Perry County, Alabama

Ocmulgee Baptist Church & Cemetery


 Ocmulgee Captist Church, org. 1820, Eastern edge of Perry Co., AL, across Ocmulgee Creek from Dallas Co. north of Selma, AL ~ Ross-Rochelle-Bryant tombstones to right of "Convention" on the sign


The nearest community to Ocmulgee Church is is Suttle, AL (which has only a house and store, but is on the map), on Co. or Farm Rd. 6 west of Ocmulgee Church. Just east of Ocmulgee Church is Oakmulgee Creek, the Perry-Dallas Co. line. Rd. 6 dead-ends a couple miles or so further east at AL Hwy. 37, which goes south to Selma, the seat of Dallas Co., AL.

North of Ocmulgee Church a few miles in Perry Co. is Oakmulgee Div. of Talladega National Forest, different spelling, out of which flows southward Oakmulgee Creek. The church has been there and had its name since about 1828, so maybe the National Forestry Service changed its spelling up there.

Ocmulgee is about 25 mi. E.S.E. of the county seat of Marion, and across the big Cahaba River from it.

On the 1850 census, Sarah E. J. Rochelle Ross and her sister Mary Bryant (daughters of Anderson Rochelle and wife Nancy Ann Harrison) were enumerated on Oak Grove Beat, in dwelling #5.

Its Cemetery is well maintained and the tall white stones in center of the picture (right of the sign above) are our family's: James W. Ross (husband of Sarah E. J. Rochelle), Nancy Ann Harrison Rochelle, and Thomas G. Bryant (husband of Mary Rochelle), and two small sons of James W. Ross's brother John Alfred Ross. Anderson Rochelle's stone is lying on the ground broken. The adults' stones all have a Tree of Life symbol at the top and begin "Sacred to the Memory of . . ."

Thomas G. Bryant, 12 Jan 1834- 24 Nov 1848, b. Fairfield Dist., SC, age 18 years
Anderson Rochelle , 25 Nov 1776 -5 Mar 1843, b. Kershaw Dist., SC
Mrs. Ann Rochelle, 15 Apr 1786- 12 Mar 1846, b. Fairfield Dist., SC
James H. Rochelle , 23 Apr 1813 -2 Sep 1839 , b. Fairfield Dist., SC
James W. Ross, 4 Jan 1804- 6 Apr 1848, b. Fairfield Dist., SC
Osmund Alfred Ross , 26 Jan 1845 -8 Sep 1846 , b. Fairfield Dist. SC, d. Perry Co., AL
William Abner Ross , 8 Mar 1842- 6 Sep 1846, son John Alfred & Mary Goodwyn Ross, b. Fairfield Dist SC, d. Perry Co. AL

Ocmulgee Baptist Church in the S.E. corner of Perry Co., AL, has been in continuous operation since 1820. Also well maintained is the portion of the Cemetery (behind and to left of Church) for blacks. Slaves were on the same Church rolls.

Columns: Name -- Received -- Dismissed -- Died -- Restored

Mary A. [Rochelle] Bryant, Received 28 May 1842, Dismissed 25 Oct 1851

Margaret Ross -- Received 10 Jul 1825, Dismissed Jan 1826 (relationship unknown)*
Nancy Rochelle -- Received 23 Mar 1839, Died 12 Mar 1846
Sarah E. [Rochelle] Ross -- Received 23 Mar 1839 , Dismissed 25 Oct 1851
Anderson Rochelle -- Received 26 Nov 1841 , Died 5 Mar 1843
James W. Ross -- Received 26 Aug 1843 , Died 6 Apr 1848 , Restored 25 Apr 1846
Mary W. [Ross] Mims, Received 19 Oct 1844, Dismissed 25 Oct 1851

Perry Co. Wills

The will of James W. Ross was written in December 1847, only eighteen months after his mother-in-law's, and recorded May 23, 1848.

Final Settlement, Estate of Dr. James H. Rochelle, son of Anderson and Nancy Ann, brother of Sarah and Mary, January 6, 1842.

 The State of Alabama, Perry County }

Orphans Court Perry County, Jany. the 6th 1842, this day came the final settlement of the Estate of Dr. James H. Rochell and It appearing to the court that publication has been regularly made for all persons having claims against said Estate to file Them with Clerk of County Court by the day of final settlement and it appearing to the Court that no claims have been filed, It is ordered by the Court that Anderson Rochell administrator pay over the sum of two hundred and twelve dollars to James W. Ross in right of his wife Sarah who was the sister of the decd Intestate and further that he pay over to T. C. Bryant on right of his wife Mary the sister of the decd intestate and that then the said Anderson Rochell adms go hence and be discharged.
O. C. Eiland, J. C. P.

