Marker of the week in HMDB

Posted on March 1, 2009 by


As I mentioned last week, I’ve been contributing some marker data to the Historic Markers Database. It’s a lot of fun, especially for someone who likes to set up tour guides and virtual tours among existing markers and locations where there should be markers.

In the instance of recording the “Four Locks” marker on the C&O Canal back in January, I had the chance to add a personal story that has direct bearing on the marker. I didn’t learn about the story through the family, but found out about it when looking through the Washington County records many years ago. I’m quite pleased that the marker is this week’s Marker of the Week at HMDB. To access information about the marker, just enter the HMDB home page and look in the upper right hand corner (Four Locks, Big Pool, Maryland).

As a follow-up to the story I posted on the Four Locks page, I figured that I would spend a little time telling a little more about Cyrus S. Moore as it relates to my personal Civil War memory.

I’m not sure when Cyrus Moore gave up his flatboating days, but suspect those days of hauling coal didn’t last long considering the start of the Civil War put a huge damper on operations on the canal. It may be that his flatboat was either destroyed or seized, but I have no idea. I do know that sometime during the war, he transitioned to the B&O Railroad and served for many years as a conductor. As I like to tell people, I feel pretty certain he must have had a few choice words to say about the Confederate efforts to tear up the B&O tracks (especially considering railroad timetables and the concerns he likely had about sustaining this occupation). The irony of it is that some of my other ancestors, who happened to be in gray, can be counted as among those at whom those choice words were likely focused.

The story (as I’ve been able to assemble it from a variety of resources) of my Moore line in western Maryland during the Civil War is rather sketchy. As I’ve mentioned here before, Cyrus’ nephew and brother-in-law (James Draper Moore and Joseph Lake McKinney) were in Cole’s Cavalry (to be more specific, Co. B, 1st Maryland Potomac Home Brigade, Maryland Volunteer Cavalry). I also know that my third great grandparents Moore were neighbors to Otho Nesbitt (Nesbitt’s experiences as a civilian of Clear Spring are mentioned several times in Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign).

Otherwise, I know that my great-great grandfather, John Howard Moore (of Cyrus S. & Catharine Moore’s children… the second of six to make it past childhood… and one of two sons who opted for work as “company men” of the railroads) was born almost two weeks after the battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg. I can only imagine the way my third great-grandmother might have felt, especially being nine months pregnant, when the war landed in a big way in Washington County in September 1862. My third great grandmother was pregant again at the time of the burning of Chambersburg (when the relative calm around the family home in Clear Spring, Maryland became rather unnerving once again).

After the war, Cyrus and his family moved to Martinsburg, W.Va. where Cyrus continued to work on the B & O as a conductor. He was made Grand Chief Conductor (G.C.C.) of the Conductor’s Brotherhood in 1870, upon the death (8/23/1870) of A.G. Black, of Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He remained in this post through 11/1871. In addition to his time with the B&O, he apparently worked for the Cumberland Valley RR for a while, as he was listed as a conductor with the Cumberland Valley Railroad directory from 1877-1878.

By the summer of 1880, it appears that Cyrus had retired from the railroad and had taken up a different like in the hotel business. On June 3, 1880, Cyrus was listed as a clerk in a hotel on King Street in Martinsburg.

The family probably moved to Chambersburg around 1884. While there Cyrus began a beer bottling company with his son Clifford. Note the photo above in which a wagon can be seen with the inscription “C.C. Moore, Bottler, Chambersburg, Pa.” From left to right in this photo is 1) the oldest son, James Drayden Moore (born 1859), 2) unknown 3) my third great grandfather, Cyrus Saunders Moore (born 1829), and 4) what appears to be the family dog… LOL! The horse’s name, by the way, was “Duke”.

Incidentally, the above-mentioned James Drayden Moore (another railroad man) married the daughter (Edith) of a Southern Unionist from Harpers Ferry, John William Neer. J.W. Neer not only filed for damages from the war, but also served for a time as a sutler with a Union regiment.

Cyrus Saunders Moore died at Chambersburg, Pa. on June 18, 1904. Given the courtesy extended to a former conductor, he was carried by rail to Martinsburg, West Virginia, on the “8:25 train” for burial at Green Hill Cemetery.

I know, it’s not your typical story of Civil War ancestors, but I think that is what makes it so unique. Instead of the “let me tell you about my Civil War ancestor who was a soldier” story, I rather enjoy telling a story about my Union civilian ancestors. I think it’s particularly interesting for the fact that they were among those Union civilian families of western Maryland who weren’t, like so many others in the North, separated by miles from the face of war.