The Creole Village: Trans-Mississippi French Culture in the 19th Century

Author(s): Andrew R. Beaupre

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Shifting Borders: Early-19th Century Archeology in the Trans-Mississippi South" , at the 2021 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

In the 1830s, author Washington Irving traveled the Arkansas River, visiting the settlement at Arkansas Post and the new territorial capital of Little Rock. Irving recorded his observations of Arkansas Post in a short essay entitled ‘The Creole Village'. In this work, Irving describes a ‘serene and dilapidated village’ of ‘Spanish and French Origin’ where ‘French is the current language’ and ‘residents dwell in the houses built by their forefathers, without…modernizing them’. Irving goes on to depict Little Rock as a bustling modern American town in stark contrast to its colonial neighbor. Current interpretations portray Arkansas Post as a burgeoning trading factory as opposed to the French creole village described by Irving. When archeological, historical and literary lines of evidence are considered in concert, the 19th century Arkansas Post can once again be seen as a community where, ‘The French character…floats on top, as, from, its buoyant qualities’.

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The Creole Village: Trans-Mississippi French Culture in the 19th Century. Andrew R. Beaupre. 2021 ( tDAR id: 459447)


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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology