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History of Early American Landscape Design

Difference between revisions of "Rosedown Plantation"

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(History: emphasizing Turner's edition of diary)
(adding reference to Turner in history section)
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Around the edges of these gardens, the grounds of Rosedown Plantation contained living [[quarter]]s and a church for enslaved people, a doctor’s office, a barn, and a milkshed.<ref>The church was moved relocated farther from the main house of the plantation in the mid-twentieth century. Thomas J. Durant, Jr., “The Enduring Legacy of an African-American Plantation Church,” ''The Journal of Negro History'' 80, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 81–95, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/S4D4MTVJ view on Zotero].</ref> Based on historic aerial photos, oral histories, and archaeological finds dateable to the period between 1820 and 1860, archaeologist Nesta Jean Anderson located the site of Rosedown’s slave [[quarter]]s in a depression to the northwest of the Turnbull house, between the main drive of the [[plantation]] and Alexander Creek.<ref>Anderson 2004, “Comparing Alternative Landscapes,” 127 (location), 161-162 (dateable ceramics), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/QRGQ2RD8 view on Zotero].</ref>
 
Around the edges of these gardens, the grounds of Rosedown Plantation contained living [[quarter]]s and a church for enslaved people, a doctor’s office, a barn, and a milkshed.<ref>The church was moved relocated farther from the main house of the plantation in the mid-twentieth century. Thomas J. Durant, Jr., “The Enduring Legacy of an African-American Plantation Church,” ''The Journal of Negro History'' 80, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 81–95, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/S4D4MTVJ view on Zotero].</ref> Based on historic aerial photos, oral histories, and archaeological finds dateable to the period between 1820 and 1860, archaeologist Nesta Jean Anderson located the site of Rosedown’s slave [[quarter]]s in a depression to the northwest of the Turnbull house, between the main drive of the [[plantation]] and Alexander Creek.<ref>Anderson 2004, “Comparing Alternative Landscapes,” 127 (location), 161-162 (dateable ceramics), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/QRGQ2RD8 view on Zotero].</ref>
  
Early inspiration for the Rosedown Plantation gardens would have come from a variety of descriptions, images, and firsthand experiences. The Turnbulls owned general works on gardening and agriculture by such notable figures as [[John Claudius Loudon]], and [[Andrew Jackson Downing]], and may also have been familiar with gardening literature adapted for the American South by Jacques-Felix Lelièvre (1795–1854), in French, and the nurseryman and plantation owner Thomas Affleck (1812–1868), in English.<ref>Turnbull 2012, 8, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/FQ4JFX7V view on Zotero].</ref> Their library also contained more specialized works, like Robert Leuchars’s ''Practical Treatise on the Construction, Heating, and Ventilation of Hot-Houses'', first printed in 1850.<ref>Turnbull 2012, 112, (Leuchars), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/FQ4JFX7V view on Zotero].</ref> The entrance hall of the main house was decorated with a panoramic Joseph Dufour wallpaper that depicted a dramatic landscape, one of many French imports that may also have shaped the taste of Martha and Daniel Turnbull.<ref>The wallpaper has been replaced at least twice, and the original subject matter of the panorama is unknown. Ola Mae Word, ''Reflections of Rosedown'' (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979), 11, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/SHL4LDKA view on Zotero].</ref> They must also have found ideas in firsthand experience of leisure landscapes, which the Turnbulls encountered in their seasonal travels. To escape the Louisiana heat and outbreaks of yellow fever, the Turnbulls summered in Saratoga Springs, New York, and after 1850 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.<ref>Turnbull 2012, 22, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/FQ4JFX7V view on Zotero].</ref>
+
Early inspiration for the Rosedown Plantation gardens would have come from a variety of descriptions, images, and firsthand experiences. Turner has revealed that the Turnbulls owned general works on gardening and agriculture by such notable figures as [[John Claudius Loudon]], and [[Andrew Jackson Downing]], and may also have been familiar with gardening literature adapted for the American South by Jacques-Felix Lelièvre (1795–1854), in French, and the nurseryman and plantation owner Thomas Affleck (1812–1868), in English.<ref>Turnbull 2012, 8, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/FQ4JFX7V view on Zotero].</ref> Their library also contained more specialized works, like Robert Leuchars’s ''Practical Treatise on the Construction, Heating, and Ventilation of Hot-Houses'', first printed in 1850.<ref>Turnbull 2012, 112, (Leuchars), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/FQ4JFX7V view on Zotero].</ref> The entrance hall of the main house was decorated with a panoramic Joseph Dufour wallpaper that depicted a dramatic landscape, one of many French imports that may also have shaped the taste of Martha and Daniel Turnbull.<ref>The wallpaper has been replaced at least twice, and the original subject matter of the panorama is unknown. Ola Mae Word, ''Reflections of Rosedown'' (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979), 11, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/SHL4LDKA view on Zotero].</ref> They must also have found ideas in firsthand experience of leisure landscapes, which the Turnbulls encountered in their seasonal travels. To escape the Louisiana heat and outbreaks of yellow fever, the Turnbulls summered in Saratoga Springs, New York, and after 1850 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.<ref>Turnbull 2012, 22, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/keywords_in_early_american_landscape_design/items/itemKey/FQ4JFX7V view on Zotero].</ref>
  
