The history of Moody Brick and It’s PeoplePosted by penny
The Moody Brick is a two story, L-shaped house in the Kyles Community. It was probably built before 1855 for Carter Overton Harris (1800-1860) and his wife Mary Ann Hudson (1817-1897). it is interesting to note that the land where the Moody Brick is located was purchased by C. B Hudson on July 9, 1830 from the Huntsville Land Office. Hudson purchased a total of 160 acres in that transaction.
Who is buried behind the stone walls of the family cemetery? Is it Hudson and his wife, of could it be the builder of the house as Moody family legend has if? Carter Harris and his daughter, Pattie Kate (1841 1862), are buried outside the cemetery stone walls as are Moody family members. Other graves are also in the area, but unmarked, if Hudson and wife are buried in the family cemetery, then they probably had their log cabin near the site of the Brick and the cemetery.
Elizabeth Brown of the Alabama Historical Commission viewed the house in early 1991 at the request of Jerry Carter of Jackson County. Elizabeth reported that “Robert Gamble, noted authority on Alabama architecture, thinks that the house may be the work of Hiram Higgins, an early architect who worked in the Tennessee Valley. He designed the old courthouses in Scottsboro and Moulton, several school buildings in both Athens and Talladega, and houses in many locations.” Elizabeth’s report noted Gamble saying “that the fact that the house is brick with pilasters is a Higgins indicator”. The Courthouse in Scottsboro was built many years following the construction of the Moody Brick; however, this information may be a clue to the name of the builder.
The Brick remained the property of Mary Ann Harris after her husband’s death in 1860, until it was purchased in 1872 or 73 at an estate sale. Brothers Miles Norton Moody (1835-1912) and James Warren Moody (1839-1912) of Langston, Alabama, purchased the house and farm and a third brother, John became manager of the farm.
Family Bible records, newspaper accounts, and Moody family tradition tell the story of the house.
Three cemeteries are on the Moody farm – a family cemetery, a slave cemetery, and a Yankee Civil War cemetery. All three cemeteries are marked. Tradition tells that the Brick residence was used as a hospital following the Chickamauga and Chattanooga campaigns in 1863 and 1864, when all of Jackson County’s valley along the two railroads saw camp after camp of Union soldiers.
The following newspaper article from a Jackson County newspaper (probably The Alabama Herald) describes the house and farm after the Civil War era when it was returned to its pre war prime by its new owners Miles and James Warren Moody.
THE MOODY FARM. Interesting Description from our Fackler Correspondent. – FACKLER, ALA., June 14, 1879. EDITOR CITIZEN: -
As I have just returned from a general ride over the “Moody Farm,” I hope you will allow me space in your valuable paper to speak of what I saw and what I know about it, hoping that other large land owners may be stimulated to follow their example, And let me assure you here that this is not intended for a “puff,” but a mere tribute to industry and fair dealing; and I hope the Messrs. Moody will pardon the liberty I here assume. The FARM contains about 2,500 acres; more than 1000 of which are cleared and in a high state of cultivation. Originally it was an excellent body of land, and its owners prized it only for the number of bales of cotton it produced, and cultivated it exclusively with that view, it is but reasonable to suppose the soil had become tired and worn. When purchased by the Messrs. Moody five or six years ago, it was in a woefully dilapidated condition – the fences all down — the land grown up in sedge grass and bushes – the hill-sides all washed off – and the fine brick building so much abused and neglected, as to present an inviting retreat for ghosts and hob-goblins generally. But money and industry can work wonders in the way of IMPROVEMENTS.
The fences have been repaired, and a great deal of substantial new plank fencing added; the sedge grass and bushes have all disappeared, the red hills have doffed their scarlet robes and donned a coat of living green; while the dwelling has been so thoroughly renovated and beautified, that the most fustidious would be glad to occupy it. These improvements however develop themselves most clearly and satisfactorily, in the present growing CROPS.A large amount of wheat was sown on the place last year, most of which has already been harvested. The stand was not first-rate but the qrain is large and full and of an excellent quality. The oat crop, at one time thought to be worthless, will make a fair yield, and is entirely free from rust. The corn crop is rather late, but looks remarkably well, it is now growing rapidly, and will make an abundant yield, if no calamity befalls it. Cotton promises all the reasonable tenant could desire, and seems to have been well cultivated. In one large clover field I counted more than twenty head of colts and horses, and saw quite a number of hogs and cattle, all in fine condition. One other improvement I noticed which is more than worthy of mentioning here, and that is the pains they have taken and the expense the owners have been at, in providing for the comfort and the convenience of their numerous TENANTS.
