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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Friday, April 13, 2018

Edward Moore and Martha Thompson: A Working Family Group Sheet

As I wrote in my last post, I have only within the last year discovered an error in my Moore line.  My ancestor was Edward Moore (I'm going to start referring to him as Jr.), born 17 Dec 1769 in Guilford County, North Carolina. This comes from a transcript of a Bible record. I'm working with the theory that he is the son of Edward Moore (I'll refer to him as Sr.) and Martha Thompson.

Edward Moore Sr. wrote his will in Moore County, NC on 15 Jul 1800. It entered into probate in Nov 1803 in the same county.
Edward Moore Sr.'s will; Moore County, NC Will Book A
In this will, Edward Moore Sr. mentions the following: sons William and Edward; daughters Sarah Stamper, Mary Wilson, and Johana Kannedy; grandson George Moore; and son-in-law David Kannedy. He also mentions his wife, who is alive, though not by name.

We can add to this list a son Thomas, who died 18 Sep 1794 in Moore County, NC. It doesn't seem as if a will was produced, but testimony was made about its existance here:
Testimony as to Will of  Thomas Moore; Moore County, NC County Court Minutes Aug 1784-Nov 1795
A family Bible record of Edward Moore Sr.'s son-in-law David Kennedy lists 10 children for Edward Sr. and Martha Thompson: Susey, Salley, Mary, William, Elisabeth, John, Thomas, Martha, Joaner, and Edward. Since they are not mentioned in either of the above wills, it is presumed that Susey,  Elisabeth, John, and Martha died before Thomas' will of 1794, and without children. The one exception to this is Edward Sr.'s mention of his grandson George Moore. I do not yet know who the father of this George Moore is.
Page from the family Bible of David Kennedy listing the children of Edward and Martha Thompson Moore
So, listing the children in the order given in the Bible, and filling in what few details I have, here it is:

The Children of Edward Moore Sr. and Martha Thompson, married 10 Nov 1746 in Salem, New Jersey
  1. Susey Moore: born est 1747, died before 1794
  2. Sarah/Salley Moore: born 9 Aug 1749, died 12 Mar 1839 in Morgan County, KY; married James W. Stamper
  3. Mary Moore: born est 1751, died after father's will of 1800; married George Wilson
  4. William Moore: born 16 Dec 1754 in Botetourt County, VA per his Rev War application for pension, died 15 Apr 1832 in Orange County, IN; buried in Stamper's Creek cemetery (his sister married a Stamper but doesn't seem to have settled here); wife Rachel
  5. Elisabeth Moore: born est 1756, died before 1794
  6. John Moore: born est 1758, died before 1794
  7. Thomas Moore: born est 1760, died 18 Sep 1794 in Moore County, NC; married Phebey; appears to have no children as his siblings were subpoenaed to approve "will"
  8. Martha Moore: born est 1763, died before 1794
  9. Joanah Moore: born 17 Jul 1766, died 12 Oct 1857 in Lauderdale County, Alabama; married David Kennedy 24 Apr 1788
  10. Edward Moore Jr.: born 17 Dec 1769 in Guilford County, NC, died 19 Jul 1848 in Parke County, Indiana; married Pharaba Pearce. [My Line]
Lastly, there is the grandson George Moore mentioned in Edward Moore Sr.'s will. I know that Edward Moore Jr. did not have a son named George. William Moore did have a son George, born about 1795.




Monday, April 9, 2018

Longstanding Errors: The parents of Edward and William Moore of Orange County, Indiana

It can be a hard blow to find out years of research were wasted on the wrong family. But the feeling that you finally have it right makes it all better again.

For me, it started with a typewritten manuscript about the Moore family that I found at the Orange County [Indiana] Genealogical Society in the 1990s. If it had a cover page, I failed to copy it. I believe it was written in the mid-20th century, and I am sorry to say I do not know who authored it. I am indebted to her for collecting so much information, including many personal stories that would be lost now, and committing them to paper.

However, I believe her link between the first and second generation to be wrong. These are the pages that led me astray:
Initial pages of Moore manuscript
My ancestor was Edward Moore, born 17 Dec 1769 in North Carolina and died 19 Jul 1848 in Parke County, Indiana. He married Pharaba Pearce (26 Jun 1769-18 Aug 1845). Pharaba is the subject of a blog post here, in which I busted the brick wall of her maiden name.

