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Acadia Plantation, Thibodaux, Louisiana

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Thibodaux, Louisiana, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Bowie Key Slavery
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Acadia Plantation (1828-2010) was a sugar plantation built and first owned by the Bowie brothers, James Bowie, Rezin Bowie, and Stephen Bowie, who had a lucrative business scheme that got around the 1808 U.S. prohibition of importing slaves by buying imported slaves from pirate and war hero Jean Lafitte in Galveston, Spanish Texas, and bringing them overland to Opelousas, Louisiana to be sold. Years later, in 1852, John Jones Bowie described the operation:

James, Rezin and myself fitted out some small boats at the mouth of the Calcasieu and went into the trade on shares. We first purchased forty negroes from Laffite at the rate of one dollar per pound, or an average of $140 for each negro; we brought them into the limits of the United States, delivered them to a custom house officer, and became the informers ourselves; the law gave the informer half of the value of the negroes, which were put up and sold by the United States Marshall, and we became the purchasers of the negroes, which entitled us to sell them within the United States. We continued to follow this business until we made $65,000, when we quit and soon spent all our earnings.

Laffite delivered slaves from Galveston Island by ship to the river mouths. The bayou waterways, at the time, allowed transportation from the Calcasieu River into Rapides Parish. Another route was to deliver the slaves to Bowie Island in Vermilion Bay, where they were received and brought up the Vermilion River and then overland to St. Landry. Both Rezin and James Bowie moved north up Bayou Boeuf from Opelousas and acquired property in St. Landry, Avoyelles, and Rapides parishes. Land speculation in Louisiana properties and land titles became their occupation. Both acquired numerous holdings in various areas and became well established and successful in their endeavors. Their young brother Stephen bought property and farmed in Avoyelles.

See Terrebonne Parish GenWeb Conveyance Records, mostly in Book C: http://www.lagenweb.org/terrebonne/court/conveyancec3.html

Stephen Bowie Sales, Including Slaves

Conveyance Record: No. 602 2/397

On 18 May 1828 Stephen BOWIE sold land to Elbert WOODWARD of Petersbourg, Virginia to wit; 27 1/2 arpens front on East bank of Bayou Grand Caillou, with depth as the certificate of confirmation calls for, bounded above by land of Major Isaac THOMAS and below by land of Madam Richard TERREL, in consideration, Elbert WOODWARD in this sale as, a consideration 2 Negroes, Fill, age about 22 years and Sally, aged about 18 years, plus 2 women under 30 years and 6 children. Land Patent was not issued, so titles of slaves will stay in his name and land to be mortgaged in favor of vendor, until delivery of slaves. Witnessed by Lemuel TANNER and Joseph DELAPORTE.[1]

No. 621 On 20 May 1828 Stephen BOWIE at New Orleans, Louisiana sold land to Dr. Robert Henry ROSE to wit; a tract situated in Terrebonne Parish, having 18 or more arpens fronting on Bayou Grand Caillou, by 40 arpens in depth, bounded above by land of John JONES, below by land of Judge BUTLER and in the rear by vacant land, lands purchased from Joseph TALBO by act dated April 10, 1825, passed before Hezekiah DUNHAM, Notary Public Avoyelles Parish, land confirmed to TALBO on May 11, 1820 exchanged for 10 Negro slaves to wit; Solomon aged about 30 years, Rachel aged about 25 years, and three children Gabriel aged about 6 years, Julie about 4 years and Elizabeth about 2 years. The other 5 slaves shall be 2 women under 30 years of age and three children, all sound and free from the vices and maladies provided against by law. Witnessed by Charles A. F. RONDEAU, William RONDEAU. Signed by Stephen BOWIE, Robert H. ROSE, W. RONDEAU, Charles A. F. RONDEAU and R. SPRINGER Notary Public.

James Bowie Purchase, Including Slaves

No. 735 3/474 On 26 Nov 1828 Thomas LOVE and Benjamin BATTS, both of Alabama, declared for and in the consideration of $1350.00, in hand, made over, dealed and by these presents, they do sell, abandon, transfer, make over and deliver to and unto the said James BOWIE the following Negroes, to wit; Arthur, a negro man aged about 60 years, Levy, a boy about 18 years, and Rany, a negro girl, of about 17 years, which vendor warrant and defend against all claims and sound of all diseases, provided by law and also slaves for life. Witnessed by Joseph DELAPORTE And P. M. BONVILLAIN.[2]

On February 12, 1831, the Bowie brothers sold Acadia and other holdings to investors from Natchez for $90,000.

"Other owners were Philip Barton Key, nephew of Francis Scott Key and Andrew Jackson Donelson, nephew of Rachel Jackson, wife of Andrew Jackson. Federal troops camped here during the Civil War. The Plantation was owned by descendants of Ann Plater Key, mother of Philip Barton Key. Today the grounds of the plantation is home to Nicholls State University."

Research Notes

Need to find the enslaved of Acadia Plantation


  1. http://www.lagenweb.org/terrebonne/court/conveyancec3.html
  2. http://www.lagenweb.org/terrebonne/court/conveyancec3.html

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