Monday, February 27, 2012

The Moody Brick and the Tragic Story of Joseph Sanders


One of my favorite chapters in my book Haunted North Alabama is the chapter about The Moody Brick.  In fact,  The Moody Brick is one of my favorite ghost stories.   When I did a presentation on ghost stories at the library,  a lovely lady named Ms. Dorothea came to see the presentation just to discuss the Moody Brick with me.   She had read my book and wanted to share her family history with me.   Although she was no ghost story junky, she collected stories about the Moody Brick because her family was linked to the old house.   This week, she sent me an amazing collection of photographs and information about and of The Moody Brick.  I am honored to share this information.

For those of you who haven't read Haunted North Alabama, The Moody Brick is an old plantation house in rural Alabama.  Its bricks positively drip with ghost stories and old legends.  The ghost stories there are so thick you'd have to shovel them away to see past them.   The stories start with tortured slaves who rise up to kill their masters and enter into the civil war when the house was used as a hospital and keep on going through suicide and tragedies.   Ms. Dorothea added another sorrowful tale to the Moody Brick's history.

The paperwork she sent me told of her 3rd Grandfather, Joseph Sanders.   She sent me information that came from a grave website and was submitted by Gary Sanders.  When describing the family relations to the Moody Brick  he told this story:
     "Joseph Sanders had some rebel neighbors.   The rebel neighbors hung him on a mulberry tree because they thought he was giving information to the Yankees.  There were three of the rebels, one a neighbor by the name of Barbee-after killing him they left with a horse thy were using as a pack mule to carry the things that they had taken.  That evening, not long after the rebels had left, a group of Yankees came down out of the mountain and went after the rebels.   They caught up with them near the foot of the mountain close to the old Moody Brick.  The Yankees killed te horse and made the men dig a grave for it.  When the grave was dug- they killed the men- put them in the hole and rolled the horse on top of them. "

 There seem to be many variations on this story.  In some variations, Sanders is shot and killed by bushwhackers rather than rebels.  Either way, the murderers were killed and buried under the mulberry tree at The Moody Brick, adding to the many ghosts that wander the grounds.

Ms. Dorothea also sent me information on The Harris/Moody Brick Family Cemetery located on the grounds of The Moody Brick.  According to this information there are seven marked graves on the cite and six graves with markers but no inscriptions.  There may be as many as 50 graves on the property outside the fenced in family cemetery area.  There was a clean up of the area in 2005 and they attempted to mark as many of these graves as possible with concrete blocks. 

Other information she sent me included a tour guide for the Moody Brick and farm with its history on it.  The tour guide describes the restoration of this beautiful old home and its significance in the history of the region.  It also described the architectural evolution of the house.  At the bottom of the brochure it states: "We appreciate your interest in this historic home.  Unfortunately for some, it is not a paranormal site- no ghosts here."  It is clear the current owners want to respect the history of their amazing house and dispel the folklore and fascination associated with it.  I respect that and include this information in this post so people know not to travel to the house expecting to ghost hunt there.  Although I love the many ghost stories surrounding the house, I appreciate that the current owners want no part in them and ask people to come and visit to enjoy the rich and interesting history, not the ghosts. 

   The pictures Ms. Dorothea sent me are included in this post. I can not thank Ms. Dorothea enough for all the information she sent me and for coming to talk with me about hr family history and the history of the Moody Brick.  I wish I could write another book and include the wealth of information she has sent me.  It was an honor to meet someone who is a part of the history I love and for them to holds me in enough regard to send me information on their family.     

17 comments:

Jeffery said...

Fascinating sounding place Jess! Do you know if the house and surrounds have been Archeologically surveyed?
Cheers!

Little Gothic Horrors said...

How wonderful that Ms Dorothea was generous enough to share such first hand information with you about the history of this house!

The Moonlit Stitch said...

Great story! I visited Whitehall Manor in KY a while back - so much essence attached to these old places! ~*~Lisa

Adsila said...

What a wonderful place. I think many plantations have some of the best stories.

magikalseasons said...

Fasinating tale and lore!

Jessica Penot said...

Jeffrey.. If they don't know how many graves are on the site, I'm assuming they haven't surveyed it. That would be interesting if they did, however. It would reveal new levels of history I'm sure.

Thanks all for liking the story!

Sabrena Moore said...

I have lived by this house for 21 yrs and I have seen a light on upstairs late at night before anyone every lived there again.

Sabrena Moore said...

I have lived next to this house for 21 yrs. I have been by there late at night and there would be a light on upstairs this was before anyone lived there again.

Anonymous said...

I stayed In This As A Teenager. We stayed In The Basement. this Is When the Original cuffs And Chains Were Still Mounted To The WallS. I Can Tell You We Were Chased Out Of The House! We Heard Footsteps Come Down One Set OF The Basement StAirs And We Ran Out Of The second SeT. As We Ran Out The Front Door Someone Jumped Off The Balcony Behind Us On To The Front Porch. then You Heard A Mans Voice Say Leave!

Anonymous said...

Same thing here I went back in the day and something ran down the stairs and out the front door I could not see any thing but I felt it

Anonymous said...

I've been in the house.. it was many years ago. Didn't see anything, but felt really uneasy.. almost like someone was right behind me the entire time. We didn't stay long, and I never went back there.

Anonymous said...

I have been in that house many, many times in day time and night time and have never been scared by anything in it. As a matter of fact I took my daughter and some of her friends when she was in Jr High up there one night and I scared the living daylights out of them. We all laughed about on the way home.

Anonymous said...

And back in the 1950's when folks lived there they had an old goat in the fenced in yard. The people that lived there told us kids not to go in the in the fenced in yard because that goat would come up and butt you. That was the only thing that scared me when I was a kid about that old place. It sure is a beautiful place now.

Anonymous said...

As a child I spent a lot of time in that house .At the time we lived nearby and went to school with the children living there.It was a very spooky house then .We moved away and after many years I returned to visit the Moody Brick and found it in very bad disrepair.It broke my heart to see such a grand home with such rich history in that state.I am so happy to see it has been restored. I hope it remains for many more generations to enjoy.

Anonymous said...

When I was a teenager, me and several friends went in this house late one night. There were drawings on the floor and what looked like chicken bones in the basement. When we went in we had to climb over a small fence, but as we ran out terrified and screaming(because we heard noises)there wasn't a fence to be found.

Anonymous said...

I lived near here and visited as well years ago

Anonymous said...

My mom just bought the house across the street. I'm stoked to explore...Legally the area on a new level Than I ever could before.