The 1806 to 1836 evolution of the Old Federal Road from a postal horse path to a strategic military road to the primary thoroughfare for white settlers bound for the Alabama Territory set the stage for the settlement of The Ridge communities of Fort Bainbridge (now Boromville), Creek Stand and Warrior Stand. While still in the east, many settlers destined to reside in The Ridge were already closely allied through business and social activities and marriage.  To name a few, this group included the Burt, Chambliss, Ellison, Henderson, Hubbard, Key, Lloyd, Mahone, McLeod, Pace, Reed, Reynolds, Talbot and Watts families.  Several of these families migrated to Georgia's Putnam, Talbot and Harris counties before finally settling in The Ridge.

The settlers came from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia to grow cotton in the fertile Black Belt soil.  They were drawn by reports, sometimes exaggerated, that abundant crops and property awaited in the new territory.  "Alabama Fever" was the name given to the mass migration of settlers and their slaves.  The most fertile Black Belt soil was actually found in areas south and west of The Ridge.  In The Ridge, the soil was quite sandy, but The Ridge was included in the hype just the same.

In the pioneer days, it was common for men to seek marital prospects within a five mile radius of where they lived.  The marriage of siblings in one family to siblings in another family was not at all unusual.  This is exactly what occured with the Ellison brothers, Dr. James E. and Joseph Matthew who migrated to Creek Stand from Talbot County, Georgia between 1840 and 1850.  James E. married Mary Elizabeth Key and Joseph married Camilla Searcy Key.  Mary and Camilla were the daughters of Henry Key III.

After the Civil War and during the decline of the cotton boom, the white population began an exodus out of The Ridge.  This was due largely to the shift from cotton to row crops.  The sandy soil, unable to sustain planters beyond a subsistence level, became a nemesis and drove farmers in search of better opportunity to places like Texas. Farmers who remained in The Ridge relied on tenant farming as a means of survival and they engaged former slaves as a tenant labor force.  The trend lasted until the late 1930s.  By 1940, the number of white descendants of the original pioneers trickled to a tiny percentage and landownership shifted to African-Americans.

Alphabetical listings of white family surnames from the 1840 and 1870 U.S. Federal Census Population Schedules provide a snapshot of the white families who settled The Ridge.  In 1840, the area of enumeration was the entire county of Macon and was not limited to The Ridge and surrounding areas.  The 1870 listing provides an overview of those families who remained after the Civil War.  By 1870, the enumeration district was redefined as the Warrior Stand Beat and was narrowed down to The Ridge and several surrounding communities. Alphabetical lists from 1850, 1860, 1880 and from 1900-1940 will be added in future updates to the website. 

  • Click here for an alphabetical listing of white family surnames appearing on the 1840 U.S. Federal Census population schedule for Macon, Alabama.  
  • Click here for an alpha listing of white family surnames appearing on the 1870 U.S. Federal census population schedules for the Warrior Stand Beat,   If a name on the 1870 list is hyper-linked, click on the link for additional genealogy and history. 

Free Pioneers and Descendants of The Ridge