Oakland Plantation, near Natchitoches, Louisiana, is a National Historic Landmark within The Cane River Creole National Historical Park. The park is located within the Cane River National Heritage Area in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The area extends westward from Interstate 49 to the Red River and includes everything in between.
The roots of Oakland Plantation can be traced to Jean Pierre Phillippe Prud’homme, a second generation Frenchman from the French province of Dauphine. Born in 1673, Jean Pierre became a soldier of France assigned to the French colony of Louisiana. At the age of 52, Jean Pierre married Catherine Picard and acquired part of the land that became Bermuda Plantation, now known as Oakland Plantation, through a land grant on the Red River. Jean Pierre and Catherine became parents of seven children, including Jean Baptiste Prud’homme, father of Jean Pierre Emmanuel Prud’homme who built Bermuda Plantation in 1821.
A reminder of why exploring and documenting what you see along the road helps keep the past alive. Just behind the ruins of the Chapel of Ease on St Helena Island in South Carolina, are headstones that are fading with the passage of time. This is the grave of Mary Emily Fripp d. Nov 2, 1841, Aged 15 yrs, 6 mos. The poem inscribed on her tomb is a beautiful tribute to her short life and the pain her family faced once she died. It’s a portion of a poem called The Fading Flower…”Ah! Thus it is that things on earth, The flowers on which we smile; Though rich and beauteous in their birth, can only bloom a while; And purest joys we love the best soon fade away and die, And leave us sighing for our rest, beneath a brighter sky”. This young woman was so loved. Her headstone is a testament to that and I’m so thankful for moments like I had the day I stooped down to try to read the words engraved here. In those moments I’m reminded of how important it is to recognize the past and those who were loved and lost before we ever entered the picture.
While exploring Mooresville, Alabama I almost passed by this church without taking a photo. It seemed so simple. But every church has a story and this one involves a future President of the United States. Mooresville Church of Christ has held services in this building since 1854. Future president James A. Garfield preached a sermon in the building when he was stationed nearby as a federal soldier during the Civil War. Glad I took photos of this place…it’s a historical treasure.
San Francisco Plantation, established 1860. This plantation home is one of the most ornate in the South. The story goes that the French phrase “son saint-frusquin,” or “the shirt off his back,” was a description of what the construction of the house cost its first owner, Edmond Marmillion. This became mistranslated into San Francisco. The property and home is expansive and beautiful. You can opt for a guided tour of the home or, if you’re short on time, you can enjoy a self guided tour around the grounds.
A sassy little mockingbird had perfect timing as I was taking this photo in Natchez City Cemetery. This is the Andrew Brown Memorial (1789 – 1871). Andrew was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He trained as an architect and migrated to Natchez, by way of Pittsburgh, in 1820. In Natchez, he worked as a builder and established his own lumber business.
Old Louisiana State Capitol. Here’s a little history behind it: “New York architect James H. Dakin was hired to design the Baton Rouge capitol building; and rather than mimic the national Capitol Building in Washington, as so many other states had done, he conceived a Neo-Gothic medieval-style castle overlooking the Mississippi, complete with turrets and crenellations. Dakin referred to his design as “Castellated Gothic” due to its decoration with cast iron, which was both cheaper and more durable than other building materials used at the time. The building design was so unusual and distinctive that its romantic, medieval appearance earned the Old Statehouse ridicule from the timelessly famous author, Mark Twain.”
Stone house at Manassas Battlefield (c. 1848). During the Civil War, the area around this 19th century Stone House saw action during the two battles of Manassas. The house served as a hospital during both battles. Two privates of the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry, who were wounded during the 2nd Battle of Manassas (Aug 1862), left their mark inside this house. 21 year old Private Charles Brehm, and 17 year old Eugene Geer, were treated in an upstairs room. Both men carved their names into the floorboards of the room and the carvings can still be seen to this day. By the end of 1862, Geer had died; Brehm survived and lived until 1909. You can visit the Stone House and adjacent grounds as part of the Manassas National Battlefield Park driving tour
Shiloh National Military Park is one of the most expansive and well preserved civil war battlefields in the country. This battlefield, and the Union victory here, was important to the Civil War. But considering what unfolded here 155 years ago, you may just feel the echoes of the past giving you chills. On April 6 and 7 of 1862, one of the major engagements of the Civil War unfolded at Shiloh. Confederates launched a surprise attack on Union forces. Confederates were unable to hold their positions, were forced back, and the Union won the battle. The battle was violent which led to 23,000 casualties. At the time this was the bloodiest battle in American history.
Union Church Presbyterian is the third oldest Presbyterian church in the state. The church was built in 1852 and has survived and been a place of worship for many generations here in the community of Union Church. The community was settled in 1806 and originally known as Scotch Settlement. It was formed by a group of Scotch settlers who left North Carolina for the promise of fertile farmland on the eastern banks of the Mississippi River. Gaelic speech survived quite a long time here thanks to the Scotch Presbyterians who made the area home. There’s also a historic civil war connection here. Union Church was a site of Grierson’s raid in 1863.