Sunday, November 4, 2007

Musings From My Dad

Fourteen years ago I interviewed my dad, Robert C. Millikin, about his life growing up in Louisiana. I thought maybe some of you out there might enjoy hearing about it. They lived on the Millikin plantation in West Carroll Parish and grew dates and cotton. There was a big cedar tree in back of the house with a gigantic bell in it, and when dinner was ready (2:00 - 3:00 pm), someone would ring the bell. This happened mostly during the harvest. This was the main meal of the day. Everything was cooked on a wood stove, and at night they used coal oil (kerosene) to see by. The bedroom section of the plantation house was built in a big round circle with the bedrooms around the outside and a fireplace in the middle. The bedrooms were all pie shaped. At one end of this section was the veranda that went into the other section of the house, which included the kitchen, dining room, and sitting room.
Outside in the yard was bare dirt with chickens running around to keep the grass out of it. They had no lawn mowers and were more interested in farming. Growing grass and mowing it were wasted efforts. Besides, there were enough green pastures and trees around to satisfy the craving for green things. There were four or five outbuildings close to the house.
My dad remembers sleeping on cots with no legs. They were hung from the ceiling by chains, and as long as you didn't roll over you were all right. There were snakes all over, as well as tarantulas and other creeping things, so the beds were hung so these things couldn't climb up and get in bed with you. My dad didn't actually live in the plantation house. That was where his grandma and grandpa lived. My dad's family lived in a shack on the property with chickens flying in and out as they were eating, and that was pretty typical for the time period and place.
My grandmother didn't really like living there because of all the disease, especially tuberculosis. Several family members died of this. Her parents lived in Dallas, Texas, so she would insist on going there periodically and staying for awhile. Grandpa wasn't very happy because then he'd have to find a job and all he wanted to do was farm.
My father's Ggrandfather, Richard Millikin, was supposed to have buried some gold (in a big black wash pot) that he acquired during the civil war. He buried it around the plantation somewhere, and my dad remembers digging and looking for it. Just before my grandma died, she believed that one of the cousins got it because all of a sudden this cousin turned up with more money than he was supposed to have. Who knows what the real story is! My dad remembers relatives coming and digging at various times during his growing-up years. Supposedly this gold was the reason Richard was shot and killed by carpetbaggers. They confronted him and demanded that he turn over the money to them or tell them where it was, and during the discussion, he tried to escape and they shot him.

Anyone interested in reading about life during this time period in West Carroll Parish should check out the following URL . Chris Hansen's mother-in-law says it's factual for the time. It is the history of one family in West Carroll Parish during the depression to WWII.


Kristin Morgan said...

I came across your blog last night while surfing for info on 1927 flood and it's impact on West Carroll Parish. I shared a link to your blog on my facebook page. (Hope you don't mind.) I live in Pioneer and recognized some of the names in that story and in the picture of Richard Millikin as relatives of some of my facebook friends. As I dug deeper in your blog. I realized that what you refer to as Millikin Plantation is what I knew as a camp house only 2 miles from my home. Very interesting to now know the history.

jarrell said...

Great story I would love to know more. I heard a similar story of a plantation in Tensas Swamp. The owner had gold door knobs and a lot of gold and silver. He also had a large bell . He heard of troops coming to attack Vicksburg so he took his valuables and buried them in the swamp. He took two slaves and a mule and buggy to carry it. He killed the mule and the slaves so they couldn't lead anyone back. The bell is covering the buried treasure. It rises and sinks back down with the water table. My dad found the bell once while hunting but he came out to get help and when he returned he couldn't find it

Anonymous said...

I hope this comment makes its way to you since this is an older blog. Please contact me in regards to your Millikin heritage. My great grandfather, Adam Millikin, Jr. just passed last week. Richard Millikin was his uncle, Adam Millikin Sr. was his father. My email address is

Who are these people?

Sally Jo Gibson sent me this picture of the "Old Floyd" Courthouse, but didn't know who the people were. If anyone knows who they are, please let the rest of us know. Just post a reply.

Old Floyd Courthouse

Old Floyd Courthouse

Buildings in Old Floyd

Buildings in Old Floyd