January 25, 2015

Carter Plantation History

The recorded history of Carter Plantation dates back to 1804 when the property was acquired by James Rheams [Rheims] [Rheem] under a Spanish land grant.  The property was sold to Thomas Freeman which was the beginning of its rich history as we know it today.

The Carter Plantation House was built between 1817 and 1820 by Thomas Freeman, a free man of color.  Thomas P. Freeman was born about 1811 according to the 1870 United States Census.  He was born in Louisiana and married to a woman named Isabella. The household members were; Levi, Tom, Indiana, Jane, his wife Isabella, Hammond, and Dicy Freeman.  Thomas Freeman served in the Civil War.  His wife Isabella filed for her widow pension on August 1, 1890.  He served in E. 32. USC. Infantry. The 32nd Regiment United States Colored Regiment was organized by Camp William Penn in Pennsylvania in March 1864. He was a private in Company E.  The date he Mustered into Service was February 26, 1864. He mustered out with Company, August 22, 1865.

Thomas Freeman was the first black to record a legal transaction in his own right in the Greensburg District of East Louisiana and the first black to own property in what is now Livingston Parish.  This was documented in a commissioner’s report issued in 1820.  By 1820, Freeman had built the renowned Federal style house and records indicate he named it “Sycamore”.  He remained there with his wife and five children until 1838 when he sold the house and land to William L. Breed.

William Lee Breed’s family came to Louisiana with a group of friends and reports indicate they traveled from the northeast, along the east coast, south to Georgia and on to Louisiana.  William Lee was born in 1803 while they were on their journey to Louisiana.  His family settled on the banks of the Tickfaw River and their land claims were recorded in 1806.  William married Rachel Tregg Moore in 1824 and they had three children.  In 1828 he was a Colonel in the Militia, a bondsman, owned a brick yard and the Rome Ferry on the Tickfaw River.  He was appointed the first sheriff of Livingston Parish in 1832 when the parish was formed from St. Helena.  He also became a State Representative from Livingston Parish in 1835.  He purchased the house and tract of land from Thomas Freeman in 1838 where he lived until his death on November 7, 1843.  No records have been found that indicate where Mr. Breed was buried.

George Richardson acquired the Sycamore Plantation in 1856 after Mr. Breed’s death.  George was born in 1795 and some records indicate that he along with his brother, mother, and other members of his family came to Louisiana from Georgia around 1819.  The same year he arrived in Louisiana he and Margaret Eliza Hamilton were married.  She was the daughter of Mathew Hamilton.  George and Margaret had nine children.  Margaret died in 1836 and some records indicate she was buried in St. Helena Parish.  George’s obituary states he died on the morning of May 14, 1858 at Carter Plantation which was the residence of his son-in-law, Marcus T. Carter.  George was buried in the Carter Cemetery that is located near the Carter Plantation house.

George Richardson’s daughter, Amanda Richardson, married Marcus Tullius Carter in 1855.  Records indicate Marcus Carter was born in 1828 in East Feliciana Parish and his wife, Amanda, was born in 1830 a few miles from Ponchatoula.  Marcus Carter was a lawyer, Judge, and a District Attorney.  Marcus and Amanda had six children.  Marcus died at Springfield in 1884 and Amanda died at Carter Plantation in 1913.  It is George Richardson’s descendants who carried the surname Carter by which the plantation is known.

The Carter Plantation House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is significant to African-American history.  It is representative of a middle class, raised plantation house.  The basic floor plan is similar to the “dog trot” style.  The original kitchen and dining room, which were detached from the main house, burned in the late 1880’s, and the present dining room and kitchen were added.  The house was restored by Wiley H. Sharp, Jr. and his sister, Beverly Sharp Burgess, during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

The above historical data was derived from the book History of Livingston Parish Louisiana, 1986.

Link to Louisiana National Register of Historic Places:  http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/la/state.html