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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Arab in Marshall County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

1883 Methodist Church Cemetery

 
 
1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Johnny Tidmore, August 29, 2010
1. 1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker
Inscription. A congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church North erected a log church, possibly named Pleasant Hill Methodist Church, adjacent to this cemetery in 1883. The church served as Arab's first school. The earliest marked grave is 1883, though older unmarked graves are likely present. In 1897 the congregation moved to Union Hill. The cemetery continued to be used into the early 1940s by the Methodist Episcopal Church South founded in 1892, which later became First United Methodist Church. Buried here are town founder Stephen Tuttle Thompson and other early settlers of the area. Civil War veterans including Confederate Private James L. McWhorter and Union Captain James Walter Elliott are also found here.
 
Erected 2008 by Mr. and Mrs. Sidney L. McDonald - Listed in the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.
 
Location. 34° 19.154′ N, 86° 29.712′ W. Marker is in Arab, Alabama, in Marshall County. Marker is on Shoal Creek Trail NE 0.1 miles east of North Main Street (Alabama Highway 69), on the left when traveling east. Click for map. The marker is located at the center of the cemetery within the fence. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 Shoal Creek Trail NE, Arab AL 35016, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are
1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Johnny Tidmore, August 24, 2010
2. 1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker
within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First Arab High School (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Farmer's Exchange (approx. 0.2 miles away); Stephen Tuttle Thompson (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Baptist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); First United Methodist Church (approx. 1.1 miles away); Bear Meat Cabin Road (approx. 1.5 miles away); Gilliam Springs Baptist Church (approx. 1.6 miles away); Brashier's Chapel Cemetery (approx. 2.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Arab.
 
Regarding 1883 Methodist Church Cemetery. By Janet Calhoun, Arab Historical Society (2008):

During 1883, the Methodist Episcopal Church North established a church and a cemetery in what became downtown Arab. It is believed to have been called "Pleasant Hill".

The log church building, which was located south of the cemetery where Wilks Tire is today, was used for both church and school. The cemetery is now owned by the city of Arab and was recently added to the Alabama Historic Register of Cemeteries.

In 1889, the Rev. Joe Williams, pastor of the Summit circuit, transferred the Brashier Chapel congregation to the church in Arab. In 1897 the Northern Methodist moved their membership to Union Hill (south of Arab) and built a church there. Most likely the little church building ceased to be used
1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Johnny Tidmore, August 24, 2010
3. 1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker
after they moved.

Burials took place in the cemetery until 1930 when the city opened Arab Memorial Cemetery. Afterward, many loved ones were moved from the old cemetery and placed near other family members in the new one.

Flowers on some of the graves attest to the fact that there are still caring relatives of those buried there.

A good number of the early Arab families buried there were moved, but many remain. Included in the list is Stephen Tuttle Thompson, founder of the town.

Names on the markers include one Union captain, four Confederate privates and one World War I soldier. Grave markers of many women and children attest to the hard times, sicknesses and early deaths of the area's first settlers.

Various types of markers are found in the old cemetery, ranging from those beautifully made by professionals to those that are only sandstone slabs with a name scraped by hand. Some graves don't have any marker.

Some very early graves are entirely covered by large sandstone slabs placed either flat on the ground or sitting on a foundation of rocks. (The latter ones are called box tombs). They were used to keep cattle from falling into the graves during the days of open range.

As the years have passed, worse things than cattle have worn down or destroyed many markers. Some have been broken, and time itself has been a
1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Johnny Tidmore, August 24, 2010
4. 1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker
villain corroding the stones and their markings.

As early as 1883, there was only one store, a mere trail for Main Street, and horses and wagons parked all around the log church. In fact the "town" had only had the name of Arab for a year when the cemetery was first opened.

UPDATE by Johnny Tidmore (2011): The City of Arab spent a year restoring and improving this historical cemetery, completing the work in Summer 2010. A new powder-coated wrought iron fence has replaced the dilapidated chain-link fence surrounding the graveyard. The fence was funded by donations from citizens and organizations; commemorative plaques are placed on the section of fence each donor funded.

There is a new entrance gate with lamp posts, night time lighting, and spotlights for the United States flag.
 
Additional keywords. Arab, Alabama Historical Commission
 
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches, Etc.Settlements & Settlers
 
1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Johnny Tidmore, August 24, 2010
5. 1883 Methodist Church Cemetery Marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Johnny Tidmore of Arab, Alabama. This page has been viewed 763 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Johnny Tidmore of Arab, Alabama. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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