James Lloyd (Buddy) Moore
Buddy Moore was born September 18, 1921 in Richard City, Tennessee to James William and Tressie Calvin Moore. He was the second child and oldest son born into the family. The Moore family moved from Tennessee first to Alabama, then to Florida, then finally settled for a time in Savannah, Tennessee. Savannah is on the Tennessee River. The dams that control the river now had not been built at the time the family lived there. The river could be very swift and treacherous. Eking out a living from it was dangerous and hard work.
In Savannah Buddy, along with his brothers Smith and Bill, became an adept fisherman and mussel gatherer even before he reached his teens. Musseling was very hard work. Just handling one of the eighteen to twenty foot jon boats was laborious work in those swift waters; but Buddy became an expert. He could balance expertly on just the gunwales, and pull a trot line or hoop net loaded with fish into the boat.
Long pipes called brails had dangling strings with four pronged hooks attached that were used for musseling. These were dragged across the mussel beds on the river bottom. The mussels, much like oysters or clams, lay open on the bottom of the river bed. As the hooks dragged across and touched them, they closed and clamped on. Pulling the brails, loaded with mussels, up into the boat was an arduous task even for an adult man much less a boy. Will Moore was the ferryman in Savannah; so the boys did virtually all of the fishing and musseling. These chores were done in addition to going to school. Obviously there was little time for childhood play.
When Buddy was sixteen years old the family left Savannah on a barge which had a two room shack built on. The barge was referred to as "The Houseboat". They went down-river, or northward, toward Kentucky. Buddy and his siblings hunted and fished providing the family with food on the journey. Eventually the family arrived at a location called Red Bank near the community of Mint Spring, Tennessee. The local post office was called Fort Henry; so the whole area was often referred by that name. The family lived on the houseboat tied to the bank for a time. The houseboat was eventually pulled up onto ground on the higher bank a few yards from the river.
Buddy, Smith and Bill continued to provide the labor that provided the means for the family to survive during the depression of the thirties and early forties. They continued to fish, hunt and mussel.
Times were very hard on the family during the depression. Even though the boys worked hard; almost no one had money to buy the mussels or fish they harvested. The government started a program named the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCCs). The program provided work for young men, using them to build rural roads, plant forests, and other conservation projects. The young men were in housed in camps and clothed and fed for their work. In addition, their family was sent $22 each month. That meager sum meant the difference between going hungry and having the very basic necessities of life for the family. There was no electricity in the rural area where the family lived; so naturally there were no movies, and this was before television. Even having a battery operated radio was luxury. Buddy had never been more than a few miles away from home; so he was ill-prepared to go to a place he had never heard of. Risden Moore remembers Buddy passing by him as he was leaving with tears streaming down his face. Smith Moore also joined the CCCs. He served his time in Oregon.
Buddy was later drafted into the army during World War Two. He was a cook and baker. While in the army he participated in the Golden Glove boxing program. He won a few bouts; but he was discharged from the army before he progressed very far. When he was discharged Buddy worked for a time at a bakery in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In civilian life Buddy loved to cook at home; and he was a very good at it. Buddy always became an expert in any job he undertook. He took a lot of pride in his work.
Buddy was a charmer. He had a gift when it came to conversing. Physically he was only about five feet and seven inches tall; but he was well proportioned. What he lacked in stature; he made up for in brashness. Buddy liked to brag on himself. It was just his nature. He fully believed everything he said was true. And one thing for sure was that he was more than willing to back up anything he said. He had a very quick temper. He was also a perfectionist. This made things somewhat difficult for those around him at times. If a shirt he was going to wear was not ironed just right, he would go into a rage and throw the shirt on the floor. Sometimes he would even stomp on it. He always dressed well. Even when he worked, at the end of the day his clothes would appear as if he had just put them on. Buddy had a way with the ladies. At just the mention of his name one of his early girlfriends, in her nineties at the time, would still get that dreamy look in her. He had a big heart and was always willing to share.
Although Tressie Moore gave all her children her unconditional love, she always had a special place in her heart for Buddy. It may have been because he was her first son; or because he just seemed to need her more.
He especially loved his children. Although he died young and was not around for them as they aged, he was a good father. There is no doubt that, had he lived, he would take great pride in his children and grandchildren.