EARLY PLANTATION LIFE IN MADISON PARISH
From the Madison Journal Centennial Issue August 14, 1975, Section II pp. 6-8
(Slightly modified and reformatted from original – Richard P. Sevier)
Madison, a cotton-planting parish, certainly had its share of Old South culture and customs. The scenes and images of Gone With The Wind - magnificent, columned houses, slaves toiling in the fields and coy hoopskirted, southern girls were not born in the parish, but came as the rightful inheritance of the profiteering planters, who transplanted the manners of the older cotton States in the fertile soil of Madison Parish.
The wealth and status of these planters was not measured by the extent of their land but by the number of their slaves. An adult male slave cost between $500 and $900 in Madison Parish by 1840.
The largest slaveholders and their plantations were Dr. James G. Carson, "Canebrake"; A.J. Lowry, "Buckhorn"; Mrs. Amanda Stone, "Brokenburn;" and John Perkins, "Somerset." These owned more than 150 slaves. Perkins, the wealthiest, owned 250. Of course, not all were adult males.
Other large slave-holders who owned more than 50 Slaves, were Dr. Beverly Buckner, "Winn Forest", Mrs. Elizabeth Savage, "Salem", Mark Valentine "Oasis;" Mrs. Henrietta Amis, "Fortune's Fork"; Honoré Morancy, "Milliken's Bend; " Dr. David Dancy, "Crescent"; Mrs. Minerva Morris, "Bending Willow;" Henry Goodrich, "Caswell" T. Foster, I. W. Monette, Lafayette Jones, Joseph Gustine, William R. Peck, Gibson C. Bettis, and W. K. Edmington.
Notice how some of the largest plantation owners were widows. Inheriting their land from their dead husbands. These women proved to be equal to men in their ability to manage huge plantations profitably.
If a lot of those names are unfamiliar - well, don't be surprised. The neighborhood has changed quite a bit in the last 120 years. Of course, the biggest factor in the change was the Civil War, or the War Between the States, as southerners liked to call it. Some plantation owners did not return from the war; some found it impossible to hold out during the reconstruction years, became discouraged and left.
How did this "old bunch" live in their two decades together before the war tore them apart and gave the parish to a new generation? What did they do to amuse themselves? How did they run their plantations, and how did they treat their slaves? What drove them to the fierce hatred of Yankees, which resulted in secession?
The story must begin and end with slavery. The slaves built the parish and enabled the planters and their families to live cultured lives devoted to self-improvement and amusement. Slavery was the harsh undercurrent of reality to the romantic vanity of plantation life.
There were fine plantation homes, filled with imported furnishings. Many planting families toured Europe. Most of the children were well educated, having full-time private tutors at home, then being sent away to colleges such as the Nashville Female Academy and the University of Virginia.
Members of the plantation family visited a great deal with their neighbors. They were constantly entertaining guests. They played chess, backgammon and cards, told fortunes, discussed current events, literature and mutual acquaintances. For the women, there were sewing societies and quilting-bees, especially during the war years.
The men enjoyed hunting and fishing. Deer, squirrel and "coon" hunts were popular, but the most exciting and elaborate diversion was the bear hunt. One such bear hunt in 1851 consisted of "thirty hounds, an ox team and wagon, two slaves, plenty of tenting and bedding, corn and other necessaries." The party was out more than two weeks and killed ten bears. They wouldn't have quit then, but two of the best dogs had been killed and several others crippled.
Bear hunts were useful because the animals destroyed cornfields and hogs. Few cornfields escaped the nightly visits of bears, which if not checked would lay waste to even the best fields. Wounded bears especially were known to tear down a cornfield or a rail fence. Bear hunts usually ended in injury to the dogs or to one of the hunters.
There were a number of formal and informal get-togethers. Groups often went berry picking, hunting blackberries, dewberries and muscadines, which were found in abundance. Friendly gatherings enjoyed singing the latest popular songs such as "Those Dark Eyes," "Hard Times Come Again No More, "Bob Ridley" and "Happy Land of Canaan." Barbecues and fish fries, especially on the Fourth of July offered food, whiskey and oratory.
