George and Emma Moore: “the strongest kind of Union folks”

George and Emma Moore lost sheep and horses to passing Union armies, including Philip Sheridan’s men moving through northern Virginia during the last five months of the war. Illustration of “Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign” Courtesy of March 1, 1865 Harper’s Weekly.

Old government paper work can hide a real gems. As an example, the following story is among thousands of “Southern Claims” documents located in Washington’s National Archives. The Southern Claims Commission, created by President Ulysses Grant in 1871, compensated Southern Unionists for property taken by Federal Armies during the Civil War.

Claims case #20.174 was filed by Loudoun County resident Emma R. Moore on behalf of her deceased husband, George William Moore. Pages from the claim show the Moores to have been Unionists at a time when that particular conviction took true courage. The conscientious Southern Claims bureaucrat, William Richards, doesn’t come off too badly himself. By filing the claim, Emma Moore wanted what was owed her: personal property confiscated or destroyed by Union troops. Claims’ agent William Richards was determined to learn the truth of her petition. Claim #20.174 shows both how rare and how dangerous it was to be a Virginian “tintured by Unionism” (quoting Claims’ witness Robert C. McArtor.)

The U.S. Congress 1871 Southern Claims law set a high bar for former Confederate citizens to reach in order to be compensated for property. We learn from historian Taylor Chamberlin’s book, Where Did They Stand?, that barely a third of claims had even a partial compensation allowed. Most claims were barred or disallowed. The claimants had to (1) prove their loyalty, (2) prove that the goods they listed as taken or destroyed were in fact their property and worth what they said they was worth and, (3) prove the property was taken by sanctioned orders of a Union military officer. It was a bureaucratic nightmare resulting in all sorts of shenanigans: dishonest attempts to rewrite personal loyalist history, exaggerated prices put on exaggerated losses, no receipts or witnesses to back up documents, etc.

The Emma and George W. Moore Claim #20.174 reveals much more to us than the loss of rumbled sheep and fence rails. It is a window into what effort it took to survive the war, when any cow could become a regiment’s dinner or any pasture become a battlefield.

Born in Ohio, George W. Moore moved at a young age to the Quaker village of Waterford, a sister village to Lincoln, in Loudoun County, Virginia. Though George had extended family in Waterford, Goose Creek (Lincoln), and Hillsboro, he and wife Emma didn’t settle in those Quaker communities. They instead held on to their loyalist and anti-slavery beliefs the hard way, out on the rocky ground of Virginia’s dominent, pro-slavery culture.

By 1861, the young Moore family were tenants at Belmont, a large plantation owned by George Kephart. Kephart was Virginia’s most prominent slave trader. Emma Moore wrote in her Claim deposition that she was devastated by the slave trading going on at Belmont. Slave coffles would have passed along the road leading to and from Alexandria, Kephart’s large slave trading headquarters.

Yardley Taylor’s 1854 map of Loudoun County includes an illustration of Belmont “Res. [residence] of George Kephart ESQ 31 miles from Alexandria, 5 miles from Leesburg”

It was while living at Belmont, Emma said, that her husband was against secession in 1861 but couldn’t go to the voting precinct because of a “sore foot.” Yet we know from research done by Mr. Taylor Chamberlin for “Where Did They Stand?” that George W. Moore did indeed vote for secession at Whaley’s polling station. (Whaley’s was located near Belmont plantation.) George Kephart’s vote for secession was publicly registered at that same precinct.

Voting wasn’t done secretly, and George Moore, described as “timid and cautious” by the Claims agent, would have had a hard time going against majority wishes, especially those of his landlord, George Kephart. Years after the war, a freed slave said of George Kephart: “Everyone knowed Kephart an’ was afeerd of ’em… .” Southern voting records were among the federal documents available to U.S. Government’s Southern Claims officers; it is surprising that agent William Richards – so scrupulous in his investigation – ignored or didn’t find the Secession voting evidence against Moore. According to local historian Mr. Wynne Saffer, a vote for secession brought an immediate disqualification on any Southern Claims’ application.

Moving in 1862 to the community of Upperville, on the border of Loudoun and Fauquier County, the Moores went from the frying pan into the fire. Upperville was a strongly pro-secessionist community, and throughout the war the little community reliably supported the Confederate army and, in particular, the 43rd Virginia Battalion, Partisan Rangers, led by John Singleton Mosby. One of the Southern Claims’ strongest points in favor of George Moore being a Union supporter is when a deposition witness, Samuel Means, said Moore gave him information about Mosby. Means went on to say that Upperville residents would have hanged George Moore if they found out he passed on information to the Union army about Mosby’s men.

Read George and Emma Moore’s story as told by the original Southern Claims’ #20.174 documents here. The documents are transcribed below for easy reading:

Southern Claim No. [20.174] 5525

Emma R. Moore widow of George W. Moore deceased of Va [Virginia]

“Claims of Loyal Citizens for Supplies furnished during the Rebellion”

No. 20.174

Emma R. Moore agent for the Heirs of Geo. W. Moore, Loudoun County, Virginia

$1437.00 Application to have testimony taken by special commissioner

Itemized Quantities and Articles:                                           Value Dollar/cents:

1 Brown Horse                                                                        150.00

1 Bay Mare                                                                              150.00

1 Red Cow                                                                               50.00

2 Fat Hogs                                                                               36.00

2 young heifers                                                                       30.00

2 calves                                                                                   12.00

1 sorrel Mare                                                                          125.00

1 Buggy & Harness                                                                  100.00

9 Bacon                                                                                   27.00

4 Hogs                                                                                     68.00

1200 Rails                                                                               36.00

1 Bay Horse                                                                             125.00

60 Fat Sheep                                                                           300.00

4 calf skins                                                                              20.00

2 Hog skins                                                                              10.00

                                                                                                Total: 1,437.00

[Union] Generals Stanton, Pleasonton, Mead [sic], Sheridan That the property was removed to their Camps near Petitioners residences for or by a portion of the troops of the aforesaid Commands in the years 1863, 1864, 1865.

