Crescent Plantation

CrescentPlantationFront2Crescent Plantation, one of the four antebellum homes to survive the ravages of General Grant and his men during the Civil war, is still standing. The home was built in 1831 by the Barnes family and by all accounts is the oldest home in Madison Parish. There was only three more plantation homes that survived, however, residences at Miliken’s Bend were left to be later taken by the river. Many had been damaged and fell into disuse after the war due to the absence of owners and lack of money. There were also rumors that the water wells were contaminated. A sawmill was located on the grounds of Crescent Plantation and the lumber from the large cypress trees which grew in groves was used to build the home.

Survival of the House

There are at least two stories explaining the home during the Civil War. According to Mrs. Minnie Murphy’s historical account, the following story occurred. “In the summer twilight a reconnoitering troop of union soldiers drew up before the house and the young commander had given orders to sack and burn, when the door of Crescent opened and a tall man stood indistinct in the shadows of the doorway. In calm, well chosen words he asked no quarter for himself, but peace for a woman dear to him who was sick unto death and to whom excitement might prove fatal. The federal officer raised his hand in salute, ordered his troops to march and left a cloud of dust and a trampled lawn to mark their coming.” Not completely convinced the troops returned to the house and demanded to see the sick woman. After seeing her they left the premises.

The second legend claims that Dr. Dancy put a smallpox sign on the house and then painted the faces of the children and had them to stand on the porch so they could be seen by the troops.

Previous Owners

After the Civil War the plantation became the property of Thomas P. Ward, a member of a noted Madison Parish family. Since that time it has had several owners, namely, a George W. Patterson, a northerner, who introduced new farming methods to the region. With the introduction of the modern farm technology and agricultural machinery, shed, and tall trees were cleared in order to make room for a cow shed that was built over the burial plots of members of the Dancy family. Other owners included Mr. and Mrs. Austin Moore, of Oklahoma. Mr. Gus S. Wortham of Houston Texas, Mr. Dubley Pillar, a farmer with huge acreage of land in the parish. The current owner is Rita Halter of  Zurich, Switzerland.