I should like to tell of Mary Moore - a real story about a real person - who lived in Virginia two centuries ago . . . James Moore, of Scottish descent and grandfather of Mary Moore, was born in Ireland. In about 1726, he and his brother Joseph sailed for America, settling in Pennsylvania.

Joseph died after approximately two years, leaving James to discover the wonders of America alone. In his loneliness, he met and married Jane Walker, a girl of Scottish descent, whose father had emigrated to Ireland, married, fathered seven children, and finally, brought his family to America.

James and his beloved Jane lived in Pennsylvania during the births of their first four children, but about that time, Jane's father, John, moved his family to Rockbridge County, Virginia; Jane and James soon followed. Six more children were added to the Moore family, which now boasted 5 sons and 5 daughters. Child number six, named after his father, became the father of Mary Moore, the marvelous lady of our story.

Young James married Margaret Poage (the Poages were of Irish descent), who, in her turn, bore him five sons and four daughters. Our Mary, born in 1777 and named after her father's eldest sister, was James' and Margaret's fifth child; she had three elder brothers, John (feeble in mind and body), James and Joseph and one elder sister, Jane.

Mary's father yearned for a place to rear his family in safety, someplace where there would be fewer of his fellow settlers, but where he would be some distance from the various Indian tribes, the young warriors of which were continually at war, both with the settlers and each other. It was a common practice among the tribes to kill any whites they could find or to kidnap them for ransom, and James hoped to lessen his family's exposure to both threats.

James' cousin, Samuel Walker, made a visit to the southwestern part of Virginia and, returning with glowing reports of its beauty and fertility, caused James to wonder whether this might be the place where he could fulfil his desires for his family. After visiting the area with his cousin, he decided to move his family to this beautiful spot. He and his English servant (probably a bond servant), John Simpson, traveled to Virginia, cleared a few acres of land, built a cabin and made preparations for the move. The Moores moved into their new home in the fall of 1775.

A hunter, Absalom (nicknamed Apps) Looney (that really was his name), built a cabin about a mile down the creek from the Moore home. John Poage built his cabin about two and a half miles up the creek. Other families were scattered here and there in the general vicinity. The area lived up to James' fondest dreams, and the family soon prospered.

After some time, the Indians discovered that whites had settled the area, and the lovely, peaceful, prosperous valley became a place of such extreme danger that many families chose to abandon their beloved homes and move to one of the towns for added safety. The warriors did attack towns, but it was still safer than in the outlying areas.

When Mary was seven her brother James, fourteen, was sent to the settlement which John Poage had abandoned to get a horse for a trip to the mill. When James didn't return, a search was begun. The only thing the searchers found was sign that a group of Indians had been there. James' disappearance occurred on Sept. 7, 1784 and was, ultimately, of great importance to our Mary's survival.

After almost two years, Mary's father received word that his son was in or near Detroit, which was a common slave market, one where Indians often sold their captives. Unfortunately, on the morning of July 14, 1786, shortly after the arrival of this promising message, a party of raiding
Shawnees killed a neighboring couple, then, after burning the couple's cabin, went directly to the Moore's home.

To be continued . . .

Return to the Neighborhood!


This entry was posted on 8:00 AM and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

0 comments: