By A.W. Stewart of Augusta, Maine
The ancestors of Major John Moor were "Scotch-Irish," they migrated from Scotland,
and settled in Londonderry, Province of Ulster, Ireland, about 1616, and in 1718
removed to this country.
The Moor's were a sept of the Scotish Clan, Leslie, and derived their name derived
their name from the Gaelic word "Mhor" which means, big, tall, or mighty.
The earliest authentic record of the Moor family which we have been able to obtain
is of Samuel Moor, who, in 1731 became a resident of Nanticoot, N.H., which was
incorporated as Litchfield in 1749, and was located in Antrim, N.H. from 1773 to 1776,
and also lived in Merrimac, N.H.
He married Deborah, daughter of Leut. Joseph Butterfield, one of Capt. Thyng's
"Snow-Shoe Men" and also one of the first settlers of Nutfield,--Londonderry,
Samuel Moor was conspicuous in the French and Indian wars; in 1755 he was a
Lieutenant in Capt. John Goffe's company, of Col. Jos. Blanchard's regiment; he
also served as captain in 1758, and major in 1759 in Col. John Goffe's regiment,
and marched through Springfield, Mass., and Albany, N.Y. and participated in
the capture of Quebec.
Their children were, Olive, John, Priscilla, Samuel, Deborah, Joseph, and Abraham.
John, son of Maj. Samuel, and Deborah (Butterfield) Moor was born in Litchfield,
N.H., Nov. 28, 1731.
Married in Derryfield, N.H. Sept. 8, 1754, Margaret (Peggy), daughter of Col. John,
and Hannah (Griggs) Goffe, of Derryfield, N.H.
He resided at Cohas Brook after the Conquest of Canada, and later in Bedford and
Derryfield, N.H. and Norridgewock and Anson, Me.
He was by occupation a farmer and miller, he built the first mill in Anson.
He was a man of ability and influence, as a citizen he filled nearly every office,
in the gift of his fellow-townsmen, in town and parish.
Of his military achievement The History of Bedford says: " In the Crown Point
Expedition, in 1755, Col. Johnson led six thousand men against the French, of
these, New Hampshire furnished five hundred, one company being commanded
by Capt. John Moor of Derryfield; on the twenty-eighth of August they arrived at
Fort Edward where Col. Blanchard with the New Hampshire regiment was left in
charge, soon after came the battle of Lake George in which the New England
sharp-shooters did valiant service......In August 1757, when Montcalm treacherously
allowed the Indians to plunder, kill, and take prisoner the surrendered forces of
Monroe the 'Amoskeag company, being in the rear, felt the full force of the fray;
and John Moor of Bedford, was taken captive by the Indians, sold to the French
in Canada, and returned home by the way of France.
In the French and Indian war he won a reputation as a man of courage and energy;
after the conquest of Canada he quietly settled on his farm at Cohas Brook."
The History of Manchester, N.H. says: When the Alarm as sounded in 1775, Capt.
John Moor of Derryfield, N.H. led a company of forty-five men to Lexington, Mass.
He was commissioned Apr. 24, 1775, by the committee of safety of Massachusetts
as a captain in Stark's regiment; He enlisted a company of fifty men; in this company
were thirty-four from Derryfield, out of thirty-six of that town capable of bearing arms.
"On June 17, 1775, the British began fire on the American works at Copp's Hill, near
Bunker Hill. Col. Stark of the First New Hampshire Regiment, who already had two
hundred men upon the Hill, saw that the whole regiment would be needed, and he
hastened to Medford where the remainder of his men were quartered. They were
immediately paraded and as there were no cartridges, a gill cup of powder was
dealt out to each man with which to replenish his powder-horn; a spare flint and
fifteen bullets was also given to each, and the regiment was ready for action.
"Stark marched his men across Charlestown Neck, and took his position between
the redoubt and the Mystic river, at this point was enacted some of the most
desperate fighting of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
"Capt. John Moor with his company from Amosekeag was stationed there, behind a
breastwork of stone across the beach to the water; this wall served a most excellent
purpose, as the sharp-shooters behind it could take the most deadly aim at the
advancing enemy. It is a well established fact that the British troops in front of
this wall were almost completely annihilated.
"In this battle none did better service than Capt. John Moor, and on June 18, 1775,
the day following the battle, he was complimented with a major's commission, to
take the place in Stark's regiment of Major McClary who was killed the day previous;
he remained with the army but a few months, when the state of his health obliged
him to retire to his farm. In 1777 the town of Derryfield was called upon to furnish
five men for the Continental army, among those enlisted was Major John Moor."
