Thursday, September 30, 2010

From the Will to the Estate Packet - Part 4: "Should He Be Living"

In the next document that appeared on the screen, Preston Moore granted power of attorney to Commodore W. Moore.

Preston had been found. He was living in Izard County, Arkansas.

I kept cranking, through settlement papers and Commodore Moore’s Petition for Final Settlement, Discharge, Etc. (that's the actual name of the document).  The amounts ultimately paid out to the heirs were not large. Legal fees, of course, ate up much of the proceeds. The date was March 7, 1878, more than six years after the death of William Spencer Moore. Bleak Farm.

There was one last, small section. The section heading paper simply said: “Margaret A. Moore.” Who was she? The document, dated 17 October 1878, was Margaret A. Moore's application for guardianship over the estate of minors William B. Moore, Charles K. Moore, “in the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty Dollars, with W. H. Lewis, H. P. Moore, J. S. Lewis, J. B. McCurdy and R. S. Guy as sureties.”

She was the widow of Preston E. Moore, and these were his children. Apparently in the course of the years it took to settle the estate, Preston E. Moore had died.

One last page – Taxation of Cost – and words I never thought I would be glad to see at the end of the microfilm strip: “End of This Estate Packet.” There were 90 pages of documents in all, not counting all the extra printouts that had to be made in order to capture some of the larger pages.

I spent another full day on Wednesday doing research, and on Wednesday night read through the estate packet; we were to leave Greenville the next morning. The document on delivery of the mortgage indicated that it was “recorded in office of Register Mesne Conveyance of Anderson County, December 10th 1874 in Book No. 4 Page 634:635.” There should be a record of this in the land documents! To my husband: “Um, dear, one last short trip to the library.”

At 9:00 sharp the next morning I ran up to the Hughes Library's South Carolina Room, pulled the microfilm with the land document index, and began to scroll. It wasn’t indexed. Then I pulled the roll that covered the date. The paging was different, so I went by date; just when I thought it would take all day, there it was: the last document, ceding the property. I printed it out and added it to the fat folder containing the William Spencer Moore estate packet.

Parties in this case:

Commodore Worth Moore – Born 17 February 1848. He graduated from Lutheran College, Walhalla (later Newberry), South Carolina (I believe he was the only one of the siblings to attend college) and was a teacher, merchant and farmer. According to his obituary, he was also connected with Alabama Polytechnic Institute, which later became Auburn University. He died on 22 December 1923. His death certificate contains an interesting error: the name of his father is given as “Perry Moore.” A book of abstracts of newspaper articles contained this item from the June 28, 1877 issue of The Anderson Intelligencer: “Married: On Thursday the 21st inst., at the residence of Col. T. J. Roberts, the bride’s father, by Rev. W. H. Strickland, Mr. C. W. Moore and Miss Nora Roberts, all of Anderson County.”

Harlston Perrin Moore – Born 4 December 1845. During the Civil War he served in the Second Battalion, South Carolina Senior Reserves. He married Martha E. Lewis, whose brothers W. H. Lewis and J. S. Lewis signed together with H. P. Moore “as sureties” for Margaret A. Moore. He was a farmer. He moved to Texas in 1877 with his wife, children, and his wife’s siblings. He never again owned land – in Texas he was a tenant farmer, and based on testimony in his Confederate Soldier’s Application for a Pension and family memories, the family was quite poor. He died 12 December 1921.

William Brewster Moore – He was born 9 May 1851. During his life he was a farmer and also worked in a cotton mill. The book of newspaper abstracts contained this Anderson Intelligencer article from around the time of the final settlement of the estate: “Obituary, Thursday, August 22, 1878: We regret to announce the death of Mrs. Elizabeth Moore, wife of Mr. Bruce Moore of Hopewell Township, which occurred on last Sunday after an illness of several weeks from fever. Her remains were interred at Hopewell on Monday in the presence of many friends and relatives who mourn the departed one.” This confirmed something I had suspected, that Bruce Moore had been married before his marriage to Mary Elizabeth Shirley. William Brewster “Bruce” Moore died on 27 July 1924.

Anna Jerusha Moore – Born on 12 January 1854. She married William Riley Cartee and they had seven children. She died on 17 September 1889.

Preston E. Moore – He was born in 1843. He served in the Second South Carolina Rifles and later the 37th Virginia Cavalry in the Civil War and suffered from illness during both terms of service. At the time of William Spencer Moore’s first will (25 July 1865) he had not returned home. He must have returned at some point; the family must have learned that he was alive and have had some way of knowing that he had been in Texas.

And here is the continuation of the Preston Moore story:

I found Preston and Margaret A. Moore in the 1870 census for Izard County, Arkansas, with children William B. Moore and Ulysses Moore. (A strange name for the child of a Confederate veteran? There is another story here – the story of the Moore family’s Unionist sympathies, which were pointed out to me by another researcher who is not related to the family.) So Preston Moore was not even a “reverse orphan.”

