Trotter’s Landing (Glendale)

The area of Southern Tunica County and Northern Coahoma County directly across from Helena is known as Trotter’s Landing.  Through the years, the region has been referred to as Glendale, Mississippi as well.  On an early map of Tunica County, there are several place names including Trotter’s landing, Trotter’s Point,  and State Levee.  This was the point on the Mississippi side where both passenger and railroad ferries were located connecting our state to Helena, Arkansas.  There were several post offices in this community and they sometimes were located in both counties, since the county line runs through.  It has had a colorful past to say the least indeed.

MS-Tunica-County-Mississippi-1911-Map-Rand-McNally

Silas Flournoy Trotter and his Father Joseph Trotter were believed to be the first settlers into this area during the 1840s. There is some confusion on when Silas was born. He was either born September 4, 1819 or March 4, 1820 in Northwestern Alabama. His Father was Joseph Trotter, who was born in 1798 in Tennessee and his mother was Martha C. Flournoy of Pulaski County, Tennessee.  Silas was named after her father, Silas Flournoy who was a wealthy planter who had moved to Tennessee from Virginia. Martha Trotter died on May 25, 1822 and is buried at Flournoy Cemetery in Giles County, Tennessee.  Martha’s grave lies next to her young son William who died at young age in August 1822.  Joseph Trotter then married Sarah Myra Rivers later.  She had several children already.  Her first husband was John Harper Rivers who died around 1836. Their names were William Rivers, Cynthia Carter, and Mary Rivers.  Joseph Trotter and his family, minus Silas, are found in Maury County, Tennessee on the 1850 U.S. Census.  Silas Trotter appears on the 1850 Slave Schedule section of the Federal Census with 60 slaves in Tunica County.

Silas F. Trotter was a graduate of Yale College and according to a biography, he was working in a counting house in New Orleans.  In 1848, he and his Father are sued by Eliza White, who was the widow of James White.  She claimed that Joseph Trotter was indebted to her in a sum of about $25,000 on a mortgage and for fifty slaves. In the court case, White said that he had fraudulently obtained the slaves from her and that they were now in Tunica County on a farm being operated by Silas Trotter.  She was demanding that Silas return the slaves or pay $30,000.

There is some confusion on what happened to Silas Trotter.  One of his college classmates received a letter from him stating that he was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Another report said he was in Panama.  He did die in one of those places though on February 21, 1853.  He is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee.  His will is on file in Tunica County, Mississippi.  His property and belongings went to his Father Joseph Trotter.  William Rivers and Sarah M. Trotter are also mentioned in the will.  Silas left $2 to all of his servants.  On the 1860 Slave Schedule section of the Federal Census, Joseph Trotter is listed in Tunica County with 77 slaves.

John D. Trotter is believed to have moved to Tunica County about 1860 from Marshall County, Mississippi  to help with the Trotter Planation. John D. Trotter was the son of James and Elizabeth Trotter.  He had been born in 1834 in Mississippi and was living at Holly Springs on the 1860 U.S. Census.  When the Civil War broke out, John joined the 9th Mississippi and was a Sergeant with Company I.  He wanted to raise his own company though.  On June 22, 1862 he was promoted to 3rd Lieutenant of Company A,  Chalmer’s 9th Battalion Sharpshooters by General Bragg.  Trotter died at Tyner’s Station on August 24, 1862.

Sarah Myra Trotter passed away on March 12, 1865 and is buried next to her husband in Maplewood Cemetery in Pulaski, Giles County, Tennessee.  William Rivers is also buried at Maplewood.  He died in 1891.  Many of the family are interred at that cemetery.  Her will is on file in Tunica County, Mississippi.  Sarah M. Trotter was identified as being a citizen and resident of Maury County, Tennessee but passed away in Helena, Phillips County, Arkansas.

William Rivers was listed as living in Austin in Tunica County, Mississippi in 1860.  He was identified as a farmer with a real estate value of $75,000 and personal estate of $60,000.  On the 1860 Census Substitutes Index, he appears living near Helena in Tunica County.  After his mother’s death, he moved back to Giles County, Tennessee.

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The land continued to change hands through the years.  By the 1950s, Mr. Fisher from Dundee owned much of it.  Lula Hunting Club was established for locals.  There are other hunting clubs nearby. Lula Farmer Roger Johnson owns much of the area today. Through the years, farmers have tried to establish communities behind the levee, but none survived because of the heavy flooding that occurs on a yearly basis.

