MOORE-L ArchivesArchiver > MOORE > 2007-01 > 1168135972
From: "Roberta J. Estes" <>
Subject: [MOORE] The Reverend William Moore of Halifax Co., Va.
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 21:12:52 -0500
This is my line. Because he lost his land before he died and had no estate,
his children have been very hard to document. If you think you descend from
this line or have any info at all, please let me know, especially about the
"possible children" at the end.
The Reverend William Moore and the Moore Meeting House
The Reverend William Moore was born about 1750 in Prince Edward County and
died in 1826 in Halifax County. His father was James Moore and his mother
Mary Rice. He married Lucy about 1772. William moved to Halifax about 1770
with his parents, settled beside his father, purchasing land from him and
others on the second fork of Birches Creek, living on the same land the rest
of his life at the southwest corner of the intersection of Oak Level and
The Reverend William Moore was a very interesting person. He converted to
the Methodist Faith when the religion was very new on these shores and
considered revolutionary. The Methodists and Baptists were known as
"dissenting religions". At that time in history separation of church and
state had not yet occurred. It was required that everyone be baptised in
the Anglican Church and that the church perform all marriages after the
posting of banns. Initially, marriages performed by dissenting ministers
simply were not recorded, which is likely why William and Lucy's marriage is
not to be found.
The Rice family in Prince Edward County was also a dissenting family and
Joseph Rice, William's grandfather, built a meeting house for dissenters in
1759 in Prince Edward County.
The early Methodists did not believe in slavery and actively denounced it.
Neither James nor William Moore ever owned slaves. This break with the
mainstream in colonial Virginia could have driven a significant wedge in the
According to the "Lives of Christian Ministers", William became a preacher
before 1775 and an itinerant minister in 1778. He was at the "Conference"
in Baltimore in 1779 and at the "Christmas Conference" of 1784 with James
O'Kelly at which the colonial Methodists broke with the tenents of the
Methodist Church of England and ordained their own bishop, Francis Asbury.
By 1791 William was no longer attending the Methodist Conference, having
"located", meaning he was no longer itinerant according to the Methodist
Church archives. Rev. James O'Kelly also withdrew from the conference and
in 1805, William Moore with James O'Kelly together attended the Conference
or General Meeting at Shiloh in Halifax County. William Moore served upon
the presbytery of ordination and was recorded as having been a minister more
than 30 years.
William is particularly interesting because of his, at that time,
Revolutionary religious ideas, and his passionate renderings of them. The
Methodist Church in the colonies was a fledgling organization. The
Christmas Conference was a historic founding conference of the newly
independent Methodists within the United States held just after the American
Revolution in Baltimore, Maryland in 1784. Prior to the revolution,
Methodism was characterized completely by all itinerant circuit-riding
ministers. With the outbreak of the war, most of these returned to England,
with the exception of Francis Asbury, who stayed and continued his
albeit-restricted work with the local itinerant ministers.
By November 1784, it had become evident that the American Methodists were to
be granted some level of freedom from the English Anglican Church Methodist
societies, and Thomas Coke was to ordain Francis Asbury, at the Christmas
Conference. Asbury was the first American ordained Bishop, a step which was
highly controversial. 83 itinerent ministers were eligible to attend, and
of these, 60 were present, including William Moore. This record is
preserved in a painting of the historic event, but unfortunately, he is too
far to the rear to be seen clearly, but he is individually identified.
William Moore was ordained before 1789 when he produced his ordination
papers in Halifax court and was licensed as one of the 3 "dissenting
ministers" allowed to each county after the Revolutionary War. In order to
qualify, they had to produce their ordination papers in court and then they
were licensed to perform marriages, baptisms and other ministerial
functions. Most importantly, they could then register the marriages they
performed. We know that William was marrying people in Halifax before this
date, at least as early as 1786 when he married Bolling Hamlett and Polly
Combes and registered the marriage.
In 1797, William Moore purchased of Ransom Day, 100 acres on the North side
of the road (Mountain Road), "the meeting house" excepted. Today, this land
is directly across the street from Mt. Vernon church where the parsonage
stands. Researching this land further, deeds explicitly mention the
headwaters of Polecat Creek as well which is on this piece of land.
Furthermore, the minister at Mt. Vernon church told me of the church's
history, and the "original" church was across the street in the 1800s, which
is confirmed by deeds. Apparently, the "Moore Meeting House", as it would
come to be called, was the predecessor to the "original" Mt. Vernon Baptist
Church that was built on the North side of the road. The church on the
South side of the road, as it exists today, was eventually built in the
early 1900s and the "original" church torn down.
In 1801, William and Lucy sell this land "except where the meeting house
stands". In deeds as late as 1854 references are made to both the "lines of
Lucy Moore" and where the "old Moore Meeting House" stood.
However, William was to split with the Methodist Church, and probably did in
1791 or shortly thereafter and participated in founding both a new religious
sect and a new church.
