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Ridge House

Ridge House

Tour Stop 10

Ridge House

We mentioned the Ridge family earlier – here is their house, and it is Fayetteville's oldest-known home site. Believe it or not, an original 1-story log house is encased inside the 2-story clapboard structure you see today.

Based on tree ring dating analysis, the original dogtrot log house is dated to 1834, and was most likely built by a man named Micajah Clark. But its most famous resident was Sarah Ridge who moved here in 1840 with her seven children following the murder of her husband, John Ridge.

John Ridge was a wealthy slave-owning Cherokee Indian who was a leading signer of the treaty that led to the forced removal of the Indians to Indian Territory in 1838 and 1839 that became known as the Trail of Tears. This resulted in the deaths of 4,000 Cherokees, and a group of embittered survivors blamed the Ridge family for their suffering. A small group met in secret, held a trial and declared all of the treaty signers guilty of treason. On June 22, 1839, just across the border in Indian Territory, John Ridge was dragged from his bed and in front of his wife and children he was stabbed multiple times and trampled to death. No one was ever arrested for his murder, and Cherokee Chief John Ross claimed no knowledge of the deed and pardoned all involved, including his own son.

During this time, fancifully dressed Cherokee Indians were often seen in Fayetteville since it was the largest and nearest town to their reservation in Indian Territory. At least one group of over a thousand Cherokees had passed through Fayetteville earlier in 1839 as part of the Trail of Tears.

It was while working on the house in 1920 that the original log house was discovered inside. It was restored by the Washington County Historical Society
Photo Courtesy of: Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville History provided by: Gary Coover, Coover Consultants

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