Aunt Clara Moore

 

     Aunt Clara became a part of the Moore family when we lived in Savannah, Tennessee in the early 1930s.  She claimed to have come from Illinois, and that her maiden name was Holyfield; but there is no proof of this.  Her history prior to meeting our family is shrouded in mystery. The first we heard of her was that she arrived in Decatur, Alabama on a train with a man called Spud Jones who may or may not have been her husband.  They then came down the Tennessee River in a small boat and docked at Savannah.  Spud became ill and died.  Will Moore's uncle, Dave Moore, was living in Savannah at the time, and he and Clara got married.

     Aunt Clara became attached to our family due to the marriage.  It was a shaky marriage to say the least.  Uncle Dave was a hard man. His personality made it difficult for anyone to like him.  But he was talented.  As far as we know that is the only marriage Clara ever had that ended in divorce.  

     Aunt Clara was very good to our family.  Times were hard and money was scarce, but she always seemed to be able to scratch out something. And she shared whatever she had with the family.  Will Moore said that if you put her out on a flat rock, she would find a way to make a living.  And would have a little spending money in the tobacco sack she carried on a string around her neck, tucked away in her bosom. 

     Clara became especially fond of Thomas Risden Moore.  Clara never had children, and Risden became very dear to her.  Their relationship continued until she died at around 102 years old.  She dipped snuff and chewed tobacco all the time that we ever knew her.  Risden tells the story about when she was over 100 years old and confined to a nursing home.  Clara complained to him that the nurses would not let her have her chewing tobacco.  Risden talked the doctor into writing her a prescription for chewing tobacco. When she died Risden placed two plugs of Day's Work chewing tobacco in her casket.  Surely God didn't deny her that little pleasure in Heaven.

     Clara was illerate; but she never let that bother her.  It took a very good man to keep up with her working in the cotton fields, or anywhere for that matter.  She could plow a field with a mule, use a crosscut saw, or do most any chore a man could do.  And often do it better.  Most of the time she would lead the field when hoeing or picking cotton, pulling corn, or pitching hay. 

     She was a great cook and housekeeper.  She never ask men folk, or boys for that matter, for help with the housework.  She felt that kind of work was woman’s work.  She also acted as a midwife.  There is no telling how many children she delivered in her lifetime.

     Risden says that she never saw a bad man.  If a man had a bad reputation, her comment would be that “If he only had a good woman, he would be just fine”.  She was married at least five times.  She was never long without a man after one of hers died.