Moulthrop House

Situated atop a high bluff overlooking Lake Eufaula are the ruins of the Moulthrop family home and the Shorter Cemetery. The bluff was home to the early settlers of Eufaula in the 1830s and 1840s. General Reuben Shorter and his wife Mary Butler Gill Shorter settled on this property in 1837 which at the time consisted of approximately 100 acres. General Shorter owned thousands of acres of rich cotton land on both sides of the Chattahoochee River between Eufaula and Columbus, Georgia. After years of neglect, the cemetery has been restored and maintained.

Shorter Cemetery
The Shorters had thirteen children. Within four years of settling here, they buried three children and a 23-year-old son-in-law in the family cemetery. A total of seven of the Shorter children are buried here, five of whom died young and seven young grandchildren are also buried here. The earliest burial in the cemetery is dated 1839. The last Shorter family member buried in the cemetery is Governor Shorter’s daughter Mollie who died in 1922.

By the 1850s the settlers on the bluff discovered that water-borne diseases – typhoid, yellow fever, diphtheria – were killing off many of the people that lived close to the river. This resulted in a migration of the settlers to what would later become downtown Eufaula. However, even after the death of General Shorter in 1853, the Shorters stayed on the property which was inherited by one of his sons, Eli Sims Shorter, Sr. who was a U.S. Congressman. After the death of Congressman Shorter in 1879, his son Eli Sims Shorter, Jr. inherited the property and moved to downtown Eufaula after building Shorter Mansion. Eli Shorter, Jr. sold the surrounding property to Robert H. Moulthrop in 1884 but retained ownership of the five acres where the family cemetery is located.

Moulthrop
An early photo of the Moulthrop house (courtesy of Friends of Shorter Cemetery)

Constructed in 1899, the Moulthrop family home was designed by John Adams and constructed by Alabama State Senator Robert H. Moulthrop. The house is believed to be a mixture of Imperial revival since it has a tower and Queen Anne. There are four bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs. The first floor had a dining room, living room, and large covered porch. Also on the land was Doc’s House, home of the caretaker, a grist mill, a storage house with two rooms, and a shed built to work on Ford Model T’s.

State Senator Robert H. Moulthrop wrote the Equal Education Bill in Alabama. He fancied visiting Italy every year. He was born in a small cottage in Quitman County, Georgia. He was a brick manufacturer from 1899-1902. He served as an alderman of the city of Eufaula from 1894-1900. He was a member of the city board of education for many years. He was a Democrat and a member of the city’s executive committee, a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church, a mason, and a Knights Templar.

Fannie Dale was the home’s early nanny. She was a daughter of slaves and worked for $3 a week as a nanny. Quite a few children and family members were born in the Moulthrop home.

Moulthrop
Around the estate, Moulthrop planted the first grove of grafted pecan trees in this area. There are over 200 pecan trees on the property.
Moulthrop
The house has an unusual design with an irregular floor plan, two-story solid masonry walls, and central turret.
Moulthrop
Robert H. Moulthrop followed in his father’s footsteps and took over the family business. For many years, the Moulthrops owned the largest brick manufacturing plant in Alabama. The bricks used during construction were made by Moulthrop and Sons Brick Company.
Moulthrop House
On some portions of the house, the walls are six bricks thick. In the 1960s, when Lake Eufaula was built, the Moulthrops lost about 14 acres of land to the lake. On a clear day, circular kilns can still be seen in the water.
Moulthrop
Hidden behind years of overgrowth, a veranda extends across the entire front facade with small columns on brick pedestals.
Moulthrop
The roof and interior floors have collapsed from decades of deterioration. The house is about as dilapidated as it gets. Today, the only occupant is a large buzzard who has made a nest upstairs.

Moulthrop

Moulthrop

Moulthrop

Moulthrop
The Moulthrop family owned the property until the 1980s. Once the last family member living on the property died, the house and surrounding acreage were sold to a real estate developer.
Moulthrop
The Moulthrop house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 as a contributing property to the local historic district. Plans to develop the property never materialized and the house fell into a state of disrepair.

In June 2020, the land surrounding the house was cleared. The home and 25 acres were re-purchased by an LLC group with family ties. The group plans to restore the house to its prominence. There are several plans, including a venue for weddings or other events, and building cottages on the property for guests. The group is optimistic, hoping to have it ready by Thanksgiving 2021 for family members to gather.

Moulthrop House

Moulthrop House

Moulthrop House

Moulthrop House

 

6 Replies to “Moulthrop House”

  1. Most interesting story! I always like to hear the background of these old and lovely places! I have had an interest in historical homes all my life. So sad it is in such disrepair. I wish I could get some of those bricks! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Hi, I would like to introduce our GrandMother Elizabeth Gardner “Bo Bo” Moulthrop who was married to our GrandFather Mathew Moss Moulthrop. She was sadly but necessarily removed from her home (above) in 1985 when our Grandfather passed. Her remaining years were spent in Deland, Fl. where she was greatly cared for and loved by Frances K.(her daughter) and Hugh Gordon and their 5 children in Deland, Fl. She was and will always be one of the most loved and cherished people my heart has ever had the opportunity to experience love with. Her story will be told by many in the years to come and her picture will hang “again” within those brick walls of the Moulthrop house above. This place will be restored in some acceptable capacity and serve the citizens of Eufaula, Veterans, and folks from nearby and distant lands.

    “ELIZABETH GARDNER “BO BO” MOULTHROP, 92, Hazen Road, DeLand, died Saturday, May 7, (1994). Mrs. Moulthrop was a homemaker. Born in Decatur, Ga., she moved to Central Florida in 1985. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church of DeLand. Survivors: sons, Robert M., Annandale, Va., Charles W., Dothan, Ala.; daughters, Betty Broadfield, Clearwater, Susanne Stanbury, Cuthbert, Ga., Frances Gordon, DeLand, Martha Moshides, Annandale; sister, Frances Welton, Black Mountain, N.C.; 17 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren. Allen-Summerhill Funeral Home, DeLand.”

    Many years have gone by since those painful memories of the family deciding to sell the property. I have always had faith in the belief that “if it is meant to be the doors will open”. So, I want to share some good news with ya’ll. As of last month, this property has been re-acquired by several members of the Moulthrop family….more to follow.

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  3. My husband and I had the pleasure of owning and living in the Cato house from 2005 until 2007 there in Eufaula. While there, I was immersed in the incredible history of Eufaula, which of course included being involved with the Pilgrimage, and learning all about the Shorters and the Moulthrops. We walked through the cemetery and admired the beautiful monuments as well as the spectacular view of the of the water from the bluff. The house was fenced off so we were spared the sadness of viewing what a sad sated the grand old place was in.

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