Live Oaks Plantation

Louisiana Highway 77 (North)
Rosedale, Iberville Parish, Louisiana, USA Add to Map
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Extracts from a Baton Rouge newspaper article (date unknown), provided by the late Robert Carson Chinn, clarifies the final burial site of Judge Thomas Withers Chinn. The article was written by Ernest Gueymard:

WBR planter's final burial place is no longer a mystery

An imposing granite tomb near the entrance of Magnolia Cemetery bears a marker signifying that this is the last resting place of Thomas Withers Chinn, statesman, jurist, soldier and planter. Outside all is in order, but inside there is a serious omission – there is no body of Chinn. Nor was there ever an interment there of the distinguished West Baton Rouge-Feliciana pioneer settler. Consequently there have been conflicting stories circulating over the decades on the authentic burial site. This mystery has now been cleared up through the research of Mrs. Walter E. Haase of this city (Chinn was her great-grand uncle) and also that of Mr. and Mrs. William Prentiss Obier Jr., owners of Live Oaks Plantation along Bayou Grosse Tete near Rosedale. For some years the Obiers have been restoring the property. One phase was the rebuilding of the old Live Oaks Plantation tomb. Describing the tomb restoration work, Mrs. Obier said that in the rubble of brick and mortar at the tomb site were five iron caskets, four of which are unique because of their shape which is in the form of a body. In one she pointed out was laid the body of Judge Thomas Withers Chinn; in another was buried Mary Hannah Elizabeth Conrad West, a family connection; in the third, Mary's baby; and in the fourth, Fannie, Chinn's daughter who died in childhood. In the fifth casket, of conventional shape, is an unknown body. So why is the body of Chinn here and not in the Magnolia Cemetery tomb? Mrs. Haase explained that since Magnolia Cemetery was just being established when Judge Chinn died in 1852, he was first buried in the flower garden at his home on Cypress Hall Plantation. The widow expected to move the body later to the Baton Rouge cemetery. Years after his death when the Mississippi River threatened to overflow, the widow accepted an invitation from a friend, Mrs. Charles Henry Dickinson, then owner of Live Oaks, to remove his body and others in the family to their plantation tomb. Originally there were silver markers on all of the Chinn family iron caskets, but the only one found was that of Mary Conrad West. It has been said that during the Civil War, Union soldiers opened the caskets, seeking jewelry, and discovered the silver markers. During his last illness Judge Chinn became interested in the proposed Magnolia Cemetery project and planned to buy lots and build a large tomb there, but he died before this could be done. Later the family acquired lots and built the granite tomb, also placing the marker there.

  • Added: 29 Nov 2017
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2656261