Archiver > AL-MOBILEBAY > 1999-03 > 0922681087

From: Jenn of MS Delta <>
Date: Sun, 28 Mar 1999 22:18:07 -0600

To the LIST:

Recently in my correspondence with a Moffett cousin Bobby Boyett, I was
sent the following story in relation to relative Eli Moffett and his
life and times in Mobile and the story of his family's events to do
with THE COPELAND GANG. Evidently they were the terrors of the south at
that time, today, they' would be some gang members lunch.

Thought you all might find it an interesting read of history of Mobile
and it's surrounding areas.


> Henry Moffett (son of John) married Hannah Anderson.
> This Henry is a BROTHER to Gabriel who marries MARY HELMS
> HENRY MOFFETT (son of Henry and Hannah Anderson Moffett) b 20 April 1750
> Cedar Run, Va
> married Margaret Patrick (dau of John Patrick) 1771 Amherst
> Co, Va
> CRAVEN P. MOFFETT (son of Henry, son of Henry and Hannah) married Mary
> Ann Ellis
> Craven had a BROTHER ELIAS (ELI) who married Matilda
> Court Records 1834
> At a meeting of Judge and Commissioners of Revenue, Mobile County 1st
> Monday in Feb 1834. Ordered that the following persons be Overseers of
> the road from Mobile to State line, Goff's District, Vincent Vaughn, John
> Pierce, Eli Moffett.
> Records beyond 1840 to 1843
> Dist & Overseers, 3rd Dist. from W. Hamilton's to the bridge on Dog
> River, Eli Moffett Overseer.
> 1837 Eli Moffett to be paid on account of work done on road from De
> Vardels at Spring Hill by way of Goff's to Moffett's residence at State
> Line $250.00
> More similar articles bb.
> Life and Confession of Noted Outlaw, James Copeland." pages 110-13
> The same day Wages and i were consulting thus, my brother John Copeland
> came to bring me some clothes, and he informed me that it was reported
> that old Eli Moffit held a large amount of money, and that there was a
> project on foot to rob him and burn his house the first good opportunity;
> that Moffit had taken a contract to build a bridge in Perry county, and
> would shortly leave home, and that Eli Myrick was to let the party know
> what time Moffit commenced the bridge and would be absent from home. I
> then told Wages what was on foot. He then said "let me leave home about
> three days before, and I will try on the same night to rob old SUMRALL
> and burn his house". In a few days Myrick came down and told us that
> MOFFIT was up in Perry county, and would not be home in two weeks. Wages
> immediately geared up, and started with his cart, his wife and McIntosh.
> Three nights after that Allen Brown, McGrath, John Copeland and I went
> to Moffit's just after dark, about 7 o'clock, on the night of 15th
> December 1847. Eli Myrick did not go with us, because he said Mrs.
> Moffitt would know him too well, but he was in on the secret and shared
> his part of the money.
> On getting near, we stopped to consult as to the safest way to get the
> money. Some were for robbing the house and not injuring any of the
> family. That I opposed, for I never believed in leaving any living
> witnesses behind to tell what I had done, if there was any way to prevent
> it. I always thought that two persons were enough to keep a secret, and
> it was safest if one of them were dead, for dead witnesses give no
> evidence. It was agreed that we should go into the house and demand the
> money, and if given up, to leave the inmates peaceably and unharmed.
> John and I went in with a very stern look, thinking we could frighten
> the old lady, and make her give up every dollar that was in the house.
> But we were as sternly and peremptorily refused. The old lady said that
> she knew nothing about the money, and if she did, that we would not get
> it; we then told her that we had come after money and that money we
> would have before we left that house, or her life; and she still bravely
> defied us. John Copeland had in his hand a large hickory stick and I had
> another. Perceiving that she was determined, and our only chance to get
> the money was to kill her, while the old lady and I were quarreling about
> the money, I gave my brother the wink, and he struck her a blow on the
> head which felled her to the floor. He repeated the blows , and I hit
> her several blows. We then commenced plundering the house, in search of
> the money; and we ransacked the whole house from top to bottom but the
> amount we did find was small. I do not remember the precise amount we
> got, but it did not exceed $200.00. and to our great displeasure we
> afterwards found out, that there was a large amount of gold and silver in
> the house, at the time that we did not fine.
> After we had plundered the house to our satisfaction, of all the money we
> could find, and each one of us had his load of the most valuable articles
> about, we set the house on fire and burnt everything up, together as we
> thought with Mrs. Moffit who we thought was dead, and we left with a full
> conviction in our own minds that she would be burned in the house. When
> I afterward learned that she was not dead I often wondered at her
> providential escape.
> The gold and silver we had overlooked was all melted, and I understand
> that Moffit afterwards took it to Mobile and disposed of
> it.-------------------
> NOTE: Eli Moffett was born in Ga in 1791. He served as a Private in
> Cap. John Jones Co., Miss. Militia; Maj. Smoots Battalion, War of 1812.
> About 1820 he married Matilda-------- and their know children are:
> Gabriel, Thomas, Ira E., Matilda.
> There is today many, descendants of Eli Moffett living in Al and Ms, and
> every so often we are reminded of the Axe of the Copeland gang as the
> following article will show:
> MOBILE PRESS REGISTER - Sep 17, 1967 (Sic)
> A $100.00 reward has been offered for the arrest and conviction of the
> vandals that dug up graves in the Moffett Family Cem. near Wilmer
> sometime last Sunday.
> G. E. Stringfellow, Mrs Annie Ruth Ellis, and other members of the
> family donated the money for the reward.
> The graves of Robert Moffett and Mrs. Lu Ida Moffett Stringfellow were
> entered possibly in search which is reported buried in the area.
> Actually, relatives said this week, the money , suppose to be about
> $96,000, was buried by Moffett more than a century ago at the old family
> homestead near Lucedale, Ms. It was never found.
> According to relatives, Moffett decided to bury the money after the
> Copeland gang, which terrorized the southeastern states just prior to
> the Civil War, tried to find the money. -------
> Ira E., son of Eli Moffett, served as a Sergeant in Co. D , 37th Ms.
> Regt. from March 1862 until the close of the Civil.War
> ------------------
> This is copied exactly as typed.
> Bobby Boyett

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