"Bran dances" were held for the raising of new houses at which the dancers cavorted to reels all night. They often were held in the newly completed cabin if the floor was smooth enough. Otherwise the dance was held in the woods. A plot of ground was smoothed off and spread over with bran or sawdust to make it more elastic. (Modern, corrupt usage substitutes the phrase "barn dance" for "bran dance.") Fancy private balls were given among the wealthy, as in any cotton community of the "Old South" (or the new one, for that matter). Editor Stewart commented on one in the Jan. 31, 1843 Richmond Compiler:
"The company met at an early hour, attended with good music - when they commenced the performances of the night, and reeled off cotillions until ten o'clock (for the Madison Parish girls know how to do it) when they retired to feast ... on the fat of the land-and never did our Creator spread a table more superfluously loaded with the luxuries of life.
"There was everything that was good to eat, drink and look at, from a sugar kiss to a pretty girl-and if there was any gentleman there who did not feel like falling in love, it must have been some crusty old bachelor... "
Probably the mot popular form of entertainment was district court at Richmond, which drew crowds of spectators from the surrounding area. The May 10, 1844 Richmond Compiler noted: . "Our town for some days past has presented quite a lively appearance. The session of the court has called many persons together from various parts of the country, all doubtless having objects of their own to accomplish. Candidates soliciting votes among the sovereigns, creditors soliciting their dues, lawyers soliciting fees, and editors soliciting additional names for their subscription list, make up a portion of the motley crew."
Local planters, squatters, bear hunters, peddlers and slave traders swarmed into town to enjoy the crowd and thrill with the oratory of the "gentlemen of the green bag," as lawyers were called. The drama of the courtroom was made more intense by the participation of local people, some of whom had probably tried to solve their differences earlier through a duel. Violent crime was always viewed with intense interest for it made for more exciting court days.
After court adjourned, the lawyers gathered at the local taverns. The citizenry crowded around to hear the gentlemen of the bar review important cases and tell humorous tales. Lawyers who traveled about the country were able to pick up and spread the oral literature of backwoods humor. No doubt the tales got "taller" as the hours dragged on, for the "gentlemen of the green bag" were as famous for their ability to consume liquor as for their oratory.
Almost as popular as court was horse racing. Richmond had a race course, as did most other southern towns of any size. One of the great match races run there was held on June 25, 1842, when course proprietor H. E. Downes ran his "Georgia Maid" against Lawson Dunn's "John Stacker" in a mile dash. The purse - the June 21 Richmond Compiler announced - was $200.
"It is impossible to form an accurate estimate of the immense amount of money, property etc., that will be hazarded on this race," the announcement said, "We understand that one or two flat-boats, loaded with produce, merchandise, etc.,-a drove of mules and several yoke of oxen, besides a large wallet of N. 0. Shinplasters have already been staked on the issue."
The race was to take place at noon and was to be followed by several quarter races, and then Georgia Maid was to run against Mr. King's "Plough Boy" at four o'clock. "We anticipate lots of sport and lots of People," ' the announcement continued. Characteristically, the Compiler published no follow-up story telling who won the great race. Evidently, everyone who wasn't there knew within hours who the winner was.
One of the most unusual amusements Madison citizens ever engaged in was the ring tournament, which began in the 1850's and lasted almost to the turn of the century. This variation of the old jousting matches held in medieval Europe may have been inspired by the romantic novels of Sir Walter Scott, whom Kate Stone (in the book Brokenburn) called the "prince of novelists. "
The men dressed as knights of old, wearing knee breeches, velvet jackets, ruffled shirts and wide-brimrned hats adorned with graceful plumes. A mounted herald introduced the "knights" as they rode onto the field. They rode along a course at breakneck speed and stabbed at suspended rings with the point of their lance. It took a keen eye and steady nerve to poise the long lance at just the right height to estimate the center of the ring while traveling on a swiftly galloping horse. The champion named the "Queen" of the "Grand Ball" which followed the tournament. The entire community participated in making their tournament a success. All business was suspended and bands and elaborate feats were enjoyed by the visitors who traveled miles to see the tournament.
Perhaps it would presumptuous to say the ring tournament reflected an image the cotton planters had of themselves as feudal lords. Certainly their overblown notions of valiant conflict and dashing young officers, and perhaps even - dare we say it, - the idealistic novels of Sir Walter Scott, encouraged the southerners into fighting a war they could not win.
