Letter to Susie Vanhoose from Eppa Thornton Moore

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Contributed by Mary Love Berryman (marylove@tyler.net) – 16 June 2003


Williamson County Texas August 13th, 1861

Miss Susie Vanhoose

My dear niece,

Yours of the 17th came to hand yesterday evening. I was proud to know that your thoughts still wandered over this way occasionally and to feel that assurance that I am still beloved by you though many a long and dreary mile streaches out between us. Sue, when I receive a letter from any of you, it is pleasure and grief mingled together and when I sit down to write my heart is full to overflowing and even now I cannot force back the tears when I think of friends, relatives and all departed never to meet again, for you must know that I can never return, and the prospect of any of you coming here is quite gloomy. But enough of this. You wish to know all the news. There is nothing here to talk of but war and I suppose you hear plenty of that. Times are growing hard all the time. Goods, groceries and everything is very high since the Maniac Lincoln placed his Man of war in our parts Coffee is only 3 lbs to the dollar. I wish we had a Navy that we could just blow them there to the four winds. The South should have this forthwith. The fine thing – Old Abe knows he will have three wars on his hands instead of one; is it not fortunate that the South is upon friendly terms with all other nations, at present; England and France will join us if the difficulty is not settled soon. Our Gov. in his proclamation ordered all men having Northern sentiments to leave. They are hanging men about here for horse and cow stealing. The regulators hung one man in ten miles of us. He hung there until he dried. His legs and arms dropped off or the dogs pulled them off. But his body and head was still hanging. This looks bad but then he was guilty. His wife went to (S)elton and tried to get men to go and bring him and get his knife (nif) and six shooter that was belted around him but no one would go. She came to our town and wanted our citizens to go and take him down but no one went. She rode up and looked at him and left.

I heard from San Saba a few weeks ago. All were well there. Your Cousin Mat is teaching her brothers and sisters and a few other children. She studied five months at Waco Institute last year. I suppose she has no thought of marrying soon. I have not seen Hatty Cook since she first came out here. She has two little girls. Jim’s wife has a girl and boy. Nan has two boys, one girl. David and Henry Hubert are single. Jack is married. Wiley has never tried to marry that I know of. Sister Betty Thite has his children. Uncle Richard Murray comes down occasionally to see us. Mr. Henderson has got bob (Bob) again. He intends to carry him below and sell him but the price of Negros is down and he gave it out.

Well Sue, this has been quite a crop year with us. We have so much wheat that we could hardly find room for it. Our corn is not gathered though it is plenty dry and all last week we were making syrup from the Chinese cane. We will have two barrels. There is several making at our mill. Some days we made 25 gallons per day.

Alice and Eugene are not going to schobl. Our teacher is off to the wars and will be in a few days. They have just returned from Waco. Several companies went there to drill and be in readiness. They will now go to the state line and there await orders from the President. From all accounts they are needed in Mo. now. McCulloth from Texas has had a big fight there.
He has about 600 Cherokee Indians with him. 600 Warriors can put 10,000 Yankies to flight an I would love to hear of them getting after old Lincoln, Scott, Seward and his gang. If they didn’t make them get up in dust I’d like to know the reason why.

Sue I wish you could see your little namesake. She is pretty and smart too. Jeff Davis is growing fast now since I took to feeding him. He can sit alone. Alice is very large of her age. She can wash dishes sweep the rooms and do a great many little things, for me.

Sue you said that you felt that you were left alone since Martha left. It does look hard to have but one sister, no brother and then be separated. I was glad to hear that you was with your Grand Pa for he must be very lonely when you are absent. And note that he is growing more old and feeble. You should study to make him as happy and comfortable as possible. Stay with him for my sake for you knol that I am so far away that I cannot even visit him. What a pleasure and what a blessing it is to him that you are still with him to attend to all his little wants and notions. You may be lonely in being deprived of the gay and pleasant company of the young. But the time will come if you live long enough that you will say within your ownself you did right in depriving yourself of somethings to gratify him. And now Sue I must tell you to say to Father that we re all well and getting along as well as could be expected in thesE times of war and trouble.