 
[[File:2204.jpg|thumb|left|Fig. 2, “Italian walk,” in [[J. C. Loudon]], ''The Villa Gardener'' (1850), p. 182.]]
 
[[File:2204.jpg|thumb|left|Fig. 2, “Italian walk,” in [[J. C. Loudon]], ''The Villa Gardener'' (1850), p. 182.]]

Revision as of 21:22, 11 June 2019

Rosedown Plantation is one of the best-preserved and best-documented plantation gardens of early nineteenth-century Louisiana. Built and maintained with the profits from and labor of uncompensated enslaved people, the ornamental gardens of the cotton plantation synthesized local ideas about the spatial organization of agricultural and residential landscapes with picturesque principles and horticultural specimens popularized in New York and Philadelphia.

Overview

Alternate Names: Rose Down
Site Dates: 1834–present
Site Owner(s): Martha and Daniel Turnbull (1834–1896); Sarah Turnbull Bowman (1896–1914); Nellie, Empsie, Isa, and Maggie Bowman (The Misses Bowman) (1914–1956); Milton Underwood and Catherine Fondren Underwood (1956–); Gene Raymond Slivka (1994–2000); the State of Louisiana (2000–present)
Associated People: Samuel Richardson (landscape gardener); Moses; Charles; Ben; Primus; Augustus; Dave; Jane; Jim (enslaved gardeners)
Location: St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, LA
Condition: altered
View on Google Maps


History

Located several miles inland on the eastern bank of the Mississippi river, the 3,455 acres of Rosedown Plantation were formed from seven tracts of land that Daniel Turnbull (1796–1861) and Martha Hilliard Barrow Turnbull (1809–1896) purchased between 1829 and 1861. The first of these purchases, which had been owned by members of Martha’s family, already contained an existing cotton plantation built and maintained by 74 enslaved people.[1] Profits from the Turnbull’s other plantations, Inheritance, Desoto, and Styopa, helped fund the construction and upkeep of Rosedown. In the 1840s and 1850s, just under 450 enslaved people worked without pay on the largest plantations owned by Daniel and Martha Turnbull.

Most information about the built landscape of Rosedown Plantation is preserved in Martha Turnbull’s garden diary, edited and annotated by the historian of landscape architecture Suzanne Turner, which documents a period from 1836 to 1895.[2] Martha’s diary provides insights into the plantings, maintenance, and design, of the kitchen garden, orchard, greenhouses, and ornamental gardens located closest to the main house, as well as a separate plantation garden in which she grew vegetables for the enslaved residents of Rosedown.[3] It largely ignores, however, other landscapes on the plantation, which included cotton fields, fields for fodder crops, pastures for livestock, and probably a cemetery.[4]

Fig. 1, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Lattice summerhouse at Rosedown Plantation, in Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, W. Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, 1938.

