Autauga County Pioneer, in the American Revolution
by Susan Moore Teller
April 16, 2002, updated November 12, 2012.
Comments and corrections submitted for this book are very welcome. This story is dedicated to my father, Harlen E. Moore, whose passion was American History. Born in Wise County, Texas in 1908, he cherished his pioneer ancestors and knew their stories if not their names and detailed history. He knew his Moore’s “came from Virginia way before the American Revolution and went west as pioneers on a Wagon Train.” His grandparents are buried in Wise County, Texas, near Park Springs where they lived on a farm “cut through by the Rock Island Railroad when it came through.” He also knew his ancestor fought in the American Revolution, but knew no details about that service. Now the story of his ancestors is told.
This story is submitted with grateful recognition to the kinfolk whose submissions and correspondence were incorporated into research done over several decades, in particular that of Rev. Cecil Little and Elaine Hall Hendricks, both of Alabama and both now gone from this world; Dean Moore of California, Mary Wyatt Buehler of Alabama, and my brother, Harlan Moore who donated a direct More/Moor/Moore a male line dna swab for the purpose of tracing our direct paternal line ancient history on “our” particular Moore line: all direct descendants of Obadiah Moore. Special thanks to my son, Vin Maddux, who escorted me from California to Alabama to pursue research. Without his help none of the documentation produced from court and bible records necessary would have been possible. Obadiah’s life story, told in court under oath by Obadiah himself when he testified for his military pension tracked his life’s journey.
Update: The Moore Cemetery, today an Alabama Historic Cemetery;
…and…Obadiah Moore’s ancient ancestry found to be Viking!
Update: In the summer of 2008 the combined work of this writer, Susan Moore Teller, and Mary Buehler, both in that time leaders of their own DAR Chapters, with the major effort being accomplished by Kat Reece, then president of the Chilton County Cemetery Association was successful in naming the Moore Cemetery a Historic Alabama Cemetery. The site was once John Moore’s home plantation and is the site of the Moore Family private graveyard, where the grave of Obadiah Moore and his wife, Winney are buried. They rest there, along with son John Moore and his wife Amanda Maria, who was called Mary, and nicknamed Polly. It has been closed to further burials for many generations: and was always limited to the immediate Moore Family. This land was passed down the Moore family at least three generations, until it reached Curtis Moore, son of William Moore, son of the John Moore buried at this site.
Governor Bob Riley of Alabama authorized the Moore Cemetery on November 12, 2008 as an “Alabama Historic Cemetery Register.” This authorized the installation of a beautiful engraved plaque showing the history of the Moore Cemetery and of those buried there. An event was presented on September 20, 2009 commemorating the 170th anniversary of the death of Obadiah Moore.
Top Left: Susan Moore Teller at podium, giving talk on life of Obadiah Moore. To her left: Mary Wyatt Buehler. Men standing behind: Chestnut Creek Baptist Church officials and SAR President of local chapter which furnished Color Guard. Top Right Footstone on grave, with DAR Plaque, SAR Medallion.
Bottom Left: A young girl reads the historical marker. Bottom Right: Historical marker for Moore Cemetery.
John’s 3rd G-Granddaughters, this writer Susan Moore Teller and Mary Wyatt Buehler were the Regents of their respective NS DAR Chapters at that time, Mary of her Peter Forney Chapter in Montgomery, AL and Susan of her Asthon Sosi Chapter in Peoria, AZ . Katherine Reece of the Chilton County Cemetery Association ordered the replacement for Obadiah Moore’s tombstone with one that shows his service in the North Carolina Militia correctly. Additionally, a Revolutionary Patriot Plaque was installed on his tombstone and that of Winney, his wife was installed on September 20, 2009, the 170th anniversary of Obadiah Moore’s death. The SAR added a small SAR Medallion to Obadiah’s tombstone. Obadiah Moore was not only a veteran, but fought in the Battle of Charleston under General Benjamin Lincoln, was captured by the British at Charleston’s fall, and was a prisoner of war.
Obadiah Moore (1754-1839) Pvt., NC Militia:
Autauga County Revolutionary War Veteran of the Siege of Charleston,
South Carolina, and Prisoner of War.
He was born Obediah More II on the Chesapeake Bay in Princess Anne County, Virginia, the son of Obediah More I and his wife, Prudence Willoughby. He was styled Obadiah Moore later in life, but not by himself, as he never learned to read and write. His father died when he was five and his brother James three, and his mother later married a neighbor, Samuel Elks. Elks moved the family to Pitt County, North Carolina, which is where Obadiah grew to manhood, joined the North Carolina Revolutionary Militia twice, and married Winney Venters (or Ventis) at the close of the war. (2)
The young couple went “west” and are in Columbia County, Georgia by 1793, where Obadiah is listed a member of the county militia. They moved on to Jasper County, Georgia, there by 1810, where son John is active in the Jasper County Courts and is shown in many court records, as is John’s sister Dicy’s father-in-law, Samuel Ray. By 1819 they are in Chestnut Creek, Autauga County, Alabama, an area which later became Baker County, and then Chilton County. Obadiah is buried in the old, private Moore Family Cemetery, on what was --at his burial--his son John’s homeplace plantation, one of five parcels John owned. It is located a few miles distant from Clanton, between what is now Coopers and Verbena, Chilton County, Alabama, but in 1839 was Chestnut Creek, Autauga County.
Today, Obadiah Moore is listed as a patriot by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, ancestor number A203807, submitted by his 4th Great-Granddaughter, Susan Moore Teller in 2003 and accepted November 8, 2006, via the line of Obadiah and Winney’s son John Moore, John’s son James, James’ son Enoch, and Enoch’s son Marion, this writer’s grandfather. Since then, several of his descendants have joined the NS DAR and SAR on the line of Obadiah Moore.
