Frontier Town

Thicket magazine

Thicket magazine

As published in Thicket magazine

Mooresville, Alabama offers visitors a walk through the past.

With a population of 65, historic Mooresville has roughly the same number of residents as when the town incorporated in 1818, one year before Alabama’s statehood. Included on the National Register of Historic Places, Mooresville encompasses one-quarter square mile, bordered on three sides by Wheeler Wildlife Refuge and on the fourth by I-565.

Reminiscent of the museum town Williambsburg, Virginia, this Alabama treasure is a vibrant family community, showcasing and preserving history, with some of the current residents direct descendants of the original settlers.

Mayor Jerri McLain says the community is responsible for preserving the history and maintaining the integrity of its historic buildings and homes for future generations. “We have an affinity for what we’ve found here,” McLain says. “Mooresville has a magical quality that gives us a sense of pride and ease.”

Margaret Anne Crumlish, a fifth-generation Mooresville resident, returned home after years of following her Navy husband from one base to the next. She wanted to give her son the same idyllic childhood experiences she so fondly remembers, and her parents and brother’s family still live in the community as well.

Today, Crumlish lives in a Federal-style house built in 1826 and even owns several pieces of furniture original to the house. The property also boasts an old doctor’s office, a smokehouse (which now stores tools), and servant’s quarters, converted into a potting shed. Hanging in her library is a framed copy of the handwritten note a Yankee officer wrote during the Civil War to the lady of the house excluding her property from search and seizure after she, according to the legend, marched down to the Yankee encampment and demanded the soldiers cease pilfering her goods.

Crumlish, along with all of the Mooresville residents, walks to the post office to fetch her mail from Loretta Clark, the postmistress, who hand delivers it across the counter. Built in 1840, the post office is the oldest operational post office in the state of Alabama. It is here the community bulletin board posts town council resolutions, birth announcements, descriptions of lost dogs, and other general information. And it is here Clark remains the source of all the latest breaking news.

When Clark first started working at the post office, she was informed it was part of her duty to keep abreast of the town news. “I asked where I draw the line between news and gossip,” Clark explains. “An old woman, Rush Lovvorn, replied at the time, ‘Don’t draw it, just tell it.'” And that’s exactly what she does as she chats with residents receiving their mail day in and day out. Hardly your typical post office, it’s home to Stamper, the post office cat, as well as a Mooresville resident’s dog, who stays with Clark while his owner is at work.

Nearly 200 years later, the town of Mooresville remains pleasantly the same.

Historic Mooresville is located one-quarter mile south of Exit 2 (Mooresville Road) on I-565. Visit this charming town and go back 200 years to experience nineteenth century village life by strolling through tree-lined streets to admire the historical homes and buildings. You can also eat lunch at Stage Coach Inn and Tavern and even get married at the Red Brick Church. On May 9, 2009, Mooresville hosts its Home and Garden Tour. For more information, please see the Mooresville Web site, www.mooresvillealabama.com.

Fun Facts About Mooresville

President James A. Garfield once preached at the Church of Christ while stationed in Mooresville with his Union regiment.

Andrew Johnson, who later became the 17th President of the United States, lived here as a tailor’s apprentice to John Sloss.

The Trail of Tears passed nearby.

The Pony Express stopped here.

Mooresville was occupied by Union troops from 1862 through the end of the Civil War.

Mooresville was used as the setting for the location filming of Tom and Huck in 1995.


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