Like other early nineteenth-century garden diaries, such as that of the Hudson River head gardener James Francis Brown, Martha Turnbull’s records of her garden are focused on weather and largely devoid of the stylistic terms that characterized prescriptive gardening literature. Later historians of gardens, however, have characterized the design of the ornamental gardens at Rosedown as an early and innovative southern example of picturesque elements inserted within a flat, symmetrical, axial plan that was typical of the region.[5] An avenue lined with oak trees connected the main house to the road, bisecting a rectangular garden that visitors could navigate via gently curving walks. Around the Turnbull house, geometric flower gardens featured parterres bordered with boxwoods and flowering shrubs.[6] A kitchen garden and an orchard added in 1838 provided food for the Turnbulls to consume and sell at a local market. A variety of functional and recreational structures dotted the gardens. These included two greenhouses, one built before 1836 and the other completed in 1855, hot beds used to cultivate tropic fruits like pineapple, and cold beds.[7] A lattice summerhouse [Fig. 1], first mentioned in an 1858 entry but possibly built as early as 1835, stood among the flower gardens.[8]

Around the edges of these gardens, the grounds of Rosedown Plantation contained living quarters and a church for enslaved people, a doctor’s office, a barn, and a milkshed.[9] Based on historic aerial photos, oral histories, and archaeological finds dateable to the period between 1820 and 1860, archaeologist Nesta Jean Anderson located the site of Rosedown’s slave quarters in a depression to the northwest of the Turnbull house, between the main drive of the plantation and Alexander Creek.[10]

Early inspiration for the Rosedown Plantation gardens would have come from a variety of descriptions, images, and firsthand experiences. Turner has revealed that the Turnbulls owned general works on gardening and agriculture by such notable figures as John Claudius Loudon, and Andrew Jackson Downing, and may also have been familiar with gardening literature adapted for the American South by Jacques-Felix Lelièvre (1795–1854), in French, and the nurseryman and plantation owner Thomas Affleck (1812–1868), in English.[11] Their library also contained more specialized works, like Robert Leuchars’s Practical Treatise on the Construction, Heating, and Ventilation of Hot-Houses, first printed in 1850.[12] The entrance hall of the main house was decorated with a panoramic Joseph Dufour wallpaper that depicted a dramatic landscape, one of many French imports that may also have shaped the taste of Martha and Daniel Turnbull.[13] They must also have found ideas in firsthand experience of leisure landscapes, which the Turnbulls encountered in their seasonal travels. To escape the Louisiana heat and outbreaks of yellow fever, the Turnbulls summered in Saratoga Springs, New York, and after 1850 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.[14]

Fig. 2, “Italian walk,” in J. C. Loudon, The Villa Gardener (1850), p. 182.

In 1851, the Turnbull family embarked on a tour of Europe that reflected their taste in garden design and informed Martha’s approach to the Rosedown Plantation gardens in following years. Their itinerary included Liverpool Botanic Garden, Versailles, and Florence, offering them the opportunity to visit a variety of public and palatial gardens. Possibly inspired by one of Loudon’s illustrations of an “Italian walk,” [Fig. 2], Martha purchased twelve statues for the garden from F. Leopold Pisani in Florence, maker of marble and alabaster sculptures for wealthy travelers, which she installed throughout the garden upon her return.[15] These included mythological figures as well as female allegorical personifications of Asia, Africa [Fig. 3], Europe, and America.[16] The seashell-encrusted rockery that Martha added in 1858 was probably also inspired by features that she observed on her journey.[17]

Fig. 3, Frances Benjamin Johnston, Statue of the personification of Africa, in Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, W. Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, 1938.

Prior to the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, most of the construction and maintenance of Rosedown Plantation was undertaken by enslaved people. While the gardens of rich plantation owners like the Turnbulls were often assumed to have been designed by European immigrant landscape gardeners (view text), the only professional gardener who can be identified in Martha Turnbull’s diary is Samuel Richardson, a landscape gardener who lived in Bayou Sara in the 1840s and left the service of Martha Turnbull in November of 1847.[18] His advertisements in the local newspaper cite the Turnbulls of Rosedown among his references, as well as Isaac Johnson (1803–1853), the governor of Louisiana and owner of Fairview Plantation on Bayou Sara, David Austin at Bayou Sara, and Martha’s nephew Robert Hilliard Barrow (1824–1878), owner of the Rosale Plantation near St. Francisville (view text). By 1868, a gardener’s house stood on the plantation grounds, although Martha’s diary never mentions the title of head gardener.[19]

