Welcome to Haw Ridge, the Nance family’s Alabama cradle. It existed in another place and time along the eastern edge of Coffee County. Well, that’s debatable. Some maps show Haw Ridge in Dale County.
Reference material remains scarce, but this is what I’ve been able to drum up.
According to this article, Haw Ridge was a Civil War settlement that thrived until the early 1870s, when railroad construction lured businesses away. But even after that, families continued to live in the small community, including Henry Nance, my great-great-grandfather.
My older relatives confirmed this, and recalled visiting there.
The earliest record I’ve been able to find of the Nances in Haw Ridge was a 1900 U.S. Census. Henry and Annie Cotton Nance were living there with their 11 children. They lived there until at least 1920. Henry Nance died in Enterprise in 1926 and he and his wife were separated at the time. I haven’t able to find Annie Nance on any Census after 1920, but I know she lived with at least two of her children. She died in the late 1930s or early 1940s.
Jessie recalled that Annie lived with her and her mother, Sallie Mary Nance Britt (1898-1938). Annie Nance also lived with her son Oliver and his family in Pike County, Ala., just north of Coffee County.
This went on until the late 1930s.
“We had to move when they built Camp Rucker,” she recalled.
A family had to move because the government said so? Sounds like eminent domain to me. Stay tuned!