ON MY WAY TO A CEMETERY…..
Overgrown, and full of poison ivy, or was it poison oak? It had five leaves…either way, I don’t think I am allergic.I say this, because, this is the second cemetery I have trampled through in three days, and no signs of an allergic reaction. I was headed to Mooresville cemetery to do a couple of photo requests for FindaGrave. I have been to Mooresville cemetery before, but, it was prior to all the underbrush growing and the emergence of the poison oak or ivy. The last time I was there, I took a few photos to post.I thinkit is a shame that this cemetery is so poorly kept. It should be a project for a Boy Scout group or something. Many of the crypts are broken and illegible.
I took a trip through the town of Mooresville. I never knew about this charming neighborhood. I had driven through a time or two. This time, I took photos.
Mooresville is located between Decatur and Madison, just south of I 565 and hwy 20. It is a beautiful town, with several historic churches, a few quaint restaurants and some grand homes.
Below are some historic paragraphs from ” Mooresville 2006 and Mooresville 2009 ”
Mooresville’s history began in 1805 when the first settlers arrived in the area and set up homesteads on lands occupied by the Chickasaw Indians. The Indians later ceded the land to the Federal Government and public land sales began in 1816. Limestone County was established as part of the Alabama Territory at that time, and had a population of about 4,500. On October 15, 1818, the sixty-two residents of Mooresville petitioned the Alabama Territorial Legislature for an Act of Incorporation, which the Legislature approved on November 16 of the same year; “Be it enacted by the Legislative Council and House of Representatives at the Alabama Territory, in general assembly convened, that the town of Mooresville in the county of Limestone in the Alabama Territory, be, and the same is hereby, established by the name of ‘Mooresville.’” Alabama did not become a state until a year later, in November 1819, making Mooresville “the town older than the state.”
Cotton was king in the Tennessee Valley and the lovely houses and shady streets of the town were home to many cotton planters, field workers and merchants. Some of the present inhabitants are descendants of those original settlers. The town appears untouched by time, but many details have changed over the years. The business community that supported the agricultural base before the turn of the century has disappeared, and the town is now more given to shade trees, decorative shrubbery, lawns, gardens and flowers.
Although a few of Mooresville’s current residents farm nearby fields, many work in the neighboring metropolitan areas of Decatur and Huntsville. Mooresville is now a quiet historic village, nestled between these larger cities. Early 19th century homes, including one that housed a tailor’s apprentice named Andrew Johnson, share the streets with newer homes. Andrew Johnson later went on to become President of the United States.
The town maintains two churches, including the old white clapboard Church of Christ where President James A. Garfield once preached. The Post Office and the Stagecoach Inn and Tavern are also maintained by the town’s residents in an effort to preserve some pieces of history. Often referred to as “Alabama’s Williamsburg,” the entire town of Mooresville is now included in the current listings of the National Register of Historic Places.
One of the more distinctive buildings in Mooresville is the Old Brick Church built in 1839 on Lauderdale Street. The property on which the church stands was donated by Governor Thomas Bibb and his wife, Pamela, to be used for a community church. The Cumberland Presbyterian denomination owned the building until the Methodists bought it in 1898. It has also served as a Baptist mission. Regular worship services have not been held in the church since the 1960’s. In October 1994, the United Methodist Church conducted a deconsecration service and passed ownership to the town.
The bricks of the church are unusually symmetrical for handmade bricks. The bricks on the gallery level on the front were replaced after the support log deteriorated and the original brick fell out. The steeple’s original large wooden hand pointing to heaven fell in the early 1990’s. A replacement was carved by the late Frank T. “Bubba” Richardson of Mooresville and Dr. Dyrc Sibrans of Decatur and was placed on the steeple at a ceremony in May 2005.
Built during the Greek Revival period, elaborate pilasters stand on the east side of the church facing the street. They were omitted on the less public west side of the building, due no doubt to frugality. The columns are covered with stucco, a common practice to this area. The gallery once used by slaves, was removed after emancipation. The floor joists of the balcony have been raised and are now used for the ceiling. The church originally had five chandeliers, one of which ws donated by Mary “Mollie” Walton. When the Cumberland Presbyterians split among themselves in 1880, everything was removed from the church except the Walton chandelier. The Methodists refurnished the church with altar rails, the pews, the podium and the organ that are still present today. The 1905 reed, or pipe, organ was restored to full working order by Mr. Coleman Kimbrell of Florence, Alabama.
In the 1870’s, Constantine Blackman Sanders, called the “X+Y=Z Preacher, ” was minister at the church. He was credited with the ability to make predictions, help the ill, assist in locating lost objects and relate happenings in other locations while in a sleep or trance. “X+Y=Z” was the signature he signed to his writings during “sleep” sessions.
The venerable white clapboard Church of Christ on Market Street was originally built in 1854 as the Disciples of Christ meeting house. The church site was purchased from James Clements of Madison County in 1851. The entry vestibule and the rear wing were added in or around 1937. The uneven lap of the clapboards seems unusual to the modern eye, but is common to buildings of this period. The architecture of the church is in the Greek Revival style although the detailing is reminiscent of the earlier Federal period. The reason for this discrepancy may have been that the more elaborate Greek Revival detailing was a bit too expensive for the modest congregation. Another theory is that those who were in charge of the building did not want it to appear “too modern.”
General James A. Garfield, who would later become the twentieth President of the United States, preached here in 1863 while encamped at Bibb’s Spring with the 42nd Regiment of the Ohio Volunteers. The Bible he is said to have used was kept at the church until recently. This historic book was eventually removed for preservation and restoration.