One of my finds while in Kansas City

Posted on September 15, 2010 by


No, not Civil War-related, but family-related…


I had just finished visiting the National World War I Museum, and having spotted the Spanish-American War Monument, I drove over to it to snap a shot or two. But then, I saw this monument on a hill within site of the Span-Am monument. Intrigued, I took a walk with my youngest up the hill, and before me was this absolutely beautiful piece. Then, I looked down, and saw what the monument was all about…

… Pioneer mothers.

Now, I was moved even more.

You see, my great-great grandparents were married not far from this site, in nearby Desoto, Kansas. Mary R. Davison was a native of Hardin County, Kentucky, while John Howard Moore, a son of Cyrus S. and Catharine Ann McKinney Moore, was born in Clear Spring, Maryland, but apparently when he got the itch to head west, had left his parents back in Martinsburg, West Virginia. It’s unclear whether Mary and John met in Kentucky or Kansas, but they did meet, and were married in September 1886.

According to family stories, a year later, the couple – now with Mary several months pregnant – headed west with a wagon train, on one of the trails branching out from near Kansas City, headed God only knows where and on what trail (that part wasn’t remembered in the family stories). Along the way, Mary went into labor. The birth was difficult and, to deaden the pain, hot coals were placed in Mary’s hands (shocking, I know). The baby, Kate W. Moore, was born breach on September 29, 1887, but died the following day, on the one year anniversary of John and Mary’s wedding.

Likely exhausted and broken in spirit, the couple returned to Mary’s family back in Kentucky, residing there till about 1890 before heading further east, and eventually settling in Page County, Virginia.

I wish I knew, but have no idea where Kate was buried on the trail.

I realize the monument depicts a much earlier time in the 19th century, but even so, as Mary could be included in the ranks of pioneer mothers, and that this was as about as close as I could get to where she and John started on the trek out west, this was a pretty cool find for me.


Photo of Mary, believed to be sometime in the 1930s or 1940s.


I added the monument to my contributions to HMDb today… goes nicely with another family entry regarding Four Locks.