Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Correction to the Lineage of Hon. John Moore (1658-1732) of Philadelphia: A Recap

In the summer of 1991, descendants of Stephen Moore (1734-1799) of Mount Tirzah, North Carolina, assembled at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point for a family reunion. The location was appropriate because Stephen Moore had inherited the West Point property upon the death of his father, Col. John Moore (1686-1749) of New York City, then subsequently sold it to the U.S. government in 1790, upon which the USMA was established in 1802. Of the approximately 200 attendees, from all parts of the country, many were meeting for the first time. Some were acquainted through genealogical research. In my case, I had been studying the Moore family for about eight years, and I was just learning of some discrepancies in the lineage in 1991, but was too inexperienced to know how to resolve them.
Soon after the reunion, however, I was put into contact with the family of Richard Channing Moore, who was a descendant of Stephen Moore’s elder brother, Thomas (1721-1794). Richard C. Moore had left a family chart at the West Point Library, and when I wrote to him, I learned that
 he had died a short time before. His wife Marjorie was very gracious in sharing the information that Richard had compiled in his study of the Moore lineage. Richard had encountered the same discrepancies that I had, but instead of wondering about them, he hired a genealogist in Philadelphia, and another in London to resolve them with limited success. Additionally, right before the West Point reunion, Dr. Victor Moore of Evans, Georgia, put me in contact with Mrs. Marguerite Roll. Marguerite was not a Moore descendant, but she wanted to obtain the Moore coat of arms as a gift to friends who were. (I never learned their names.) She was working with
 the Lancaster Herald at the College of Arms in London in order to accomplish this goal, and she had supplied him with the information she had: David Moore Hall’s Six Centuries of Moores of Fawley, published in 1904. Early in my studies of the Moore clan, I obtained a copy of Six Centuries which I used as a guide for my continuing research. The Lancaster Herald could not reconcile the lineage as written in Six Centuries with what was on record at the College of Arms. There was a major error in the lineage detailed in Six Centuries, namely that Francis Moore of Fawley was said to have married in 1655 Mary Cary, daughter of Edward Cary. Francis Moore and Mary Cary were the supposed parents of John Moore, born in 1658. However, the Cary lineage shows that Mary, daughter of Edward Cary was born 50 years after the alleged marriage. Further, the arms granted to the Moores of Fawley are described as “Argent, a Moorcock, Sable” [a black Moorcock on a silver or white shield] and were granted in 1569 to Nicholas Moore, Esq. The arms used by the American branch of Moores of this study is described as “Argent, Ten Crosses Crosslet, Sable” [10 black crosses crosslet on a silver or white shield]. I would point out here that this coat of arms was used by four men: Thomas Moore, the Librarian at Westminster Abbey and Hon. John Moore’s brother; William Moore (1699-1783) of Chester County, Pennsylvania, son of Hon. John Moore, brother of Col. John Moore and father of Thomas
 William Moore (1735-1799), who played a large roll in the misidentification of the correct lineage; John Moore, Esq. (1745-1828), son of Thomas Moore of New York City, grandson of Col. John Moore, nephew of Stephen Moore, family historian and author of at least four known memoirs and countless family letters; and Stephen Moore himself, on the bookplate of the family bible that belonged to his daughter, Mary (Moore) Stanford. Notably, neither Hon. John Moore of Philadelphia nor Col. John Moore of NYC used the ten crosses, crosslet arms on any seal or bookplate that is extant. The Lancaster Herald stated that it was his belief that Thomas Moore, Librarian of Westminster, assumed the use of ten crosses, crosslet without authority, and
 indicated that no Moores had ever been granted arms ten crosses, crosslet.
As the exchange of information continued, we asked the Lancaster Herald to verify the story reported by John Moore, Esq. in one version of his memoirs, that his cousin, Thomas William Moore (1735-1799), traveled to London in 1770 and received the Moores of Fawley genealogy from the “Herald’s Office.” The Herald’s report was as follows: “...I can confirm that such visits were (and still are) recorded and the records preserved. I have examined those for 1770, but I find that only two enquiries were received that year relating to persons or families of the name of Moore: the first, in July related to one Giles Moore of Middleton, co. Westmorland, no record of whom could be found, and the second, in August, to the family of Moore of Appleby, co. Leicester, whose pedigree had already been registered.”, and “...I have examined the Waiting Books for the period from July 1767 to December 1776 without however finding any record of an enquiry relating to the Moores of Fawley.” Thus, it seems that the myth of our Moores of Fawley lineage originated with Thomas William Moore in 1770, which was then accepted without question for the next 225 years. None of the American descendants had any reason to question or doubt it. Whether Thomas William Moore was duped by an unscrupulous genealogist, or was led astray by his relations still residing in England, we may never know, but in one way, it made my research easier. Since all the generations after Thomas William Moore adhered to the Moores of Fawley lineage, I could be certain I was on the right track if there was ever any mention of Fawley, as in the case of John Moore (1820-1903) of Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, who named his home Fawley.
