Monteith - Mantooth - Hilliard - Moore History
October 1, 2014 2:30PM
By Thomas Risden Moore and Robert Coleman Moore
Click on the highlighted text for more information about the locations referenced in this document.
Please note that this document is being kept up to date with new information and corrections on a continuing basis.
This undertaking is a collaboration between Thomas Risden Moore and Robert Coleman Moore, sons of James William and Tressie Sullivan Moore. We did this to honor our father and mother. Much of the credit for information on the Hilliards and their ancestors goes to our cousin (Great Aunt Mary Alice Hilliard Rhodes' grandson) Bob Rhodes. Bob's research into the family history opened the door to virtually all we know about the ancestors of the Moore family. Bob is very particular about facts; so it is hoped that he will forgive our liberty-taking on some subjects. Some of the information on the Sullivans and Passons was obtained from a book by our cousin (Aunt Lou Sullivan Short's daughter) Pat Short Makris.
Uncle Thomas Smith (Bud) Moore often mentioned to us that he knew very little of his mother's family, and that he wished he could find out more. Admittedly only half-hearted attempts were made at discovering that information until after his death. We discussed this frequently and, finally the attempt was made again; but more in earnest. The internet has become a great source of information. The names and locations that we had heard used by our father and Uncle Bud over the years was entered into an internet search engine, and lo and behold someone else had entered most of the same information several years earlier. A lady named Lonita Hilliard was looking for information. She left a phone number, and was traced to Birmingham, AL. Amazingly she was married to a man named Don Hilliard, who turned out to be the son of a brother to our Grandmother Martha Ann (Mattie) Hilliard Moore. This brother, Blount Hilliard, was the youngest child of George W. and Jane Hilliard. Lonita is a very gracious lady. We quickly established our relationship. She sent a picture of George W. and Margaret Jane Mantooth Hilliard. There are two other surviving children of Blount Hilliard, Margaret and Wayne.
Lonita also provided the name and phone number of Bob Rhodes who resides in Chattanooga, TN. Bob was contacted, and he and his family have turned out to be one of our most treasured discoveries ever. He had a wealth of information and pictures about our ancestors. Bob and his wife Peggy Rhodes have become regular members of our family. Bob is more like a brother, helping us to work on some of our family cemetery projects, including the placing of the stones at Great Grandfather Thomas Smith Moore's grave at Bellefonte Cemetery in Jackson County, AL. He has also helped us in many of our other projects, including our work on our mother's ancestor's graves in Middle Tennessee.
Along with Bob Rhodes, we visited ancestral cemeteries in Polk County in April 2011. We found the Mantooth Family Cemetery in disrepair. Trees were grown up throughout much of the cemetery, and underbrush covered most of it. At least one tree had fallen and broken a tombstone. Finding the cemetery in the first place was quite a chore. It is located on a steep little hill in back of a parked mobile home. There is no defined path leading to the cemetery. It requires a trek through the woods and underbrush to reach it. There are about 50 graves in the cemetery; but many of them are unmarked. Samuel and Leitha Mantooth have a headstone. The visit was an inspiring adventure for the three of us. We also visited several other cemeteries in Polk County where ancestors and relatives are buried. All of these cemeteries were in excellent condition.
We made several more visits to Polk County in 2011. With the assistance of Marion Presswood of the Polk County Historical Society in Benton, TN we were able have a headstone erected for our great great grandparents Calvin and Melvina Harvey Mantooth. Mrs. Presswood also aided us in finding someone to do some cleaning of the underbrush and a fallen tree. The area where most of our direct ancestors are buried is in better condition.
There is little available factual evidence of Indian blood in our family. Probably because during that period they had become used to hiding or denying any trace of Indian ancestry. But one only has to see Don Hilliard who is in his sixties and still tall and straight, with coal black hair and high Indian cheek bones, to know without question that the Indian heritage in the family is quite factual. Additionally, the pictures of Great Grandmother Margaret Jane show just how much the Indian features of our ancestors were passed down. Looking at these pictures now, it is no wonder that folks mistakenly assumed she was full-blooded Indian.
Our greatest remorse is that we did not find the information before Uncle Bud died. He would have been thrilled to learn what has been discovered.
A map is located at the end of this paper. It is intended to aid in picturing some of the locations mentioned.
George W. Hilliard, Margaret Jane Mantooth Hilliard
John Wesley Hilliard and Nancy Hilliard
Picture was taken around 1872 - 1873
Mantooth Hilliard Faller
Late in life
Back: Jeff, Otsie, & Mary
Front: Newt & Blount
Brothers & Sisters of Mattie Hilliard Moore
Belle, John, Otsie, Lou and Jane
Nickajack Cave, Marion County,
TN. The cabin where George & Jane Hilliard lived was about halfway between
the roadway and cave mouth in the middle of the now flooded field. A small creek runs from the cave across the
field. Trees lined the bank of the creek. They carried potable water from the cave mouth where is was purer.
Lonita, their daughter Kristen, and Don Hilliard
Bob and Peggy Rhodes
Thomas Voluntine and Martha Ann (Mattie) Hilliard Moore
Martha Ann (Mattie) Hilliard Moore and children clockwise from left
Ottsie, Dottsie, Sam, Mae, Ted and Bud
Tressie and Will Moore and Granddaughter Donna
Buddy, Virginia, Mary Ruth, Bill, Tressie, Will & Jimmy
Front: Guinn, Smith, Joe & Robert
Model-T Like Tressie wrecked in
Savannah. Truck like Will's family used in Florida and
later to return in to
tent that the Will and Leamon Moore Families live in while in
Florida. Bill Moore was born in this tent in 1925.
Tressie, Buddy & Fatty
Fordson Tractor radiator like the one Bill Moore said they boiled eggs in while running the ferry at Savannah, Tennessee.
Artist's rendition of an early
ferry at Savannah, TN. The Cherry Mansion is in the background. The ferry
leading to the river is still there. Robert Moore was born in building on the far river bank just to the right edge
of this painting. Bob Lee, Joe, Guinn, & Risden Moore were born at the old ferry house that would have been
just in front of where the ferry is located in the painting.
The Mantooth - Hilliard Family
Although there is a lot of information chronicling the history of the Mantooth and Hilliard families, there is not a lot of factual data to depend upon. So a few liberties have been taken in this undertaking. We feel that the essence of the information is about as truthful and exact as could be expected. We also feel that it is important for the descendants of these families to have at least some grasp of their heritage that is more than just plain old hearsay and misinformation.
