Shown is a full-length, two-thirds life size statue of William Joseph Melton that’s located in the Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery at Pine Apple, AL. William Joseph Melton (1846 – 1900), was a wealthy plantation owner in Wilcox County who became very active in politics. He had a big influence on business and community matters in eastern Wilcox County. His daughter Corrie took a photograph of her father with her on a trip to Europe where she commissioned an Italian sculptor to carve a statue of her father. The statue was shipped from Italy to Claiborne, AL by boat. When it arrived at Pine Apple, church members stopped the statue from being erected in the cemetery because they felt it was a graven image, prohibited by the Ten Commandments. Eventually, permission was to given to place the monument in the cemetery, but only if it was lying down. Later, permission was given to allow the statue to be erected in its upright position.
The Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery where this statue is located is on Broad Street approximately 0.6 mile north of downtown Pine Apple, AL (GPS coordinates 31.881081, -86.990160).
Source: National Register of Historic Places “Pine Apple Historic District” Registration Form