Dad often said “Our southern Moore family came to Virginia long before the revolution and went west as pioneers by wagon train” through the south and on to Arkansas and then further west to Texas, where he was born. Dad told me how my great-grandfather, Enoch Moore, born in Alabama, at the age of barely nineteen left his home near Rockport, Hot Spring County, Arkansas during his service in the Civil War, returning to find his entire family vanished. “My Grandpa Moore” my father said, referring to Enoch Moore (1845-1925) “searched till the end of his days in vain for some sign of his family, writing to every Moore he heard of. If he couldn’t find them, you never will!” But I did at last, after many years of searching, thanks to the web site of my 5th cousin once removed, Elaine Hall Hendricks of Dadeville, Alabama. I received an e-mail on Christmas Eve, 1997, about Elaine's Genealogy web page containing the Autauga County Alabama Moore family, and it was an exact match. After a three generation, one hundred and thirty-two year search for hard evidence of the ancestors of our long lost Virginia born, Alabama Moore's who were in Arkansas just before the Civil War, we'd found them!. (3)
Later, I was to find my great-grandfather, Enoch Moore, age 5, with his parents, grandparents and even great-grandma Winney living nearby in the home of Enoch’s Uncle Allen and Aunt Dicey (Moore) Ray, in the Autauga County Alabama’s 1850 Federal census. After locating this correct link to “my” Moore line, I spent more than five years documenting with public records Obadiah Moore’s revolutionary service and his descendants on my direct line down to myself. I began by ordering Obadiah’s revolutionary war pension records. They came back incomplete, and another 5th cousin, Dean Moore of Los Angeles, CA, traveled to the nearest Federal Archives and personally copied all papers, then sent me a copy. These complete papers showed my 3rd Great-Grandfather John Moore’s signature more than once, but was missing from the papers I had ordered by mail. Then I documented each of Obadiah and his wife Winney’s children known by descendants today. Next, I documented each birth, marriage and death of every generation down to my own with public records, such as land deeds and records, multiple Federal Census records, cemetery records and photographs, court records, published county histories, bible records, etc.
I submitted records for Obadiah Moore on March 8, 2003. The application was accepted (4) by the NS DAR
on November 8, 2006.
This is Obadiah’s story.
On the 26th day of November, 1832, Obadiah Moore, a resident of the County of Autauga, who had no record of his age but said he was seventy-eight, appeared in the Court of the State of Alabama, County of Autauga, stating:
"I was drafted in the state of North Carolina in the year previous to the siege of Charleston, in Pitt County, and marched to Charleston, South Carolina by way of Wilmington and Moncks Corner under the command of Capt. George Faulkner. After I arrived in Charleston I was placed under the command of General Lincoln and served with General Hodgers Continental regiment. General Linnister commanded the army from North Carolina to Charleston. I was in Charleston during the time of her siege and remained there until after she was taken by the British. (5) After returning, I served under the command of Captain William Buck (6) for about ten days when news arrived for my discharge
I was born in Princess Anne Co., Virginia; was living in North Carolina when called into service; and since the Revolutionary War lived in the state of Georgia about thirty years and now live in Alabama." Winney, in her pension statement as Obadiah's widow on April 16, 1857, said "she and Obadiah Moore lived as husband and wife, from the time of their marriage in North Carolina at New Years of 1783, until Obadiah's death in 1839. They resided in the state of Georgia until 1819, when they removed to the state of Alabama and settled in the County of Autauga, where she still lives at this time."
How did men like Obadiah Moore, born a subject of King George III of England, change the colonial world Obadiah and others in his generation were born into? What made it possible for we who live today to be citizens of the United States of America? This era brings to mind many questions. Why Obadiah was drafted "the year before the siege at Charleston"--about February of 1779, rather than earlier in the war? When did the south become the major focus of the revolution and why did the British, who at that time held New York City, bother to invade the primarily rural south in their efforts to put down the American Colonial rebellion?
Since France, Spain and England all claimed portions of North America and the Caribbean, how was that altered by the Revolutionary War? Why did several European nations choose to be allies of the USA in opposition to Great Britain in the American Revolution? We must return to the times Obadiah lived in to understand what occurred.
The American Revolutionary War raged from April 19, 1775 at Lexington, until Oct. 19, 1781 at Yorktown, where the British signed surrender documents at the Moore House in Yorktown. Brigadier Gen. Charles O'Hara, second in command for Cornwallis, tried to surrender to the French commander, who referred him to General George Washington, who referred him to HIS second in command, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln.
Lincoln had been forced to surrender to Britain's Maj. Gen. Clinton only a year before at Charleston! Clinton had denied Lincoln the privilege of playing the traditional patriotic tune of their own country when surrendering, to humiliate him. This was also denied the British when they surrendered, and they chose to play instead a popular song of the day "The World Turned Upside Down" as they ground arms, British flag unfurled.
While this was the last major battle, the surrender at Yorktown did not end the war, which dragged on for another five months until the British Minister North was defeated in favor of Rockingham, who promptly negotiated for peace. The final document was signed September 3, 1783, in France. Under the Peace of Versailles at Paris, Britain recognized the independence of the United States of America and was allowed in return to retain Canada and recovered its West Indian territories; France recovered St Lucia, Tobago, Senegal, and Goree; and Spain retained Minorca and recovered Florida.
Various Christian European nations had long sought to settle, Christianize and “civilize” lands where “pagans” lived. They bought trade goods and God, and searched for treasure. They traded furs, gold and silver for guns, powder, steel knives and pots, bringing treasure back to their home country. When the United States rebelled, the powerful British Nation felt the world turned upside down, literally. The young country continued to pursue their own destiny, driving out other European interests from the North American Continent whenever they could. Later, this was called Manifest Destiny, meaning this United States of America was theirs to govern as they saw fit without intervention from European countries. Neither side viewed the Amerindian Nations as legitimate sovereign nations.