The death of a son must be a poignant reminder of our own mortality, and Anderson Rochelle made his will a short time later.

Last Will and Testament of Anderson Rochelle, Decd.
STATE OF ALABAMA } February 28, 1842
PERRY COUNTY } In the name of God amen, I Anderson Rochelle of the State and County aforesaid, farmer, being weak in body, but sound in mind and memory, do make and detail this my last Will and Testament, in manner and form following..

1st - I commend my spirit to the God who gave it, and body to be buried in a Christian manner -

2nd - I give and bequeathe unto my affectionate wife Nancy Rochelle the following negro servants, viz, Phil and his wife Philis, their children Rachel Siras, Derry, George, Peter, Phil, Alfonso, Alonzo. negro James Pleasant and his wife Mary, their children. Anderson Rachel - Delah, Tom, Wanson, Peter, Charlotte, and Jesse - Saul and Mose Emeline & children Ester & Alexis, Mary & Child, Duncan, also six of my Choice mules, & one third of all my stock of Cows, hogs & plantation tools, also all my household & kitchen furniture.

3rd - I Loan unto my daughter Sarah E. Ross during her natural life and give unto the heirs of her body forever - the following named slaves and their future increase, viz, David & his wife Betsy, their children Harry, Becky, Lucy, Simon, Anderson, Martha, Francis Miles, Judy & wife, Amritta their children Bill, Dafney, Nicholas, Isaac, Harriette Eboned - Amy.

4th - I loan unto my daughter Mary Ann Briant, during her natural life, and give unto the heirs of her body forever, the following named Slaves, and their future increase, lla, their children, Eliza, Penney, Serena, Amy, Charles, Stephen Jacob and wife Susan their children John George AI. E. Stephens & wife Gimanda & child Willis, Siller & children, Rosetta, Louiser, Amelia, Mack Sidney, Pack, Guller.

5th - I wish all my servants & other personal property to remain in ossession of my Executors, until all my Just debts are paid. I authorize my Executors to sell my landed Estate, if they find it necessary for the payment of my debts. If necessity should require that personal property should be sold for the liquidation of my debts, I hereby direct that an equal portion of the slaves which I have, in third and fourth classes of this my will, loaned to my two daughters, be sold, so that the portion given to my wife Nancy Rochelle shall not be interfered with until all other means fail.

6th - I appoint my affectionate wife Nancy Rochelle and my son-in-law James W. Ross my lawful representatives to execute this my last Will & Testament --
Given under my hand & seal this Twenty-eighth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & forty-two.


In presence of
A. G. McGraw
Martin Fulmer
Robert Rives

Nancy Rochelle out-lived her husband by only four years, and her will named the same two daughters as heirs:

The State of Alabama }
Perry County } I Nancy Rochell of the State and County aforesaid being weak in body and mindful of death but of a sound and discerning mind and memory do make ordain, declare, and publish this my last will and testament, revoking all others and confirming and establishing this alone --
First, I commit my spirit to god who gave it &tc &tc --

Second, I will and bequeath that all my property which I have under and by virtue of the last will and testament of my decd. husband Anderson Rochelle after the payment of all my just debts against me be equally divided between my two daughters Sarah E. Ross and Mary A. Bryant to be for their sole and separate use during their natural lives and upon their death or either of them I give and bequeath to their children, heirs of their bodies, their deceased mother's share of said property --

Thirdly, I also give and bequeath to my two daughters to their sole and separate use during their natural lives in equal portions all right title and interest which I have or may have in the Estate of Richard B. Harrison deceased --to be equally divided between my two daughters on my decease and at the death of my two daughters or either of them, I give and bequeath to their children the share of their deceased mother --
Fourthly, any other property that I may have, the proffits and increase of the above mentioned property or from any other source whatsoever . . . a life estate . . . for the support, maintenance of my two daughters and their children, and for the raising and education of their children, and at their death that said property shall belong to their children respectively and should either of my daughters die before my decase, It is my will that the share of such decd. daughter shall belong to her children, and vest in them immediately upon my death --

Fifthly, it is my wish that what beds that I have to be divided between my two daughters in the following manner, that Mary A. Bryant have four of my beds, and Sarah E. Ross to have three and bed furniture to be divided in proportion, at my death -- Sixthly, for the purpose of carrying out and executing this my last will and testament, I appoint my worthy and trusty friends, Elias George - Leonard Butler and A. W. Jackson as my Executors . . .