Page: Dep’s [depositions] taken at Neersville Estate of Geor. W. Moore by Emma Moore, his widow of Loudoun Co Virginia No. 20174

Emma R. Moore says she is the widow of George Moore who died on the fth day of Feby 1872. Little or no proof of loyalty is offered of either the deceased or the widow. Left 4 children, oldest born Oct. 10/1852. Names given.


Brown Horse, Bay Mare, Cow, 2 Hogs, Grey Mare, 2 Heifers, 2 Calves, Sorrel Horse, buggy and Harness, 180 lb. Bacon, 4 tons Hay, 4 Hogs, 1200 Rails, Bay Horse, 60 Sheep, 4 calf skins, 2 skins, Part of the property was taken by Meade’s Command in 1863 and part by Sheridan’s command in 1864.


Estate of Geo W. Moore Depositions of:

 Mrs. Emma R. Moore

Wm. B. Moore

Eben Laws

Dorsey Speney

Alfred Fox

R.C. McArtor

C.P. McCabe

Samuel C. Means

Rich Tavenner

Mrs. Moore


Respectfully Submitted Wm Richards, Oct. 1, 1879 Special Agent

                                                            Depositions 20.174

Estate of George W. Moore, Loudoun Co. Testimony of Mrs. Emma R. Moore taken on oath July 19, 1879, at her home in Loudoun Co. about 3 miles from Harper’s Ferry.

My name is Emma R. Moore, age about 45, residence as above, occupation farming. I am the widow of George W. Moore, dec’d, & have testified before in this case. The first year of the war we lived at Belmont five miles below Leesburg, Loudoun Co. In the fall of that year (1861) we moved to John R. White’s farm about 2 1.2 miles from Hillsboro. In Jan’y or Feb’y 1862 we moved to Upperville & rented the farm of Robert C. McArtor & lived there till 1871.

My husband took the Union side at the start & kept it all the way through. He had always been an old line Whig, and I know he preferred Lincoln for President, but I do not know whether he voted at all. I remember before secession came often hearing my husband and our neighbor Mr. [George] Kephart (who lived on the same farm with us in another house at Belmont ) talk about politics. Mr. Kephart was a strong Democrat and therein opposed to my husband. He used to worry me by his talk with my husband & he tried to force my husband to vote for the ordinance of secession, and didn’t give him any peace at all. My husband didn’t go up at all to vote on secession. He wanted to go up & vote against it, but had no conveyance & one of his feet was sore, and Kephart wouldn’t take him up to Leesburg when he found my husband wouldn’t vote for the ordinance. We rented off Kephart & lived in Kephart’s tenant house.

We were sorry to hear of the defeat at first Bull Run battle. I remember it very well & can say from the bottom of my heart that I was very sorry at the defeat of the Union side. I wanted that side to gain the day & so did my husband. While we were at Belmont we did every thing we could for the Union side, gave information to Union officers & scouts very often, and waited on the soldiers & officers whenever they came there. They were always kind to us there when they found we were Union folk. There were only two Union families of us right there & the other neighbors didn’t like us much. They talked about us being on the Yankee side, & the “Nigger side.” It wasn’t pleasant at all to live among them, and I was so glad when the Union soldiers came I wouldn’t hardly know what to do. Seemed like I was living among my own people. We didn’t believe in Slavery. I thought it was the unforgiveable sin almost, and my husband thought so too – we talked about that so often. [George] Kephart was a slave trader & kept buying & selling slaves all the time. And it was an awful thing. It often made me cry to see how they were treated & separated. It was a dreadful sight.

We never did anything voluntarily for the Rebels while at Belmont. They came there pretty often & took what they wanted. Occasionally one who was a gentleman would pay us a little for milk and pies & such things. Generally they took them any how. Mosby had some of the meanest men in his battalion they had in the whole world. They would act bad & would insult us. I never joined a sewing society to aid the Confed’s and never did aid them in any way except as I have said.

Upperville, Virginia, courtesy Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources

When we got to Upperville we had no Union friends except John Holland & his family & the negroes, and it wasn’t very pleasant to live there. Union soldiers would come to our house & say that when they stopped at our neighbors they would say “Don’t stop here, go over to that house, there’s a Yankee family.” There were little fights in the neighborhood of Upperville pretty often, and wounded men of both sides were brought to the Church in town & at one time Union men alone to Blakely’s schoolhouse, and we helped to take care of them. Rebels & Union wounded men would be brought in together to the Church & the women in the neighborhood would look out for the Rebels, and I never saw them give a mouthful to eat or a drink of water to the Union men. They would pass them by as if they weren’t their own people. We looked after the wounded Union soldiers & did all we could for them.