Anyway, the ring tournament lasted a long time after the war, and Tallulah was one of the main centers of the sport in Louisiana. The event was held on racetracks, as were regular horse races. The tracks were usually a circle of at least 300 yards, with the turf peeled off and beaten smooth and firm. Eight tall poles were placed at 25-yard intervals on its outer edge. The rings were suspended from these poles. Madison Parish had two such tracks after the war, at Tallulah, and Omega. Tallulah, in 1890, was the site of the last ring tournament in Louisiana.
For a discussion of the operation of a large cotton plantation, we will look at Dr. James Green Carson's "Canebrake" plantation. The account books of the plantation overseers from 1856 to 1858 were the basis of an article on "Canebrake" written by Robert Reinders for the Louisiana Historical Quarterly. David Creed used this and other sources for his portrayal of life at "Canebrake," and his write-up is the basis for ours.
"Canebrake" was on the Mississippi River, about 10 miles north of Richmond. It was located mainly in Carroll Parish, but some of its 2,576 acres spilled over into Madison. Dr. Carson bought 1200 acres of it in 1846 for over $42,000. As he became more prosperous he increased the size of his plantation, but left most of it uncultivated and unimproved.
Dr. Carson's slaves built a levee along the riverfront (both a practical and legal necessity) and sodded it with Bermuda grass to prevent erosion. A small bayou on the south side of the plantation helped to drain the land, as did the drainage ditches constructed at right angles to the levee from the center of the plantation to the swamps behind.
Most of the buildings were built along the bayou. There were the slave quarters, which were scoured and white washed periodically. Negro artisans built the overseer's simple house nearby using logs cut out on the place. Also along the bayou were the cotton gin, the seed house for the storage of cotton seed, and the shops for repair - and storage of tools.
Other permanent structures were the kiln, two wells, a plantation bell and a smokehouse. There were also barns for the cows, stables for the horses and mules, a carriage house, a kitchen, corncrib, and infirmary, and certainly a multitude of outhouses. And of course there was the "big house," set back from the road with a tree-lined avenue leading to it.
The planter rarely involved himself in the day-to-day workings of the plantation. He left the overseer to watch over the slaves and, in effect, raise the crop. The overseer had to contend with runaway slaves, late winters, spring floods, windstorms and cotton pests to get in a good crop.
The overseer was quickly relieved if his work was not satisfactory. Carson ran through three overseers between 1856 and 1858. The overseer was looked down upon by the plantation family - partly because of his association with Negro slaves, and also due to his meager educational and religious background. They could read and write but little, and few went to church.
Carson had a work force of 156 Slaves in 1858. He valued them using the following system: each child under one year of age was worth $25, under two years was $75, and $25 was added for each succeeding year up to age 18. Slaves 18 to 40 were worth $800 ($600 for females), and those over 40 decreased in value. This valuation varied according to the skills of the individual slave; an artisan named Thomas was valued at $1500.
All but eight men and eight women slaves of working age in 1858 were unconnected with field labor. The women were probably house servants. Some of the men were likely engaged in sheep and cattle herding, or were blacksmiths, gardeners, etc. A few of the skilled field hands were assigned to barrel making and carpentry. Three men operated the cotton gin and four the press. One man was a corn grinder, and five were classified as wagoneers.
As for the majority of the unskilled field laborers, they were transferred from one job to another as the situation demanded. The cotton men were divided into plow hands and hoe hands. They dug ditches when it was too wet to work in the fields. The women were employed as field hands and also made cotton baskets, sewed clothes, put up fences and exterminated cotton pests. The children or "chaps," were organized into trash gangs to police the plantation area and to do light jobs.
All of the slaves were provided with simple clothing. Shirts, pants and dresses were made from purchased cloth, Shoes were ordered on the basis of yearly measurements of the Negroes feet sizes. Male field hands were issued "mud boots" in addition to regular shoes, and most of the men and women received hats. The women were given socks in 1857; the following year, all the slaves got handkerchiefs. The children had to do without shoes and headgear.
Being a doctor, Carson didn't commission another physician to take care of his slaves' medical needs. His own experience and the fact that he was taking care of his own investment ensured the best medical care for his slaves. Even so, the slaves' daily exertions in the fields, wet or dry, made them special victims of yellow fever. An 1850 fever epidemic killed seven white men and 73 slaves in the district, and these are typical figures. It is likely that 10 or 12 blacks passed into eternity for every noble southern heart that bit the dust.
