These records relate to the general operations of the South Bend Plantation, and others, in Jefferson County, Arkansas.
In 1909, internationally known agricultural expert and future governor of Illinois, Frank Orren Lowden, purchased a plantation of 21,000 acres at South Bend in Lincoln County, Arkansas, seven miles northeast of Gould. This enterprise, actually a number of separate "farms", stretched for more than 20 miles along the Arkansas River in Lincoln and Desha counties. Lowden considered Arkansas agricultural lands to be among the most fertile in the world. His main farm at South Bend included a large Greek revival plantation house of 20 rooms, built before 1857. Although Lowden made yearly visits to Arkansas, he employed a number of different men to oversee plantation operations in his absence. Among them was Phillip Boggs of Gould who was financial agent and bookkeeper at South Bend from 1921 to 1936. The plantation, which grew cotton exclusively, was divided into a number of separate farms: Clay Place, Lake Place, Langdon, Massey, as well as South Bend. These locations were developed into "model farms with Delco electric lights and deep well water system." Lowden built the largest country store in the South at South Bend. These ledgers begin a year after Lowden's tenure as Governor of Illinois and his failure to achieve the Republican nomination for President.
During the 1927 Arkansas River flood, the levee at South Bend broke, inundating the farms and "ruining" the entire area. This caused the white tenants to move elsewhere. Later, Bogg rented the South Bend farm and "reclaimed much of the land that the river sand had ruined."
In 1933, Lowden established a charitable trust called the Farm Foundation "to improve conditions of rural life." In 1936, he rented his land to a group from A.M.&N. College in Pine Bluff who planned to establish a cooperative "colony" for black tenants. Plans were drawn to subdivide the large farms into individual plots of 20 to 40 acres each and then sale them to "selected negro families." At the time of his death in 1943, Lowden willed the entire plantation to the Farm Foundation. In 1948, the foundation sold the land to several private investors and the Chicago Mill and Lumber Company of Greenville, Mississippi.
"L. F." = Farm Location (?)
"SO B" = South Bend Farm
"LG" = Langdon Farm
Document, 8.5" x 11"
Plantations; Cotton; Arkansas Delta (Ark.); Floods--Arkansas--1920-1930.; Account books
Lincoln County (Ark.)
Lowden Plantation records, MS.000248
Arkansas State Archives
Arkansas State Archives
Lowden Plantation records, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.
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United States History