Little Dixie Missouri | Plantations of Early Missouri History
Little Dixie | Region along Missouri River in Central, Missouri

Ravenswood Plantation

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Little Dixie is a historic 13- to 17-county region along the Missouri River in central Missouri, United States. Its early European-American settlers were largely migrants from the hemp and tobacco districts of Virginia, and central Kentucky and Tennessee. They brought enslaved African Americans with them or purchased them as workers in the region. Because Southerners settled there first, the pre-Civil War culture of the region was similar to that of the Upper South.
A 1948 article in the Missouri Historical Review defined the antebellum "Little Dixie" region as a 13-county area between the Mississippi River north of Saint Louis to Missouri River counties in the central part of the state (sections of Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Chariton, Howard, Lincoln, Pike, Marion, Monroe, Ralls, Randolph, Saline, and Shelby counties), as indicated on the map linked via this footnote. This issue also contains other factual data about this region.
When the Southerners migrated to Missouri, they brought their cultural, social, agricultural, architectural, political and economic practices, including slavery. Overall, Missouri's slave population represented 10 percent of the state's population in the 1860 U.S. Census. But in Little Dixie, county and township slave populations ranged from 20 to 50 percent by 1860, with the highest percentages for the counties developed for large plantations along the Missouri river.
Throughout the region, large Plantation style homes were constructed (often times using Slave labor), along with cabins or meager housing for the slaves to live in. Several of these plantations still exist throughout Little Dixie, with several being restored to tell the story and give visitors a first hand experience of Life on the Plantation.
A few of these plantations are:
Oak Grove Plantation, Arrow Rock, Saline County, Missouri
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