Sarah Bird Northup Ridge House
The oldest remaining house in the city of Fayetteville, this was the home of Sarah Ridge, the wife of John Ridge, a controversial Cherokee leader who made the fateful decision to sign the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 which led to the forced relocation of many other Cherokee from Georgia to Oklahoma.The Ridge family, which also included Elias Boudinot, faced hostility due to their signing the treaty. Following the assignation of her husband by other Native peoples who opposed the treaty, Sarah Ridge lived in this home. The property was subdivided and rented out for many years in the 20th century. The home was in such disrepair in the 1960s that it would have been demolished had it not been for preservationists and the Washington County Historical Society. The Society acquired the building in 1971 and conducted an archaeological study in conjunction with the University of Arkansas Museum Collections with the goal to preserve both the history of the home as well as the physical building.
Backstory and Context
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 directed toward the Ridge family who had moved in 1837. On June 22, 1839, a group killed John Ridge, Major Ridge, and Boudinot.