This Edward Moore moved to Indiana along with one of his brothers, William Moore (1754-1832). The above two pages claim that the father of Edward and William was William Moore Sr., who died in Wake County, North Carolina in 1780. I don't know how the author made this connection, whether from the work of others or by William's will, but I took it and ran with it. Researched it for decades, tracing the descendants of William Moore Sr. to Tennessee and North Carolina. It was a wild goose chase. 

When I discovered the maiden name and parents of Pharaba Pearce, I started uncovering information about her husband Edward Moore and who his true parents might be. The first thing that made me question it was this:
Ancestry post by user nikame1
Somehow (thank you Google, I'm sure) this led me to an incredible website called The Wallace Family of Moore County, NC. Don't be deceived, it is not strictly on the Wallace family. It documents many families from the area, including the Moores and Pearces. 

On the Wallace Family website is a family group sheet for the presumed parents of Edward Moore. You can see it here, the family group sheet of Edward Moore and Martha Thompson. What I love about this website is that it has links to actual documents. If you scroll down the page in this link you will find all their documents available right there.

The two pieces of information that convince me these are the right parents for Edward and William Moore of Orange County, Indiana are these:

1. Edward Moore (let's call him Sr.) owned land on Deep River in Moore County, NC. Windsor Pearce, father of Pharaba, also owned land on Deep River, in Randolph County, NC. Deep River spans the two counties, so they were actually fairly close to each other.  Edward Moore Jr. and Pharaba Pearce were likely "neighbors", making a match possible.

2. Edward Moore Sr.'s will lists sons William and Edward, among other children. 

This post is just breaking the surface. I look forward to further research and posts to clarify my findings.


Thursday, March 29, 2018

52.12: Misfortune; Catharine Murphy Reck

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt this week is Misfortune. This dovetails with last week's Lucky story of William Harrison Reck.

As with most women in my family tree, I don't know a great many details about my great-great grandmother Catharine Murphy Reck. She was born on October 3rd, 1838 in Miami County, Ohio to William Henry and Mary (Sipe) Murphy.  She was the oldest in a family of 13 children that all lived to adulthood.

When she was 20, she married William Harrison Reck in Darke County, Ohio. He enlisted in the Civil War a few years later.  After the war, they moved from Darke County, Ohio to Henry County, Missouri for a few years, during which time my great-grandmother was born. I don't know what took them out there or why they returned, but by 1874 they were back in Ohio. In the early 1900s they moved to Riverside County, California with several of their children, where they died and are buried.

I have a letter Catharine wrote to her daughter after the death of William Harrison. I shared that letter in this post. From this, I can tell she was well-educated and had good penmanship. I have a few pictures of her, all with a calm, mild expression. Other than these bare facts, I didn't have a lot.

Catharine and William Harrison Reck had seven children. I knew one had died young but I did not know the circumstances. His name was Charles Edward Reck, born October 16, 1868 and died April 17, 1893 aged 24. He hadn't married or fathered any children.  There are no death records available for this time, so I figured I'd never find out more.

Then in 2007, another researcher sent me a newspaper clipping. The clipping is unsourced but has the date Jan. 29, 1976 written on it. It is a human interest piece about Bertha Mae Marchal and shares some of her memories.
Newspaper Clipping Jan. 29, 1976 Dateline Versailles
Interview with Bertha Marchal
The pertinent part is marked by a pen and reads as follows: 
"Another vivid memory occurred when I was 10. One day an explosion shook the schoolhouse. We thought it might fall down. Charles Haber of Greenville was the teacher. He went out and looked all around. When he came back, he said it had to be a bomb, but there was no damage."
"We found out later it was a boiler exploded at John Kelch's saw mill. Two young men, McClurg and Reck, were eating their lunch nearby. It boiled dry and blew up and they were blown to pieces."
"Again my nosieness got the best of me. I asked my sister to go along with me to see the place.  We walked back the long road to the edge of the woods and there we found Mrs. Reck picking up pieces of the bodies. I'll never forget that."

What a horrific story. 

Steam boiler being installed in a saw mill
Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
More recently, with the abundance of digitized newspapers, I thought I might find out more about this event online. The story was indeed picked up and ran in newspapers across several states as a small paragraph. Not one paper got the names of the men correct. The earliest one referred to "Charles Peck" and then almost instantly it became "Harry Rex".  The other man was called by McClung and McClerg. If I didn't already know what I was looking for, I probably would not have found them.