The French and English stirred up trouble in North America deliberately, first in the “French and Indian War” between the French and British over possession of North American Forts, rivers and fur trapping rights. After Britain won that one, they faced the “colonial rebellion” in the American Revolutionary War between the British and the new nation of the United States. Britain preferred others to fight their wars if possible, and proceeded to expedite this by arming various Indian nations with guns and powder and paying $50 for each scalp brought to them, whether belonging.to men, women or children, collected by various Indian Nation raids on unsuspecting Revolutionary USA frontier farmers in scattered frontier settlements. This caused a tremendous uproar on the frontier, Militia Regiments to be raised to march to war and descend upon the Indians Nations, destroying them utterly when possible. Bitter hatreds became so prevalent due to massacres on both sides that eventually the idea became universally accepted that no European settlement could be neighbor to any Indian Nation. The notion of removal of all Amerindians to lands far away from settlements became a conviction in time in the minds of all and all notion of peaceful coexistence became impossible.
The Indian Nations sided with the British in the American Revolution, and lost that war. With defeat they lost vast lands and the support and trade goods of the British, which they had relied upon for many decades. When the British lost the Revolutionary War-- or failed to put down the rebellion of the American Colonials in their mind -- they simply sailed away, leaving the Indians to their fate. Strife between the two factions continued in this nation after the departure of the British and later after the departure of the Spanish and French. After the Massacre at Fort Mims in Alabama on August 30 1813, only 175 miles from the site of the Moore settlement barely six years later in 1819, it grew worse. The Fort Mims commander, Major Daniel Beasely, died in the first attack wave, but part-Creek Dixon Bailey rallied the defenders. The attack continued for seven hours. At Fort Mims. on August 30, 1813, almost 1,000 Creek “Indian” warriors (many part European as was their leader, William Weatherford or Red Eagle) slaughtered 500 men, women and children, also varied ethnically in what can only be described as an orgy of killing. All were scalped, men, women and children and most mutilated. It remains to this day the largest and most brutal Indian massacre in American history.
The seeds of Fort Mims were sown right after the American Revolution. The Creek Indians lived in modern day western Georgia and Alabama. The British, the Spanish and the French were all trying to influence events in the region and chip away at the new nation of the USA’s territory. They were also looking for allies should war come again. To accomplish this, they all sought alliances with the Creeks. The British were particularly aggressive in these efforts, offering guns, gunpowder and payment for scalps of American Patriot frontier families. The Americans, of course, sought their own influence with the Creeks and had a decided advantage. The white settlers and the Creeks had lived in peace prior to that. Many of the settlers were of Scotch-Irish (7) descent and marriages between Anglos and Creeks were common. This resulted in a sizeable mixed blood population and it was customary for such persons to have both an Anglo and a Creek name. One such individual was William Weatherford, whose Creek name was Red Eagle.
Weatherford was an impressive person and natural leader. He stood 6' 2" in a time when your average male was about 5' 5". He had jet black hair and black eyes that "...could bore a hole right through you." He never learned to read or write but spoke Creek and English with native fluency and was a gifted orator.
At Fort Mims, Andrew Jackson became convinced that removal was the only solution to constant murder and strife on a daily basis. Fort Mims was the site of the most casualties in any “Indian Massacre” occurring in this nation. However, it was in fact a politically based civil war: the “white settlers” inside the Fort were mixed Indian, European and Mixed Bloods as intermarriage had been occurring for decades. Additionally there were some Africans inside the fort, most of them “servants” or slaves. The two warring factions disagreed politically about whether or not to allow the advancing Europeans to continue establishing settlements peacefully on land held by the local Creeks. The Creek leader was the half English-half Creek John Weatherford who as the Creek Warrior Red Eagle led the attack. News of the massacre spread quickly throughout the frontier South. Troops from surrounding states and territories joined to crush the “Creek War” by the following summer.” On August 9, 1814, the Creek leaders met at Fort Jackson near Wetumpka and ceded 23 million acres of their land to the United States.
The American Revolution had gradually become part of a larger war, with most of the great powers active to some extent. In February of 1778 the French saw a chance to strike a blow at their old enemy Britain and made a treaty with the Americans (offensive and defensive) provoking Britain to declare war on France. The Netherlands signed a treaty with the American colonies in September of 1778, then joined in the war against Britain in 1780. Spain declared war June 1779, laying siege to Gibraltar, then allowing New Orleans to be used as a base for privateers acting against British shipping. Catherine II of Russia formed the League of Armed Neutrality March 1780, to assist the American colonies by inhibiting the use of British sea power.
After over four years of war, in December of 1779, the British turned hopefully southward -- even though earlier North Carolina Patriots trounced a body of Loyalists at Moore's Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776, and an attempt to take Charleston, SC that June was unsuccessful. Seeking a resolution to the troublesome rebellion, ministers in London felt a majority of the southern colonies were Loyalists and if they could only recruit them as soldiers the conflict would end. “How else,” they wondered, “could the war be won without bankruptcy?” .The southern colonies began to bear the brunt of the battles of the war. But politics varied by region in the South, particularly in North Carolina. The British underestimated the number of Patriots. The end result was that often southerner fought southerner in what became a bitter, local civil war.
Amerindian Nations sided primarily with the British, who offered encouragement and arms, used mainly for skirmishes at inland frontier regions. For the British Regulars, Charleston, South Carolina was the first target. The siege of Charleston began in earnest on the second attempt by the British to take the city. Major General Henry Clinton occupied New York, while General George Washington held a position at nearby White Plains. The two sides remained in place watching each other for three years, while the real fighting took place in the South.
