A Tribute to Dwight McClintock (Clint) Moore
The Beginnings of Involvement - by Jim Palmer
In 1997, my cousin Morse Hamilton and I planned a modest gathering of our families and my mother’s cousin Jane Waller Thompson (nee Moore). Jane was one of my mother’s best friends in high school and during my parent’s courtship and we were very anxious to reunite them to hear their stories again knowing very well that the opportunity might not come again. In addition to her memories Jane had also inherited a fine collection of Civil War era artifacts that were packed away in dusty boxes in her attic which she brought along. Her boxes turned out to be a treasure trove of family history that amazed us all.
However, it was Morse’s idea to invite a cousin I had never heard of named Dwight “Clint” Moore that turned out to be the true highlight of the event. It turned out Clint was also wondering the same things about his Moore family after sorting through his parents personal belongings after his father’s death. His father had not kept up with family after his wife’s death when Clint was much younger, so Clint did not have the advantage of living history Morse and I had. Clint and his wife Diana joined us, and the rest is history.
For all the joy and goodwill this event generated my memory of our first reunion is tinged with an underlying sadness that some of us would not be with us much longer, which I suppose is endemic to all family reunions. Jane would not be able to travel again; my mother was beginning to show signs of the onset of dementia; Morse was battling colon cancer and it turned out later that Alf had cancer and would be the first to pass away. Morse’s passing would follow a little over a year later. He literally willed himself to stay alive long enough to walk his daughter Kate down the aisle at her wedding; becoming the fourth father in my mother’s line to die within a few months of a child’s wedding in the twentieth century. In truth, after these events my enthusiasm for reconnecting with distant relatives was diminished, my original mission had been mostly accomplished and it was time to focus my attention on my young family and daughters who quickly perfected the art of “daughter eye rolls” at the mere mention of dad’s family history.
It was Clint who took this first modest effort at rebinding a few ancient family ties of my mother’s and had the heart, time, passion, and desire to discover and reestablish long lost Moore family connections beyond anything I had imaged. Within a few weeks of our first gathering Clint had found and connected with Merle Moore and Joyce Browning who were already dedicated to the task of discovering Rodeham Moore’s (Alfred Cleon Moore’s grandfather) story. Clint also began to expand the story of our Wythe County Virginia Moores and discovered previously unknown to us descendants of William Orville Moore and attended Merle’s first gathering of the Descendants of Rodeham Moore Association and was “voluntold’ to become the President. (excerpted from Rodeham Moore Descendants Association an Origins Tale by James L. Palmer, October 12, 2019).
The Rodeham Moore Descendants Association Takes Life - by Bill Moore
During the years leading up to Clint Moore’s Presidency of the Rodeham Moore Association, we were fortunate to have a couple of great genealogists with the vision to foresee the need to organize. In line with that vision, in 1990 they planned and held a group meeting at the home of Frank and Gertrude Moore in Mooresburg, TN.
Afterwards in May 1992, some of us gathered to clear and clean the cemetery in Mooresburg where Elizabeth Gallahue and Hugh Moore, among others, are buried. During those days, we agreed that we needed to have some structure to our meetings. Between May of 1992 and October 1997, Beverly DeLaney, Bill Woodard, Merle Moore, Mary Hughes, and myself organized some events, wrote newsletters, etc., but we were a long way from having a national organization. Then the reunion of the fall of 1997 in Mooresburg occurred, and the “rest is history.”
Here are a couple of my personal interactions with Clint:
Clint attended that reunion and we asked him if he would commit to being our president. I shared with him the differences between bacon and eggs for breakfast—that the chicken who laid the eggs was involved, but that the pig that supplied the bacon was “fully” committed. The question was, “would Clint be a “committed” president or just involved? His answer was that he would not “pig out,” but he would be committed! And he remained so for the rest of his foreshortened life.
For many of us, it was hard to say no to Clint. For example, when he was running for Congress after the 2000 presidential election, he said to me, “Bill if you lived here in Texas would you support me?” Now, back in 2000, I had worked hard for Al Gore and Clint knew that. He had worked equally hard for George Bush, even traveling to Miami to check on the “hanging chads” to ensure they were not counted. I ended up saying, “Of course, you know I would support you.”
Clint was tactfully tenacious and determined. He was equally persistent and persevering. He could have quit and at one time he wanted to. He was between a rock and hard place in the debate that went on over Scotland or England. An extremely hard place, even for a great geologist. He did not quit and the newsletter, tactful dues request, meetings, and continued work for the Association kept coming. For that our organization is especially thankful.
For 22 years, I kept telling Clint to replace me on the Association board. For 22 years he said “no.” In my last conversation with him, he asked me to do a Virginia/North Carolina border run to stop at courthouses and find out if there is any missing information. I said yes and am glad I did. How do you say no to a person who refuses to see the boundaries of space, time, and even politics!
During the 22 years of his leadership, we learned he was a man of great intelligence strength, character, and integrity. These were characteristics that allowed him to live his values of honesty, honor, and love. We also learned he believed in shrinking boundaries of space, time, and politics. He was absolutely thrilled when he located the remnants of Rodey’s Grist Mill in Archies Creek. It was as if he were there in 1785. He was equally thrilled with the result of the great hunt for Ewell.
The words posted on the Rodeham Moore Descendants Association website (another of Clint’s accomplishments) by Diana, Clint’s beloved wife, repeatedly come to mind. “His life was full of family, faith, love, and laughter. A life well lived; a life to be celebrated.”
The values and attributes of Clint in Diana’s words reflect why our Association benefited so much from his leadership. They bring to mind a line from the great poet, William Blake. “We are put on earth a little space, that we may learn to bear the beams of love.” Clint seemed to have lived his life with that in mind. He was given a little space that he used effectively to accomplish so much for so many. I do not know if he wrote poetry, but he must have loved it because he lived it. Another line that I know he would have appreciated, and it might have been from one of his many newsletters, is from the great poet Gerald Manley Hopkins:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil.
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
The Work Continues- by Stephen Moore
In 2018, the Association expanded its online presence with the addition of a Facebook group for Rodey's descendants. As of this writing, more than 80 members have signed up for the group. Genealogical research continues even after Clint is gone. At the Mt. Airy reunion, we decided to undertake the ambitious "Rodey 3" project to update the family tree contained in Merle Moore's earlier work, which Clint always affectionately called "Rodey 2." Not only has an entire generation of descendants been born in the 20 years since Merle finished "Rodey 2," but digitized records and growing DNA test databases have enabled genealogists to make connections not available to Merle back in the 1990s. Embarking on "Rodey 3" had been a dream of Clint's for over ten years and our Association intends to fulfill it!
Reflection on Clint’s Myriad Accomplishments - by Priscilla Rogers
Over the last few months, I have had the great honor of going through his files and pictures and getting to see first hand all that he did and his correspondence with a multitude of people across the country on behalf our Association. At our spring reunion in 2021, planned in Texas where he lived, we will honor Clint for both his accomplishments and his passion for our cause. Here’s a start on an enumeration of his legacy: publication of Rodey 2, the Journal, newsletters, a membership directory, the planning for Rodey 3 (as Stephen mentioned); incorporation and nonprofit status; our website and a Facebook page; DNA project; ongoing research in the family history including finding “lost Moores,” courthouse research and finding Rodey’s Grist Mill (as Bill mentioned); placement of stones of Moore ancestors and ongoing cemetery maintenance; and last but not least our ongoing reunions which have united us as a family.
In closing, I want to “steal” a few words from Clint, written in 1997 after being “voluntold” to be president, he wrote,
“The Moore’s are America to me. They are our country’s past greatness, our present eminence, and our future glory. We are of great stock, but our best stock is yet to be charged. They will be our glory.”