The earliest report I found ran two days after the explosion:
Akron Daily Democrat 19 Apr 1893, page 1
From Newspapers.com
As the story traveled, details became more lurid. A New Orleans newspaper reported this:
The Times-Democrat of New Orleans 20 Apr 1893, page 8
From Newspapers.com
I am certain Catharine Reck was out of her mind with grief. But I wondered why this 54-year-old woman was out searching for her son's body, seemingly by herself?

As I learned more about Catharine's husband William Harrison Reck, I began to understand a little. Harrison Reck dislocated his shoulder in a fall from a horse in 1889. The injury plagued him to the point he was unable to get out of bed at times for several days. Also, by the time of their son's death, he was legally blind.

Their older children were married and out of the house. Charles Edward Reck was the oldest unmarried son, and I assume he still lived with his parents, supporting them as they aged and the father was unable to work as much as he used to. There were still three other siblings at home to support: my great-grandmother Jennie age 20, Martha age 18, and Perry age 15.

Catharine's husband was unable to help her find their son's broken body. She most likely wanted to shield the girls and Perry from what she knew would be a terrible sight. But she had to get her son and lay him to rest. I wish I had a picture of Charles to share here. This is Catharine:
Catharine (Murphy) Reck 1838-1915


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

52.11: Lucky; Harrison Reck

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

The prompt for this week is Lucky; for next week it is Misfortune. I'll use these two prompts to tell you more about my great-great grandparents, William and Catharine (Murphy) Reck.

I blogged about William before; first about his Civil War service, and then some about his life after the war.

William (also called Harrison) Reck was 24 years old when he enlisted in 1861. He had married Catharine Murphy in 1859. At the time he enlisted, they had a son David, not quite two years old, and Catharine had just given birth to their son John less than one month before. He joined the 69th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. My earlier blog post highlighted some activities of this unit.
William Harrison and Catharine Murphy Reck
Last week, in March of 2018, I visited the Stones River National Battlefield near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  Harrison Reck and his unit were in the thick of the fighting there. I read about the battle when writing my original post, but actually being there added a whole new dimension to my understanding of what these men went through.

The battle took place over three days. The men were encamped at the end of December 1862, knowing a battle was about to take place. They were ordered to have no campfires during this time. On New Year's Eve, though, the men were allowed to make fires in the morning, and enjoyed warming their hands and having some hot coffee. It was exactly at this time the Rebels attacked.

The men struggled to grab their weapons and form up. The fighting that day was incredible.  I studied the maps of where the different units were, and Harrison's Ohio 69th was very close to what became known as the Slaughter Pen. This was a rocky area with some deep crevicees where the Union soldiers hid and fired from.
The Slaughter Pen; my daughter is standing in one of the rocky cracks for scale
They became surrounded by Confederates and were ordered to retreat. As they came out of the rocks, it was easy for them to be picked off by the rebels. The rocks became slippery with blood, and bodies piled up. I am not sure Harrison was in this exact area but he was certainly near enough to know and see what was going on.

The Slaughter Pen was only a part of the horrors that day.  The Union was beaten down. New Year's Day finally dawned, though many men never slept that night. Both sides tended to their wounded and collected their dead. The Confederates felt certain they had won the day. However, due to the bravery of some units holding strong, reinforcements were able to arrive. The battle resumed the next day and led to a Union victory. Stones River was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

Harrison Reck's unit went on to other battles.  Chickamauga and Chattanooga. Missionary Ridge. Sherman's March to the Sea. Harrison, in spite of all the horrors he had to witness, was in some aspects a lucky man. First, he was a survivor. The second thing I learned at the Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield.
Outside the Visitors Center at Kennesaw Mountain
Visiting Kennesaw Mountain wasn't even on my travel radar that day. We were driving home from Florida to Indiana, and Kennesaw happened to be shortly past the halfway point, so that's where we stayed. I thought we might stop by the park so my daughter could earn a Junior Ranger badge. A little research the night before showed I had two ancestors who had fought there: Thomas Hilyard and Ansel Wilson; and a third whose unit was there: William Harrison Reck. However, Harrison had been placed in the Veteran's Reserve Corps a few months earlier.

