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Historic cemetery dedicated

Jim Moore literally traveled cross country to be in Chilton County on Sunday for a family cemetery dedication.

Moore, 90, is the oldest known living relative of the Moore family, which has its roots in the Cooper area not far from Chestnut Creek Baptist Church. Today he makes his home near San Francisco, Calif.

“I’m very impressed by the friendliness of everyone,” he said after the dedication ceremony.

Moore is a descendant of Obadiah Moore and the son of Jack Moore, the latter being originally from Billingsley. He was one of many who made the trip to see the newly restored cemetery, once hidden in a jungle of undergrowth.

Fred and Kathryn Kotke deeded the land to the family around 1993, shortly after he accidentally discovered the cemetery by following a horse into the area.

He and his son, Fred Kotke Jr., spent about a year clearing the site of debris.

“It was a garbage dump,” he recalled. “It was very difficult to get in here. When I found it, I didn’t think this is what should be done with a cemetery.”

The site used to be marked by a large oak tree. Kotke discovered the tree had been struck by lightning and was standing in pieces.

Moore Cemetery contains nearly 40 graves, only 10 of which are marked with headstones. Many others are identified by plastic markers, and a few have yet to be located.

The cemetery was listed as an Alabama Historical Site by Gov. Bob Riley on Nov. 12, 2008, thanks to the efforts of Katherine Reece of the Chilton Cemetery Association.

Sunday’s ceremonies included a dedication of the cemetery as well as a grave marking ceremony for Obadiah Moore, father of John Moore and one of two known Revolutionary War patriots buried in Chilton County.

A new marker was purchased by the Descendants of Obadiah Moore Non-profit and erected Sunday, exactly 170 years after Obadiah’s death.

Participating groups and individuals included the Peter Forney Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; the Asthon Sosi Chapter DAR from Peoria, Ariz.; the Gen. Richard Montgomery Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard Unit; Mary Buehler, Regent of the Peter Forney Chapter DAR; and Susan Teller, Regent of the Asthon Sosi Chapter (both descendants of Obadiah Moore). The grave markers and the historical cemetery sign were purchased with contributions from members of the Descendants of Obadiah Moore Non-Profit. Other Dar attendees were Hettie Herrington, Joan Erickson, Jackie Ann Wallace and Constance Grund. Other participants were Billy Spears, General John Archer Elmore Chapter, SAR; Derek Deavers, Senior Pastor, Chestnut Creek Baptist Church; and Greg Roller.