The House Surrounded by Sugar Cane

I’ve been searching for information about my ancestors Oliver and Amelia Smith Jenkins for quite some time. The search has been complicated by misspelled names on the US. census pages, families totally missing from census records for decades and from the absence of marriage and death records.

I’ve searched Father Hebert’s books for clues that may be among the births, baptism and death records. But, the only detail that I had been able to find is a marriage record for Oliver and Amelia. That is until the other day. I once again entered the name Oliver Jenkins in a search bar. And, to my surprise, among the search results was a book. The book title was “The House Surrounded by Sugar Cane – The Smith-Jenkins’ Farm”. Needless to say, I could scarcely contain myself. When I clicked the link to the bookseller, there was a brief synopsis of the book and it mentioned Oliver Jenkins, his wife Amelia Smith, and Patoutville, Louisiana.

The book was written by Leanna Williams, grand daughter of Oliver Jenkins. She didn’t know about either Oliver or Amelia as they both died before she was born. But, she described with much detail what life was like for sharecroppers, farm workers and those living near the large sugar cane plantation. The story she tells was a wonderful find for me. She provided insight into how my family lived and a new lead for research. And as always, I found a hidden treasure and research challenge in her story. She mentioned Amelia’s father a number of times as ‘Mr Smith’ and and uncle named David. Who these men were, was a mystery to me. And so, I started by quest to find out how they fit on my Smith-Jenkins tree and how they came to live in “The House Surrounded by Sugar Cane…”.


Author: Faye Hayes

I started my genealogy journey looking for anyone who had Robert Jenkins and Bridget Guy on their family tree. Almost immediately, 2 unknown cousins connected via e-mail and began sharing stories. It became clear that we knew a few things about the Jenkins branch of our family tree and knew almost nothing about our Smith branch. This blog will share information of my search for Jenkins, Guy, Smith and now Phillips, Torney and Watts people on the branches of my family tree--Maryland to Louisiana!

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