CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 3, Number 38
NEIGHBORS DIVIDED: Les Rolston has come up with another excellent book about the Civil War. This one is a look at two young men from a Rhode Island town who find themselves on opposite sides of a struggle that meant so much to so many at the time. Rolston has the talent to tell a story in such as way that you find yourself immersed in the lives and times of those within the pages of his works.
Long Time Gone, Neighbors Divided by Civil War is an unforgettable tale of a conflict that divided a nation. With pictures and illustrations to tell this story, Rolston weaves this wartime conflict around these childhood friends and kinsmen Elisha Hunt Rhodes of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment and James Rhodes Sheldon of the 50th Georgia Regiment. With thorough documentation, their story comes alive from the first shots at Manassas to the surrender at Appomatox. War is experienced here through the lives of these two men.
Just learning how this book came about is a study in how complex things were, both then and now. Rolston was intrigued with the fact that these two individuals had lived next door to each other but grew up to face each other as enemies. Pawtuxet, Rhode Island and Thomasville, Georgia were involved in this story of friendship and war, and other members of the family also served in the conflict. Much of the knowledge of James Sheldon came from relatives because he left no diary, but it all came together as the stories were merged. Reports and other writings were used to garner the complete story.
This book comes from Mariner Publishing and sells for $34.95 in a soft-cover format. It is available from major bookstores or online. Like Rolstonís first book Lost Soul, The Confederate Soldier in New England, his latest book is another example of how his expertise at researching sources has allowed him to come up with such an excellent story of the Civil War. (A review of Lost Soul has appeared in a previous column format.)
PLANTATION GUIDE: Sometimes genealogical sources are difficult to locate, but if you are aware of many out-of-print items, these can be located in libraries or private collections. One such source is an old publication put out by the Louisiana Department of Commerce and Industry, Tourist Bureau, during John J. McKeithenís administration.
This was an excellent guide to all the old plantation homes in existence at the time, and much family history can be gleaned from the information compiled within its pages. This was during a period when the plantation homes were used to promote extensive travel within the state, and it certainly worked at the time. Several publications were gleaned to come up with this guide, but the most well-known is Harnett T. Kaneís Plantation Parade: The Grand Manner in Louisiana, published in 1945.
It is a small publication but filled with so much information along with a map and pictures of all the places to visit. It is a great little guide to early families and the homes they built along the rivers and bayous of Louisiana. Their contributions to the history of this state are important and should not be overlooked. Check with your local genealogical library departments to see if this is available for researchers.
GOOD SOURCE: Another publication that contains interesting genealogical material for researchers is The Quarterly, a publication of The Historic New Orleans Collection.
The current issue contains an extensive look at the rise and fall of John Law. THNOC has an extensive collection of manuscripts documenting the legacy of Law in Louisiana. This New Orleans museum and research center has long been regarded as the best in the state, and their location in the French Quarter offers a setting that makes research even more enjoyable.
You donít have to be a member to do research here, but if you havenít checked it out, you are missing a wealth of data to be found in the historical books and documents. This may be exactly what you need to complete your research. Check ahead of time for their hours Ė www.hnoc.org. They are located at 533 Royal Street. Priscilla Lawrence is the director. There is much to look forward to in 2012 at The Historic New Orleans Collection.
FREE SERVICE: Correspondence to this column should be directed to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Queries and book reviews are printed as space permits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. Claitorís Publishing can serve as a distributor for self-published genealogy titles. Go to their homepage for details on how you can obtain this excellent service.
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