Furthermore, one should not forget the "Moseley Old Hall" in Staffordshire, England (probably the ancestral Moseley's of our Edward Moseley and perhaps the other Edwards in Virginia) or the "Moseley Hall" on the campus of Nyack College in South Nyack, Rockland County, New York!
The term "Moseley Hall" is as popular as "Edward" is a given name in the Moseley family!
The most well known of the North Carolina "Moseley Halls" is the name in Lenoir County where "Moseley Hall Township" was erected, because of Matthew and Elizabeth Herring Dunn Moseley, originally from Virginia. This family had two prominent Edward Moseleys in it and have become confused with the Edward Moseley who was born in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, had arrived about 1700 in Charleston, South Carolina, and then transferred to North Carolina by April 1705 to marry Henderson Walker's widow. Matthew and Elizabeth settled in the now defunct county of Dobbs, in the area of La Grange, "Moseley Hall Township" in Lenoir County. In "La Grange - the Garden Spot Continues to Bloom" by Patsy M. Boyette in the Olde Kinston Gazette of September 1998, she writes:
Matthew Moseley, a captain in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War, settled in Dobbs County in 1777. His brother Thomas had settled in northeastern Dobbs County in 1762. Matthew Moseley married Elizabeth Herring Dunn of Bear Creek sometime after moving to the area. The couple enjoyed the kind of prosperity available in colonial days and built a large home near a settlement called Rantersville. Their plantation was called Moseley Plantation and the home was named Moseley Hall. Moseley Hall manor was located at the north end of Caswell Street on the west side of Highway 903.
Either way, Matthew's son, William Dunn Moseley, just to confuse matters even more, opened his law practice in Wilmington after graduating from UNC in 1821. Wilmington was the heart of the Lower Cape Fear "Brunswick" settlement begun in 1725 by members of the "Family" which... included the Edward Moseley who originally came from Charleston. This Edward Moseley held property just north of Major John Walker's "Red Hill" plantation near Rocky Point... the former Ashe plantation of Green Hill.
Now, just to make matters worse, Margaret Isabella Walker Weber (born 1824), the daughter of Caroline Mary Mallet and Carleton Walker (and apparently a descendant of Edward Moseley; from Sprunt) has a collection of papers at the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill containing reminiscences of Walker's childhood at "Moseley Hall," on Walker's Hill, Chatham County, N.C., and in Hillsborough, N.C., as stated by the finding aid.
Let's not forget that Edward Moseley came to the Albemarle in 1705 to marry Ann Lillington Walker, the widow of Acting Governor Henderson Walker! We also know very little about Henderson Walker's life and family. He likely had a son named John, involved with Moseley in land purchases on the south side of Albemarle Sound near Kendrick's Creek and possibly in the Lower Cape Fear as well.
"Moseley," "Walker," in and around the Lower Cape Fear... are there any more? What a mass of confusion! What were the mal-effects of this confusion?
The unfinished "handsome large Dwelling house" might be called a "mansion" on a future survey:
|1916 survey of the Frank Sidbury estate showing "MANSION" near current Hwy 117.|
|Grant of 1875 acres on Northeast Cape Fear River at the "Large Island" (6 May 1730). From the John Alexander Lillington collection held at the Pender County Library Annex in Burgaw, NC. Conserved by Baylus C. Brooks.|
|Moseley grant of May 1730 showing "Large Island" detail.|
|1764 John Colson survey of Edward Moseley's May 1730 grant of "1875 acres." From the John Alexander Lillington collection held at the Pender County Library Annex in Burgaw, NC. Conserved by Baylus C. Brooks.|
|Patent Book #7, page 2 showing surveys for Edward Moseley|
According to Wheeler's History of North Carolina, Edward Moseley was Surveyor General of the Province and his triumph over the Virginia Commissioners gave him a great reputation.
He took up large tracts of land and about the year 1735 moved to the Rocky Point section bringing his family and fortune and settled on a plantation a few miles from the Rocky Point depot.
He brought with him his library of valuable books which was a very superior collection of volume after volume of English and Latin, including standard works of that era, histories, travel, poetry, fiction, and French translations of the most celebrated authors.
It is said that in this section one found culture and refinement that was unsurpassed elsewhere in America.
