Thursday, December 03, 2009

Maurice Moore's a Bad Boy...

Already, I'm going to have a hard time... you see, Maurice Moore and Edward Moseley, the men that I have termed "partners in crime," are generally considered well-respected founders of North Carolina. The man that has been given the historical shaft is George Burrington. Agreed, Burrington was hot-tempered and needed a spanking, but his charges against Edward Moseley and Maurice Moore were generally on target. There's even evidence of it in the earlier records before the troubles with "blank patents" between 1729-1732.

You see, Maurice Moore hung around in Northern Carolina after the Tuscarora War when he came from Southern Carolina in 1713 with his brother, James to whoop up on some more Native Americans (probably for getting in the way of profit... same reason we have always had for whooping it up on Indians). Maurice stayed and James went home. Maurice may have been interested in that pretty filly, a sister-in-law of Mr. Moseley, by the name of Elizabeth Swann (no, not the one from the movie).

Elizabeth was the daughter of Alexander Lillington. Her sister, Ann was married to Edward Moseley but, Elizabeth had already been married twice, the last time to Samuel Swann, who had recently died when Maurice arrived in 1713. So, Moseley has a rich widow sister-in-law and this new guy, Maurice is in town (something now of a war hero since beating the Tuscarora's off their money).

Moseley and Moore hit it off as the best of friends. My impression is that they once shared a cell in prison, but I do have a sarcastic sense of humor. Wait! That isn't a joke... they DO share a cell together... but, in 1718 concerning the Blackbeard affair when Governor Eden reacted badly to the "Dynamic Duo" of Maury and Eddie breaking into John Lovick's Secretary's office hunting for incriminating papers against Charles Eden and his pal, Tobias Knight.

You see, Eden & Knight were another pair of lovelies that were in cahootes with Edward Teach, Thatch, Drummond, Beard (Thanks, Kevin!) or whatever you choose to call him. Moseley and Moore had by now, some business enterprises together and I'm sure that Eden & Knight's illegal enterprises were probably interfering with the illegal efforts of Moseley and Moore. North Carolina had this reputation as a pirate hangout in the early days you know and corporate pirates were just as deadly sometimes as Blackbeard and his buddies... reference the corporate efforts against good ol' Captain Beard and his cronies. That Edward lost his head over the fallout of that little venture (he became a liability, as they say).

Anyway, Maury and Eddie went on to be more successful (Moseley was found guilty and couldn't hold public office for a year... big deal! He wasn't even fined any cash.). However, now that Blackbeard was out of the way and Eden and Knight moved around more quietly (Knight actually died in 1719, probably now a liability to both sides of the argument. Of course, it could've been that he choked on his lobster or something), the gang of Maury and Eddie could operate much more freely, building their business enterprises with only the Assembly to worry about.

The following is just one of the many references that illustrate the Assembly's and the Governor Council's response to Moore's illegal activities, his usurpation of land and lack of concern for his fellow colonists. Moseley, as the Surveyor General after 1723, proved a valuable partner in acquiring the Cape Fear lands in 1726 and the few years after until Burrington helped the Duke of Newcastle put a stop to it. It should be noted that Burrington was left hanging, too... in a (now) hostile territory (after 1732) without help or friends, awaiting his replacement as governor and just hoping he can get back to England outside of a pine box. Here's the record:

Minutes of the North Carolina Governor's Council
North Carolina. Council
April 03, 1719
Volume 02, Pages 328-331


-------------------- page 328 --------------------
[Council Journal.]

North Carolina—ss
At a council held at the house of William Dinkinfield Esqr April the 3d 1719
Present the Honble the Charles Eden Governor Capt. General and Admiral
The Surveyor General haveing made a returne to this Board reporting that the Land in Controvercy between Mr John Blount and Mr Maurice Moore resurvey'd by him by order of the Governor and Councill Contains three thousand feet above an acre and that there was an error in his first returne of that matter which he has now rectified and finds by the courses in his sd first returne which is within the fence of the aforsd Cleare ground there is some feet above an acre
And Mr James Wineright being sumoned upon this occassion laid before the Board a plat of the afsd Land in Controversy between the sd Blount and Moore according to the Courses and distances Observed by the surveyor General pursuant to the first order of Council which contains three hundred & ninety feet above an acre
Whereupon this Board haveing Considered the same are of opinion that the sd Land belonging to Mr John Blount was not Lapsable and that the pattent granted Mr Maurice Moore was Clandestinely and sereptiously obtained
Its therefore ordered by this Board that the sd Pattent granted to the afsd Maurice Moore be declared Null and Void to all intent and purposes as if the same had never been granted

No comments: