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.