AMERICA THE GREAT MELTING POT
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|Abbie Joy Moore|
|Born: 25 Aug 1857 Rochester, Monroe Co., NY
|Died: 30 Oct 1876 Rochester, Monroe Co., NY of diphtheria|
|Buried: 22 Oct 876 Mt Hope Cemetery, Rochester, NY Section G
"Abbie Joy Moore, age 19, 1, 25, Diphtheria, S. Fitzhugh St."
Section G Lot 40
Edward Mott Moore
Lucy Richards Prescott
A portrait of Mary Pettes Moore and Abigail Moore hung in the Campbell-Whittlesey House Museum administered by the Landmark Society of Western NY, in Rochester, until 1992 at which time it was auctioned off by the Cottone Auction House. So far we have been unable to track the location of this painting.
The letters of four of the children of Edward Mott Moore and Lucy Prescott
Moore have been preserved at the University of Rochester in the Rare Books
Division. These letters were written between 1865 and 1869 under the supervision
of their teacher, cousin Lottie. Their school was within their home and they saw
their parents most every night, but part of their schooling was to sit down once
a week and write to their mother. From reading these letters we can determine a
lot about their family life. Their parents were loving. Dr. Edward Mott Moore
had been brought up as a Quaker. Lucy belonged to St. Luke’s Episcopalian
Church. They believed that rewarding their children for good behavior was
preferable to punishment.
There were eight children in the family. When these letters were being written, Charlotte, the youngest, had died at the age of 2, of diphtheria, just two years before. Mary and Edward, the two eldest may not have been assigned letter writing exercises due to their age. The letters of Samuel P Moore were probably kept by the family when his heirs donated the children’s letters. Thus the letters that are on file are from Murray (Lindley Murray Moore), aged 13 when the letters began, Dickie, (Richard Mott Moore) aged 10, Abbie, (Abbie Joy Moore) aged 8 and Freddie, (Frederick Pettes Moore) aged 6.
Each evening their mother rewarded them with the appropriate number of kisses as determined by their behavior for the day. Abbie, being the only girl, strived to be perfect and mostly got her 10 kisses every night. However, the boys were a little more mischievous. Murray seems to have gotten into the most trouble. On March 23, 1866 at the age of 9, Abbie wrote, “I was a very good little girl today. I recited all my lessons perfectly. - Murray had to be tied to his chair yesterday morning and part of this morning until you told him. Papa came to the door but did not come in; he asked Murray why he was tied to the chair; Murray said he had to be tied but did not tell him why. Good bye from your loving daughter Abbie.” We never do find out what Murray, who had just had his 14th birthday on March 19, had done. But his parents imparted some kind of discipline. On Apr 18, 1866 Murray wrote how he has done all his lessons and that he was planting radish seeds in his half of the garden. “I am going to plant strawberries in under my grape vines and when they grow up I shall have quite a dish full of which I expect Papa and yourself and nobody else.” He signs it, “From your loving, angelic and wild son, L. M. Moore.” Then two days later he wrote that he was “going to get my nine kisses tonight and make you happy.” Three days after that letter he writes again, “My dear Mama, I am very tired and very lazy. I have recited all but one lesson and I hope that will be all right. All my other lesson have been said well, and I have been good boy too. I am going to have three kisses at all hazard. If you are going out shopping this afternoon I hope to be your postillion. — Are you going to Mount Hope this afternoon? I want to go with you. Your affectionate Son, L. M. Moore.” By Nov 23, 1866 Murray was back to getting nine kisses. “Dear Mother, Edward is going to fix my sleigh this morning so that I may have it after school to slide down hill. Yesterday Abbie let me take her sleigh and I went on the hill and had a fine time. I called my sleigh Captain Gowan and it beat every sleigh on the hill. One boy called his sleigh Dexter; another called his Flora Temple. But Captain Gowan beat all. I have been a good boy so far and hope to be so all Day and get my nine kisses as I did last night. I have recited my spelling lesson perfectly and have my Latin lesson already. Good bye dear Mama From Your affectionate Son, L. M. Moore.”
Abbie was the most prolific of the letter writers and it is she that gives us the most insight to the family life. On Feb 28, 1869 Abbie wrote, “Darling Mama, I am very what I should call Mama - sick but when ever a sense of lonliness comes over me, I always comfort myself with the hope that if God is willing you will return safely home, fat and a great deal better. We have had good lessons since you have been away, though to be sure you have not been away very long, but it seems ages to me. But though we do miss you very much, we manage to get along very well. Pettie (the oldest sister, Mary Pettes Moore) is a capital house keeper, and if you wanted to stay a little longer than you calculated to stay, you could do so without feeling any anxiety about the family. The other night at the dinner table Murray was useing some of his favorite phrases, and Papa said he would imitate him, to see how he would like it so he began by saying, ‘That is a hunky dory way of sitting isn’t it, Mur,’ as Murray tilted himself on two legs and he said it so drolly that Murray who had just then a mouthful of milk, squirted it from one side of the table to the other. Then Papa said to Ellen, (probably a hired girl) who had just come into the room, ‘Here Ellen, bring a cloth to wipe up some milk that this slob has slobed all over the table.’ —Good bye From your loving daughter Abbie Joy Moore. P.S. I pray every night for you to come home safe so that I may hug you and kiss you and more and I hope my prayer will be answers.”
