Thursday, June 25, 2009

Was Robert the "Black Sheep"?

by David Jeffreys & Terri O'Neill, June 2009 ©
Was Robert the "black sheep" of the Stephen Moore children? I always thought of him that way, because there is voluminous data and documentation of all the siblings, it would seem, but Robert! Duke's Perkins Library is full of information about Stephen and the Southern Historical Collection in UNC's Wilson Library has lots of information about the siblings including the now infamous bible that recorded John's birth, but not Robert's birth.

As Terri O'Neill has told you, "Over the past couple of months, there has been a flurry of activity among three of our group: Steve Moore, David Jeffreys and me, Terri O'Neill. It's kind of a long story, but essentially, Steve found a good TN website that had a lot of information on Yancey Moore, son of Robert Moore, son of Stephen Moore. Yancey moved to Carroll county, TN, sometime in the 1830's and sort of disappeared off the radar of NC researchers. The sketch on Yancey at the TN site mentioned a family bible belonging to the sister of Yancey, Sarah Harriett Moore, who was married to Richard Henry Moore, son of Portius. Still with me so far? This family bible had a birth date for Robert Moore of 5 Nov 1762, which was 7 years EARLIER than his presumed birth year of 1769. Almost simultaneously to this discovery, I was directed to another great website called cemetery census <> and while exploring that, went to the Stanford Family Cemetery page #275 in Orange county. In reading the description, I noticed that they stated the monument was placed there in the 1970's. I had pictures of the dedication of the monument which appeared to be taken in the early 1950's. I thought I also had copies of a list of attendees to that cemetery monument dedication that would tell the date. It turns out that the dedication was in 1949 & I didn't have a list for it. But in the process of searching for THAT list, I found another list of attendees for a reunion held at the home of Stephen Moore, Mt. Tirzah, that took place 3 Oct 1925. In preparation for the reunion, biographical sketches of some of the children & grandchildren of Stephen Moore were compiled. The sketch compiled for Robert Moore began: "Robert Charles Moore, only son of Gen. Stephen Moore and Julia, who was an actress." The sketch then went on to detail 4 of Robert's children including Gilbert & Sarah Harriett, but omitting Yancey. Well, once I finally connected the dots between the bible record birth date and the sketch of Robert for the reunion, I thought I'd better consult with one of Robert's descendants, David Jeffreys, to see if he had ever gotten wind of this situation. His reaction was, "Well, NO." But when we started thinking about it, we began to realize this answered some nagging questions: Why wasn't Robert mentioned in the Mary (Moore) Stanford bible, which gives birth dates for everyone EXCEPT Robert? Why wasn't Robert mentioned in any of the early letters between Moore family members, particularly one dated 1774 in which Stephen writes to Grizey & mentions Phillips & Frances? Robert witnessed an important document (a release of dower that enabled Stephen Moore to sell the West Point property) in 1784. If he was born in 1769, he would only have been 15 years old, and not qualified to witness such a document. Stephen was such a meticulous record keeper, and conscientious public servant, it's quite improbable he would have let that detail slip by.
We made a concerted effort to track down the bible that had belonged to Sarah Harriett & Richard Henry Moore to verify Robert's birth date. We got pretty close, locating Willard Moore in Gibsonville, NC, whose mother had possession of the bible in 1962. Willard did not know for sure where the bible was but sent a copy of a transcript his brother Fletcher had made. The transcript had the birth date recorded in two places, and the death date confirmed it further: born 5 Nov 1762, died 27 Nov 1827, age 65. The research is continuing..."

Terri emailed the administrator of the website, Paulette Carpenter, with the following information: "Sorry it took so long to get this to you, but it took some time to track down the bible that had the crucial records we were seeking-the birth date of Robert Moore, father of Sarah Harriet Moore. My research partners & I managed to track down a descendant of Mattie Thompson Moore, in whose possession the bible was in 1962. He was unsure if he had the bible, which may be in a trunk in his attic. He did, however, send me a transcript that his brother made of the bible pages (undated) that confirmed the date of birth of Robert Moore: 5 Nov 1762. He promised to search for the bible as soon as he could, but for now, the transcript will have to do. This birth date for Robert certainly answers some questions that have bothered family researchers for a very long time. One of Robert's descendants thought he must have been a "black sheep", but couldn't put a finger on why. I've always sensed a sort of "apartness" for Robert, though I'm not a descendant of his line. It's just that in all the family letters that survive, no one ever mentions Robert. Yet, there is no doubt that he is Stephen Moore's son. He is one of the executors of Stephen Moore's will, and is named an heir as well."

The reader may want to view the original website regarding Yancey Moore before reading the corrections that Terri suggested:

Terri goes on to say: "Since this is drastically different from the accepted information concerning Robert Moore, there may be some questions about what is presented in this article."

