Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Madness Wednesday: Another Brick Wall

In keeping with our turned-upside-down-schedule-due-to-the-Olympics, my posting schedule during these GeneaBloggers Games weeks will also be turned upside down. So I am posting Wednesday (which is actually tomorrow, but I am going to prepost today, that is, Tuesday) about one of my tearing-my-hair-out brick walls, Emily Tarrant Moore.

Emily was one of the first “new” ancestors that I found after I got into genealogy, and I hardly know any more about her today than I did when I first saw her name listed as the mother of my great-grandfather Harlston Perrin Moore on his death certificate.

Emily shows up by name on three Federal censuses: 1850, 1860, and 1870. She does not show up on the 1880 census, so we believe she had died by then. Her husband, William Spencer Moore, died in 1871. I believe that Emily died some time during or before the year 1877, because that is when my great-grandfather sold the farm and moved to Texas. Emily’s age is given as 35 on the 1850 census, 31 on the 1860 census (! – her age, her husband’s age, and the ages of her sisters-in-law were all basically the same as their ages were on the 1850 census), and 57 on the 1870 census, so I have taken 1813 as the guesstimate year of her birth. I believe she was also counted with Spencer Moore in Anderson County, South Carolina on the 1840 census, but I cannot be sure it was her; there were two females 20-30 years old (Spencer’s sisters) and one female 10 to 15 years old – too young to be Emily, but it might have been a mistake.

I do not know when Spencer and Emily married. Their children were born in the following years: Preston in about 1843, Harlston Perrin in 1845, Commodore Worth in 1848, William Brewster in 1851, and Anna Jerusha in 1854. I believe that Spencer moved from Greenville County to Anderson County in 1836 (based on land transaction records), and it may be that Spencer and Emily were married by then, because at that time most if not all of the South Carolina Tarrants lived in Greenville County. If Spencer and Emily were married by 1836, why are there no children with earlier dates of birth than 1843? This is one of many mysteries about Emily that I would like to solve.

The “big” mystery would be: Who were Emily’s parents? The solution probably lies in a thorough study of the Greenville Tarrants. Emily is not listed anywhere as belonging to any of the Tarrant families, but I have seen a few gaps in lists of children that have pointed me toward a couple of good prospects.

Some time during the Games I will attempt to make a timeline for the events in Emily Tarrant Moore’s life for which the dates are known – wish me luck!


  1. Good Luck :) Enjoy the olympics too!

  2. Thank you, Mary! I do as much as I can on my laptop, with one eye on the Olympics!

  3. MY William Spencer Moore was born in 1834, died in 1919 - he married Frances Emaline Henderson who was born in 1841 and died in 1925. They are buried in Simpsonville, SC. Are there two William Spencer Moores? I thought that Bud Mathis Moore was father to MY William Spencer Moore.....

  4. Paddy, I responded to your other comment, but I'll go ahead and respond here, too just in case: My W. S. Moore (ca 1813-1871) was the uncle of your W. S. Moore, and Emily Tarrant was his wife. The two sisters mentioned here - Elizabeth and Susannah - were the sisters of Bud Mathis and his brother William Spencer. Hope to hear from you soon!