BY VIVIAN TAYLOR
In December 1819, Butler County was newly formed and sparsely inhabited. Cotton was a lucrative commodity and timber was becoming a booming industry.
Farming was not an option, it was a necessity. You ate what you grew, sold what was leftover and prepared a storehouse for winter months.
As pioneers broke new ground and roads were carved out of wilderness, settlements began to dot the landscape.
Men cut trails through virgin timber to create roads leading to what they deemed as prime land. By mid to late 1800’s, Georgiana was a thriving town surrounded by outcroppings of small communities.
One such community was approximately three miles west of Georgiana. Families with surnames of Morrow, Griffin, Black, Lowe, Goodwin and Barlow, among others, were slowly settling down and successfully farming while growing their families.
As the community population increased, the need for a cemetery, school and church became increasingly evident.
The land on which Morrow Cemetery and Schoolhouse is located was donated to the community for that sole purpose by Joseph J. Morrow.
The deed was not publicly donated to the community until Sept. 2, 1933, and signed from J. J. Morrow for a sum of $0.50 to W. H. Black, G. W. Goodwin and J. J. Morrow for the purpose of a community cemetery.
The Judge of Probate, John S. Golson, approved it and, for a recording fee of $0.65, it was recorded in deed book Record 45, page 491.
The reason for the deferred recording of this land transaction has been lost to time.
The first known interment is Dempsey Powell son of Mrs. Elsie Powell, a teacher. His death occurred in September 1889.
The precise year in which the original school/church was built remains a mystery. However, research concludes that it was circa 1901.
A few years prior to this Mr. Phillip Burkett, a young preacher, came through the area spreading the gospel.
He fell sick, died and is buried in Morrow Schoolhouse Cemetery. It is believed that he was instrumental in encouraging the community to erect a building in which children could be educated and God could be worshipped.
In the early 1900’s, Morrow Schoolhouse was a hub of community activity. In addition to serving as a school and church, it was abuzz with singings and community meetings.
According to a December 1912 Butler County News article, Morrow Schoolhouse had 32 students ranging in age from elementary to high school.
A December 1916 article refers to a Sacred Harp Singing Class held at Morrow Schoolhouse as well as an announcement for Sunday Worship Service.
Although its origin date remains unknown, we do know that the original wood-framed building burned in late 1924, and doors to the current building were officially opened in 1925 as a church and school. Miss Jane Baxter of Clio, Alabama, was the teacher for the 1926 school year.
This building and cemetery are both vital to the legacy of the Morrow Schoolhouse Community. Here families bestow respect, historians seek information, and our heritage is enriched.
Devotion, pride, and remembrance pay tribute to accomplishments of our ancestors, and it exists because every life is worth loving and remembering.