George Ricks Cemetery

George Ricks was brought to this country in 1846 from Liberia to Jamestown, Virginia.  He was sold as a slave to Abraham Ricks.  He became the first Black land owner in North Alabama by planting cotton on Saturday evenings and picking it by the moon light.  Of the 53 acres he purchased, he gave three acres as a cemetery near The Oakes east of Tuscumbia to bury former Black slaves of the community.

Unique to the cemetery are the handmade headstones of concrete. Names and date of birth and death were carved into the wet concrete. A few graves still don’t have headstones, and the name tags long gone.  A couple of children’s graves from 2008 are marked with half of  a concrete block.

Several of the older headstones the person buried does not have a date of birth, only date of death.

Photography by Mary Carton

grave of George Ricks

grave of George Ricks

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8 Responses to George Ricks Cemetery

  1. Bette Terry says:

    At one time you could purchase a mold for cemetery markers from Sears & Roebuck. My uncle Joseph Allen Terry had one and made many markers for the indigent in Limestone County. Mr. Ricks sounds like a wonderful man born much too early.

  2. Milton Sledge Jr says:

    Thanks for sharing the pictures of the markers. I was able to trace my roots back to the Ricks/Oak Plantation and found this site. I am a “Sledge” and seeing Abbie Sledge and Irvin Sledge made everything so real to me.

    I’m from the line of Robert Sledge who had 2 brothers name Andy, Manuel and sister named Catherine and their parents name was Ely Sledge and his wife Ellen Miller. Hope to be able to travel and come visit the cemetery in the near future to see more and pay my respects.

  3. Thank you for posting this. George Ricks was my 3rd great-grandfather.

  4. Thank you for posting this. George Ricks was my 4th great-grandfather.My grandfather Percy has told me so many stories about this Great man. Still telling me stories at the age 91 and still has his right mind.IM his Granddaughter Percena Ricks.

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