[source : http://www.public.asu.edu/~moore/news/newsb28a]


Volume II
June 7, 1997
Issue 28-A
Extra Edition

Editor's Note: MOORE NEWS has undertaken a long term research effort to identify and define the Moores of the early Chesapeake. Their impact on the history of the American Moore descendants cannot be measured at this early stage; but we know that their colonial descendants are found in at least eight of the original thirteen colonies. This Extra edition presents the third report on this topic.  From the Eastern Shore, research will move to develop information about the early Moores of the James River, followed by the York River, the Rappahannock River, and the Potomac River, in whatever order the story leads us.

I wish to express my appreciation to Bill Moore of  San Francisco for partnering with me in this effort, for his advice and encouragement, and for applying his editorial expertise.  Bill is Editor of  "The Newsletter for the Descendants of John Moore (d. 1777) of Albemarle County VA."

This Extra edition ends with a message from me to Bill which was written at the instant of a discovery that represented the "Ever Widening Stage" on which we find our Moore family.  Bill used this message in his publication to convey the palpable excitement that transpires when tough, basic research begins to produce tangible results.

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This third report on the Eastern Shore family separates the descendants of Edward Moore who settled near Nassawadox and Thomas Moore who settled about 25 miles south on the southernmost tip of Virginia's Eastern Shore. Research is now permitting us a glimpse into the political, economic, and religious motives which defined their history.
In the first reports of the Moores of the Eastern Shore, two observations addressed the economic and political ties of the early Virginia Moore family. Here we begin to expand these observations by identifying a key Moore association with the Bennett and Thompson families, powerful English merchant families with strong ties in Virginia.

1.  Moores and Parliament.  In 1651, in Northampton County, Virginia, Edward Moore signed the Loyalty Oath required by Parliament of all Virginia citizens after the English Civil War, which had ended in 1648. Richard Bennett and William Claiborne took over governance of the Chesapeake colonies under Parliament in 1651. Whether Edward Moore moved to Virginia because he had royalist associations or because as a merchant/mariner he hoped to capitalize on the friendship of the new government cannot be discerned from present research. However, we can assume that his return to Virginia as a resident at this particular time has some significance one way or the other.

2.  Moores and Headrights. In a 1643 court case in Northampton County, Edward Moore is described as a ship master who had imported 42 indentured servants. In 1681 a court case in Richmond County involving Francis Moore, master of  the "Dublin Merchant," concerns the importation of headrights. In another 1681 case, Richard Moore is in Virginia General Court having appealed a case from Gloucester County concerning the importation of headrights he had contracted for.

3.  Moores and Religion: Evidence is now emerging that indicates that the Moores were dissenters. Early dissenters were often referred to as Puritans, and in the London of the 17th century, the term often used for dissenters was Presbyterian  although they appeared to possess only informal ties with the Scots Presbyterian movement. Many of these dissenters later became Quakers. Virginia officially recognized only the Church of England during most of it's colonial history.  However, during the Interregnum, dissenters were welcomed in Virginia.  Forty or fifty years later, this era of toleration changed.

4.  Moores and Bennetts: Shortly before Edward Moore, Sr. of the Eastern Shore signed the Loyalty Oath, Richard Moore was becoming established in the James River basin.  Richard Moore first arrived in that area as the headright of Robert Bennett, brother of Richard Bennett, Governor of Virginia during the Interregnum. Richard Moore's first patent was issued for 250 acres in> 1646 in partnership with William Welton in Upper Norfolk County.  It is described as being  "adjacent to the land of Mr. Richard Bennett."   A few years earlier, Richard Bennett listed himself and Thomas Moore as headrights.   Is this the same Thomas Moore who arrived at an Eastern Shore port on the same ship as Edward Moore in 1651?  It certainly seems likely.  Then in 1669 Mr. George Moore arrived in Virginia.  Listed with him as headrights are Richard Bennett and Robert Bennett.  George Moore settled in Isle of Wight County.

Often early Virginia partnerships such as that of Richard Moore and William Welton signal the existence of an English agent and a Virginia agent.  While Richard Moore of the James River had other patents and resided in Virginia (the 1646 patent being his first), no other patents were processed by partner Welton. This leaves little doubt that Welton was the London agent while Moore handled Virginia transactions. Their 1646 patent on the south side of the James was adjacent to the land of Richard Bennett, who was part of the powerful new English merchant class which was instrumental in overthrowing the monarchy in the English Civil War. Merchants such as the Bennetts, Kempes and Thompsons - frustrated by the demands of the Crown - generally supported the Parliamentarians.

