Ann Moore, or as the family affectionately called her, Nancy or Nancy Ann Moore, is one of those ancestors we only know due to the men in her life. Were it not for the men, her father and husband, we wouldn’t know her name or who she was at all.
Nancy was born in Halifax County, Virginia in 1785 or 1786. She was listed in the 1850 and 1860 census of Claiborne County, TN as age 65 and 74, respectively, once by the name of Nancy, and once by the name of Ann. We also know from these records that she was older than her husband, probably by about 2 years, but maybe a little more.
Nancy was a Methodist minister’s daughter, born to the Reverend William Moore and his wife, Lucy, whose last name is unknown. The Moore family had settled in Halifax County in about 1770 and by the time Nancy Ann was born, was well established, as was the Moore Meeting house that stood in what is today the crossroads of Mountain Road and Oak Level Road at Oak Level.
The Moore land and house stood mostly on the south (right) side of the road and the Meeting House on the north (left, above), to the right of where this house stands today, in that clump of trees in the photo below.
Beside the meeting house was a spring where the church attendees went to refresh themselves. This is today located directly across the road from the Mt. Vernon Church which was built to replace the original Moore Meeting House.
Every Sunday and probably some evenings too, Nancy would have attended services in the Moore Meeting House from as early as she could remember. I’m guessing that her last Sunday in Halifax County, around 1820, was also spent in this church, hearing her father preach for the last time….hearing her father’s voice for the last time.
This also tells us, by inference, that John R. Estes, the man whom she would marry, was a Methodist too, and attended her church.
How do we know that, even though his family lived miles away in South Boston? Because there was only one Methodist Church in Halifax County at that time, and all Methodist “dissenters,” meaning those not attending the Anglican church, would have attended this church. And the Good Reverend would never, ever have consented for his daughter to have married someone not Methodist and not a member in good standing. John’s mother’s family, the Youngers, were also Methodist, as was his grandmother’s family, the Combs, which means that John’s parents were very likely Methodist too – forming a network of people covering at least two, if not three, generations who had intermarried.
You can’t marry someone you don’t see. John R. Estes and Ann Moore saw each other through church and extended family.
William Moore signed for daughter Ann Moore to marry John R. Estes on November 25, 1811. We don’t know, because there is no minister’s return still in existence, but it’s most likely that he performed the nuptials, himself, in the Moore Meeting house.
By virtue of an affidavit some years later, given by John R. Estes, we also know that the family, meaning the extended family, was together that Christmas Day as well. Howe do we know that? Well, Lemuel Moore was there, believed to be Anne’s brother, John R. Estes was there and John’s grandmother’s Combs family line was there too. These people were very likely all Methodist and the Reverend William Moore likely preached on Christmas Day. Afterwards, they probably all ate together. It would only be later that what was discussed and who said what to whom would become part and parcel of a civil suit.
We know that Ann was having children in 1812 when their first child, William, named after her father, was born. On April 7, 1813, their first daughter, Lucy, named for Ann’s mother, joined the family. If you’re counting, either Nancy was pregnant when they married or William or Lucy’s birth information is incorrect. Certainly either is possible.
Based on the tax records, I believe that the young couple had set up housekeeping by John R. Estes’s family in South Boston.
This photo is taken from the Oak Ridge Cemetery in South Boston, standing in one of the multiple (later) Estes plots but looking across the road at part of the land that was the original Estes land in South Boston, owned by Moses Estes Jr. Moses’s son, including George, lived there and eventually, the grandchildren inherited that land. This is the area where Nancy Ann Estes would have lived as a young bride, minus the paved road, utility poles and car of course.
John R. Estes was drafted for the War of 1812 and enlisted on September 1, 1814. He was discharged just three months later, in Maryland. We don’t know if he had a horse or was on foot during his service time. One way or another, he made it back home unscathed.
