Preview of Travel Guide The Arkansas Delta Byways Travel Guide

Turner Cemetery (Lily Peter Gravesite)

Lily Peter (June 2, 1891-July 26, 1991), state poet laureate, was a distinguished author, successful farmer, teacher, musician, conservationist and philanthropist. Born in Big Cypress Bayou near Marvell, she was the first of ten children, of whom five did not survive childhood. After her father’s death in 1907, she was left to take over much of the responsibilities of earning an income and caring for the children and her mother, whose health was fragile. Though she struggled financially on a teacher’s salary, she managed the farm well and eventually bought a second farm with her brother. After his death, she managed both farms and became a millionaire through persistent care of the two plantations. While teaching and managing the farms, Peter pursued education in literature and music, studying English at Columbia and Vanderbilt universities, receiving a master’s degree from Vanderbilt and studying violin at Juilliard.  Peter distinguished herself as a philanthropist and a financial supporter of the arts by financing the college education of many students and donating money for cultural arts projects.  She wrote throughout her life, producing several published and unpublished manuscripts representing mixture of introspective, lyrical poetry and historical poetry, mostly about the Arkansas Delta.

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State Highway 39 at State Highway 1 South, Turner, Arkansas