19th century man and woman
“We looked after the wounded Union soldiers & did all we could for them.” Emma R. Moore, Southern Claims #20.174 Illustration “Caring for our Wounded” courtesy Library of Congress

The Rebel conscript officers came after my husband several times at Upperville & he escaped by hiding away. He ran twice to the mountains & twice we hid him in the house when the officers were right there. He kept out of the service in this way.

My husband’s people were all on the Union side. He had two brothers living at Waterford. All my people were on the Union side so far as I know. Richard Tavenner, my half brother, lived at Hillsboro, & is there now, & was a Union man. One brother was conscripted but got away & went to Ohio. I can truly say that my husband and I were always for the Union. Our sympathies were all on that side. We wanted the Union cause to succeed, and were glad when it did succeed. We were always glad when we heard of a Union victory.

In the fall of 1864 I opened a school in our house at Upperville for colored children & taught them myself, & continued the school till the next summer. People said a great deal about it, & some said the house ought to be burned down, & that I & our family oughtn’t to be allowed to stay in town. I had a great many friends among the colored people.

All my children, as named in my first testimony, are living.

“In 1846 Franklin and Armfield agent George Kephart purchased 1315 Duke Street [Alexandria] and his became Virginia’s “chief slave-dealing firm.” The slave pen thrived and, after 1858, the business was renamed Price, Birch & Co.” Old Town Crier Alexandria, Virginia, Feb. 1, 2015

We only rented the tenant house of Mr. Kephart, until he went south after First Bull Run battle, when we took his other house & took care of the farm. Before this my husband worked for Mr. McCabe at Leesburg making shoes, & McCabe could tell about how my husband stood.

At Upperville we rented a farm of Mr. McArtor who had another farm & a tannery on the other side of the village. All the property named in my petition belonged to my husband.

Attest      Emma R. Moore          Wm Richards, Spec’l Comm. Agent.

George W. Moore was listed as a “laborer,” a “shoemaker,” and a “farmer” by his wife and witnesses in their Southern Claims depositions’ records. “He was a poor man, living on rented land & shifting about, sober, quiet, timid and of no great account in the world…” – Southern Claims Commissioner Report

                                    Deposition Testimony of Wm. B. Moore on oath, taken at his house, as above, July 19, 1879.

My name is Wm B. Moore, age 26 next October, farming for my mother. Am the son of Geo. W. Moore, dec’d.

I was at home at Upperville all the war except an occasional short visit. I saw taken the brown horse, the bay mare, the grey mare, the red cow, I saw the Union soldiers kill one hog, I saw the heads & hides of 2 heifers & 2 calves at the Union camp on our place after the soldiers left. I know we had a buggy & harness & I know they were gone but I can’t remember or don’t know who got them. I saw the Union soldiers take a stack of hay, & they burned a lot of rails around where they camped – a good long stretch. I saw the Union soldiers drive off the sheep just below town, where they killed a good many of them, & I saw them eating them. I had often helped to count them & I know there was upward of 90. I am sure if the bill says 60 it is a mistake.

I saw my father send up a soldier to some officer to get back the calf skins & kip skins. I don’t remember how many there were. When the army took the sheep they were burning barns & hay stacks all around.

Attest        Wm. B. Moore Wm. Richards, Spec’l Comm. & Agent

“I can truly say that my husband and I were always for the Union. Our sympathies were all on that side. We wanted the Union cause to succeed, and were glad when it did succeed.” – Emma R. Moore, Southern Claim #20.174

Mrs. Moore Mrs. Moore adds that all the near neighbors who would know about the taking of the property are dead or gone. She named Mr. Holland, who is in Omaha, Mr. Bowie gone to western part of Va. Dr. Thomas Smith, dead. George Brown in Baltimore or Washington, – Harris dead, Mr. Engle, dead, Ulysses Fleming gone to Mo. & others. Mr. George Brown would know a good deal if he could be found.                      Wm Richards Special Agent

                                                            Deposition Eban Laws

Upperville, Fauquier Co. Va August 15, 1879

Eban Laws  being duly sworn deposes & says as follows: My age is about 60, residence here, occupation hotel keeper. Have lived right here about 30 years. I knew Mr. Geo. W. Moore & his wife. They came here to live during the war, & rented R. C. McArtor’s farm, but what year they came I don’t remember. I used to see Mr. Moore nearly every day. He farmed it some & worked at shoemaking having his shoe-maker’s shop in town. I do not remember any conversations I ever had with him about the war, – might have had some, but don’t know that I did. I always thought he was a southern feeling man – that he rather leant to the south. I never heard it spoken of by anyone which side he was on. I merely supposed he was on the southern side because I never heard anything otherwise. I saw Mrs. Moore frequently and talked with her often. She was a very pleasant woman, but I never talked with her about the war. I never heard that she was a Union woman. He was not regarded as a responsible man. He did not stand as an A no. 1 man.

As well as my recollection serves me he did not work the farm during the war and when he did work it he only had a little corn patch & it was poorly worked at that. I do not think he had any horses till after the war, & then he had two.

If Mrs. Moore ever kept a colored school here I never heard of it.