Our Mantooth family descends from early Scottish folks. The earliest were the Menteths who changed their name from Stewart because they had been awarded the Earldom Of Menteth, an area just north of Glasgow, Scotland.
Sir John Menteth has the dubious distinction of having turned William Wallace, the famous Scottish hero, over to the English for execution. He seemed to have redeemed himself later when he aided Robert The Bruce against the English. The name is still not well received in Scotland. Chloe Moore, Risden's granddaughter, recently visited Scotland, and was informed that the name still was held in low regard.
The name was changed to Menteith by the 1400s, and to Monteith by the late 1600s. By all accounts the Monteith/Menteith families of the late 1600s and early 1700s lived in the area near Aberfoyle in the Stirling Provence of Scotland. Our direct ancestor, Thomas Monteith, was born in 1694 in The House of Binns which is near Lithingow, Scotland. The House of Binns was the home of the Dalyell family for over 400 years. Thomas' mother was a Dalyell. The lineage is pretty easy to trace all the way from the Stewart family to when the first Monteith migrated to America.
Thomas Monteith came from Glasgow, Scotland to Virginia around 1714, and settled in King George County. He was a merchant and owned land in several Virginia counties. He married Phillis Gallop about 1737. Phillis descended from the Patawomek Indians of Eastern Virginia. Her great grandmother, Keziah Arroyah, was full bloodied Indian.
Thomas and Phyliss had four children, two boys and two girls. One of their sons was John Thomas Monteith. This is the son that we trace our heritage to. Legend has it that John married an Indian, or part Indian, woman. There is very little information about this woman. She might have been Patawomek, Cherokee, or some other Indian tribe . There are vague references that John's wife's name may have been Mildren Aline (pronounced Ah lin ah) or it might have been Juliana whose last name is unknown.
The story goes that his brother, James, disowned him because of the Indian marriage; so John became enraged and changed his name to Mantooth. Since James himself was married to a part Patawomek woman, this story seem somewhat doubtful. However the Patawomek Indians were pretty well respected; but the Cherokees were frowned upon as being lowly humans. And during this period the Cherokees continued a bitter fight with the whites who were invading their territory to the west. So if John did indeed marry a Cherokee; then there might be something to the story.
There is one odd instance that no one has been able to explain. In 1913 Wiley Blount Hilliard, the youngest son of George and Jane Hilliard, applied for and was accepted into the Montauk Indian Tribe. He was assigned council number 91, and was listed as the chief. Blount was 26 years old at the time; so this was not a childhood prank. This seems very strange since the Montauk Indians were early inhabitants of Long Island, New York. Is it possible that the Indian woman John Thomas Monteith married was from that tribe? The Montauks were coastal marauders and may have been enemies of the Patawomek Indians. This might account for the animosity of James Monteith if John Thomas married a woman from that tribe. Their mother and James' wife were both descendants of the Patawomek tribe.
John was described as being a large red-bearded Scotsman. John's first son was named Thomas Mantooth. There are references stating that John moved west and was not heard from anymore. His son Thomas showed up in records in the Shenandoah County, Virginia area in the 1770s.
Thomas married Elizabeth Pharris in Shenandoah County, Virginia in 1785 and moved to near Newport, TN in Cocke County around 1790 with his wife’s family. Thomas looked so much like an Indian that he was called Cherokee Tom. This nickname in itself does not offer any proof that he was of Cherokee blood. Since most Indians in the Appalachian area were Cherokee, that could have just been an assumption. Thomas had several children. It is unknown where he is buried; but almost certainly it was in Cocke County, TN. One of his sons was our ancestor Samuel Marion Mantooth.
Samuel may have been the first of the Thomas Mantooth children to leave Cocke County, TN. Evidence shows that Samuel lived for quite a while near Dayton, TN in a part of Rhea County which became Meigs County. All but one of his children were born there. By the mid 1840s they had moved to Polk County near Conasuaga, TN not far from Cleveland. This location was only about a mile or so from the Georgia border. Samuel was a successful farmer. His farm consisted of around 1000 acres of land. Records also list him as a blacksmith. There is a copy of his last will and testament in the files at Benton, Polk County, TN. Samuel is buried in the Mantooth Family Cemetery in Polk County, TN near the town of Conasauga. He had several children, the oldest was John Calvin our ancestor.
Calvin was a farmer in Polk County, TN. He and his wife Melvina Harvey Mantooth are buried in the Mantooth Family Cemetery near his mother and father. They had several children. One of them was our Great Grandmother Margaret Jane Mantooth.
Jane married George Wesley Hilliard in the late 1860s. George's father was Mark Wesley Hilliard, and his grandfather was Jessie Hilliard. Mark Wesley is likely buried in the Old Fort Cemetery, Polk County, TN. Not much is known about Jessie. Census records indicate that he lived at one time in North Carolina. He first showed up in records in Mecklenburg County near Charlotte, NC. Records show that he moved to the Benton, TN area from Maryville, TN in the early 1800s. We cannot find anyone in the Hilliard line farther back than him. It is thought that Jesse may also be buried in the Old Fort Cemetery.
George W. and Jane Hilliard had 12 children, one of which was our own Martha Ann (Mattie) Hilliard. She had a twin sister named Betsy Ann Hilliard. Betsy's died as an infant.
George, Jane and their family moved away from Polk County in the middle of the 1880s. It is unclear if Martha Ann (Mattie) came with them. Later events seem to imply that she remained in Polk county with relatives. It was not unusual for young girls from large families to live and work as housekeepers with other families during that time. It is presumed that she moved to Meigs County, TN with her Uncle Robert Mantooth and his family. This would explain how she met the man she married, Thomas Voluntine Moore. The Moores lived in the same district as Robert Mantooth and his family.
After leaving Polk County, the Hilliards lived for a while near Wildwood, GA. They then moved to a small log cabin on a creek very near the entrance to Nickajack Cave across the river from South Pittsburg, TN. Will Moore knew the location, and showed it to his sons on more than one occasion. However; by that time only a portion of the chimney and a dim outline of the cabin's perimeter remained. That location is now under the waters of Nickajack Lake.