Clinton and his forces sailed from New York City, and by February 11, 1780 were landing at Edisto Inlet 30 miles south of Charleston. On April 13, British guns opened fire on the American lines. Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln's troops still had one escape route; via Monck's Corners 20 miles to the south, held by an American Calvary force of 500 under Isaac Huger. On April 14, that was taken, and the Americans were surrounded. On May 9, after a brief council of war discussing terms of truce, talks failed and both armies engaged in a furious cannon barrage that broke the spirit of the leaders of Charleston, who begged Lincoln to surrender to spare the city. Lincoln complied on May 12, 1780. All 5,500 Americans, Militia and Continentals, marched out to ground arms, flags furled. To this day, the surrender ranks as the third largest in the history of the United States, behind Bataan in World War II and Harper's Ferry in the Civil War. Obadiah Moore was among those captured, held as prisoner of war for a time, and then paroled.
After this victory, the British leaders told all Carolinians they could not continue to be neutral and must choose sides, suffering severe penalties if they did not support the British cause. Britain's South Carolina based Major Patrick Ferguson told frontier settlers attacks on the British and Tories must cease, or he would "march over the mountains and lay waste with fire and sword all who opposed him." This statement, meant to terrify American Colonials into surrender, caused cold fury in the tough Over- The- Mountain Men, who helped to win the first major victory over the British in the south by charging up the steep "impregnable" King's Mountain to the figure eight shaped flat plateau at the top, taking the field and putting over a dozen balls in the British Commander, Major Ferguson. Only 600 Tories survived the battle. I ask a local historian at King's Mountain in 1987 how Patriots prevailed on such steep terrain and against such odds. “Accuracy.” History Professor Deal, who was a historic adviser in the summer, replied. “With every single shot fired an enemy fell.” American Patriots in their buckskins from Catawba and Lincoln Counties, NC joined this battle, fighting with their women behind them for fear they would be slaughtered by hostile attacks at home in their men's absence. During the American Revolution the Cherokee, as well as the Creek and Choctaw, supported the British, attacking forts and settlements on the frontier. The Patriot women re-loaded the long Kentucky rifles for their men; some grabbed the rifle from their fallen men and kept on firing, with babes slung in shawls on their backs and older children behind them, according to local historians. Witnesses said Daniel Whitener put the first ball in Ferguson to take him down, with the same long rifle his father, Henry Whitener, my 5th great-grandfather, carried to North Carolina when he came in 1750, a pioneer of the Catawba region. Daniel's brother, Abram, died in that battle on October 7, 1780. This victory heartened the revolutionaries, strengthened vital French support, and increased opposition to the war in the British homeland, and ultimately the United States of American became a sovereign nation. But we would not be citizens of the USA today if men like these had not been willing to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, to create the nation we live in.
Obadiah was, according to his father's estate papers, born about 1759 in Princess Anne Co, Virginia, one of the (at least) three children of Obediah Moore I, (c.1730-1764), who died early. The Princess Ann courts left "monies" from Obediah More’s estate to one Samuel Elks of Princess Anne County for the "care and keep of his orphans, Obediah, five, and James, three" in 1764. Samuel Elks was to be proven later to be a Croatan/Hatteras Indian from the region of what is now Pitt County, North Carolina, who was believed to have some English blood as well as a result of the blending of the remnants of the survivors of the English Colony from Roanoke established in 1587 by Sir Walter Raleigh to a Croatan Village in what is now Pitt County, NC. This was the Roanoke settlement where the famous English child Virginia Dare was born and who then vanished along with the rest of the colony, leaving only the word Croatan carved on a tree.
Samuel Elks is later shown receiving his wife Prudence’s “widows share” of 1/3 of the estate of the deceased Obediah More I. An older son, Willoughby, born about 1750 filed in 1772 for a share of his father, Obediah More (I)'s estate, but died, never having received it, leaving only a daughter Elizabeth More, of whom there is no further record beyond the assignment of a guardian for her by the courts. Fred Willard, an anthropologist working decades on early English settlements in North Carolina with whom we met in person in 2009 informed us. “In the area of Pitt County, North Carolina where Samuel Elks (8) took his new second wife, Prudence Willoughby More Elks and step-sons Obediah More, (9) age about nine and James More now perhaps seven, was a place where in that era those who settled were either Indian, kin to Indian, married to Indian, or dead.” Elks had a land deed on Buck Mountain, and is named a Hatteras Indian in early records.
By the time of the revolutionary war, Obadiah, born in Princess Anne Co., VA, child of Obediah Moore I (1730-1764) was living in Pitt Co., North Carolina. The 1790 NC census of Pitt Co. lists among others Obadiah Moore, Samuel Elks and James Moore. There, his name was written "Obadiah" most often, but not by himself, as he never learned to read or write, common in those days, especially for a fatherless child never sent to school. There is also another older and much more prosperous Obadiah Moore, shown in both 1790 and 1800 census, who remains in Pitt Co., NC after “our” Obadiah says in his pension he removed to Georgia, and where “our” Obadiah is proven to be there by the Columbia Co. Georgia militia record of 1793. He never lived in South Carolina. The Obediah/Obadiah Moore who was a brother to a Samuel Moore of South Carolina and an executor to his estate is not our man. Primary records from the era prove this fact beyond a doubt. Some early Moore Historians misread a census record and believed some members of this Moore line to be born in SC: they read the record as SC. Close analysis possible with improved filmed records show clearly it was NC, or North Carolina. This Obadiah Moore migrated from Princess Anne Parish, Virginia to Pitt County, North Carolina, then to Columbia County, Georgia, Jasper County, Georgia, then on to Chestnut Creek Township, Autauga County, Alabama which later became Baker County and then Chilton County, Alabama after Obadiah Moore’s death. This family never lived elsewhere while Obadiah Moore lived.
Immediately after the close of the war, Obadiah Moore married Winney. I believe her surname is Ventis/Ventes or Venters-the name varied in spelling from document to document, common in that era. In my research I found Patience Ventis in the 1790 census of Pitt County North Carolina living near both “our” Obadiah and Samuel Elks. Patience is the proven widow of Daniel Ventis or Venters. Son Benjamin Ventis lives nearby.
