colonial home designed in 1948 for the Nash family by Harold Kaplan. The traditional architecture is in contrast to many of Kaplan’s Modernist public architecture.


Lakeport Plantation’s monthly history talk, Lakeport Legacies, will feature Jennifer Baughn, chief architectural historian at the Mississippi Department of Archives & History. Mrs. Baughn, in her talk titled, “Delta Modern,” will discuss Mid-Century architecture (1930s-1960s) in the Mississippi Delta. At Mid-Century, traditional and modern styles were competing architectural visions. In the Delta, the period is exemplified by two architects: Leland native Harold Kaplan and Jackson’s N. W. Overstrett. Kaplan’s Modern designs for public buildings, like T. L. Weston High School (1954), are a contrast to his designs for traditional Colonial private homes, like White Pillars (1948) in Greenville’s Gamyn Park neighborhood. Drawing from examples across the Delta, Baughn will discuss the region’s most interesting Modern architecture such as Greenville’s Coleman High School and Delta State’s Young-Mauldin Cafeteria. Exemplifying the optimism and booming economy of the decades after World War II, Mississippi’s Modernist architecture is gaining the appreciation of both historians and architecture buffs for its clean lines, functional planning, and futuristic detailing.


Please RSVP to this FREE Event

Lakeport Legacies (LL) meets in the Dining Room of the Lakeport Plantation house. LL, held on one of the last Thursdays of the month at the Lakeport Plantation, features a history topic from the Delta. For more information, call 870.265.6031.

Lakeport Legacies — Annie Read Reeves’ Chicot County Civil War Diary, 1861-1863

Annie Read Reeves’ Chicot County Civil War Diary, 1861-1863

presented by

Dr. Blake Wintory, Lakeport Plantation

Thursday, July 30

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


The Rossmere Plantation, founded in 1847 by George Read IV, was located on the east side of Lake Chicot south of Stuart’s Island. In 1861, the plantation had over 1300 acres and 61 slaves. One of those slaves, Lucretia Alexander, was interviewed by the WPA in the 1930s.

Annie Read Reeves, a widow with four children, left New Castle, Delaware in October 1861 during the first year of the Civil War. They arrived at the Rossmere Plantation on Old River Lake in Chicot County on November 22. Annie and her brother George Read IV (1812-1859) were the great-grandchildren of George Read I, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Her late brother founded Rossmere in 1846 and her sister-in-law, Susan (Chapman) Read, still resided there in 1861. Reeves’ diary (1861-1863) details her trip to Chicot County and experiences during the Civil War. Wintory will discuss the diary and what we know about the Read family and plantation from other sources: deeds, tax records, Susan Read’s letters, a memoir by Annie’s daughter, and a slave narrative.


Please RSVP to this FREE Event

Lakeport Legacies (LL) meets in the Dining Room of the Lakeport Plantation house. LL, held on one of the last Thursdays of the month at the Lakeport Plantation, features a history topic from the Delta. For more information, call 870.265.6031.



Mount Holly burns

Mount Holly burned early in the morning on June 17, 2015. Mount Holly was constructed ca. 1856 for Margaret (Johnson) Erwin Dudley after purchasing the land from her father in 1855. The grand Italianate home was most likely built based on plans by Calvert Vaux first published in Harper’s in November 1855 and later in Vaux’s Villas and Cottages (1857). In the 1880s, William Hezekiah Foote became Mount Holly’s owner. His great-grandson, Shelby Foote, used Mount Holly as the setting for his first novel, Tournament, published in 1949. Foote told the Clarion-Ledger in 1973 “the house was erected by a transient architect in 1855, working from plans carried with him and with the assistance of one man who accompanied him and a construction crew of slaves from the Mount Holly plantation.” Mount Holly was similar to two other Italianate Mississippi houses, Aldemar, built for Victor Flournoy ca. 1859 on Lake Washington; and Ammadelle, built 1859, in Oxford. Ammadelle still stands.

At Lakeport, despite the differences in architectural styles, we often tell guests about how Lycurgus’s cousin’s house influenced Lakeport’s design–layout of the parlors and entryway, main staircase in a cross hall, the peculiar arch upstairs probably influenced by Mount Holly, attached kitchen, cast-iron stove set in brick, servants bells, brick walkway…….


Mount Holly, June 17, 2015





More Pictures from June 17, 2015 

Mississippi Preservation Blog: Sad News from Lake Washington

Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory: Mount Holly

Bagley, Clinton. “Mount Holly,” National Register Nomination Form, August 1973.