They then moved to the South Pittsburg area where George worked at the pipe factory. The last two of their twelve children were born while they lived there. George died in South Pittsburg, TN in 1892. Exactly where he is buried is unknown. There is some evidence that it was near Cleveland, TN. Since it appears unlikely that the location might never be found, a memorial headstone has recently been placed for him in the Patton Annex Cemetery in South Pittsburg near where his wife Jane is buried.
After George died, Jane married a man named Louis Faller. Louis' wife had also recently died. He was an immigrant who came from Germany in 1855. During this time widowed women often found it nearly impossible to survive, especially when they had children to support. Convenience marriages were fairly common. Jane and the children moved to Louis' farm on Orme (South Pittsburg) mountain. The family tended an orchard on the mountain. There were cherry, pear and other fruits that were harvested and sold to support the family.
Blount Hilliard stated that not only was Louis looking for a housekeeper, he needed the children to work on the farm. Mary Alice Hilliard stated that at eight years old she used a stool to reach the stove and dishpans since she did much of the housework while the others worked outside.
When Louis died around 1917 Jane inherited the farm on the mountain. The children that were still with Jane continued to provide the labor on the farm. Some of the younger Hilliard boys made moonshine whiskey on the farm and sold it in the surrounding communities. The Hilliards had all left; but as late as the 1960s moonshine was still being made in the area where the farm was located.
Jane sold the farm when she was in her 70s, and moved to Chattanooga, TN. She lived the remainder of her life with her daughter Mary Alice Hilliard Rhodes. Jane died in 1929 when she was 79 years old. She is buried in the Patton Annex Cemetery in South Pittsburg, TN. As a note of interest Jane's daughter Belle's grandson, Melvin Hudson, later bought the farm and raised his children there. Melvin sold the farm before he passed away a few years ago.
Will Moore knew where several members of the Hilliard family were buried in the South Pittsburg area. Most of the graves had no headstones. Unfortunately no records were kept, so the names and locations are unknown. Many Hilliard descendants still reside in and around Marion County, TN. Before Will and Tressie died several used to visit them. Since that time many have also died, and we have lost touch with most of the others.
The Hilliard - Moore Family
The earliest verifiable Moore in our family line was John Moore who migrated from Europe, either England or Ireland, around 1715. He settled in Dorchester County, Maryland where he owned land and was listed as being a farmer. His son Thomas Moore Sr. was born and died in Dorchester County . He was also a farmer and land owner. Thomas Sr.'s son Thomas Jr. was born in Dorchester County; but migrated to Rockingham County, North Carolina around 1780. His wife was Sarah Smith. They both died in Rockingham County. Their son, William Smith Moore Sr. married Rebecca Henry. They were land owners and farmers, mainly in the southern portions of Rockingham County. Their son Stephen Lawrence Moore, our ancestor, was born about 1813. William died in Rockingham County in 1867. After his death Rebecca moved to McNairy, County, TN to live with her son William Smith Moore Jr. who had migrated there several years earlier. Rebecca died and was buried in the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in McNairy County, TN in 1873.
Stephen Moore married Elizabeth "Eliza" Collins in 1840. They had three boys, William, Thomas Smith, and Albert Dotson. Stephen died sometime around 1847. William Collins, Eliza's father, migrated to Rhea County, TN between 1840 and 1850. By the time of the 1850 census Elizabeth and the three boys were living with him there. Eliza, Thomas, and Albert Dotson were still with the Collins when the 1860 census was taken. William Moore, the oldest son, was captured during the Civil War and later joined the U.S. Army. He was sent to the "Frontier", and was not heard from again. William Collins died between 1860 and 1870 in Tennessee.
Thomas Smith Moore joined the Confederate Army Company A, 1st Tennessee Calvary Regiment in April 1862. He was captured near Knoxville, Tennessee in May of 1864 and sent to Camp Morton prison in Indianapolis, Indiana where he spent the remainder of the war. He was released in May 1865, and returned to Tennessee. It is important for our family members to understand just how much suffering soldiers like him went through. Please read this first-hand account of conditions at Camp Morton during the period of time he was imprisoned there.
Nancy Catherine (Cassie) Dryman was born in the Asheville, North Carolina area to Zachariah and Susan Dryman. The Dryman family migrated to Monroe County, TN in the late 1850s. Her great grandfather was John Henry Dryman Sr. He migrated from Germany where his birth name was Johann Heinrich Dreyman. Her grandfather was John Dryman Jr. who migrated from the Pennsylvania area to North Carolina. Thomas Smith Moore and Cassie were married in Rhea County, TN in 1866. They had several children. Our ancestor, their son Thomas Voluntine Moore, was born 17 June 1872 in Rhea County.
T.V. Moore and Martha Ann (Mattie) Hilliard (born 3 May 1874) were married 3 May 1892 in Rhea County, TN. Seven children were born to T.V. and Mattie in Rhea county. George, Jim (who died as a infant), Will, a child that died at birth, Bessie, Annie and Sam.
Thomas Smith Moore's wife, Cassie, died in the early 1890s. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Jackson County, AL Smith, or Smitty, as he was called, took his two youngest sons with him. His daughter Sarah was about 15 years old at that time and almost certainly accompanied them. At least one of his unmarried children, David, remained in Rhea County with the older married brothers. After arriving in Alabama Thomas remarried to a woman named Eliza Shelton in 1896. He worked as a farmer. His address on the 1900 census showed that he was a resident of the Hollywood, AL precinct. Eliza and sons Thomas 17 years old, and James 9 years old were living with him.
Thomas Smith Moore, died in early 1903 while on a visit to family in Rhea and Meigs Counties, Tennessee. His body was returned to Jackson County, Alabama and he was buried in the Bellefonte Cemetery. Markers have recently been placed on his grave.
Around 1906 the T.V. Moore family moved to the Jackson County, Alabama area. Three more children, Mae, Ottsie, and Dottsie, were born in Jackson County.
Smith Moore's brother Albert Dotson Moore and his family moved to the Scottsboro, AL area about two years later. Dotson is buried in the Gross Cemetery in Jackson County, AL, just a short distance from Scottsboro. Dotson's son Gus Moore lived and died in the near vicinity. Some of his descendants still live in Jackson County, AL near Scottsboro.
There is also some evidence that members of the Mantooth family were in Jackson County, AL during this period. There are Mantooths still living in that area. Some of them have been traced to Robert Mantooth, Samuel Mantooth's brother. There are records of legal transactions concerning Mantooths that took place in Jackson County around the time of the Moore's arrival.
