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Second Year For Junaluska Jubilee: Remembering Morris Rockford Hatton Sr.

By Mark S. Kenna

June 13, 2013.  Saturday, June 15, marks the second year for the Junaluska Jubilee.

A celebration of the heritage of the Junaluska community, a black community that has existed for more than 150 years tucked into the mountain above Boone.

This year the Junaluska Heritage Association is honoring Morris Rockford Hatton for his work as a preacher at the Mennonite Brethren Church in Boone.

“The purpose of the Jubilee is to honor some of the great people in the community,” Roberta Jackson, liaison for the Junaluska Heritage Association, said. “We realized a couple years ago that many people in the community did not know we were here.”

Rev. Morris Rockford Hatton Sr. – Photo provided by Junaluska Heritage Society

The celebration starts at 11 a.m. with a service at the Mennonite Brethren Church off Church Street.  After the service there will be a lunch and a presentation of the Woman of the Year award.  Entertainment after the lunch will be a magician and a mini-concert by the Mennonite Brethren Gospel Choir.  All in the community are invited to come to this celebration.

Hatton was born in Wilkes County in 1889.  After serving in WWI, Hatton came back to Boone where he became ordained to the 1927.  He preached at the church up until his death in 1971, at the age of 82. 

“To me he was always who he was.” Jackson said.  “I just remember him as a great man—who would preach and help people.”

In his time as a pastor, Hatton helped set up Mennonite Brethren Churches all around the High Country, specifically in Wilkes and Caldwell counties, Sandra Hagler, researcher for the Junaluska History Society, said.

At last years Jubilee Ronda Horton, who was also a pastor at the Mennonite Brethren Church, was celebrated.

Transportation for the handicapped and elderly will be provided.

For more information, go to the Junaluska Heritage Association website here.