Medical attention for black or white was fairly primitive by today's standards. In Brokenburn, Kate Stone describes various diseases and their remedies. A local minister was trying to cure his little girl's spasms by soaking her in a hot tub of water. He forgot to test the heat first, however, and the child almost fatally scalded in the process.
Later in the journal, Kate got a toothache by "sitting all day in wet shoes." She tried to relieve it first by smoking leaf cigarettes. When that didn't work, in desperation she tried using "creosote, caustic, and any strong thing people recommend" until she was afraid of ruining her teeth.
Malaria, the perennial malady, was treated with everything from Quinine and podophyllin to hot tea, "bitters and drugs of varied mean". Pneumonia was often treated by blistering the patient on the back with some hot application in the belief that this would relieve the congestion in the lungs. This treatment is described in Brokenburn (pp. 157-158), in which Jimmy, Kate Stone's 15-year-old brother, is dangerously, ill with pneumonia:
"The Doctor recommended giving him brandy in eggnog every 30 minutes and nourishment every 15 minutes. He put something on the raw, angry blister to allay the burning, itching sensation that had tortured him so, and at night he tried as a last resort to relieve the lungs by burning him under the shoulder blades with turpentine and a hot iron.
"A flannel was wet with the turpentine, laid on him, and ironed. It was exquisitely painful, and they would not let Mama be in the room. When she returned after it was over, Jimmy was gasping for breath and could just mutter, 'they have nearly killed me, Mamma. Don't leave me any more."
"As soon as the pain subsided he seemed a little better. He had not slept for 11 nights, and the Doctor said that was enough to kill him without the disease. The Doctor did all he could to ease the pain of the blisters and gave him large doses of Battley's sedative, and towards morning we had the pleasure of seeing him fall into a light sleep."
Jimmy survived both the doctor and the disease. We cannot tell whether he recovered because of his treatment or simply in spite of it. We do know that the "home-made quackery" of a man on a southern plantation killed the patient when the illness might have eventually run its course.
The planter and, his wife, sons and daughters had little to do but educate and amuse themselves, and they did both very well. They could because plantation slaves worked round to provide them with their wants and needs.
In January, the hands prepared the fields for the crops to be planted. New acres were cleared for cultivation by removing the timber or burning it in the fields. Drainage ditches were dug in the new lands and new fences were constructed. In the fields already under cultivation, drainage ditches were cleaned out and the old cotton stalks were pulled and burned.
The land was ready for plowing by early February. Plowing began first on the new fields, then on the older fields, which had previously been fertilized with manure and cotton seed. The first crop planted was oats, followed early In March by corn.
If all went well, the first cotton plants appeared at the end of April. The crop was then scraped by plowing between the ridges to remove the weeds and "hill" the plants. Spring was a very busy time as all hands were in the fields chopping weeds and thinning out the cotton plants. The cotton had to be constantly cultivated with hoes, plows, "scrapers," and sweeps.
Cultivation was less intensive after the cotton blooms appeared in mid-June. The slaves were often freed of work the whole or half of Saturday. But late summer was a dangerous season, for bad bugs, lice and, armyworms appeared to threaten the crop. While some women made baskets, others fought these pests.
Corn was planted by using one-horse plows, behind each of which were two persons dropping seed. The rest of the hands followed, covering the seed with hoes. Watermelons and pumpkins were planted between the rows of corn.
The planting of cornfields took about three or four weeks. Meanwhile the ridging of cotton began. Planting was started as soon as the ridging process was completed, and by late March or early April all of the cottonseed was in the ground. Sometimes the crops had to be replanted because of a late April frost.
Cotton was not the sole concern in these summer months. Oats were harvested in June and peas were planted in their place. Sweet potato fields were hoed and Irish potatoes were hilled. In August, corn was pulled, bound, tied and stored for winter fodder. The ears of corn were removed and later shelled and ground.
Some of the cotton bolls began to open in late August and women and children were sent to pick them. When the overseer noted that the cotton was "opening fast," all hands were sent into the fields. The cotton picking extended well into December. The picked cotton was allowed to "sweat" for a few days, then was sent to the gin and press.
When the fields were picked over, and the overseer waited the opening up of the less mature boles, he assigned hands to gather corn or dig potatoes. The last picking was done by small groups, the "trash gangs." The cotton was ginned and baled; the bales were bound In hemp or in the more progressive iron hoops. Then the cotton was hauled to the riverboat landing, loaded on board a steamboat and sent to a New Orleans commission firm in average lots of 50 bales.
