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JoLee Gregory Spears

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Ridgeway - Charlotte Co., VA

36° 59' 15"N, 78° 46' 51"W - Topo map

"P. Carrington" on Section 12 of 1864 J. F. Gilmer Confederate Map

Submitted by Kathy Liston

Ridgeway Presbyterian Church was an African-American church founded in 1876 by Rev. Abel Davis. According to his granddaughter, Lorna Hassell, Abel Davis was a slave on Ridgeway Plantation in Roanoke District, owned by the Carringtons. Shortly before the end of the Civil War, Mr. Carrington told his slaves that they were free and owned by no one but themselves. He told them that they weren't Carringtons, so they should choose new names. Some of them took Davis and others took Canada as their new surnames. During slavery the Carrington slaves attended Presbyterian services at nearby Roanoke Church. Abel Davis already had a reputation as a preacher among his people, and after freedom he continued preaching. Finally, Mrs. Carrington went to him and told him that if he was going to continue preaching he needed a church; she offered to give him an acre of Ridgeway plantation if he would build a church. The result was Ridgeway Presybeterian.

In the late 20th century the congregation merged with Gethsemane United Presybeterian church in Drakes Branch, and the church building was abandoned. It fell into disrepair and was razed several years ago, but the cemetery remains and is still in limited use. It is located on Coles Ferry Road (Route 649), east of Ridgeway Road (Route 678) in the Aspen area of Charlotte County. There are maybe a dozen unmarked graves --- some have fieldstones, others probably had wooden markers that rotted. There are 27 marked headstones or metal markers; the list follows (I have tried to group the names as the graves are grouped).

Kathy Liston


Clarence Baker, PVT, US Army, WWII, Jan 4, 1915 - Dec 2, 1977

Clarence Wilson Baker, US Army, Vietnam, Dec 7, 1943 - Nov 22, 1994

Mrs. Pearl Jenning - died Apr 22, 1988

Arthur T. Evans - Dec 7, 1911 - Feb 9, 1966

Nathaniel Evans - died dec 17, 1967, age 42

Carthon P. Elam 1941-1998

Thomas Elam 1953-1972

Lawrence Elam 1959-1996

Mathilda F. Elam, June 3, 1910 - May 13, 1972

John L. Fields, Nov 1,1880 - Nov 28, 1971

Rosa W. Fields, Mar 9, 1885 - Mar 7, 1929

(John and Rosa were Mathilda's parents)

Philip Sydnor Elam, died 2001 or 2002 --- Philip was Mathilda's husband.

His marker is missing but I remember seeing his grave last year. I can get

an exact date if anyone needs it. The next group are Philip's grandchildren

(I think Mathilda's as well, but I don't have their marriage date).

Fredrick Townsend 1970 - 1992

Terry Townsend 1969 - 1988

Troy Townsend 1965 - 1980

Shirley Townsend 1955 - 1968

Rev. Abel Davis, May 15, 1818 - June 12, 1898 (Rev. Davis was the founder of

the church. There is a grave next to his has only a fieldstone marker,

however they are both surrounded by a lovely wrought iron fence so I assume

it is his wife.

Abel D. Davis, Sr., "Father," Oct 6, 1882 - Nov 20, 1966

Raymond Francis Davis, CPL, US Army, WWII, 1917 - 1991

Chancey M. Davis, PFC, US Army, Jan 10, 1922 - Mar 25, 1994

Mary Jane Lewis, "Mother," died July 13, 1944

Anthony Lewis, "Father," died July 20, 1943

Hannah Davis 1847 - 1915 (this grave is also surrounded by a wrought iron


Mrs. Nannie R. Davis, died June 1941?

Bert C. Davis, died April 25, 1936, age 17

Elsie Walker, 1879 - June 24, 1948

Anne Pride, wife of George Pride, died May 18, 1904 (surrounded by iron


Jeff Lewis, Virginia, PVT 1, CL94 ENGRS, May 6, 1907 - Oct 7, 1942