The person working the desk in the visitors center was most helpful. I gave her my ancestors' units, and she looked up where they would have been camped and fought. She marked them on a map for me and photocopied some other pages of information.  When we got to Harrison Reck's unit, she looked up at me and confirmed that he wasn't actually there.  I said correct, he was taken out of active combat duty already. "He was really lucky," was her reply.  She said his unit was located at Cheatham Hill, where the heaviest losses were during this battle. "He probably wouldn't have survived this."
Harrison Reck, blind in his old age, with his cane
If you ever get a chance to visit sites like this in person, take advantage of it.  The staff is eager to share their knowledge. Walk the fields, look at the museums. Think about what your ancestor saw. It had to be a life-changing experience.

Stones River National Cemetery

Monday, March 5, 2018

52.10: Strong Woman; Haney Mozingo McKinney

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

I have a confession: I don't keep a research log.

I can tell you in general where I went, probably the decade I went there. If I photocopied something (pre-digital days), I tried to write the name of the book on the copy. 

So, the actual day I first met Haney McKinney is lost to history. I was with my cousin Jane; we traveled to Frankfort, Kentucky, to the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Probably in the early 2000s. I think we went with the intention of researching our shared line, the Tarrs/Torrs.  We happened upon an index reference to some court cases involving that name, and requested to see them. Little did we know the treasure trove heading our way.

Jane and I share as common ancestors John Tarr and Hannah McKinney. The Tarrs, also found as Torr and Toor, are shrouded in genealogical mystery. As for Hannah, we didn't really know anything about her before her marriage to John which took place in Shelby County, Kentucky on October 19, 1804. We weren't particularly focused on her line.

The court case files brought to us were in archival boxes, the cases separated into folders. The folders we opened that day were of our ancestor, John Tarr, suing someone named Haney McKinney, and of Haney McKinney's countersuit. It turned out Haney McKinney was his mother-in-law, and they were scrapping over the estate of her son John McKinney.

As part of the case, Haney was awarded a dedimus by the court. I had never seen that word before. According to Merriam-Webster, it means a writ to commission a private person to perform some act in place of a judge (as to examine a witness).

Leaving her home in Shelby County, Kentucky, Haney McKinney traveled to Culpeper County, Virginia, a distance of over 500 miles. On March 25, 1806, she gathered testimony from several people at the tavern of Burtis Ringo. It is through these testimonies I learned about Haney's early life. I know of no other source for these stories. I'll let them speak for themselves, interjecting occasionally to clarify. The spellings are left intact.

"The following depositions was taken at the house of Burtice Ringo in the Town of Woodville in the County of Culpeper this 25th day of March 1806. To be read into evidence in a sute now depending in the Shelby Circute Court wherein Haney McKenney is plantiff and John Tarr Defendant in pursuance of the Anexed Commission and Notice."

The first testimony came from Haney's brother, John Mozingo.
"John Mosingo aged forty two years being duly sworn before us Daniel Brown & James Green Jnr. Two of the Justices of the peace for the county of Culpeper in the State of Virginia, deposeth and sayeth that about twenty two years ago John McKenny and Hany McKenny (who were then man and wife) did about that time part and as I understood by mutual consent and did also divide what property they then had by concent also and that after about Twelve months from the time of this parting the said Jno. McKenny left this part of the country and as I understood went to Greenbrier County. I have since understood that he and a woman which went off with him died. I further know that the property which the said Hany McKenny had out of the Estate of the said Jno McKinny was very little and that she had debts to pay which the said John McKenny had created and that she had very little left after paying them, and further this deponent sayeth not.

1st question by the plaintiff:
Do you not know that Hanie McKenny’s Father became security for her in the year that she parted with her husband for the purchase of corn.

