A home once lived in by John Tyler Morgan when it was located at Old Cahawba is now charred on the inside after it caught fire Friday evening. The home moved to its current Church Street location in the 1860s and police are investigating the cause of the fire. -- Ashley Johnson
A home once lived in by John Tyler Morgan when it was located at Old Cahawba is now charred on the inside after it caught fire Friday evening. The home moved to its current Church Street location in the 1860s and police are investigating the cause of the fire. -- Ashley Johnson

History torched as John T. Morgan house burns

Published 7:50pm Saturday, May 18, 2013

White smoke put a cloud over a large portion of Selma’s Old Town Friday evening as a one-story house, once home to a U.S. Senator burned.

The unoccupied house, located at 619 Church Street was the former home of John Tyler Morgan when he lived at Old Cahawba. The home was moved to Church Street in the 1860s.

Authorities at the scene of the fire said it could have likely started due to vandalism. The house was in foreclosure and authorities said no electricity was on in the home.

Peggy Lumpkin, who raised her children in the home and was a resident for 19 years, showed up along with other spectators when she heard about the fire.

“It kind of makes you sick to your stomach because there are an awful lot of memories tied up in here,” Lumpkin said. “We lived here, grew up, spent our whole life here, we did everything here. I had hoped while it was empty now I wanted to go in the house and go through it again.”

Her daughter, Jennifer Brooks, described the house as gorgeous from room to room.

“It had the original gas light fixtures in it that were transformed into electric there were brass chandeliers, Tudor rooms, just really pretty light fixtures,” Brooks said.

Officers with the Selma Police Department said Friday they would put out extra patrols due to the historical content still inside the home.

Linda Derry, with Old Cahawba Park, walked two streets from her office on Tremont Street at the other John Tyler Morgan home to come and take pictures of the fire. Derry said the historical society had been looking into doing something with the home.

“Our visitors center, which burned down when it was struck by lightning, was modeled after this building because it is on the lot that this building came from at Old Cahawba,” Derry, who was distraught to learn about the fire, said. “We have got to find out who is doing this to these historic homes. We are losing these homes.”

A residential fire burned a historic home on the 600 block of Mabry Street in April. It too was likely caused by vandalism.

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