A fictional story by Junior Johnson
Two majestic homes stood on the bank of Cane River in the community known as CoCo Bed.
Built by a successful French builder the year before the War of Northern Aggression began in 1861, they were almost identical in appearance.
There were beautiful white columns on the front and back of the two story buildings that were constructed with bricks made of clay, mud, and moss.
Cane River flowed behind the homes and almost a thousand acres of sugar cane waved in the wind for as far as the eye could see.
Abslom Johnson and his wife Martha occupied one of the homes, along with their son John Wesley and his wife Ada and their sons Harvis and Dempsey. Abloom and Martha’s grandchildren Pete and Noah also lived with them. Their parents died of Yellow Fever when the boys were very young.
The other home was occupied by Levy Lodrigue and his wife Lucille, their two sons Tony and John Levy, and their sisters Levaine, Romona, and Gayle. They were anxiously waiting for their eldest daughter to arrive with her two children, Aiden and Dylan. They all mourned the loss of Rita’s husband Daniel when they received the news three years earlier.
Daniel was Abslom’s brother.
Abslom and Levy had purchased their land from a planter who had fallen on hard times. While construction of their homes was ongoing, they successfully raised cotton and sugar cane, alternating the crops every year. They also raised cattle to sell and use as a food source for their families.
For their labor force they had constructed 10 shotgun style houses situated on the riverbank alongside their homes.
The Johnson’s and Lodrigue’s owned no slaves but had an equal number of blacks and whites who worked peacefully alongside each other and were paid equal wages.
A small group of their workers had returned from Natchitoches the day before with news that the riverboat would be arriving that night and Mrs. Johnson and her party would depart the next morning to arrive later that evening.
There was a lot of activity surrounding the Johnson and Lodrigue homes as preparations were made for their arrival.
A large beef was slowly cooking over a fire for the feast planned that night. All of the workers would be joining in the celebration.
While the meat was cooking, Tony, John Levy, Pete, and Noah, all took their fishing poles and worms down the hill and were catching fish from Cane River to compliment their meal.
Earlier that morning, unknown to Abslom and Levy, the evil Captain John Winston and five of his murderous cowards had departed Monett’s Ferry headed upstream in canoes. The cowardly Winston was trying to work out a plan of action, but wanted to get a look at the lay of the land. He was determined to kill Mrs. Johnson and her sons Aiden and Dylan.
As the sun was beginning to set, shouts rang out and the old plantation bell began to ring. Everyone gathered around the wagon as it pulled up in front of the plantation houses.
The Deputies had planned to take the riverboat back from Natchitoches, but decided at the last minute to accompany the Johnson’s to their final destination.
As everyone was laughing, hugging, and crying at the arrival of the family, Tony, John, Levy, and Noah hurried up the riverbank in search of Uncle Abslom and their father Levy.
Pete was missing, and they suspected fowl play. This terrible news immediately turned the joyous homecoming into shock and fear.
What had happened to Pete?