Chatsworth Plantation- By: Kayla Williams

Slavery in Baton Rouge

Chatsworth Plantation- By: Kayla Williams

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802, United States

Created By: LSU


“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots”

~ Marcus Garvey

Today while many white Americans are able to trace their history back well into (or even beyond) the 19th century, many black Americans struggle to find any information about their lineage past the 1900s.

The poor recording of history as it relates to black people in the past continues to have a lasting impact, resulting in many black Americans across the country not having any information about their roots. Despite this known problem, there seems to be no motivation to produce a solution. Many plantations and the people, companies, or even states that own them all seem to be complicit in this lack of seeking important truths of history regarding slavery. Many plantations are now used as event space or party spots to host your annual Halloween party or to even get married on. Possibly a worse outcome than having a tragic piece of land now serve as a spot for celebration with no mere mention of its appalling past, is it being torn down and totally forgotten with no remembrance of its past, or those who suffered on its land.

The Chatsworth Plantation was originally located in what is now known as Gardere, LA, and stretched across 2300 acres. Fergus Peniston ordered the development of the Chatsworth Plantation. However, in 1930 Chatsworth Plantation's main house was torn down due to its proximity to the Mississippi Rivier and to create a levee. Fergus Peniston is the adopted son of Fergus Duplantier. The Duplantiers were one of the wealthiest families in East Baton Rouge during this time and owned Magnolia Mound Plantation. The Chatsworth Plantation finished being developed in 1859. In 1866 Fergus Peniston sold the Chatsworth Plantation to François Gardère, the Treasurer of the State of Louisana. Prior to being sold to François Gardère, Fergus Peniston ran and operated the Chatsworth Plantation as a sugar plantation and mill.

According to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census- Slave Schedule, we know that Fergus Peniston owned 151 enslaved persons who worked on the Chatsworth Plantation. None of the enslaved persons' names were included in the census. However, due to the U.S. Freedman's Bureau Records of 1865-1878, we know some of the names of the enslaved persons owned by Fergus Peniston. The names and ages (at the time of recording) of those recorded as once being owned by Fergus Peniston on the Freedman’s Bureau Records are listed below:

John Day, 36

Andy Daris, 48

John Dalmer, 34

William Daigre, 41

Delphine, 17

Yellow Delilah, 40

Dick, 24

Black Delilah, 42

Margaret Dunham, 30

Sallie Day, 24

Hariot Dudley, 40

Sam Fowler, 54

Charles Ford, 58

Fanny, 48

Grand Fisher, 41

Sarah Foster, 25

Maze hawkins, 45

Charles Hawkins, 17

Ellen Hawkins, 42

Andy Hill, 60

Allick Jackson, 17

Lucinda Jackson, 17

Jacko, 17

Celestin Pompey, 68

Philis, 60

Punk, 44

Patsy, 23

Philip, 14

Reubin, 37

Henry Richard, 48

Rou, 20

Theodule, 37

Teley, 26

Henry Taylor, 40

Wade Phebe, 70

Henry Washington, 40

While you are able to trace the lineage of Fergus Peniston to present times, the same can not be said for the 151 enslaved persons who were forced to work on his plantation. Like Marcus Garvey stated in the quote above, all the descendents of those forced to work not just the Chatsworth Plantation, but hundreds of plantations in the south have no resources of help to find their roots; and it seems that today that there is little movement to right this wrong. While it will take time and hard work we must work to correct a past mistake, due to a lack of recording the lives of those seen as property and treated like animals to ensure that the descendents of those unjustly treated in the past, can stand tall and strong today knowing they are rooted in their ancestors.


“1860 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules.” Ancestry®,

“Chatsworth Plantation Store Records.” LSU Libraries,

“U.S., Freedmen's Bureau Records, 1865-1878.” Ancestry,

This point of interest is part of the tour: Slavery in Baton Rouge


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to