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TALES from the FRONT PORCH

Ringgold County's Oral Legend & Memories Project

August 3, 2009 Road Trip

Leg 6: Mount Ayr and Merritt Cemetery, Ringgold County, Iowa

Perhaps the first Mount Ayr landmark in every child's mind, and in the memory of all the grown-up children, is the Dairi Sweet, located along Highway 2 on the south edge of town. The only feature that has changed since I was a child is the drive-up addition on the south side of the building.

The Ringgold County Agriculture Society was established on June 18, 1859. In 1888, the Society changed its name to the Ringgold County Fair Association. The Ringgold Record published an advertisement on September 4th of 1890, which read "Second Annual Fair of the Ringgold County Fair Association. Good Music - Exciting Races." This fair was held September 9th, 10th, and 11th of 1890. Ringgold County's Fair was held on its present 40 acres in the 1920's. It featured a race track. The fair went broke and was sold to E. S. DOWNIE. In the 1930's the fair was called the Fall Festival. Sometime in the 1930's the fair board bought back the 40 acres from E. S. DOWNIE and was controlled by stock holders. Articles of incorporation were drawn up in 1938. Ringgold County's Fairgrounds are located north of Mount Ayr on the east side of Highway 169.

Jackson Hill School No. 8, Monroe Township, was built in the 1880's, was closed in 1954. It was moved from its original site to a nearby farm and served as a voting site during elections. The school was used for storage until it was moved again in 1992 to the Ringgold County Fairgrounds on the north edge of Mount Ayr along Highway 169. Jackson Hill School is open during the Ringgold County Fair in July and by appointment.

Merritt Cemetery

After leaving Mount Ayr, we went through the country, stopping at Merritt Cemetery, located southwest of Kellerton. We never did find Shaha, Thompson, Oakland and Tedrow Cemeteries. So we drove to Lamoni where we visited with my mother, Norma.

Photographs by Sharon R. Becker, August 3, 2009
Submitted by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009


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