T.V. Moore's brother John Benjamin moved from Rhea County, Tennessee about the same time as the others left, and settled for a time in Hamilton County, TN where he worked as a carpenter. He then moved to near the community of Pisgah, AL on Sand Mountain. He later moved to Limestone County, AL where he farmed for several years. By 1940 he was living on the Skyline Farms Project in Northern Jackson County, Alabama. He died in 1946 and is buried in Rehobeth Cemetery in Guntersville, AL. Another brother, Steven moved to Morgan County, Alabama where he worked as a farmer. He moved to Chattanooga, TN in the 1940s and worked there until the early 1950s, then moved back to Morgan County, AL. He died in 1959 and is buried near Hartselle, Alabama.
The oldest brother, William H. "Bill" Moore, moved to Alabama about 1912. He settled in the Mooresville area of Limestone County between Huntsville and Decatur, Alabama. By 1940 he too was living on the Skyline Farms Project in Jackson County, Alabama. There are no references as to when he died or where he was buried; it is thought that he was buried in an unmarked grave in the Sanders Cemetery near Skyline, Jackson County, Alabama.
The youngest known living son, Thomas (Tom) Moore, was in Morgan County, Alabama by 1910; but moved to the Union Grove area of Marshall County, Alabama where he died in 1941. He is buried in the Oleander Cemetery near Union Grove.
The only girl in the family, Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie), had three girls by her first marriage to a man name Duff. He must have died around 1904. She then married Ike Haskins. They lived in several areas of Alabama. She died in Owens Crossroads, Madison County, Alabama in 1964. She is buried along with her husband Ike Haskins in the Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, AL.
Dave Moore also originally moved to Morgan County, AL by 1910; but moved around a lot. He died in 1958 and is buried in the Rehobeth Cemetery.
The fate of the youngest brother, James, is unknown. He was 9 years old living with his father on the 1900 census; but no later trace of him has been found. Some old references to him stated that "he died young".
By the 1920s it appears that virtually all of the Moore descendants of Thomas Smith and Albert Dotson had moved to Alabama. The verifiable exception was that two of Albert Dotson's daughters by his first wife had already married by the time he moved to Alabama. Both lived out their lives near Chattanooga, TN. Albert Dotson's son Thomas Lawson (TL) originally moved to Marshall County, Alabama in 1921. He lived there for several years; but moved to near McMinnville, TN in the late 1930s. He is buried in Warren County, TN not far from McMinnville.
T.V. and Mattie are listed in the 1910 census as citizens of Langston in Jackson County, AL. Ted was born in the Langston area in 1911, and Kate was born there in 1913; but died as an infant. Thomas Smith (Bud) Moore, the last child, was born in the Meltonsville area of Marshal County in 1915. Members of the Moore clan that migrated to Alabama eventually spread out over portions of Jackson, Dekalb, Madison, Limestone, Morgan, and Marshall counties in Alabama. Many of their descendants can still be found there.
T.V., Mattie and their family later moved to near Guntersville, AL. The 1920 census shows them living in Marshal County, AL. and the 1930 census shows the family living in Hooper, Marshal County, AL. They lived the remainder of their lives near Guntersville. They are buried in the Rehobeth Cemetery in Guntersville, along with several of their children and other members of the Moore clan.
T.V. Moore and his family were farmers. That was his occupation during his entire life. He was highly respected by the land owners whose farms he tilled. His kind were the real building blocks that made this country great.
The Sullivan - Passons Family
Trasda Calvin (Tressie or Bug) Sullivan was born Oct. 14, 1900 near Bone Cave Mountain in Van Buren County not far from Spencer, TN. Her Father was John Duncan Sullivan, and her mother was Augusta Rice Passons Sullivan. Tressie got the nickname Bug from her father who always called her his Lady Bug. Virtually everyone who knew her called her Bug. Will Moore never addressed her by any other name. Trasda was a Sullivan family name passed down, at the least, from a great aunt and an aunt. Tressie never liked the Trasda name and always used Tressie as her legal given name. Tressie is the name on her headstone.
John Duncan Sullivan descended from Sullivans who migrated to Van Buren County, Tennessee from the Pikeville, Bledsoe County, Tennessee area. His father was James Sullivan and his mother was Lucinda Jane Black. Lucinda was reputed to be full bloodied Cherokee Indian. She was born in Western North Carolina. Her family migrated to Bledsoe County where she met and married James. No record of their marriage has been found, and it is thought that they may have had an Indian marriage, in which case a license may not have been issued. Lucinda's sister, Elvina, married James' brother Ike Sullivan.
Augusta Passons Sullivan descended from several well-known Middle Tennessee families. The Passons, Hutson, Knowles, Swindell, and Cotton families were early settlers in White, Warren, and Van Buren Counties. Several of her ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Many ancestors are buried in the cemeteries of those counties.
During the last half of the 1800s and the early 1900s many of the families from that area migrated westward. The Passons and Sullivans were among those who decided to seek a better life out West. When Tressie was only a month old the John Sullivan family along with other members of the Sullivan clan decided to head west. There were other members of both the Sullivan and Passons families already in Texas. Accompanying John and His family was his first cousin James. C. Sullivan. James was married to John's sister Trasda. Yep, they were first cousins. Their son Oscar was about 8 years old. John's unmarried sister, Oprah, and James' unmarried sister Nancy, were also in the group. Sickness overtook Nancy and they had to delay their migration for some time. They raised a crop in order to survive; but Nancy again became ill and passed away. By the time they could have moved on again, funds for the trip had been used for daily existence.
Both John and James Sullivan went to work in at the Gager Lime Quarry in Sherwood, TN. James passed away in 1908 and Trasda and her son Oscar moved in with the John Sullivan family. The family lived in Sherwood until Tressie was 10 years old. Madgie, Rose, and Lou were born there. Sometime during their stay they managed a boarding house on South Pittsburg (Orme) mountain at the old Jump-Off community for woodcutting crews. Augusta did the cleaning, washing, and cooking. During their stay in Sherwood, other members of the Passons and Sullivan families spent some time there. Augusta's sister Evaline and her husband Clint Baker were there for a while. Ike Sullivan, John Sullivan's older brother, was also there for some time.