Richard Moore, Thomas Moore, and George Moore can all be seen to have had some association with Richard Bennett.  By inference, by virtue of his association with Thomas Moore, so did Edward Moore.  Richard Bennett was appointed by Parliament in 1651 to serve as governor of the Chesapeake colonies.  Deputy governor was William Claiborne. Undoubtedly, Bennett was instrumental in establishing members of the Moore family in positions of favor in Virginia, and in fact we find them in advantageous locations managing the business of Virginia headrights:  Richard Moore in the James River basin, Edward and Thomas Moore at two different Eastern
Shore ports, Richard Moore, son of Edward, in the York River basin, and
Francis Moore in the Rappahannock basin.

A search for published information about the early Moore family(ies) of Virginia's Chesapeake indicates that this family has not yet been defined.  Much research remains to be done toward that end. To date, only published resources have been used in our research (see bibliography below).  The most useful source, Ralph T. Whitelaw's Virginia's Eastern Shore: A History of Northampton and Accomack Counties (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1968) follows the land; thus, the author of this two-volume work discusses only those settlers who acquired land and passed it on.  Therefore, this is a story that is far from complete.

General Historic Setting

Timothy Field Beard, writing in 1972, says, "Since Accomack bordered on Somerset and Worcester Counties in Maryland, there was much intermarriage over the state line.  In the early years, a number of families from Accomack moved northward through Maryland and settled in Kent and Sussex Counties in Delaware.  Others moved southward across the bay to Norfolk County, Virginia, and onward into the Carolinas.  Some moved westward over the water to Northumberland County, Virginia, and then to what is now West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee."  (Source:  Northampton County, Virginia, Tithables, 1720-1769, by John B. Bell, 1994.)

Accomack is the ancient name for Virginia's Eastern Shore and includes the present counties of Northampton on the south (the earlier of the two) and Accomac on the north.  We know now that Eastern Shore Famiilies also migrated to lands belonging to the Penn family in Southern New Jersey, and perhaps eastern Pennsylvania.  Others sailed their ketches and sloops across the Chesapeake to seek their destiny closer to home near Virginia's great rivers, and in Maryland.

America's shift from water transport to trains and cars bypassed the Eastern Shore.  Only now in the 1990s is that narrow strip of land beginning to overcome its isolation.  But the Shore was not always distant and secluded.  In the early years it was a flourishing center of commercial activity that rivaled any in colonial America.  Its southern tip was the first view and port of call in America for ships arriving from England, Holland, the West Indies, and New England.  Trade from Eastern Shore communities to all locations was brisk.  It's docks were busy and active, it's bays were crowded with ships, and its southern tip was the first point of defense against the constant threat of pirate ships.

The Moore family found homes in key locations to promote their business in this lively commercial hub.  Edward Moore was an English ship master who called regularly at Virginia and Maryland ports before he moved his family to the Eastern Shore in 1656.  In 1642 the Colony paid Isaac Moore "as a lookout and for raising the great Gun."  (Isaac Moore of 1642 has not been further identified, but the name came down for at least three generations in the family of Thomas Moore who brought his family to the southernmost tip of the Shore.  In 1676 Mathew and Gilbert Moore served as "lookers-out for this said County on Smiths Island," which is off the southern tip of the peninsula.

The histories of Edward Moore and Thomas Moore, progenitors of the Eastern Shore Moore family(s), bear striking similarities.  They were both frequent visitors to Virginia in their early years, they sometimes arrived on the same ship, and they patented their first land within the same six month period. There is no inkling of their relationship, but the parallels in their histories make it probable they were of the same English Moore family.

Edward Moore

Edward Moore brought his three children to Virginia in 1656.  The family settled in Northampton County on the bay formed by Nassawadox Creek near the present Accomac County line.  This was already quite late in the development of the Shore, the southern half of the peninsula having been gradually populated by settlers in the first half of the century.  In 1662 Edward Moore's marriage to Elizabeth Turner is recorded in Hungars Parish Church Registry.  There were probably no children by this marriage; in fact, a separation agreement between Edward and Elizabeth Moore is filed in Northampton County in 1670, a rare occurrence.  No testamentary evidence for settlement of Edward's estate has been found, but it appears that he was deceased by late 1667.  He had three children as far as is now known, the same who accompanied him to Virginia in 1656.  They are:

1.  Edward Moore, Jr., is identified as a cooper.  He married Katherine Sebastian Philby, whose maiden name is unknown and who was twice widowed before she married Edward.  He patented land near the Virginia-Maryland boundary in what became Accomac County. Edward Moore was an Accomac County justice from 1699 to 1704, although the full extent of service has not been determined.  He inherited 50 acres from his father.  He died testate, leaving his entire estate, except for a few minor bequests, to his wife Katherine.  On her death her estate passed to her children by her first husbands.

