Summer 2013 Newsletter
Discovered! – the foundation stones of Rodey’s Grist Mill in Archie’s Creek near Mt. Airy! Wow! We did it! We believe that we actually found the foundation stones of Rodey’s Grist Mill, and if you were at the last reunion, you were there to see it. What a spectacular way to learn more about our great America colonial family! “Moore” below, but first………
Mooresburg in late October – less than 40 days from now! The words excite the senses with a tapestry of fall colors, crisp & clear country air, rolling hills, babbling brooks, and great stories, laughs, and memories to last a life time. Moments like these can be here today, and gone tomorrow, so don’t wait another minute to make your plans to attend! As time marches on, our life’s joys are built upon moments like these.
This year, our wondrous 2013 Rodeham Moore Family Reunion will be back at the birthplace of our great Association, Mooresburg, Tennessee. It’s been 16 years since Merle Moore called us all together there at Priscilla Roger’s “The Homeplace”, and we laughed, explored, journeyed, celebrated, and memorialized our early Moore Family members.
At our 2013 Mooresburg reunion, you will see the old and new gravestones of our great matriarch, Elizabeth Gallahue Moore, as well as #2 child Hugh G., # 3 child John, # 5 child Cleon, and last, but not least, #8 child Sallie Moore Williams. This is the greatest concentration of our family descendants’ gravesites in our entire gravesite preservation program. Thanks to Louise Murphy’s annual efforts, we will place beautiful flower arrangements on each of their stones, as a fitting remembrance of each of them.
We’re still in the final planning phases of our day there, but you won’t want to miss any of it, so make your plans now to join us for this wonderful moment. Better yet, stay an extra day or two and explore the beautiful surrounding countryside. We might even get a chance to visit the local sand quarry, so make your plans today.
We are so blessed to have Priscilla Roger’s hosting us whenever we go to Mooresburg, so fill out the attached registration form, and make your motel and travel plans, and we will see you for more family fun on Saturday October 19th, just barely 40 days away!
Last year? What an incredible reunion we had last year in Mt. Airy. After years of reading in the archived “Pleas & Abstracts” of Surry County, that the northeast corner of the county was surveyed and fixed at Rodeham Moore’s Grist Mill, I called around to see if we could schedule a field trip up to Archie’s Creek and gain permission to enter private land to explore for any possible ruins of the Grist Mill. Local historian Agnes Walls referred me to another great local historian, Randle Brim. After I located the farm from Google Earth, Randle set about the task of contacting the local landowner, Thomas Jessup, to see if we all could go out there and look for any ruins.
Thankfully, Thomas said “Yes”. So, on Saturday morning, we headed north, first stopping at Oakdale Cemetery on the northside of Mt. Airy, to pay our respects at the gravesite of Rodey grandson, William Alfred Moore, whose beautiful and historically maintained old home we always meet at there in Mt. Airy.
Next, we drove further north into Virginia to our great Rodeham Moore graveyard, where Linda Puckett & Bobbie Clements lovingly care for the cemetery and the 5 gravestones that our Association has placed there. We are forever indebted to these two wonderful family members that have dedicated their time and energies to protecting and maintaining our family cemetery for many, many years.
After the two cemeteries, we were on to “The Hollow” for lunch, which is Raleigh & Shelby Puckett’s amazing family history center. With many wonderful cabins, we had a delightful family reunion lunch, organized by Priscilla, and then a wonderful tour of the old buildings. My favorite was the apple cider presses, which have churned out delightful homemade cider, many times over the years. Thanks to Raleigh & Shelby for their hospitality, stewardship and care of such a wonderful and magical place of history, nestled in the Virginia homeland hills of our ancestors.
As wonderful as these morning visits were, nothing could have prepared us for the afternoon discovery of Rodey’s Grist Mill foundation stones, with the babbling waters of Archie’s Creek flowing over and around them.
As we drove east toward the county corner lines, where Surry & Stokes county come together west and east, and the Virginia Patrick county line comes along the north line, we turned in to the Thomas Jessup farm road, proceeded across the plain toward his beautiful home, and the dirt road down into the Archie’s Creek valley. As divine providence would have it, we later learned that Thomas’s ancestor, Joseph Jessup, bought Rodey’s land, with its Grist Mill, from Rodey in December 1795, and then died a few months later, with his 4 sons dividing up the land years later. It was only in the last decade that Thomas bought the land, and did not know that his family patriarch had owned it as well. It was an exciting discovery for all the Jessups, as well as we Moores, since Rodey had received this 500 acres as a land grant on August 9, 1787, and sold it to Joseph, eight years later. Did Rodey build the Grist Mill? Did he live there? Maybe or maybe not. The land grant was granted with an “improvement” on it, and Rodey owned over 5,000 acres of land within Patrick County, VA. and Surry County, NC. Since land was the main source of wealth, Rodey’s land acquisitions and divestitures were a key part of his estate, and he obtained several land grants over the decades of his adult life.
As we walked down the gravel road to Archie’s Creek, there was great anticipation among all our family members. Especially our “centurion” Herb Moore, as he rode in the front seat of Thomas’s John Deere 4x4. As we got down to the creek, it became clear to me as a geologist, due to the walls of sandstone on either side, that this was a narrowing of the creek floodplain, and would have been a good place for a Grist Mill to funnel water through it, to run the milling wheel.
