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John Carroll Jones House
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The John Carroll Jones House
Photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area

The John Carroll Jones House, also known as the Robieu-Jones House, is a raised Creole plantation house of considerable architectural importance. Its hall-less design and bousillage construction (mixture of mud, Spanish moss and deer hair) are typical of the style. The builder of the house is unknown, though it was probably constructed circa 1818. It is the oldest house in the parish to be raised a full story, an indicator that the house was most likely built by a wealthy planter. This prominent design was used not only to help ventilate the building, but also to give it a commanding atmosphere over the other buildings on the plantation. This status symbol was used to maintain authority over slaves and laborers in the hierarchical plantation culture.

The man the house is named for did not purchase the property until after the Civil War. John Carroll Jones was an African American born in Tennessee. Following the Civil War, John and his Choctaw Indian wife, Catherine, moved to the Cane River region where they lived in the Cane River Creole community of Isle Brevelle. Jones originally moved to the area to raise and race horses. Though he did manage to breed several champions, horse racing became a secondary income for him. His true fortune was made through farming. Jones became one of the most successful planters on the river. By 1890, he owned several thousand acres and two plantation homes.

[photo] John Carroll Jones House
Photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area

Jones’s story is truly amazing when one considers the time period in which it took place. The Reconstruction period in Natchitoches was especially harsh for black farmers. Economic uncertainty compounded with racial violence made getting ahead for African Americans in this region very difficult. The fact that a mixed-race couple could prosper and attain a high rank in a majority white Southern community in the years following the Civil War is noteworthy. Such an occurrence is extremely rare and the Joneses’ story deserves both appreciation and further study.

 The John Carroll Jones House is located on Hwy. 484, several miles south of Natchitoches in the Isle Brevelle community of Natchez. It is currently a private residence and is only open for tours on special occasions. The John Carroll Jones House has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

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