This book is a RARE piece of Louisiana History and is NOT available in bookstores!
This paperback book (measuring 8.5 x 11) is titled "Plantations Along the Upper Red River of Louisiana (1839 – Present Day) Second Edition." There are 120 pages to the book, which is complete with many photographs of historic homes. The book is signed by both authors and is dated 2015. It is the first book of its kind for the North Louisiana area.
AUTHORS: The authors of the book are Kristi Cavett Jones and Jackson Cavett Sibley, both of whom are board members of the Red River Crossroads Historical Association. They are 4th cousins who are descended from pioneer and early settler James Richard Cavett who acquired over 3000 acres of farmland and established the Cavett Plantation in Cavett, La.
This book was created by the Red River Crossroads Historical Association and Museum. This organization was created to preserve the history and culture of the Red River valley which has abundant farms and plantations established by early settlers. Their museum, housed in the local library in Gilliam, La., was recently renovated. Today, several 7-foot banners display the rich history of the area including: Indian heritage; the Red River and steamboats; early cotton farming; T. S. & N. Railroad (Texarkana, Shreveport, and Natchez) which replaced steamboat transportation; plantations from Shreveport to Arkansas; small farming towns; and early farm life. The museum is full of historic items and artifacts including Indian arrowheads, early cotton farming tools, a period school desk, and daily life items (bottles, etc.) from the early 1900s.
HISTORY: The book was produced to accompany the plantation banner housed in the museum. There are approximately 60 plantations highlighted in the paperback book, including: Briarfield (Glassell family), Chicora (Adger family), Fairview (McClenaghan family), Cairo (Sentell family), The Orchard (Gilmers), Lynn Plantation (Cavett and Lynn families), and Swannhaven (Swann family). Most of these families came from South Carolina, Virginia, and other southern states as a result of the War Between the States, which devastated the south.
Many of the plantation families are descendants of Confederate Soldiers. They with their families left what they knew to create a new life in North Louisiana. They significantly contributed to the development of north Caddo and Bossier Parishes. One famous family, the Gilmers, owned 21 plantations and were the wealthiest couple in the entire state of Louisiana!
Genealogy of the families as well as family stories are included. Stories behind the plantation names are revealed. For example, the Paw Paw Farm was named for the indigenous Pawpaw fruit written about in Lewis and Clark's journals. Fairview was named to honor the family's Scots-Irish ancestry. Newton Smith was named for a former slave who became a prosperous landowner. Chicora is a name that originated from South Carolina and means "Carolina" in Cherokee. Other plantation names come from family names such as Cavett, Lynn, and Adger, and Yarbrough.
IMAGES AND PHOTOS: Included in the book are many photos, most depicting the plantation homes of the Red River area. Many of the historical homes pictured are deceased, but some remain. There are a few new homes built in the Acadiana and/or Greek Revival styles. There are other photos including an old plantation bell and an Indian dugout canoe found off the bank of the Red River. This canoe is now housed in the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport.
North Louisiana has an extraordinary rich and unique history! This book is a great addition to those who enjoy collecting early history regarding plantations and families who established them. It is the first of its kind in this area. This book is available on-line on Ebay and the Red River Crossroads Historical Association Website.