January 15, 1885
The widower William P. Dortch married Nettie Steele, a daughter of Thomas William Steele, a North Carolinian who had become the largest land holder in Pulaski County. As a wedding present, Steele presented the couple with an 1,800-acre plantation adjoining the Dortch property in Lonoke County. Shortly after their marriage, the couple moved to their newly acquired property. Their success in subsequent years made possible the construction of Marlsgate (added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979), and their sons and grandsons operated the farm throughout the twentieth century.