Glendale Landing was named after an opening in the woods that led to the river near Trotters Landing. As far back as 1820, stories have some type of business operating there. The Moore Family was involved with this enterprise. They lived across the river in Helena, Phillips County, Arkansas. Charles L. Moore ran a ferry from Glendale Landing to Helena. In later years, his son Charles L. Moore Jr. took over the operation.

Post Office at Glendale, Mississippi: Post masters (Tunica County)

  • John Q. Cribbs- May 23, 1887
  • Oliver W. Coppage- June 6, 1892
  • Wiliam R. Benson- Feb. 21, 1893
  • Transferred to Lula May 18,1893

Post Office at State Levee(Tunica County)

  • James K. Jeffries- Feb. 20, 1900
  • Norman R. Burnett- March 25, 1910
  • Transferred to Jeffries April 26, 1912

Post Office at Jeffries ( Coahoma County)

  • Harold M. Carnathan
  • Belle M Scaife- Dec. 19, 1916
  • Joseph B. Hopkins- July 2, 1929
  • Norman W. Jeffries- April 16, 1936
  • Doris B.  Brown- Nov. 1, 1948
  • David M Russell- April 20, 1950
  • Discontinued June 7, 1950 and moved to Dundee.

Post Office at Glendale ( Coahoma County)

  • Thomas C. Ferguson- Jan. 4, 1878
  • Lucinda Smith- Nov. 23, 1881
  • Thomas C. Ferguson- May 25,1885
  • W. Quarles- Jan. 21, 1887
  • Moved to Busby April 19, 1887

Mississippi Supreme Court Cases Feb. 12, 1912

By 1910, D. G. Owen owned much of Trotters. Helena-Glendale Steam Ferry Company was owned and operated by Don. G. Owen and H.C. Murman who were partners. Owen was living in Helena, Arkansas with his family in 1910.  Owen passed away and was buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis.

In October 1910, the owners were indicted in Tunica County for operating a steam ferry in the state without paying taxes.  The owners were engaged in ferrying passengers and freight for hire across the Mississippi River from the city of Helena to the landing known as Glendale in Tunica County.  It is further shown that the ferry company owned land at Glendale and makes regular trips from Helena to Glendale; the sole business engaged in by the ferry company consists of ferrying passengers and freight from Helena to Glendale, MS and back, Glendale being just opposite Helena and directly across the river.

In 1910, the famous Glidden Tour came through Trotters.  This was a famous cross country race between teams from one side of the country to another.

A railroad line was built from Lula to Trotters Landing in 1890. Service to Helena, Arkansas was provided via car transfer ferry. Hundreds of people made this trip going to Memphis, Tennessee and back.  From the mid 1930s to around 1960, the Ferry steamboat named Pelican carried these train cars back and forth across the river.

pelican in color

Other ferries carried passengers and cars across.  One of these ferries was operated by Conway Twitty’s father, Floyd D. Jenkins.

floyd jenkins

Because Trotters Landing is located behind the Mississippi River Levee and floods every year, there never was an organized community or a permanent settlement. Much of the land remained forested, but some has been cleared and is farmed. Several hunting camps were founded at Trotters and continue to operate today.  Land ownership has changed hands a number of times though.

Mississippi River Flood of 1922 description from the Illinois Central Magazine in June, 1922. ( Description of where we cross the Mississippi River by Ferry )

The Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad has 3 inclines or landings on the Mississippi side: one at Trotters Point, one mile from Helena; one at Glendale, one mile and three quarters from Helena, and the last one at the Mississippi State Levee about three and one half miles form Helena. We discontinued transfer at the. Trotters Point incline at 4 pm March 22 at a stage of 44.8; discontinued transfer at Glendale, the 2nd incline, at 2 pm March 28 at a state of 50 feet, since then the transfer has been made at the incline at the state levee. The stage of water at Helena the morning of April 14 was 51.4. During all the time, passenger trains, with few exceptions, have been on time and no connection at Lula, MS have been missed due to high water on the Helena district.  Freight has been handled without any delay.  Three and one half miles have to be made with the boat where before were made in about one mile.

In the 1950s, this was an important place for the people of Lula and Helena.  Families from the Lula area would travel to Helena to buy groceries and goods.  Slot machines were available to people to play as they traveled across the river.  A couple named Blind Pat and Alice operated a bar at the ferry landing.  It was in an old railway or trolley car and was located where the passenger ferry landed.

Railroad service between Lula and Helena stopped when a bridge burned in 1960.  Ferry service ended soon after when a bridge was built across the Mississippi River in 1961.

Helena Bridge

Helena Bridge, Highway 49 Helena, Arkansas

Today, the Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel occupy the land near Trotters.

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