Friday, March 27, 2015

Colonel Augustine Moore (circa 1680-1743) - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 13, "Different"

Week 13's theme for's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge, hosted by +Amy Johnson Crow, is "Different."  In following that theme, I have chosen my paternal 7th great-grandfather, Colonel Augustine Moore (circa 1680-1794), as the subject for this week's post.  From what I have learned about him, I value human beings and their lives in a way that must have been quite foreign to him.  Even when I try to think of his life and choices within the context of his time period, I find it difficult to fathom the beliefs he must have held in order to participate willingly in his chosen trade. 

Elizabeth Lee Henderson (Wood) is my paternal grandmother,
so my father (living) and I would follow after her in the above pedigree.

Portrait of Colonel Augustine Moore.

Born around 1680-1685 in either Virginia or England, Augustine Moore's parents are unknown.  (He is not descended from Sir Thomas More as some genealogists may mistakenly believe.)

Circa 1705, Augustine married his first wife, Mary Gage, who then died in 1713.  Later that same year, he married my paternal 7th great grandmother, Elizabeth Todd Seaton (Henry Seaton's widow), in Virginia.  Just a few years after marrying Elizabeth, Colonel Moore's career began to skyrocket.  He became a highly prominent tobacco planter/entrepreneur and slave trader.

Excerpt from p. 272 of Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit/ Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763 by Lorena Seebach Walsh.

In 1709, during Queen Anne of Great Britain's reign, Moore built Chelsea Plantation located in West Point, Virginia, on the banks of the Mattaponi River.  It portrays an outstanding example of 18th-century Georgian architecture and is still open today for tours.

Front view of Chelsea Plantation.
(Image courtesy of West Point Guide.)
External and Internal Views of Chelsea Plantation.
(Image courtesy of

Pages 6-7 of Afro-Virginia History and Culture by John Saillant discuss "Financing Purchases of Slaves."  The book states, "By the early 1720s, Bristol [England] merchants had learned to consign shipments of slaves to colonial agents, such as Augustine Moore at West Point [who]...advertised sales, set initial prices, conducted the sales (including extending credit to local planters), and supervised the loading of commodities like tobacco and iron for the return voyage."  Colonial agents were often the most powerful men in the colony...and [they] used their metropolitan connections to corner the retail side of the slave trade, usually for a 5 to 10 percent commission."

Except from pp. 6-7 of Afro-Virginia History and Culture by John Salliant.

The book goes on to note, on pages 15-16, that Augustine Moore became a "...major [figure] in the early slave the 1720s and 1730s" in Virginia and most frequently dealt with "...slave shipments [that] had...the lowest proportion of men, the highest proportion of women, and the lowest sex ration in the whole transatlantic trade.  The proportion of children imported to the colony was also relatively high."

Excerpt from p. 15 of Afro-Virginia Culture and History by John Salient.
Excerpt from p. 16 of Afro-Virginia Culture and History by John Salient.

Page 12 of that same book relays that Robert "King" Cater (a.k.a., Robert Carter I), Colonial Governor of Virginia from 1726-1727 and another of my paternal 7th great grandfathers, "...often bought newly imported slaves wholesale for his own plantations, as in the 41 slaves he purchase from Augustine Moore in May 1724."

Except from p. 12 of Afro-Virginia Culture and History by John Salient.

Chart showing how I descend from Robert "King" Carter.
Charles Carter (shown in this chart) married Bernard Moore's daughter,
Anne Butler Moore (reference pedigree chart at being of this post).
Charles Carter and Anne Butler Moore Carter are my 5th great-grandparents.

Once again, on page 106 of Slavery in the Development of the Americas, edited by David Eltis, Frank D. Lewis, Kenneth L. Sokoloff, Augustine Moore shows up involved in the slave trade and advising Bristol merchant Isaac "...Hobhouse that slaves were sometimes taken from the York to the Rappahannock only 'after ye best [were] Sold, not for ye goodness of their bills but to gett rid of gel slaves in time.'"

Except from pages 105-106 of Slavery in the Development of the Americas.

On 20 January 1742, Augustine Moore recorded and signed his last will and testament.  The word "slaves" shows up 19 times in that relatively short document "...written on two sides of one sheet & on one side of another sheet of Paper."  Virginia Biographical Sketches indicates that just over 18 months after writing his will, on 28 July 1743 at the age of about 60, Augustine Moore drew his last breath on this Earth.  His will was then proved in King William County, Virginia, on 18 August 1743.  Colonel Moore is buried in his family cemetery on the grounds of Chelsea Plantation.

The Moore Family Cemetery on the grounds of Chelsea Plantation
in West Point, King William, Virginia.
(From FindAGrave Memorial #57127768.
Photo by George Seitz, FindAGrave Member #40539541.)

About three centuries separate me from my 7th great-grandfather.  Not only are we from vastly different eras, but we also seem to have mindsets that are worlds apart from one another.  Colonel Moore's actions clearly indicate that he did not consider humans to be created equally.  Rather, large gulfs between different social layers were the norm of his time, and some humans were seen as much less than human, as - in fact - property.  I, of course, knew such views and situations were common in America's colonial era.  What I did not know, and what has greatly saddened me, is that two of my direct ancestors were at the highest levels of the abhorrent practice of slave trading.  I am very thankful that time, experiences, education, compassion, and more have given me the opportunity to see and appreciate humanity in completely different ways than did my colonial 7th great-grandfather, Colonel Augustine Moore.

©Amy Wood Kelly, 2015 - I am happy to share my genealogical research and writing with others, as well as to help others with their research efforts.  However, please do not reprint this post in full or in part or use excerpts from this post without giving full credit to me, Amy Wood Kelly, as the researcher and author as well as providing the permalink to this post.  Thank you, in advance, for showing respect for my request and the work I put into creating this post.

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