2.  Richard Moore appears not to have lived on the Eastern Shore, although he inherited all but 50 acres of his father's land on Nassawadox Creek in Northampton County.  He sold his portion of his father's land known as Hollowinge Point in 1704 to Henry White, probably an in-law of his sister Mary.  The foundation of a large brick house on the site is presumed by Shore historians to have been the home of Edward Moore, Sr.  It appears that Richard Moore lived in the York basin.  Records indicate that he, like his father, bought and sold headrights.  A record created in York County in 1675 specifies that he always kept at least 14 barrels of cider on hand.  He died about 1714.  Administration of his Northampton estate was assigned to his brother Edward.

3.  Mary Moore was listed with the rest of the Edward Moore family as entering Virginia in 1656 when Edward Moore executed his second patent.  Her marriage of August 4, 1662 to William White is recorded in the Hungars Parish Records.  William was the son of the inspector of tobacco for the Nassawadox Warehouse, an important position in early Chesapeake Bay colonies.

Thomas Moore

Nothing currently on hand has produced any direct evidence that Edward Moore and Thomas Moore of Northampton County were related, although convincing> circumstantial evidence can be cited.  For instance, only five patents were executed by the Virginia Land Office on July 4, 1656, and both Edward Moore and Thomas Moore are enumerated as having been transported in this group of patents. Thomas Moore is listed as a headright of Edward Harrington, along with five others, while Edward Moore is listed as a headright of Sampson Robins, along with Robins himself, Allice Robins, Sam. Robins and five others.  The implication is clear, then, that Edward and Thomas Moore arrived at a Northampton port at the same time, probably on the same ship.  It was most likely during this trip to Northampton that these two Moores selected the land they would patent when they returned with their families.  Their first patents in Virginia are recorded within a few months of each other, Edward's on April 2, 1656, and Thomas's on October 2, 1656.

The earliest probable date for Thomas Moore's first arrival in Virginia is found in a 1635 court case which involved the loss of servants he was transporting to Virginia.  On August 22, 1637, he was a headright on a patent granted to John Neale, merchant, who became his Eastern Shore neighbor.  He may also have been the same Thomas Moore who was a headright of Richard Bennett in 1642, as noted above.

A few years after he and his family moved to Virginia, Thomas Moore expanded his original tract by patent and by purchase from John Neale, who was by then a near neighbor.  This land was located on the southernmost tip of Northampton County.

The following are the patents issued to Thomas Moore in Northampton County:

-  Thomas Moore and George Frizell, 60 acs. Northampton Co., 2 Oct 1656, p. 10.  On the S. side of Pungotegue River, bounding Ely. to Randall Renells (or Revells) cor. tree by the bridge &c.  Trans of Tho. Boswell, Owen Read, Jno. Collins, Teague Row, Richd. Scot, Wm. Dennis, Richd. Drone, Rob. Downer, Fra. Downer, Jane Downer, Jno. Francis, Wm. Thompson, Charles Brissit.

-  Thomas Moore, 520 acs. (with the consent of the adjoining neighbors), N'ampton Co. at Magette Bay, 8 Oct. 1657, p. 83.  Running to land whereon Jno. Knight liveth.  Trans of 11 persons.

-  Mr. Thomas Moore, of N'ampton Co., Planter, 90 acs. knowne as Sandy Island, on the S. end of sd. county; adj. W. side of Smithe's Island River; 6 Oct 1670, p. 312.  Trans of 2 persons.  [One of the persons "transported" was Thomas Rolfe, the son or grandson of John Rolfe and Pocahontas.]

-  Mr. Thomas Moore, 80 acs. known as Racoone Island with a ceder hummock and sunken Marsh therunto belonging, adj. Smith's Is. River & Sandy Is.; same Co, date & page.  Trans of 2 persons.

Thomas Moore lived at the southern tip of the Eastern Shore  or in the language of that distant day, on 'Maggaty Baye.'  Besides his patents, he purchased additional land from the Neale family.  Note in the second patent above that it was granted with 'the consent of the adjoining neighbors,' an unusual requirement.  The neighbors were Col. Edmund Scarbourough and John Neale, merchant.  John Neale had one daughter, Margaret, his sole heir.  She married William Foster.

At this time the identity of Thomas Moore's wife is not known, and apparently his will, probated in 1676, did not mention a wife.  He left land to his sons John, Thomas, Jr., Mathew, and Gilbert.

1.  John Moore.  Inherited the largest portion of land from his father, 200 acres called Sandy Island.  It does not appear that he remained in the area. He may have moved about 25 miles north of the original seat of the Thomas Moore family.  With this preface of uncertainty, this earliest John Moore of> Virginia's Eastern Shore will be profiled after the three clearly identified sons of Thomas Moore.