The Hon. Chandler E. Potter, the New Hampshire historian, in describing the
battle of Bunker Hill says: "Here was posted Capt. John Moor, with his company
from Amoskeag. It is a well established fact that the British in front of this wall
were almost completely annihilated. They were the Welch Fusileers, a veteran
regiment of much service and the flower of the British army. They deployed in
front of the rail fence and way with the precision and coolness of a dress parade,
and marched up to the American lines with the confidence of men wearing laurels
of the field of Minden. With the courage of well earned reputation they moved
forward at Bunker's Hill to the close range of eight yards, when the New Hampshire
hunters opened upon them with a fire so rapid and severe that they wavered,
broke their ranks, and fled in dismay. Reinforced, again they rallied and marched
to the attack, and again they were repulsed with terrible loss. It is not too much
to assume that if the rest of the American lines had been defended with equal
success the entire British force would have been defended with equal success
the entire British force would have been driven from the hill, or annihilated."
Bancroft, the historian says: "The little handful of brave men, from the redoubt,
would have been effectual cut off but for the unfailing courage of the provincials
at the rail fence and the bank of the Mystic. They had repulsed the enemy twice,
they now held them in check till the main body had left the hill. Not till then did
the Connecticut companies under Knowlton, and the New Hampshire soldiers under
Stark quit the station they had so nobly defended."
In Allen's History of Norridgewock, Me. we find the following: "In 1780 Major
John Moor who had been an officer in the Continental army came to this place
in his uniform, epaulets and ensignia of rank, and excited considerable attention
by his dress and address. He had four sons who came with him. Having lost
his wife he married Eunice (Farnsworth) widow of Joseph Weston the first settler
"He was a man of more than ordinary talents, was respected for his intelligence
and activity, and was a very useful citizen. A financial report of the town affairs
in 1791, was drawn up by him in a correct, and businesslike manner, and remains
on the files of the town records.
"When the militia in this vicinity was organized, he was chosen Colonel, and
was esteemed as an officer and gentleman. He purchased a large lot, on which
North Anson village is situated, and removed there."
There lived for a great many years, in the household of Maj. John Moor, in the
capacity of man of all work, and general factotem, a colored man named
Yorke, who, from his long service seemed to think himself one of the family. It is a well
demonstrated fact that the Moors were a bald race; Yorke also was very bald,
in fact, had no hair on the top or sides of his head. A friend of the Moors meeting
him one hot day, and the old man wiped the perspiration from his head, jokingly
remarked, "well Yorke, you are getting rather bald," the darky replied, "yes massa
it am natural to the Moors to be bald."
The following extracts are from the Major John Moor Memorial: "On Oct. 12, 1904,
ninety-four years after his death, thirty-five descendants of Major John Moor, a
distinguished officer at the battle of Bunker Hill, met at Norridgewock to dedicate
to his memory, a granite monument, which as purchased solely by his descendants."
"The monument was placed in the old Norridgewwock cemetery, where the remains
of this famous soldier lie, but the day was so cold that the dedicatory exercises were
held in the Congregationalist church near by, which was built before the Major died,
"The Star-Spangled-Banner was sung by the audience, after which Mrs. Emma H.
Dunton, a great-great-granddaughter sang, in its true spirit, 'The Sword of Bunker
Hill,' a particularly appropriate selection, from the fact that across the pulpit lay the
sword that Major Moor carried at the Battle of Bunker Hill."
"As the children of the old patriot, even unto the fifth generation, stood about his
grave and sang America, the scene was pathetic and patriotic. The starry ensign
on the granite, enfolding the ancient sword with its historic associations; the living
soldiers of the war 'to save the nation;' the sacred spirit of the national hymn--all
commingled in patriotic pathos."
"I thought I would write you a few lines this morning about the Major. There were
so many military men in his family I thought I would name them. As I take them from
my histories, nothing is traditional."
The Major was a Captain in the French war; a Major in the Revolution; afterward a
Colonel in the Maine Militia.
His father Samuel Moor, was a Major in the French war. His father-in-law, John
Goffe, was a Colonel in the French war. His brother-in-law, John Goffe, Jr., was a Major in
the French war, and afterwards a soldier in the battle of Bunker Hill. His brother,
Samuel Moor, Jr., was a soldier in the French war, and was a soldier at the battle
of Bunker Hill. His son Benjamin Moor, was a soldier at the battle of Bunker Hill.
His son Goffe Moor, was a soldier at the battle of Bunker Hill. His grandson Samuel
Moor, was a soldier in the war of 1812. His grandson John White Moor, was a soldier
in the war of 1812.
The children of Major John, and Margaret (Goffe) Moor, were Deborah, Benjamin,
Goffe, Margaret, John, Abrham, Joseph, Olive and Hannah.