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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Edward Moseley: "Where's my money!?"

Historian Noeleen McIlveena began her book, A Very Mutinous People, with a line (dated 1680) taken from the North Carolina Colonial Records: "We will have noe Lords noe Landgraves noe Cassiques we renounce them all!"

North Carolinians have long had a reputation for a "free society."  We have also been known as stubborn.  :)

It came about like this:

 In 1649, Englishmen had tired of Charles I's Catholicism and decided to chop off his head.  This had never been attempted before... because there was that deal about going to hell for killing a "divine" monarch.  When you chop of a king's head and nothing happens, you tend to no longer regard kingly rule as "divine."  No lightening bolts actually came from the sky when his head rolled across the courtyard.  No frogs, pestilences, hail, or plagues fell from the heavens...

What a liberating experience that must have been! 

During the Interregnum (between monarchs), Oliver Cromwell allowed great freedom (relatively speaking) in the colonies... Quakers who shunned authority, for instance, got to worship as they please.  I brought up Quakers because their anti-slavery and anti-authority stance are important to this state's history... well, at least part of it.

North Carolina, on the south side of the Dismal Swamp (a boundary that must be traversed and where few people survived) and behind the wall of the deadly Outer Banks, offered a wonderful chance to evolve gradually without much interference.  Quakers loved it here!  They flourished in a place where opposing opinions did not matter.

Still, eleven years later, Charles II came back to the throne and (can you believe it?) expected things to return to normal!  lol  Right, dude!  We had a taste of freedom... for half a century... you've got to be kidding!  Anglican (state religion) re-entrenchment came slowly, but decidedly by 1700.  Still, in Northern Carolina, it took quite a bit longer... lol.  There were... uh... rebellions... a few anyway.  He he... we caused trouble.

So, North Carolinians began as the ultimate liberals and pretty much remained that way for decades.  Still, a conservative notion began in the southern parts of North Carolina about 1725.  Much of this had to do with outside influence... or outsiders inside what would be North Carolina itself.  What resulted is... well, a schizophrenic, yet conservative state that Rob Christensen called a Paradox of Tar Heel Politics... the state that we know, love, and sometimes despise today.

You can easily tell that North Carolina is the product of two worlds... one non-conforming Virginians and less aristocratic.  The other is South Carolinian and highly aristocratic.  These were split down the middle by Indians hostile to English invaders behind a maritime "brick wall" called the Outer Banks. The Tuscarora War of 1711-15 took care of the Indians quite early.  From the English point-of-view, northern Carolina, the area "north and east of Cape Fear," was really a waste dump.  The dregs moved there, became pirates, and skimmed their subsistence from whales and porpoises near the shore... and any ship unlucky enough to crash on the hazardous barrier islands.  Early on, we kept a low profile.

South Carolinians, by contrast, were flamboyant, haughty, and did not much keep to themselves.  Charleston was the cream of colonial Anglican influence. 

You might have guessed that the "outside" influence along the Cape Fear River, the one that came later than the Virginian-ish Albemarle region in the north (at least 50 yrs old by 1725) was Charlestonian... led by "Goose Creek" Indian slavers (sons of former governor Col. James Moore)

South Carolina was highly aristocratic by comparison, but it was only a remote part of the English kingdom... a part yet considered "beyond the line" (America in general) to where the wild and land-thirsty capitalistic sons of formerly rich men (and their minions/slaves) went to make their fortunes... after first stopping off at Barbados to murder slaves in sugar plantations, of course.  They were worse than the Koch brothers, if you can believe it!  :)

"Carolina" (to English nobility, really just the area around Charles Towne) was often reminded of its lower status - denied the nobility long reserved for England itself... they were allowed titles like "Casiques" and "Landgraves" when they really wanted "Duke" and "Earl" (maybe even "king!").  English dominance declared itself in Locke's "Fundamental" Constitutions of 1669... where these lower, provincial titles appeared.  Virginian escapees in the Albemarle (northern part of NC) wanted to "renounce" all such titles and develop a more egalitarian society.  So, we have the difference here, in early NC, like we have now... a liberal, egalitarian system based on equality of each individual versus the presumed right to rule of the landed aristocrat.  Thus, the colony's schizo problems after 1725.

Still, this downward glance from the motherland would not sit well with liberal ex-Virginians nor aristocratic Carolinians alike, a temporary alliance was reached, and a revolution developed, but that's another story... 

