T.A. Moore - Sons of Temperance

The following letter was written by Rev. Thomas J. Williams to my 2nd great grandfather, Thomas Anderson Moore.

Personal collection of P. Davidson-Peters
Envelope addressed as follows:
T.A. Moore R.S.
Care of E E Hendry, 115 Vine St.
St. Louis, Mo

Grand Division of Missouri
Office of Grand Worthy Patriarch,

Newark Mo Feb 10th 1869

T.A. Moore, R.S.

Dear Bro.
Both of your communications are before me.  Your last came to day.  I should have answered your 1st but have been from home.

You need not return the commission, but Substitute Bro Burden's name for Bro Pilcher, and hand over the commission to Bro B.

I give you the authority to erase Pilcher's name and fill up with Bro B.

I hope you will continue to work in this glorious cause till St. Louis is redeemed from the curse.  Every member of G.R. Division has a work to do in this direction.  Meet your responsibilities, Brethren, like men and never give up the ship.

I hope to be able to visit St. Louis this summer and see you all face to face.

Respectfully yours in L.P. and F.
Thos J. Williams

About the Correspondents

Born in Harrison County, Ohio in 1838, Thomas A. Moore served with the 33rd Missouri Infantry until he was shot in the right temple on the 4th of July, 1863 at the Battle of Helena, Arkansas.  Due to the severity of his injury, he was permanently discharged from the army.

It's interesting to note that on the 30th of April, 1863 Tom had written to his wife Clara (Pilcher) declaring "I am able to say you must not think I drink for I have not drank any thing stronger than cider."  And in May, he explained, "I am now with my company but dont have hardly anything to say to any of them partly on account of their ill manners and they are besides very vulgar and use profane language besides many other bad habits."

These small accounts and his general character and upbringing coupled with his service as Chaplain of the G.A.R. General Lyon Post, leave little doubt of why Tom might have been inclined to join and support the temperance movement.

Likely the Two Men Became Acquainted During the Civil War

The Worthy Patriarch, Thomas J. Williams, was born in Darby, Pennsylvania on 07 Aug 1826 and became licensed to preach in 1851.  Just before the war broke out, Rev. Williams was transferred to Missouri but “owing to the distracted condition of the country” he did not remove there until 1861.  He then entered the army and was Chaplain for the 39th Missouri.

In the spring of 1866, Rev. Williams was stationed at Simpson Chapel and Trinity Church in St. Louis, where T.A. Moore might also have met the reverend.  From 1867 to 1872, during the time in which he wrote the letter, Rev. Williams was stationed at Newark, Edina, and Chillicothe, Missouri.  The following year he went back east where he was transferred to Cambridge, Maryland for three years.  He remained in the east and continued his sermons up until a couple weeks of his death and was described as "a man of prayer, devotedly attached to the ministry, and a man who often labored beyond his strength."  He died at the house of Robert Gordon in New Castle on the 29th of March 1879 and was laid to rest at Glenwood Cemetery in Smyrna, Kent County, Delaware.

Others Mentioned

E.E. Hendry, whom I wrote about previously in a 2011 blog titled “Elihu Emory Hendry, St. Louis Carpenter, Husband of Jane,”  was born in Tennessee to Edward Hendry and Sarah (Hess) in 1829 and was married in St. Louis to Clara’s sister in 1860.

Brother Burden, referenced here, is another brother-in-law of Clara’s.  Born in Ireland to William and Julia Burden in 1838, he married Eleanor Pilcher (twin of Edward) in 1861.

Brother Pilcher, evidently referred to in one of the two letters Tom had written to Rev. Williams, could have been any of Clara’s six brothers. (Joseph Warren and Richard Montgomery, twins, b. 1832; Shadrach Anthony, b. 1836; Archibald Mossman b. 1838; Alexander S., b.1841; and Edward McCafferty, twin of Eleanor, b. 1843)

Thomas Anderson Moore died on the 16th of June, 1915 and was preceded in death by his wife Clarissa who passed away in 1890.  The Civil War correspondence between Clara and Tom and other family letters were donated by me and my mother to be included in the Thomas Anderson Moore collection at the Missouri Historical Society which was first begun by their daughter Mabel (Mrs. S.E. Jones) who cared for and cherished the items until her own death in 1963.

Among other items of interest which were in the care of T. A. Moore at the time of his death and donated by Mabel are the Augustin Kennerly Journal dated from the period in which William Clark was Superintendent of Indian Affairs, and the John Barton Civil War letters which I blogged about in “Letters Home: The Civil War Letters of John Barton” and were published in 2011.

As always, all comments and emails are welcome.

Relative Blogs by P. Davidson-Peters:


Enlistment of Thomas J. Williams, 39th Missouri

Glenwood Cemetery Headstone and Memorial of Thomas J. Williams and wife Sarah (Enos)

Minutes of the Annual Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church for the Years 1773-1881, 1880, p.21