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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Brick Wall: BUSTED! The maiden name of of Pharaba Moore is...

Have you ever watched a mystery where the super sleuth is hunting diligently for a secret panel or switch to open up a passage, when the bumbling sidekick accidentally leans on it without even trying?

Enter me, the bumbling sidekick. Yesterday I stumbled on some documents on Ancestry that have solved, in my mind, a mystery that has eluded me since I started doing genealogy.

I have blogged about my ancestors Edward Windsor and Susannah Bryant Moore extensively.  Edward's parents were Edward and Pharaba Moore. This is proven by a family Bible belonging to Edward Windsor Moore's brother Thomas Moore.
Third page of Thomas Moore family Bible transcription,
listing his parents and siblings
Other than this, I can find only one other record in my possession that lists Pharaba (in its myriad number of spellings) by name. It is a deed where Edward sold a piece of land, and Pharaba, as his wife, had to be listed. This is a transcription of the deed provided many years ago by my cousin Phyllis Hill.
Deed from Edward and Pharaba Moore to William Wolfington, 1833
Beyond this, 27 years of research hasn't yielded a single clue as to who Pharaba was before becoming Mrs. Edward Moore.

Yesterday, I stumbled onto the metaphorical secret panel:
This document is a petition by Reuben Pearce, who was attempting to settle the estate of his maiden aunt Kiziah Pearce. She died without children so her estate fell to her siblings and their heirs. To quote from above:
"She had a sister named Ferabee who married Edward Moore, who removed from the county with his wife some twenty years ago and neither of them has been heard of for the past twenty years and your petitioner is advised that their long absence, not being heard from by their relatives, is presumptive evidence of their deaths."

This is the magical piece of the puzzle I always hoped to find. But not only this, the great internets yielded up to me the names of Pharaba's parents as well. Ready?
Will of Windsor Pearce, Randolph County, North Carolina
Down towards the end it says this:
"and to My Daughter Pherrebee More They give one Featherbed & Furniture and Two Dollars to her or Her's".

Windsor and Mary Pearce, the parents of Pharaba Pearce Moore. Pharaba Pearce Moore, the mother of...don't forget...Edward WINDSOR Moore! Huzzah! 

In my mind, this is proof. I hope my fellow Moore researchers will read over this, and rejoice with me!

I have much more to share with you, but I'm still processing all this.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Extinction of the Moores

It hit me on my afternoon commute. My Moore line is nearly extinct. I could think of only one living male Moore, and couldn't wait to get home to make sure I was right.

Grave of Edward Windsor Moore in Orleans, Indiana

I blogged earlier about my 4th great-grandparents, Edward Windsor and Susannah Bryant Moore, and their struggle to get a Civil War pension. You can start reading about that here if you like.

The Facts

Edward Windsor Moore was born 17 October 1802 in North Carolina. He married Susannah Bryant (born 25 July 1804 in Lincoln County, Kentucky) on 24 September 1823, in Orange County, Indiana. They lived nearly all their lives in rural Orange County except for a short stint in Kansas which did not agree with them. This couple had thirteen children. You would expect a large number of Moores to come down from them, right?

Well, you would be wrong.

Their children

Edward and Susannah Moore had seven sons. John and Joseph died in early childhood. Bartlett Coffin, their youngest, died tragically at the age of 16 serving as a bugler in the Civil War.

Sons Columbus and David only produced daughters that survived to adulthood.

This leaves only William Bryant Moore (my ancestor), and Edward Windsor Moore II. Both of these men had sons that survived adulthood.

Their grandchildren

Let me address Edward Windsor Moore II first. He died in battle during the Civil War. He has my only "loose end." He had two sons, Nelson and Edward Windsor III. Edward Windsor III is the only one listed as an heir to his grandfather's estate in 1890, meaning Nelson Moore died before this time leaving no heirs. I can find no other records for him beyond this date. If he produced any heirs I haven't yet located them.

Now on to my ancestor, William Bryant Moore. He died at the age of 20, on 10 January 1851. Fortunately he left behind one tiny baby, William Braddock Moore, my great-great grandfather.

Their great-grandchildren

William Braddock Moore was orphaned at the age of 12 when both his mother and stepfather passed away that year.  He married Martha Ann Tillery in 1870, and they reared a large family that included four boys.  Two of them, William and Charley, died in childhood.
Moore Family Portrait about 1900
Back row: Minnie, Nannie, Fred, and Ella
Front row: Ed, William Braddock, Nellie, Martha, and Opal

This left Edward Bryant Moore, who only had daughters, and my great-grandfather Frederick Thomas Moore.

Their great-great grandchildren

Fred Moore married Della Mariah Moore (a great confusion but completely separate line of Moores) in 1899. They had three sons: Lee, Ed, and Robert. Robert died just after his first birthday.