Panoramic view of Sherwood, Tennessee around 1910
Remnants of the school that Tressie Sullivan Moore attended in Sherwood, Tennessee
John and his family moved to the South Pittsburg/Richard City, TN area in 1912. There he first worked on the railroad, then at the Cement Plant. Kate and Lela Mae, the last of John and Augusta's children, were born there. Lela Mae died there in 1920 at 3 years of age. Tressie described going through the 8th grade at the school in Richard City. The school was a wooden two story building that was unused; but still in existence, when the Will Moore family moved back to the South Pittsburg, TN area in 1944. The Sullivan family lived in a small house in a worker's community called Irondale Town owned by the Cement Plant. The Irondale Town community still exists. However; the worker type houses like the family lived in were torn down long ago.
By the time Tressie was 14 years old she went to work in a hosiery mill in South Pittsburg, TN only a few miles from where the John Sullivan family resided. She and a friend were taking a break when Will Moore, who worked a short distance away, walked by and started a conversation. Sparks flew and in 1919 she and Will were married. The newly married couple lived in a boarding house in South Pittsburg for a time; but eventually moved into one of the small houses in Irondale Town close to John and Augusta Sullivan. Their first three children, Virginia, Buddy, and Smith were born in the South Pittsburg area. Will and Tressie moved away from South Pittsburg around 1924.
John and Augusta Sullivan and their family, except for Tressie since she had married, moved back to Sherwood, TN by the early 1920s. John died there in 1927, and is buried in the Sherwood Cemetery. Augusta remarried several more times. She lived in South Pittsburg, TN near Tressie when she died in 1966 at the age of 85. She is buried in the Odear Cemetery in Sewanee, TN.
A book chronicling the Passons and Sullivans has been published by Tressie's niece, Pat Short Makris. Some of Tressie's remembrances are in it. It also contains a plethora of other information about those families. It is titled "Passons' Family Connections"; but is often referred to as the "Red Book." the color of its cover. There are several stories in it about the lives of our ancestors. It is highly recommended reading for all descendants of these families.
The Will and Tressie Moore Family
James William (Will) Moore was born Mar 21, 1897 while the T.V Moore family still resided near Dayton, TN. Although Will always stated he was born in Rhea County, TN, it is almost a surety that he was born across the river in Meigs County, TN. He was only a boy of 9 or 10 when they moved in wagons to the Jackson County, AL area. His boyhood remembrances of growing up were mainly concerned with the Langston, AL area. His best friend was his Uncle John's son, Leamon Moore, whose family lived in Pisgah, AL. Will really enjoyed telling stories about his and Leamon's exploits.
In 1916 Will killed Noble Shubert in self-defense. Retaliation from Noble's family was a sure thing in those days; so Will's father insisted that he leave the area. Will first went to Pisgah, AL to his Uncle John's; but his hiding place was discovered by those seeking him. He told the story about having a premonition one day that something was going to happen. That night he slept in a cornfield next to the barn where he had been hiding. That sense of foreboding may well have saved his life. Sure enough, the people who were after him came and searched the barn. After luckily escaping capture, he decided that he would have to leave the area far behind.
He and his cousin Leamon Moore hopped a train in Scottsboro, AL and as he called it "hoboed" over a good portion of the middle part of the country. This included being cowboys and sheep herders. Will told the story about being selected to hunt and kill Mountain Lions when they were in Montana, since he was a good hunter and an excellent shot.
Around 1917 or so, Will and Leamon ended up on the King ranch in Texas doing Cowboy work. World War One was in full swing and in 1917 they decided to enlist in the Army. Leamon and Will did not enter the army in the same location. Leamon apparently went back to Alabama and enlisted while Will entered the army in Nashville, TN. The war ended before Will could be called on to go to Europe, and he was mustered out at Fort Oglethorpe, GA in 1918.
Will could not return to his home territory in Alabama due to the trouble he was in there. So he went to South Pittsburg, TN, and lived with his Grandmother Jane Mantooth Hilliard Faller for a period.
Will met Tressie Sullivan and they were married in 1919 in Jasper, TN. They first lived in a boarding house in South Pittsburg. The posts on the front porch of the house now on 8th street came from that boarding house. They were given to Will when it was torn down in the 1950s. Joe Moore installed them in 1960. Will and Tressie later moved to Irondale Town behind the Cement Plant near where Tressie's parents lived.
Around 1924 Leamon Moore showed up with his wife Leila (Fatty). By this time Will and Tressie had three children; Virginia, Buddy, and Smith. They all decided to move to the Decatur, AL area where Leamon's father John Benjamin Moore resided on Mason Island in the Tennessee River. There was little work other than fishing and farming to make a living at in that area. So Will and Leamon turned to an old Southern Appalachian Mountain stand-by occupation.
Will and Leamon made whiskey on Finley Island in the middle of the Tennessee River near Decatur which is slightly upstream from Mason Island. Both islands are now completely under water. One day when they went to Finley Island in a rowboat to tend the still, Will had one of his premonitions that something was not quite right. He voiced his concerns to Leamon; but Leamon waved the warning off. As they neared the location of the still, Will’s suspicions grew and he convinced Leamon that something was wrong. They turned and quickly ran toward the boat with a band of revenuers in hot pursuit. Will was slim and fast; but Leamon was tall and gangly; so Will quickly outran both Leamon and the revenuers. Will jumped in the boat and started rowing away from the shore just as Leamon came to the bank. Leamon yelled “Now Will, you know I can’t swim”. Will reversed direction and went back to the bank to pick up Leamon. But as he neared the bank a revenuer jumped into the water and grabbed onto the boat. Will raised the paddle to hit him; but looked over his head to see another revenuer aiming a shotgun straight at him. Common sense dictated that it was time to give up.
They were put in jail in Decatur. Since Will was still listed as a fugitive from Marshal County, AL they knew it was only a matter of time before the Decatur police found out who he was. Tressie and Fatty baked a saw blade in a cake and sneaked it into them in the jail. That night Will and Leamon sawed their way out. They knew it was time to leave the state of Alabama behind again.
There was a building boom going on in the Hollywood, FL area; so they went there and found work hauling supplies to the builders in Model-T trucks they had purchased. They also worked in the Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach areas. I have lately discovered documents from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) archives. There is a lot of information in them about some of our family. I discovered that two of our grandfather's brothers, William H. Moore and John B. Moore and their families also came to Florida to work. They sold all of their furniture and farming equipment when they left. They described their work as truck loaders. The combined families lived in a tent all the time they were in Florida.
