[graphic] National Park Service arrowhead and link to nps.gov [graphic] National Park Service arrowhead and link to nps.gov
  [graphic] Cane River National Heritage Area: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
 [graphic] Link to Cane River Home  [graphic] Link to List of Sites  [graphic] Link to Maps  [graphic] Link to Essays  [graphic] Link to Learn More  [graphic] Link to Itineraries Home  [graphic] Link to National Register of Historic Places Home
[graphic] Link to Previous Site
Cherokee Plantation
[graphic] Link to Next Site

The house rests on brick piers
Photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area

Cherokee Plantation is an example of an early French Creole plantation house. It is elevated six feet off the ground on brick piers. The timbers are hand-hewn cypress and the walls are filled with bousillage made from Spanish moss, animal hair and mud from Cane River. The exterior of the house is covered with wooden siding and the interior bousillage walls are painted white. It is believed that the house was built in 1839, a date which coincides with the purchase of the property by Emile Sompayrac.

Sompayrac was a young Frenchman who, oral tradition holds, lived a cavalier lifestyle and was an enthusiast of hunting and gambling. His romantic and adventurous lifestyle was best represented by a duel that took place at the plantation the very first year he owned the property. In the summer of 1839, a political argument between a prominent Whig, General F. Gaiennie, and a Democrat, State Representative General P. E. Bossier, escalated to open incriminations in the local newspaper. To put an end to the feud, Bossier demanded a duel. Gaiennie accepted the offer and chose rifles, considered the most deadly weapon of the time. The duel took place that autumn on the grounds of Cherokee Plantation. Though Gaiennie fired early, Bossier won the duel, shooting his opponent through the heart. According to local legend, political tensions surrounding the duel led to the death of eleven more citizens, including the suicide of General Bossier in 1844.

[photo] Cherokee Plantation
Photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area

Emile Sompayrac died shortly after the Civil War. His wife, Clarissa, slowly sold the plantation off in pieces. The land switched hands many times over the next few years and continued to be an active plantation through the first half of the 20th century. The plantation is currently owned by the Murphy Nolan family of El Dorado, Arkansas, who have done much to restore and maintain the house for future generations.

Cherokee Plantation is located on Hwy. 1 at Hwy. 494, nine miles south of downtown Natchitoches. It is privately owned, but is occasionally open for tours during special events. Cherokee Plantation has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

[graphic] Cane River with link to essays [graphic] Link to Creole Culture Essay
 [graphic] Link to Art and Architecture Essay
 [graphic] Link to History Essay

Cane River Home | List of Sites | Maps| Learn More | Itineraries | NR Home | Next Site
Essays: Creole Culture | Art and Architecture| History|

Comments or Questions