With the exception of her children Sarah (1831–1914) and William (1829–1856), most of the people named in Martha’s diary prior to the Civil War can be identified with enslaved individuals listed in an 1858 succession document: Moses (age 21), Charles (17); or an 1862 inventory of enslaved people: Ben, Primus (28), Augustus (16?), Dave (17?), Jane (28 or 31), and Jim (65 or 66?).[20] Charles may have specialized in propagating and potting greenhouse plants, Jane and Moses grafted fruit trees using a technique known as budding (view text), and Ben sold vegetables and other produce at a nearby town market (view text). Daniel Turnbull’s journal entries from 1860 frequently mention “invalids in garden,” suggesting that the enslaved people whom the Turnbulls regularly forced to work in the gardens at Rosedown had disabilities or illnesses that precluded more physically demanding tasks.[21]

Early gardening literature from the region suggests that the number of enslaved people forced to work in the Turnbull gardens was atypically high, perhaps a consequence of the size and wealth their plantations. Daniel Turnbull ranked among the “extra heavy” plantation owners of West Feliciana, one of the richest parishes in Louisiana, in which enslaved African Americans outnumbered white people five to one (view text). Thomas Affleck, owner of a nursery in Washington, Mississippi outside of Natchez, asserted in the 1851 edition of his Southern Rural Almanac and Plantation and Garden Calendar, “Very rarely is any assistance given by the plantations hands, the whole [kitchen] garden being kept in fine order by house-servants, during their leisure time.”[22] Contrary to Affleck’s claims, large groups of enslaved people carried out labor intensive tasks in the gardens at Rosedown, especially during the busiest spring and fall months. One entry from April 1856 in Martha’s diary states “I had 18 negroes picking strawberries” (view text), while another from March 1860 records “Jim has had 15 hands cleaning Garden for a month” (view text).

Martha Turnbull acquired the plants and seeds for her gardens from both long distance and local sources. The nursery of Robert Buist in Philadelphia was a preferred source for many of the seeds and plants for Rosedown, possibly by way of local nurserymen and importers in Louisiana, but Martha also bought from the nursery of Colonel Hebron near Vicksburg, Mississippi; Makenzie in Philadelphia; William Prince in Flushing, New York; and a nursery in Long Island.[23] Other plants and cuttings she acquired through exchanges with the owners of neighboring plantations, including Mrs. Mathews of Oakley Plantation, Mr. Fort of Catalpa Plantation, and possibly Judge Thomas Butler of the Cottage Plantation, each of whom also had extensive gardens.[24]

Although Martha participated in the economy of plants and ideas that emerged in Philadelphia and New York, her diary reveals that her own ideas about gardening were mediated by local practicalities and regional preferences. Martha and Daniel Turnbull subscribed to the Horticulturist, published by nurseryman and theorist A. J. Downing’s publications beginning in the 1840s. Yet as Turner notes, the phrase “pleasure grounds” does not appear in Martha’s garden diary until 1872, twenty years after Downing’s death, and several of Martha’s planting and maintenance decisions disregard Downing’s guidelines for producing picturesque landscapes.[25] A moss house that an enslaved man named Jim built in January of 1849 (view text), could equally have been inspired by one of Downing’s publications, or by the local landscape gardener Samuel Richardson, who mentioned such features by name in newspaper advertisements that appeared the same month (view text).

Martha Turnbull continued to maintain the gardens following the death of Daniel Turnbull in 1861, the American Civil War, and the emancipation of her enslaved workforce. While some formerly enslaved gardeners, particularly Ben and Augustus, are also mentioned in entries dated after the war in 1865, the emergence of a sharecropping economy at Rosedown was reflected by a new group of paid laborers who appear in the garden diary (view text). As a consequence of the economic hardship that the plantation faced, entries written after 1867 demonstrate a new and systematic emphasis on garden-related expenses.[26] Following Martha’s death in 1896, the gardens survived largely unaltered, if somewhat neglected, until the property was acquired by Catherine Fondren Underwood in 1956. Underwood sponsored a restoration of the gardens overseen by Ralph Ellis Gunn, but she demolished the remains of slave quarters north of the gardens in which many of Martha’s gardeners would have resided.[27] Gunn’s restoration has been praised for its historical accuracy, although it altered the planting and design with the addition of several fountains, one built on foundations that originally supported a greenhouse.[28] In 2000, the State of Louisiana purchased Rosedown, which it operates it as a State Historic Site.

