SARAH RIDGE HOUSE
230 West Center Street

Fayetteville AR 72701


Within the walls of the lower floor of the two story New England style house at 230 west Center Street in Fayetteville are the log walls of the original structure built there in the 1830's. Portions of these log walls can be seen in windows inside the entry hall. The log house was built by a Dr. M H Clark before 1837. He sold the property to Joseph Sheppard in 1839. In 1840, Sheppard sold the house and three adjoining lots to Sarah Ridge.

Mrs. Ridge was the widow of John Ridge, a prominent Cherokee who was a leading signer of the Treaty of New Echota in 1835. This Treaty with the Federal government, set terms for the Cherokee tribe to move from their ancestral lands in southeastern U S to Indian Territory. John along with his father, Major Ridge, and a cousin Elias Boudinot were prominent promoters and signers of this Treaty which they hoped would encourage the Cherokee leadership to accept its terms and voluntarily move to lands set aside for them in Indian Territory now Oklahoma. The majority of Cherokees never accepted the Treaty but were forced by its terms to move in 1838 and 1839 on what became known as the Trail of Tears. Some 4,000 Cherokees died after being forcibly removed from their homes and during the trek to Indian Territory. As a result there was much anger at the Ridge's who had moved in 1837. On June 22, 1839 a group killed John Ridge, Major Ridge and Boudinot.

A short time after her husband's murder in front of her and some of her children at their home in Oklahoma just west of what is now Southwest City, Missouri, Sarah Ridge moved with her seven children and a teacher, Sophia Sawyer to Fayetteville. Sarah Ridge spent the remaining years of her life in Fayetteville except for a few years when she lived in Benton County near Centerton. She moved to Benton County to deal with settling John's estate. Sarah died at her home in Fayetteville March 31, 1856. Her house was sold to Joseph Holcombe in 1858.

Holcombe sold the house in 1861 to John Scarborough, who in turn sold it to Tandy Kidd later that year. Kidd was murdered in 1862 leaving no will. In 1867, the house was sold in a sheriff's sale, to J D Walker who lived across the street, and J R Pettigrew. Pettigrew sold it to Z M Pettigrew in 1873 who operated a boarding house in it until 1908. Several others owned the house until 1925 when it was bought by Lillian Cory who owned it until 1971. Which owner built the two story house around the log structure now seen is not known but it was likely Z M Pettigrew or Lillian Cory.

In 1971, the derelict and partially burned building was bought by the Washington County Historical Society. It was restored and an archeological study done which discovered and dated the logs in the oldest portion of the house. The house presently is home to offices of several psychiatrists and counselors.

Bibliography:
Fayetteville's Oldest Home? Flashback August 1971
The Ridge House: The Missing Years by Louise Bradshaw Ulmer, Flashback Winter 2006 WCHS Archival material



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