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Lakeport Time Travelers Day Camp

Travel back in time at Lakeport Plantation’s Time Travelers Day Camp in
Lake Village, Arkansas, June 13 to June 17, 2022 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm!

Lakeport Time Travelers Day Camp is for incoming third to fifth grade students.
Campers will learn how people lived in the 1800s and early 1900s through games, crafts, activities, and sampling historic recipes!
Each day will have a different theme focused on a different era of history.
Campers will crack secret codes, write with a quill pen, create a radio show, play classic games like marbles and jacks, and so much more!

Registration is $75 for the week! Click here to register today!
Campers will need to bring a packed lunch for each day of the camp.

For additional information, please call 870-265-6031 or email roloughlin@astate.edu



Arkansas Archeological Society Field Survey at Lakeport Plantation

Join the Arkansas Archeological Survey – UAM Research Station and Arkansas State University Heritage Studies for a field survey at Lakeport Plantation in Lake Village, AR March 18th and 19th for Archeology Month. The goal of the field survey is to find material evidence of the enslaved persons’ quarters. On Friday, March 18th from 1pm – 3pm, participants will have the opportunity to tour the Lakeport Plantation House before surveying the fields. On Saturday, March 19th from 9am – 3pm, participants will spend the day surveying the fields. Lunch will be provided for volunteers on Saturday, March 19th, but reservations for lunch are required. Please RSVP to Ruth O’Loughlin at roloughlin@astate.edu by Thursday, March 17th if you plan to join us for lunch and let us know about any dietary restrictions. Please register at the Lakeport Plantation Visitor’s Center upon arrival.

All volunteers will be trained on how to conduct a field survey. If possible, please bring a round shovel. If you own a metal detector, please bring it with you.

Please be prepared for various weather conditions. Gloves, boots, hats, water, bug spray, and sunscreen are recommended.

For additional information, please call 870-265-6031 or email Ruth O’Loughlin at roloughlin@astate.edu.



Women of the Arkansas Delta Photography Exhibit

Women of the Arkansas Delta

“Women of the Arkansas Delta” is a photo exhibition and research project from The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff on display at the Lakeport Plantation Visitor’s Center January 3rd to April 1st.  The exhibit takes a look at a diverse selection of women from the Arkansas Delta region providing a snapshot of these women and their lives in the 1970s, and what happened to them afterward. It is made possible by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a sponsorship from Explore Pine Bluff.

“Women of the Arkansas Delta” is based on a 1976 oral and photographic project of the same name, conducted by the Pine Bluff Women’s Center. Through a grant by the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, the project’s goal was to gather, preserve, and publish information about women of the Delta, their history, and lives.

The Pine Bluff Women’s Center Inc. was founded in 1975, and provided programs against violence toward women and in promotion of gender equality. The programs included career development, education, and assertiveness training. Leaders of the organization sought to have the proposed Equal Rights Amendment in the mid-1970s pass. The group dissolved in 1992 when several of the organization’s members and leaders moved outside the county, according to the University of Central Arkansas Archives. Becky Kilmer, a founder and leader of The Pine Bluff Women’s Center, donated the group’s records to the UCA Archives.

The group interviewed a wide range of women — African American and white— including social justice activists, farmers, and small business owners. They ranged in age from elderly to age 7.  The women shared their hopes and aspirations, their stories, and other minutiae of their daily lives. The changing economic and agricultural make-up of small-town Arkansas Delta is reflected in some of the interviews. Women’s changing status in society and increasing rights was also a frequent topic.

The resulting interviews and photographs were collected into a small book and published in December 1976.  From the introduction of the 1976 book: “What they told us revealed much about the development of the delta region over the past one hundred years. Many of the women remembered the effects of floods, segregation, hand labor in cotton fields, and introduction of motorized farm machinery, integration, and other economic changes.”

Other women interviewed “unfolded their own individual histories. Their story was important, too, in giving an accurate picture of what makes up a delta native.”

Fast forward four decades later.

Then-curator Dr. Lenore Shoults discovered photographs and original negatives from the project in ASC’s collection, and decided to curate a traveling exhibition surrounding the photographs. The first Women of the Arkansas Delta exhibition went on display at ASC in early spring 2019, and traveled to the Delta Cultural Center in Helena in 2020. Following feedback from the exhibition’s time at the Delta Cultural Center, Chaney Jewell, who succeeded Shoults as curator, began in 2020 to update the exhibition. “One of the consistent feedbacks I received about the original exhibition was, ‘OK, this is great information, these are wonderful photographs, this is a really intriguing piece of history. But what happened to the women?”

A grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a sponsorship from Explore Pine Bluff allowed for the exhibition to expand through additional research. The grant also covers costs for the exhibition to travel, allowing ASC to offer the Women of the Arkansas Delta to venues for free with no exhibition cost.

Cherrise Branch-Jones, Ph.D., of Jonesboro came on board to assist the research as the project’s humanities scholar. She is Dean of Arkansas State University’s Graduate School and the James and Wanda Lee Vaughn Endowed Professor of History. She is also the author of “Crossing the Line: Women’s Interracial Activism in South Carolina During and After World War II” (University Press of Florida, 2014), and “Better Living by Their Own Bootstraps: Black Women’s Activism in Rural Arkansas, 1914-1965,” published in April 2021 by University of Arkansas Press.

Jones-Branch is particularly knowledgeable about three of the women in the Women of the Arkansas Delta project: Maeleen Clay Arrant and Ethel B. Dawson of Pine Bluff, and Annie R. Zachary of Marvell. The three women, who were all activists, are subjects in Jones-Branch’s book “Better Living by Their Own Bootstraps.”

Updates to the Women of the Arkansas Delta project incorporate additional resources, such as the original interview recordings (which are stored at the University of Central Arkansas Archives in Conway) and new research.

“This new exhibition focused around researching the women and how they lived out the rest of their lives, past 1976,” Jewell explained. Finding out what happened to the women in the intervening years was extra challenging in that all but two of the women interviewed in 1976 have died, Jewell said.

Jewell and Branch-Jones used online research tools such as census data and ancestry.com, and interviewed family and friends of the women. Social media was an important tool as well, for locating and contacting living relatives and friends, Jewell explained. In the case of one of the women, Chanah Reid Foti, loved ones had set up a memorial Facebook page for her. “After posting an inquiry on the memorial page, I had about 10 people who responded and were interested in being interviewed,” Jewell said.

“It was interesting to go onto Facebook and find memorial pages and family members who are very eager to talk about these women,” Jewell said. “That’s one of the beautiful things about this project that I wasn’t expecting, family members being told that their mother, grandmother, aunt, sister made an impact, historically. And that their stories still want to be heard and want to be told. And how much that positively impacts not only the family, but the local community has been really great.”

The women from the 1976 project featured in the exhibition are:

  • Maeleen Clay Arrant of Pine Bluff
  • Ora Brown of Pine Bluff
  • Geneva Byrd of Tucker
  • Lucyle Cantley of Pine Bluff
  • June H. Davis of Altheimer
  • O. G. Dawson (Ethel B.) of Pine Bluff
  • Chanah Reid Foti (later LaMarre) of Pine Bluff
  • Idella Kimbrough of Gould
  • Mildred Laureles of Snow Lake
  • Emma Merlo of Pine Bluff
  • Jessie Tidwell of Pine Bluff
  • Annie R. Zachary (later Pike) of Marvell

Jewell had the opportunity to interview one of the two women still alive — Emma Merlo. A video of the interview is included in the virtual exhibition.

The other survivor, Annie Zachary (now Pike), still resides on her family farm in Marvell.

The exhibition includes the original black-and-white photographs of the women, with short bios using information from the 1976 interviews and recent research about what happened to the women afterward.

Photographs taken on the road in 1976 accompany the portraits and capture the places at the time. The locations are almost all unidentified, and many of them are dilapidated. Barns. An old white church. Abandoned houses. An old convenience store. A crop duster.

The exhibition also includes a video displaying photos of the women accompanied by audio of the original interviews.

The virtual exhibition is viewable at asc701.org/women-of-the-arkansas-delta. It includes all of the images and information of the physical exhibition, with additional information and photos of the present-day locations.

A look at some of the women featured:

Mrs. O.G. (Ethel B.) Dawson

Ethel B. Dawson of Pine Bluff worked for the sharecropper program National Council of Churches in Lincoln County, encouraging people to vote and pay their taxes. In her interview, she discussed segregation, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and sex discrimination as a working African American woman.

“I’ve always been accused of being outspoken. I don’t mean any harm. I never meant any harm, but at the same time, I’m just telling the truth.”

She also spoke about women’s changing role in society.

“I’m glad to see that women being independent, because they don’t have to take what a lot of us had to take. When you married, the man was supposed to be the boss. And men weren’t satisfied until they gave you a whipping. … And o course, with a woman not being able to get a job, being depending she stayed and took it. And I am just so happy to see these young girls go on and get an education so if they marry a man and he doesn’t treat them right they don’t have to stay and take it.”