The point to this story is that the motherland decided to chastise their lackluster non-conforming provincial subjects at the turn of the eighteenth century.  A class/religious struggle developed that was simply one of many historic examples... they still continue today. 

In Charles Town's view, South Carolina already had a well-manicured foot in the aristocratic door that England wanted open in the colonies... and they got full of themselves, too... thought they were immune to England's ire.  That thought perished after the Lords Proprietors disgustedly sold out to the crown (late 1729).

This early class struggle in Carolina (at the beginning of Anglican reassertion around 1700) gave fuel particularly to one man's greed... and if you've read my posts before, you know who he is.    

I've picked on Edward Moseley quite a bit.  This is simply another installment of the abuse of the pseudo-aristocracy that Moseley well represented... my version of #OCCUPY MOSELEY.  Furthermore, no historic figure has enjoyed more favor from modern conservative North Carolinians than this guy.  

Yes, Edward Moseley's father, John (a merchant-taylor of St Giles, Cripplegate parish in London) died when Moseley was only seven.  Well...  the probably-pampered little rich-wannabe kid [temper, temper...] still got into the best school... Christ Hospital's (not medical) Royal Mathematical School, reserved for orphaned children of "substantial" men, with lessons prepared by none other than Isaac Newton (the gravity guy) himself.  According to the celebrated sarcasm in William Byrd's Histories of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia: and North Carolina of 1728 (a funny book, actually), Edward Moseley “was bred in Christ’s Hospital [Newgate, London] and had a Tongue as Smooth as the Commisary, and was altogether as well qualify’d to be of the Society of Jesus.”  Well, Byrd had a definite opinion as well... lol.  He called Moseley "Plausible" in the "secret" version of that history. He never tells why... exactly.  We can guess.  :)

Christ's Hospital and the Royal Mathematical School was the brainchild of Samuel Pepys, who had the frequent ear of the King.  The English government needed navigators for their merchantmen.  Children who graduated were usually apprenticed to a merchant mariner as navigator and Moseley was no exception.  In December 1697, he was apprenticed to Jacob Foreland, master of the ship Joseph, bound for the Spanish port of Bilboa, probably to pick up loads of iron ore.  

Moseley's not-so-modest school of Christ's Hospital (see below)
This was the best we could do as far as public buildings until 1734.  Being the most powerful nation now kind of prevents us from remembering our very humble beginnings.  At least it was brick...

But, the apprenticeship never happened... remember that Edward had rich "friends," as the entry in Christ Hospital's register states.  They "otherwise provided for him" by purchasing his three-year term from Foreland.  This took some clout and money indeed!

One fact that may have contributed to Moseley's sideline education was Daniel DeFoe.  He also lived in Cripplegate parish and even bid on some brick work at the school that Moseley attended.  DeFoe was not the best businessman, having frequent disputes with school officials.  He also tended to speak his mind quite a bit... and his mind was rebellious.  Young Edward undoubtedly got wind of him.  He probably learned also that fortunes could be made across the seas...  
Daniel DeFoe

Funny that DeFoe had a strong interest in America as well... and our Caribbean pirates!  To tell the truth, a lot of noble wannabes got interested in America... lots and lots of land... and more LAND!  The English loved their land and the power that came with it... remember... they live on an island... land was limited.  Land gave you power!

Back to the abuse...
It was about two years later (1700... the year before the English government felt they needed to eradicate the annoying democratic tendencies in their colonies so they could "re-establish" the established Anglican church in the backwater sites) that Moseley stepped onto American shores in Charles Towne, Carolina... probably brought over at the same time as John Lawson by the governor of Carolina, James Moore, the inveterate Indian fighter, slaver, and all-around "bad news" for the proprietors.  They might have spoken at the Carolina Coffee-house on Birchen Lane.  Moore might also have seen something that he liked in Moseley (warning: this can't be good).  

Incidentally, I've never found where Moseley even stepped onto another ship again...maybe the gold weighed him down too much. :)
Moseley began immediately to work as an ordinary court clerk for the controversial Gov. Moore.  He met and became fast friends with Moore's son of about his age (b. c1682)... or just eighteen years old... still quite impressionable and hanging with the wrong crowd, you might say.  This boy was Maurice Moore who came to Northern Carolina in 1713 to... you guessed it... capture Indians (and take them back to Charles Towne to be sold as slaves in the Caribbean (pirates did not always live on water!).  It's a Goose Creek/Barbadian habit of the Moore boys.

