Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884

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a.k.a. "North Cemetery" or "Fife" Cemetery
Liberty Township, Ringgold County, Iowa

 Photograph courtesy of Tony Mercer, July of 2012

Photograph courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News, July 30, 2015

 Photograph courtesy of Tony Mercer, July of 2015

 Photograph courtesy of Tony Mercer, July of 2015

Oak Ridge Cemetery is located in Benton Township, Ringgold County, Iowa. From U.S. Highway 2, the cemetery is located approximately 1.7 miles north on West Street, Mount Ayr. The entrance to Oak Ridge Cemetery is a long winding gravel lane located on the east side of the road. The key to the cemetery gate may be obtained at City Hall in Mount Ayr.

Oak Ridge Cemetery was the first cemetery located in the vicinity of Mount Ayr. Joshua CHANCE purchased the land on November 13, 1856, and donated it for use as a burial plot before his death on August 27, 1858. The deed turning the land, 2 70/100 acres, over to Ringgold County as a burial plot was never on record. It was lost. On September 5, 1877, Ringgold County made a deed for the Oak Ridge Cemetery Association with trustees W. H. BARNES, J. A. MILLER, and S. ENGLAND. Dorrington CHANCE deeded another lot to Oak Ridge Cemetery Association on September 1st of 1877. On December 12, 1916, Dorrington CHANCE and his wife gave a quit-claim deed for 11 acres more or less to the cemetery which rectified the loss of the original deed.

In the spring of 1856, Johnny CRABB died, the first death in Mount Ayr and the first interment at Oak Ridge Cemetery. Two women were interred at Oak Ridge Cemetery however no gravestones were placed to mark their burial sites. These interments occurred prior to the cemetery was given to the county.

The first gravestone was of Joshua CHANCE who donated the land to the county and died on August 27, 1858. The next oldest interment was of Rebecca CAVETT on October 12, 1858.

Many of Joshua CHANCE'S descendants are interred at Oak Ridge as were many local families - BEARD, FARIS, NEWTON, MILLER, WARRICK, CAVETT, DENHART, KLING, FIFE, and SHIDLER. Civil War veterans and victims of the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic are also among the interments. Several gravesites are either unmarked or the gravestones are now missing. The last interment was in 1998. Although Oak Ridge Cemetery is not closed for burials, most local interments are at Rose Hill Cemetery located in the southeastern portion of Mount Ayr.

Many of the early Mount Ayr obituaries refer to Oak Ridge Cemetery as the "North Cemetery" or "Fife Cemetery".

SOURCE: LESAN, Mrs. B. M. Early History of Ringgold County: 1844 - 1937 p. 131. Bliss Pub. House. Lamoni, Iowa. 1937.

 Photograph courtesy of Tony Mercer, July of 2015

Feature Name: Oak Ridge Cemetery
oakridgemap.jpg Feature Type: cemetery
State: Iowa
County: Ringgold
USGS 7.5' x 7.5' Map: Mount Ayr
Latitude: 404357N
Longitude: 0941425W

Map provided by google maps


Oak Ridge Cemetery Transcriptions

Oak Ridge Cemetery Rehabilitation Project

Oak Ridge Cemetery webpage on
IAGenWeb's Gravestone Photo Project

Early Oak Ridge Cemetery interments may be found on WPA’s searchable database for Ringgold County located at: iowawpagraves.org/index.php?cid_80

IaGenWeb Gravestone Photograph Project

To submit your photographs to the IAGenWeb Gravestone Photo Project, click on link directly
above, or go to Iowa GenWeb Photo Project’s photo submission page

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