Date of Graduation

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

History

Advisor

Jeannie Whayne

Committee Member

Daniel Sutherland

Second Committee Member

Elliott West

Keywords

Social sciences; American civil war; Mississippi; Plantations

Abstract

“The Civil War and Reconstruction in Mississippi County: The Story of Sans Souci Plantation” examines Sans Souci plantation in northeast Arkansas and the McGavock-Grider family who lived there as a microcosm of the establishment of other plantations in the Arkansas delta. From the settlement of the plantation in the 1830s to the end of Reconstruction, Sans Souci closely resembles what life was like for other planters and their families in what was then the frontier. John Harding McGavock and his wife Georgia saw their planter status rise throughout the 1850s, but as the Civil War came to Mississippi County, the family faced turmoil and loss. Despite the hardships brought by war, the family was able to rebound during Reconstruction, as they retained over 3,000 acres of prime delta land, continuing their prominent position in the county. Their story is one small piece of Mississippi County’s Civil War and Reconstruction history, but it is nonetheless important to putting together a more complete picture of what life was like for Arkansans in the delta in the 19th century.

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