Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ridge Cemetery Marks the Spot of the Old Antebellum Community of Oak Farm

A Patterson family monument in the Ridge Cemetery in extreme northeastern Itawamba County is one of the tallest monuments in this cemetery. Ridge Cemetery is one of the larger cemeteries of the county. Located just west of the town of Red Bay, Alabama, south of and along Ridge Road, and just south of Tishomingo County, this area during antebellum times was known as Oak Farm. The cemetery sits atop the ridge known as the Tennessee Valley Divide. Land north of Ridge Road is in the Tennessee River Valley and land south of the road is in the Tombigbee River Valley. Itawamba County’s highest elevation is along this ridge.

North of the road is a fertile plateau of land, where, during antebellum times, large farming operations developed. The oldest monument in the cemetery I found was that of Elizabeth, wife of Rev. Harden Patterson. She was born during 1811 and died on May 26, 1861.

Elizabeth is listed in the 1860 Itawamba County census with her husband Harden Patterson (age 50, born NC) and children James F. (age 26, merchant), Elizabeth M. (age 19), Margaret A. (age 17) and Robert A. (age 15). Also enumerated in the household is Henry B. Covington (age 27, Methodist Episcopal minister). Immediate neighbors were the Alexander Fancher family, Isham Lesley family and Charlotte Cox family. Other members of the community area were the Bates family (this family also operated a store in Fulton before the Civil War) and Burgesses family. All of these families ran quite large farming operations.


Terry Thornton said...


Along the ridge and near this cemetery is located a series of "high points" using topographical maps with a fairly large interval (I think 20 feet). Has anyone ever determined which one is the highest point in all of Itawamba County? And has that highest point in the county been given a name?
Terry Thornton

Bob Franks said...

Terry, I think the highest elevation in the county is at or near the intersection of Jericho Road and Ridge Road. Looking north toward Tishomingo County you really can't tell you are on a high ridge as you are looking at a plateau of farm land in the Tennessee Valley. But looking south you can definitely tell you are on a high ridge.