Before the Civil War, August and Sara Mazique were house slaves owned by James Riley of Oakland Plantation in Natchez Mississippi. Unlike most former slaves, the Maziques disdained becoming tenant farmers after the Civil War. Their owner died on the onset of the war, but with the financial support of a white manager on a neighboring plantation, the Maziques purchased at public auction in 1870 a nearby plantation called China Grove. On China Grove Plantation, the Maziques built a planter's cottage for a residence, grew cotton, and operated their own gin. Through hard work and determination, their family prospered to such an extent that their son even owned Oakland Plantation, where the family had earlier lived as slaves.
By 1900, the Mazique family and their kinsmen had acquired fortunes of several plantations and formed an African-American farming dynasty in southwest Adams County, Mississippi.