Tag: Chicot County

Lakeport Legacies · Growing Up on Yellow Bayou Plantation: A Conversation with Mr. Robert Fulford

Growing Up on Yellow Bayou Plantation: A Conversation with Mr. Robert Fulford

Mr. Robert Fulford (Dermott, AR)

Thursday, May 24

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

Robert Fulford, in addition to writing, photographs places and things that remind him of his childhood on Yellow Bayou in the 1950s and 1960s

Lakeport Legacies for May 24 features Mr. Robert Fulford of Dermott with “Growing Up on Yellow Bayou Plantation: A Conversation with Mr. Robert Fulford.” Fulford grew up on Yellow Bayou Plantation, just north of Lake Village, in the 1950s and 1960s. He has written three self-published books about his childhood and experiences on the plantation

Both of Mr. Fulford’s books will be available for purchase (cash or check only):

A Collection of Anecdotes During my Childhood While Living on Yellow Bayou Plantation: Book 1 — $12

A Collection of Anecdotes During my Childhood While Living on Yellow Bayou Plantation: Book 2 — $12

Dark Days of the South: Before & After Segregation — $12

Register for this FREE Event
(by phone, email or online)
870.265.6031 ·

601 Hwy 142 · Lake Village, AR 71653

Rev. Green Hill Jones of Grand Lake, Arkansas

Rev. G. H. Jones served in the Arkansas General Assembly in 1885 and 1889. Courtesy of the Old State House Museum.

Few people realize that African-Americans continued to be elected in Chicot County into the early 1890s. The Rev. Green Hill Jones (1842-1924) was one of those men.

Jones had been enslaved on the Rayner Plantation on Grand Lake in Chicot County prior to the Civil War. Jones escaped slavery and served in the U. S. Colored Troops during the war. After the war, Jones went north to New Madrid, Missouri and Mound City, Illinois where he taught school and was ordained in the Free Will Baptist Church. From 1870 to 1873, he attended Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan. After graduation, he taught in Paducah, Kentucky. Upon his return to Chicot County, he was elected county treasurer in 1874 and then to two terms in the Arkansas House–1885 and 1889.

The Free Baptist Cyclopaedia published a short, but fascinating biography of Rev. Jones in 1889:

Biography of Rev. Jones, published in Free Baptist Cyclopaedia (1889)

Jones, Rev. Greenleaf [sic] H., of Gr[a]nd Lake, Ark. was connected with the Cairo Mission as an ordained minister as early as 1870. The next year he attended Hillsdale College and afterwards taught among the colored people in Paducah, KY., and vicinity, where he also engaged in ministerial work. Subsequently, he secured land in Arkansas and became wealthy. He served in the Legislature of the state and held many county offices. He is at present pastor of the Rising Sun church of the Bon Eagle Q. M. (Miss.), and exerting a wide influence among his people.

Jones pastored several churches in Chicot County:

Rising [Risen] Sun at Grand Lake (1876-1877; 1889-1897; 1899)
Mt. Pisgah at Grand Lake (1898; 1903)
Mt. Olive at Grand Lake (1902)
Sweet Home at Eudora (1906-1907).

Jones died in 1924 and is buried in Mason Cemetery south of Eudora.

Also see Southeast Arkansas’s African-American Legislators, 1868-1893 and

Wintory, Blake. “African-American Legislators in the Arkansas General Assembly, 1868-1893: Another Look,” in A Confused and Confusing Affair: Arkansas and Reconstruction, ed. by Mark Christ. Little Rock: Butler Center Books, 2018. [expected April 2018]

Wintory, Blake J. “Green Hill Jones (1842-1924),” Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture (April 2018)


Update February 15, 2018

It appears the Rising Sun Church was still standing as late as 2006. A 1936 Chicot County Highway Map shows a church between Eudora and Grand Lake. This church, as of 2018, still shows up in Google maps as Rising Sun Church. Google Earth’s historical imagery shows what is likely the Rising Sun Church still standing as late as 2006.