My great-uncle Ed married and helped raise his stepchildren, but never had children of his own. That just leaves my grandfather Lee, who passed away several decades ago.

Their great-great-great grandchild

Lee Moore married Lillian Wilson in in 1936, and had one son, my uncle Bill. In the 215 years since the birth of Edward Windsor Moore, it has come down to this. One man that still carries the Moore yDNA.
My uncle Bill, the last of the Moores

That's what hit me in traffic the other day. Bill is 80 now and has no children.  I immediately asked my mom to talk to him about taking a yDNA test for me, and he graciously agreed. I'm ordering the kit today, and hope that this will help solve some mysteries for me. Moore is a fairly common surname and I'm stuck at Edward Windsor Moore's grandfather William, who died in North Carolina in 1781. I can't figure out where he came from. Perhaps in a few months I'll get some more clues.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Mark of Thomas Hilyard (1789-1853)

I enjoy collecting the signatures of my ancestors. All of my 20th century ancestors were literate, and I can find at least some small samples of handwriting for each of them.

Delving back to the 19th century and beyond, I find a lot of this, however:
Typical "X" mark of illiterate

This "mark" most often meant that an ancestor was unable to write. This usually meant unable to read as well, though not always. One other possibility is that the person was no longer able to write due to illness or infirmity. The cross, or X, was the most common way for a person who could not write to sign a document.  I found an interesting article on Ancestry titled How Did Your Ancestors Sign Their Names? Click through to read if you are interested in more information.

One ancestor's mark caught my eye. Thomas Hilyard, born July 12th, 1789 in Pennsylvania, was a blacksmith. He and his wife Elizabeth nee Haught produced a family of at least 19 children (possibly two others stillborn). On a side note, I would like to point out that at age 33, Elizabeth gave birth to healthy twin girls, already having nine other children, then less than one year later had another healthy girl.

Back to Thomas Hilyard. When my cousin and I looked over his probate packet in Fairfield County, Ohio, we found he made his mark, but it was not the typical X. We photographed it in addition to photocopying the pages.
Signature Mark of Thomas Hilyard born 1789, made in 1851

Looking over other documents, I was able to find further examples of Thomas Hilyard's signature mark. In his application for bounty land for his War of 1812 service, it is rather cramped but now I see it:
Signature mark of Thomas Hilyard from 1850

I hadn't even noticed this unusual mark when I received these papers many years ago. It never hurts to look back over the original documents with a fresh eye to see what you might have missed.

As I wrote this post, I knew I had seen his signature in one other place but couldn't call to mind where. I finally located this example, from much earlier in his life, about 35 years old.
Signature mark of Thomas Hilyard from 1824
It isn't the exact same as the signature from his later years, but still a distinctive curve as opposed to the usual X. What this reminds me of is a horseshoe! I wonder if the blacksmithing Thomas thought of it that way.

If I am fortunate enough to find more documents for Thomas Hilyard, I will surely know I have the right man by this unique signature mark.

Friday, January 27, 2017

My Grandmother's Calendars

Many years ago, my dad gifted me an old trunk from his side of the family, full of old stuff. I looked through it, and treasured what I had in store to look through.
Old Hilyard Family Trunk

I recently was able to move the trunk from an impossible-to-access place in a closet to my bedroom. Opening it, I found my grandmother's old wall calendars. I was aware they were in there, but wasn't sure what to do with them. Seeing their fragile condition, I knew they needed some help.
Disintegrating before our very eyes!

I called over my partner-cousin in genealogy crime, and we went to work. It only took us a few hours to sort and photograph/digitize all the pages. After that, I stored the originals in scrapbooking boxes, labelled in case I need to see them again.
Neatly stored!

Now, all of the calendars are stored on my Google drive, accessible from any computer, any time.

So, what's on the calendars? Reading through them, we compared them to Facebook. Just day-to-day recordings of what my grandmother was doing, who was born, who died, who came to visit. The range? From 1932 to 1976! Some years are missing, but what a treasure. We looked up our birthdays, and there they were. Not only was my birth recorded, but the fact that my grandmother baked bread that day.

There is very little in the way of worldly happenings, but I spotted this entry:

World War II made the calendar
Just picking any page at random:

Look at all the canning she did! She notes it was hot. Remember this--she did all the cooking and canning on a woodstove. No fans, no A/C.  Fifty-four quarts of her own apricots, then she notes that she canned her sister's the next day. On the 14th, they had 42 people to dinner. My mom says she would feed the men, then the women, then the kids. My grandma turned 62 that month. My hat is off to one tough lady.

I see my grandpa had a wreck on the 7th and broke a rib. Later that week his sons mowed and plowed the garden for him. I'll have to ask my dad about that.

Dig around for old calendars and journals, diaries and such. So much rich daily detail in there! It also makes me consider what record I'm leaving.