NOTE:  Yes, these Carolina slaving "entrepreneurs" came from Barbadoes where it was more profitable to work slaves to death on sugar plantations and replace them rather than keep them alive to work another day (Ref: Richard Dunn's Sugar and Slaves)... Carolina followed suit with African as well as Indian slaves (ref: "Goose Creek Men" of St. James parish in Alan Gallay's book, The Indian Slave Trade).  It was a huge and profitable business!  By 1710, Africans alone outnumbered Englishmen in Carolina.  The Indians of course, were being shipped out to generate practically free capital.  This was Capitalism at its finest!

The Barbadians' (excuse me... South Carolinians') friend, Edward Moseley was most certainly an Anglican, a "conservative" man of the established church.  In 1703, he cataloged a library of Dr. Thomas Bray's given to the colony of Carolina (meaning "Charles Towne" of course) by the newly established Society of the Propogation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.  Yes, that was the official, long-winded title.  :)

Rev. Dr. Thomas Bray

Note that seemingly devout adherence to the state religion did not prevent Moseley joining forces (Moseley made money from conflicts... he carefully remained as neutral as possible) with John Porter (a reputed Quaker) and the Quaker proprietor John Archdale against the Anglicans (now Moseley's competition) in Northern Carolina in 1706-1708... Porter's son, Maurice Moore, and Moseley would all marry sisters and head to the Lower Cape Fear to "capitalize" or take advantage of that open region later...

SPG Seal - the "gift" was slavery and smallpox.

Don't let the innocuous title fool you, the SPG was the official religious arm of English government, who, after retaking English rule from the Cromwells, attempted to eradicate "democracy" (bad for business) in "foreign parts" like America... foreign parts especially like Northern Carolina, a wild no-man's land in which runaway slaves and ner-do-wells escaped taxes and sometimes the law in Virginia... and from other places (I reference a man named Edward Teach/Thatch who was quite welcome in Bath even if Charles Towne was ready to chop off his head).  The government across the pond wanted to establish some control among these wild, lower-class heathens (my ancestors, actually)!  They had it out for the provincial nobility (the 1% of America), of course... not the average everyday North Carolinian peasant (the 99%, or you and me, so to speak).  You could say that the 1% in England behaved as if the 1% in America was lower class and the 99% in the colony never existed!  An excellent extrapolation, if I say so myself... 

Anyway, I digress... while working for Dr. Bray, Moseley met the acting-governor of Northern Carolina, Henderson Walker and his young second wife, Ann Lillington Walker, herself the daughter of another possible transplant from Barbados, "Major" Alexander Lillington.  These folks were aristocratic exceptions in the Albemarle rather than the rule who came to northern Carolina for an easy position of power in such a backwoods wilderness.  As Milton said, "it is easier to rule in hell."  They were Edward Moseley's "equals" of a sort... the provincial versions, at any rate.  Remember that Moseley was born in London... ahem!

Moseley was no more than 21 years old and still quite impressionable and full of himself no doubt.  When Moseley found out that, in 1704, the very next year, that Henderson Walker, only about 44, had died, Moseley jumped right up for the job as Ann's next husband... and of course, the gainer of Walker's extensive land holdings in the remote wilderness province of Albemarle.  He left Charleston sometime after April 1705 to snatch up that free rich gal!  

The reason I know this is because in April of 1705 he handed a note (IOU) for £22 (just under $2000) to Col. George Logan, a friend of ex-governor Robert Daniell (even married Daniell's widow) and said (in the note) that Col. James Moore would cover it for him... to which Moore later said "What the...?" and Logan sued Moseley for the cash.  

By then, of course, Moseley had moved to the Albemarle and gotten hitched!  No record was ever found showing that Moseley actually paid that note.  He bandied it back and forth in court (across the water between the Albemarle and Charles Towne), but probably never paid it.  Logan later asked his friend and executor Daniell (in October 1706) to collect all debts owed to him, but "more especially from Edward Moseley of No. Carolina!" Moseley probably figured that old man Logan would die soon. 

