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by Charles Lynn "Chuck" Hanberry Jr.

The Hanberry Holiness Church is located on Highway 41 North of Brewton near Wallace, Alabama. It gets its name from the landís original owner, John Chester Hanberry, who homsteaded the area between 1880 and 1885. I am not certain why, but John Chester sold the land to G. W. Faircloth November 26th, 1900 and moved to Mississippi.

The land was later acquired by Mr. L. N. Edwards, who donated two acres of the land to the local school district in June of 1907. He did so, because the land was already occupied by a one-room frame school building called the Hanberry School. I suspect it was given that name because John Chester either built the school or provided the land for it, or both.

The picture below was taken on the side of the Hanberry School about 1895. Eight of the students are children of John Chester and his wife Elvira Jane Padgett Hanberry. The two Webb children in the photo are younger Siblings of Robertus Levi Webb. He married one of John Chesterís daughters, Kittie Dolphin Hanberry.

Hanberry School Children

These are the teachers and students of the Hanberry School about 1895. The Hanberry children and two Webb children are numbered in this photo as follows: 1- William Witt "Will" (1880-1942), 2-Ernest Frederick "Fred" (1882-1928), 3-Thomas Samuel "Tom" (1886-1971), 4-Clarence Palmer (1884-1976), 5-Mattie Belle (1884-1915), 6-Charles Arthur (1888-1980), 7-Chester Harry (1888-1905), 8-Ola Webb, 9-Ralph Webb, 10-Henry Robert (1878-1912). Clarence Palmer and Mattie Belle were twins as were Charles Arthur and Chester Harry.

There are no records for the school prior to 1919 and it ceased to exist in 1928 when it was consolidated with the Wallace School. The school had only one teacher for all the kids during this period and the following is a list of those teachers and the years they taught there.

Jennie L. Carter1919-1922
Isabel Hammonds Pettis1922-1923
Flossie Spratlon1923-1924
Merceil Chandson1924-1925
Bernice Forte1925-1926
Maude James1926-1927
Mrs. A. L. Lynch1927-1928

A family occupied the building for a brief period after the school closed, and then about 1929 The Hanberry School became the Hanberry Holiness Church. It has gone through several renovations, including one in 1967 when it was painted and a porch was added. Later in 1975 the Church was moved back a little because it was too close to the new road which now ran behind the building. Church members then turned everything around in the church so it would be facing the new road. Also in that year it was bricked and two restrooms were added. Since then a fellowship hall has also been added to the church.

When William Hanberry visited the church in 1977 he described the church as "plain but bright." He said the furnishings were "simple and the pews were heavy, straight and strictly country type." He described the ornate old piano in the church (it has since been changed) and a "special feature," several old fashioned rockers with cushions were at the front of the church. Essie Mae Chavers, the Church Secretary, told him some of the older women seldom came to church because they were too "bony" to sit in the hard pews. Essie Mae got some rockers form her attic and now everyone is comfortable. The rockers are still there, but a pew was removed near the center of the church and the rockers now are among the congregation.

Hanberry Holiness Church

The Hanberry Holiness Church as it appeared in June 1999. The area across from the church is called the Hanberry fields, and is still farmed today. It is believed to be the original location of the Hanberry home since pieces of dishes and other items have been found there.

Today (July 1999) the Pastor is George Nall. Essie Mae Chavers is still the Church Secretary and the trustees are Cleve Pettis, Martin Crutchfield and George Morris.

©1999 Charles Lynn "Chuck" Hanberry


Line Drawing (32k)

This line drawing was done by Maxine Pitzer Hanberry, John William's mother.

©1976 - Maxine P. Hanberry, All Rights Reserved.

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Last updated  December 12, 2002
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