Answer: I know he did

And further this deponent sayeth not.
John Mosingo    his  X   mark"

The next witness was Nancy Mozingo, married to Haney's brother Charles.
"Nancy Mosingo alias Williamson aged forty two years being duly sworn before us Daniel Brown and James Green Jr. Two of the Justices of the peace for the county of Culpeper in the State of Virginia. This deponent deposeth and sayeth I lived with John McKenny and Hany his wife at the time they parted and that they did by mutual concent part and divide their property and that the property which was left for the said Hany McKinny was three cows three yearlings and one calf. Two Hogs and one pig and  few articles in the house which in all were not in my opinion worth more than twenty shillings out of which property she was to pay the debts due by the said John McKinny, which were as follows Five pounds to Elijah Chich, Twenty six shillings to William Brodley which she had the cost of a petion to pay ____ Boon Between three and four pounds beside several other small debts for which she was warranted and had to pay, and further this deponent sayeth not.
Nancy Mosingo   her X Mark Alias Williamson"
Haney's brother George Mozingo testified:
"George Mosingo aged forty six years being duly sworn before us Daniel Brown and James Green Jr. two of the Justices of the peace for the county of Culpeper in the State of Virginia. This deponent sayeth that Haney McKenny had very little property left her at the time of her parting with her husband I know she had no horse kind nor do I believe she had a bed. She had some stock of cattle and hogs and to very little amount. I further know that she had several debts to pay which John McKenney her husband had contracted and that some of the property left with her was taken to satisfy one of them. I further know he left her little or no corn and that she was assisted by myself and others with that article on account of her distressed situation. I further know that by her Industry and care she acquired property to considerable amount before she left this country and further this deponent sayeth not.
George Mosingo  his  X   mark"

There are some other depositions, but they all agree with those given here. Haney Mozingo was married to John McKinney, I estimate around 1777. They had five children that I know of when they agreed to separate in 1784, most likely all under the age of six or seven. Although the testimonies say they split their possessions, it sounds as though Haney was left with the debts. She didn't have enough money left to buy corn to plant the next year's crop. Through a loan from her father, and help from her brothers and others, she was able to get through that year.

Haney Mozingo McKinney never remarried. She raised her children, moving from Culpeper County, Virginia to Shelby County, Kentucky around 1800. 

In the lawsuit that started all this discovery, Haney's son John McKinney had died, and her son-in-law John Tarr was settling his estate. Haney said one of the horses listed as inventory was hers, John Tarr disagreed. She was willing to put up quite a ruckus to get this horse back, and through that I learned a lot about her.

I have collected several other documents and sources for Haney McKinney over the years. I'll close with her final one, an indenture that reads like a will:
"This indenture made this 4th day of October 1819 between Haney McKinney of the County of Shelby State of Kentucky of the one part & John Skelton of the same County of the other part witnesseth that the said Haney for & in consideration of the sum of one Dollar to her in hand paid for & in consideration of  the natural love & affection which she hath doth bond to her grandson John Skelton hath granted bargained & sold & by these presents doth convey unto the said John & his heirs forever the following property to wit: Bena & Rose two negro girls together with all my house hold furniture & stock of every Discription & all & every species of Property belonging to me. & it is to be understood that said John Skelton is to give at my death to Charles Weathers the above named negro girl Rose or $300 in cash which ever the said John Skelton may choose. To have & to hold the said negroes & Other property to him the said John Skelton & His heirs & the said Haney McKinney for herself & her heirs hereby agrees to warrant & Defend said property against herself & her heirs & against the claim of all other persons whatever. If said John should die without lawfull Issue the said property is to Decend to Wilmoth Weathers heirs In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal the date above. Test Geo W. Johnston
                                                                                Haney McKinney {seal}"
This came from the Shelby County, Kentucky Deed Book Q, p. 168. 

Haney Mozingo McKinney led a hardscrabble life. Based on the number of lawsuits she filed, I'm not sure she was the most pleasant of people, but she was one strong woman I am certainly glad to claim as my ancestor.

Monday, February 26, 2018

52.9: Where There's a Will; "A Dutiful and Obedient Child"

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

One of my favorite wills, or rather the equity case surrounding it, is that of my 5x great-grandfather Ambrose Smith.  He was born March 1, 1756 in Virginia and died March 25, 1839 at the age of 83 in Logan County, Kentucky.  He served in the American Revolution and received a pension for his service.