On most plantations Sunday holidays were rigidly kept, except when the duress of rising flood waters required levee work on the Lords Day. Some planters employed a minister to provide religious instruction for the slaves, On the Canebrake plantation, the big holidays were the Fourth of July and Christmas. The Negroes had a "big-to-do" over Christmas and were given a special food allotment of molasses, flour and coffee.
Madison Parish planters liked to think that their slaves were happy and naturally loyal to their kind masters. Yet they realized that the only way to keep Negroes from rebelling was to make them ignorant of any possibility for a better life. In this vein, editor Downes published the following editorial in the Aug. 9, 1842, Richmond Compiler, "The Legislature of Louisiana has wisely forbid the instruction of Negroes to read or write. There is among the slave population throughout the states far too much information for their own happiness and subordination. Servants of hotels and boarding houses hear much that has a tendency to create fatal aspirations; these communicate their information to others which increases their discontent....
"We cannot conceive of the fact the slave population are ever all attention at the slightest remark that is made have been surprised by the rapidity with which such occurrences are communicated among the slaves from the remotest parts of the parish. There is evidently a line of communication; they too have their Prophets - their Leaders.
Without rigid regulations and strict subordination, there is no safety. Without giving any instructions in the police of slaves, we will be permitted to remark that we cannot approve the too frequent practice of permitting the Negroes to congregate together, nor can we approve the practice of allowing them the privilege of having associated off their owner's plantations. It is productive of no good, creates discontent among other slaves who conceive it a hardship that they cannot have like indulgences, and sooner or later it is a grievance to their masters."
The slave laws in Louisiana traced their ancestry back to the Black Code, promulgated by Governor Bienville in 1724 and later revised. This body of laws was adopted principally to regulate the rights, duties and punishment of slaves. It continued under the Spaniards and, with modifications, during this statehood of Louisiana until slavery was abolished.
The provisions not only regulated slavery, but attempted to protect and advance the Catholic Church, the only religion they recognized or tolerated. The first clause declared that all Jews should be expelled from the colony. Other laws having religious overtones stated that: Negroes placed under the supervision of persons other than Catholics were to be confiscated. Negroes found working on Sunday or holidays were to be confiscated. All Negroes were to be buried in consecrated ground.
Laws dealing solely with the subordination of slaves provided that: Negroes were not to carry any kind of weapons or big sticks. When a slave was executed for crime, the state was to compensate the master for the market value of the slave.
Negroes were not to gather in crowds, even at weddings. A slave caught on horseback without permission would be arrested, given 25 lashes, and sent back to his master, who would be charged 12 and a half cents per mile for his return. Another statute, which may not have been in the original Black Code, but was law in ante-bellum Madison Parish, forbade the sale of "ardent spirits" to slaves.
Runaway and rebellious slaves had always been a problem to cotton planters. These and other provisions were adopted to combat that problem and protect property, so to speak. But with the rise of the abolitionist movement in the north, especially in states such as Ohio and New York, a feeling of uneasiness and even fear took hold of the plantation society. The Richmond Compiler reflects this in an Oct. 5, 1841, editorial: "As lightly as many around us hold the efforts and demon like policy of the reckless fanatics of the Western and Eastern states, we tell them that we cannot be too cautious with our slaves, nor can we be too particular or rigid in scanning the characters of the multitude of idle strangers around us, or in enforcing the laws upon the free Negroes that are yet in the state.
"We believe that a most damnable and hellish plot has been agreed upon by the abolitionists, the free Negroes and the slaves to murder the whole slave holding population, and to pillage and burn the dwellings and cities of the south. We believe this as firmly as we believe in our existence."
At that time secession was not in the minds of the citizens of Madison Parish. The local Democrats, led by Robert M. Scott, a planter, were influential in the parish, but the Whig planter aristocracy was in control. Louisiana was not sectionalist, but strongly nationalist. A March 1, 1842, Richmond Compiler ironically reflects this: "This Republic is destined to remain pure, permanent, undefiled for ages yet. ...What! Dissolve this union - scatter to the winds of heaven the most successful and brilliant form of government that ever sprang from the brain of man! Preposterous! Ridiculous! It was easier to strike the sun from the heavens - to cover with pitch the surface of the bright orb of night - to set aside the decrees of fate - to disarrange the glorious harmony of the spheres, than to succeed in so fanatical an undertaking."