Alexander Brey


Texts

  • Richardson, Samuel, January 13, 1849, advertisement for landscape and ornamental gardening services (Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, issue 161)[29] Back up to History
“LANDSCAPE AND ORNAMENTAL GARDENING
“THE undersigned respectfully tenders his services in the above line of work, and in building of MOSS and RUSTIC houses. Garden Seats, will give places for Green-houses, Conservitorys, &c., in his depart- as a practical Gardener.
“REFERENCES
“His Excellency Isaac Johnson, Gov. of La.
“Daniel Turnbull, Esqr., ‘Rosedown,’ W.F.
“David Austin, Esqr., Bayou Sara.
“Robert H. Barrow, Esqr., near St. Francisville, where extensive specimens of his work will be seen.
“Communications to me, to the care of Mr. B. Marshall, Commission Merchant, will be immediately attended to.
“SAMUEL RICHARDSON
“Bayou Sara, Dec. 9, 1848.—Dec. 29–4t”


  • Turnbull, Martha, January 4–February 1, 1849, describing the construction of moss house (Turnbull: 65–66)[30] Back up to History
“Jany. 1849 4 we have spaded all the Garden today—the first time. Sewed Peas, Irish Potatoes. Set out the Orangery today.
“6 cleaning & trimming our Orchard over the creek—done all the other triming & putting out cuttings—set out all the flowers that were sewed in October
“14th still rainy walks very grassy. Putting down box, sewed Tomattoes—burnt off strawberry bed—Jim is mossing the house—Egg Plant
“20th put down corn, green house in good order—sewed Beets.
“22 Some more Mashanoc Irish Potatoes, still putting down box cuttings & trimed down the Wild Peach hedge to 14 inches—set out Pinks sown in October & all kinds of flowers—
“25 all cuttings, triming done, & gone to general gardening—still wet as water—forked asparagus bed
“February 1st Sticking Peas—planting more Irish Potatoes—finished the walks on one side of garden—began on the other—got half of Moss house done mossing—”


  • Turnbull, Daniel, November 17, 1849 (Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, Issue 84)[31]
“$500 REWARD!!
“RUNAWAY, or was enticed away on the evening of the 6th instant, girl JANE; she is a likely mulatto, 19 or 20 years old, five feet, four or five inches in height, she cannot straighten one of her small fingers, and one thumb is deformed from a whitlow, it is believed to be on the right hand; one of her large toes is also disfigured from the same cause; she has a good deal of fine clothing with her.
“I will give for her apprehension if secured in jail, so that I can get her, one hundred dollars if taken in this State, and two hundred dollars if taken out of the State; three hundred dollars for the apprehension and conviction of the person or persons who have abducted or conspired her abduction.
“DANIEL TURNBULL
“Rosedown, W. F. Nov. 10, 1849.
“P.S.—It is possible she may have been sent by steamboat up the river.”


  • Turnbull, Martha, November 1, 1852, describing work in the gardens at Rosedown mentioning several enslaved people, including Jane, Jim, and Primus, and Martha’s twenty-one-year-old daughter Sarah Turnbull, who had responsibility for half of the garden (Turnbull: 87–89)[32]
“Nov 1st Jane is sticking down all kinds of cuttings—Jim fixing hot bed—it was cool this morning—but really hot in the sun—& looks like too much fair weather—arranging all my shrubs that are too close—gathering hay—manure all hauled on Sarah’s side—Primus tying up the roses—& trimming the hedges—& shrubs into shapes”


  • Turnbull, Martha, July 4–July 8, 1853, describing some of the many pulses, vegetables, and fruit in her kitchen garden and orchard (Turnbull: 94–96)[33]
“July 4th the first rain for six weeks—put down layers of many greenhouse plants & put down Tomattoes slips—Lettuce seed, Arbor beans, Snap, Watermelons, Cauliflower seed Cabbage & Celery set out & put down seed, Carrots, Parsnips, Salsify, Corn, & all sewed. My garden looked deplorable my violets I feared were gone—but everything now revived—My Paris Artichokes seed not good, also saved some of my old kind.
“8 A continuation of rains, too wet to plough or work in my garden—set out Celery & Cabbage plants—My Cuttings are much improved—
“July We had on the creek Orchard many Peach trees—8 Blue Figs—2 Pear Trees—11 apples—9 quince—30 Azelia’s—13 Heliotrope—15 Red flower from coast.”