Ann's family had doubts (about Moseley, you ask?  lol).  For any man to have generated doubts at so young an age as 22 probably meant something ominous.  For historian Noeleen McIlveena (one of my favorite authors), Moseley (sarcastically) "must have been a charmer," for he appeared too hungry for land... at least he did to Ann's brother, John Lillington and brother-in-law, Samuel Swann (also called "Major").  They made Moseley sign an agreement that he would not attempt to use Ann's lands for his own purposes, lest he be subject to a £1000 bond (In 1750, £1000 was equal to about $75,000 today, so... it was much more than that)!  Yikes!

The Lillingtons were seriously put off by this guy! They had good reason to be... 

In his time, Moseley possessed roughly about 40,000-55,000 (still adding it up) acres of land, including the land that belonged to his wife's ex-husband.  And, he wasn't up front about how he got that Walker land, either.  Ann Lillington Walker Moseley remained alive until 1732.  So, it wasn't her death that caused Moseley to achieve this feat.  In 1728, Moseley grabbed at a known tract of land that once belonged to Walker (while his wife lived) and he did this because of three factors:  1) Samuel Swann passed away, 2) The Tuscarora War left John Lillington with his deeds burned and needing resurvey, 3) A "Benjamin Walker" had signed his father's land away!  That's right, one of the holders in Moseley's £1000 bond had died, the other desperately needed his services as a surveyor, and Ann's step-son (son of Deborah Chaston?) had betrayed Ann's interests.  Two other tracts were passed by deed from Ann and her husband Edward Moseley to Ann's nephew and brother John Lillington who subsequently turned around and deeded it back to Moseley.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave! 

The first tract (File # 237, 1 Apr 1728), on Kendrick's Creek, had a special paragraph that followed it in the records.  Interestingly, Benjamin Walker states that his father left him the land in his will.  Well, Henderson Walker's will states " all ye rest of my Estate, bothe reall & personall, whatsoever, I give my wife, Ann Walker , and to her heirs...."  Not exactly the same wording, and Benjamin was probably not her son (i.e. heir).  Whether Ann gave him permission for this is not known, but the fact that Moseley got the release statement from Benjamin and not from Ann herself is clear enough, I think.  [It's also possible that Benjamin was John Walker's son and that John was left that land by Henderson Walker.  Still... ]

Moseley was careful that no one could say he didn't act legally when he got this land, the release for the 200 acres on Kendrick's Creek shown below, attached to a deed in 1728 (release previously recorded in 1727):

Release statement for his father's land by Benjamin Walker, 1727.  Note that Elizabeth Lillington, probably John's daughter witnessed it.  Note also that Benjamin Walker signed with a "B" because he was illiterate. 

McIlveena called Moseley "land hungry." What do you think?  :)

I'd also say that he was intelligent and cunning, but that might be a compliment to him... lol.


My interest in Edward Moseley began when I started to investigate the Lower Cape Fear developments between the rival towns of Brunswick Town and Wilmington.  You can guess that Wilmington won the struggle (I've talked to Wilmington residents who didn't even know where Brunswick Town was...!?)... but, it was not an easy one for the time (1732-40).  The protracted difficulties came because the fight was against the Family (the Moores, Moseleys, Porters, Swanns, Allens, Drys, etc, etc... all families of related individuals, through genes or marriage ("Major" Samuel Swann's widow, Elizabeth married 4 times in her life, the last time to Maurice Moore, founder of Brunswick Town in 1725... yeah, Anglicans were all about the traditional view of marriage like Dan Cathy... so they did it multiple times... down Gingrich!).   At the time, Family members sat on the assembly and in the governor's council and were a force to be reckoned with. 

In many ways, Moseley won over (tricked?  bribed?) everyone... despite Wilmington's favor in British political circles... especially by Gov. Gabriel Johnston and his patron... Lord Wilmington (imagine that!).  The silver-tongued devil Moseley even got the Virginian Swanns interested in his schemes.  He even got the Moores, who should have been pissed at him for that note, too...

In 1718, Moseley (with Maurice Moore) opposed NC governor Charles Eden (well, they locked his secretary, John Lovick, out of his house and then rifled the papers) because Eden cavorted with Blackbeard the pirate (the Teach/Thatch fellow) and threatened Moseley's income from survey fees... from potential immigrants who feared piracy. He attempted to stall Thomas Pollock's attempts to get help in the Tuscarora War from Virginia... because his friends in SC (especially the Moores) could use the money from the sale of the Indians to the West Indies.  Also, he collected fees for surveys that he never performed (I've proven this one).  Yes, he was a businessman... a perfect model of corporate loveliness! 