2.  Thomas Moore, Jr.   Received 150 acres of his father's 'bayside' land. He was appointed by Act of Assembly to "Range and Scout att least once a weeke upon Smiths Island, where it is most open to the Maine Ocean and the Entringe within the Capes, and so every day else to looke out on the Bay Side."  His tasking was to watch and raise a warning at the approach of a pirate ship, a constant threat at that time.  Thomas, Jr. died testate about 1716, leaving four daughters.

A. Elizabeth Moore, who married John Clay.
B. Isabel Moore, who married William Warren.
C. Agnes Moore, who married Edward Mills.
D. Elenor Moore, who married George Thompson.

3. Matthew Moore. Inherited 150 acres from his father in 1676. In 1704 he was paid for serving as one of the "lookers-out for this county on Smiths Island."  There is no information concerning his marriage.  He divided his land among his sons (unknown at this time) and died in 1718.

4.  Gilbert Moore was paid in 1704 for serving as one of the "lookers-out for this said county on Smiths Island."  His will was probated in 1708 and named his wife Katherin and two sons.

A.Charles Moore, who sold the land inherited in 1716.  No further record.

B. Isaac Moore, who left a long record including payment as "one of the lookers-out on Smith's Island" in 1704. His will was probated in 1744, naming sons:
1) Isaac Moore, who is identified in the will of Phebe Rawles as her cousin.
2) Gilbert Moore.
3) Ephraim Moore, whose will of 1713 notes that he is "now bound out of the county." He bequeathed his estate to his brother-in-law John Rawles and mentions his mother, Catherine.
4) Thomas Moore, whose will, probated in 1737, named his wife Frances and son Levi.
John Moore  (Perhaps the Son of Thomas Moore)

The uncertainty about whether this John Moore is the son of Thomas Moore of Northampton County is due to arrival in the county quite independently of the Thomas Moore group.  John Moore first appears as a headright for John Stockley in 1663.  A year later he returns with his family, who are listed with him in a patent certificate granted to Daniel Neech.  This certificate includes the headrights John Moore, Sarah Moore, Elizabeth Moore and another Elizabeth Moore.  During the years 1665 and 1667, he appears as a headright on patent certificates for others.  In 1666 he appears in the tithing lists for Northampton County.  In 1674 he was again a headright in a certificate for Daniel Neech.  This headright record may be applicable either to John Moore, resident of the Eastern Shore, or to another John Moore who was an occasional visitor.

No evidence has been found of the death of the first John Moore nor of the disposal of his land.  However, the sources consulted show that between 1675 and 1700 no records appear relative to John Moore. It is, therefore, probable that John Moore the immigrant died in 1675.  It also appears that, in addition to daughters Sarah and Elizabeth, there was a son John.

Children of the First John Moore

1.  John Moore, the son of John Moore, builds a clear record.  He was probably born after his family's 1663 move to the Eastern Shore.  He received from his father the land known as Harper's Field, which he later sold to Edward Mills (husband Agnes Moore) and Thomas Freshwater.

In 1701 John Moore received a bequest from John Tilney on behalf of his wife Margaret Moore, Tilney's daughter.  In the published tithing lists that begin in 1720, John Moore appears as a householder.  In the 1724  list Jonathan Moore and Thomas Moore are tithed in his household.  By 1727 he is tithed in the household of William Dunton.  By this date, John Moore is about 65 years old.  William Dunton's wife is named Elizabeth, so it is probable that she is John Moore's daughter, since his mother and sister were named Elizabeth. In 1741 he is tithed in the household of the widow Elizabeth Dunton, and this is the last year he appears.  If John Moore was born after his father migrated to Virginia, as it appears he was, then he was about 77 years old when he died.  As with his father, John Moore does not appear to have left much information about his death.  It is likely that he disposed of his estate when he retired to live with his daughter.

Based on presently available records, we can with reasonable certainty identify the wife of John Moore (c1664-1741) as Margaret Tilney, and three children as follows:

1.  Elizabeth Moore married William Dunton.

2.  Jonathan Moore acquired the Tilney land, evidently by gift from his father, as he appears to have sold it in 1726, soon after his father moved into the home of his daughter.  Jonathan appears not to have married and is listed variously in the households of others from 1725 to 1742 (the last year for which tithing lists are published).

3.   Thomas (no information). It would appear, then, that of the earliest two Eastern Shore Moores, Edward and Thomas, the family of Edward of Nassawadox became extinct on the Eastern Shore in the third generation, with the possible exception of his son Richard who may have left heirs in York County, whereas Thomas of Maggaty Bay left four sons, John, Thomas, Jr., Mathew, and Gilbert.

(Continued in Issue 28-B)