But gradually, as Northern abolitionist propaganda grew more intense, as both strangers and previously-thought-respectable people were caught "stealing" (freeing) slaves, as dark rumors of bloody slave insurrections became heard more frequently, the people of Madison grew desperately worried about what the success of abolitionist movements would mean to their society.
The bitterness and hatred of abolitionists of James Downes, editor of the Compiler in 1842 and 1843 is indicative of the attitudes of Madisonians that grew prior to the Civil War. Downes noted that abolitionists often came into the territory as ministers, especially of the Methodist denomination: "This general preference on the part of the abolitionists should teach us to examine all strangers with the strictest scrutiny, without stopping to inquire whether they be "man, saint, or devil." The present is no time, nor is this a question for nice distinctions. We must make some small sacrifice of feeling for the good of the public.
"If a gentleman (one who is known to be such) of this or any other denomination, comes amongst us, why, in God's name, give him a welcome, cordial reception. But if a fellow, whom no one knows - who bears with him no evidence of respectability whose habits unfit him for his holy calling, should venture amongst us, watch him closely, and if you should catch him in his rascalities, then hang him to the first bough you meet with. (Feb. 8, 1842)."
Downes was criticized for being immoderate, but it was not long before the parish was giving strangers a very cool reception. Both conservative Democrats and "Old line Whigs" began to feel in the 1850's that the influx of new settlers coming into the parish would upset Southern tradition and threaten the slave economy. They saw immigrants as abolitionists and "Free Soilers" (abolitionists who invaded a territory to make it a free state).
Occasionally one of these people would arouse suspicion and meet a violent end, or be sent North. Politically they were opposed by the American or "Know-Nothing" party, which was strong in Madison Parish, if not in the state as a whole.
By the 1860 Presidential election, the "Know-Nothing Party" was dead in Louisiana. But its sentiments, and the sentiments of the Whigs, also defunct, still corresponded with the feelings of the citizens of Madison. They certainly had a deep hatred of abolitionists, Republicans, and the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln (who was not even on the ballot in the parish), but they retained the belief that the Union must not be divided, if at all possible. Accordingly, the parish voted for John Bell of the National Union party, whose only platform was the preservation of the Union. Most of the other parishes, including Madison's neighbors, Carroll, Tensas and Concordia, went for John C. Breckinridge, the southern extremist.
Perhaps Madison was little wiser than the rest of the state. Perhaps it realized the dependence it had on the rest of the nation. The parish could provide itself with virtually none of its commercial needs and, though it was an agricultural area, the planters were so devoted to raising cotton that they did not even raise enough food to make the parish self-sufficient in that respect.
Yet the election of Abraham Lincoln struck Madisonians as a sign that reconciliation was impossible. The parish sent strong secessionists to the convention called by the Louisiana Legislature to consider withdrawing from the United States. Its parish representatives were William R. Peck and Claiborne C. Briscoe. John Perkins, Jr. of Madison and Lemuel P. Connor of Concordia represented the Tensas and Concordia senatorial district.
Perkins was made temporary chairman when the convention assembled in Baton Rouge on Jan. 23, 1861. He was also made chairman of the committee of 15 -which was to prepare the ordinance for the withdrawal of Louisiana from the Union. The ordinance Perkins' committee drew up was adopted by the convention on his motion on Jan 26 by a vote of 113 to 17.
John Perkins later was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives from the Northeast Louisiana District. He served in the Congress until it was abolished. When Federal troops threatened his plantation, "Somerset," Perkins set fire to his magnificent home and 2,000 bales of cotton to prevent them from being used by the Yankees.
Perkins did not return to Somerset after the war. Since he had taken such a prominent part in the Confederate cause, he feared for his life. With an escort of three Confederate soldiers and several thousand dollars in gold, Perkins fled to Mexico as did many other Confederates. The party was attacked by bandits soon after it arrived; Perkins' escorts were killed and his gold was stolen. Perkins then entered the service of Emperor Maximillan of Mexico. Later, Maximillan was killed and Perkins fled to Europe. He finally returned to Madison Parish in 1878, and spent his last years there.
© 1999 Richard P. Sevier (email@example.com)