Bethel Methodist Church Cemetery
Butler County, AL
submitted by: Bryan Sims

Photos taken May 2002 at the site of the original (Old) Bethel
Methodist Church and Cemetery which was founded in 1875.
The old church marker is just a few yards from the cemetery itself.
It is located at the end of unpaved Gandy Lane off of Alabama
Highway 106 just inside the western border of Butler County, Alabama.
The land is privately owned by Mr. Lester Hanks, Jr. of Georgiana, Alabama.

Old Bethel Location Description "A":  NW 1/4, Sec. 6, T8N, R12E

Old Bethel Location Description "B" (GPS):  31 deg 41' 47.8 N, 86 deg 53'
34.8 W, Datum NAD27 CONUS

The present day Bethel West Methodist Church and Cemetery is located
approximately one mile from this site and just inside Conecuh County on
Alabama Highway 106.  The present day church was constructed after another
building was destroyed by a tornado in 1947.  The church and cemetery have
been at this present location since sometime before 1920.

In addition to the legible stones that are represented by the pictures below,
there was one more I should mention:  Phebe ________, Wife of __________,
October 2, _______ to December 9, __________.  The blanks indicate where the
stone was broken or worn away.

There are 6 other nearby markers that are smooth and completely illegible.
 One of my distant cousins  visited the site  about 1983-1984 and in addition to the stones I recorded
there was one more she recorded that was not present or no longer legible
during our visit of May 2002:
"Sacred to the memory of Esther Hay  1801-1888"
Esther Hay was the grandmother of Mentoria Harwell Sims who is buried at the
more modern Bethel West Cemetery.

This stone marker was placed in a pasture adjacent to
the now wooded cemetery area.  It is believed the marker was placed by either
Walter L. Sims (1871 to 1956) or his son, Claude C. Sims (1905 to 1979).  The
Sims family owned the property before it was purchased by the Hanks family in
the early 1980s.

 This is the grave of Eukala Sims, daughter of Henry and
Mentoria Harwell Sims and sister to Walter L. Sims.  Sources show several
different variations for the spelling of her name as well as her year of
death.  While her headstone indicates she died in 1881, old family
recollections have her "passing at about 6 or 7 (years old)" making 1884

This is the grave of Henry Sims, husband of Mentoria
Harwell Sims and father of Walter L. and Eukala Sims.  There is some
conflicting information regarding his full and proper name as well as the
year of his birth.  Different sources list him James Henry Sims, William
Henry Sims or James William Henry Sims.  While his headstone indicates he was
born in 1848, census and probate records make 1841 more probable.

This is the grave of Emely W. Lee (1824 to ?)
No further information is known of her.


 General view of the cemetery area
(Click on photos to enlarge)