The historic marker at the turn for what was the Doro Plantation at Beulah says:
On land received as payment of legal fees in the 1840s. Doro Plantation was established in the early 1850s by Charles Clark, Confederate General and wartime Governor of Mississippi (1863-1865). Doro continued to thrive in the post-Civil War years. Gov. Clark and members of the Clark and Jacobs families are buried here.
Doro Plantation was in what’s now called Old Prentiss. It was the county seat of Bolivar County from 1852 to 1863, when it was burned by Federals. It fell into the river in 1865 and was uncovered in the drought of 1954 (the Clark’s house had to be moved before the war because the site was falling into the river. The house doesn’t exist today.).
The cemetery where General Clark is buried with his family is on top of an Indian mound.
Delta and Pine Land Company (D and PL for short) is in Scott, MS. D and PL is a breeder, producer, and marketer of cotton seed and soybean seed for use here in the US and overseas. They produce the “Roundup Ready” cotton seeds that Av and I have used in the tiny area we grow cotton in.
My WPA book (the Works Progress Administration’s division, the Federal Writers’ Project, wrote guides in the ’30s on each of the states – I have the WPA book for Alabama and one for Mississippi (I’d like to have all of them) and they are fascinating looks at how things were then) says this about Scott and the D and PL:
At Scott, 67.4 m. (140 alt., 300 pop.) are the headquarters of the Delta and Pine Land Co. Plantation, the country’s largest plantation, containing 38,000 acres, 11700 are in cotton; the whole is under the supervision of 12 unit managers, and is worked by 1000 black sharecroppers. The value of the property is about $5,000,000.
The company maintains a school, church, and hospital for tenants, the croppers paying a $.75-per-acre hospital fee annually – thus a man who worked 12 acres would be assessed $9 a year for hospitalization. Women are encouraged to go to the hospital for confinement rather than to depend upon midwives. Vaccination for small-pox and typhoid, inoculations against malaria, and anti-syphilitic injections are offered as part of the medical service. Tenant cabins, unscreened but stoutly built, are above the Delta average in quality. The tenants eat the usual pork, molasses, and cornbread, but an attempt is made to make up vitamin deficiencies by supplying them with free yeast. It is estimated that the average tenant here clears about $300 a year above subsistence.
Oscar Johnston, a native Mississippian, took over the management of the company in 1928; since then the plantation has shown a notable profit for the first time since its establishment in 1910. Johnston was in 1933 Finance Director of the AAA, and later manager of the Federal cotton pool.
The road leading from State 1 to the Scott railway station is an experiment made to find new uses for cotton. A heavy coat of tar was applied to the old graveled roadbed, over this was laid cotton fabric, and this in turn was overlaid with an asphalt coating. Theoretically, the cotton mesh absorbs moisture, thus lessening the amount of expansion and contractions of the roadbed caused by changes in temperature. These changes are in some part responsible for cracks in paving. The half-mile cotton textile road was built in 1935.
Below are pics leading up to the Delta and Pine Land Company in Scott. This is the season when the cotton modules are going in and everything is ginned.
Av and I left the city for a few hours and wanted to do something relaxing, so we drove out to the Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie. The home, with a row of 300 year old oaks leading to it, is famous – it’s been featured in lots of books and movies.
Admission was $10 per person, and tours of the house are given every thirty minutes. Usually Av and I like to just explore things on our own, but since the house is only open with guided tours, that was just fine – and our tour guide, Jane – was really great.
The pic above is from the back of the house. In the center is a sugar kettle that they use now as a water garden (lots of people make them into koi ponds, too). Also behind the house is the Oak Alley restaurant and gift shop. Among all the things the gift shop was selling were saplings from oak trees on the plantation – they were $15.
Also behind the home are their B and B cottages which are between $115-$165/night.
The oaks at Oak Alley are thought to be about 300 years old, planted by an early settler.
Usually, pictures aren’t allowed to be taken inside the house, but our tour guide explained that business has been very slow after the hurricanes and that they were allowing, for a time, for guests to come and take pictures. This is the sitting room.
The pictures above and below are of the dining room. This room has a shoo-fly installed over the table. It’s run by pulley, and as it swings back and forth, it keeps the flies away, and creates a bit of a breeze.
On this bed is a wooden rolling pin. The rolling pin is used to smooth out the mattress (in winter, people would stuff their mattresses with cotton or feathers, and in summer with Spanish moss). They also slept with mosquito nets around the bed.
This daybed is in the same bedroom. People used daybeds for afternoon naps so that they wouldn’t have to smooth out the bed mattress again.