Trips to Alabama
By Robert Moore
Updated: September 2014
Note: Click on the highlighted words for more information on the referenced locations.
Over the past few years brother Risden Moore and I have visited many Alabama sites inhabited by our kinfolk both past and present. We have visited many cemeteries looking for gravesites of our ancestors. We have had some luck; but many locations are still unknown to us. As long as we are able we intend to continue the search.
Thanks to the memory of our sister-in-law Addie Lea Hookey Moore we managed to find the cemetery in which our great grandfather Thomas Smith Moore was buried. Addie Lea took our father, James William Moore, to visit the cemetery around 1960. We had searched in vain for the cemetery for some time, then a historical society from Scottsboro, Alabama arranged for the inmates of the Jackson County, Alabama prison to clean up the cemetery. It is the Bellefonte Cemetery just outside Hollywood, Alabama. The cemetery is located almost at the foot of the Bellefonte nuclear power plant towers. There was never a headstone erected for Thomas Smith.
Brother Risden and I arranged for a headstone to be made. When it was finished, we made a trip to Bellefonte and horsed the material for the base of the stone up the rough, sharp little hill. At our age and physical condition it was quite a chore. We made a good base, then left it to cure. A week later our cousin Bob Rhodes joined us to help in actually installing the stone. When we arrived at the cemetery, it was overrun with orange jacketed prison inmates cleaning it. We were reluctant to approach the guard; but decided to make the attempt. He was very cordial, and said that we would not interfere with their work. He offered the help of the inmates in bringing the stone up the steep hill, and stated that they would be happy to help in installing it. We had wanted to do the job ourselves; but then realized that Old Thomas Smith Moore had sent those strong, young men to help us old men. Now, you just don't turn down help sent that way! Those young guys ran up the hill with the wheel barrow containing the stone, and had it installed in a matter of minutes. Thank you Grandpa!
We visit the cemetery on a regular basis. The prison inmates have been cleaning the cemetery two to three times each year. A strong storm wreaked havoc with trees in the cemetery some time back, blowing down several of them. The damage was eventually cleaned up except for the upturned roots and base of a very large tree. The remains continue to block access on the left side of the cemetery. We have seen no evidence of others doing much in the cemetery. Risden and I make sure that Thomas Smith's gravesite is clear, and we keep flowers on it all year around. So far those are the only flowers we have seen in the cemetery.
Bellefonte Cemetery, Hollywood, Alabama
Help sent by our Great Grandpa Thomas Smith Moore
Thomas Risden and Robert Moore at Thomas Smith Moore's grave
The Guntersville, Marshall County, Alabama Area
We regularly visit our ancestors in the Guntersville, Alabama area. We have visited gravesites of other Moore relatives in Athens, Alabama. We visited Limestone Memorial Gardens there where Sam and Jessie Moore are buried. We feel certain that other relatives are buried in cemeteries in Marshall, Morgan, Madison, Jackson, and Limestone counties of Alabama. For the most part the cemeteries we have visited are generally in good condition. The headstone for Leamon Moore, Uncle John Moore's son, and our Daddy's best boyhood friend, will require some work soon. Leamon did not leave any descendants; so we hope to get the work done ourselves this year.
On another note, we often drive down the old Langston Highway past the locations where our grandparents Thomas Voluntine and Mattie Hilliard Moore raised their family. We often stop for a few minutes at the Mt. Mariah Methodist Church that the family attended. Daddy and Uncle Bud Moore both showed us where they lived when Daddy shot and killed Noble Shubert. Our Aunt Bessie Moore is buried in Haney's Chapel Cemetery not far from Langston, Alabama. Noble is buried almost at her feet. A few years ago Risden was contacted by one of the descendants of Noble's family. Risden told them where Noble was buried, and they have placed a marker on his grave.
Mt. Mariah Methodist Church Langston, Alabama
Bessie Moore Haney's Chapel Langston, Alabama
Noble Shubert Haney's Chapel Langston, Alabama
Below is a picture of the wooded area next to a spring where Will Moore shot and killed Nobel Shubert. The water in the background is Guntersville Lake. The river was much farther away from the area, and the road in the back did not exist at that time.
In my search for our ancestors, I have found out some information about our Great Grandfather Thomas Smith Moore's brother Albert Dotson Moore. I knew that he had moved from Rhea County, Tennessee to Marshall County, Alabama around 1908. I found out that he and his second wife Rebecca Ann Stephens Moore were buried in the Gross Cemetery, not far from Scottsboro, Alabama. In June 2012 Risden, Cousin Bob Rhodes, and I visited the cemetery and found the gravesites. The cemetery and the headstones are in very good condition.