Church, now identified as Rising Sun, as shown in a 1936 Chicot County Highway Map

Rising Sun Church, Google Earth imagery, 2003


Close-up of 2003 image of Rising Sun Church

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


“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.


Lake Village Postcard shows Lakeshore homes ca 1950

We recently added this ca 1950 postcard to our collection at Lakeport. The mid-century scene clearly shows two homes along Lakeshore Drive.



Roughly the same view of South Lakeshore Dr via Google Streetview (August 2016)

Looking closely, I believe I have identified both houses on South Lakeshore Dr., just south of downtown. The second home in the image is commonly called, the Reynolds House. “Lakeside,” as its owner officially christened it, was built for General D. H. Reynolds in the 1870s by Nelson Bunker. The home was significantly remodeled in the 1890s.


Close up of “Lakeside,” ca. 1950


“Lakeside” in 1990. Courtesy of Arkansas Historic Preservation Program










The first house (unnamed as far as I know) is also still standing, although modified a bit. The home is identifiable by the four sets of columns along the front porch.  Today the house has a brick exterior and the lattice work along the roof is gone; the dormer, now a window rather than a vent, is still a distinguishing feature for the early twentieth-century home.

The home was likely built in the first decade of the twentieth-century and appears on the 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance map for Lake Village. D. H. Reynolds’ death in 1902 and the subsequent growth in Lake Village initiated new construction around the Lakeside homeplace. Sanborn Maps label the area, “Mrs. Reynolds Second Addition”


The home is still identifiable by the four sets of columns along the front porch.


Close up of “unnamed house,” ca. 1950





The two homes appear in the 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance map.


Updated November 22, 2016

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

Ditch Bayou Battlefield in Chicot County part of Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s New Cell-Phone Tour

The Ditch Bayou Battlefield, the last major battle fought in Arkansas, is part of Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s Cell-Phone Tours of Historic Sites in Arkansas.  The Battle, fought on June 6, 1864, was part of a Federal effort to drive Confederate forces way from the Mississippi River and cease attacks on Union shipping.  The outnumbered Confederate forces lost only 4 men before running low on supplies and withdrawing.  Federal forces lost 132 men.   The audio for all the sites is also available online for streaming or downloading.  Page for all audio tours

LITTLE ROCK–The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program now offers free cell-phone tours of historic sites around the state, AHPP Director Frances McSwain announced today.
“These cell-phone tours will allow visitors to get in-depth information on historic properties at the touch of a button,” McSwain said. “We currently have 15 cell-phone tours recorded and will add more in the coming months.”
The cell-phone tours can be accessed by calling (501) 203-3015 or by visiting http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/tours-events-workshops/audio-tours/. Current tours include Boyle Park (Stop 21), First Lutheran Church (Stop 41), Robert E. Lee School (Stop 51), Little Rock City Hall (Stop 61) and the Fourche Bayou Battlefield (Stop 11) in Little Rock; Crestview Park (Stop 31) and the Park Hill Fire Station and Water Company (Stop 71) in North Little Rock; Cane Hill Battlefield (Stop 10) in Washington County; Elkins’ Ferry (Stop 12) and Prairie D’Ane (Stop 13) Battlefields in Nevada County; Poison Spring Battlefield (Stop 14) in Ouachita County; Fort Southerland (Stop 18) in Camden; Marks’ Mills Battlefield (Stop 15) in Cleveland County; Jenkins’ Ferry Battlefield (Stop 16)  in Grant County, and Ditch Bayou Battlefield (Stop 17) in Chicot County.
The Ditch Bayou Battlefield markers (A)are approximately 5.5 miles from the Lakeport Plantation (B).

The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources.

The Lakeport Plantation house is an Arkansas State University Heritage Site.   Built for Lycurgus and Lydia Johnson in 1859, the Greek Revival home is one of Arkansas’ premiere historic structures and is now the only remaining antebellum plantation home in Arkansas on the Mississippi River.  The Johnson family retained ownership of the house until 1927, when the Chicot County plantation was purchased by Sam Epstein.  The house was added to the National Register in 1974 and was gifted to Arkansas State University in 2001 by the Sam Epstein Angel Family.  Following a massive restoration effort, the home opened to the public on September 28, 2007.

