1854: Col. Stephen Moore to Alfred Livingston Moore

This letter was written by Col. Stephen Moore (1801-1882) of Hempstead County, Arkansas, to his brother, Alfred Livingston Moore (1803-1884) of Person County, North Carolina. The Moore brothers were sons of Phillips Moore — a planter and machinist, who relocated while a young man from New York to North Carolina where he married and reared his family; he built the first horsepower threshing machine ever used in that part of North Carolina, and served a long time as surveyor, at which latter work he contracted pleurisy, which terminated his life in December, 1840. Their mother was Elizabeth Dudley.

Stephen was married in 1830 to Mary (“Mollie”) Morrison Gray (1813-1855) in North Carolina. She was the daughter of General Alexander Gray (1768-1864) and Nancy Burrow (1783-18xx). Stephen and Mollie had at least eleven children, including the young the youngest — Robert Gray Moore — with whom Mary was pregnant at the time this letter was written. The 1860 Census shows Stephen to have had as many as 26 slaves on his plantation in Hempstead County, Arkansas.

Alfred was married to Sarah (“Sally”) Cates (1803-1884). He was an enterprising and successful planter, of North Carolina, and he and his family were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

1854 Letter

1854 Letter

Addressed to Mr. Alfred L. Moore, Mount Tirzah, Person County, North Carolina

Mount Hope [Arkansas]
November 26, 1854

My dear brother,

I have waited a long time for an answer from you to a letter I wrote you the latter part of July last enclosing you a Draft payable in New York for five hundred dollars, and as I have not received acknowledgement of its receipt by you, fear it did not go to you safe, or if you have written yours, it did not come to hand. I fear something wrong somewhere. If this should reach you, write immediately. Lately I sent you through my brother-in-law, Jesse H. Lindsay ¹ of Greensborough $114.00 and have written to Mr. George Laws requesting him to pay you the balance of my note as soon as he can.

Since I last wrote you, my wife has been in a most distressing situation with a cough that she took in the spring. For the last three months we have nursed her day and night, sometimes for a week or more she seems to improve, then all at once she grows worse, and for days it appears like she could not long survive. For the last six weeks, she has not been off her bed but once, and then only for a few minutes. What makes her situation still more distressing is she is six months gone in pregnancy. What is to be the result, a wise and overruling providence only knows. Hers is the only case of sickness I have had in my white family since we got here.

This part of the country has suffered severely the present year first with continued rains in the spring up to the 20th June that nearly ruined the crops, when at that time a drought commenced that lasted until the 19th September. Corn crops were cut short one half and cotton about the same. I have nearly done picking out my cotton crop and will make about forty bales of 500# each. When I pitched my crop, I expected to make seventy or more. If it was not for the finest drop of oats I ever saw made (71 single stacks) I would have hard scufling the next year. Corn is worth a dollar a bushel and has been since it was gathered. And to travelers on the public thoroughfares it is worth $1.50 a bushel and hard to get at that. The old inhabitants here say there never has been such a crop year since the country was settled.

The country has been very healthy generally — very few complaints and they of mild character.

I have heard nothing from Mr. Read & Co.’s suit against us since I wrote you. I requested Mr. Norwood to write me from time to time but he has never written to me but once, and that I think was before I wrote you in July. I would like to know all about it. Do write me particularly on the subject.

Fearing this may not reach you through the Mount Tirzah Post Office, I send a duplicate copy directed to Roxborough. Our love to all your family. My wife desires to be remembered particularly to yourself and sister Sally.

Yours sincerely, Stephen Moore

Amelia Gazeal Ellison

Amelia Gazeal Ellison

¹ Jesse Harper Lindsay (1808-1886) was the second son, and third of six children, born to Col. Robert Lindsay, Jr. (1776-1818) and his wife Letitia Harper (1785-1835). His paternal grandparents were Judge Robert Lindsay (c.1735-1801) and Ann “Nancy” McGee (1753/4-1832), and his maternal grandparents were Lt. Col. Jeduthan Harper and his wife Gazeal Parke. His family was prominent in the early history of Guilford County, and his father took a leading role in the founding of the city of Greensboro.