The census indicates that Margaret and her parents were from South Carolina. It also shows that Preston was a schoolteacher; it seems the Moore boys were evenly divided into farmers and teachers. By 1880, Margaret was a widow living with her three sons (William, Charles, and Edgar) in Dallas, Texas. By 1900, she is living with Edgar, and the census indicates that she had given birth to five children, of whom two were living – in addition to Ulysses, one of the other three known sons must have died by this time.

During my research in Greenville, one of the “brick walls” I had resolved was the fate of Martha E. Lewis Moore’s youngest sister, Cora, for whom I found a death notice indicating that she had died at the age of 18. That left only two of Martha’s sisters – Margaret and Lenora/Nora – with “fate unknown.” But the fate of one of them, Margaret A. Lewis, may soon be found – I believe she married Preston Moore. Not only did two Lewis brothers sign as sureties for her, but on the 1880 census she is shown living very near J. S. Lewis. I am in the process of searching for proof of this relationship.

The estate packet contains many small details about the estate and the legal proceedings; the facts that it revealed about the family were huge. Did the estate packet help me resolve any brick walls?

It has brought me closer to learning the ultimate fates of Preston Moore and Margaret A. Lewis. You might also say that my entire view of this family was a brick wall, one that I didn’t even know existed, created by my own overactive imagination and lack of facts.

And the estate packet definitely crushed that brick wall.


Death Certificates

Commodore Worth Moore, Certificate of Death No. 19836 (1923), State of South Carolina, Bureau of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health.

Harlston Perrin Moore, Standard Certificate of Death No. 33259 (1921), Texas State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.

William Bruce Moore, Certificate of Death No. 12082 (1924), State of South Carolina, Bureau of Vital Statistics, State Board of Health.

Pension Application

H. P. Moore, Soldier’s Application for a Pension, File No. 24304, filed January 25, 1913. Reproduced from the holdings of the Texas State Archives.

Extracted marriage and death information:

Early Anderson County, S.C. Newspapers, Marriages and Obituaries 1841-1882. Abstracted by Tom C. Wilkinson, Index prepared by Mrs. Colleen Morse Eliott. (Death of Elizabeth Moore – p. 238; marriage of C. W. Moore – p. 212; death of Cora Moore – p. 209)

Will and Estate Packet

Will and Estate Packet of William Spencer Moore, No. 2838, microfilm. 90 pages. Accessed at Hughes Main Library, Greenville, South Carolina.


Obituary of C. W. Moore, The Greenville News, 24 Dec 1923, p. 3, “C. W. Moore Dies at Vaughnville.”


P. E. More household, 1870 U.S. census, Izard County, Arkansas, population schedule, Rocky Bayou Township, dwelling 62, family 63; National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 55. Accessed via

Maggie A. Moore household, 1880 U.S. census, Dallas County, Texas, population schedule, Enumeration District 66, dwelling 16, family 17; National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 1299, p. 291B. Accessed via

Maggie A. Moore household, 1900 U.S. census, Dallas County, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 5, dwelling 137, family 139; National Archives microfilm publication T263, roll 1626.

e-mail message

Kim Wilson, “Re: Will of William Spencer Moore of Anderson County,” to author, 5 June 2006.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Submitted for the 98th Carnival of Genealogy, "Document Analysis," hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene.


  1. Wow - what a great story! You really exploded that brick wall! Thanks for sharing a very interesting and valuable research experience.

  2. Well done, Greta! Kinda hate to see it end. Great research, nicely presented information kept us coming back for more, sources. You got it all.

    One of the most striking thing about the posts was how well you planned out the research trip. It's a road show primer. I really enjoyed all four posts.

  3. Thank you Karen and NR. We were able to plan the trip thanks to the Greenville Public Library - they put indices and finding aids online, and also have a presence on the Greenville mailing list on Rootsweb, so there was someone we could e-mail with further questions. Greenville is so genealogy-friendly!

  4. What a great experience for your 1st research trip! Congrats on the big find and great story.

  5. The final installment really rounded out the document story. All said and done I feel like I was related to these folks! We sure can get involved. You really did a nice job, can't believe it was your first research trip--fine job.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this series. Thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the pics of downtown Greenville, too. It looks at lot different from when we lived near there in the late 1990's.

  7. Fab set of posts, congrats on being the featured blogger on the COG! Well deserved.

  8. Congrats on being the COG Feature! I had a feeling that was likely to happen when I read this series.

  9. Congrats on being the featured author on the COG!

    I must say, this was quite a tale, and what a spin to the Preston Moore tale! A very good read.

  10. Congratulations on being the featured CoG author! It is well deserved. Your presentation completely drew me in. I was rivited and never would have guessed this was your first research trip.

  11. Thank you all so much for your kind and encouraging comments. I rushed to write this up "fresh from research," so the emotions are still very strongly remembered. Debbie - we talked with some local people about all the work that had been done; it was very interesting to hear how much of what was done was the concept of a single man. I can't wait to go on another research trip, and I especially can't wait to get back to Greenville!

  12. Hi Greta, loving this by the way. Was William "bruce" a Sr? Did he have a son William Dexter Moore Jr? Married to Ida Bridges...I have a picture if this is right. I will email it to you...

  13. William and Ida had a son named John Bruce Moore. From what I learned from you, looking at names is important. Bruce.....