Stephen F. Austin State University

The Whiteland of Peason Ridge (April 2012)

By Rickey Robertson

Located in the southwest corner of Peason Ridge is a site that is known to all the Heritage Family members and local folk as the "Whiteland". This site is a tract of land, known as Whiteland, which is made up of clay, gumbo, and most of all, soapstone. This land is not suitable for farming and very little will even grow there. Only a few bunches of sagegrass, a scrub pine, or a yaupon or myrtle bush may be seen at this site. But, believe it or not, this site has historical value.

During September 1941 over 470,000 U.S. Army troops invaded Louisiana and began the "Great Louisiana Maneuvers". These maneuvers were the largest ever held by the Army. And due to the large numbers of troops, they camped everywhere. And the Whiteland was no exception. An Army unit arrived and set up a camp at the location. Pup tents were put up by the soldiers throughout the area. During these days, each soldier was issued 2 wool army blankets to use while sleeping. As night fell, the troops not on guard duty crawled into their tents for some much needed rest. Next morning at roll call after reveille, one man was missing. A quick search found him still curled up in his blankets. As his sergeant attempted to rouse him, it was discovered he was dead. A quick search of his blankets found the culprit was a coral snake, who had bitten the solder while he slept. Until this time, biologists had always claimed that the coral snake was not native to the State of Louisiana, but this unfortunate incident proved them wrong. And yes, the coral snake is a Louisiana native and it was found to be so at the Whiteland Site located on Peason Ridge.

The Whiteland area that is located on Peason Ridge. An unsuspecting location where history was made in 1941 during the Louisiana Maneuvers.