In her later years, Dawson continued to work with the Jefferson County Voters Association and the League of Women Voters. She remained an active NAACP member and continued to strive to get Blacks hired at the Jefferson County Court House. She died in 1984.

 

Chanah Reid Foti-LaMarre

At age 7, Chanah Reid Foti of Pine Bluff was the youngest person interviewed for the project in 1976.

“She expressed her opinions clearly and vividly on many different topics,” the Women of the Arkansas Delta book noted.

When asked about work, Foti replied, “I’d like to be a carpenter. I’d build a house.”

What do you think a poor person is? “Somebody who doesn’t have any friends and can’t get along with people,” she responded.

She lived in Arkansas throughout her early 20s. She then moved to California and became a drug and alcohol counselor with her husband, Pierre LaMarre.

Foti-LaMarre died in December 2017 at age 48.

 

Annie Zachary Pike

Annie R. Zachary of Marvell, born in 1931, was a force to be reckoned with.

After her husband suffered a stroke, she took over as manager of their Phillips County farm while raising their young child. She was young herself.

“When I first started, no one had ever heard of women’s lib. I’ve been liberated all the time. I’m not much interested in women’s liberation, because this (responsibility) came to me by no choice of my own.”

Zachary struggled to gain respect in the farming industry because of her gender.

In 1969, Zachary made history when Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller appointed her to a Governor’s board. She was the first Black person — male or female — to serve on such a board.

“When I walked into the building that day (for the first meeting), the building was lined with State Troopers and local officials. They were just afraid that something was going to break out, that here comes this black woman in here. I didn’t even have a bodyguard.”

In 1977, she married Lester Pike, and in 1979, she helped establish National Teachers’ Day. In 1985, the Arkansas Education Association recognized her many years of volunteer service.

From 1999 to 2001, she served on the Arkansas Tobacco Control Board.

In 2002, Phillips County Road 125 (which runs through her farmland) was renamed Annie Zachary Pike Road.

Pike still resides on the family farm in Marvell. Read more about her in her CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas entry at https://encyclopediaofarkansas.net/entries/annie-zachary-pike-2841/.

 

About The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC), 701 S. Main St. in Pine Bluff, is accredited with the American Alliance of Museums. ASC presents programming in the visual arts, performing arts, and the sciences through exhibits, performances, classes and local partnerships. Gallery admission is free. ASC is open Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

Support for ASC is provided in part by the Arkansas Arts Council —  a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pine Bluff Advertising & Promotion Commission, and the City of Pine Bluff. For more information, visit asc701.org or call 870-536-3375.

 

“Women of the Arkansas Delta” will be on display at the Lakeport Plantation Visitor’s Center from January 3rd, 2022 to April 1st, 2022, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm and is free to view.  Guided tours of the Lakeport Plantation house start on the hour Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.  Self-guided tours of the house are available Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.  Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, and military.  For additional information please call 870-265-6031 or email roloughlin@astate.edu.



Honoring Juneteenth


June 19, 2021, 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Gather for a reading of the
Emancipation Proclamation and the
Thirteenth Amendment
on the front steps of the Lakeport Plantation Home beginning at 12:30 pm.
At 1:00 pm, the bell will be rung thirteen times in honor of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Lakeport Plantation Home will be open for
FREE from 11 am – 3 pm on Saturday, June 19th, 2021.

Social distancing and face coverings for those over 10 are required.
For additional information, please call 870-265-6031 or email roloughlin@astate.edu.

Follow our Facebook Event.



Home for the Holidays at Lakeport Plantation


Join us for a free Christmas Open House,
Saturday, November 30, from 1 pm – 4 pm!
Bring your family to explore Lakeport, make an ornament,
try your hand at festive games, sample historic sweets, and
take advantage of our Gift Shop sale to find that perfect gift!

For additional information, check out our Facebook Event.



19th December Calendar

Found behind the mantel in the North Parlor. 2001.002.0039

This December calendar, found behind Lakeport’s North Parlor, lines up with dates in 2018. The calendar is most likely late 19th century. Possible years are 1906, 1900, 1894, 1883 or 1877.



History for the Holidays: Book Signing & Author Event

Saturday, December 8, 1 pm – 4 pm

Pick up a holiday present for your history buff on December 8 at the Lakeport Plantation. Local and regional authors will be on hand to sign copies of their books. Authors include:

Mark K. Christ of Little Rock, AR
Mark Spencer of Monticello, AR
Jim Woodrick of Ridgeland, MS
Woody Woods of Madison, MS
Princella Nowell of Greenville, MS
Robert Fulford of Dermott, AR
Blake Wintory of Lake Village, AR

Authors will sign these local history books

Please bring cash or check. See books and prices below. Prices include tax. Hope to see you then!

