Destination: Lake Providence

Today we spent most of the day visiting various sites in Lake Providence that we had not seen before. Luckily, we had Robert and Cinderella as tour guides. We were hoping to find some really old graves of family members and also to see some new things. We went to the following locations:

East Carroll Parish Library - We spent about a half our at the library looking to see what they had as far as historical records. The only thing we were able to find was the microfilm roll of the newspaper article regarding our first family reunion in November 1972 in Lake Providence. We made a couple of copies of that. We also were happy because the library has Wi-Fi; our favorite café did as well, but they both closed at noon; so we gaffled Wi-Fi from the library parking lot. **Laughs**

Gaither Memorial Cemetery/East Carroll Baptist Association Cemetery – This cemetery is off of Gould Boulevard in Lake Providence. We took pictures of the following graves: Reverend Francis Joseph Atlas, Sr., Willie Mae Gibson Atlas, Reverend John Henry Scott, Cora S. Dukes, and a couple of possible family members with the last name Henderson.

Minsky Pecan Market - We picked up fresh picked pecans (the ones at Florence’s weren’t good this year), crawfish and boudin. We ate them later and boy were they good!

East Carroll Baptist Association – This association is one where all the 38 churches in the area belong (there are only 4,500 people here and that means about 119 people per church **Laughs**). This was the site of a black school before integration, and was bombed by townspeople when Reverend John Henry Scott, Reverend Francis Joseph Atlas, Sr. and others were fighting for voting rights in the parish. To find out more about their civil rights case, please click the following link:

Hood Lane Road – We had a visit with our cousin Florence. As always, we had great conversations and it was great to see her. She was, of course, full of stories and information.

Lone Star Cemetery – Off of Highway 134. Jean and I had no idea this cemetery was even in the area let alone that so many family members were buried there. We found the following graves: Dilcy Barber Taylor, Corneilus Taylor, Shiloh Taylor, Sr., Shiloh Taylor, Jr.; Alice Pierce/Piercey Thompson, Louis Thompson (Jean’s uncle) and other associated and possibly related folks.

Home of Daisy “Sweet” Russell Jackson – While here, we were able to meet Sweet’s son Charles or “Fatso” as he’s known to the family. He asked to put on our reunion mailings list and will try to make our reunion next year in Chicago.

The site of Longwood and Eyrie Plantations; St. Paul MBC and Cemetery – Off of Highway 596 – This was probably by far, my favorite part of our journey today. Longwood Plantation was the birthplace of Louis Balfour/Bareford Atlas, Sr. Eyrie Plantation was the area that King Atlas, Sr. and all his children ended up after being freed from slavery and that we’re researching as the last slaveholding area for them. Robert scared me by telling me that there were a lot of snakes in the area because of the time of year. So I was scared to walk through high grass. Cinderella and Jean were much more brave than me and Robert. We went for the low grass areas, which were not in abundance. There were probably only about 10 graves at this site. The site is about two miles from the Mississippi River Levee. You can see it as the grassy mound towards the back of the pictures. This area use to be heavily populated, but due to the severe flooding of the Mississippi River, family members and many others relocated to the other side of Lake Providence to the area where they are now.

Outside of the rain today, it was a very fruitful day and the first that we didn’t spend inside of a library or archives building for an extended period of time. Tomorrow, we are going to church service at Progressive Chapel Missionary Baptist Church and hope to get to view some of the old records. We are also going to try to visit our cousin Odell in Oak Grove as well.


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