In the Bertie County NC land records is found a Daniel Venters (listed as Ventass), who bought a parcel of about 200 acres from John Sowell on 18 March 1760, lying in Saint John Neck, on the south-west side of the Chowan River. About eight years later, Daniel Venters sold this same land to Captain John Freeman. In the Bertie County Minutes, Daniel Venters records his cattle mark, 22 September 1761: "A crop and Slitt in the Right Ear, and a Crop in the Left Ear. There is a record of sale on 24 January 1761 by "Daniel Ventras and Patience his wife," of about 150 acres to William Keal for 20 pounds in proclamation money.
This "plantation tract" was located on the east side of Cashie road. Both Daniel and Patience made their marks, signed and sealed in the presence of John Sawkill and Benjamin Warren. In May 1764, the Bertie Court assigned to Daniel Venters an orphan, John Fanny, age 7, as an apprentice to learn the trade of cooper. In September 1767, John Fanney was transferred by the Court to the care of Matthew Hubbard. This action, and the December 1767 sale of the land purchased in 1760, may indicate that Daniel Venters left Bertie County about the same time, although he is still listed as paying taxes in Bertie County in 1769.
Military records in the National Archives show that Daniel Venters enlisted on 1 September 1777 for three years as a private in Stevenson's Company (…of North Carolina…). A year later on 9 September 1778, he was in White Plains, New York on the roll of Colonel John Patton's Company in the 2nd North Carolina Battalion. It is quite possible that he was in the North Carolina contingent commanded by Major Hardy Murfree in the Battle of Stony Point, 16 July 1779. In that battle, it was the contingent under Major Murfree that attacked on the center, allowing the other American troops to move in from the sides and thus enter the British-held Stony Point. Whether Daniel Venters died in this battle is not known, but it is quite likely that he perished in the Revolution. The State of North Carolina in 1785, issued a land warrant for 640 acres of land to the "heirs of Daniel Venters." These 1785 land warrants were for land in the area west of the mountains which eventually became the State of Tennessee. In this case, Patience Venters, widow of Daniel, was allowed to purchase, for a fee of 10 pounds for 100 acres, grant land in the Clayroot Swamp area of Craven County. The court records in New Bern show her making two purchases on North Carolina grant land: 300 acres on 9 August 1787, in an area east of Clayroot Swamp, and 150 acres on 10 July 1788, in an area north of Swift Creek and north of Creeping Swamp. The first grant was signed by Governor Richard Caswell at Kinston. The second was signed by Governor Samuel Johnston at Fairfield. The two plots were next to each other, and adjacent to land of John Pollard and Stephen Gatlin. In 1787, this part of Craven County was annexed to Pitt County. The Pitt County land records in Greenville show that Patience Venters conveyed 150 acres each to three sons: 3 April 1788 to Daniel Venters Jr., and Benjamin Venters, and 5 August 1788 to Joseph Venters. (It names no daughters). Patience Venters and Benjamin Venters are listed in the Pitt County 1790 Census. Since the name of Patience Venters does not appear in subsequent Census years, it may be assumed that she died between 1790 and 1800
Winney’s surname came to me initially from a correspondents records, obtained from a direct descendant. Later, my own research of the 1790 Pitts Co. NC census showed a Patience Ventis, living near both Samuel Elks and the Obadiah Moore, who is our Obadiah. Still later research found a history of the Venters or Ventis family in several sources. There is no public record I have found that documents that Winney is the daughter of Daniel and Patience Ventis. I arrived at that conclusion by analysis, as her last name was known by direct descendants in South Carolina to be Ventis or Ventera or Venters. Patience, Daniel Venters proven widow, is living near “our” Obadiah Moore in Pitt County, so it seems reasonable to conclude that Winney, daughter of Patience, married Obadiah, who lived close by. There are no other similar names nearby.
Some histories state the Venters came from NC and were dealers in turpentine. They worked the pine trees, distilled the resin and bought and sold and shipped turpentine and pitch from Georgetown down the Mingo Creek via the Black River into Winyah Bay where it was sold to boats from all over the world.
The Venters (Venturs, Ventures, Ventris, Ventis) were from Alsace, Lorraine Germany to France to England to NC to SC. Alsace Lorraine, on the border of Germany and France, is now in France, once was in Germany. It is the area known to be the location of many folks involved in the Protestant Reformation. These people named Ventis or Venter left, like most to escape religious persecution probably, going first to France and then to England. Many such families, among them the Venters, eventually migrated to the Colonies seeking land and religious freedom. Most were originally Calvinists or Mennonites; many later became Baptists or Methodists.
Obadiah Moore marries Winney Ventis and they go “West”
After his discharge, Obadiah and Winney were married on the New Year as 1783 came in, the year that the peace treaty was signed with the British, in what was now officially the new United States of America, after eight long years of war. They were still in North Carolina on September 5, of 1792 at the birth of their eldest known child, John Moore, my 3rd great-grandfather. Family members said Obadiah Moore and his family lived in Columbia and Washington Counties, Georgia, and they are indeed found there in records.. By 1793, Obadiah is found on the muster roll of Columbia County, where the first Baptist Church was founded by the famous Dr. Marshall who came into Columbia from Richmond County. By 1810 this family is found in Jasper County, Georgia, where both John Moore and his father-in-law Samuel Ray are shown as officers of the courts. By 1819, they were in Autauga County, Alabama. In 1820 Alabama's population was 125,000; in 1830 there were 300,000 residents. Cotton grown on the plantations of the Black Belt, named for the black soil, was the principle money crop. A major depression, called a "panic" hit in 1819. Hardest hit were southern and south western states, worst of these Mississippi and Alabama. Land dropped from $150 per acre to $10; people lost farms, businesses, it was a terrible time for them. Cotton prices dropped to less than the price to raise the crop. Many people relocated. 1819 was the same year that Alabama Territory, formed in 1817 from Mississippi Territory, claimed by Georgia after the revolution, became the twenty-second state of the union December 14.