Attest       E. F. Laws                     Wm. Richards, Special Comm. & Agent

                                                            Deposition Dorsey Speney (colored)

Dorsey Speney being duly sworn deposed & says as follows:

I am about 31 or 32, live in Upperville, laborer. Born near here & always lived here. I knew Mr. George W. Moore and his wife. We colored people thought they were nice clever people. I recollect that Mrs Moore kept a colored school while she lived here. Charles Addison (colored) sent his children to her. I do not recollect anything positive about Mr. Moore’s being considered a Union man. My mother-in-law says that Mrs. Moore was a Union woman.

Attest       Dorsey Speney X his mark           Wm. Richards, Spec’l Comm & Agent

Upperville, Aug 15, 1879

                                                            Deposition Alfred Fox 

Alfred Fox being duly sworn deposes and says as follows:

I am 66 years old, & have lived here all my life, keeping barroom. I knew Geo. W. Moore & his wife. They lived here during the war, but I don’t know what year they came. If I ever talked with Mr. Moore about the war I have forgotten it. Can’t tell what side he was on, as I have no recollection what was said about it. I never heard any body say how either Mr. or Mrs. Moore stood as to the Union. Mr. Moore farmed Mr. McArtor’s land after the war, but I don’t recollect from him. There were sheep on that farm he had, but I don’t know what year, nor whose they were, nor what became of them. Mr. McArtor has always been a sheep man ever since he has been a farming.

Attest       Alfred Fox                                Wm. Richards Special Comm-Agent

Upperville Aug 15, 1879

                                                            Deposition R.C. McArtor

Robert C. McArtor being duly sworn deposes and says:

I am 67, live here, & a farmer. I knew Mr. Moore very well. He came here in ’63 or perhaps in ’62 & rented land of me the first year he came. He put in some corn that year, some 10 or 15 acres. The second year he worked about 45 acres in corn. He was to do half the work & receive one fourth of the cash. After that year he worked different fields – say 20 or 25 acres in corn and was to give me one half of the corn.

In 1864, I think it was, he put in about 15 or 20 acres in wheat. In 1865 he had a different piece of land in wheat about 15 or 20 acres. Come to think about it I believe this last was in 1866.

He bought one horse here with him, & had one that a Union soldier gave him & this horse is living yet, and he had two others which he bought of me during the war, & these two were taken by the Federals. One was taken out of my pasture – the pasture was not rented to him, but I let him use it. The other horse was taken from me in the burning raid. I had dealings with him & kept a long running account with him, charging him with payments. The horses were charged on this account. The account was never settled & I presume he owed me when he died. The sheep were charged on the same account. He took care of the sheep as much as I did. I had nobody to help me, & I sold them to him to get shut of them. I used to look after them some.

I think the Yankees got the brown horse he brought here. The hay was out on my ground, & I don’t know whether I charged it to him or not. He cut two acres. I let him have it because I had no use for it and there was no sale for it. I think very likely that I told him he might have it if he would cut it.

He had rails on a lot of one acre that I had sold him – probably about 900. He did not pay me for the lot or rather I sold him another lot in place of it, & he never paid for the last one.

He had some kind of a one horse vehicle I think it was burnt in the burning raid, but would not be positive.

I always regarded him as a Union man, though he never talked to me on the subject. He said so little, and associated so much with those who were tinctured with Unionism that I thought he was that way. Mrs. Moore kept a colored school, & that made a great hubbub. At the Battle of Blakeley’s grove a Union Capt. was killed and she made arrangements to have his body buried. She got up a subscription to pay for burying. I think it was the general impression that they were for the Union, but I cannot mention anyone who ever said so.

Attest       R.C. McArtor                    Wm. Richards, Special Comm. & Agent

“Mrs. Moore kept a colored school & that made a great hubbub” – deposition witness Richard. C. McArtor. There are no known pictures of Emma Moore teaching Black students, but this one, courtesy of the New York Public Library, shows a similar situation and labeled “Portrait of Sea Island school teacher Harriet Murray, with Elsie and Puss”

                        Deposition    Charles P. McCabe    Leesburg, Va Aug. 16, 1879

Charles P. McCabe  being duly sworn deposes and says as follows:

My age is 50, residence here, occupation shoe-maker & harness maker. Have lived here all my life. I was a Union man at the beginning, but went with my state after the ordinance passed. I knew George W. Moore. He was a shoe-maker by trade & worked for me off & on during the year 1861. He lived at Frankville, about 4 miles east of Leesburg, and came in about twice a week to get work and return work. I remember talking with him about the war frequently. He frequently said that he was opposed to the war & would not fight. He said he would leave the state rather than fight in the Southern army, and go to Maryland. I heard him say more than a dozen times that he never would fight to enslave the negroes. I heard from some of his neighbors that he was obnoxious to them on account of his union sentiments. I was under a cloud myself at first, and heard all that was going on, and knew at the time how every man of my acquaintance stood or was rated. I never heard of Mr. Moore’s doing anything for either side. He was a poor man, sober and industrious. I never knew where he went, & never heard of him after he left here. I knew Mrs. Emma Moore as the wife of Geo. W. Moore, but never talked with her so far as I remember. I have no hesitation in saying that Mr. Moore was a Union man. That was my belief – my positive knowledge. I had no social intercourse with him. He would simply come in and get his work & go right back. He may have taken dinner with us occasionally. I do not know who he associated with, though I did hear some of his neighbors speak of him as being obnoxious to them as a Union man. I remember that he discredited confederate money & did not want to take it. I was elected to the Legislature of Va in 1877 from Loudoun County.

