The Oaks


WFP Historical Society

Contributed from the 1975 Audubon Pilgrimage Booklet
by the WFP Historical Society

Recovering from Civil War and Reconstruction, Thomas Butler in 1888 built a new house for his family. It was to the current choice of the post-bellum South that he turned - - a style now termed Carpenter Gothic in tribute to the powered saws and turning lathes of the late 19th century. His house abounds in the exuberance of gingerbread, dormer windows, and fanciful turrets now deemed worthy of the preservationist's notice.

A Civil War veteran, Thomas Butler came from a family long distinguished in military annals. His grandfather, also named Thomas and like him once a parish judge, settled at The Cottage in 1811. His great-grandfather, born in Ireland, came to the United States in 1748 and was one of the Five Fighting Butlers of Revolutionary War fame; one of them planted the American Flag on the British works at Yorktown after Cornwallis's surrender. It was at The Cottage that Andrew Jackson stopped after the Battle of New Orleans; one of his staff officers was Judge Butler's brother.

When the last member of Thomas Butler's family died in 1973, The Oaks was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. E. Irwin Daniel III, who have delighted in its romantic extravagance. On the surrounding acreage, Mr. Daniel maintains an agricultural tradition spanning five generations of his family here in West Feliciana. At Home:

Parlor: Rolltop secretary probably made in Philadelphia; gold leaf pier mirror ca 1840; Victorian love seats; Amsterdam prints and one original Bien edition.

Front Bedroom: Victorian half-tester bed, armoire, dresser, and commodes.

Second Bedroom: Victorian iron and brass bed, and armoire; earlier armoire ca 1840 possibly Louisiana-made.

Back Bedroom: Canopied spool bed; pair Victorian marble-top dressers.

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