Thomas Jefferson’s little Anthony and the Arkansas Delta

Feb 10, 2021 1218

BY: Alfonso Guerriero Jr.

Arkansas is steeped in history, natural beauty and southern hospitality.  It is (you would think) one of the last places in America where residents from, fourth, fifth and sixth generations can trace their lineage back to Italy.  One location in Arkansas where Italian immigrants were brought over to work on a cotton plantation circa 1895 was Sunnyside.  The small community lies in the Chicot County of the state, where a small Italian American museum was created to commemorate this rare fact.  

Aside from Sunnyside’s interesting history, another Italo Arkansan who can claim his family’s contribution in the area long before 1895 is Patrick Presley.  He is a direct descendant to Antonio Molini, a friend of Thomas Jefferson.  Patrick’s family shows the profound impact that Italians have had in Arkansas and US history. “In the American South there was and is a far more sizeable Italian American community than the country realizes,” averred the Arkansan.  

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