All of Obadiah and Winney's five known children, John, Fannie, Laodecia or "Dicy," Jesse and Levi, along with the John's growing family, went to Alabama in the latter half of 1819. Obadiah was over sixty, and son John in late twenties, the father of two children with another to be born in spring of 1820. Dicy was about twenty-four, Fannie twenty-three, Jesse eighteen and Levi perhaps twelve.
Life in early Alabama was life on the frontier in every way. It was full of hardships and dangers; with few comforts and many risks. E. A. Powell (1817-1892) wrote about the early days in the Tuscaloosa Gazette. "My first entrance in Tuscaloosa County was the last of February, 1830, the end of the long wagon journey from South Carolina. We came down the old Huntsville road from Elyton, the first town I ever saw in Alabama. On the 9th day of March, we passed about twenty miles north of Selma. That year [was] a prosperous one. But never will I forget the complete breakdown of Mother, when we drove up to the very poor apology for a cabin which we were to live in that year. She had been used to the comforts of life, and being in feeble health the contrast seemed more than she could bear: to use a common phrase, she just let go. But the kind old gentlemen from whom father had rented some land came to the cabin, at once took in the situation and spoke words of kindness and encouragement to mother; told her there was a better time coming and for her not to give way. The old gentlemen's cropper soon came with what was then considered a full outfit of carpenter's tools for a farm: a hand saw, auger and draw knife. He told mother he would show her how to make an Alabama bedstead. A few heart pine rails, and some old boards filled the timber bill, and shortly he improvised a bedstead standing on one leg in each corner of the back of the cabin, and mother put up her beds. By this time, the genuine kindness and pleasant remarks of the man had produced a happy change in mother's feelings, and I don't think that I ever saw her come so near giving up again."
"Most housing in early Alabama consisted of simple log cabins, constructed in sets of two separated by a veranda, over a common roof and floor, which was open at each end, to catch every breeze," according to the History of Alabama. "Vines of wisteria, scarlet trumpet and honey suckle covered the cabins, completely hiding the rough materials from which they were made. Floors were simply planks, unattached. Cracks were present in places in the floor, walls, and roof. Rains caused cascades of water to leak to the interior from the roof, which had cracks wide enough to allow sun to peek through in places, unless covered by vines, which did not keep out the rain. Such were the houses of even the prosperous." Mansions with two story Greek column entries and glass windows were rare for many years.
Middle class life is described by an English visitor to Alabama in 1839. "At meals, etiquette is manifested in waiting for the ladies, who are always placed at the head of the table; the gentlemen stand behind [the ladies] chairs; no one seats himself, however long he may be kept waiting, until the ladies appear to take their seats first. In leaving the table, however, they rise as soon as finished, which [may] be ten minutes or less, retiring from the table chewing his last mouthful as he goes, and hastens to the forepart of the structure to light his cigar, an accompaniment of every meal. At the meal, all persons convey their food to the mouth on the point of the knife, which attracts no notice except from the stranger. The knife has a broad blade and expanded round point, to take up a good knife full of food. Silver forks are rarely seen, except at the best private tables, the steel ones used have two prongs. Knives and forks are set in large, rough, handles of buck horn, so irregular in shape that it is difficult for any but a practiced hand to manage them. Dishes of food are carved on a sideboard, the plates loaded with a great quantity of everything asked for. At breakfast and supper (the evening meal at seven) coffee is more frequently used than tea; green tea almost the only kind seen. High, large cups of thick white earthenware are chiefly used; many with handles knocked off; but neither this, nor cracks, though sufficient to make cups and saucers leaky is disqualification for service.
Food was lavish, including pickles, preserves, ice cream and many kinds of pie. Champagne, Claret, Ale and Porter were served." However, the Chestnut Creek Baptist Church forbade all liquor consumption, so I think not all hosts offered it to their guests!
Obadiah became disabled at some point, and Winney was blinded by a genetic eye disorder that grew worse with time. They lived in the home of children in their later years, either son John Moore and his wife, "Polly" or daughter Dicy and her husband Allen Ray later, but in 1830 Winney is found in the home of son Levi Moore.. John and Dicy were neighbors at the Chestnut Creek area until the end of their lives. Obadiah is buried at the private Moore Family Cemetery on his son John Moore's old homeplace at Chestnut Creek, once Autauga, but now Chilton County Alabama near Clanton. John Moore purchased this land July 10, 1826; the land patent is signed by President John Quincy Adams. Descendants under the non-profit Moore Family Association purchased the area where the small family graveyard is located, along with access rights. Preserved as a historical area, it is limited to the few early family members originally buried there. Near Obadiah is his wife Winney, son John Moore, and John's wife Amanda Maria or "Polly."
There are old family stories about where Obadiah Moore's family came from. The Rev. Cecil Little, a lifelong historian of Alabama and 3rd Great Grandson of Obadiah and Winney said his Grandmother told him the family was English, originally from an area near London, England. Years of attempting to document this seemed to go nowhere, so we decided to ask Susan Moore Teller’s brother, a direct descendant down the Moore line to give Susan a swab for dna analysis on the male line. We did so, and back it came: the very rare (10) Nordic Haplogroup N231, Viking! The relationship to other More families in the Princess Ann area (now Virginia Beach County) of Virginia was established to be over 200 years prior. At that point, this author sent away for a course from Tulane University on the Vikings, and discovered this was very plausible. There was, in the middle ages, an Earl of More (spelled with a slash through the o) in Denmark who “conquered the Western Islands” i.e. Britain. Over time, the Vikings stopped raiding, stealing and killing and settled down in England. The Danelaw once went almost down to London: the area north of London. The Danish words husband, brother-in-law and sister-in-law became part of the English language, along with many others.