Thursday evening August 15th

Dear Sue

As I did not get to finish my letter Tuesday I will conclude this evening. James Moore brought me his suit of uniform soldiers cloths to make. I have just finished his roundabout. Miss Fannie Morris came over yesterday and made his pants. I now have to wash fix up his cloths and then he will start Saturday. Wm. Redding gave volunteers a candy stew Tuesday night. After the candy was disposed of the volunteers and young ladies formed a procession, marched up through the Prairie to the notes of the fife and drum and had quite jolly time. But the parting time is close at hand. They will all meet at Georgetown Saturday and start. I can sympathize with their weeping parents and families. Altho I am not left alone yet, I know have many near relatives in the armies and we cannot expect them all to get back safe. Lewis was anxious to go but I could not bear the thoughts of being left alone so far from home. If our own state is invaded he may have to go. I learn that Galveston has been attacked by the blockade. Our side victorious again. I believe I have written all the news and I wish you to write soon. Tell me about Aunt Sallie and all the kin folks. And now Susie before I close my letter I must insist upon you to stay close to your Grand Pa for I have thought and felt more seriously about his lonely situation of late than usual. And I have been advised of the fact that he is fast failing. It grieves me much to hear of his bad health. Tell Harriet and Mary and all of the servants to be kind and obedient to him. And may the Lord bless you all is my dayly prayer.

So Farewell, Sue

E. H. Moore (Eppa Thornton Moore)

P.S. Lew will write to Thomas and Father soon, perhaps by the next mail.


Eppa Thornton Moore, the author of the letter, was born 7 January 1833 in Fayette County, Alabama. She was the youngest daughter of David and Bathsheba
White Thornton. On 9 January 1853 she was married to Lewellen Moore, the
youngest son of Lewellen and Priscilla Thornton Moore also of Fayette County,
Alabama. In 1854 they came to Williamson County, Texas and settled near
Florence. Nine children were born to them:
Luvenia Alice, b. 18 Oct 1853, m. R. E. Tribble, 24 Dec 1871
William Eugene, b. 31 Oct 1855, m. Ida Kemp, 15 Feb 1877
John David, b. 6 Mar 1857, m. M. Bell Rutledge, 7 Dec 1882
Susanah Biddy (Sudie), b. 22 Nov 1858
Jefferson Davis, b. 27 Jan 1861, M. A. Emma Barber, 8 Mar 1882
Henry Gains, b. 24 Feb 1869, m. Mattie DeShields 1 Jul 1896
Battie Elizabeth, b. 23 Dec 187O, m. William C. Walker
Mark Thornton, b. 31 Mar 1873
Lafayette Murray, b. 5 Jan 1876, d. 8 Apr 1892
Eppa Thornton Moore died 11 February 1918 and is buried in the Florence Cemetery with her husband Lewellen Moore who died 15 October 1913.

Most of the people mentioned in the letter are relatives who came from Alabama and Mississippi. The following are identified:

Cousin Mat – Martha A. Murray – daughter of Richard and Agnes Moore Murray. She married David Parker Tunnell.

Hatty Cook – Harriet Murray, wife of G. B. Cook, daughter of Richard and Agnes Moore Murray.

Jim – James L. Murray, wife Catherine Hudson, son of Richard and Agnes Moore Murray.

Nan – Nancy Hubbert, wife of John W. Murray, daughter of Matthew and Elizabeth Stallworth Thornton Hubbert.

David and Henry Hubbert – sons of Matthew and Elizabeth Stallworth Thornton

Wiley – Wiley T. Murray, son of Richard and Agnes Moore Murray, m. 1. Sarah H. Hubbert, 2. Elizabeth Sloan.

Alice, Eugene and Jeff Davis – Children of Eppa and Lewellen Moore. James Moore, son of John Mayfield and Marinda White Paden Moore, m. Nancy Ann Tomlinson

Miss Fannie Morris – Daughter of John and Sarah Frame Morris.

Thomas – Thomas Thornton, son of David and Bathsheba White Thornton.

Father and your Grand Pa – David Thornton.

Martha – Martha Van Hoose, daughter of Nancy A. Thornton Van Hoose Murray, m. John Yerby.

The letter was written to her neice, Susannah Van Hoose, the daughter of Eppa’s sister Nancy, who lived in Fayette County, Alabama. Much to Eppa’s sorrow Lewellen (Louis/Lew) did enlist in the Confederate Army and served with Co. G, Col. R. T. P. Allen’s Regiment TVI, CSA.