The Rev. William Moore apparently became very close to the Rev. James
O'Kelly. At the end of the 18th century, and the Christian Church in
America was only 6 years old. At this time Reverend James O'Kelly who had
broken from the Methodist Church because of a dispute with Francis Asbury
came into this area preaching the Word. Finding a number of people
attracted to his preaching and being interested in the new Church movement
called "Just Plain Christian", the Rev. O'Kelly proposed that a Christian
Church be organized, and Pleasant Grove Church, just off Mountain Road, was
organized by the Rev. O'Kelly in 1803. In a flyer for their 197th
anniversary, Sunday June 4, 2000, they indicate that their church was
established in 1803 and that the first two ministers were Rev. James O'Kelly
followed by Rev. William Moore. The first building was constructed of logs
and stood just south of the present building.
William Moore was peripherally involved in many lawsuits, typically as a
witness. I'm sure as a minister, his testimony was fairly unimpeachable.
Probably the most interesting of these were the ones for hog-stealing and
slander where Edward Henderson (probably his brother-in-law) said that
someone was "drunk and out of humor".
The most humorous was an 1819 chancery suit revolving around a wedding over
which William presided where the groom was either drunk or crazy, but let's
look at William's own words in his deposition in the suit between Isabel
Dodson and John Dodson.Parson William Moore saith that:
"on the 4th day of July 1817 I was sent for to marry a cupple in Milton
(NC). There were a number of people collected together about the tavern. I
took a seat in the Pizza (probably piazza) and asked who was to be married.
Some person replied "you'll see directly" and in a very quick time John F.
Dodson led Isabel Baines to the Pizza. I asked him for his license, he said
he had them, and soem person replied "you have them not" but that Thomas
Turner who has them who had gone up to Jack's Woods Tavern for dinner. I
then told Dodson that he might lead back his bride until I got the license
and he said so. I saw Thomas Denaho and he delivered me a lawful license.
I then walked into the room the noon? and told him I was ready to wait on
him, he led up his bride and I married the pair. I then took a seat in the
pizza, there was a decanter of spirits setting on the shelf, he asked me if
I would take a drink of grog and I told him no, he then took a drink and
pulled out a red morocco pocketbook and gave me a dollar. In the time that
I was performing the ceremony he said something (that) set the poeple a
laughtin but I did not hear what it was that he said. I concur him to be in
a state of intoxication at the time of the marriage or in a state of
insanity. I have been acquainted with him for several years and I always
considered him a person of weak intellects."
By 1820 William was encountering financial difficulties. He would be in his
70s by this time, and probably less likely to preach, and his income while
not completely dependant on preaching was probably affected somewhat. He
took a loan using his land as collateral in 1822. He was unable to repay
the loan, and his land was foreclosed in 1826 before he died. It does give
us a list of his meager holdings though, one wagon and gear, 4 horses, 3
cattle, 12 hogs, 3 feather beds, furniture, 2 bedsteads, all household and
kitchen furniture and plantation tools, which he includes in with the land
to secure the debt of $560.58.
However, his wife, Lucy, had never released her dower when he obtained the
fateful loan in 1822.
After his death, Lucy sued Isaac Medley, the person who held the mortgage
and foreclosed on the land, for her 1/3 share of the dower rights, and won.
In addition to the actual documents of the lawsuit, we also have a survey
showing William's initial holdings and the portions with the "mansion house"
apportioned to Lucy. She held this land free and clear, not as a life
It is unclear exactly when Lucy died, but we know she was alive as late as
1830 age 70-80 in the census. She had 2 women age 30-40, 1 woman 50-60, and
1 woman 20-30 with 2 children under the age of 5 living with her. This
looks like a young widow with small children, and between 1 and 3 unmarried
daughters. One has to wonder if the widow is Lucy Akin Moore, her
daughter-in-law. We also know that Lucy had 50 acres of land that
eventually had to be accounted for by some manner.
In 1831, James and Lucy (Akin Moore) Ives sell 25 acres, for $1, to
Elizabeth Moore, adjoining Isaac Medley, James Wilson and others. In both
the 1851 and 1852 tax lists for Halifax, this Elizabeth is shown with her 25
acres on Birches Creek owned in fee, 14 miles SW of Halifax. Given that
Lucy's former husband was James Moore, son of William and Lucy, this land is
possibly the land that was part of the estate of James Moore Sr, father of
William Moore. The distribution of that land has never been unraveled.
In 1842, Lucy Ives and Elizabeth Moore sell to William Henderson 3.25 acres
for $10 adjoining Medley's line, witness Edward Ferrell, Benjamin Ferrell.
By 1840, Lucy is gone from the census (at least under her name), but deeds
still refer to Lucy Moore's corner. We find an Elizabeth Moore, age 60-70,
with a male 20-30 and a female 10-15.
However, in 1840, Raleigh Moore, confirmed by DNA to be related to this
family, is living next door to Edward Henderson, thought to be the
son-in-law of James Moore, and in Raleigh's household is a female age 70-80.
