By Mary Alice Beatty Carmichael
History, long ago and recent
Since the middle 1950’s when stalwart members and lovers of the old little wooden church of Mt. Moriah realized it had to be restored or rebuilt because of its aging condition.
They concluded it would be better to rebuild with more permanent materials, and the new brick Chapel was built.
This has been called “The Church That Would Not Die.” The last pastor, Wm. H. Camplain, served from 1940-1941.
Its last enrolled member, Rose Fitzgerald Luckie, died in 1971 approximately 15 or 16 years after the old wooden mid-19th century church had been replaced with the new chapel and its dedication had taken place.
A photo recently surfaced of Claude Thomas and Rose (Fitzgerald) Luckie, known by most in this small but closely-knit community as “Cud’n Claude” and “Cud’n Rose.” This photo was made at the church at its Dedication after its rebuilding.
It is historically delightful and with historical value to this little church. The photograph was published in the Greenville Advocate on June 14, 1956, and obtained by Martha (Grimes) Lampkin from the internet.
Mt. Moriah Church was formed in 1828, nine years after Alabama gained Statehood, and while the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, was in the last year of his presidency.
Its cemetery was listed in 2012 on the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register. In the cemetery, in an unmarked grave, is Revolutionary War patriot, Col. Richard Warren, as reported by an eyewitness in an 1835 contemporary Greenville article detailing his death and burial at Mt. Moriah.
Also sleeping there are a number of people who arrived in this area during the Mississippi Territory years, the Alabama Territory years and the earliest days of Alabama’s Statehood.
They then lived in the area through the years of the America-Indian Wars, War of 1812, Mexican Wars, The War Between the States, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and up to the present day.
When Claude T. Luckie was born on July 5, 1882, Chester A. Arthur was the U.S. President and still was when Claude’s wife, Rose Fitzgerald Luckie (the last living enrolled member of the church) was born on April 10, 1885.
At that time the church was 57 years old. When they married about 1904, Theodore Roosevelt was President. Claude’s great-great grandparents, James Steen (who fought in the War of 1812) and his wife Sarah (Stewart Stuart) were married probably a couple of years before 1792 when their first child was born in Sussex Co., Del.
They were here during the Alabama Territory days and were very early members of Mt. Moriah Church and were buried in its cemetery within a decade of its founding.
Claude and Rose had a lovely smaller home not far from the church. It was on the road that for decades was Butler County Road 7, on the south side of the road and had a huge root cellar dug between the pillars that supported it.
They came to this home immediately after their marriage and reared their four children Corrine, William Robert, Jack, and Rose there.
All were members of Mt. Moriah Church as had been six uninterrupted generations before them.
This first home was next door to one of Claude’s 40-years-older second cousins “twice removed” and their long-time community neighbor, William James Yeldell “Willy J.,” and his wife Sally (Atkins). Willy J., from his mother’s side was a great-grandson of Revolutionary War soldier Richard Warren who is buried in Mt. Moriah Cemetery in an unmarked grave.
Warren came from Georgia in 1803 into what was then the Mississippi Territory but is now Conecuh County, Alabama.