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Pleasant Ridge United Methodist Church

Please Note:  The following article was written by Sabra N. Sudberry and appears in the Heritage of Lamar County, AL.  Sabra has given permission for this article to be placed only on this website, the official Lamar County ALGenWeb site.  Thanks, Sabra!

Sabra N. Sudberry.  All rights reserved.

Pleasant Ridge United Methodist Church is located northeast of the community of Fernbank, but has a Millport address. This church is situated on land that once belonged to the W.P. Rush family, who donated the land for the church and cemetery to be built in 1861. Behind the trees that surround this property is a breathtaking view of hills and valleys of Lamar Co. It is no wonder they named it Pleasant Ridge. From the time I was a teenager my grandmother Ida Beard Newell was coming with me to this church and telling me the stories she remembered of her uncle Dick Baird, preaching there and of her living down the road behind the church. It meant so much to her and to me that I was married there myself, being the last marriage performed there known to date.

The original membership book and conference book still exists and is housed at the Methodist Archives of Birmingham Southern College. After being told on several occasions that it was not there, this author took a trip and looked herself. Thank goodness, no is not an option. After several members and a former pastor stated that it was there I knew it had to be. What jumping and hollering went on when I did find it!

Originally this church was in the Tuscaloosa District of the North AL Conference. According to a previous history written by Fannie Rae Rickman, it was believed that the original church was held at a brush arbor. Since the first deed dates 1861 we have to wonder what happened to the original membership book. Perhaps it was destroyed in a fire or during the war. The first grave dates to the same year the deed does, 1861.

A second legal transaction was found in the membership record which has misled some to think the church was organized in 1881, when it was probably 20 years earlier. This document was filed in the Lamar Co. courthouse by the former owner, W.P. Rush and perhaps was done so as at the time the original deed was filed this area belonged to Fayette Co.

First known members; no date: B.F. Reed, J.P., Alfred Deborah, C.L., J.B. Woods, A.J. York, Elias J. Seay, T.S. Atkins, W.J. Atkins, Wm. Sanders, Jeptha T. Seay, B.J. Smith, David Cook, R.A. Moore, John McGee, Joseph L. Sprouse, Peter Rickman, Wm. T. Rickman, R. M. Baird, Willie McGee, J.C. Woods, Abslam B. Seay. Dated 9/5/1881; William A. Rickman, by baptism; A. Jerome Rickman, by vows; Peter L. Rickman, T. C. Mitchell, John Sanders, W. T. Cole, Willson Keller, Permelia York, Susan B. Woods, Templeas Smith, (a date of death or disposal was given for most folks and those interested may view the comoplete record at the Archives or contact the author of this story). Amanda C. Wilson, Elizabeth Reed, Susan A. Smith, Mary Mordecai, Francis Rickman, Samantha Sisson, Emily Cook, Sarah Jane Baird, Margaret James, Martha McGee, N.C.J. Mitchell, Nancy M. Debrah, Elizabeth Sisson, Dorah Cook, Lydia Rickman, Mary Cook, C.T. Sprouse, Elizabeth Rickman, Tabitha Fowler, Martha J. Reed, Margaret S. Cunningham, Francis E. York, M.F. Johnson, M.E.F. Atkins, Sarah Horne, M.A.A. Woods (struck through) Mordecai. 9/4: Mary L. Reed, H.W. (Henry Wilson) Miller, Sarah J. (Kennedy) Miller, Eugenia C. Wilson, J.R. Reed, J.D. Sprouse, and J.D Woods.

On 3/6/1882 the following joined by vows: C.W. Cunningham, William M. Sanders, Selah Ann Sanders, Eler Cole, James Sisson, Lida A. Amanda Rickman, Sarah Magdaline Cook, Mary Ann Cook, Mary J. Falkner, Thomas Mordecai, Nancy M. Sparks, David W. Cunningham, Robert M. Woods, Tommie W. Rickman, Willie M. Taylor, Samuel J. Mordecai, Walter H. Mitchel, Julious Wilson, Alexander S. Wilson, Margret Joiner, Mary J. Fortner Cox, Francis E. Rickman, Jase E. Reed, Thomas S. Atkins, W.J. Atkins, James D. Cook, James D. Woods, Peter L. Rickman, Robert M. Woods, Walter H. Mitchell, Nancy J. Mitchell, Mahaly S. Biard (Baird), Selah Ann Sanders, William Jessie Rickman, Mary Rickman, James T. Rickman, Alice I. Rickman, Jesey Edgar Reed, Sarah F. Cook, Johnnie Rickman, and Jerome Rickman.

On 9/9/1883 the following joined by letter: Martha Cunningham Shelton, Sarah C. Cunningham Stanford. On 9/10/1883 the following joined by vows: Nancy J. Rickman, Ula McGee, Angeline Deborah, Nancy E. Mitchell, Matilda Fortner, and R.M. Woods, Mrs. Annie Rickman, Luther M. Atkins.