Attest       Charles P. McCabe                          Wm. Richards Special Comm’r & Agent

Waterford, Virginia is a Loudoun County village founded by Quakers in 1733. George W. Moore was raised in Waterford, and his anti-slavery beliefs would likely have been influenced by his family background here.

            Deposition Samuel C. Means        Waterford, Loudoun Co. Va Aug. 16/’79       

Samuel C. Means  being duly sworn deposes and says as follows:

I am 52, live here, dealing in grain. I came here in 1848 & have lived here ever since. I have testified in this case before. I knew Geo. W. Moore. He was raised in this town & was a shoemaker by trade. The first time I saw him during the war was at Upperville in the spring or summer of 1862 before the capture of Harper’s Ferry. I was then in command of the Loudoun Rangers. Gen. Miles sent Capt. Cole with a squad of Cavalry to Waterford. I am not certain it was Capt. Cole, but am sure it was a portion of the 5 [?] Maine Cavalry. Gen’l Miles sent me orders to go with the cavalry in pursuit of cattle that the Rebels were driving south. We got to Upperville and stopped there to feed & get information. While there Moore came up to me & told me privately that the cattle were about two hours ahead of us. We couldn’t get any information from anybody else, but we got plenty of abuse from the women. We caught the cattle. I regarded Moore as a Union man then. He did not dare to talk to me much at that time. There were too many watching. If the rebels had known that he told me about the cattle, they would probably have hung him when we got away.

I reckon the next time I saw him was in the fall of 1862 in Frankville near Belmont. He did not live there at the time. I was going with Major Hammond of the 5th N.Y. Cavalry to Washington. Capt. Farley was ahead of us in the road, & when I came up the Capt. had Mr. Moore under arrest on suspicion – thinking he was too far from home to be all right. Moore appealed to me. I told the Capt. there was no harm in him, & he let Moore go on with his vehicle. I do not remember having had any particular talk with him there.

civil war cavalryman
Captain Samuel C. Means, commander of the Union supporting Loudoun Rangers.

I met him several times during the war at Berlin, Maryland, getting supplies. It was a common thing for people to go to Berlin from places farther off than Upperville. Whenever we met at Berlin he would tell me all he knew about rebel movements. I can’t recall any particular talk at those times. He would get me [to] one side & talk privately about rebel movements, as he was afraid to be overheard. I thought he was a union man & always had that impression. He moved about from place to place pretty often, & I never thought he could have much property. I don’t think he had sense enough to be anything but honest. He was a very ignorant man & a great coward. If a rebel officer had got hold of him he might have scared him into telling whatever he knew, but he was of so little account among them that they would pay very little attention to him. I don’t know that I ever saw Mrs. Moore and don’t remember that I ever heard them spoken of as to their Union sentiments. Moore was a very quiet man and talked very little.

On reflection I do remember that when I was once in Upperville just before Milroy was run out of Winchester, one of my men came to me and said Mrs. Moore wanted to see me. I rode up to her door & she told me to look out, for Moseby [sic] was about, not far off. Moseby did come in sight pretty soon.

This is about all I can say.  Attest  Sam’l C. Means   Wm Richards, Spec’l Comm’r & Agent

                        Deposition of Richard Tavenner   At the house of Mrs. Moore, 3 miles from Harper’s Ferry Sept. 13, 1879

Richard Tavenner being duly sworn deposes and says as follows:

I am 59 years of age, reside in Hillsboro, & had a store in Hillsboro when the war broke out. Mrs. Moore is my half-sister. I knew George W. Moore, her husband, before the war. I remember that the family moved onto John R. White’s farm during the war staid there nearly a year, & then they moved to Upperville. During that time I saw Mr. & Mrs. Moore several times. They lived about 2 ½ miles from Hillsboro and they came occasionally to my house & to my store. I cannot recall any particular conversation with either of them, but I understood they were the strongest kind of Union folks. I heard that of Mr. Moore before he moved up from Belmont. I was a union man myself, and Mr. & Mrs. Moore both knew it. I was satisfied while they lived on Mr. White’s farm that they were both for the Union, and I heard frequently from them or about them during the war that they were always for the Union. Sometime during the first year after the war I was at their house at Upperville, when Mr. Moore told me that he had been a Union man, and he talked like a Union man, and told me about his losses during the war by the Union army. At that time I saw Robert C. McArtor and he told me that Mr. Moore was a Union man and had lost property by the Union army.

Attest     Richard Tavenner                    Wm Richards, Special Comm’r & Agent

                        2nd Deposition of Mrs. Emma R. Moore near Hillsboro, Sept 13/’79

Mrs. Emma R. Moore being duly sworn deposes and says:

I have heard & read the deposition of R. C. McArtor in regard to property. I know that there were dealings between my husband & Mr. McArtor from 1862 till 1871. Besides renting various fields of land we rented a corn mill for five years but this was just after the close of the war. We had a long account in a ledger with Mr. McArtor showing credits & debits which the administrator, Mr. McIntosh took possession of, and which I have not seen for a long time. I know that Mr. Moore bought two horses if not more, from Mr. McArtor, and other stock, and also about 96 or 98 sheep. These were the first sheep we ever owned & I felt so proud of them that I went right often to see them in the field. In about a year after we got them they were taken by the Union army. I saw them taken right out of the field. I do not think the book account was ever settled by Mr. Moore and Mr. McArtor. We had made and saved considerable money down at Belmont & in that neighborhood & we were able to pay for considerable stock at Upperville. When the Union army got our sheep and other property we were nearly ruined and we have never been able to recover from those losses.