Before I had left Houston for the reunion, I had used Google Earth and downloaded the closest coordinates for that 3-county corner into my Garmin GPS device. It told me to cross the creek and find the three corners on the creek bank on the other (east) side. So across the babbling creek I went, followed by Herb’s other son, Mark Moore from Michigan, who crossed and walked the creek bank barefoot, like a young Indian brave.
As the Garmin took us to a spot, we came across an iron rod wrapped in pink surveyor’s tape a short distance away, and a few feet further, was a surveyor tree with horizontal ax marks circled in yellow paint. Obviously, we had found the most recent surveyed corners, probably surveyed within the last 15 years, but no grist mill ruins could be found on the soft, leaf-covered creek bank. So, up and down the creek bank we walked, and I soon came upon an old green covered 4”x4”x3’ bright green moss-covered post lying on its side, and next to it….an old stump of the post with a very old rusty surveyors medallion no more than 15’ from the creek bank. This must have been an earlier survey marker, for the three county corners, perhaps over 50 years ago, now located more than 100 feet from the new one. I later learned from county records staff, that there had been an surveyors’ adjustment of the entire state line, several decades ago.
Then, looking back toward the creek I saw the rock pile, in the middle of the creek, and from this side of the creek, square cut stones could be seen along a ridge running across the creek, barely inches under the water. I yelled “Mark, come look at this”, and there it was to both of us. As we circled back across the creek, it became even clearer as to what we were looking at. Right there, in the middle of Archie’s Creek today, as it probably was centuries ago, was a foundation of man-cut stones that looked awfully like a foundation to Rodey’s Grist Mill would have looked back then (see below). As you can imagine, we were all quite excited, and everyone laughed and rejoiced over the discovery, took pictures with the creek flowing over and around the stones, and then headed back up the hill to thank Thomas Jessup, and tell him of the exciting news.
Cut Stones in Archies Creek near Tri-County Corner
Next year, in 2014, we will probably head back to Mt. Airy for our 2014 Reunion, just so we can explore these stones more, as well as get a private tour of the Mt. Airy Granite Quarry. We’ll let you know that date on the website after this year’s meeting. You won’t want to miss it either, and share in the continuing discovery of our family heritage. Thomas Jessup even has some very nice and modern creekside cabins down on the creek that we might rent for a day or two. We’ll see. Go to www.creekcidecabins.com to learn more.
After such excitement, we circled back into town for a tour of the William Alfred Moore house, and a delightful lecture and storytelling by Randle Brim himself, the local historian that had helped us meet Mr. Jessup. Then on to the Mayflower Restaurant, for a delightful dinner and one of my most fun parts of the reunion…..the bestowing of awards to well-deserving family and friends of the Association.
First, I gave President’s Awards to 1) Randle Brim, for his outstanding help and storytelling, 2) to Betty Wright for her help and years of dedicated service to preserving and operating the William Alfred Moore house, 3) to Agnes Walls, for her years of help and assistance with local family history, and 4) to John Mark Stephenson, our new webmaster, for his diligence and innovation in helping us look great on the web. Last, but not least, we awarded the Distinguished Service Award to Louise Murphy, for her outstanding service in organizing the reunion, her outstanding reunion and board minutes taking and printing, and in continuing to handle secretarial duties, including helping our assistant secretary Jerry Hill produce the newsletter and keep up with all the mailing information. As we headed off to bed, many livelong memories were firmly planted in our minds forever, and another reunion came to an end. For me, I will never forget seeing the stones in the water, and suddenly realizing what I was probably looking at. Wow!
As I close this column, I want to emphasize the importance of attending the reunions, as well as helping fund the preservation of the gravesites, the publication of this newsletter, and the website that we must maintain, through the payment of your annual dues. Even if you can’t afford the full $25, please send us $10 or whatever you feel you can afford, to help pay for these vital programs. Our goal this year is 100% participation of every newsletter recipient, even if it’s $5. Please help out as best you can. We’re providing you with this handy return address envelope, so all you have to do is write the check and stick a stamp on it, and you’ve been a great help to your greater Moore Family Association. Thank you again for your prayers, dues, and support. We can't do all these wonderful deeds without you!
Lastly, as I was writing this column, word came from Jay & Priscilla that George E. (Bye) Moore, age 97, of Mooresburg passed away Wednesday, August 28, 2013. George was descended from the Cleon Moore line and grew up in Mooresburg, living in the area his entire life. His father and mother were George P. Moore and Eva Livingston Moore. He is survived by one sister Marilyn Christian of Guntersville, AL and several nieces and nephews. George was a Sgt. in the US Army, 1941 – 1945 serving in South Pacific during WWII. He was a cattle dealer, a part time farmer, an avid sportsman and loved Grouse hunting and a champion checker player, winning tournaments all the way from Indiana to Florida. His favorite pastime was watching Atlanta Braves Baseball games, and was watching them just before his death. Those of us that remember George from past Mooresburg reunions, will miss his wonderful stories, his twinkle smile, and his great humor. May God bless him and his family.
And…..May the Lord bless you too, and keep you and your family healthy and safe.
Hope to see you in Mooresburg next month! And please fill out the registration form, book your motel room, and send back your check to pay for the delectable food that Pris is arranging. We’ll be there.