YOLANDA NALLY, L.C.S.W., EMDR II
Center for Integrative Psychotherapy
The Ridge House
230 W. Center
Fayetteville, AR 72701
CLICK HERE to contact by E-mail
ABOUT THE RIDGE HOUSE
The Sarah Bird Northup Ridge House is the oldest house still standing in Fayetteville (Washington County), dating back to 1836. Its original pine flooring and field stone fireplaces have endured to the present. It was built with the latest methods of the time, including mortised construction, shake shingles, and square-headed nails. The original cabin style was called “dog-trot” or “dog-run” and consisted of two single rooms separated by an open passage called a breezeway. A common roof covered the two rooms and the breezeway. In later years, the house was made into two stories and converted to “salt box” style, and the breezeway was converted into a central hallway. The Ridge House, at 230 West Center, is now owned and preserved by the Washington County Historical Society.
The house was originally built as a wedding present for Dr. M. H. Clark and his young bride. When Clark’s wife died, he sold the house to Joseph M. Sheppard in July 1839. In 1840, Sarah Bird Northup Ridge bought the Fayetteville house and all the property with it from Sheppard for $1,375. Ridge and her children—Clarinda, John Rollin, Susan, Herman, Aeneas, Andrew Jackson, and Flora—had sought refuge in Fayetteville after they fled Indian Territory following the June 22, 1839, assassination of her Cherokee husband, John Ridge; his father, Major Ridge; and his cousin, Elias Boudinot. Many Cherokee were bitter at the role John Ridge had played in negotiating the Treaty of New Echota, which called for the removal of the Cherokee from their native lands in Georgia.
Sarah Ridge left Fayetteville during the fall of 1844 for Osage Prairie in Benton County to settle the accounts of her deceased husband’s estate, which consisted of nearly $50,000 worth of land and slaves; it also included his father’s estate. She had to protect the rights of her children as natives of the Cherokee Nation, but she avoided staying within the Cherokee Nation until the Treaty of Union was signed in 1846 because of the ever-present threat of ambush and murder. Ridge returned to Fayetteville in 1854, where she died of pneumonia.