In 1833 in Vermillion Parish Louisiana, four miles outside of current day Abbeville, LA, War of 1812 veterans, Thomas Fletcher and Brandon McDermott were given 1,000 acres of conjoined land for their help in defeating the British at the Battle of New Orleans. They named this piece of land the Rose Hill Plantation, which, according to Loraine Sirmon, former owner of Queen’s Ranch – the name given to the ranch that Rose Hill Plantation would later become – was named after the Cherokee rose, a thorny rose bush that once surrounded the land. Originally a cotton mill, Rose Hill became a sugar plantation after J. Henry Putnam, a distant relative of famous Salem witch trials witness Ann Putnam, bought the plantation in 1871 with the hopes of becoming a sugar producer. Unfortunately for the Putnam family, a fire on the plantation on December 10, 1881, halted work towards Putnam’s sugar plantation dream after burning down the sugar house and entire crop of sugar. However, only six months later, in May 1882, Putnam was working towards rebuilding his plantation. On November 6, 1882, the Abbeville Meridional reported that J. Henry Putnam’s Rose Hill was working splendidly, grinding cane grown on the property, as well as purchasing cane for four dollars a ton from neighboring farmers.
In January 1883, the Abbeville Meridional reported that J. Henry Putnam’s Rose Hill Plantation had processed the largest crop ever made in Vermillion Parish. By 1893, the Daily Picayune reported that the plant had processed four million pounds of sugar from the 1892 crop and Putnam planned to produce ten million pounds of sugar per year by 1896. Unfortunately for the Rose Hill Plantation, a tariff put on imported Cuban sugar was lifted. In 1899, it was cheaper to buy imported sugar than it was to grow it and Rose Hill Planting and Refinery Co. Inc. went bankrupt. In 1901, Putnam handed over the deed to the property to the New Orleans banks, which took it over and put a railroad on the property. This railroad ran until about the early 1930s and today is not usable.
Between the city of New Orleans owning the plantation for the railroad and it eventually becoming Queen’s Ranch, little is known about the ownership of the land. After going through different ownership, Revis Sirmon and his wife, Lorraine Sirmon, purchased Rose Hill Plantation from Mack Schriever in the late 1950s and turned it into a working ranch and farm called Queen’s Ranch. Sirmon, being the jokester that he was, decided on the name “Queen’s Ranch” after his friend, Silas Cooper of Abbeville jokingly mentioned that Texas had the famous and massive King’s Ranch so Louisiana would now have its own Queen’s Ranch. Sirmon was a pilot in World War II and even installed a family museum on the property to showcase paraphernalia from the war along with antique farming equipment used to run the ranch. In the farm’s heyday, it boasted forty-two acres of property and was home to cattle, horses, ducks, quails and even some of the farm hands. In 2018 after the death of Revis Sirmon’s son, and heir to the ranch, Johnny Sirmon, the property was split amongst Revis Sirmon’s two grandsons, Patrick and Dannon Stokes, who still look after the farm today. Today, with more property later bought to add to the farm, Queen’s Ranch is an active cattle farm as well as an active crawfish farm with two hundred-thirty-seven acres making up the property. On the property, there still stands the remains of the old sugar processing plant from Rose Hill Plantation. Although it is no longer in use, lying on the banks of the Vermillion River, the ruins of the plant are beautiful, being overlooked by Louisiana moss and towering oak trees on the property.