Read more about the Battle on the Encyclopedia of Arkansas or in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly:

  • Shea, William L. “Battle at Ditch Bayou.” Arkansas Historical Quarterly 39 (Autumn 1980): 195–207.

Preservation & Tourism News for Lake Village & Chicot County

The Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, in a press release, announced Lake Village’s downtown has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.  On Saturday, April 9th at 11 a.m., AHPP will hold its Walks through History program in downtown Lake Village.  Lakeport will also be open following the Walks through History program.

       LITTLE ROCK—The Lake Village Commercial Historic District at Lake Village in Chicot County has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the country’s official list of historically significant properties, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program Director Frances McSwain announced today.
      The Lake Village Commercial Historic District – which is bounded by Lakeshore Drive, Jackson Street, Chicot Street and Church Street – features buildings dating to around 1906.
       “The district reflects the growth of Lake Village as a nucleus of commerce and trade in southeast Arkansas,” the National Register nomination says. “As the county seat, Lake Village is a center for local government and the Chicot County Courthouse is a cornerstone of the downtown commercial district. The Lake Village Commercial Historic District contains 38 buildings and one monument.”
       The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency responsible for identifying, evaluating, registering and preserving the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Historic Arkansas Museum.
On Friday, February 18th, the Delta Byways held their 11th Annual Delta Awards in Forrest City. Lake Villagers were dominated for two awards; Brianne Connelly of Lake Village was nominated for the Tourism Support Award and Lake Village Mayor JoAnne Bush was nominated and won Tourism Person of the Year.  
Tourism Person of the Year Winner JoAnne Bush with family and supporters from Lake Village 

Brianne Connelly, Tourism Support Nominee, with James Bacon  
11th Annual Delta Awards for Tourism Achievement
            The 11th annual Delta Awards recognizing tourism achievements in Eastern Arkansas were presented during festivities Friday evening, February 18, at the Forrest City Civic Center in Forrest City, Arkansas.  The event was sponsored by Arkansas Delta Byways, with support from the St. Francis County Museum and the Forrest City A & P Commission.
Finalists for the awards were as follows, with the winner designated by an asterisk:
                  1.      Media Support Award                       
          Cross County Historical Society Newsletter, Wynne
          *Delta Crossroads Magazine, Piggott, Rector, Manila and Trumann
          Rob Johnson, Forrest City Broadcasting
2.         Hospitality Award                              
            Edwardian Inn, Helena
            *Lake Poinsett State Park, Harrisburg
            Paragould Community Center, Paragould
3.         Entrepreneur Award                                                  
                        ASU Farmers’ Market, Jonesboro
            E. J. Miller, Colton’s Steak House, Marion
           *Periwinkle Place, McGehee
4.         Tourism Support Award                     
            Brianne Connelly, Lake Village
           *Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas, Little Rock
           Scott Lane, Dermott
5.         Festival/Event of the Year 
                        Blues on Broadway, West Memphis
                        Loose Caboose XXI, Paragould           
                       *Tour duh Sunken Lands Harvest Ride, Dyess, Lepanto, Marked Tree and Tyronza
6.         Boot Strap Award                                                       
                        Dyess Days, Dyess
                       *Main Street Paragould’s Holiday Traditions, Paragould
            McGehee Historic Depot, McGehee

