Donated by ©F. Warren Moore

©Illinois Trails History and Genealogy

Enoch Moore was the first child born of American parents in the Illinois Territory. He was a delegate to the first Illinois Constitutional Convention from Monroe County, Illinois. A Private in the War of 1812, he served with a unit of mounted rangers commanded by his brother, James B. Moore. His daughter Caroline received Bounty Land as a result of his service, shortly after his death on 20 July, 1848.

Enoch Biggs Moore was the fifth child of Captain James Moore and Catherine Biggs. He was born on 17 February, 1783, in the old block house at Belle Fountaine, the area his parents settled in the year 1782. Here, amid the troublous times and exciting scenes of the early days of his first years were spent, and here he saw the brave, strong spirit of his sire take its flight from earth, and when the sorrowing and almost destitute family left behind met in solemn conclave to determine upon a future cause of action, 'twas his almost infantile lips that spoke the words that kept them united and intact, and this firmness and force of character thus early exhibited and was always a leading characteristic of his life. At a very youthful age he developed a thirst for knowledge and a great avidity for study. He early sought after all kinds of books and literature of practical and useful character, and possessing a mathematical mind of high order, he, when comparatively young, became one of the most competent surveyors and civil engineers of his day, and much of the Government surveying of that time was done under his immediate direction and supervision. On his birthday, in 1803, he married Mary Whiteside, daughter of a former Rutherford County, NC resident, Captain William and Mary (Nancy) Booth Whiteside II, now of Whitesides' Station. The couple had eleven children together.

Enoch settled upon the tract of land allotted him (four hundred acres) and here loved and pursued the quiet avocation of a farmer until our war with Great Britain in 1812, when he enlisted as a private in the company organized and commanded by his brother, Captain James Moore, and with whom he shared the toils, hardships and dangers of that eventful time. At the close of the war he returned to his home and was at once selected by his fellow citizens to fill the office of clerk of the Circuit Court, in which position he ably and acceptably acted for many years. He subsequently filled the office of Probate Judge of Monroe County, Illinois, and on the application of the then Territory for admission into the United States, he was chosen a delegate to its Constitutional Convention and was afterwards chosen by his constituency to represent them in the State Legislature. In his early manhood he allied himself to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and his rare administrative abilities being at once recognized, he was called upon to fill various offices of an ecclesiastical nature, always receiving and meriting the commendation of his brethren.

After a time, with a view to the enlargement of his sphere of usefulness he became ordained an Elder and Local Minister of the Church, and his ministrations always bore stamp of the harmonious blending of kindly sympathy with determined and unflinching discipline. With a mind eminently practical, and a vast range of reading, every detail of church government and discipline was at his command, and possessed, as he was, in an extraordinary degree with the power of pleasing and harmonizing, he was an invaluable auxiliary to the church, and his being a character of the highest and purest Christian type, he inspired respect, love and admiration among all classes.

Enoch Moore being of an active business natural bent, engaged in merchandising in the Town of Waterloo in company with one of his sons (McKendree), and at a most critical time for them, having large outstanding sums due the firm, his partner and son suddenly died, leaving matters in a somewhat embarrassed state. Owing to the utter impossibility of making immediate collections, and with heavy responsibilities and liabilities resting upon the firm, Enoch was forced to make heavy sacrifices in order to meet existing demands.

To accomplish this, much of the homestead tract was sold at great sacrifice, and although the law for the protection of insolvent debtors was in force and affect at that time in the State of Illinois, his fine sense of honor would not permit him to avail himself of its benefits as he could have one, and as a consequence from a financial condition of ease and competence, he found himself reduced to comparitive poverty, but not one dollar of their indebtedness remained unpaid.

His worthy helpmate was a woman of great energy and force of character and endowed with a clear, strong intellect. In her Enoch always found his best and safest counsellor, and his most ernest abettor in all his good works. Her and his own, was peace, for not alone her own kith and kin, but myriads of the living and those gone before, rise up and call her blessed.

Enoch Moore departed this life on 20 July, 1848, aged 66 years, and all that is mortal will moulder in decay, the memory of his pure life and acts of loving kindness will live green in the hearts of those who know and still survive him. His wife died on 23 December, 1847. His remains rest at Bell Fontaine...Excerpted from "Reminiscences of the Moore Family," by Capt. J. M. Moore, Oakland, Cal: Evening Tribune and Job Printing House, 415 and 417 Eight Street, 1882.

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