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.
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.
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 to 1902. He served as an alderman of the city of Eufaula from 1894 to 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 Moulthrop 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.
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.
The Moulthrop House and ten other locations are featured in my latest book, Abandoned Alabama: Exploring the Heart of Dixie.
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