Ambrose moved to Logan County between 1810 and 1811.  At some point, he wrote a will and it was entered into probate and written into Logan County, Kentucky's Guardian Book B, on page 27:
Will of Ambrose Smith as entered into Logan County, Kentucky Guardian Book B, p. 27
Here is my transcription of the will (a little easier to read, my spacing added for clarity):
“To all whom their presents shall come:  Greeting.  Know ye that I, Ambers Smith of Logan County state of Kentucky, knowing that it is appointed for all unce? to die and being sound in mind and memory do make an ordin this my last will and testament holey revoking all former wills. 
First, that my body decently buried in a Christian like manner and my funeral expenses to be discharged.
Fanny Brooks I give ten dollars of my estate for her portion.
James A. Smith to have my plantation tools. Mary Grinter, Nancy Buckannon, William Smith, Isabella Lee, J. A. Smith that is to have my estate to bee equally to bee divided between them.  James A. Smith, Mary Grinter, Nancy Buckanon, William Smith, Isabella Lee except one hundred dollars of Izabella Lee’s portion is to come to Louisa A. Smith for her maintaine untill she comes of age or marry. 
I do hereby constitute James A. Smith Robert Grinter to bee Executors of of my estate.  This is my last will and testament.
                                                                                                             Ambers Smith
Witnesses:
Wm. Harkreadder
William Young
At my death Peggy my black woman is to be free.
Witnesses:
Wm. Harkreadder
John H. Young
Logan County Court, March Term 1839 At a county court held for Logan County at the court house in Russellville on the 25th day of March 1839 the within last will and testament of Ambrose Smith decd. was produced in open court and proven by the oaths of Wm. Harkreadder and Wm. Young two subscribing therto to be the last will and testament of said Smith.  Whereupon the same together with this certificate hath been duly admited to record in my office.  Given under my hand the date above.                        M. B. Morton”

Oddly, there is no date on the will.  There is also no wife mentioned so she probably died before Ambrose. There aren't any relationships explained either.   

Thankfully, Fanny Brooks wasn't happy with her ten dollars.

Fanny, a daughter of Ambrose Smith, and her husband Allen Brooks filed a suit against all the others named in the will. They claimed many things, among them that Ambrose Smith was incompetent to make a will, that the will had been altered without Ambrose's knowledge, and that Ambrose had been forced to make the will.  Her claim is this:
"...your oratrix had always been a dutiful and obedient child  there is only left by said pretended will to your oratrix the sum of $10."
Ambrose Smith named as one of his executors Robert Grinter, who happened to be his son-in-law (and my next ancestor in line). Robert married Ambrose's daughter Mary on March 22, 1813. As executor, Robert led the response to the charges laid down by Fanny. I have no idea what he was really like, but I picture a solid, reasonable man, quietly irritated by all of Fanny's outrageous claims. I think what really wound him up, though, was the "dutiful and obedient child" business.  He let her have it in his response:
"He denies that said Fanny had always been a dutiful and obedient child, but on the contrary she had been a most undutiful and disobedient one so far as to become almost a common prostitute and give birth before she was married to said Brooks to two or three illegitimate children. Your respondent admits that there is only left said Fanny $10 by said will but denies most positively that the amount given to her was fraudulently torn out and altered to $10 and he denies that it ever was any other or larger sum."
 He also defends his father-in-law's state of mind:
"He denies the allegation in the Bill that it is not the last will of said Smith and says that it is his last will and Testament.  He denies that as far as he possesses any knowledge said Smith was induced fraudulently to sign said will...  He denies any knowledge that any influence was exercised to induce said Smith to disinherit said Fanny or that any person interested or not interested in the Estate possessed the unbounded confidence of said Smith so as to be able to induce any particular disposition of his property, your respt believes that he was influenced entirely by her bad conduct to take the course he did pursue.  Your respt admits that said Smith was not one of the strongest minded men and that he sometimes dissipated to some extent but he denies that said decedent was incapable of disposing of his property by will or otherwise on account of old age, bodily infirmity dissipation or any other cause at any time within his recollection and he also denies that said Testator was wholly deranged at the signing of said paper or at any other time as far as he has any knowledge or belief..."
The others named in the suit adopted Robert Grinter's response as their own. The case went up before the court.

There is a lot of legalese, coupled with very bad handwriting, but the bottom line is that Fanny and Allen Brooks didn't have a leg to stand on. They contested her father's will, and lost. The will stood as submitted and the Brookses were ordered to pay the defendants' court costs.

This will stands as one of my favorites because of all the details gleaned from the equity case file that followed. When Fanny challenged the will, everything was dissected. One paper in the file is what I call the "score sheet", outlining all the players in the will and case, who they married, if they died during the case and then who their heirs were.  What I like even more are the character sketches laid out: Fanny's challenge to her father's capacity, Robert's defense of it; and whatever everyone thought of Fanny.

