History of the Ames Plantation Land Base

Settlement of the Ames Plantation area began about 1820 when John T. Patterson established a homestead on the North Fork of the Wolf River. Settlement was rapid, particularly during the 1830's and 40's with many settlers coming from the Carolinas, Virginia, Alabama and Middle Tennessee. Settlers traveled overland hauling their belongings in carts or covered wagons, driving their livestock along. Some traveled the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers to one of the tributaries of the Mississippi where their journey turned upstream into the interior of West Tennessee.

Early settlers of today’s Ames Plantation land base include Robert Cotten, John W. Hunt, Elisha W. Harris, David Jernigan, John W. And Wiley B. Jones, William M. May, Benjamin and M. B. Moody, Alexander McNeill, Willis Person, David Putney, Robert Thornton, Nathaniel Ragland, and William Whitaker.

The production of cotton was foremost on the minds of most of the settlers. Plantations were established on thousands of acres of newly cleared land. This cotton plantation based economy thrived from the 1830's until the Civil War. The Ames Plantation includes the sites of several 19th century plantations. Some of the plantation owners or "planters" were: Thomas E. Chambers, Matthew B. Dyer, Benjamin Moody, Fanny Dickens, John W. Hunt, David Jernigan, John W. Jones, Wiley B. Jones, Alexander McNeill, William Winfield, Elisha W. Harris, and Beverly Holcombe.

Along with the end of the Civil War came an end to the plantation tradition of the Old South. Much of the old plantation lands were shifted to the share-crop arrangement of farming. This practice continued throughout the remainder of the 19th century.

Historically significant sites found at the Ames Plantation include: the Ames Manor constructed in 1847 by John W. Jones, the homestead of John T. Patterson, one of the earliest in Fayette County, and the homestead of Robert G. Thornton which was the location of the first court session held in Fayette County in 1824. Other important sites of local historical interest include: the location of the Mount Comfort (Morgan’s) Store, Andrews Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, the town site of Pattersonville, and the earliest documented burial in Fayette County.