Research Projects at the Lakeport Plantation
Along with research to assist in the actual restoration of the Lakeport Plantation, Arkansas State University and the Research Team have conducted ongoing projects to understand the people who lived and worked at Lakeport and their contributions to shaping the culture of the region. Major research is being conducted in the following areas:
Archeological surveys have been completed prior to proceeding with each phase of restoration work at Lakeport. Remote sensing has been done in areas surrounding the main house (where many of the outbuildings were located), as well as in one of the African-American cemeteries on site. Additionally, dendrochronology testing was done to determine the age of the main house and an adjacent log structure. We will be posting some of the materials from these reports.
For a general overview of the historical archeology at Lakeport visit the UA-Winthrop Rockefeller Institute Archeological Station’s page on Plantations in Arkansas. The page includes a 1984 sketch of Lakeport’s layout, including outbuildings, by archeologist Skip Stewart-Abernathy.
Genealogy-related research is being conducted to assist in understanding the Johnson family and the lifestyles at the Lakeport Plantation. While no diaries or memoirs have been located for the immediate family at Lakeport, such documents have located for relatives and associates. Deed and Probate records, census records, marriage and death records, cemetery records, family Bibles, family genealogy books, and other family documents also have been examined and copied.
Research is underway for the families of former enslaved people of Lakeport. In addition to the sources utilized in other genealogical research, this team is looking at documents on slave transactions, newspaper articles on run-aways, family interviews, slave narratives, and other related sources. Reports have been prepared by ASU graduate students on slave cemeteries, burial customs, and the process of clothing the enslaved workers of Lakeport.
Oral history interviews with individuals associated with the Lakeport Plantation (including family members, plantation workers, and descendants of slaves and sharecroppers) are being conducted. To date, more than 75 individuals have been interviewed. Excerpts of interest will be posted as they become available.