Will and Tressie's fourth child, Bill, was born in 1925 while they were there. As just an infant Bill rolled off a bed, out of the bottom of the tent and ended up outside. He just kept sleeping. Tressie had a bad time thinking someone had stolen him.
Historical climatic data shows a major hurricane with winds of 150 mph struck the Florida peninsula on 18 September 1926. Both John B. Moore and William H. Moore later stated in Tennessee Valley Authority documents that they were struck by a hurricane which destroyed their tent and equipment. This and the onset of the Great Depression made it impossible for them to remain in Florida. The Florida construction boom had fizzled and there was no way to make funds to continue to survive there. Consequently they all headed back north. The John B. Moore and William H. Moore families went back to Alabama.
Photo depicting damage by 1926 Hurricane at Pompano Beach, FL
The Will and Leamon Moore families took the best parts from the two Model-T trucks they had been using, and fixed one up well enough to travel. By 1927 they ended up in Savannah, TN where Leamon found work as a ferryman. Will became his helper. At some point between 1931 and 1934 Leamon and Fatty left, and Will became the ferryman. Will was fond of saying that he worked the ferry for 10 years, 2 months, and 29 days. The ferry was powered by a four cylinder Fordson tractor engine. It had a large radiator that was not pressurized like today's radiators. The radiator had a large fill hole. Bill Moore remembers that they would boil eggs in the radiator. The engine did not have an electric starter and had to be hand cranked. In cold weather the engine was left idling. Bill said that it provided some warmth on cold days.
Tressie had an accident in an old 2-door Model-T car. She said the accident was not her fault, but Will would never let her drive again. She had a car-load of her children with her. Bill Moore was in the car and said the accident may very well have been her fault.
While in Savannah the family lived most of the time in one of two locations. When the river was at normal level, they lived in an old warehouse on the Savannah side of the river. The warehouse would flood when the river level rose, and the family would move across the river to an old three room ferry house. At one time they lived in a two-shack setup up the riverbank a piece from the Cherry Mansion in Savannah. Will's employer was a man named Bob Guinn. Mr. Guinn also owned and lived in the Cherry Mansion, one of the most notable landmarks in the Savannah area. General Grant used the Mansion as his headquarters during the Civil War Battle of Shiloh.
Other members of the Moore clan of Alabama came and lived in the Savannah area while Will & his family lived there. One, his Uncle Dave (T.V. Moore's brother), married a lady named Clara Ann Holyfield. Aunt Clara became a part of the family. Their marriage did not last; but she kept the family relationship going until she died. She is buried in Bethel Cemetery near New Hope, AL. Joe Vincent Moore, Leamon Moore's brother, also lived in Savannah while the Will Moore family was there. Joe is buried in Wayne County, TN.
Will was never able to return or even visit the family in Alabama during the time his parents were alive. There was correspondence between the families. T.V. Moore and Will's brothers Sam and Bud Moore once visited Will and Tressie in Savannah. But Will never saw his mother again. He did not get to attend the funeral of either his father or his mother. Tressie's sister, Kate Sullivan, lived for a time with them, and shows up in the 1930 census in their home in Savannah.
A bridge was built across the Tennessee River at Savannah. The toll for crossing the bridge was more than the fee for using the ferry; so for a time the ferry continued to operate. Eventually the need for the ferry boat evaporated. Even before the ferry stopped operation, Will bought a large barge which had a two room building on it. He loaded up his wife and eight children, and started down the Tennessee River with no real destination in mind. Will had bought a motorboat that was powered by an old four cylinder T-Model engine. It strained, smoked, popped, and back-fired; so was affectionately called "Farting Fanny". Now if a lady was around the boat was called "Fighting Fanny". Will always insisted on gentlemanly conduct around the ladies. Fanny was used to keep the barge headed north toward the Kentucky border. Mainly they just drifted, using the motorboat to get out of the way of large boats, and to pull into the bank for overnight stays. The Tennessee River had many shoals and sandbars in it at that time before the dams were built. The barge was completely fabricated of wood. Scrapes and collisions with those obstacles made it necessary to occasionally beach the barge for repairs.
Eventually the family arrived at a location near the community of Mint Spring, TN very near the Kentucky border. The post office was at the old community of Fort Henry; so most folks referred to the location by that name. For the next two years or so the old barge, or "houseboat" as it was called, remained docked at the location. Guinn Moore almost drowned during this period. He was sitting on the gangplank counting his toes. He could only find nine. He become so absorbed in the missing toe that he toppled into the river. Fortunately his brother Smith was nearby and pulled him out. The barge was eventually beached a few yards up the bank away from the river during a flood.
Artist's rendition of the old Moore Family Houseboat
The houseboat was likely very similar to one of these
The family existed by fishing and musseling. Mussels are shellfish similar to oysters and clams. They lay on the bottom of the river with their shells open. The flow of the river brings nutrients across them as their food source. Musseling entailed dragging long metal pipes called brails with hooks tied to strings on them along the river bottom. These were pulled across mussel beds in the river. The open mussels clamp onto the hooks when touched and are then pulled onto a small jon boat and removed. This was back-breaking, arduous work. The mussels would then be steamed in large vats of water to cause them to open. The mussel's "meat" would be removed and the shells sorted. There were several types of mussels. Some of the shells were more valuable than others. This hard work was a family affair. All but the very young children were expected to participate. Often mussel meats were used to feed the hogs, or allowed to spoil and then be used to bait trotlines for catching fish.
Paddlewheel boats would visit the location on an irregular basis and buy the shells. At that time most of the shells were used to make buttons. The boat pilots would always have pans of broken stick or peppermint candy which they would keep on board for children at the different landings they visited. The Moore children were always thrilled to hear the whistle from the paddlewheelers as they came near. They seldom got "store made" candy and knew that they would be getting an unaccustomed treat. You learned early that one piece was all you could take. While removing the meats from the shells everyone would look for fresh water pearls and slugs (misshapen bits of pearl-like material). These would often be kept in a personal used tobacco sack or a quinine bottle. Even the young children would have a container. The boat pilots would buy the pearls based on quality, and the slugs by the ounce. This was one of the very few ways that children might end up with a few cents of their own.