We do know that Ann and John’s next son, Jechonias, was born about this time or maybe after John returned. According to the census, Jechonias was born probably in 1814 or 1815. I have never been able to figure out where that name came from, Jechonias, but I’m just sure there is a clue in there someplace about ancestry. I did quite a bit of research in Halifax County surrounding the first Jechonias, which was found specifically in a couple of families, but was never able to discover any connection.
In about 1817, their daughter, Temperance was born. Again, we don’t know who she might have been named for.
John Y. Estes was born on December 29, 1818, in Halifax County, or at least in Virginia. Nancy, the next child would be born about 1820 and later census records indicate she was born in Virginia. I don’t think that the family was living in Halifax County in 1820 because they are not enumerated on the census. They could, literally, have been in transit.
About this time, Nancy Ann and John R. Estes packed their worldly belongings into a wagon and with at least 4 young children and headed west, leaving all four of their aging parents behind. I can only imagine how difficult that parting must have been, all parties concerned knowing they would be seeing each other for the last time.
Ann’s uncles, Rice and Mackness Moore were already living in Grainger County, Tenenssee, where The Reverend Rice Moore had established the Methodist County Line church, literally on the county line between Grainger and Hawkins County. This area was just below Claiborne County, across the Clinch River.
We don’t know exactly where Ann and John settled at first, but we do know for sure that their daughter Lucy, married Coleman Rush in Grainger County in 1833 and they lived there for at least a few years. The County Line Church is gone today, but stood in the above location.
However, in 1830, John Estes and Nancy were living in Claiborne County and had 8 children according to the census. They were living among the neighbors who would shape their lives and that of their children in the decades to come. Their neighbors within 5 houses in either direction included the Cooks (John R’s second wife), the Campbell’s (John Y’s wife), the McVeys (William’s wife), the Brays (Jechonias’s wife). Next door lived William Cunningham, a man who would sign for John R. Estes’s character in 1871, 40+ years later.
Sometimes, my ancestors reveal themselves to me in very unique ways, but when researching Ann Moore, something happened that has never, ever happened before. I’m just going to share this image with you of the 1830 Claiborne County, TN census from ancestry.com. I am not cropping any of the screen shot so that you can see for yourself that this is an actual screen shot. For the record, I did not photoshop this or do anything else to it. This is exactly how it appeared on my screen, much to my surprise.
Those of you who look at census records regularly know, positively, there are no photos, blurry or otherwise, associated with census records. And suffice it to say, I’ve looked at this same record several times, and this image was never there before. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like this before.
In this cropped version, John Campbell, my ancestor is at the top of the photo and John Estes, Ann Moore’s husband is at the bottom of the photo. I’m just not going to say anything at all.
After moving to Tennessee, Ann and John had a daughter between 1820 and 1825, but she had died by the 1840 census or married very early and was never noted by P.G. Fulkerson as being one of John R. Estes and Ann Moore’s children. I suspect she died, because she wasn’t recorded by any other family members either. I also suspect that a second child died in this same timeframe, because George wasn’t born until 1827 and then Mary after the 1830 census, both named after John R’s parents – so there is a gap likely to represent a deceased child.
Ann’s father, William Moore, died in 1826 back in Halifax County, Virginia, but Ann may not have known that until a circuit riding minister came through the area. Ann’s mother struggled in Halifax County and died between 1830 and 1840. Ann’s father lost the farm to debt before he died, not long after John and Ann left Halifax County.
We don’t know much about Ann’s day to day life in Claiborne County. John had property surveyed in 1826, but sold it immediately. By 1850, John was a shoemaker and their only child left at home was Mary, age 19.
By 1860, John is noted as a miller, but since they owned no land, he was obviously being a miller on someone else’s land. A few houses away, Isaac Cole is noted as a millwright, a man who would have built mills and understood the gearworks. Perhaps these men worked together in some fashion.
