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