Fishing with trotlines and using hoop nets to trap fish was a year- round enterprise. The family ate a lot of the fish they caught. But many were also sold commercially. Often people would come to the house to buy fish but occasionally a load of fish would be taken to markets in Dover, TN or Paris, TN. Will and his family were such good fishermen that Will acquired the nickname Catfish Moore. The older boys, Buddy, Smith, and Bill were especially adept at handling boats and setting trotlines and hoop nets. They built and repaired their own boats, wove their own hoop nets, and did almost all of the musseling. They did the majority of the work that kept the family alive. Tressie would sometimes cook for men who came to the camp on fishing trips. The younger boys would occasionally dredge around in the gravel of local creeks to catch crawfish to use for bait.
Below the houseboat on a lower bank was an area that was used by other local people who fished and drug for mussels like the Moores. The area was generally referred to as a mussel camp. Close friendships were developed between the families. During the cold winters, and at times of high waters and flooding, the musseling would have to be suspended. Deeper water and dangerously swift currents prevented the use of the boats. These were lonesome times for the family. The daily bustle of the folks who normally worked near the river was missed.
All of the families in the area were eventually displaced. The area is now in the midst of the Land Between The Lakes National Park. Many of those that were displaced, and are still living, along with their descendants, meet each year at a park not far from the old Mint Spring community.
Many of the family clothes were mail-ordered from Sears and Roebucks or other catalogue stores. By the time clothes got passed down from the older to the younger children, they were completely worn out. Often Tressie, an expert seamstress, would take the usable parts of worn clothing and fashion quilts or other clothes. Most of the girl's clothes were made from feed or flour sacks by Tressie.
There was no electricity in the Mint Spring area during the period the Moore's lived there. Kerosene lamps and wood burning stoves were used for lighting, cooking and heating.
The family made gardens and canned or dried vegetables and wild fruits and nuts. Hogs were raised and used for the meat supply, and for the lard used for cooking. Wild game including, squirrels, rabbits, coons, possums, quail, ducks, and geese were hunted and used to supplement their diet.
There was little in the way of outside entertainment available to the family. Some of the most memorable times were when Tressie would rock the children in the evenings, and sing old ballads and folk songs she learned from her father. Once a riverboat traveler who spent the night in the area asked one of the local girls what in world they did for entertainment in such a backward community. She replied "Oh, we just do what comes naturally". Bill Moore remembers when small groups of young people would just walk from house to house in the community simply visiting. Someone might be able to play a guitar or a harmonica, and they would sit around and sing popular songs of the period. A good bet would also be that occasionally they would "do what comes naturally".
Since there was very little cash income to purchase necessities from a store, the family had to mostly make do with what they were able to provide for themselves. Everything was used to its fullest. Many of the women's clothing, and some of the boys underwear was made from cloth sacks that flour or animal feed came in. Once, when times were especially hard, Tressie made the boy's underwear from sacks in which fertilizer had been stored. They were boiled and beaten to soften them. That helped very little. Boy were they stiff!
They made most of the soap used for household cleaning chores and for washing clothes. Water would be filtered through wood ashes to make a form of lye. The lye would then be mixed with rendered pork fat (lard) and allowed to gel. Water was heated in large cast iron wash pots with a fire built around the base. The clothes would then be scrubbed on rub boards in large tubs filled with the hot water until they were spotlessly clean. The washing was accomplished outside the house, even in the cold winters. Clothes often froze while drying on the line. The family's clothes may have been worn and patched; but Tressie always prided herself in hanging out a bright, clean wash.
Bathing during the colder months was accomplished by filling the wash tubs with water heated in the wash pots. During the warmer months bathing was done in the river or in nearby creeks.
Occasionally the Tennessee River would flood and surround the houseboat, and the family would have to find somewhere to live. Once they lived in an abandoned grocery store until the flood waters receded. One could watch though cracks in the floor as chickens laid eggs under the house.
When Virginia was 19 years old she married Willard Westerman from the Mint Spring area, and began to raise a family. Tressie was pregnant with her last child at the time Virginia was pregnant with her first one.
The youngest child, Mary Ruth, was born January 29, 1940 in the old houseboat at Mint Spring. The Tennessee River froze completely over at their location during that winter. The explosive cracking of the ice as it broke up in warmer weather would keep everyone awake at night. It was very cold most of the winters when the family lived at Mint Spring. Ice would form on the banks and out for a few yards into the river. The boys would make sleds from old musseling vats or corrugated tin sheets, and slide down the banks and onto the ice.
The walls of the houseboat were very thin, and there were no inner walls or insulation. The cold winds would blow through the cracks between the boards. Tressie would mix flour and water together to make a paste, then use the paste to glue newspaper over the cracks, trying to keep the cold air from coming in. There was a cook stove in the kitchen part and a large heater in the main room. In very cold weather the heater would become so hot that it would glow cherry red. You baked on the side nearest the stove, and froze on the other side. Bill Moore once backed into that old heater. He still wears the brand he received.
When the older boys were in their teens, the government started a program called the Civilian Conservation Corp or CCCs. Several of the present forests throughout the United States are a result of the planting efforts of the many young men who worked in the CCC camps. Buddy went to Wartburg, TN and Smith went to Corvallis, Oregon. The family received a small pittance for their labors (about $22) each month which helped them survive the depression. Risden Moore vividly remembers the day Buddy left for the CCCs. He walked past Risden with a ragged cardboard suitcase containing his meager belongings with tears streaming down his face. He was just a kid, and leaving home was a traumatic experience for him.
At about this time the U.S. entered into World War Two. Buddy went into the Army. Smith went into the Army Air Corps, and flew in B24 bombers over Europe. Later on Bill went into the Navy, and served aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. They all returned safely.
After Buddy and Smith entered service, Will went to Detroit, MI for a time and worked in a factory there that built military vehicles.
The government decided to build a dam on the Tennessee River in Kentucky, not far from where the family lived. Will and Bill went to work for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) helping to build raised roadways to a bridge that would span the new waters near where they lived.
The impending rising of the waters meant that the location where they lived would soon be under water. Bill and Tressie went to South Pittsburg, TN and rented a house, then returned to Mint Spring. Bill entered the Navy at that time. Will went to South Pittsburg and found work at the Lodge Manufacturing Company. In early 1944 the rest of the family loaded up what meager belongings they had and moved to South Pittsburg. Virginia and her family remained in Mint Spring since Willard's work and family were there, and their home was located above where the new water level would be.