On that same day we visited the Oleander Methodist Church Cemetery about five miles north of Arab, Alabama. We found the gravesites of Thomas (Tom) Moore and his wife Ella Tidtel Moore there. Tom was next to the youngest son of Thomas Smith Moore. Tom moved to Alabama in the early 1890's when he was just a young boy with his father, younger brother James, and sister Sallie. Tom spent his adult life as a farmer, and raised his family in the Union Grove area of Marshall County, Alabama. The headstones are handmade and carved, and are level with the ground. The cemetery has many trees, and fallen leaves make the ground level headstones difficult to locate. The cemetery is in good condition. In the headstone pictures below, notice that Ella's name is spelled Eller. In those times names that ended in the letter "a" were often pronounced as "er". Her name was spelled on the stone like it sounded.
Ella (Eller) Tidtel Moore
Census data from the early 1900s indicates that Thomas Smith Moore's oldest son, William (Bill) Moore, moved to the Mooresville area of Limestone County, Alabama in the early 1900s. Mooresville is just west of Huntsville, Alabama. We drove over to that area and nosed around a bit. Mooresville is an old historical town. There are several preserved building from the 1800s and early 1900s. We did not have much luck finding anyone who might remember Bill or any of his descendants. We plan on returning there on a later trip.
During my extensive work concerning our family tree, I had found out some information about Uncle Albert Dotson Moore's son, Albert Gus Moore. I knew that he had migrated with Uncle Dotson to Marshall County around 1908. I also knew that he had moved to the Aspel area of Jackson County, AL by the time of the 1920 census. Aspel is about 8 miles west of Scottsboro, Alabama on US highway 72. From my research I also knew the name of Gus's children. Risden and I decided to see if we could find out anything about them. We visited the Jackson County Waterworks in the Aspel area, and were able to talk to a Mr. Hastings and Mr. Mount who had known the Gus Moore family very well. Gus and his family were well respected farmers in the area for many years. All of Gus' children had died; but there were some of his grandchildren in the area. We were provided with directions to Gus' son Harlin Moore's daughter Eloise Moore Combs' home. We found Eloise, now 84 years old, sweeping her driveway not far from the Aspel area. She was very glad to meet us, saying that she thought all the Moores were gone. We determined that she had a brother, Herschel, who lived in Huntsville, Alabama. Risden had worked with him at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville years ago. They had then felt sure they were kin, but did not know exactly how. Risden later contacted Herschel and they have established an ongoing relationship which we hope will flourish like our Hilliard relationships. We determined that Gus, his wife, and many descendants are buried in the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Scottsboro, AL. We plan to visit them soon.
June 2012 Trips
On my June 2012 visit home for our family reunion Risden and I visited in Alabama. During my research into our family I finally found out where four of Thomas Smith Moore's children went after he died. Thomas Smith died before 1910. In the 1910 U.S. Census I had located the John Benjamin Moore family in Chattanooga where he was working as a carpenter. The Thomas Voluntine Moore family was in the Langston area of Jackson County. Lately, also in the 1910 U.S. census, I had found Sarah (Sallie) Moore married to Ike Haskins in Laceys Spring in Morgan County, Alabama. While reading through each entry in the Morgan County Census, I ran across the other three living children, Thomas (Tom) Moore recently married, Steve Moore also recently married, and Dave Moore living nearby with another family. All were listed as working as farmers.
I already knew pretty much what happened to Sallie, Tom, and Dave but had not had much luck with Steve until this discovery. I was then able to determine what happened to him. He farmed in the area near Somerville, Alabama, just south of Huntsville, most of his working life. At some time during the late 1940s or early 1950s he moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. I know this is true because I remember visiting him around 1950 with Daddy, Uncle Dave and Uncle Sam. Both Steve and Dave were accomplished banjo players and flatfoot (buck) dancers. Steve's wife died there in 1952 but was buried in the Mt. Tabor Cemetery in Morgan County near Hartselle, Alabama. Steve died in 1959 and is also buried in Mt. Tabor. Risden and I visited Mt. Tabor and found the cemetery in excellent condition. Steve's son and his wife are buried next to him. Flowers had recently been placed there; so someone obviously cares.
Stevenson Henry (Steve) and Viola Walling Moore
The day after our Mt. Tabor trip, we made a quick tour of the cemeteries in Guntersville, Alabama, then drove along the Langston highway toward Scottsboro, Alabama. We stopped at the state park and enjoyed a beautiful view of the lake from a bluff area.
We had arranged a lunch-time meeting with Herschel Moore in Scottsboro, Alabama. Herschel is the great grandson of Thomas Smith Moore's brother Albert Dotson Moore. His grandfather was Albert Gus Moore. His father was Harlin Moore. I have heard my father speak often of Gus and Harlin. The Albert Dotson Moore family had moved to the area near Scottsboro, Alabama just before 1910. They were located just across the Tennessee River from Langston, Alabama; so I am sure the families visited frequently. Our meeting with Herschel was very memorable. There was no doubt of our kinship. If one looks, talks and acts like a Moore then what else is there to say. We all talked until we were hoarse. Herschel had many question about the family, and provided us with a lot of information about Albert Dotson's and Gus's lives. Herschel allowed us to copy a picture of Gus Moore. We visited the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Scottsboro where Gus and his wife, and Harlin and his wife are all buried. The cemetery is very large. Risden and I had looked in the cemetery before; but without guidance we were unable to find them. Herschel guided us and continued to relate stories and information about the family. Cedar Hill Cemetery is very beautiful and well kept. After we left Scottsboro, Herschel took us to the area where Gus Moore and his sons farmed about 8 miles west of Scottsboro. Most of the farmland was taken over by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the late 1930s. When the Guntersville dam was erected, the back waters covered the land leaving them with only about 35 acres. Gus originally farmed several hundred acres of land. He also owned some mountain land on the south side of U.S. Highway 72 near his other properly. All of the land has been sold, and none of the original land is in the hands of Gus' descendants.
