Where is Gaines Landing?

Gaines Landing, Adams County, Mississippi (historical – no longer exists above)
Gaines Landing, Chicot County, Arkansas

I have tried several times today to answer a post on the Ancestry Message Boards and have failed miserably. For one reason or another it seems that Ancestry pops up with errors. It has frustrated me to no end today, already.

I’ve been somewhat absent here since November 25th or so and plan to blog a bit less at least until the holidays are over and the children are back into school. So I apologize for having been absent, but its that season afterall!

There have been over 10,000 visitors to the blog since it began and quite frankly, I am shocked! Wow! That’s at least 30 or so people/computers a day that surf into Louisiana Genealogy Blog. I’ve changed the SiteMeter to reflect the number of visitors. When I first set up the Site Meter I was way too embarassed to show just how few people were actually reading the blog .

I’ve been surfing flickr for new cemetery photos and have come across a few cemetery photos that were taken during the recent snow in Louisiana. I’m looking forward to sharing those with you later as they are quite beautiful.

Regarding the Ancestry Message Board post for Louisiana Unknown that I spoke of earlier:

Where is Gaines Landing?


Does anyone know where Gaines Landing, Louisiana is? I have in my database an ancestor who died in Gaines Landing in 1864, aboard the steamer Empress.

His name is Joseph W. Siddens, born about 1834 in Indiana and died August 10, 1864 in Gaines Landing, Louisiana. His parents were Joseph Siddens and Sarah Coffman. Thanks for your help (brcox1 Ancestry ID)

Gaines Landing is in Arkansas in Chicot County which is North of Louisiana. The Empress was a steamer traveling either from New Orleans or to New Orleans on the Mississippi River. Gaines Landing was a popular shipping port and rebel hang out, according to NPS. Rebels engaged Union steamers on the Mississippi River several times from Gaines Landing. The New York Times has an article posted August 31, 1864 concerning an attack on the Empress. I would encourage this poster to go to the Chicot Arkansas county Message Board and make a posting there. The information was interesting to research as there were a few burials noted at the time of Aug. 1864 on the banks of the Mississippi. The biography of Westmoreland was most shocking to read about the fighting in Morehouse Parish. Gaging from the Google Book, the Gaines Landing of the August 10th, 1864 fight aboard the Empress – it was in Arkansas. I may be wrong – you decide!

Rural Communities in the CHICOT County Arkansas Area


Reprinted from the Sesquicentennial Edition

One of the most important points on the Mississippi River during pioneer days was Gaines Landing.

Major William Gaines from Kentucky entered land along the Mississippi River in Chicot County, Arkansas in 1833, in 1836 and in 1839. With others, he built a landing on his plantation.

He made a road from the landing through the plantation, lining it with stems of young trees, and later with planks, and placed houses along it for collection of tax from travelers.

The landing became the gateway to Southeast Arkansas. Immigrants came from the southern states, and settled along the rivers and bayous, and back in the hills. They brought slaves, carriages, extensive libraries and rare pieces of furniture. It also became the gateway for the through route from Virginia and the Carolinas to Texas.

The landing grew to be the first shipping point between Helena and Vicksburg, with the finest wharf boat on the River up to 1861. Bales of cotton that had been carried in on oxwagons were piled high on the steamboats for New Orleans.

It was linked with a stage coach route with Independence, which became Monticello, and with Camden.

During the Civil War the landing was guarded by Confederate soldiers. The Chicot Rangers, with Captain Daniel Reynolds commanding, steamed from there for a rendezvous at Pocahontas. They became a part of General Thos. Churchills Mounted Rifles.

The railway was built from Chicot City to Collins about 1872, the river station being removed to Arkansas City in 1878. With the coming of the railway, the service of the landing closed.”


Biograhy – William Thomas Westmoreland
Navarro County, Texas

William Thomas Westmoreland’s Diary

Reprinted from the Navarro County Scroll (URL: http://www.txgenweb6.org/txnavarro/historical_society/scroll.htm) – 1965
Printed with permission of the
Navarro County Historical Society (URL: http://www.txgenweb6.org/txnavarro/historical_society/index.htm)
Permission by Mrs. L. L. McCutchen



“…On the 18 we traveled 10 miles and camped at Mrs. Jones farm, near St. Francis River where we remained 8 days. On the 26 we went to Taylorville and camped until June 1. We then moved 5 miles southeast and camped till June 6, then moved one mile and camped till the 10th. Then traveled 12 miles and camped 12 miles west of Longville. On the 11th we traveled 20 miles and camped near Cotton Plant, and on the 12 reached White river, opposite Des Arc. We crossed the river that night and traveled 10 miles in the direction of Brownville. On the 13 we traveled 30 miles and camped near Brownville. On the 14th we moved 3 miles. On the 15 we arrived at the Arkansas River opposite Pine Bluff, where we remained 3 days. Leaving there on the 19, we traveled 30 miles in the direction of Gaines Landing. On the 20 traveled 25 miles and passed through Green Mound and Shanghai. After traveling 12 miles on the 21, we camped for 3 days. On the 23, we moved on 25 miles and camped in Ashley County. On the 24 we traveled 12 miles and camped at Camp Barthelow near Popular Bluff.

