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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Thursday, January 4, 2018

52.1: Start! My Great-Uncle Ed

I'm participating in Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" to challenge myself to blog more. Each week she provides a prompt that can be interpreted any way the writer chooses.

Week 1's prompt is "Start". Amy gives a few suggestions as to what this might mean, and I want to talk about the person who got me started in genealogy. He was my great-uncle, Ed Moore.
Ed Moore
I think my first genealogy memory was of a thick manila envelope Ed mailed to my mother around 1980. It was full of what I now know to be pedigree charts and family group sheets. I was captivated from the first glance. I was 10 years old.

There wasn't a whole lot a 10 year old in 1980 could do from a research standpoint. I checked out every genealogy book I could from my town library. I wrote my own charts. I even got bold enough to write some letters to older relatives who are now all gone. 

About a decade later, I was married and far removed from my Indiana family, living on an Air Force base in California. I picked up my genealogy again, and ran with it, thanks to Ed.

I feel like I know so little about him, so I welcome the opportunity to write down the information I do have.  Edward Stewart Moore was born in Paoli, Indiana in 1916. He was the second of a set of twins; his sister Edna was stillborn.  I discovered where his middle name came from by his birth certificate; he was delivered by a Dr. Stewart. He had two older sisters, and an older brother Lee who was my grandfather. There was another son, Robert Clarence, born after Ed, but he died at the age of two from bronchopneumonia, two days before Christmas in 1921. Robert Clarence had always been just a name and two dates to me, but I got to visit Ed once, and asked him about the boy. Even as an old man, he got a little emotional when he talked about "Little Bob".  That really personalized the child in my mind.

Ed went to school in Paoli until 8th grade, which I think was pretty common at the time. My grandfather Lee did the same.
Ed Moore as a boy
In the 1920 and 1930 censuses, Ed lived at home with his parents, Fred and Della Moore. Fred was a laborer at various jobs and Della was a homemaker. By 1940, Ed had moved to Arizona and was working on a dairy farm.

I'm not sure what took him to Arizona (perhaps it was the CCC?), but he spent the rest of his life "out West", ending his days in northern California.

**Added 8 Jan 2018**
After reading this post, my mom (Ed's niece) called her brother. He related that during the Depression Ed and his brother Lee went to join the Army. The Army physical revealed he had tuberculosis, and Ed was told if he didn't move to a different climate he would be dead in six months. The family pooled all their money to buy him a ticket. When he arrived in Arizona, he had $8.00 left to start his new life.
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I have from his records that he married Emily May Turner in late 1940. They never had children together, but Emily had a child or children from a previous marriage. My mother said she was a Mormon, and I think this is what sparked Ed's interest in genealogy.
Ed and Emily Moore

When World War II started, Ed enlisted in the Army. I am fortunate enough to have received some of his memorabilia from that time.
Ed Moore in uniform
Ed was a tank commander and achieved the rank of corporal.  I have his shoulder patch from the 16th Armored Division. I know he attended reunions with his unit mates until late in his life. I was unaware until very recently that Ed received the Purple Heart during his time in the war. I learned this when I found his grave marker on findagrave.
Ed Moore and his tank "Beaugeard"
Ed Moore and Crew--Ed center back
Do you know any of these men?
After the war, Ed lived in Phoenix for some years, then in northern California in the Eureka area. At the time of his death in 1997, he lived in Kelseyville.

I met Ed a time or two as a child, though I don't really have any memories of those visits. I did make contact with him in the early 1990s when I was living in southern California and taking a more serious interest in genealogy. His notes were alway terse but friendly.
Letter from my uncle Ed prior to my visit


When I graduated from college, my mom flew out to California, and we made the drive up the state to visit her uncle. Ed was in the very early stages of Alzheimer's; a little forgetful but he still knew he was forgetting. He seemed truly glad to see his brother's daughter and granddaughter, and we had a good visit. He lived in a little trailer on his step-daughter's property that he called his wig-wam. The property had a gate, and he always opened and closed it for the cars coming and going. He struck me as a gentle, humorous, and very tall person (6'2", a full foot taller than me).

I wish I knew him better. Thank you, Ed, for introducing me to this wonderful lifetime hobby!

1 comment:

  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Uncle Ed a couple of times when he came from California to Florida to visit. He was a sweet, loving man. Being the recipient of the purple heart and seldom discussing it was proof of how humble he was also.

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