Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Cedar Grove and other Alexandria Area Plantations as they relate to the Horn/Walker Family.

Jeff Horn, Sr., July 2013: "The Cedar Grove on Bayou Robert must have been what I knew as "the Mc Adams Place. Under the picture it says it was demolished to build 'Land Mark" subdivision. I'm sure this is the case. The house was lived in by Sam Holcomb. The house and the porch is exactly how that house looked. Mr. Walker and Mr. Ed bought that plantation at foreclosure auction on the Rapides Parish Court House steps during the depression. Mr. Ed was head football coach at Old Miss and Mr. Walker told him that he could raise $10,000 and that if Mr. Ed could do the same they could buy something that would be worth a lot of money someday.There was 300 acres of that fine bayou front land and 200 acres of swamp land involved. There was a 50 acre pecan orchard on the front northwest corner. When Mr Ed died there was no estate exemption and Miss Georgia owed $75,000 inheritance tax since Mr ED's share was bought before they married and was his separate property. One night I came home on Mohon Drive and Miss Georgia was there in tears. She had just found out that the property was appraised at $175,000 and she must pay $ 75,000 tax in the next 6 months. She was shocked and of course Mr. Walker told her not to worry that they could "step" down to the Guaranty Bank and that Mr. Beasley would be glad to lend her the money. He said that it was not a good time to sell that it would be worth a lot some day. She was about 70 years old at the time and didn't have a lot of savings. The next day I went to the office with her and she begged Mr Walker to Buy her 1/2 interest. Mr  Walker sent her in to have coffee with Mrs Russell and shut his door. I knew he was serious when he shut his door! He told me the story about buying it at sheriff's sale with Mr Ed. He then said he didn't want to buy it. I was managing Ballina Farms at the time so he proposed that I  should "step down to the Bank" borrow $75,000 for Ballina and pay her that and give her a $100,000 note for the rest payable $10,000 + 6% interest yearly. She was overjoyed to say the least. She lived 9 years after that  in Baton Rouge near a neice in an assisted living home until her death. Paying the note off at the Bank along with operating loans and her yearly payment was not always easy to say the least but we had a good banker! It turned out very well years later. My last act as manager of Ballina Farms was to sell the 50 acre pecan orchard for $1,000,000."

Response from Georgia Louise Horn Simmons: "Oh my goodness, you are exactly right, Daddy!  This was the Mc Adams Place!!  How amazing is that?  What an investment that was (in addition to helping Aunt Georgia)!  They think this house could have been as old or older than Kent House.  (Kent House construction began in 1796.)  It was one of the very few that survived burning during the Civil War.

I also found out that PawPaw's house is on the original site of Evergreen Plantation, so I guess that is not a made-up name.  (On the National Historic Register, Paw Paw is listed as the builder of the current house, with period of significance as 1925-1949.  I can't tell if any part of that home was original.  It would make sense to me that the alley of oak trees now on the side of the house could have been the original "oak alley" entryway that was typical for so many plantations, but that is just me talking and nothing that I have read.)  

The original house on Evergreen was one of the few plantations not burned during the Civil War, but no pictures of it are in the book.  It was said that Francis Sprigg (who was a relative of the owners of Flowerton, Evergreen and Inglewood Plantations) assisted with the convalescence of a Union Colonel Jones who had major battle injuries that occurred near Alexandria.  He left a written message that the properties of the Flower family were not to be burned by Union troops.

And finally, the old home where the Owens lived was originally Juliett Plantation, so that isn't made up either!!  Now that I think about it, I'm sure that when they add these names to the National Historic Register, someone does the research to make sure the original name is restored."   

There were two Cedar Groves in the Alexandria area (Cedar Grove Bayou Rapides and Cedar Grove Bayou Robert.

The thing that is so confusing is that several different sources have the picture of the Bayou Robert Cedar Grove and list Mrs. Grundy (Asa) Cooper as the owner.  Apparently those are wrong, or maybe the Cooper family owned both of them at one time.  They weren't that far apart and all of this gets very convoluted and confusing!!

Regarding Cedar Grove Bayou Robert, this book says that "In the 20th century, Cedar Grove was farmed by Morgan Walker..." so it sounds like we do have a connection to that Cedar Grove as well.

I knew that Mama (Martha Annis Walker Horn) had a picture of the Bayou Rapides Cedar Grove home that pre-dated our house.  It looked a lot more similar to the house we lived in and it had an outside staircase and a balcony.  I've been unable to locate that picture anywhere until tonight and I finally found it in a book called:  "From This Valley:  A History of Alexandria, Pineville, and Rapides, Louisiana Vol. 1."  Here is the website:  http://www.redriverxpress.com/From-This-Valley-Vol1.html.

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