  • Turnbull, Martha, September 1855, describing the autumnal tasks assigned to skilled enslaved workers in the garden (Turnbull: 101–103)[34] Back up to History
“Sept. 2nd Made two small Strawberry beds & planted them down Sewed Carrots, Parsnips, Salsify—Turnips—Leeks Onions Beets Spinage &c—Mr. T. sewed his grass seed from Carolina—I had to put out all my servants in the Garden, it was overgrown with grass, weeds, &c—Jane & Moses budded many Peach, Pear, Roses Japonicas—2 whole days at it—very cloudy, threatening &—I have no Tomattoes, snap beans, Arbor beans, &c to eat—I gave a new Gardners line out—Charles is constantly potting off & put out many verbenas that he had in pots during the summer—”


  • Turnbull, Martha, April 1–26, 1856, describing flowers and an abundant strawberry harvest (Turnbull: 122)[35] Back up to History
“April 1st—My Chrysanthemums are beautiful—All new shrubs are exausted & I think will die—The Geraneams are beautiful I cut down—
“April 20 I shall put down all my Chrysanthemums in the ground—I am eating Peas for two weeks—Strawberries are very abundant—picked off of one 3rd of the bed enough for 30 people—& still the bed red—
“24 I picked 17 Quarts of Strawberries off 1 third of the bed
“25th I had 18 negroes picking strawberries until 11 O & did not go over but ½ the bed—I now have 8 Watering Pots—2 Engines.
“26 I gathered 2 ½ bushels Strawberries—Ben made 9$—”


  • Turnbull, Martha, March 18–August 21, 1860, mentioning more than fifteen enslaved workers active in the gardens (Turnbull: 127)[36] Back up to History
“18th All my Paris Artichokes to 6 killed—It look like an abundant Spring garden—Jim has had 15 hands cleaning Garden for a month—but since drouth it is getting clean—Charles is propigating.
“April One shower only—a drouth—Myrtle hedge &c all come up & things look better than I expected—I never had such a fine garden notwithstanding drouths—No more rain until July 7th a good shower—No more rain until August 21st such a drouth never saw before—Dave planted out Cauliflower, Broccoli, Celery & how he has managed to keep it alive I cannot tell.”


  • Anonymous (“Tourist”), May 21, 1860, “Louisiana in Slices. Parish of West Feliciana” mentioning Daniel Turnbull among the owners of the largest plantations in Louisiana (New Orleans Daily Crescent, vol. 13, no. 66: 1)[37] Back up to History
“West Feliciana is one of the wealthiest parishes of the State, being high among the second rates in wealth and population. [. . . .] The total population of the parish is 12,000, in round numbers, of which about 2000 are whites and about 10,000 slaves, the free negroes being few. [. . . .] Cotton is the principal product. Of the 227,367 acres forming its entire area, about 35,000 are in cotton, 5000 in cane and 19,000 in corn, leaving some 165,000 or 170,000 uncultivated. [. . . .] Many of the planters grown both cotton and cane, but they are generally engaged exclusively in raising either one or the other rather than both. Some of the planters of this parish rank among the largest in the State, and among the extra heavy men may be mentioned Mssrs. Joseph A. S. Acklen, David Barrow, Wm. Ruffin Barrow, Sr., Wm. J. Fort, John Scott Smith, Wm. H. Stirling, Daniel Turnbull, etc.”