In South Pittsburg, Will's family first lived in a house on Cedar Avenue in what was called Midway. That house has since been replaced. The location is near the Beene Cemetery. They then moved to a small house at the end of East 8th street. That house was demolished long ago.
The family purchased a house and several lots at 204 East 8th street (it was designated 104 at that time) for $1400. This was money from allotments that Smith and Bill sent home during their time in service. That house burned in 1959. Joe Moore drew up the plans and directed the work, and the rest of boys did the work in building the house that now stands at that location. Most of the framing was done using green oak lumber, the cheapest available at the time. When Joe Moore built something, it was solid. He was fond of jumping up and down on cabinets he built to make sure they would hold up. And he weighed in excess of 275 pounds. The house is still as solid as a rock over 50 years later.
Will and Tressie lived out the rest of their lives in that house. Will died in 1963 of heart failure. Tressie continued to live there until her death in 1981. Their daughter Mary Ruth and her husband Hodge Raulston lived in the house after Tressie died, and have kept it in superb condition. Hodge passed away in November of 2013; but Mary Ruth continues to live there.
Will never gave up his love of farming. He had a mule, wagon and implements for gardening when he died. During the time he lived in South Pittsburg, TN, Will planted gardens in about every available empty space around the city that people would allow. He also used his equipment to prepare gardens for his neighbors and friends. He shared the output from his gardens freely with his friends and neighbors. In doing so; he nearly worked his boys to the bone.
All of the Will Moore family men proudly served their country in the military. Will in World War One. Buddy, Smith, and Bill in World War Two. Joe, Guinn, and Risden are Army veterans of the Korean War. Guinn also served in the Air Force during the Cold War. Robert served in the Air Force for over 20 years, including a tour in Vietnam during that war.
Will Moore never attended school. He spent his entire life unable to read or write. He did develop other skills in order to partially offset this handicap. His gardens grew, thrived, and produced almost magically under his hands. He did his planting, cultivating, and animal care under the old "signs" which he knew from memory. He could see things in the woods that most people never saw. That undoubtedly contributed to his skills as a hunter. He could observe a single bee gathering nectar and pollen, and follow it through the forest to its hive. Having observed changes in the atmosphere at his location for many years; he was a better short range weather forecaster than most meteorologists. None of his school educated children could equal him in a game of checkers or domino. Will could be a hard man at times. Hard on his wife, and hard on his children. But the fact remains that he raised nine children to be responsible adults who, along with their offspring, have undoubtedly contributed to the betterment of this great country.
Tressie Sullivan Moore was, and is, loved by everyone who knew her. This is especially so concerning her children. We miss her, and think of her, every day of our lives. Her Son-in-law and her daughters-in-law cherish her dearly. She was a talented seamstress. She made clothes for her sisters even before she reached her teens. A friend or relative would bring a picture of a dress found in a magazine or catalog and Tressie could make a pattern and build the dress. She made virtually all of the quilts and bedspreads for her family. A lot of her sewing and tailoring was accomplished on an old Singer treadle machine. She enjoyed reading, and would read most anything. She could carry on a knowledgeable conversation on virtually any subject. She loved and took pride in her children above anything else in her life. There was never any doubt in one of her children's mind that they were loved by her. In answering a question once asked of her "Lord, Mrs. Moore, how do you divide your love among all those children?", she replied "It's not a division problem, it's a multiplication problem". When her children who had left home would be leaving after visiting her, Tressie's parting remark would always be "Don't worry, I'll be alright". That expression is inscribed on her footstone as suggested and arranged by her son Smith.
The family has a reunion every year, health permitting, at the old home place in June on the next Sunday after Father's Day. This reunion was started to honor James William Moore; but it also honors Tressie Moore who gloried in it when she was alive. It also honors the rest of the children who have passed on. All of the Will and Tressie Moore descendents, relatives, and friends are encouraged to attend.
James William and Calvin Tressie Sullivan Moore
Lola Virginia Moore married Willard W. Westerman`
Their children are Larry, Judy and Sharon
Virginia is buried in Resthaven Memorial Gardens Clarksville, TN
James Lloyd (Buddy) Moore Married Dorothy Kaase
Their child is Margaret Ann (Peggy)
Buddy and Betty Jo Parham had a child
Her name is Susan
Second marriage to Leota Philpot
Their children are James, Glenn and Ernie
Betty Jo is buried in Cumberland View Cemetery, Kimball, TN
Dorothy is buried near Cleveland, Ohis
Buddy and Leota are buried in Beene Cemetery S. Pittsburg, TN
Calvin Smith Moore
Smith and Lillie Mae Hilliard had a child
Her name is Linda
Smith married Trilby Massengale
Their children are Lance, Randy, Bruce and Tim
Lillie Mae is buried in Chattanooga Memorial Park, Chattanooga, TN
Smith and Trilby are buried in New Hope Cemetery, New Hope, TN
Billy Maurice Moore married Margaret Jo Samples
Their child is Jimmy
Second marriage to Nadine Long
Nadine's son is Gordon
Bill and Nadine live in Gallatin, TN
Bob Lee Moore died as an infant.
Bob Lee is buried in Savannah Cemetery, Savannah, TN
Joe Doss Moore Married Addie Lea Hookey
Their children are Jody and Frieda
Second Marriage to Irene Wilson
Joe is buried in
Lot RR99 Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, TN
Addie Lea is buried in Cumberland View Cemetery, Kimball, TN
Douglas Guinn Moore married Kay Thomas
Their children are Donna, Karen, Doug and Amy
Guinn and Kay are buried in Williamson Cemetery Northport, AL
Thomas Risden Moore married Inez Glover
Their children are Tony, Mike and Art
Risden and Inez live near New Hope, AL
Robert Coleman Moore married Mary Nell Hodges
Their son is Robert Aaron
Robert lived for many years in Louisiana; but now resides in South Pittsburg, TN
Mary Ruth Moore married Hodge Raulston
Their children are Lisa, Mary Beth and Jason
Mary Ruth lives in the old family home in S. Pittsburg, TN
Hodge is buried in Cumberland View Cemetery Kimball, TN
Map of some of the locations mentioned in this document.
Click on one of the location names for a Google map of that area.