This case also taught me not to stop with the will book entry. There may be oh, so much more to find!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

52.8: Heirloom; Cherry Chest of Drawers

This post is part of a project called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" created by Amy Johnson Crow.

My favorite heirloom is also my biggest.
Moore Family Chest of Drawers

This chest of drawers is made of cherry and is over 200 years old. It sits quietly in the corner of my spare room, waiting for me to come in and admire it from time to time (which I do quite frequently).

I saw a very similar chest on Antiques Roadshow once. According to the appraiser, they are quite common and not of great monetary value. This cherry chest, though, is priceless to me.

Family lore says this chest was made by my Moore ancestors and came with them on a wagon from North Carolina to Indiana. It has been handed down each generation to the oldest male child ever since.

Sounds simple enough, right? Maybe, but look a little more closely.

First, at when and how it was made.  The family that made the trip to Indiana was that of Edward and Pharaba (Pearce) Moore.  I estimate they were married about 1788 in North Carolina, based on the birth of their first child Martha in late 1789. The family moved to Indiana sometime after the birth of their last child Thomas in early 1811, and in time for Edward to appear on the Militia Roster for Harrison County, Indiana Territory in 1812.

The construction of the chest is interesting to my modern eyes. Of course there were no power tools then. The nails are square; each drawer has dovetailed joints.
Square nails and board salvaged from repair work needed on the chest
Closeup of dovetail joint
I admire the craftsmanship for each step of its construction. Did they use stain then? What is the finish? 

The original hardware was removed and replaced by my grandfather, Lee Moore. He was a janitor at Paoli High School and had someone in the wood shop make round wooden pulls for the drawers. I'd love to put the old hardware back in if I had it, but the wooden pulls are now part of the story.
Original hardware removed and filled
"New" wooden pulls replaced the original hardware

So how did this chest, allegedly subject to the rules of primogeniture (passing to the oldest male Moore child), make it to a female named Heverly? Let's follow it.

I traced the male Moore descendants in a previous post.  They are a rare breed indeed. Edward and Pharaba Moore made the trek to Indiana, as stated before, around 1811. They had nine children ranging in age from 22 to about 1. The oldest girl, Martha was newly married but her family came to Indiana as well.

Here's where the family lore breaks down. My next ancestor in line, Edward Windsor Moore, was not actually the oldest male child. He had an older brother John who lived to a ripe old age. So....so much for family lore? I'm not sure what to make of it.

Edward Windsor Moore, subject of many blog posts starting here, was the father of William Bryant Moore. Though he also had an older brother named John, this John died as a boy.  William Bryant Moore holds the title of my shortest-lived ancestor. He died at the age of 20 while working in the newly-constructed Orange County Courthouse.
Orange County Courthouse in Paoli, Indiana
Photo by Vonda Heverly, taken on a research trip in 2016
William Bryant left behind a 17-year old widow, Mary, and 15 month old son, William Braddock Moore. Mary remarried to Henry Pierce Breeden, and they had five children of their own.

Sadly, all six of these children were orphaned when Henry and Mary Breeden died within a few months of each other in 1862. William Braddock Moore was 13, and did not qualify for any of his stepfather's Civil War pension. He seems to have lived for a time on his grandfather Edward Windsor Moore's farm, but I think he had to grow up pretty fast. 

Someone (I would guess his grandfather) took charge of the chest until he established his own house by marrying Martha Ann Tillery in 1870. From there the chest had a mostly uneventful life, traveling to the home of William Braddock Moore's son Fred, to his son Lee, and finally to my uncle Bill.

My uncle Bill has no children. I had heard about the chest over the years and wondered what would happen to it. By this time I was grown and had my own house. My mom asked Bill about the chest, and he agreed I could have it since I was interested in it. 

One small problem:  while Bill was moving, the chest fell off the truck and suffered some minor injuries.  One drawer was busted and the back panel broken. I didn't care; I wanted it anyway!

My father took on the repair job. He had to construct a few new pieces. I believe he used some old yellow poplar to craft them.  He kept all the old pieces, which I hang on to, just because.
Board replaced by my dad
I am a historical re-enactor, and I keep much of my clothing and blankets for this hobby in the chest. It seems fitting that it holds linen and wool, like it did when it was new.  Every time I open the chest, I think of all my ancestors who have opened it, and I feel a connection to them.