Rev. Little was introduced to my son, Vin Maddux and I, by Elaine Hendricks while guests of the Hendricks in Alabama, on my first trip to that beautiful state in August, 1998. My son and I journeyed from the San Francisco Bay Area of California, met with Elaine at her home on Lake Martin, in Dadeville, Alabama and on to the center of the state, where we met with Rev. Cecil Little in Clanton, Chilton County on Sunday, August 16, 1998. Rev. Little gave us a wonderful tour of the private Moore Family Cemetery on the old John Moore homeplace, today near Cooper, Chilton County. He also took us to two other public graveyards where Moore kin were buried as well, afterwards inviting us to his home to share his marvelous history of the Moore family and the Chestnut Creek area. Rev. Little (76 in August of 1998) attended college in preparation for his life's calling, and did his first major thesis on the Baptist Chestnut Creek Church, founded in 1818. At that time he had access to the old minutes, now vanished. Rev. Little was to continue that interest throughout his life, compiling local and family history records and becoming the author of three books concerning local vital records.
Rev. Little told us about life in the Chestnut Creek area in his youth. “On Sunday,” he said his blue-gray eyes so common in the Moore's sparkling with the joy of a good story, “if you were not planning on being embalmed that day, you went to Church services in the morning and again for the evening service. After morning services, everyone gathered for Sunday dinner. You were given ample portions of all that was served, and if you acted like something wasn't your very favorite dish, you got an extra-large helping, and finished it all before you were excused. For one hour each Sunday after dinner, my Grandmother, Obadiah's descendant by way of John Moore's daughter, Sarah, wife of Rueben Popwell, required me to memorize family history. By the time I was grown, I could call off anybody in my entire family back to the earliest ancestor, giving their dates for birth, death and life story by heart. Still can!”
Rev. Cecil Little's grandmother thought Obediah I and his family came directly from England. Lower Norfolk Moore's spelled the name MORE for a time, but most later adopted the usual spelling of MOORE. Princess Anne County faces the Atlantic Ocean to the east side, the mouth of the James River to the north. The nearest major city is Norfolk, Virginia, to the west of old Princess Anne County, today Virginia Beach County. A major feature is Lynnhaven Bay, site of an important naval battle during the revolutionary war between the pro-Revolutionary French Navy and the British Navy. King George III was crowned in 1760, the last King to rule America. Obadiah Moore grew up his subject as a resident of a British Colony, Virginia and later, North Carolina after his stepfather, Samuel Elks, took the family there.
For a time, research pointed to kinship of Obediah More I with certain More families living in Princess Anne County. They had a long history and it seemed logical there were kinships. In an effort to establish that link conclusively, a paternal dna test on this writer’s Moore family was done. It did show a relationship to some of these families-but about 200 years prior! And not even the same haplogroup. To our astonishment, it came back the rare Nordic Haplogroup N231: Viking! Then, research on Vikings brought to light the fact that a certain Viking, Earl More (with a slash through the o) had conquered the “western islands” i.e. Britain, about 700. In the early days, the Danelaw came down almost to London. The Vikings raided, then invaded and settled down in Britain north of London. The Danish words “husband,” brother-in-law,” and “sister-in-law” became part of the English language. Today, the British are uncovering silver Viking Hordes in the region buried long ago and never retrieved.
As for Princess Anne County records: Willoughby an older brother of Obadiah (II), filed on his deceased father, Obediah More's (I) estate in Princess Anne Co., VA, for a share of the estate on May 7, 1772. Willoughby was apprenticed to William Moore to become a cooper on March 17, 1761. This William had been apprenticed at age 12 to James Condon on Feb. 5, 1729, to become a carpenter, (a related trade) and listed as the son of the (deceased) Cason Moore, of Princess Anne Co., Va. The names Cason Moore (Jr. and Sr.) are also found in Pitt Co. NC 1790 census. Looks like folks who were kin or friends migrated together, naming children for older family members.
Obadiah and Winney are the ancestors of many Americans living today, descendants of the children listed here. Obadiah and Winney’s children were:
I) JOHN, born Sept. 5, 1792 in North Carolina, married Amanda Maria, “Polly” born about 1798 in Georgia. When John, at 26, and Polly became the father of James, born August 6, 1819, they were still in Georgia. At 27, when “Penna” (11) was born May 19, 1820, they were in Alabama.
John Moore was a Justice of the Peace and is recorded as the JP marrying many couples in the Chestnut Creek area, and carried the title of John Moore Esq. as a result of this office. He was a Deacon in the Chestnut Creek Baptist Church, founded in 1818. He lived in Autauga Co., Alabama until the end of his life, purchasing land parcels there that eventually came to 208 acres. John’s 1828 Moore Bible lists all his children. In 1951 Rev. Cecil Little viewed this bible and copied it. I have a typed abstract he signed and dated August, 16, 1998, witnessed by Elaine Hendricks when we were at his home. A newspaper clipping from the Union Banner, Clanton, AL of June 1, 1944 reads:
|An Old Slate 150 Years Old
There has been left with The Union Banner by Mr. Henley Moore an old school slate, which was used by his grandfather, John Moore, almost 150 years ago. John Moore, born in 1792, came to this country from Georgia well over a hundred years ago. A son of his, William Moore, father of Curtis Moore, spent his lifetime on what is now the old Curtis Moore place near Cordrey's Old Mill. There is an old cemetery on the place, and the original John Moore was most likely buried* in that burying ground. One of John Moore's daughters married Ruben Popwell, grandfather of Fate, Walter Popwell and Robert Popwell. The old slate, on display at The Banner office, has passed through some interesting history, good times and trying times, but it is in fine shape, just as good as it ever was. It is a treasured possession of Mr. Henley Moore.
(*public records show Obadiah is buried on John Moore’s Homeplace, which apparently passed from John to son William and grandson Curtis Moore, one of several parcels near each other John Moore purchased, per Rev. Cecil Little).
