As part of the Lakeport Plantation Restoration Project conducted by Arkansas State University, we examined tree-ring samples of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum L. Rich.) timbers from the Lakeport Plantation house in Chicot County, Arkansas. Our objectives for the study were to: (1) determine cutting dates of timbers used in the construction of the plantation house and an ancillary log shed in order to support or refute available historical and archaeological evidence for the construction date of the structures, and (2) provide tree-ring data to improve the spatial and temporal tree-ring record for the region. We determined that virtually all the cutting dates for the plantation house were confined to the dormant season of 1858–1859 suggesting that cutting and construction occurred at approximately the same time. We positively dated a total of 25 samples against the exactly-dated master chronology based on living baldcypress trees at Black Swamp, Arkansas, and compiled a 346-year chronology extending from 1537 to 1883. These findings provide absolute quantitative evidence of the age and construction history of one of the most important antebellum buildings in Arkansas and additional background on the material culture of the “cotton aristocracy”.
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