Attest     Emma R. Moore                 Wm Richards, Special Commissioner and Agent


In this case the property was taken in 1863-1864 on the farm of Mr. McArtor near Upperville, Fauquier Co., Va., where Geo. W. Moore lived from 1862-1871, when he moved to a farm near Hillsboro, where he died Feb’y 5, 1872. Soon after that the widow moved to her present residence in Loudoun Co., about three miles from Harper’s Ferry, where I found her on the 19th July 1879. I took her deposition at considerable length. I found her to be an intelligent woman, frank in speech, and apparently candid and conscientious. It seemed to me from my conversation with her, and from what I heard of her, that she was thoroughly loyal to the Union during the entire war. Her views of slavery, and the fact that she opened a school for colored children in her own house during the last year of the war in the rabid secessionist town of Upperville, would alone indicate that she could not have sympathized with the cause of secession.

As to her husband, her own testimony indicated that he too was loyal to the Union. But there were no witnesses in her present neighborhood who saw them during the war. And according to her statement, all the loyal white people in or near Upperville who knew her & Mr. Moore during the war are dead or gone to distant places. Mrs. Moore mentioned her half-brother, Richard Tavenner, of Hillsboro, as a good Union man and one who saw them during the war. Accordingly on my visit to Hillsboro on August 14th, I saw Mr. Tavenner. He had no doubt that Mr. & Mrs. Moore were for the Union, but he thought he did not see them during the war, and therefore I did not take his deposition at that time.

When I first saw Mrs. Moore, July 19th, she gave me the names of several  persons living in Upperville, and among others, two tavern-keepers, who knew her husband. When I got to Upperville August 15th, I stopped at the tavern of Eban Laws and began to take his deposition under the impression that Mrs. Moore had said that he would testify to Mr. Moore’s loyalty. But I soon found that he really knew nothing about it. While I was questioning him a man came in to his bar to get a drink. They at once got into a talk about Moore, & became very bitter – denouncing him as a worthless man, and loudly disclaiming that the taxes they paid ought never to go to pay such a man as Moore.

I questioned them closely, but they could not remember that they had ever heard Moore say a word about the war in any way, nor had they ever heard any body say which side he was on. They merely supposed he was on the southern side because they never heard anything to the contrary, and every body was that way in Upperville. The more Laws talked the more violent he got, but he was not willing to have me write down anything stronger than is written, to be sworn to. He did not believe that Mrs. Moore ever taught a colored school and was quite inclined to treat that claim as a humbug. However I called up a colored man, passing at the moment in the street, & he settled the question very soon. But when I wanted to take his deposition, he was very much frightened. He had heard Laws blowing off, and seemed to be afraid to tell even the little I got out of him. That was Dorsey Speney.

Before I had fully discovered what sort of man Laws was, I had asked him to name one of the oldest and most respectable men in town who had known Mr. Moore. He named old Alfred Fox and I sent for him. When Fox first began to answer my question, he seemed to remember that Moore rented land of McArtor during the war, and had horses and other property. But Laws stood by and talked in such a bull-dozing way before I could shut him up that old Fox seemed to lose his memory. I soon found that he really knew nothing about Moore’s loyalty. And I also found before I left town that he was not a man of such character and standing as I desired to see.

As Mrs. Moore had named Harrison Lunceford, tavern-keeper, I went to see him, tho it is due to Mrs. Moore to add that she simply spoke of him as a tavern keeper and did not refer to him as a witness. Mr. Lunceford is an old man, had kept tavern 39 years, knew Mr. Moore during the war, never heard him say what he was, nor any one else, but took him to be southern because he was thick with Mr. McArtor, (from whom Moore rented land) and “because he rejoiced with us over the first Bull-Run Victory.” I asked him if he was certain of that, and repeated the question several times – “was it Moore, and was it the first Bull-Run fight?” He was positive, he knew it – there was no mistake about it.

The value of this testimony may be judged of by bearing in mind that Moore lived in Belmont, Loudoun County, in July  1861, and did not move to Upperville till about Feb’y 1862! I concluded it was hardly worth while to take Mr. Lunceford’s deposition. Yet I do not doubt that he was perfectly sincere and honest in his belief.

It will be seen that Mr. McArtor regarded Mr. Moore as a Union man “because he said so little, and associated so much with those who were tinctured with unionism.” McArtor was a secessionist. Moore knew that, and, if he was a timid and cautious man, as seems to have been the case, he would naturally have been careful not to talk freely about the war to McArtor or any other secessionist.

While I was in Upperville I called on several of the colored people. Old Mrs. Caroline Fox knew the Moores very well. She said “Mrs. Moore did keep a colored school. She and Mr. Moore were well thought of by the colored people. Mrs. Moore was mighty nice. We colored folks thought they were both for the Union. “Mrs. Moore always said she was for the Union, and she held up for it and said if people didn’t like her for it she couldn’t help it. Mrs. Moore talked to me about it while the war was going on, and said the Yankees were fighting to free the colored people. We always went to Mrs. Moore when we wanted to know about the war. If we asked the ‘secesh’ any questions about the war they wanted to kill us.”

