Rose Hill residents have been proud of churches, cemeteries

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 2, 2010

In continuing a review of the Rose Hill community’s history, its numerous churches and cemeteries will be described. The primary source for this writing is again the article written by Mrs. E.W. Blow for the Andalusia Star-News in 1973. From the first settlers arriving in the area, there appeared to be a strong desire for maintaining their spiritual welfare.

The earliest church of record in the community is the Macedonia Methodist Church, which was established in 1823. The first building was located about three miles north of Rose Hill on the Three-Notch Road and about one mile west of the well-known Williams home. The second one was located near L.H. Parker’s house, and the current one was built 200 yards north of the site of the former Rose Hill School. William Culverhouse, a missionary sent out by the South Carolina Conference, organized the church and was responsible for construction of the first building.

In 1869, a second Methodist church, Bethel, was established when some of the members of Macedonia became divided over issues related to the War Between the States such as owning slaves. A group including a number of members who had moved in during the war years left Macedonia and formed the new church. According to Mrs. Blow, it was located about one mile north of Rose Hill on the Rose Hill-Dozier Road, but circa 1900 it was moved to a site one mile south of Rose Hill on the Andalusia-Rose Hill Road and across from the Chester Grant home. The church ceased to exist, and in recent years the building was moved next to the Macedonia building and renovated into a fellowship hall.

Next, the Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Church was established in 1855. It was located about two miles north of Rose Hill on the Rose-Hill-Dozier Road. The earliest building was constructed out of logs, and some years later a frame building replaced it. The building fell in a poor state of repair and was removed in the recent past.

According to some, a Rose Hill Congregational Church was established in 1882 and was located at the site of Joe Campbell’s home. If this was true, it must have been discontinued many years ago.

In 1889, the Mt. Gilead Missionary Baptist Church was organized. The first building was located about two miles south of the L.H. Wiggins store on the Rose Hill-Opp Road. This church continues to be active and currently has a nice brick building with useful facilities.

The Good News Baptist Chapel Church is located a few miles south of Rose Hill on Good News Chapel Road, which runs south of the Straughn School Road. The church was organized in 1948, and in 1951, a block meetinghouse was erected. Since then the church has flourished, and the building and facilities have been greatly expanded. Jay Driver is the current minister, and the church is thriving.

In 1951, the Rose Hill Church of Christ was built on land, which was reportedly donated by an area resident, Mrs. W.T. Grider, wife of an early, well-known evangelist in the church of Christ in Covington County. Others have said the surrounding property was owned by Rufus McBryde. The site chosen was adjacent to the historic Stewart Family Cemetery, which is located a few hundred yards south of the Three-Notch Road on the unpaved Holley Road that is across from the historic Feagin Cemetery. This is about a mile southwest of Rose Hill. Brother Peters was an early preacher, and then Bro. Herman Register became the first regular minister. Upon his retirement, Bob Kyle of Opp became the regular minister. In recent years, Charles H. McCrory of Andalusia has served as minister, and the congregation, although small in number, continues to hold regular services.

Some of the older cemeteries around Rose Hill include the Feagin Cemetery, Parker Family Cemetery, Old Macedonia Cemetery, Stewart Cemetery, and Williams Graveyard or Cemetery. The old Macedonia was located in a field off the Burnout or Three-Notch Road. From latest reports, there are no headstones or markers, and it became overgrown with weeds and briars. Unfortunately, it has most likely been lost, and it was the burial site for some of the earliest settlers in the area.

The Parker Cemetery is in a wooded area adjacent to an overgrown field, which is located in the Rose Hill vicinity. In the past, it was described as being about one mile north of the Alma Bowers home and west of the Rose Hill-Dozier Road. There are several graves marked with headstones, and most of them are for Parkers. Among these are the graves of James S. Parker (1813-1875) and Gabriel Parker (1841-1860).

The Feagin Cemetery is maintained to some degree today. It is located about one mile southwest of Rose Hill and about 100 yards west of the old Three-Notch Road. Andrew J. Feagin (1816-1884), the first postmaster at Rose Hill, and his wife, Winnieford (Taylor) (1818-1905), were buried there.  Another pioneer family in the area, the Taylors, buried many of their relatives here. John A. Taylor (1806-1872) and his wife, Rebecca (Carter) (1808-1884), were two of the earliest to be buried. Others included William Taylor (1831-1962) and Windall W. Taylor (1840-1925) along with his wife, Matilda Ann (Jones) (1845-1889). Other graves include members of the following families: Dunn, Harrelson, Mallette, Robbins and Straughn.

The Stewart Cemetery is located near the Feagin Cemetery on Holley Road, which is  unpaved and running southwest from the Three-Notch Road. It is on land that was once owned by Rufus McBryde. The Rose Hill Church of Christ is located adjacent to it, and some folks from the church have begun to bury relatives in the small cemetery. John Floyd Stewart, born in 1814, and his wife, Elizabeth (White), were some of the earliest to be buried in the cemetery.

At the end of Holley Road, another unpaved road that runs west is named Collie Road. There is a burial place a short distance south of this road for blacks, which is known as Bryant Cemetery. It is located on property, which is currently owned by Donald Bryant who resides near there. According to Ms. Sandra Howard of Dozier, a number of families continue to use the cemetery, and Rev. Elbert Freeney of Dozier would be a good contact.

Another small cemetery southeast of Rose Hill contains only three known graves: Jesse Oliver Bryan and his wife, Sarah Ann (Boyette), and an unknown infant. They are the great grandparents of Farriel Heywood Bryan, a resident of Fort Walton, who owns the property surrounding the cemetery. It is usually referred to as the Bryan Cemetery, but very few people know of its existence.

Several additional cemeteries are located in the Rose Hill community. These will be presented in next week’s column.

The sources for this writing include the news story printed in The Andalusia Star-News on February 21, 1973, by Mrs. Edmond W. Blow, Covington County History 1821-1976 by Gus and Ruby Bryan and conversations with citizens of the Rose Hill community: Mrs. Chester Grant, Mrs. Rex Bowers, Mrs. Sandra Howard, Farriel Heywood Bryan and Donald Bryan.

Anyone who might have any corrections to the above or additional information on the churches and cemeteries of the Rose Hill community is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or e-mail:

FAMILY REUNION: The second annual Kervin family reunion is scheduled for Sat., Oct. 9, at the former Welcome Church in the Pigeon Creek community. Those attending are requested to arrive around 10:30 a.m. and bring lunch to be served at 12 noon as well as family photos and stories to share with everyone. Last year’s reunion was a great success, and many additional family lines including some from Arkansas and Florida are expected this year. All descendants are urged to attend.

HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 7, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. A program on Southern songs will be conducted by Larry Shaw.