Nearly all of them are provided with neat cottages with two rooms, brick or stone chimneys, corn cribs, stables and neatly planted gardens. All seem to be well satisfied and working like Turks. The object of my visit made it necessary for me to see and converse with all of them, and I can truly say I have never seen a more cheerful and happy class of laborers anywhere. They all seem warmly attached to the Moody, and how could it be otherwise? And the Moody have shown their attachment for them by the care and pains they have taken for their comfort and convenience. It is an unusual thing to see tenants running walking cultivators, improved double shovels, all provided by the landlord, yet you may see all this and more too on the Moody farm. If the one horse politicians who so recently tried to stir up strife between the land owners and renters; will visit this farm, I am inclined to think they would sneak away and never again renew the effort. But their efforts to improve and build up, have not been confined to the farm alone; at a heavy expense they have established on the farm a fine merchant MILL which, unfortunately was consumed by fire* a few weeks ago. Although their losses were heavy, they seem to bear it with more fortitude and feel it less than the community around its location. It is a loss to them, but a calamity to the people who were, in a measure, dependent on it for bread. But they are game to the last, for they have built a new furnace, and erected a new shed over the ruins of the old cite, and again we hear the shrill whistle of the engine, and all who wish, may get bread or lumber on short notice: I learn they propose building a finer and better mill than the other, some time this fall. I also learned they propose building a good church and school house on the place, in order to secure church and school facilities to their tenants. So mote it be. PUBLIUS.
* April 25, 1879. MILL BURNED.
The steam, flouring grist and saw mill of M. & J. W. Moody, on Mud Creek, was entirely destroyed by fire, Including a large amount of lumber and grain, one night last week. The loss is estimated at four or five thousand dollars. The Moody brothers are live business men, and we sympathize with them in their loss.
The Moody farm was managed by John Moody, a brother of Miles and James. John and his wife, Sally Mullins, probably lived in the Brick itself, in the early years, but definitely lived on the farm. They were the parents of Josephine Moody Sanders. Josephine, her husband, Pleasant Wyatt Sanders, and son, Charles Brantley Sanders, are all buried on the farm.
Miles and Rebecca Edwards Moody had five (5) children – Decatur (Nov 18, 1856 – April 9, 1857), Laura Ann (Apr 21, 1858 – Jun 29, 1916), Jessie Walter (Mar 7, 1860 – Aug 21, 1861), Albert Henry (Dec 25, 1862 – Aug 6, 1934), and William Littleton “Lit” (Feb 24, 1865). Rebecca Edwards Moody died August 5, 1899 and Miles remarried. His second wife was Margaret Callen (1864-1955), sister of Dr. T. E. Callen of Fackler. Miles and his new wife moved to the south side of the Jackson County square in Scottsboro following their marriage in 1901. They had one daughter, Ida F. (Jan 25, 1902-Jun 19, 1967).
Albert Henry Moody bought the farm from his father (Miles N.) and uncle (James Warren). Albert and his wife Usula Jane “Jennie” Campbell (Feb 8, 1869-Apr 15, 1946) raised their family of eight (8) in the Moody Brick. The children were Jeptha “Jep” Edwards (May 24, 1894-Apr 18, 1949), John White (December 27, 1891-October 28, 1911), James “Big Jim” Albert (June 24, 1899-Feb 2, 1977), Paralee (February 28, 1902- ), Alex (May 22, 1904- lived to be 2 or 3 years old), Bessie Laura Moody (Lipscomb) (September 9, 1896-December 7, 1962), Hattie Irene (Brooks) Moody (Stone) (July 6, 1907- ), and Virginia White (Redwing) (July 24, 1912-February 4, 1945).
Today the Moody Brick represents a mixture of architectural styles — from the outside is a Greek Revival house with a Victorian front door. The mantles include two Federal period, two Italianate, and two Victorian. The house is built of solid brick walls, both exterior and interior. The brick was made on site, using slave labor to mold the brick from the red clay on the farm. The house framing (floor joists and ceiling joists) are from sawmill cut lumber, not pit sawn, which was typical in the area for houses built in the mid 1850′s. From the inside, the house is dominated by Victorian accents detailed down to the baseboards, door trim, stairs, and window trim.
A newspaper article of April 13, 1888 describes why the change in architectural style from the original.
On last Sunday the residence of Mr. Miles Moody, on Mud Creek in this county, was destroyed by fire. The house was a large two-story brick. The fire cought in the roof from a spark from the chimney, and had got such headway when discovered it was impossible to check the flames. Mr. Moody succeeded, however, in getting out all the house furniture. Nothing lost but the house. The total loss is estimated at $2,000.
The house was rebuilt using the existing brick walls; only floors, ceilings, and roof were needed. Today, the windows date to when the house was rebuilt in 1888. The two Federal period mantles could be those of the original house. The Greek Revival portico was added in 1916. It replaced the Italianate porch built in 1888. A smokehouse and ground level kitchen (the original kitchen was in the cellar) were added to the back of the house in 1901 or 1902. The ornate stenciling and ceiling paintings in the house date to 1905 and were the work of an Italian artist, Alfonzo Lamante. Lamante also decorated the Scottsboro Presbyterian Church which stood near the present site of Jack’s Hamburgers in Scottsboro. Tradition says that this same artist had earlier done work in the U. S. White House.
If you have any information regarding any of the above, please send it to me at email@example.com. (I can never get enough history information….)
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