The 1850 census indicates that Nancy cannot read or write, but that her husband and her daughter both can. The 1860 census does not have a checkmark indicating that Nancy Ann can’t read and write, so we’ll never know for sure. Since there are no documents that Nancy actually signed, we don’t know if she signed with a signature or with an X.
Nancy Ann and John spent their life in Claiborne County in or near Estes Holler on Little Sycamore Creek. Their first child married when their youngest was just a year or so old, so Ann and John had children in their household for almost exactly 40 years.
By the 1860 census, they had a teenaged grand-daughter living with them. It’s hard to say whether this arrangement was to help them or for them to help with a troublesome grandchild.
We know that Ann was still alive in 1860, listed as age 74, and was gone by the 1870 census by which time she would have been in her mid-80s. Ironically, in 1871, John R. Estes completes an application for War of 1812 benefits and in it he lists his marriage to Ann Estes. It’s appears that he was simply recording that marriage, not indicating he was at that time still married to Ann at that time.
Life in Claiborne County during the Civil War was miserable. Not only were battles constantly waged for the coveted position of the Cumberland Gap which changed hands several times, but the soldiers from both sides were constantly foraging for food for both themselves and their animals. Many of the local men were away, enlisted to fight either for the Union or the Confederacy, so taking food from women, children and the elderly was easy pickings – at least comparatively speaking.
If Nancy Ann had not already died before the Civil War began, she would have remained at home, worrying, while her son John Y. Estes fought for the Confederacy, was wounded, captured, held as a POW and in 1865 was finally released and walked home from north of the Ohio River, on a bum leg. John R. and Nancy Ann probably tried to help feed his wife, Ruthy, and the children while he was gone.
Nancy Ann also agonized, I’m sure, over her daughter’s, Lucy and Tempy, whose husband’s were fighting for the north. She must have been especially worried about her son William’s wife, now a widow in Kentucky, but with 4 sons and sons-in-law fighting for the Union. And then there was always a question of whether Ann’s son, George, was really dead after he disappeared on his way back to Iowa from California with his gold rush proceeds, or if he was alive someplace.
Or maybe Ann was blessed and died before the Civil War and didn’t have to suffer through any of that.
We don’t know where Nancy Ann was buried, but given that in 1871, John was living 4 miles east of Tazewell, it’s very likely that she was buried on the land that was owned by her son, Jechonias Estes. Today, that land includes the “upper Estes cemetery,” shown below with 5 Estes cousins in 2004 or 2005. Actually, there were 6 cousins, but I was taking the picture.
This cemetery is also called the Estes Nunn Cemetery today and has more unmarked graves than marked graves.
One of the ways we could tell more about Nancy Ann Moore is through her mitochondrial DNA that she inherited from her mother. Woman pass this DNA to both genders of their children, but only females pass it on. So, in order to find a male or female today who carries Nancy’s mitochondrial DNA, it’s necessary to find someone who descends from her through all females to the current generation. In the current generation, males are fine.
Nancy Ann’s daughters with their known daughters were as follows:
Lucy and Coleman Rush
- Nancy Jane Rush born May 24, 1834
- Margaret Amanda Rush born January 27, 1836
Nancy and Nathaniel Hooper
- Mary Hooper born 1853
- Malinda Hooper born 1855
Temperance and Adam Clouse
- Ann J. Clouse born 1841
- Mary M. Clouse born 1842
- Jemima Clouse born 1844/1845
- Sarah J. Clouse born about 1849
- Louisiana Clouse born about 1856
- Elizabeth Clouse born about 1858
Mary and William Hurst
- Missouri Hurst born 1854
- Marion or Mahlon Hurst born 1857
- Malissa A. Hurst born 1860
Unfortunately, there are two Hurst couples who carry the same first names, so I can’t necessarily tell which Mary Hurst is Mary Estes Hurst.
There could easily be additional children for these women.
If you descend from any of these women, through all females, please let me know. I have a DNA testing scholarship waiting for you!!!!
Heck, if you are related to this family at all, let me hear from you.
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