Some Additions and Corrections to Death Notices from the Christian Advocate, Nashville, Tennessee 1880-1882 #2, compiled by Jonathan Kennon Thompson § ¦ Smith ¦ §
Submitted by Terri Bradshaw O’Neill

The discussion following pertains to Yancey Moore of Carroll county, TN, his father, Robert Moore of Person county, NC, and Robert’s father, Stephen Moore of Person county, NC.
Pages 77-78
“Robert Moore was one of the twins born to General Stephen and Grizey Moore, according to the old Stanford family Bible (see page 80), on Nov. 12 1769. There is a discrepancy in Robert’s birth as to the day and year of his birth as given in the R. H. and S. H. Moore family Bible, i.e. Nov. 5, 1762.”
· Family researchers have long wondered at the omission of Robert Moore from the Stanford family bible record, and the wording therein: “Their son John born Novr. 12, 1769.” This is the next entry after the birth dates of Stephen Moore and Grizey Phillips were recorded, strongly suggesting that John was the first child born to Stephen and Grizey (Phillips) Moore. The omission of Robert was generally dismissed as a minor detail of the record being copied in haste, and the assumption became that Robert was the twin of John, who died before reaching the age of one year, which is also recorded in this bible. The bible goes on to record the births of son Phillips, born 12 July 1771, and daughter Frances, born 5 Nov 1773. Among the letters of Stephen Moore located in Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, #1060-A Howell Collection 1742-74, is a letter dated 12 Feb 1774. Stephen writes to wife Grizey (at West Point) on his way to Canada, expressing hope for a speedy return to “you and our dear little ones” and imploring her to “keep up a remembrance of me in mind of my dear little Chatter Box and give them both daily kisses in my behalf.” This letter clearly indicates that Stephen and Grizey have two small children (John having already died): Phillips, age 2 and a half, and Frances, 3 months. There is no mention of Robert.
· Of the family letters that survive between Stephen Moore and his sisters Rebecca Moore and Frances (Moore) Bayard, there is one dated 30 Apr 1763 full of family news. Two others, one dated 8 Aug 1768, the other dated 5 Apr 1769 from Rebecca made cryptic references to disappointment & ill fortune Stephen had met with, the latter also mentions the importance of taking a companion for future days. Sister Frances Bayard wrote Stephen in May, 1769 to congratulate him on his marriage, 5 months after the fact. Robert Moore is never mentioned or accounted for in these early family letters, which were found in the South Caroliniana Library of the University of South Carolina, Stephen Moore papers. In December of 1768, Stephen Moore settled his West Point property on Grizey Phillips as a marriage dower. This document is among the Papers of the Continental Congress (M247, roll 74, item 60, pp.441-2) They were married 25 Dec 1768 as recorded in the Stanford Bible. Stephen Moore moved his family from New York to North Carolina sometime between May of 1775 and September, 1776 and as early as 1779, began petitioning the Continental Congress for compensation for damages done to West Point. By 1784, he was petitioning Congress to buy the West Point property. Along with the above mentioned marriage settlement is filed a release of dower, signed by Grizey Moore, enabling Stephen to sell the property (pp. 443-4). This release of dower, dated 1784, was witnessed by Robert Moore. It is the earliest known document on which Robert Moore’s signature appears. If Robert had been born, as assumed, in 1769, he would be witnessing this important document at age 15, an improbable occurrence. Robert appeared 3 years earlier on a “Return of Artificers and Laborers at Post Mt. Tirzah, 1781-2” enrolled for a 3 month militia tour as an express rider. (NC State Archives, Treasurer’s and Comptroller’s Papers, Military Papers, 1781-1782, Box 9, or see North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. XXV, No.4:411-17, Nov. 1999) This Robert Moore so employed could not have been a child of 12, but, using the 5 Nov. 1762 date, a young man of 19 years old is certainly plausible.
· In the Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill, #955-Augustus W. Graham papers, Moore family folder, #257, Series 2.8 is found a “List of Descendants of General Stephen Moore Who Attended the Reunion and Picnic at Mt. Tirzah, Person County, [NC] on Saturday, Oct. 3rd, 1925”. In preparation for the reunion, biographical information was collected for some of Stephen Moore’s children and grandchildren, among them “Robert Charles Moore, only child of Gen. Stephen Moore and Julia, who was an actress.” This biographical sketch then went on to name 4 of Robert’s 8 children, omitting Yancey Moore, who had moved to Carroll county, TN, sometime in the 1830’s. Here was the explanation for why Robert was not included in the Stanford family bible record. Though there is no doubt that Robert was the son of Stephen Moore, he was not the son of Stephen and Grizey.
“In the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, Vol. 4, edited by William S. Powell (Chapel Hill, 1991), pages 308-9, General Moore’s career is well delineated…More grievous, perhaps, is the claim that he served in the U.S. Congress in 1793.”
· This claim is, in fact, erroneous. However, North Carolina Government 1585-1974 A Narrative & Statistical History, edited by John L. Cheney, Jr., p.206 shows that Stephen Moore represented Caswell county briefly in the State Assembly of 1780, First Session, 17 Apr-10 May in the House of Commons.

