Preview of Travel Guide The Arkansas Delta Byways Travel Guide

Rough and Ready Cemetery

Graves from the first settlement in Drew County include some of Confederate soldiers. Early records show that the westward migration to Arkansas began long before Drew County was established. Stephen Gaster settled on Bayou Bartholomew in 1832, and as this area became populated, new immigrants moved into the hill country of Drew County, known now as the Monticello Ridge. The first village in this hill area was Rough and Ready, located adjacent to the cemetery, one mile south of present-day Monticello . The first court proceedings were held here also. Rough and Ready was the logical site for the county seat since it was situated on a broad-topped hill of approximately ten acres, much like a plateau, breaking off into sharp ravines on the north and west, and merging with other elevations on the south and east. The last Civil War skirmish in Arkansas took place at Rough and Ready Hill in May 1865, a few weeks after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The Rough and Ready Cemetery, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is all that remains of the early village. It often has been assumed that the town was named in honor of Gen. Zachary Taylor, who achieved fame in the 1830s wars with the Indians.  Others believe, however, that the name came from the numerous rowdy frontiersmen who inhabited the town, which boasted a hotel and tavern where almost anything could happen but a good night’s sleep.  Among the burials are Agnes Nisbett Fee (1786-1867), who moved to the area in 1854 from South Carolina to live near her daughter and son-in-law, Benjamin Culp Hyatt and Agnes Fee Hyatt.   Agnes Fee had 13 members of her immediate family killed and four grievously wounded during the Civil War, and it is said that she died of a broken heart.    

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AR 19 Approx. 1 mile SE of Monticello Civic Center, Monticello, Arkansas