Abbie seems to have been a precocious and delightful perfectionist. She loved her brothers and wanted them to be perfect too. On March 14, 1867 she wrote, “We are all going to Mrs. Nevitt’s to thank her for the books she gave to us. Dickie said that he was going to make himself sick so that he could not go.” But on another occasion, in April of 1866, she wrote, "I have been good and obedient to Cousin Lottie through the week but I spoke impatiently to my brothers this morning." And on occasion she writes of playing with her brothers. And on Nov 30, 1866 Dickie writes his mother that he is making a play house out of the old soap box for a Christmas present for Abby.
Abbie liked to have fairs. On April 30, 1867 she wrote that she and
Jenny were going to have a candy table and “the boys the trinket tables.” On May
7, 1867 she wrote more about the fair, “Jenny Chappell and myself had a Fair; we
wore the badge of the company which was a pink ribbon bow. We had cornucopias of
candy and popcorn, nuts, sugar kisses and frosted cakes. We also had a
side-show; we had stuffed birds and a white tiger which was nothing but an
innocent little kitten.” The boys may not have been part of the fair after all.
In other letters Abbie wrote about playing shuttlecock, learning to skate,
rolling her hoops and playing croquet with her brothers. On May 28, 1867 she
wrote, “Darling Mama, We were playing Croquet when Cousin Lottie called us into
school; we asked her if we could not stay out till we should get through the
game. Murray and Freddie and I were playing; my ball was near the tree and
Murray was right on a line with mine; I knocked my ball and it hit Murrays on
the top and bounded off. He was not looking and when I said I had hit him fairly
he said he would not give it and just as I was going to croquet his ball he took
it up and said I was a cheater. I put my mallet against the wooden fence and
went into the house and made myself ready for school and here I am in school
writing this letter to you. Now good bye From your loving daughter Abbie.” Being
the only girl with all those boys could be frustrating.
The boys liked their rats and roosters and skunks. Freddy being the youngest knew he could not have a knife but in one of his letters he wrote, “Dear Mama, Dickie wanted to know if he could have a box in that tree you have seen us go up and will you give Dick a knife of this kind; that you gave to Murray. The reason why Dick wanted a box in the tree was that he wanted to have a hospital. We had some magnificent jonny cake. Good bye, from Freddie.” Abbie wrote at about the same time, “My Darling Mama, Dickie has made a hospital for bugs; he is going to make a burying ground for all the beetles, but is going to burn all the dead cockroaches and wasps. Good bye from your loving daughter Abbie” Dickie was very much into his bugs and rats, which makes it worth noting that he did study science and become a very respected doctor just like his father. On March 22, 1867 Dickie, then 11, wrote, “Dear Mama, I have been a good boy today. I thought that the snow would melt enough so that I might move the dog house and fix it up for Prin but it has not. It snowed yesterday quite hard. We were going to make a swing up in the tree of heaven but you said we could not have it. I am making a sort of tunnel in the ice house so as to get Abbie’s ball. I dug quite a way in the shingles. Today we read out of ‘Haste and Waste.’ Pettie was sick today. I made a spear and did not spear a rat. Good by From your rat hunting son, Ratskiner.”
They were typical children, playing together and teasing each other. Freddy wrote his mother, “Dear Mama, I was a good boy today. I will tell you what Dickie did when he was in your house. Abbie was going upstairs when Dickie gave a yell and Abbie went upstairs faster than she wanted to. Good bye from Freddie Moore.” On March 8, 1867 Dickie wrote, "Last summer I began a cave and made a big hole; in the winter it was covered with snow & the snow did not go in the hole but covered the top. I drove some pigs over it and one fell into it and I go the whip and whipped him out of the yard. I played Sam a good trick. He was running after me and I ran towards the hole and he after me and I jumped over the hole and he went plum on his face. Goodbye From you son Dickie Moore."
Freddy was the youngest, only 6 when these letters started being written. On Feb 15, 1867, on his 8th birthday, he wrote, “Dear Mama, I was studying and heard you call Murray and after I had come into the again I asked him what you wanted him for and he didn’t say a thing. From Freddie.” Cousin Lottie must have had a hard time getting him to write his weekly letter on this day. On the bottom of this letter someone wrote, “Freddie’s letter written on his 8th Birthday. To be shown to is wife. He says, ‘if that is what’s to be done with it, I won’t have a wife.’ “ He must have been a sweet little boy. Dickie, in one of is letters, says he is fixing Freddie’s ink bottle. Murray writes that Frank Gay got five valentines and gave one to Freddie. Dickie wrote about how he and Freddie made a house out of matting. On May 14, 1869 Freddie wrote, “Dear Mama, Just before I came into the house Dickie, Abbie and I were playing engine and we had Mottie’s sleigh for a horse-cart and the wheelbarrow for the engine and when Dickie gave four calls we had to run around the ring a few times then we had to go the lane; When Dickie gave three calls we had to go to the grapevine; When he gave two calls we had to go to the kitchen steps. Good bye from Freddie”
It seems they all had a pretty happy childhood.
By Susan Brooke Aug 2012