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Puryear Methodist Church/Cemetary:

Puryearville Methodist Church (1820 – c. 1943)

The Puryearville Methodist Church began as a society near Burnt Corn in 1820 and was located here c. 1830 to c. 1943. Richard C. Puryear deeded 2 acres of land on March 25, 1843, to Isaac Betts, George Watson, William Black, Joel B. Walden, and Thomas Pritchett as trustees of the Puryearville Methodist Church and witnessed by R. H. Puryear and Richard Mosley; Hickman Fowler, J. P. The Washington-Monroe Academy and the Masonic Order met here. Early settlers of Monroe and Conecuh Counties who settled along the old Federal Road are buried here in Puryearville Cemetery. No Photo or a skeptic is available. Not sure if an actual church was ever built.

In 1820, Puryearville Methodist Church was established two miles southwest of Burnt Corn on the Conecuh circuit. Isaac Betts, Mrs. Puryear, and George Watson were leading members. Rev. James King was a member from 1820 to about 1834. A church deed, dated March 25, 1843, shows that Richard C. Puryear deeded two acres to Isaac Butts, George Watson, William Black, Joel B. Walden, and Thomas Pritchett as trustees.

A church building was constructed and the upstairs of church was reserved for the use of the Washington Monroe Academy and was also used for Masonic meetings. The Puryearville Methodist Church was closed circa 1943 and the building it occupied is no longer there.

A cemetery was established next to the church and many early settlers of Monroe and Conecuh counties who settled along the old Federal Road are buried here in the Puryearville cemetery.

The cemetery is still in use and is well-maintained. As of 2015, 134 interments have been recorded families represented here are Allen, Barnett, Betts, Brantley, Green, Lowrey, Rumbley, and Steadman. Mary E. Puryear’s grave is here as well.

In 1913, some members of the Puryearville Methodist Church organized the Burnt Corn Methodist churc miles northeast of the Puryearville church. The land was donated and the plans for the church were made by James K. Kyser and his wife, Cora Betts Kyser. The Rev. D.F. Ellisor was the first pastor of this new church. A service was held in the Masonic Hall shortly before the church was completed and a large number of children and young people joined the Church. The first service held in the new church was on the third Sunday in June 1913.

When Rev. Ellisor later left Burn Corn for another appointment, a silver loving cup was presented to him. Years later his descendant Rev. Tom Ellisor said that the cup was in their home and that they cherish it.

Rev. Franklin S. Moseley was the pastor from 1928 to 1930. A short history of the church was written Moseley in the 1940s and he related that there were many beautiful programs presented under the leadership of Mrs. Kyser. As was true of most rural churches, the Burnt Corn Methodist Church became the center of social life for the young people of the community.

According to Rev. Moseley’s account, some of the early members of the church were Kysers, Betts, Brantleys, Mosleys, Salters, Northcutts, Grahams, Fountains, Culbreaths, Harpers, Shofners, Ellises, Days, Greens, Lowreys, and many more.

There are four graves next to this church: Cora Betts Kyser (with the entire 23rd Psalm on her tomb), James Keathly Kyser, Robert L. Mosley, and Mabel C. Mosley. Most of the members of this church apparently continued to use the Puryearville Cemetery.

Pastors who served the Burnt Corn Methodist Church from 1913 to 1943 were: D. Frank Ellisor (1913 A. Williams (1915-1919), A.E. Shafer (1919 Cowan (1920-1921), Edward E. Cowan (1921 May (1925-1926), Edgar A. Howell (1926 S. Moseley (1928-1930), Cecil M. Ellisor (1930 Vanlandingham (1931-1934), Wallace G. Barnes (1934 1937), Gerald L. KIng (1937-1939), Nathan R. Blocker (1939-1941), and Samuel E. Hudgens (1941 -1943).

Based on information in the AWF Archives, the Burnt Corn Methodist Church was probably closed circa 1960. The church building is still there and is a beautiful example of rural Methodist church architecture.

Sources for this article included the Alabama Christian Advocate, September 15, 1915; History of Conecuh; Alabama Historic Highway Markers; Burnt Corn Methodist Church Moseley, Eutaw, Alabama; and Findagrave.com the Alabama-West Florida Conference Archive