King Atlas, Jr. was born between 1840 and 1847 in Lafayette County, Arkansas and died died June 10, 1919 on Hood Lane Road in Lake Providence, East Carroll Parish, LA of old age. He was a farmer, but also a blacksmith or carpenter by trade. Some of the tools he used are still on site on Hood Lane Road. He was a registered voter, was voted to the Carroll Parish Police Jury and served as a secretary on the Colored Democratic Party for the parish during Reconstruction. He was able to read and write.
Here is a glimpse into his life, as he was profiled, in the local newspaper:
East Carroll Banner Democrat – October 22, 1892, Page 5 – “There is another of our colored friends named King Atlas, and industrious, clever, responsible citizen, who tells us he has an excellent crop this year, he is not only King by name but he is a King among cotton growers. We know nothing about his peculiar methods of cultivating the tender plant, but he rarely fails to realize a fall and satisfactory harvest, not only of cotton and corn, but many other things produced from the soil, such as potatoes, peas, melons, cantaloupes, and turnips. Atlas is one of quite a large working family of negroes born and raised in old Carroll, who enjoy the full confidence of the white people who know them, and it affords us much pleasure to make mention of such thrifty well behaved citizens; and what is better we can safely say, that we have lots of the same kind in this our parish of East Carroll.”
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King Atlas, Jr. held land as early as December 1891, but was not the first landowner in the family. He was sold 80 acres of land by US Senator Joseph E. Ransdell as evidenced by the following deed record:
East Carroll Parish, LA Clerk of Court, Conveyance Books – 1832 to 1941 – Book T, Page 56 – U.S. Senator Joseph E. Ransdell to King Atlas, Recorded December 16, 1891 – Lot 5, section 51, township 21 north, range 12 east, district of lands north or Red River, 80 acres more or less, for the sum if $1,800 paid as such: $250 in cash paid in hand and acknowledged, the balance in five notes due to Ransdell on December 1 of 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1896 one for $300 and the others for $312.50; 8 percent per annum interest.
This land was near the land that his sons Louis Balfour/Bareford Atlas, Sr. and Thomas Atlas would later purchase and inhabit on Hood Lane Road.
The following notations are the locations where King Atlas, Jr. and his family were living based on census and parish tax records:
- 1870 US Census: Balfour Plantation, Carroll Parish, LA
- Bet. 1875 – 1878, Waterloo Plantation, Carroll Parish, LA
- 1880 US Census: Ward 3, East Carroll Parish, LA
- 1881, Waterloo Plantation, East Carroll Parish, LA
- 1886, Gailliard/Gilliard Plantation, East Carroll Parish, LA
- Bet. 1887 – 1889, Hood Wild Lands, East Carroll Parish, LA
- 1899, Freeson Plantation, East Carroll Parish, LA
- 1900 US Census: Ward 3, East Carroll Parish, LA
- Bet. 1908 – 1912, Olivedell Plantation, East Carroll Parish, LA (Current day Hood Lane Road)
- 1910 US Census: Ward 3, East Carroll Parish, LA
King Atlas, Jr. married three times: Alice Smith, Josephine Brown, and Clora Evans.
Alice Smith (born between 1850 – 1862 in Alabama, and died June 18, 1942 of old age in East Carroll, LA) was a washwoman who married again several times before her death. She went by some of the following names: Alice Jacks; Alice Franklin; Alice Tucker; Alice Moore. She was said to have been a slave in Selma, Dallas, AL.
Children of King, Jr. and Alice Smith:
- John Atlas (born about 1863, died unknown);
- Thomas Atlas (born between July 1872-1874, died September 1920);
- Rachel Atlas Hearns (born about 1872, died October 11, 1921); and
- Louis Balfour/Bareford “Babe” Atlas Sr. (born October 29, 1874, died July 13, 1958).Louis Bareford/Balfour Atlas was a prominent citizen of Lake Providence, East Carroll, LA. He was said to have served as aguide when President Theodore Roosevelt visited the East Carroll Parish area to hunt for bears in 1902. He was a sharpshooter and self-sufficient farmer who was well respected in the parish and area.
Josephine Brown (born between 1845 and 1850 in Louisiana, died before 1891), was previously married to Willey Brown. She is documented as living in the Frellson Plantation area of East Carroll Parish during the 1870 and 1880 US Census. This area was the same area that King Jr.’s third wife, Clora Evans, lived in during the same two census’ and also where he bought and sold land. King Jr. probably bought land here due to his marriage to Josephine. King Jr.’s sons Louis and Thomas were documented in that area as well before they purchased land nearby on Hood Lane Road.
- Children of King, Jr. and Josephine Brown: No known children born to this union. Josephine did have two children with Willey Brown: Henry, born about 1868, and Harriett born about 1878.
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Clora Evans (born between 1853 – 1865 in Carroll, LA, died July 05, 1928 in Lake Providence, LA after being hit by a car) was the daughter of Susan (Russell) and Moses Evans. She was a former slave of Lucinda (Bullock) Bush, a midwife by trade and reportedly never lost a child that she delivered.
Clora had several last names prior to her marriage to King Atlas, Jr. (Clora Williams, Clora Marshall, Clora Lee) and had children by:
Susie Lee Atlas (born March 27, 1877, died January 29, 1938)
Susie was the adopted daughter and daughter in law of King Atlas, Jr. She married King’s son Louis Balfour/Bareford Atlas, Sr. on November 1, 1894 Hence, a husband and a wife became step brother and sister and shared five siblings 11 years, 1 month and 27 days after their marriage.
- Wesley Marshall (born between 1884-1886, died about June 1966),
- Nancy Ruth Marshall Russell (born about 1882, died November 2, 1964), and
- Joseph Marshall (born about 1884, died June 1965).All of these children were adopted by King Jr.
Clora was the first pedestrian killed by a car in East Carroll Parish at the time of her death. Reportedly, she was coming from delivering a child.
Children of King, Jr. and Clora Evans:
- Alma “Aunt Plug” Atlas Singleton (born June 1891, died November 22, 1969);
- David Atlas (born February 1893, died between 1900-1910);
- Evelina Atlas Wilson (born December 18, 1894, died March 19, 1947);
- Ella Louise “Lil Aintee” Atlas Wilson (born December 18, 1894, died January 26, 1982); and
- Shurden Atlas (born December 29, 1899, died October 21, 1953)