Titles for Mark Christ:
Civil War Arkansas, 1863 ($22)
“This Day We Marched Again”: A Union Soldier’s Account of War in Arkansas and the Trans-Mississippi (ed. by Christ) ($24)
A Confused and Confusing Affair: Arkansas and Reconstruction (ed. by Christ; chapter by Blake Wintory) ($22)

Jim Woodrick:
The Civil War Siege of Jackson Mississippi ($24)

Woody Woods:
A Delta Diary: Amanda Worthington’s Civil War Diary ($22)
Delta Plantations: The Beginning ($22)

Princella Nowell:
Washington County, Mississippi (Images of America Series) ($24)

Mark Spencer:
Monticello (Images of America) ($24)
Mark will have other titles available, including– A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House

Blake Wintory:
Chicot County (Images of America) ($24)
A Confused and Confusing Affair: Arkansas and Reconstruction (ed. by Christ; chapter by Blake Wintory) ($24)

Robert Fulford:
Growing Up on Yellow Bayou Book 1 ($12)
Growing Up on Yellow Bayou Book 2 ($12)
Dark Days of the South ($12)

Facebook Event Page



Hiram E. Wetherbee Timeline

The Wetherbee House, built around 1873 for Hiram E. and Dora Wetherbee, is the oldest and last remaining home in downtown Greenville. Wetherbee, a Kentucky-born Union Civil War Veteran, returned to the Delta after the Civil War and founded a prosperous hardware store in Greenville. The home was added to the National Register in 1977. Today, it is under renovation to become Wetherbee’s, a retail space.

Greenville Times, October 3, 1874

1842 — Hiram E. Wetherbee is born in Boone County, Kentucky.

1860 —  Wetherbee, an 18 years-old farmer, is living in Golconda, IL along the Ohio River.  He and six siblings are in the household of his father, T. W. Wetherbee,  a wagon maker.

1862, August 16Wetherbee enlists at Golconda in 120th Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers, Company E as a teamster/wagoner. A younger brother, Wesley O. Wetherbee, joined the 29th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in 1864.

1862-1865 — The 120th IL Infantry transfers to Memphis, Tennessee. The 120th participated in the siege of Vicksburg (May-June 1863) and spent time in Old Greenville.

1865, September 10 — Wetherbee is discharged from the Union Army at Memphis.

1867-1870 —  Wetherbee likely arrives in new Greenville. He initially farmed and worked as a tinsmith. In the 1870 Census, he has $1000 in real estate and $700 in personal property. His neighbor is Samuel Elliot, an Indiana-born hardware dealer who was appointed Greenville’s postmaster in 1868.

1871 — Wesley O. Wetherbee, Hiram’s younger brother and a Greenville blacksmith, marries Belle V. Elliott.

1873 — Wetherbee purchases land from Mrs. Blanton Theoblad, where he would build his home.

1874, October 3 — Advertisements for Wetherbee & Brown Hardware appear in The Greenville Times. Records suggest the hardware store was located on the now lost Mulberry Street parallel to the Mississippi River. In 1885, the store was relocated to Walnut Street.

1874, October 28 — Wetherbee weds Dora McCoy at Golconda, Illinois. The couple raise three children: Harry Lon (1875), Edna (1877), and Ethel (1895).

1878, September 30— Wesley O. Wetherbee, Hiram’s younger brother and a Greenville blacksmith since at least 1871, dies. His death coincides with the yellow fever epidemic. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

1905 — Wetherbee dies and is buried in the Greenville Cemetery. Wetherbee’s son, Harry, takes over the hardware store.

1911 — Dora Wetherbee dies and is buried in the Greenville Cemetery.

Wesley O. Wetherbee worked as a blacksmith according to this  November 4, 1874 advertisement in The Greenville Times

1950 — Wetherbee Hardware Store claims to be the oldest in the state of Mississippi.

1957 — Wetherbee Hardware Store is sold to new owners. It closed in 1966.

1973 — Ethel Wetherbee Finley is the last Wetherbee to live in the home.

1973 — The Council of Greenville Garden Clubs purchases the home. Under an architect’s supervision, the house is restored to its 1870s design and used as a clubhouse and museum.

