Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Francois Mignon

On June 22, 2011, I posted :Francois Mignon Describes Yucca, The Original Dwelling on Melrose Plantation.” With this post, you can read the continuation of his description:

"The bed in this room is a four poster, having once belonged to the family 
of Celine Rocque. Two features of it are its wool "tack" - a six inch thick 
mattress of wool, laid over the spring mattress. Another feature I like is the 
50 odd yards of curtaining, designed to keep out drafts.
 
The portraits in this room aren't, particularly interesting. They consist 
of Madame Laveau, negress, in 188o costume, her husband, painted a little 
more indifferently. Madame Laveau was the Voodoo Queen of New orleans in the last half of 
the nineteenth century.
Over the fireplace is a badlly retouched portrait of Grandpere Augustin's wife, 
familiarly ca1led "Coin-Coin" by her contemporaries. It dates from about 1836.
 
The hearth of the fireplace, on which the fire blazes, is an iron sheet, about three-quarters of an 
inch thick. It extends about a foot out into the room, flush with the floor. Not originally incorporated
in the fireplace, it was laid in its present position when the house was done over in the 20th century. 
It is a piece of iron plate, removed from the side of an iron clad boat, which the Yankees operated on the 
Red River, some five miles away, during the Civil War. Somehow the iron clad got stuck in the mud about 
the time the War ended, and it was abandoned,-to rot down. It was from this vessel that this iron plate was 
removed and put to its present usefulness. (Note General Bank's Red River Campaign of 1865).
 
The fender for this fireplace was found beneath the fireplace in the drawing room
of the Markoe housew, when that building was taken down a few years ago, say in the 1930's. How it
even got down under the fireplace,-into the ground-no one could ever explain. Markoe was the 
planter-partner of Robert McAlphin,the Simon Legree of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The McAlphin plantation-Hidden
Hill, I think it was called, was not far from the Markoe plantation,-on the west bank of the Cane River, 
south of Cloutierville some 8 or 10 miles.

Yucca. Melrose

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