7.         Promotional Award                
            Arkansas DeltaMade Artists – Betsy Brackin, Norwood Creech, Suzanne Churchill,
                 Edward Wade and Nancy LaFarra Wilson, All Counties
           *City Branding Programs, Blytheville, Helena, Paragould and West Memphis
           Bike Crowley’s Ridge, Mississippi River Trail
8.         Outstanding Member Award
                        Linda Hinton, Tyronza
           *Sheilla Lampkin, Monticello
           Vicki Trimble, Lake Frierson State Park, Jonesboro
9.         Cultural Heritage Award                   
            *Exploring the Arkansas Frontier, ASU Museum, Jonesboro
            Civil War Helena, Phillips Helena
            Parker Pioneer Homestead, Harrisburg        
10.       Tourism Person of the Year Award   
           *JoAnne Bush, Lake Village
            Rosalind O’Neal, Marion
            Munnie Jordan, Helena

Lake Village, February 1860

Public historian Shirley Schuette shared an interesting link today on pre-Civil War Lake Village and Chicot County. Vicki Betts, a professional librarian at the University of Texas at Tyler, compiles and transcribes newspaper articles from the Civil War era.  One of her transcriptions from the Old-Line Democrat (Little Rock) contains an excellent article on Lake Village:   
[LITTLE ROCK] OLD-LINE DEMOCRAT, February 2, 1860, p. 1, c. 6
                                                                Lake Village, Jan. 9th, 1860.
Dear Old-Line.—Thinking that perhaps amid the din of political strife, a letter from the quiet and secluded little town of Lake Village, would operate as a balm to your weary soul, by again calling to remembrance those scenes of quietude remote from the bustle and confusion of this babbling world, and so seldom experienced in the life of an Editor.  I take my pen to jot down a few items of news from this beautiful place to solace you.  Know then that Lake Village is a pretty little town, situate on the banks of one of the most beautiful little lakes of the South.  It is the county seat of Chicot county, and is seven miles from the Mississippi river.  The surrounding country is one of the most fertile spots in the Mississippi valley, and rivals in richness the far famed Delta of the Nile.  The shores of Old River Lake are covered with magnificent plantations which are cultivated with great care, and the yield of cotton is almost fabulous.  The health of this country is reasonably good.
The town is small but improving very fast.  This appears to be one of the places where Lawyers “most do congregate” as there are a great many of them here, but as for the other learned professions, they are thinly represented.  The public buildings are all excellent, and especially the Jail, which is undoubtedly the best in the State—these public buildings are sure evidences of enterprise and public spirit.  The towns and surrounding country are very much in need of mechanics, and a good saddler, shoemaker, or tailor, could do better here than almost any where else, provided however, that he be a sober and industrious man.  Mechanics of other trades also can find plenty of work at high wages and ready pay.  I know of no place where mechanics can do better than here.  There will be a newspaper published here in a few weeks, which I take to be another proof of the prosperity and enterprise of the country.
Dr. Lyon has been here “feeling the public pulse,” for his prospects for Congress from this district.  He made a speech at the Court House the other night and defined his position to his audience.  He says that he is not an Old-Line Democrat—is in favor of re-opening the African slave trade, &c., &c.
The political atmosphere is quiescent at present, in fact the people are too busily engaged in their own private affairs to attend much to politics.  Your valuable paper has various subscribers here, and is very well liked.  Your moderate, yet firm course is entitled to the respect of all thinking men.  A project is on foot here to establish a Female College at Lake Village, with an endowment of $50,000, a considerable of which is now subscribed, and the day is not far distant, I trust, when Lake Village will be the site of one of the most magnificent and interesting female colleges in the South.  This place is one of the most beautiful and healthy in the world, and is of easy access, no school of like character is near, and it is due the enterprise of old Chicot that she should have one first class school within her limits.  The Chicot levy board are pushing on their works with great rapidity, and seem determined that the Mississippi shall never again visit the plantations of Chicot county.  The levys are built far back from the river, and are very large and substantial.
There has been some very cold weather for this country here this winter and no little know, but the weather is now warm and rainy.  The Post Office at Luna will soon be changed back to Columbia again, from whence it was removed to Luna last fall.
The planters have got their cotton crop nearly gathered, and a fine one it was too.  The planters of this county appear to have fine success in growing cotton, and their plantations are models of neatness and good farming.
Visit Vicki Betts’ page here and see the other transcribed articles from Old-Line Democrat here