(Page 79)
“…married at Quebec on Christmas Day, 1768…He thereafter had fair success as a merchant with his official residence having been Moore’s Folly on the Hudson [West Point]…
· Stephen Moore had established himself as a merchant in Quebec even before his service as deputy paymaster to the British troops ended as evidenced by the ledgers and account books he kept dating from 1761. Two of these account books are held in the special collections at the Perkins Library, Duke University, while a third is in private hands. Stephen had two business partners in Quebec. Eleazor Levy and Hugh Finlay, who would become Stephen’s brother-in-law. Hugh Finlay eventually became the Postmaster at Quebec. Stephen Moore remained in Quebec until 1770, when he moved to his estate at West Point. The failure of both the mercantile and trade enterprises of Moore & Finlay, and the partnership with Eleazor Levy are likely reasons that motivated the move to New York.
“…temporarily imprisoned on the POW ship, “Forbay”…
· The name of the prison ship has been misinterpreted, most likely due to a poor copy or illegible handwriting. The name of the ship was Torbay, as shown on the letter written by Lt. Col. Stephen Moore and Maj. John Barnwell, dated 18 May 1781, to Maj. Gen. N. Greene. (Papers of Continental Congress, R175,V.2:217-20.)
“He afterwards served in several governmental capacities, including Deputy Quartermaster General of North Carolina, from which position came his title as ‘General’ Stephen Moore.”
· Stephen Moore held the rank of Brigadier General of Militia and issued muster orders in several issues of the North Carolina Journal, a weekly publication. The 26th of January 1795 issue directed units from the counties of Randolph, Chatham, Wake, Orange, Granville, Person & Caswell to muster on specific dates. This order was issued from Mount Tirzah, Person County. In the August 1st, 1796 issue, an order to muster “for the purpose of review” was published by order of Maj. Gen. W. R. Davie & Stephen Moore, B. G. Another order to muster appeared in the Oct. 24th, 1796 issue, again from Mt. Tirzah, Person County, Stephen Moore, B. G.
“At the time he [Stephen Moore] wrote his will [27 September 1797], a son Cadmus, had died only twenty-two days previously.”
· It was son Marcus who had died 5 September 1797 at age 17. Cadmus had died 4 May 1789, almost 2 years old.

(Page 80)
“…A Stanford Family Bible…These entries were all made at one time in the same handwriting, whose is unknown.” Pictures of the birth, marriage and death pages are shown, followed by a transcript of the entries.
· This Bible is located at the Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, #1900 Webb Family Papers, UNC-Chapel Hill. Inside the front cover is the bookplate of Stephen Moore. The bible was published by Matthew Carey, Philadelphia, PA, in 1802. The entries shown are in the handwriting of Mary (Moore) Stanford, daughter of Stephen and Grizey Moore. The bookplate, publication date and entries in the handwriting of Mary Moore Stanford suggest that the early entries were indeed copied from an earlier bible record. Most likely, the bible was a gift from Grizey Moore to Mary on the occasion of Mary’s marriage to the Hon. Richard Stanford, 11 September 1803 at Mt. Tirzah. There are many examples of Mary Moore Stanford’s handwriting to be found in collections at the Southern Historical Collection and the North Carolina State Archives.
“Grizey Moore departed this life the 14 January 1820 at Mount Tirzah aged 72.”
· By careful examination of this entry, it is clear that the zero in the date is overwritten with a two. Grizey’s birth date is expressed using the old style Julian calendar, in which the first day of the year was 25 March, as: 13 February 1748:9. In the newer style Gregorian calendar, her birth year would be 1749. When Grizey died in 1822 she was just a month short of her 73rd birthday.

This concludes the additions and corrections to Jonathan K. T. Smith’s Death Notices from the Christian Advocate, Nashville, Tennessee 1880-1882 #2. The Bible belonging to Richard Henry & Sarah Harriet Moore, daughter of Robert Moore, was last known to be in the possession of Mrs. Mattie Thompson Moore, the wife of Charles Fletcher Moore in 1962. In order to verify Robert Moore’s birth date as recorded in the bible, an attempt was made to locate the bible by contacting descendants. An undated transcription of the bible pages was made by Charles Fletcher Moore, Jr., in which he stated, “I copy this just as it is in the bible.” The entries for Robert were: Robert Moore was born November the 5th A. D. 1762, and, Robert Moore died November 27th 1827-Age 65 years. Until the original Bible is located, this meticulously copied transcription must serve as the proof that Robert Moore was born six years before the marriage of Stephen Moore to Grizey Phillips, the son of Stephen Moore and the unidentified Julia, the step-son of Grizey, and the half-brother of Mary (Moore) Stanford.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Wilson Library, Southern Historical Collections, #955 Augustus Washington Graham Papers; #1060-A Edward Vernon Howell Papers; #1900 Webb Family Papers; #2096 Richard Stanford Papers; #2205 Stephen Moore Papers.

Duke University, Perkins Library, Manuscript Collections, Stephen Moore Papers.

North Carolina State Archives, Richard Stanford Papers and Moore Family Papers.

University of South Carolina, South Caroliniana Library, Stephen Moore Papers.


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