In 9/1884 the following joined: Martha J. Miller, Luiza M. Cash, A. Taylor, W.J. Sisson, M. Taylor, J.F. Cook, Fanny Taylor, Clark Mitchel, Luiza Mordecai, J.E. Sisson, Emma I. Cook, John F. Rickman, Joana Rickman, James Abbot, Mazanria Abbot, Patrick Wallis, John H. McGee, Permelia York, Eliza Jane Coleman, Mai Taylor, F.A. Taylor, Henry McNeese, John S. Sisson.

Those joining in 1886 were: Davis M. Stanford, Johnnie Fortner, Ella Fortner, Mary L. Deborah Foster, William S. Smith, Bula B. Smith. Joining in 1887: James H. Neal, Maggie Neal, Alfred C. Cole, Eliza T. Cole. Joining in 1888: M.C. Reed, M.J. Reed. Joining in 1889: Jesse B. Woods, Andru J. York, B.J. Smith, Sallie M. Cook Hataway, Mary A. Cook Colwell, W.P. Wallis, J.A. Wallis, W.W. Wallis, R.J. Wallis, Sarah A. McDaniel. No one joined in 1890. In 1891 members joining were: Lular Cunningham, Carrie Ann Stanford, Mary F. Rickman, Molie Sisson, Margaret E. Mordecai, Lilie F. Miller, Lula Robinson, Mrs. Charlie Robinson, Nathaniel Miller (Jr.), Sarah Miller. In 1892 members joining were: William J. Woods, Olen Cunningham, James T. Rickman, July A. Wallis. Joining in 1893: Cardelar N. Rickman, Tusedia Woods, Mary F. Atkins, Garland Cook, Fannie Cook Todd, Joining in 1894: Leroy W. Cunningham, Joseph Sisson, Luther M. Sanders, Thomas A. Edwards, Francis D. Baird Keller, Mauda T. Sharon?, William J. Rickman. Joining in 1895: T.C. Mitchell, John F. Cunningham, Julie E. Cunningham, Mahala Edwards, Altha Cook Sprouse, Millie C. Lavender, Freadie F. Lavender, Ely H. Sanders, Albert L. Cunningham.

Members joining in 1896 were: William M. Sanders, John S. Lavender, W.C. Lavender, Mary A. Keller, Effie L. Mordecai, Ether J. Cook, Elizabeth Sisson, Mary Perkins, Martha Baird, Thomas J. Baird, G.E. Sanders, Mary Sanders Sims, F. Eldridge Baird, Alma Stanford, Fannie Cunningham, Martha J. Baird Sanders, Ettie J. Rickman, Delia Hoots, Merica J. Sanders, William J. Hoots, John F. Baird, Alexander Perkins, James Baird, Henry F. Cunningham, Martha J. Sprouse, Lelar Perkins, Liddia A. Baird, Bettie Sanders, William Perkins, George Baird, Martin Atkins, Emma Montgomery.

Members joining in 1897: John F. Cunningham, Leroy W. Cunningham, Albert Cunningham, Julia Cunningham, Maggie Kemp Sykes, Rosie A. Clines, Albert Mordecai, M. Thos. Atkins, Fannie Sisson, Addie Terry (marked through) Baird Burk, Emma Sanders, Mary A. Weather, Ellen C. Burks, William T. Stanford, Ada Stanford Sprouse.

Joining in 1898: Moody A. Stanford Sims, Guy Cunningham. Joining in 1899: Kirk Fortner, Nancy E. Fortner Smith, Bettie Smith, Mahala Campbell, John Baird, Mattie Baird, E.N. Rickman, L.M. Rickman, P.M. Rickman, Jim Rickman, Claudie Rickman. Joining in 1900: Louelle R. Mitchel, Franklin H. Baird, James T. Smith, Joseph J. Cunningham, Alabama Rickman, Mrs. G.W. Stanford.

In 1903 members joining were:.John F. Baird, Susan Smith. No members were recorded from 1904 to 1915. Perhaps the book was misplaced. Members joining in 1916 were: Morris Cunningham. Members joining in 1917 were: Pearlie Smith Bates, Gracid Smith Cash, Maudie Rickman, Mrs. Thomas A. Bates, Mrs. Bluford Cash. Members joining in 1918 were: Eula Rickman, Jala Rickman, Mrs. Purvey M. Rickman, Purvey M. Rickman, James A. Rickman, Mrs. James A. Rickman. Members joining in 1919 were: Jim Sprouse, Harvie Sprouse, Rosella Sprouse, Bill Sprouse, Pearlie Baird. Members joining in 1920 were: Luther Mordecai, Roy Marshal, Mrs. Etta Mordecai.

Sabra N. Sudberry.  All rights reserved.  Permission granted to Allison Saxman to place this article on the official Lamar County ALGenWeb site.  No other use is permitted.

Source:  The Heritage of Lamar County, AL 2000 Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., County Heritage, Inc. and The Lamar County Heritage Book Committee (copies are still available)


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