“‘Do you remember a place you passed?’ [describing the locality].
“‘Yes,’ said I; ‘a pretty cottage with a large garden, with some statues or vases in it.’
“‘I think it likely. Got a foreign gardener, I expect. That’s all the fashion with them. A nigger isn’t good enough for them. Well, that belongs to Mr. A. J. Clayborn.[?] He’s got to be a very rich man. I suppose he’s got as many as five hundred people on all his places. He went out to Europe a few years ago, and sometime after he came back, he came up to Natchez. I was there with my wife at the same time, and as she and Mrs. Clayborn came from the same section of country, and used to know each other when they were girls, she thought she must go and see her. Mrs. Clayborn could not talk about anything but the great people they had seen in Europe. She was telling of some great nobleman’s castle they went to, and the splendid park there was to it, and how grandly they lived. For her part, she admired it so much, and they made so many friends among the people of quality she said, she didn’t care if they always stayed there. In fact, she really wanted Mr. Clayborn to buy one of the castles, and be a nobleman himself. “But he wouldn’t,” says she; “he’s such a strong Democrat, you know.” Ha! Ha! Ha! I wonder what old Tom Jeff. would have said to these swell-head Democrats.’”


  • Turnbull, Martha, January 1863, describing the impact of the Civil War on her gardens at Rosedown Plantation (Turnbull: 151–152)[39]
“Jany. 1864—Up to this time, since the Federals landed in May neither field or garden has been worked, the garden is a wilderness, sedge grass. It looks melancholly—My vegetable garden being plowed—I have commenced work, but slowly—before Christmas I put out trees &c—fixed up hot bed—& filled it with Pine Apple—continued rains & very hard—Celery very good—Spinage very good—put out a number of trees—put out the Strawberries I could find left in the [creek]—made my new road in field—all plow lines made—began to plow 5th—with 15 plows—making up fences, cutting wood, going in swamp, all plows, chains &c fixed up in Dec. by Old Joe—I have 30 lbs. of Pork & beef together—36 barrels Molasses & 8 hogshead of Sugar for the year—50 head of small cattle—8 old sheep &c—It is intensely cold, ground all frozen—creek higher than it has been for years—so soon as water falls it freezes. Thermometer at 12 O (clock) in the day 27°. [2nd Jan] It was 17 at sunrise [on Gallery]—22° in Study at 8 O morning—”


  • Turnbull, Martha, March 4, 1869, mentioning the paid gardeners whom Martha employed following the emancipation of her enslaved gardeners (Turnbull: 188)[40] Back up to History
“[March] 4th Planted, Corn, Spinach, Ben hawling manure, John plowing Penny Lancaster & Bob helped me two days—Bicks, James, & Truckpatch Orchard contains 8 acres—I suppose I cultivate in vegetables 5 acres—Trees 3 acres—Flower garden—5 acres—Big Ben Prenter & John are to cultivate it—”


  • Turnbull, Martha, April 15, 1872, the first entry in which Turnbull uses the term “pleasure grounds” rather than “gardens” to describe part of Rosedown Plantation (Turnbull: 216)[41]
“[April] 15 Augustus worked two days for himself—& Ben in pleasure grounds, cleaning Stattues



