Antebellum Era - Sugar Cane Plantations at the confluence of Little Bayou Pigeon and Grand River
1859 Map of the Parishes of Pointc Coupee, West Baton Rouge, and Iberville, Including Parts of the Parishes of St. Martin and Ascension, Louisiana. Sarony, Major, and Knapp, New York.
There were four working Sugar Plantation’s, at the confluence of Bayou Pigeon and Grand River.
The Justillien Michel plantation, George Mitchelltree Plantation, Laughlin, Down Home Plantation, George Bollinger, Plantation
The Riggs Family of New Iberia
The Riggs Family of New Iberia was connected to all the first Planters at Bayou Pigeon / Grand River.
Mary Reynolds Riggs the wife of Eli Riggs inherited property he had purchased in Iberville Parish on Little Bayou Pigeon, when Eli Passed.
A John Mitcheltree was married to Elizabeth Riggs, daughter of Eli Riggs and Mary Reynolds Riggs.
John and Elizabeth Riggs Mitchelltree and Mary Riggs, another daughter of Eli Riggs and her husband Granville Clifford Laughlin inherited from Mary Reynolds Riggs the wife of Eli Riggs his property in Iberville Parish on Little Bayou Pigeon, when she passed.
They split the property, Grandville Clifford Laughlin taking the property on the east side of Grand River at Little Bayou Pigeon confluence and John Mitchelltree to the property on the west side.
John Mitchelltree died in 1850 and his brother George Mitchelltree and his wife Matilda bought his property in the succession.
G.C. Laughlin was the tract's sole proprietor of his tract prior to 1858. After 1858 it was Laughlin and Nettleton. When the Nettleton came in is not known. But it is known he was the overseer of Laughlin Tract.
Adjacent to and below George Mitcheltree on Grand River was the plantation of George Bollinger.
Researching the US census of 1850, we verify that Jasper Gall, George Mitcheltree, and john Laughlin lived at the confluence of Little Bayou Pigeon and Grand River.
George Mitchelltree real estate was valued at $2000. That was a significant amount of money in 1850.
1850 US Census, La. Iberville Parish Ward 8
Justillien Michel Plantation -
Justillien Michel purchased his property from Jasper Gall, who was married to Frances Riggs, another daughter of Eli Riggs, c 1858. There is no known Documentation of Justillen Michel building a Plantation house on his farm.
Mathilda Mitchelltree died in 1866 and George Mitchelltree died in 1868. There adopted children, Henry Dale and Ann Blockley inherited the property. The Black slaves had left the swamp and by 1870 the plantation houses at Bayou pigeon were basically abandoned.
Court Document Sheriff's sale of Mitchelltree Property in 1875
Official transcript of sheriff’s sale of the George Mitcheltree Plantation for failure to pay property taxes. This property was inherited by the adopted child Ann Blockley or Boschle in 1866-1868 and obviously she was unable to pay the property taxes.
Note the location of the graveyard, main dwelling and the sugar house. The cemetery was probably destroyed in the construction of the modern Atchafalaya Floodway East Protection Levee.
Stan Routh illustration of the George Mitcheltree
and Laughlin & Nettleton Plantations in 1859
The Mitcheltree layout is based on written records from 1875 Iberville Parish Sheriffs sale. Since the property was sold for lack of payment of property taxes, all non moveables went with sale..
In 1895 Nestor Michel bought parts of the old George Mitchelltree plantation from F.B. Williams Cypress. His purchase contained all the buildings and dwellings on the property which included the George Mitcheltree Plantation house.
Iberville Parish Court record 1895
The house became the Nestor & Clementine House which was the most prominent dwelling in Bayou Pigeon at the time.
Clementine lived in the home until her death in 1947. The house was demolished sometime after her death in 1947.
The picture above shows the Mitcheltree / Michel Plantation house in the background.
Ms. Joyce Percle daughter of Adeia Michel Percle, youngest daughter of Nestor and Clementine and Mr. Dealis Vaughn youngest son of Sidney Vaughn described the interior of the house. The house was torn down by Paul Michel / Sidney Vaughn in 1949 . The sketch below provides the layout of the house as they remember it in 1947 / 48 time frame.
Google Earth Satellite view of Modern day location of Susans Point
Down Home Plantation - Laughlin Family
Granville Clifford Laughlin passed in 1859. The Laughlin's hired Thomas Edmond Grace, a lawyer from Plaquemine to handle the succession. Elizabeth Laughlin, called Lizze, age 19, caught the eye of the young lawyer. Thomas sought and received permission to court Lizze from her mother. Their courtship was documented in a series of letters chronicled in the Grace Family history, by Joseph McDowell Campbell. They were married at the Down Home Plantation… see below.
Mary Riggs Laughlin was the great grandmother of Mrs. Lorraine Dupont an Grand Dame of Plaquemine.
1860 Census Iberville Parish Ward 8 Bayou Pigeon
Folks at the confluence of Grand River and Bayou Pigeon starts at bottom of page with Mary Riggs Laughlin family, page 60, line 98. George Mitcheltree Family, George Bollinger Family follow.
In the early 1870’s The Laughlin's had abandoned the Down Home Plantation William Hedges bought the property. William Hedges lost the property to debt.
Enter Anatole Berthelot & old Laughlin Plantation
Anatole acquired the old Laughlin plantation in 1913, he purchased existing buildings including the “Down Home” Plantation house for $475.
Iberville Court Document March 27, 1913
Anatole Berthelot house (the Down Home Plantation House) in the background. Circa 1930’s.
J.C. Berthelot, grandson of Anatole Berthelot, J.C. at his Big Communion, in the foreground.
The George Bollinger Plantation
George Bollinger established the fourth Sugar Plantation at the Grand River / Bayou Pigeon confluence. Not much is known about Bollinger except that he did live at Grand River / Bayou Pigeon for at least 10 years (U.S. Census records) and produced Sugar.
The Bollinger Plantation was sold at sheriff's sale several times and was purchased by Nestor Michel in 1917. Nestor sold it to Henry Dugas, in 1929.
Sometime after 1929, Clebert Frioux son in law of Anatole Berthelot purchased a part old Bollinger plantation house
Clebert Frioux and Natalie Berthelot Frioux c 1910
The Palfrey Plantation Located in Iberia Parish, on Grand River
The Palfrey Plantation house was located ¾ miles north of Bayou Postillion on Grand River, approximately 2 miles south of the confluence of Bayou Pigeon and Grand River, south of Pumpkin point. Alcide Clement moved his family to the property in the early 1900’s . .There, the family cultivated cotton, corn, raised hogs, chickens, geese ducks and cattle. His family was self supporting, they were known for the beef, salt pork, boudin, sausage, cracklings, butter and milk and periodically sold and or bartered this with folks at Little Bayou Pigeon . Even though located in Iberia parish, it was synonymous with Bayou Pigeon.
Objective evidence of the Palfrey Plantation, and location. The official Report of Major Jesse Miller of the Union Army in 1864.
Alcide Clement and Grand Dame Mary Matilda Morales Clement
Alcide Clement moves to the Palfrey Plantation.
Alcide Clement does not appear in the 1920 US Census record in Bayou Pigeon. Alcide moved his family to the property once owned by Mr. Charles Palfrey in Iberia Parish.. That was approximately 2 miles south of the confluence of Bayou Pigeon and Grand River in area known as Chopin Chute close to Bayou Postillion.
Cliff LeGrange at the Grand Dame Matilda Oaks July 2020
Grand Dame Matilda Oaks at Palfrey Plantation
Enjoy... The ghost of the past are speaking !