Benjamin Moody
Benjamin Moody

By Spessard Stone

Benjamin Moody, a pioneer settler of Riverview and Homeland, Florida, was a veteran of the Seminole Indian wars, Confederate soldier, farmer-stockman, and civic and Methodist lay leader.

Samuel S. Moody, father of Benjamin, was born 1784 in North Carolina. By 1802, Samuel moved to Georgia, residing in Liberty County until at least July 1806. By April 1810, he had relocated to Telfair County, Georgia and later near St. Marys in Camden County. Samuel and his brothers, Jeremiah, Shadrach, and Benjamin T., served in the Patriot War, a covert military operation of President James Madison and Secretary of State James Monroe, that sought unsuccessfully to annex Spanish East Florida. Samuel served as a private in Capt. Samuel Neeley's Co. of Georgia Volunteers commanded by Lieut. W. Bailey (War of 1812) from August 1 to December 31, 1812; also he enrolled in the same company on February 12, 1813 "till removal of troops out of Prov. East Fla." In the latter, he was on March 31, 1813 stationed at Camp New Hope, St. Johns. In a petition to Congress for admission into the Union the citizens of the District of Elotchaway in the Republic of East Florida, at Fort Mitchell, January 25, 1814, signers included Benjamin T. Moody, Jeremiah Moody, and Shadrach Moody.

Samuel died in 1815 in Camden County. In Telfair County on June 14, 1810, he had married Sarah Ann Lee, born 1792 in South Carolina, daughter of Levi Lee, R.S. Sarah never remarried and died in 1853 in Hamilton County, Florida.

Benjamin Francis Moody was born April 15, 1811, Telfair County, Georgia. In November 1830, Benjamin and his mother, Sarah, moved with John Lee, brother of Sarah, to Hamilton County, Florida. In 1831, Benjamin acquired a place, believed to have been just across the Suwannee River in Hamilton County and there moved with his mother and two cousins.

On February 7, 1833 in Hamilton County, Benjamin married Nancy Hooker, born May 23, 1811, daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth (Brinton) Hooker. William B. Hooker, J. P. and brother of Nancy, officiated. In 1834 Benjamin, wife and son moved to Columbia County, Fla. His mother and cousins returned to the home of John Lee.

After the Second Seminole War (1835-42) began, Benjamin sent his family back to Hamilton County while he served in the volunteer militias. From June 15, 1836 to April 1841, he was variously enrolled in the companies of Capts. Law, Ross, Alex Martin, Cason (sgt.), Wm. B. Hooker, Burney, Stewart and Arthur Roberts (lt.). Benjamin Moody and family were enumerated in the 1840 census of Columbia County. Neighbors included: Job Manning, John Parker, Levi Pierce, Wm. Whitten, and Ezekiel Parrish.

Under provisions of the Armed Occupation Act of August 4, 1842, Benjamin Moody on February 17, 1843 applied at the Newnansville, E. F. office for 160 acres. "I aver that I am the head of a family, over eighteen years of age, and able to bear arms - and that I became a citizen[?] of Florida in the month November, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty," he stated. He described the intended settlement as follows: "Lying South west of the fork of the Alafia River, commencing at a blazed pine about __[?[ yards from the edge of a prairie thence running due East 160 Rods - thence due North 160 Rods, thence due West 160 rods, thence due South 160 Rods to the place of beginning embracing one quarter section of Land all Pine - said land lies about 15 miles from Ft. Brooke in an easterly direction. The blazed pine tree the point of beginning is marked legibly with BM." He moved his family to the site, near the mouth of the Alafia River, in Hillsborough County.

Nancy Hooker Moody died September 26, 1845.

Benjamin was a civic leader. He was elected October 31, 1845 and qualified on January 5, 1846 as a county commissioner of Hillsborough County for a two-year term; appointed the same January 1, 1866 until October 1867. He was selected for a two-year term as a justice of the peace July 14, 1846 until his successor qualified and qualified September 7, 1846 and again November 3, 1847 until his successor qualified.

Benjamin had converted to the Christian faith and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in March 1833. After moving to the Alafia, he and George Simmons on the south side of the Alafia River erected a small log cabin Methodist church, the forerunner of the Riverview Methodist Church.

Benjamin Moody married (2) Mrs. Mary E. Knight on March 21, 1849. Mary died on May 17, 1850. They had no issue.

When the murder of several settlers by renegade Indians led to fear of another war in July 1849, Benjamin and family moved to a fort near Simmons Hammock (Seffner). He served as a private in Capt. John Parker's Company, organized July 23, 1849. At this time he was 5'11", with grey eyes, light hair and by occupation a farmer and stock raiser. He later drove cattle and butchered beef at Fort Myers for the U. S. troops.

Thereafter, he returned to the old homestead near the Alafia River. Benjamin Moody and six children were listed in household 72/72 in the 1850 Hillsborough County census. On June 3, 1851, Benjamin, "aged 40 years a resident of Hillsborough County," applied for bounty land from his "service in the war with the Indians of Florida which commenced in the year 1835..."

On November 5, 1854 in Hillsborough County, Benjamin married (3) Lydia (Carlton) Hendry, born April 4, 1812, Sampson County, North Carolina, daughter of John Carlton and Nancy Ann (Alderman) Carlton and the widow of James Edward Hendry. With the outbreak of the Third Seminole War the family sought refuge at Fort Meade, and there a son, Benjamin F., was born to the couple.

