The History of Cherokee Plantation

On May 16, 1795, Philippe Frederique was issued a Spanish patent for the land along the Cane River including what would eventually become Oaklawn Plantation. In 1803, his heirs sold the land to Thomas Metoyer, whose daughter Marie Elisabeth married Narcisse Prudhomme in 1806. Narcisse built Oaklawn Plantation on the property in 1830. On November 30, 1837, Charles Emile Sompayrac and Marie Clarisse Prudhomme, the minor child of Narcisse Prudhomme and Marie Elisabeth Metoyer, were married.

Cherokee (originally known as Sompayrac Place) was built but who actually constructed the Cherokee house and when it was constructed are matters of conjecture. Some researchers have concluded that the house is older than Oaklawn and was built as early as 1810. It has also been speculated that Cherokee may have been the original home of Narcisse Prudhomme, who lived in the simple house while constructing the larger and more impressive Oaklawn next door.

Architects and experts who examined the attic and property upon Theodosia Nolan’s request speculate that it was built between 1800 and 1810. At the Nolan purchase of the property in 1972, the sign on the road bore the date of 1815. No one knows the source of that dating. A historic architect from the National Park Service examining nail heads in the door frame as being made in 1820. The original structure consisted of four central rooms and a wide porch surrounding the house. In 1839, the newly wed Sompayracs closed in the north section of the balcony around the house and constructed three additional rooms on the porch.

After Emile died in 1878, parcels of the property were sold, and in 1891 the remainder was purchased by Robert Calvert Murphy.