Lucy would likely be more like 80-90, but especially in elderly people, ages
in the census vary widely. His mother in law, Caroline Brooks, born in
1787, would only be 53 is she were living with him. Is Lucy Moore living
with Raleigh Moore in 1840?
In 1850, Lucy Ives (age 60) is living in the household of Elizabeth Moore,
age 50, with several other Ives individuals, but Elizabeth lists nothing in
terms of land value, so I have to question if this is the Elizabeth with the
25 acres of land.
In 1850, Lucy Moore is not found in the census, but in 1851, we find this
"Isaac and Martha Medley to William Irby, Birches Creek, nearly opposite to
Vernon Meeting House, beginning at Lucy Moore's corner, Wilson's corner,
Jacob Ferguson corner, the same land Isaac Medley purchased of William
Moore, decd." Does this mean that Lucy is still living? She would be
nearly 100 if she were. Note that this is the land where the Irby Cemetery
is found today.
In the 1860 census, we find Elizabeth Slate, age 50 (born 1810), Lucy Ives
age 60 (born 1800) and Elizabeth Moore age 58 (born 1802) living in the same
household very near the Hendersons, so still the same area. Who is
Elizabeth Slate? Lucy's Slate daughters are Rebecca and Kitty, and Kitty is
In 1863, we find Lucy Ives and Rebecca Slate selling 47 acres to William
Henderson, the land were Elizabeth Moore, decd, owned and Lucy Morz.
Rebecca Slate is the daughter of Lucy Moore and Lucy Ives is her
daughter-in-law through James Moore, her deceased son. Is this Elizabeth
Moore the daughter of Lucy who outlived her and never married? Is this,
with the 3.25 acres sold in 1842 the total of Lucy Moore's 50 acres?
Three Elizabeth Moores die in the same timeframe, one in 1859, one in 1861
and one in 1863. Unfortunately, the Halifax death records shed no light on
During one of my visits, we found what we believe may be the old Moore
cemetery. It is just west of the post office building at Mount Vernon and
back in the woods, directly across the road from the Irby Cemetery. Someone
had bulldozed back in there. There were no gravestones that I could see, as
such, but there were many many fieldstones and graves, plus yucca plants,
box elder or boxwood, and the graveyard favorite, periwinkle. This was a
substantial cemetery. I believe it is probably where William and Lucy Moore
are buried along with many other Moore family members.
Another recently discovered "Henderson" cemetery is located just off of Oak
Level road north of Hummingbird Land, which appears to be land that James
Moore owned and possibly the land he sold to his son-in-law Edmund
The following are the known children of Rev. William and Lucy Moore:
*William, born 1785 or before, moved to Pittsylvania County before
1815 and had business dealings with Azariah. He probably married Sarah (or
Sally) and had at least 2 sons and 3 daughters. By 1850 William had died,
but his wife Sarah was shown as age 64 (which could be in error) along with
Nancy Jenkins age 36 (born abt 1814), Sarah Jenkins age 11 (b abt 1839) and
a son William Moore born abt 1820, age 30.
*Azariah Moore was born 1783 or before and served in the War of 1812.
He married Letitia Johnson in 1818 in Pittsylvania County, and they had four
daughters and two sons. According to the census, one son apparently died
young, but James F. Moore who was born in about 1822 survived. Azariah died
in 1866. In 1880 we find Letitia S. Moore age 79 living with her son James
F. Moore, age 58. It appears that James never marries, or he marries after
his mother's death sometime after 1880.
*Nancy "Ann" born about 1785 married John R. Estes and moved to
Claiborne Co., Tn. about 1820. She died there between 1860-1870.
*Thomas - born between 1771 and 1777, taken from the 1792 personal
tax date. This is possibly the Thomas who has orphans Rawley and William,
or this could be the Thomas who married Harriett Moore, daughter of
"Catawba" William, or a different Thomas altogether.
*James born about 1785, married Lucy Akin in 1817 and was dead before
1830. In 1827 he lost his land to debt to the same many who foreclosed
William Moore's land.
*Rebecca Moore married William G. Slayte (Slate) in 1825.
*Jane Moore m James Blackstock 1823.
*Kitty married Francis Slate 1805, is in Surry Co., NC in 1850.
*James married Lucy Akin in 1817 and was dead before 1830, possibly
had a child Elizabeth Moore. By 1831, Lucy Akin Moore married James Ives.
*Elizabeth b 1770-1780 - she apparently winds up with her mother's
Possible additional children of William:
*Lemuel before 1791, perhaps as early as 1770-1780, appears in 1812
on the tax list, then we find him in 1830 in Grainger Co. Tn. beside Mastin
Moore, age 50-60. Sometimes Lemuel written as Samuel.
*Isaac b 1793 or before, assigned as road hand in 1814 with James
Moore and Samuel (Lemuel).
*Israel b 1791 or earlier, appears 1 time on tax list in 1812 same
day as William.
*Mary Moore b 1775, found in 1850 census living with William B. Moore
(orphan of Thomas Moore).
|[MOORE] The Reverend William Moore of Halifax Co., Va. by "Roberta J. Estes" <>|