On February 18, 1856 at Fort Meade, Benjamin enlisted as a private in Capt. William B. Hooker's Indpt. Co., Fla. Mtd. Vols. (2d Service-6 Mos., 1856). On March 1, 1856, he was promoted to corporal. Also serving in the company were his sons, James O. A. and William B., as well as, Lydia's sons, Francis A. Hendry, Albert J. Hendry, George W. Hendry, and sons-in-law, Simpson Singletary and James T. Wilson. Benjamin was mustered out at Fort Meade on August 20, 1856.

After the war, the family returned to Alafia. The 1860 census of Hillsborough County, post office Tampa, recorded Benjamin and Lydia in household 34/26 in the area, known later as Peru and then Riverview. Unmarried children enumerated with the family were: William Hendry; Mary and Louisa Moody; Mary Jane, Lydia and Cornelia Hendry; and Benjamin Moody. Neighbors included the families of: Gideon and Amanda Hague, with whom James Moody lived; Martha Jackson, Benjamin's daughter; and William B. Moody. Benjamin was guardian of the Hendry children of Lydia and James E.; also, on March 13, 1860 Martha had petitioned that Benjamin be appointed guardian of her children: Fanny E., James B., William J. and Joseph C. Pearce.

Benjamin was a stockman and farmer. For a time he either lived in or pastured cattle in Manatee County for on July 23, 1861, he registered the mark and brand: Pail handle in one ear, crop and under bit in the other. At the same time his son, James, registered: Pail handle in one ear, crop and upper bit in the other.

During the Civil War, Benjamin and his sons, William B. and James O. A., served in Capt. John T. Lesley's Company, which was organized in 1863. Lesley's Company gathered and drove beef cattle north to supply the Confederate Army and also acted as a home guard unit.

In 1869 Benjamin and Lydia moved to Homeland in Polk County. In 1883 they sold their home place and moved in with their son, Benjamin F. They later lived with Martha and Simpson Singletary, but after the latter's death in 1891, the Moodys moved in with Lydia (Hendry) and Benjamin F. Blount. In September 1896, Benjamin was a registered voter at precinct 16, Homeland.

On December 24, 1894, Benjamin filed articles for a pension from his service in the Indian Wars and was granted a pension of $8.00 per month, certificate issued August 14, 1895. He gave his address as Ft. Meade, Polk County, Florida.

Benjamin Moody died October 13, 1896. Burial was in Homeland Cemetery. He was eulogized as a man of superior judgment, with deep and abiding convictions, whose courage always was equal to his convictions.

Lydia Moody on December 24, 1896 applied for a pension as the widow of Benjamin Moody from his service of the United States in the war with the Florida Indians. Jos. H. Humphreys, 39 of Tampa, and B. F. Blount, 51 of Bartow, swore that they had known Lydia Moody, respectively, 21 and 31 years. On January 1, 1897 (application in error has 1896), Mrs. Laura Swearingen and Julia Wilson, both of Bartow, attested to Lydia's application. Martha Hendry of Taylor County, Florida on August 26, 1897 gave an affidavit concerning the death of James Hendry, Lydia's first husband, "...he died at Affiant's home in Thomas County, Georgia in the year 1851 or 1852, and that she was present when he died, and at the time of his death, his wife Lydia, was then said to be in South Florida some three hundred miles away..." Lydia gave her postoffice address as Bartow. She was granted a pension of $8 per month, with the certificate issued May 25, 1898, commencing October 14, 1896.

Lydia died May 24, 1898. Lydia, also a member of the Methodist Church, was noted for her piety. She is buried in the Homeland Cemetery.

Issue of Benjamin and (1) Nancy (Hooker) Moody:

1. Stephen T. Moody, born Jan. 25, 1834; died Dec. 28, 1835.

2. Martha E. Moody, born May 11, 1835; died 1878; married (1) July 18, 1852 Joseph M. Pearce (died Oct 29, 1857); (2) Oct. 12, 1859 Evander E. Jackson (died 1864 in CSA at Resaca, Ga.) (3) June 29, 1865 Antonne Wordehoff.

3. William Benjamin Moody, born Nov. 3, 1836; died Feb. 15, 1879; married on Oct. 7, 1858 Rachel Alderman, daughter of James and Roxy Ann (Holloway) Alderman.

4. James Osgood Andrew Moody, born Oct. 7, 1838; died Jan. 22, 1918; married on Feb. 6, 1862 Priscilla Hendry, daughter of John and Clarissa (Maulden) Hendry.

5. Sarah Jane Moody, born March 24, 1840; died April 8, 1891; married on Oct. 5, 1854 Albert James Hendry, son of James Edward and Lydia (Carlton) Hendry.

6. Mary Ann Moody, born April 22, 1842; died c1861; married on Sept. 25, 1860 William Alderman, son of James & Roxie Ann (Holloway) Alderman.

7. Louisa M. Moody, born Jan. 13, 1844; died May 31, 1934; married John W. Waters.

Issue of Benjamin and Lydia (Carlton) Moody:

8. Benjamin Franklin Moody, born July 8, 1856; died April 17, 1939; married (1) Nancy Eugenia Wilson Aug. 29, 1876; (2) Harriet E. Waters Dec. 22, 1895.

References not cited: Richard Livingston, "Benjamin Moody 1811-1896," South Florida Pioneers 8 (April 1976); John B. Moody.

This profile is adapted from the author's Lineage of John Carlton.

February 13, 2001 & links = October 17, 2001& midi = "Old Oaken Bucket" (1818), arranged by Lesley Nelson Burns.

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