On the 25, we traveled 20 miles, passed into the state of Louisiana and camped in Moorehouse Parrish. On the 26, we traveled 20 miles and camped on Beauf River. On the 27, we traveled 20 miles and camped on Bayou Mason. On 28, after tearing down some log houses, we built a log bridge across the Bayou on which we crossed about dark. After which we traveled all night and crossed Tensas River. On the 29 we had a fight with negro troops under command of white officers in Mississippi River bottom, a few miles below Providence.

After burning negro quarters for a distance of 10 or 15 miles along the river, the gun boats in the river began to shell us. When we retreated across Tensas River and camped two miles we camped in Madison Parish. On July 1, we traveled 10 miles and camped on Bayou Mason. We remained in the country between Floyd and Delhi until July 24. On that day we traveled 30 miles and camped on Lake LaFouche, La. On the 25, we traveled 20 miles and camped on Bayou Gallion. On 26, traveled 15 miles and crossed Lake LaFouche and camped on Blouff River, 1 mile from Girard Station. On the 27 and 28 each we traveled 25 miles, on 29th we traveled 20 miles when we arrived at Harrisonburg.

On the 30th a squad of which I was a member was sent on picket to Trinity, a distance of 11 miles from Harrisonburg. After remaining in that neighborhood for 10 days, and on the 11 of August 1863, this squad crossed the Washita River, traveled 12 miles and camped in the Tensas. On the 12th we traveled 20 miles up the river and camped at Kirk’s Ferry. Here I was taken sick with fever and on the 16th was removed from picket camp to the home of Col. Wall, one mile from the ferry. I remained here 8 days before I was able to ride. On the 26th of August, 1863 I rejoined the command at harrisonburg, having traveled 20 miles. While at that place S. R. Westmoreland and W. A. Wiles were taken sick and were moved to a hospital 4 miles distance. On the 3rd of Sept. John F. and myself went out to the hospital to take car of them. On the night of the 3rd my fever returned. The hard camp life and over exertion being too much for me. The same night the company was ordered to Alexanderia, but as we were all sick, John F., we were left in the hospital. The Federals came on the 4th and occupied Harrisonburg, and in the afternoon of the same day rode out to the hospital and captured us. Their surgeon examined us and gave us medicine. After which the commanding officer wrote a parole for each of us, and left us there. This was Colonel A. G. Molloy of the 17th Wisconsin Mounted Infantry.

We remained in the hospital until Sept. 9 when a lady – Mrs. Tatum – sent a wagon and had us moved to her home 5 miles from Harrisonburg. She took care of us until Sept 27, Feeling able to travel, we started home. We traveled 20 miles and stopped 4 miles east of Scatterville, La. On the 28th we traveled 25 miles and stopped with Mr. Meekins, 17 miles west of Little River, La.

The next morning S. R. Westmoreland was sick again. We all remained there until noon, when after a conference we decided that the Wiles boys had better go on, as one of them might be sick by the time S. R. W. was able to travel, and cause further delay. So S. R. W. and I were left behind. We stayed here for 4 days, leaving about noon on October 3rd. We traveled 17 miles. After a long and hard trip in our weakened condition, we arrived at our father’s home in Hill County, Texas on October 10, 1863. The Wiles boys reached home 1 day earlier….”


About Louisiana Genealogy Admin

I manage several RootsWeb mailing lists and message boards, support Louisiana Cemetery Preservation, am a former Louisiana and Mississippi librarian, have been researching genealogy of my family since 1988, and write and promote several blogs supporting either Louisiana genealogy or Louisiana cemeteries.
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3 Responses to Where is Gaines Landing?

  1. Cherie says:

    I saw your Tweet (I’m always searching for “genealogy” on twitter.)

    Are you sure it’s in Louisiana? I did a search at the USGS website and came up with a place listed as “Gaines Landing (historical)” along the Mississippi River on the state of Mississippi side. Could that be it?


    Gaines Landing (historical)

  2. Louisiana Genealogy Blogs says:

    I noticed Gaines Landing first in Arkansas, but I know that NPS has stated that the Mississippi River has changed its course since the time of 1864 and therefore this could also be in Mississippi. The majority of what I have seen led me to believe that Gaines Landing was in Arkansas. I’d like to see documentation that it is indeed in Mississippi. That was kewl of you to post. Thanks.

  3. Louisiana Genealogy Blogs says:

    Gaines Landing confirmed on August 10/11, 1864:

    Defense of steamer Empress by U. S. S. Romeo at Gaines Land
    ing, Ark., August 11, 1864 503—506


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