Now, 21 years after the West Point reunion, a great deal of research has resulted in many new discoveries of which the majority of the attendees are unaware. A recent research and pleasure trip to North Carolina gave me the opportunity to renew some acquaintances with cousins and meet others for the first time. Many Moore descendants still live in North Carolina, in Person County where Mount Tirzah, Stephen Moore’s home is situated, in Orange, Alamance, Durham, Granville, Wake, even New Hanover and many more. In addition to learning “new” things about under-explored branches of the family, my purpose was to share the results of the intervening 20+ years of research with those who were unaware of it. Descendants of Stephen Moore’s son, Portius (1784-1847), the Horner/Graham/Hall/Cooper families lived in Oxford, Granville County. At the home of Lea Lea Ivey, I presented these findings to a small group of cousins who were learning of the different lineage for the first time. Needless to say, the news was met with some polite skepticism. One of the long-held stories in that branch of the family was of the trip to England and Fawley Manor made in 1888 by their ancestress, Sophronia (Moore) Horner (1829-1909). In their understanding, Sophronia had seen etched in a pane of glass at Fawley Manor, the names of three girls, one of them being “Sophronia.” Though I remembered seeing that story long ago, I could not recall its source, so could not counter the argument at the time. When I returned home, I quickly found the source of the story: in the pages of Six Centuries of Moores of Fawley. In a perfect example of how family stories sometimes get distorted over time (but must never be discounted!), the account of the trip to Fawley was :
“Our kinswoman, Mrs. Lilie Moore Craven, thus writes of her visit to Fawley in 1888: ‘Doctor Gardiner went with us to the old manor house at Little Fawley, about a mile from the Vicarage, which was unoccupied, save that some of the numerous rooms were used for farm purposes. We walked through the ancient rooms, gazed upon the landscape from the upper windows, went upon the roof, read the names cut with a diamond upon the window panes, namely Mollie Moore, Nellie Moore, Anastasia Moore, Sir R Moore, and I thought of those who formerly occupied the mansion and wondered how they looked.’ ”
With the enormous databases containing original records now available on websites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry, research is greatly facilitated. I tracked Rev. Elijah R. Craven (1824- 1908) and his wife, Elizabeth Gertrude Moore (1832- ), daughter of Stephen van Rensselaer Moore (1799-1883), and granddaughter of Bishop Richard Channing Moore (1762-1841), in census records of 1870, 1880 and 1900. One of the features of Ancestry searches is “hints” pointing the researcher to other records that may pertain to the individual you are researching. In this case, the hint pointed toward passport applications. On 22 May 1888, Elijah R. Craven was issued a passport to travel abroad “accompanied by my wife Elizabeth G. Craven.”
I cannot emphasize enough, the value of incorporating all family histories, genealogies, oral traditions, letters and manuscripts, memoirs and the research of others into this ongoing, and constantly expanding study of the vast Moore clan, but I offer this caveat: anything written before 1995 is subject to the “Fawley myth” and should be considered a guide useful for clues. Likewise, the many genealogies posted on current websites such as Ancestry and FamilySearch must be used in the same way, as most are derivative of the “Fawley myth.” Fellow researchers and cousins, Steve Moore, David Jeffreys and Sandra (Moore) Shoffner have worked tirelessly to distribute accurate information and I urge anyone interested to visit David’s excellent blog: Stephen Moore of Mt. Tirzah Family.
One visit won’t be enough! Or to obtain the CD compiled by Steve Moore containing much of the research since 1995 and photos of Mt. Tirzah, the family cemetery, Mt. Tirzah Church burial ground, and much more, contact Steve at: information in your possession that may be of interest to all, such as family portraits, documents, family bible pages, letters, diaries or journals, please consider copying or photographing and sharing with all or any of us: Terri O’Neill, Sandra Shoffner, Steve Moore and David Jeffreys
~~Terri Bradshaw O'Neill, July 2013

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