1977 — The Wetherbee house is added to the National Register “as a rare example of the modest cottage type of domestic architecture common…in the post-Civil War decades” in Greenville.  The Wetherbee carriage house is believed to be pre-Civil War.

 

Note: In addition to the National Register nomination, Mrs. Robert M. Harding’s 1978 article, “The Historic Preservation of the Wetherbee House,” published by the Washington County Historical Society is a good source of information on the Wetherbees and the home. Other sources consulted include U.S. Census records, Greenville Times, Delta Democrat-Times, Hiram Wetherbee’s pension file at the National Archives, among others.

 



Children’s Cemetery at Lakeport Plantation

Just behind the Lakeport house is a small children’s cemetery with post-Civil War burials of Lycurgus and Lydia Johnson’s children and grandchildren. Unprotected for many years, markers had been lost–some apparently drug into the field by tractors.  Before restoration, the small crypt was the only for sure burial. Parts of four small markers were eventually discovered  and ground penetrating radar revealed that there are at least two other burials and likely a third.  

Of the four markers, only two have initials: “C.J.” for Cable Johnson (b. March 15, 1865; d. August 5, 1867) and “L.J.S.” for Lydia J. Starling (b. October 19, 1879; d. 1882). The third and fourth markers do not have any visible initials. Those markers are likely for Julia J. Johnson (b. July 12, 1860; d. November 1, 1869) and Lucie C. Worthington (b. January 8, 1880; d. June 5, 1881).

Parts of four markers were found around the children’s cemetery. Only two had any identifiable marks.

However, a recently discovered record suggests there is a fifth child buried in the cemetery.

Emma Peak and Walter Johnson married at Grand Lake, Chicot County on January 7, 1886. Emma, writing in 1937 in an unpublished memoir, stated, “Shortly afterwards we moved north to Wilton [Iowa] to be near Mr. Johnson’s business.”  In a chapter titled, “Baby John,” she writes about the loss of her first child:  “My first baby was a plump little boy with lovely large light blue eyes and red curls. A baby with lovely disposition. He loved people and would go to everybody who held out their arms to him….Little John stayed with us for fourteen months a baby loved by everyone.”

Wedding of Walter Johnson and Miss Emma Peak, Greenville Times, January 16, 1886

This ca. 1890 photograph of Emma Peak Johnson, taken in Wilton, Iowa, was found behind the drawing room mantel during restoration.

According to Iowa, County death records, 1880-1992, John P. Johnson, 13 months old, died on July 25, 1888 in Wilton Junction, Iowa. The record shows he was buried at Lakeport, Arkansas, very likely with his cousins behind the Lakeport family home.

Lycurgus and Lydia chose to bury their children who died before the Civil War in Frankfort, Kentucky and would eventually join them in 1876 and 1898.  Unlike their parents, the Johnson daughters, Annie Starling and May Worthington, as well as Emma and Walter Johnson and chose their childhood home, Lakeport, as the place to bury their children–even sending little John Peak Johnson all the way from Iowa.

Notes (updated December 12, 2018):

The cast iron fence was added around the cemetery was added in 2008. A gift of Annie Paden, a descendant of Mary (May) Johnson Worthington, the iron fence surrounded Annie Taylor Worthington Spencer’s home on the Glen Allan Plantation in Glen Allan, MS.

Lydia Starling (1879-1882) was the daughter of Annie Johnson Starling (daughter of Lycurgus and Lydia Johnson) and Charles Hensley Starling. Nine-year-old Julia J. Johnson died in November 1869 about eight months after her brother, Cable.  Lucie Worthington (1880-1881) was the daughter of Mary (May) Johnson and Isaac M. Worthington, Jr.

A copy of Emma Peak Johnson’s unpublished 1937 memoir, Growing Pains are Heaven, is on file at the Lakeport Plantation.

John P. Johnson’s death is indexed as “John P. Jackson,”https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XVQR-BM4 but it is clear in the original that it is “Johnson.”

Also see this post from 2012 —

Courthouse Records: Lycurgus Johnson to Lydia Taylor



Home for the Holidays – Lakeport Plantation Open House

Visit Lakeport Plantation for free during the Thanksgiving Holiday. The house will be open to explore with toys and games, Christmas tree decorating, and gift shop sale!
Bring your family for a visit!

November 23-25

Gift Shop Discounts and Explore the History at Lakeport

  • Thanksgiving, November 22– Closed
  • Friday & Saturday — Open House — 10 am – 3 pm
  • Sunday — Open House — 12 pm – 4 pm

See updates on Facebook event page