October 27, 2013

Amanuensis Monday ~ The Stories That Should Be Told, Part 20

The following transcription is from a series of recordings my father made in the early 1990s:
Lake Lovelace (also known as Lake Louie) was named after the first white settlers in this area. They made their homes along the lake.  
Lake Lovelace - 2011
The actual name of the lake was Lovelace.  It ended in a bayou down around the Rocks where it runs into the Ouachita.  The bayou was called Bayou Louie.
The Tensas river used to run into Lake Lovelace.  Lake Lovelace went on down to the Ouachita. Dams were put in down where Lake Lovelace ran into the Ouachita.  I think that's where they ruined the fishing.  The dams raised the water levels.  Bayou Louie used to get so low at times that it wouldn't be more than eight feet across.

Lovelace-Peck home - 2011
One of our favorite swimming places was at the Point. It was a bay out from the Peck home on Lake Lovelace. In low water it would just be a point of sand jutting out into Lake Lovelace.
Bee Bayou runs into Lake Lovelace across the lake from the Peck home.  It was the connection to the Tensas river. The fish could swim in and out of Lake Lovelace from the Tensas and from the Ouachita.  

Once they dammed up one end, the fishing wasn't as good anymore.  The dams could be the same reason why we don't see the huge alligator gar we used to have. We could see them in years past.  They would rise up out of the water and flip their tails through the air.  
Alligator Gar - Moon Lake, MS 1910
Within walking distance from this little village were several lakes.  Twins Lake, Penistons Lake, Browns Lake, Greens Lake, Wells Lake and Tiffees Lake.  There was another lake on the Peck Plantation.  I didn't know about it until I was a grown man.  It was in a hidden away place.  If you started walking from the bay on the Peck place and walked towards town you would come up on it about halfway to town.  It was called Gillis Lake.  I went fishing there one time with Jessie York, Jr.
A person can see where this place must have been like paradise to the Indians.  With all these lakes, wildlife and fish, it must have been wonderful hunting and fishing.  This island itself, starting with the bluff, is a plateau that goes all the way out to the hills for about four miles.  It never goes underwater.  The other side of Lake Lovelace goes underwater but not here on the bluff.
Lake Lovelace and Bluff - 2011

Lake Lovelace - 2011

This place really is an island.  You can tell when the backwater comes in.  When the Mississippi flooded years ago you could take a boat from Natchez to Sicily Island.
I've always heard and read that the French and the Spanish explorers used Choctaw Indians as guides.  The name Catahoula is a Choctaw Indian word.  Tensas is a Choctaw Indian word.
I didn't know that there were Indians still living here on the Island in the late 1860s and early 1870s.  A cousin of mine, Mary Smith Rushing, told me that her grandfather, Buck [James William] Smith, told her a story about when he was eight or nine years old.  An Indian woman came to their house wanting to trade something for food.  Buck's mother, Henrietta, sent him to the Indian camp to take the food down there.  Uncle Buck was born in 1862 so that had to have taken place in the late 1860s or early 1870s.

Note:  Parts 1-19 of 'The Stories That Should Be Told' can be found in the Tags List on the right-hand side of this blog.

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