Images


Map

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Other Resources

Louisiana State Historic Sites– Rosedown Plantation

Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) Documentation


Notes

  1. Nesta Jean Anderson, “Comparing Alternative Landscapes: Power Negotiations in Enslaved Communities in Louisiana and the Bahamas, an Archaeological and Historical Perspective” (PhD diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2004), 123, view on Zotero.
  2. Martha Barrow Turnbull, The Garden Diary of Martha Turnbull, Mistress of Rosedown Plantation, ed. Suzanne Turner (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2012), view on Zotero.
  3. Turnbull 2012, 145, (plantation cabbages), view on Zotero.
  4. Turnbull 2012, 217, (graveyard), view on Zotero.
  5. Donna Fricker and Suzanne Turner, “Rosedown Plantation,” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (Baton Rouge: Division of Historic Preservation, 2005), 4, view on Zotero. See also Elaine Ware, “Formal Ornamental Gardens in the Ante-Bellum South,” Studies in Popular Culture 19, no. 2 (1996): 49–66, view on Zotero.
  6. Turnbull 2012, 92 (avenue), 106 (partarre [sic]), view on Zotero.
  7. Turnbull 2012, 109 (pineapple), view on Zotero.
  8. Turnbull 2012, 124, view on Zotero; Fricker and Turner 2005, 18, view on Zotero. Two later summerhouses of uncertain date were placed in the north and south gardens on either side of the oak-lined avenue. Fricker and Turner, 18 (dated to before 1861), view on Zotero; Richard Koch, “Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana,” Historic American Buildings Survey (New Orleans, LA, June 1958), 2 (dated to 1895), view on Zotero.
  9. The church was moved relocated farther from the main house of the plantation in the mid-twentieth century. Thomas J. Durant, Jr., “The Enduring Legacy of an African-American Plantation Church,” The Journal of Negro History 80, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 81–95, view on Zotero.
  10. Anderson 2004, “Comparing Alternative Landscapes,” 127 (location), 161-162 (dateable ceramics), view on Zotero.
  11. Turnbull 2012, 8, view on Zotero.
  12. Turnbull 2012, 112, (Leuchars), view on Zotero.
  13. The wallpaper has been replaced at least twice, and the original subject matter of the panorama is unknown. Ola Mae Word, Reflections of Rosedown (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979), 11, view on Zotero.
  14. Turnbull 2012, 22, view on Zotero.
  15. Turnbull 2012, 86; Ola Mae Word 1979, Reflections of Rosedown (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1979), 25. For Leopold (or Leopoldo) Pisani see Giuseppe Formigli, ed., Guida per la città di Firenze e suoi contorni (Firenze: Presso i F. Carini e Giuseppe Formigli, 1849), 258, view on Zotero.
  16. The marble sculptures, several of which were photographed in the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South, were removed by Gene Raymond Slivka. Cast-iron garden decorations from Rosedown appeared at Cakebread Auction (April 25–26, 2015).
  17. Turnbull 2012, 125, view on Zotero.
  18. Turnbull 2012, 56, view on Zotero.
  19. Turnbull 2012, 183, view on Zotero.
  20. Anderson 2004, 225-227 (1858), 57-63 (1862), view on Zotero. Jane may in fact have been recaptured after fleeing enslavement in 1849, although it is not clear if the escaped woman is the same individual mentioned by Martha Turnbull.
  21. Fricker and Turner 2005, 30, view on Zotero.
  22. Thomas Affleck, Affleck’s Southern Rural Almanac, and Plantation and Garden Calendar, for 1851 (New Orleans: Office of the “Picayune,” 1850), 8, view on Zotero. Via Turnbull 2012, 102, view on Zotero.
  23. Turnbull 2012, 21 (Buist and Prince), 114 (Makenzie), 127 (Hebron), view on Zotero.
  24. Turnbull 2012, 41 (Judge Thomas Butler), 89 (Mrs. Mathews and Mr. Fort), view on Zotero. For more about the gardens of Thomas Butler at his plantation, the Cottage, see Suzanne Louise Turner, “Plantation Papers as a Source for Landscape Documentation and Interpretation: The Thomas Butler Papers,” Bulletin of the Association for Preservation Technology 12, no. 3 (1980): 28–45, view on Zotero.
  25. Turnbull 2012, 75 (trimming trees), 110-111 (lombardy poplars), 216 (pleasure ground), view on Zotero.
  26. Turnbull 2012, 171, view on Zotero.
  27. Anderson 2004, 143, view on Zotero.
  28. Fricker and Turner 2005, 9, 19–20 view on Zotero.
  29. Samuel Richardson, “Landscape and Ornamental Gardening,” Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, January 13, 1849, view on Zotero. Also printed in issues published January 2, 1849 and January 10, 1849.
  30. Turnbull 2012, 65–66, view on Zotero.
  31. Daniel Turnbull, “$500 Reward,” Mississippi Free Trader and Natchez Gazette, November 17, 1849, view on Zotero.
  32. Turnbull 2012, 87–89, view on Zotero.
  33. Turnbull 2012, 94–96, view on Zotero.
  34. Turnbull 2012, 101–103, view on Zotero.
  35. Turnbull 2012, 122, view on Zotero.
  36. Turnbull 2012, 127, view on Zotero.
  37. “Louisiana in Slices: Parish of West Feliciana,” New Orleans Daily Crescent, May 21, 1860, Morning edition, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress, view on Zotero.
  38. Frederick Law Olmsted, The Cotton Kingdom: A Traveller’s Observations on Cotton and Slavery in the American Slave States, vol. 2 (New York: Mason Brothers, 1861), 163–64, view on Zotero.
  39. Turnbull 2012, 151–152, view on Zotero.
  40. Turnbull 2012, 188, view on Zotero.
  41. Turnbull 2012, 216, view on Zotero.

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