The evening of the day after our meeting with Herschel both Risden and I received this email from Herschel. I treasure it greatly, and it shows the kind of man he is:
Tom and Bob, thanks for making this a great day for me. Tom, it was nice seeing you again and good to see Bob and his grandson for the first time. It is always fun for me to learn something about my family, even if some of it is bad. Our folks were good people, some of which had a hard life. Life is never easy but some of our family struggled more than their share. Moving from place to place to find work, or find a farm to rent was not easy, plus it had to be demeaning in some cases trying to find a landowner who would rent the land to a share cropper. In many instances the landowners took advantage of them, and it was not much they could do about it. They would shallow their pride and took was dished out to them. Sometimes they would work the entire year and when the crops were gathered the landowner would get all they made, and most time still be in debt. That is how the landowner kept them on the hook -- lend the money and keep them in debt.
I am very proud to be a Moore and I am very proud of both of you, not because you are successful in life, but for the men you are now. Today was a special day for me -- to be with my cousins and talk about some members of our family that lived over two hundred years ago. No one comes from a prefect family and neither did we --- but I would not trade my family with anyone.
I was glad to see the relationship and love two brothers have for each other. I never had a brother, but if I did I would want to have the same kind of relationship you two have. Continue to love and respect each, and thank God everyday that you have a brother to share your activities and dreams with. You can never imagine how lonely it can be sometimes without a brother or father to discuss or do things with. What a blessing.
Again, thanks for allowing me to be a part of your day, and part of your family history.
Guntersville Lake, Alabama
Gus and Pearl Moore
Herschel Moore, Thomas Moore, and Risden Moore at Harlin & Lucille Moore gravesite
Albert Gus Moore
April 2013 Visits
On Saturday April 20, 2013 we held a memorial meeting for our Great Grandfather Thomas Smith Moore at the Masonic Lodge in Hollywood, Alabama. Brother Risden gave a bang-up presentation. Several of our Moore clan showed up to honor Thomas Smith. It was indeed a moving experience.
After the meeting Risden and I took those who wished (and were able) on a tour to the Bellefonte Cemetery where Thomas Smith is buried to see the new headstone that was erected in March of this year.
In April 2013 Risden and I visited with our cousin Herschel Moore in Huntsville, Alabama. Herschel is a descendant of Thomas Smith Moore’s brother Albert Dotson Moore. Herschel has had some medical issues, and is struggling some. He and his wife Betty surely made up feel at home. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with them.
A few days later we had lunch with Ronnie and Bill Baker in Huntsville, Alabama. They are descendants of Aunt Sallie Moore Haskins, our Grandfather T.V. Moore's sister. We had a great time discussing the family. Ronnie later sent me some pictures of Aunt Sallies and her daughters. We have been seeking the gravesite of Aunt Sallie for some time. We finally locate her headstone, which is shared by her 2nd husband Ike Haskins, in Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama.
We have been concerned for some time about a problem with Leamon Moore's headstone in Rehobeth Cemetery in Guntersville, Alabama. It is on a fairly steep grade and erosion has caused it to slide downhill about a foot. It will likely continue to move if the problem is not corrected. This is a double stone and is very heavy. We two old men would never be able to correct the problem ourselves. The Skyline Monument Company which has been making headstones for us for some time has agreed to reset the headstone for us.
Update on Leamon Moore's headstone. In the summer of 2013 Risden had the Skyline folks repair the site for Leamon's headstone. Risden himself did additional work, and the stone now appears as if it will be fine.
The upkeep of the Bellefonte Cemetery has been somewhat hap-hazard over the past two years. The Scottsboro Historical Society has arranged for the inmates of the Jackson County jail, under the supervision of Jackson County Sheriff's officers, to clean the cemetery. It was not cleaned at all in 2013; so some fast growing bushes reached heights of 10 feet or more. Privet hedges have about taken over the low growth. However; this year the cemetery was cleaned in the Spring and has just been cleaned again this September. It looks great. I have kept a path and the area surrounding Thomas Smith Moore's grave clean; but it is so nice to see the entire cemetery looking so good.
The handrail leading up to the graveyard is made from a length of cedar sapling. It has begun to become unstable. Risden and I have plans to replace it with a more permanent handrail in the near future.