Carl McIntire, “More on Mt. Holly,” Clarion Ledger, February 18, 1973

Erwin House [Mount Holly], Historic American Building Survey, Library of Congress, 1936.


Updated June 17, 2016

LAKEPORT LEGACIES — Absentee Masters of the Mississippi River

Absentee Masters of the Mississippi River

presented by

Dr. Kelly Houston Jones, Austin Peay State University
Thursday, June 25

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


Kenneth Rayner

Kenneth Rayner, a resident of North Carolina, purchased a 538 acre Chicot County plantation in 1845. Writing to a friend, he objected to the land being “in the state of Arkansas” and complained “I will never leave my wife so long again.” Two years later, visiting the plantation during the December harvest, he praised his overseer, “I think my overseer a first rate manager…he has, picked, and packed about 220 bales of cotton” despite bad weather. (Image by Matthew Brady; courtesy of East Carolina Manuscript Collection.)

Many masters along the Mississippi River did not reside on their plantations. Instead they relied on overseers to run the day-to-day operations. The absence of a white family in the “big house” could make the plantation a much different place than one with an owner-resident. Dr. Kelly Houston Jones will discuss her work on R.C. Ballard and other area plantation owners who resided away from their holdings, and what those arrangements would have meant for enslaved people living on those plantations.


Please RSVP to this FREE Event

Lakeport Legacies (LL) meets in the Dining Room of the Lakeport Plantation house. LL, held on one of the last Thursdays of the month at the Lakeport Plantation, features a history topic from the Delta. For more information, call 870.265.6031.

LAKEPORT LEGACIES — Ancestral Activity: Doing African American Genealogy in Arkansas & Chicot County

Ancestral Activity: Doing African American Genealogy in Arkansas & Chicot County

presented by

Rhonda Stewart, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies

Thursday, May 28

Refreshments & Conversation @ 5:30 pm

Program @ 6:00 pm

Rhonda - 3rd grade

Ms. Stewart, pictured here in the 3rd grade, became interested in her own family’s history after hearing her grandmother’s stories about her great-grandmother.

 Rhonda Stewart, a genealogy and history specialist at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, will discuss how to research African American family history in Arkansas. Oral histories are excellent places to start building a family history and can be confirmed with local history resources and genealogy databases available on and other websites. Part of Ms. Stewart’s presentation will focus on two examples of family history in Chicot County. The Butler Center is a department of the Central Arkansas Library System in Little Rock.

Please RSVP to this FREE Event

Lakeport Legacies (LL) meets in the Dining Room of the Lakeport Plantation house. LL, held on one of the last Thursdays of the month at the Lakeport Plantation, features a history topic from the Delta. For more information, call 870.265.6031.

Summer Hours 2015 — SATURDAY HOURS ADDED

In addition to Lakeport’s regular weekday tours, Lakeport will add Saturday hours (11 am – 3 pm) from May 23 until July 26.*

Summer Hours 2015
May 23 – July 25
Mon-Friday Tours at 10 am & 2 pm
Open Saturdays* to visitors 11 am – 3 pm
Closed Sundays
Closed Memorial Day, Monday, May 25
*Closed Independence Day, Friday, July 3** & Saturday, July 4
**Change of plans. We will be open Friday, July 3, 2015


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

Lakeport Legacies — Images and History of Chicot County: Book Project Update

Images and History of Chicot County: Book Project Update

presented by
Dr. Blake Wintory, Lakeport Plantation

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Refreshments & Conversation @ 5:30 pm

 Program @ 6:00 pm

downtown_lake_village_ca 1920_session_coll_lakeport2

Lake Village’s downtown and lakefront around 1920, probably taken from second floor of the Tushek Building. Visible are Gaines Cafeteria along Lake Chicot and Watt Orton’s Livery Stable. (Bill and Jeanine Session Collection, Lakeport Plantation)

Lakeport Plantation is nearly finished with a pictorial history of Chicot County with Arcadia Publishing. During the past year of research, we have made some interesting discoveries, including the photograph above of downtown Lake Village. Come see, learn or share a memory about Chicot County’s history.

Please RSVP to this FREE Event

Lakeport Legacies (LL) meets in the Dining Room of the Lakeport Plantation house. LL, held on one of the last Thursdays of the month at the Lakeport Plantation, features a history topic from the Delta. For more information, call 870.265.6031.

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