Jesse was graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1827. He married his cousin, Amelia Gazeal Ellison, of Darlington, SC, in Randolph Co., NC on 14 May 1833. Amelia was a daughter of Dr. Zachariah Ellison (1786-1821) and his wife Sarah “Sallie” Harper (1789-1858, who later married General Alexander Gray).

Jesse Harper Lindsay was a successful merchant, and President of the National Bank of Greensboro. He and his brother Jeduthan were prominent in the development of the city of Greensboro. Jesse served in the NC General Assembly in 1835-1838 and was elected State Senator in 1844. He was a close friend of NC Governor Zeb Vance. He was a devout Christian, and devoted member of the first Presbyterian Church of Greensboro, which he helped found and direct.

5 responses to “1854: Col. Stephen Moore to Alfred Livingston Moore

  • Terri B O'Neill

    As with my earlier comment on Moore research, I would like to know the source of this letter and the information you have provided about the author and the recipient of the letter. This letter, too, is one I have never seen before, but I am very grateful that you have preserved and transcribed it. In my other comment, I mentioned the Moore repositories I have researched; now I will add the Southern Historical Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University Special Collections, and manuscript collections at the University of South Carolina. Unless this letter and the 1824 letter written by Thomas William Channing Moore to his father, John, are in private collections, I’m at a loss as to how I missed them! Please enlighten me. Gratefully, Terri B. O’Neill

    • Griff

      Terri, I was asked to transcribe this letter by an acquaintance of mine prior to his selling it on ebay. The date of sale was 29 September 2013, according to my records. I transcribe hundreds of letters such as this one each year for no compensation other than the satisfaction of preserving history for the benefit of family researchers and historians. I’m glad you found the letter useful.

  • Terri B O'Neill

    Griff, thank you for your reply. I commented on another Moore letter posted on SparedShared4 the other day: 1824 letter from Thomas William Channing Moore to his father John Moore of NYC. Either that comment went astray, or (more likely) I failed to subscribe to your blog, because I didn’t get a reply to that one. I mentioned that I have long studied the Moore family and this was also a letter I had never seen before. What impressed me about these letters was the accompanying biographical material which was accurate in every detail but one: the father, John Moore, Esq., had no middle initial “C” and in the 1854 letter from Stephen to his father Phillips, there is an “s” on the end of his name rather than “Philip.” He was named for his mother’s maiden name, Grizey Phillips. These are trifling details, and may not matter at all to your mission of preserving the letters. The 1824 letter was particularly interesting to me as I am in possession of a letter book kept by the recipient, John Moore, Esq. It dates from 1815 through John Moore’s death in 1828. There are two pages neatly excised from the letter book, and those two pages cover nearly the whole year of 1824, therefore this letter from son to father fills in part of that blank year. Is the 1824 letter also one you transcribed before its sale, perhaps? Did you supply the biographical material accompanying the letters or did the owner of the letters give you those details? Again, I appreciate your work & dedication very much, and I hope I’m not taxing you too much with all my questions. Terri

    • Griff

      Terri, thank you for the editorial corrections. It is important to me to have that kind of information accurately published so I have corrected the text. The 1824 letter was similarly transcribed and sold on e-bay on 27 September 2013. Yes, I do the biographical research myself and provide that with the transcription to the gentleman who sells these letters so that he might include it with the e-bay listing. I actually spend much more time, customarily, researching the correspondents and the people, places and/or events mentioned in them than I do transcribing the letters. Sometimes I don’t even have much in the way of dates and names to start with but am generally able to figure out who wrote the letters and roughly — if not precisely — when they were written. I’m delighted to hear you say you appreciate my work & dedication. — Griff

  • Terri B O'Neill

    Well, accuracy is music to my ears! Should you ever run across any other letters pertaining to the Moore clan of New York, or Stephen Moore of Mt. Tirzah, NC, I would be more than happy to share what knowledge of them I have accumulated over the years, as well as the many collateral lines of Bayard, Livingston, Hoffman, Huntington, Phillips, Axtell, Barberie, Stanford…well, it’s a long list. Terri

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