I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 18th day of April one thousand eight hundred and forty-five.


Signed, sealed - published &
delivered in the presence of Solomon Smith
W. A. Tarrant, Charles C. Smith

Recorded 20th April 1846: Jno. Cunningham, Register

The widowed sisters Sarah and Mary lived together in the 1850 census and didn't divide but sold the land in June and August 1851. By the second sale, Sarah Ross was Sarah George.

There was an 1853 Alabama Supreme Court case involving the Rochelle estate:

 George et al vs Goldsby. Error to court of probate of Perry County. Anderson Rochelle d. 1842 leaving considerable real and personal estate. By his will he bequethed certain specific legacies to this wife Nancy Rochelle and to his two daughters Sarah E. Ross, wife of James Ross, and Mary Bryant, wife of Thomas Bryant. On 21 March 1842 letters testamentary were granted to two executors named in the will, Nancy Rochelle and James Ross, and on 22 December 1843 sealed articles of agreement were entered into by Nancy Rochelle, James Ross and wife Sarah, and Thomas Bryant and wife Mary and T. B. Goldsby of the other part.

On 17 November 1851 James W. Ross having died and his widow Sarah Ross having intermarried with Elias George and Thomas Bryant also having died leaving his widow Mary Bryant surviving, application was made by said Elias George and wife and Mary Bryant to probate court . . .

T. B. Goldsby, defendant in the above suit, died by 1871 when his will was probated in Dallas County, Alabama. A Mrs. Goldsby was a member of the same Ocmulgee Baptist Church.

James's brother John Alfred Ross appears not to have lived in Perry Co. but in Dallas Co., AL (just across a creek from Ocmulgee Church), of which Selma the county seat is much closer to Ocmulgee than Marion, the Perry Co. seat 25 miles away across a BIG river. John A. and wife Miss Godwin moved to DeSoto Parish, LA.

After the deaths of her parents and her husband James W. Ross, his widow Sarah Rochelle Ross and her widowed sister Mary Rochelle Bryant were enumerated in the same household in 1850 census on Oak Grove Beat. Each had a separate slave census and together owned about 100 slaves.

In 1851, Sarah agreed to marry James's "trusty friend" Elias George, former pastor of Ocmulgee Church, whose wife Ann Bass had died in Union Parish, LA, where they had moved. Sarah accepted Elias's proposal on condition that her widowed sister accompany her. James and Sarah must have been planning to join the Alabama group in Union Parish, for James gave specific permission in his Will for his wife and children to remove to Alabama.

Other Rosses in Perry Co.

A Nancy Ross married George Card in Perry Co. on July 1, 1829, license No. 391. Their household in the 1840 Perry County census had one male under 5, one male 5-10, two males 10-15, one male 30-40, one female under 5, and one female 30-40. Five children in ten years! They appear not to be the same family as ours, for in the 1850 census they were in Autauga County and George T. Card was 46, born NC, a sawyer. His wife Nancy was 43, born in KY. Their children were Edmund 20, Allen 17, Elizabeth 12, Francis 11, Jackson 10, Emily 8, Jane 7, and Thomas 4. Edmund and Allen's occupation was "stiller operative" (whiskey making). A descendant of George and Nancy tells me that Nancy's maiden name was Nancy D. Harriss, born 1806 in KY, died Nov 1850 in Perry Co., AL (dates from Harriss Bible). She had married 1st an unknown Ross, possibly before her family came to Perry Co. between 1827-30, who died soon, for she married George T. Card in 1829. Her and George's youngest three children were enumerated in Perry Co. in the Mers and Harriss household with their mother's family, and it is unknown where the older children and George went.

The earliest Ross deed found in Perry County was dated 1832, when Jesse Ross and wife sold land to P. J. Weaver; it was in Twp. 18, Range 7; next was from Lovin Ross and wife to George Oden in 1842, Twp. 19, Range 11; and next was from Henry Clift and wife to Thomas A. Ross in 1838 (Twp. 19, Range 11).

The next Ross deed was June 8, 1840, when our James W. Ross, bought part of Section 19, Twp. 18, Range 9). In 1842 Drury H. Ross bought two parcels of land. The 1830 Perry County census had Solomon Ross. What, if any, relationship these were to James is still unknown.

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