Edward Moseley, in conjunction with Speaker Swann, a distinguished lawyer, compiled the first revisal of the Laws of the Province of North Carolina (called “the Yellow Jacket” from the color of the binding), which was the first book printed in the Province of North Carolina.
It is also said that many of the books of Rocky Point libraries appear to have been collected at Lillington Hall and the collection embracing books of Edward Moseley, printed before 1700, has been placed in the State Library in Raleigh.
Old Moseley Hall has changed hands many times and was owned many years by the Sidbury family of whom Miss Fannie Sidbury of Burgaw was a descendant.
|"Joy W. Sidbury and Hattie S. Sidbury to Frank P. Sidbury" (12 Feb 1880; Bk C, p 449)|
|Pender Survey Book 2, page 63 "Frank P. Sidbury Estate"|
|1912 Soil Survey Map of Pender County showing "Ashton" on the old lands of Samuel Ashe directly west of "Moseley Hall Plantation"|
|Pender GIS showing Sidbury lands and those of "Red Hill Plantation" and Sterling Allen, all information annotated and obtained from Pender County deed records.|
I have yet to look at the highway marker research files in the North Carlina Archives to see where they obtained their information, but I suspect that there was an error somewhere. Still, it came close. I only know that, Edward Moseley, trained as a navigator until 14 years old, apprenticed to a merchant, his apprenticeship purchased by wealthy friends, came across the Atlantic and, then... appeared to stay away from the water! He built his "Mansion" close to the road and not the river, an 18th-century norm.
John Hampden Hill, who wrote before 1883, remembered that Major John Walker, just to the south of Moseley Hall Plantation purchased the former Green Hill of Gen. John Ashe, famous as a leader in the Stamp Act Rebellion. Walker must have renamed "Green Hill" to "Red Hill Plantation."
He also said that Moseley Hall, just north of Walker's plantation, "was a large and quite a valuable place, and was said to have been handsomely improved, but all that the writer remembers to have seen, was the remains of what was said to have been fine old avenues."
Hill knew these old residences quite well, at about the time that Frank P. Sidbury lived in them and worked. Frank had just received an inheritance in 1875 and added to it from others of his family in 1880. Plus, old Moseley Hall sat just a hundred feet or so off the main road that would become Hwy 117 one day. How could Hill have missed it? Maybe it was farther north than what he was used to traveling?
Interestingly, a Richard Sidbury, age 55 lived on a rather large tract of land in the "Grant Township" of New Hanover County in 1870, the same township listed for Frank in 1880 Pender County, after Pender was formed. A family of ex-slave Sidburys, Thomas and Alice Sidbury, and two dependents live nearby in Holden, in the "Rocky Point post office" area in that same 1870 census for New Hanover County. Presumably, "Grant" was nearby. Searches for Frank prior to 1875 reveal little, not even who his father was, even though he was born c1853 and the deed says that his father might be W. B. Sidbury. Most of his family resided near Topsail Beach, including the Joy and Hattie Sidbury who sold him back some of the Moseley Hall Plantation land in 1880.
Again, Edward Moseley indicated in his will as late as 1745 that the house at Rocky Point was yet unfinished and he indicated that his wife, Ann, could live at this house if she chose to, but she was given ownership in lands elsewhere. His son, John Moseley was willed this land with the unfinished house and perhaps was expected to support his step-mother after Edward died. Ann Sampson Moseley was still young, however and she met Hugh Munroe, a merchant who lived in Wilmington and married him (in will of John Swann Porter, 1770). Munroe died in 1779.
It is likely that Edward himself never really lived in Moseley Hall.
Still, there is a possibility that the "Mansion" mentioned on Frank P. Sidbury's survey in 1916 is the house that Moseley was building c1745. It would have been nearly 170 years old by then. Houses of that time are rare, but still survive today. The tradition since 1875 is that the house that Frank P. Sidbury resided in was indeed the house that Edward Moseley had built at Rocky Point. Review of the tract sales and wills of New Hanover County might reveal more clues... a least a title line.
Until then, let's try to remember which Moseley Hall was which, shall we? The oldest in North Carolina by far is the one at Rocky Point in Pender County. And its owner was the richest man by far than any other in the colony or state. That still doesn't make me like him, though. :)