I then called on Mrs. Bettie Addison, a neat, nice-looking and intelligent colored woman, – the wife of Charles Addison, who was reported to be one of the most respectable colored men in Upperville. Mrs. Addison said she knew Mrs. Moore very well, that she was well thought of by the colored people, that she kept a colored school in her own house, and that she (Mrs. Addison) sent two of her children to that school. Mrs. Addison said she believed Mrs. Moore was a Union woman, and that the colored people thought so. Charles Addison also concurred in the statement that the colored people considered the Moores loyal to the Union.

I did not take the depositions of these colored people because my engagements did not leave me time to do so. But I wrote down full notes as they talked.

From what Mrs. Moore had said about Mr. Moore’s working during the first year of the war with Mr. McCabe of Leesburg, and his acquaintance with Capt. Means and others of Waterford, I concluded to return from Upperville to Round Hill and go by Railroad the next morning to Leesburg, – which I did.

There I saw Mr. Charles P. McCabe and took his deposition. The first remark he made was that he had answered my letter (which I had written to him a week or so before) by saying that he had wholly forgotten George W. Moore and could not recall any such man. But his memory had just been refreshed by an interview with Mr. Joseph L. Russell, who happened to be in Mr. McCabe’s house at the moment I called. At first Mr. McCabe dealt in generalities though of a positive kind. Before I got through with him, he recalled some particulars, as will be seen by his deposition.

After taking this deposition, I thought it best to drive out to Waterford and see Capt. Samuel C. Means. I took his deposition. He knew Mr. Moore before the war, saw him several times during the war, and I presume has given his general character about as it was.

As I thought Mrs. Moore was entitled to see Mr. McArtor’s testimony on property, I went to her home again Sept. 13th. While talking with her, Mr. Richard Tavenner, of Hillsboro, happened to call in, and I had some talk with him. He repeated what he had told me in Hillsboro that he could not remember having seen the Moores during the war. But when reminded that they were on John R. White’s farm near Hillsboro in the fall and winter of 1861-1862, he recalled the circumstances which are stated in his deposition. I have no doubt that Mr. Tavenner was a thorough Union man himself, and I am satisfied that he would not say that Mr. and Mrs. Moore were loyal unless he really thought so. My conclusion is that Mr. Moore was loyal.


The first time I was at Mrs. Moore’s house I met her son there and as he seemed to be quite intelligent and remembered considerable about the different items of property, I took his deposition.

Afterwards, when in Upperville, I took the deposition of Mr. McArtor. One point brought out in his testimony was the fact (as he alleged) that there was a long running account between him and Mr. Moore, which had never been settled, in which horses, sheep and other things had been charged, and various credits had been entered. As I found Mr. McArtor some distance away from his house and took his deposition in an old shed by the roadside, I was not in a condition to call for the inspection of his books. After my return to Washington, I wrote to him enquiring about his account book. He replied Sept. 8th and his letter is hereto attached. From this it seems that he found only two charges, viz: the grey mare and 98 sheep, and one credit, viz: $300 in Virginia funds. He had told me that there was a long running account. When I got this letter it seemed to me to furnish another example of the imperfection of the human memory. But when I afterwards saw Mrs. Moore and heard both her and her son declare that they well remembered a long account with Mr. McArtor, which covered several leaves of the ledger, I concluded that McArtor might often have seen that account and that his impression was based upon that. I add that, as Mr. McArtor had shown some reluctance to meet me, I was agreeably surprised at his prompt and direct answers to my questions. He did not seem to try to keep back or conceal anything. It will be notice that he said that the buggy was probably burnt.

Union soldiers “Foraging” by Winslow Homer, Courtesy of Virginia Museum of History and Culture

As Mrs. Moore was not present at the taking of the depositions in Upperville and elsewhere, it seemed to me that, under the act of June 23, 1879, she was entitled to see them before I made my report. Accordingly (as already stated) I visited her again Sept. 13th and read the depositions to her and took her additional deposition, in which she made the statement in regard to the long running ledger already referred to. Her statement was confirmed by her son, but neither of them could tell or remember where the account book or books were then, though Mrs. Moore was certain that they had been in the hands of Mr. McIntosh, the deputy sheriff, to whom the settlement of Mr. Moore’s estate was “committed” under the state law.

Mrs. Moore, in answer to my question about the buggy promptly said that it was burnt, & that they afterwards gathered up the pieces of iron.

In conclusion, the great length of the report must be attributed to the peculiar circumstances of this case, the death of Mr. Moore, and the fact that the family lived in so many different places, and that what witnesses could be found were so widely scattered. I could not well be brief and be satisfactory.

                                                            Respectfully submitted,

Washington, D.C. Sept 30, ’79                 Wm Richards, Special Agent


Old Washington D.C. after the Civil War, engraving Courtesy of Harper’s Weekly

                                                            Hearing Washington, D.C. July 21, 1880

Emma R. Moore a witness called to prove loyalty being first duly sworn deposes and says: I am the widow of George W. Moore  – that during the war George W. Moore always could get a pass to go when he passed through their lines. Captain Means always when he was in this neighbourhood [sic] came to our house to get information acs to the Rebel army. At the fight at Blakely Grove School house, a man by the name of Capt. Smith was badly wounded. My husband helped carry him in the school house, and I went to the house and nursed him until he died, and was having a cofin [sic] made to bury him in when his friends came and took him to Harpers Ferry. Immediately after the war I opened a school for Colored children in Upperville and taught one Summer. Every man in the neighborhood will testify to my husband’s loyalty. I have stated all that.  I know about my husband’s loyalty.

Mr. Moore left four children namely Joseph W. B. Moore who was born on the 10th day of October 1852, Eli A. Moore who was born on 11th day of August 1854, Mary B. Moore who was born on the 5th day of Aug. 1856, Martha E. Moore who was born on the 9th day of February 1858. All of our children were under 16 years of age at the close of the war. James MCIntosh is the administrator of my husband’s estate.

Captain Samuel C. Means a witness called to prove loyalty being first duly sworn deposes and says: I am 50 years of age and reside in Loudoun County, Va. I am a miller by occupation I am not related to the claimant and have no interest in this claim, I am here to testify to the loyalty of George W. Moore who I knew intimately from 1848 up to the time of his death. He died some time after the war. I can not say in what year. I was in the Union Army during the war and I saw the claimant six or eight times in the war I saw him on one or two times at Berlin, Maryland and he told me all he could of the Rebel Army. And on another occasion I met him in Upperville and from the information he gave me I overtook a lot of cattle that a lot of Rebels were driving over the mountains and Captured the Rebels and got the cattle back. I do not know of a Union man who lived in the neighborhood of Upperville when George Moore lived during the war besides Moore. I was a Union man and the claimant knew me to be one because he saw me in the Union army.

Concluding hearing Commissioners of Claims remarks: George W. Moore was raised in the quaker town of Waterford, in Loudoun County. He was a shoemaker, a poor man, living on rented land & shifting about, sober, quiet, timid and of no great account in the world. His wife appears to have been a person of more intelligence and force of character. Careful inquiry has been made by a government agent for witnesses of disloyalty on the part of Moore or his wife and none found, no suspicion of any. But it has been found that Moore resisted a pressure put on him by his landlord to vote for the ordinance of secession, and he missed his chance of voting against it by the landlord’s refusing to give him a ride to the polls when he found how Moore was going to vote, and Moore was prevented from walking by a sore foot.

Capt. Means, of the Federal Loudoun Scouts, testified and repeated instances where Mr. and Mrs. Moore gave really valuable information to the Federal army, one of the results being the capture of a party of Confederates and of army cattle which they were taking to the Confederate army. It is worthy of notice that in the fall of 1864, Mrs. Moore operated a colored school in the town of Upperville, a procedure which gave great offense to the community. It seems certain, from the evidence obtained by the government agent, that Moore and his wife were regarded with such dislike by the Confederate element of the community and were recognized and treated as loyal people by such parts of the Federal army as they came in contact with and it ought to be mentioned that they looked after the Federal wounded and the Federal dead under circumstances that sharply disturbed neighbors. Moore died intestate in 1872, his wife and four children all very young during the war. We find them all to be loyal.

The strict legal representative of the estate is the deputy sheriff to whom the legal case of the estate has been committed in default of administration by the next of kin, but as Mrs. Moore is entitled to due share of the proceeds of the claim and is the natural custodian of the children who are yet underage and there is no dissent from any quarter to her assurance as claimant and no objection we will recognize and deal with her as the claimant. Nevertheless as all the children have now become of age, we shall assign their shares.

The claim consists of 17 items, alleged to have been taken at different times between Feb. 1863 and March 1865. During all this time Mrs. Moore was the tenant of one Mr McArtor at Upperville. The brown horse and gray mare were taken by Federal troops, but not under any circumstances indicating aught but lawless individual plunder and so with the calf and other skins. The bay mare, bay horse and the sheep were driven off by Sheridan’s troops, not because they were wanted by the army. There is no proof of the taking of the red cow, two fat hogs, and the bacon by the Federal army. The buggy charged for was burnt up as an act of destruction. About 900 rails were burnt, but they do not seem to have belonged to Mr. Moore. Two heifers, two calves and four hogs appear to have been killed and eaten by the troops, and a stack of hay appears to have been used, and for those we allow. We allow one hundred & two dollars in all, being to Emma R. Moore, $34, and $17 each to the children, Joseph, Eli, Mary and Martha Moore.

A.O. Miles, J.B. Howell, O. Ferriss, Commissioners of Claims

Southern Claim No. [20.174] 5525

Emma R. Moore widow of George W. Moore deceased of Va [Virginia]

$102 Due her

Out of the appropriation for

“Claims of Loyal Citizens for Supplies furnished during the Rebellion”

For amount allowed her by the Commissioners of Claims

Reported July 21, 1880

Requisition No. 8726 date transmitted July 26, 1880

For the amount allowed her by Act of Congress, Private No. 106 approved June 14, 1880 entitled “An Act making appropriation for the payment of claims reported allowed by the Commissioners of Claims under the Act of Congress of March 3, 1871.”

The sum of $102.00

Payable in case of H.C. Bliss, Washington D.C.

Treasury Department, Third Auditor’s Office June 30, 1880


$102 dollars was a small but perhaps satisfying moral victory. It would be interesting to learn more about Emily (Emma) Rutha Hunt Moore Rector – her full name (!) but that will take more time and research.

2 comments on “George and Emma Moore: “the strongest kind of Union folks”

  1. Pingback: The Ghosts of Belmont: from Margaret Mercer to George Kephart – Nest of Abolitionists

  2. Pingback: Franklin and Armfield and George Kephart – Nest of Abolitionists

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