Cane River National
The history of Melrose is a remarkable story that weaves together a series
of fascinating people and events. The story begins with Marie Therese
Coincoin, the matriarch of the Isle Brevelle Creole community
who was born a slave in 1742 ...
...Henry and Hypolite Hertzog then owned the property until 1881. Three
years later the property came into the Henry family, ushering in the next
phase of its development. The Henry years at Melrose revolve around Cammie
Garrett Henry, a remarkable and energetic woman who transformed Melrose
into a haven for artists and writers. When she and her husband, John
Hampton, moved into Melrose in 1898, Mrs. Henry devoted her time and
energies to restoring the plantation and preserving its history and
structures. Over time, Mrs. Henry sponsored several writers at Melrose,
including Rachel Field, Roark Bradford, Francois Mignon, and Lyle Saxon.
It was at Melrose that Saxon wrote his best known novel Children of
Strangers, which portrays the Cane River area...
...Melrose also spawned the artistic achievements of Clementine Hunter,
one of the South’s foremost primitive artists. Clementine, once a field
hand and then a cook at Melrose, came into contact with artists hosted by
Mrs. Henry, such as Alberta Kinsey. She began to record the people, life,
and scenes of Cane River in her bright primitive style and soon attracted
the attention of a number of collectors. Clementine’s national recognition
was evidenced by exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and
the New Orleans Museum of Art before her death in 1988 at age 101. Her
colorful murals surround the second story of the African House, a
mushroom-shaped structure built about 1800, possibly as a storehouse.
Ownership of Melrose passed to the Henry’s son in the 1940s, and the
plantation was not inhabited for more than two decades. In 1971, Southdown
Land Company purchased the property and donated the house and six acres of
surrounding land and outbuildings to the Association for the Preservation
of Historic Natchitoches (APHN). APHN maintains and interprets the site,
currently the most visited heritage attraction in the Cane River National
Heritage Area. Melrose is located 16 miles south of Natchitoches.
Oakland Plantation |
| Melrose Plantation
| Other Plantations
| Misc Sites and Churches
| Natchitoches Historic District
Cane River Creole Pages: <
| 3 |
website of Cane River National Heritage Area