August 9, 2014

Lovelace Plantation - Where the French Overcame the Louisiana Indians

The following article appeared in the March 29, 1939 edition of the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau, Missouri:


Transcription:
[By The United Press]
Lovelace, La., March 29 -- This little section of Louisiana, historically known as Sicily Island, has changed in the past 200 years from the gathering grounds of the Natchez Indians to a wide expanse of growing cotton.
It was at Sicily Island that the power of the Indians in Louisiana was forever broken in 1729 by French soldiers and marines, under the command of Governor Perrier.  It was here that the tribes met annually for hunting trips and feasts that lasted for days.
The tract embracing the battlefield and Indian rendezvous is now part of the plantation acquired by the Lovelace brothers and owned by they descendant, Wm. S. Peck, Jr.
John and Thomas Lovelace stepped from their flatboat on the Black River in 1776 and found the battleground that had been forgotten by all except a few Indians who remained in the area.  Littered over the ground were parts of guns and warlike implements--signs of a major fight between Europeans and the red man.
Old Mansion Still Stands

Lovelace-Peck House

Four miles away, John Lovelace, grandfather of the present owner, built his home--a colonial edifice that stands today.
It was through this English pioneer that the facts of the fight between white men and Indians in Louisiana came to light.
On Nov. 2, 1729, the Natchez tribe, aided by allies, the Choctaws and Chickasaws, cut off and slaughtered 1500 men, women and children at Fort Rosalie.
Governor Perrier, after several punitive expeditions had failed to punish the Indians, organized a force of approximately 600 French soldiers and marines, placed his men on flatboats and set out in pursuit. He found the tribes, led by Great Sun, St. Cosme and Chief of the Four, in a well fortified position between the Ouachita and Tensas rivers in what is now Catahoula parish.
Not until the three chiefs had been enticed into the French lines were the Europeans able to make much headway.  Dragging up their cannon from their flatboats, the soldiers laid siege to the area for three days. Deprived of their leaders, the Indians surrendered.
Indians Sent Into Slavery
More than 400 Indians were taken prisoners.  Most of them were sent to Santa Domingo as slaves.  Only a handful of the Natchez escaped to mingle with the remnants of the Choctaws and Chickasaws.
The home built by John Lovelace also is surrounded with Indian lore.  Directly in front of its spacious front porch is the landing where Indians on fishing and hunting trips in the region tied their canoes.  The land on which the home stands is known as the Ferry Plantation.
Scattered over the plantation are five Indian mounds--a mecca today for the archaeologist in search of Indian relics.  Around the bases of these piles of earth the Indians held their feasts, and it was probably here that the massacre of the inhabitants of Fort Rosalie was planned.
Lake Lovelace - view from the Lovelace-Peck House


8 comments:

  1. It was always my understanding that the final battle took place north of present day Sicily Island on the land that was owned later by Dr. Henry Peck, Battleground Plantation. The Natchez were said to have fought from behind entrenchments, the first mention of Native Americans doing so (or so I was told). So much history in our area.

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    1. I, too, understood that Battleground is where the final battle took place. Perhaps the "four miles" mentioned above is how the writer described the distance between Battleground and Ferry Plantation. Four miles would be about right, wouldn't you think?

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  2. Is this home and surrounding area open for visitation?

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    1. Hi Joyce,
      The Lovelace-Peck home is a private residence. I am not aware of it being open for visitation at this time.

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  3. Wow a great read my grandfather was born in Sicily Island I've been tracking his roots my grandmother spoke of mr.peck we thought she had made him up at the time she was battling Alzheimer but I learned a lot about our history ..

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for leaving a comment. Good luck tracking your family's roots. If I can be of any assistance with regards to Sicily Island, please let me know.

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  4. My family is from Jonesville, La. I'm assuming there were slaves on this plantation. Are there any records of the slaves that lived there that can be reviewed? If so, where are they located?

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    1. Hello,
      Yes, there were slaves on this plantation. Other than the U.S. Census/Slave Schedules of 1850 and 1860, I am not aware of any records. The families who lived on the plantation can be found in the post linked below. Perhaps by searching their names/records you'll find something that mentions slave names.

      http://rootsfromthebayou.blogspot.com/2014/05/national-register-of-historic-places.html

      If you'd like to send me the family names you are researching, I'd be happy to let you know if I run across any records. My email address can be found on the 'About Me' tab.

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