The road leading to John Moore’s homeplace plantation, one of five tracts he owned, was the site of the family graveyard. Today, it is the Moore Cemetery. The road leading down to the old cemetery reflects the beautiful country around the Chestnut Creek Township, in old Autauga County, Alabama, now in Chilton County.
1 Susan is a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, National #708639, on the line of Jacob and Adam Peck (1745-1827), Ancestor #A087522, Josiah and Christopher Gayle A043205 and that of Obadiah Moore, (1754-1839), Ancestor #A203807. Susan has been a member of the Jose Maria Amador Chapter, Pleasanton, CA; a founding member of Ohlone Chapter, Fremont, CA. and a charter member and Regent 2008-2012 of the Asthon Sosi Chapter of Peoria, AZ. She is the author of Obadiah Moore, Autauga County Pioneer in the American Revolution; A Sketch of Our American Peck Family; The Saxons, Our Germans in North Carolina by 1750; The Teller Family History, to New Amsterdam in 1639, and Some Descendants of Alexander Maddux (1613-1659) Wales to Virginia. Four of her books are currently held in the NS DAR library in Washington, D.C. A biography of Obadiah Moore and his Descendants was published in the book, The Heritage of Autauga County, Alabama. This book was placed in 67 Alabama County Libraries, a Texas Library, and the LDS Library in Salt Lake City, and is available by order on microfilm from Familysearch.org. There are major revisions in this article to that earlier material.
2 . Early land deeds d show Samuel Elks was a Hatteras Indian, from the area of North Carolina where the doomed colony founded by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587 was established, and later “disappeared.” Today, anthropologists have discovered evidence that shows these Englishmen went to a Croatan Indian Town fifty miles inland, and that descendants of these people English/Indian people are living today in the area around Chocowinity, North Carolina. Definition of the Hatteras: An Algonquian tribe living in 1701 on the sand banks of Cape Hatteras, N. C. east of Pamlico sound, and frequenting Roanoke Island. Their single village, Sandbanks, had them only about 80 inhabitants. They showed traces of white blood and claimed that some of their ancestors were white. They may have been identical with the Croatan Indians with whom Raleigh's colonists at Roanoke Island are supposed to have taken refuge.
3 Years later, I was contacted by the descendants of two of Enoch’s sisters, Sarah Elizabeth and Christina. Sarah Elizabeth married Elisha Robertson and her sister Christine, who styled herself both as Harriet and Chaney at times married his brother, Isaac Robertson. This information showed that Sarah Elizabeth Moore, wife of Elisha Robertson and her husband were present at the wedding of Enoch and his wife, Susan Caroline Hines in Hot Spring County, Arkansas. That information, combined with the absence of any trace of James Moore and his wife Mary Ann Miller after 1863, and the fact that Enoch was told by local Alabama residents
that his family had “vanished” leads to the conclusion that they either died or were killed by the numerous marauders in the area in Enoch’s absence. Sarah Elizabeth was found living with the Robertson family in 1860. Later, Elisha and Sarah moved to Arkansas and obviously, the sister and brother found each other, but the parents and older brother William were not heard of again.
4 Accepted as a supplemental: i.e. meaning I was a member on my mother’s family lines since 1987 via Jacob Peck and his son Adam Peck. Additional patriot ancestors filed upon by a particular woman in the NS DAR are termed “supplemental” patriots. Later, I also filed on Christopher Gayle and his father, Josiah Gayle.
5 Regarding dates of the siege: John Richbourg’s revolutionary pension states; In February 1780 during the siege of Charleston I was there with my company to help defend the city, until it fell to the British in May 1780. John Richbourg is Unity Richbourg Gayle's brother. Christopher Gayle and Unity Richbourg are my maternal 3 GG parents on my mother’s side. Josiah Gayle, Christopher’s father, signed the “Revolutionary Papers for the Public Defence, pledging his life, fortune and sacred honor until the hostilities between Britain and America cease” in the year of 1776 in the High Santee of South Carolina, just southeast of today’s Columbia. For this reason, Josiah is also listed in the patriot index of the NS DAR. Note: Moncks Corner is a town in Berkeley County, SC in the Charleston metro area, the county seat. The community was named for Thomas Monck, plantation owner. In other papers in the Federal Archives, American prisoners spoke of being held in the hold of British ships in the harbor until paroled. This was the second largest surrender of American forces in our history, second only to Bataan in WWII.
6 Some texts call this man Brock. The name is very hard to read in the original.
7 This writer’s research of the histories of these families show many were not only Scotch-Irish, but also a mixed German, English and French Huguenot and Welsh descent, many with Amerindian blood as well. They were frequently from American Colonial families on this continent for generations. Ethnically, they can only correctly be called “American Colonial.” This writer has ancestors who were proven to be not only all the early entry European lines mentioned above, but also proven to include Powhatan and Cherokee direct descents. Additionally, direct descent from the Colonial Virginia Governor John West leads to direct descent from English and European royal lines, including a legitimate descent from King John Plantagenet via Katherine Howard, wife of Sir Thomas Bullen or Boleyn; an illegitimate one from Henry Tudor, known as Henry VIII King of England via his mistress, Mary Boleyn Carey’s daughter Catherine, later wife of Sir Francis Knollys, K.G. and Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I. These people were NOT “Heinz 57” they were American Colonials, some of whose families had lived in this nation over two hundred years by the time of the American Revolution.
8 after all of Obadiah More I’s lands in Princess Ann County, Virginia were sold
9 Obadiah was now about nine years old and Brother James perhaps seven.
10 Only 3% of the world population has Haplogroup N231. It is said to be found most often among those descended from Viking leaders.
11 Some descendants have added Penna to the name of Prudence Willoughby, wife and widow of Obediah Moore 1st in error. That is incorrect. The name belonged to her descendant Penelope: it was a nickname for Penelope. It was never part of Prudences name.