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Duck River Baptist Church Cemetery Records
Hanceville, Cullman County, Alabama

Lat: 34° 08' 18"N, Lon: 86° 40' 28"W

George Byrd
86 Co. Rd. 648
Hanceville, Al. 35077
Ph (205)-352-6287

Contributed by Pam Woodward, Jan 28, 2002, last edited Oct 20, 2007 [frankpam@wideopenwest.com]. Total records = 1,753.

Coming from Cullman, Alabama, take 31 south to Hanceville, turn left onto 91 east. Go about 7 miles to County Road 781, turn left. Follow to County Road 775, turn right. Go about 1 mile, Duck River is on the left.

In 1880, a portion of the acreage that later came to be known as Duck River Baptist church and cemetery, began to be used as a cemetery. To our knowledge, the first grave was that of Tennessee Elizabeth Hughes, who died Aug 17, 1880, daughter of W.H. and Janes Hughes. They gave 3 acres to be used as a cemetery church, and school in 1886. If anyone was buried before Elizabeth, there has been no marker found or information to indicate otherwise. Miss Hughes' marker was a plain rock with her name and date chiseled on it. Thanks to donations, a new marker was erected in 1985. Louise Gable, her granddaughter, Jan, and Jackie Dodson were instrumental in obtaining donations throughout 1984.

We have been able to find the next two graves, with markers, that we believe to be correct. They are the graves of Elizabeth Davis and Joseph Yielding. A piece of interesting local lore exists around a husband and wife, Mr. & Mrs. Hodge. People from years back, as well as some today, believe a witch is buried in this cemetery. Mr. & Mrs. Hodge lived in the community, with Mrs. Hodge being a school teacher at Isabella School. The school was located just west of the four-way stop in North Walter. She did strange things, even dressed like a witch. She must have been mean to her husband also.

One day, the story goes, he had had enough of her undesirable ways and beat her to death with a fire poker. After killing her, he went to the barn and hung himself. The next day, a neighbor, Mr. Burrow, came to borrow a mule and found the tragedy. People came from all around to see the results of this horrible event. The people around Duck River wouldn't let them be buried in the cemetery. They said it would bring bad luck. This was around 1905.

The graves were set 6 ft. apart with no markers, except rocks. In 1985, Louise Gable had 2 small markers made that has Mr. Hodge on one, and Mrs. Hodge on the other. Although they were buried outside the cemetery, over the years, the cemetery has grown until the graves are now a part of it, being located on the west end behind the tool shed. Legend has it that no one knows for sure which grave belongs to the legendary witch, Mrs. Hodge, since the original stones were unmarked.

A caretaker wasn't elected for the cemetery until 1935. Mr. John Burrow was the first caretaker. The cemetery is now made up of 8 acres, with over 1700 graves. The present (2001) caretaker is George Byrd.

Duck River Cemetery was transcribed by walking and recording from headstones last summer (2001), done by my aunt, Barbara Hicks [barb6504@wildblue.net]

Duck River is now believed to be the second largest cemetery in Cullman County. I updated this transcription in 2007.
- Pam Woodward

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