Moseley, in no uncertain terms, was a real SHIT!  

See why I like to pick on him?  But, the strongest incentive that I have for this is not because of what he did... it is because every conservative politician in NC since the Revolution has used his example as a positive one.  One of them, George Davis of Wilmington, said in June 1905 (few years after the race riot) at a NC Daughters of the American Revolution function:

“Of all the men who watched and guided the tottering footsteps of our infant State, there was not one who in intellectual ability, in solid and polite learning, in scholarly cultivation and refinement, in courage and endurance, in high Christian morality, in generous consideration for the welfare of others, in all true merit in fine, which makes a man among men, who could equal Edward Moseley.”

Gag!  As Shakespeare said, "... the gorge rises at it!"

Historian D. H. Hill, in 1906, declared him to "always [be] on the side of the people."

William L. Saunders, editor of the North Carolina Colonial Records, declared Moseley’s “undying love of free government, and his indomitable maintenance of the rights of the people.”  Saunders, was, of course, the Grand Dragon of the NC KKK (a little tighter on that noose, Bill!) in the late 19th century... probably more conservative than the Tea Party!  lol

Well, absolutely none of this hyperbole about the real Edward Moseley is true.  It was just political propaganda.  You see, when the American Revolution came along in 1775, Moores and Moseleys and many of the Family stood up against Britain... right along with the rest of us.  They were, after all, aristocratic, pompous, rebellious types (it was also a good place to pick up those titles that they loved so much... "Colonel," "Major," etc).  It stood in America's favor as far as becoming an independent nation.  In this context, Moseley would compare more to Samuel Adams, of the Sons of Liberty, burning effigies and tar-and-feathering British officials... if you can imagine Moseley getting his hands dirty.  It's easy to look back on these times with reverence, but I'll guarantee that you would NOT want to live in them.  Still, the fledgling new STATE of North Carolina, in dire need of heroes, had few to choose guess who we chose?

Moseley... make no mistake... he was a bad man... an aristocratic, pompous and arrogant greedy man who cared little for the poor and the middle-class and thought nothing of stomping them into the mud with his gold-buckled fancy shoes... or having his driver do it.  He came to America because he had nothing and, as the son of John Moseley, he "deserved" everything.  

An interesting reference that I found:  Edward's mentor (before he ran out), Gov. James Moore, in reference to the contested actions of a merchant in court (1701), said that "Mr. Painter having comitted Piracy; not having his majesties Pardon for ye Same.  Its resolved he is not fit for that trust."  Moore obviously believed that piracy was one of his duties... his "trust!"  lol  The king accused him of it, also. 

Edward Moseley showed that he learned that lesson well, too. 

In early America, especially North Carolina, a financially-depressed British rich kid could appear wealthy and even feel powerful as a King among the pines!  The Family, indeed, contemplated a kingdom of their own in the Brunswick settlement along the Cape Fear River.  Moseley even felt that he had royal backing for his crimes against the North Carolinians that he sneered at each day.  

One thing that I've noticed after years of researching this guy is... that when he would get caught doing something that the King frowned on, he submitted quickly and acted like he was only trying to best serve his king.  Moseley did not have guts enough to fight for the people, Dr. Hill... sneakily against them, maybe... the powerless lower class... US!  No, he was a sniveling coward who absolutely adored land, power, and money.  

This is ever so relevant to today... Edward favored the Anglican version of the domineering established church (when it suited), not unlike the religious right today that sees Chick-Fil-A as a golden financial example of God's power... 

I believe that Edward Moseley and Mitt Romney could have played admirably together in their mansions with their gilt toy soldiers... "off with his head" they might say with a sick little grin on their faces!  Still, our society today is becoming more and more democratic thanks to the invention and massive democratizing potential of the internet... the haughty aristocratic days are numbered... the days of Edward Moseleys, Paul Ryans, David Kochs, and Eric Cantors is about over.  We the people (the Quakers) are coming back out and speaking our minds. 

Take a look at the image below of a NC colonial-era 4-pence currency to see the name of two-time treasurer of the colony printed on it... this 1748 note also had the names, Eleazer Allen and Samuel Swann (younger one... now Moseley's "buddy") on it.  These were two gentlemen that also belonged to the Family (virtually, an early Sicilian-type mafia).  

The Family's Brunswick Town may have faltered before 1740, but the Family remained in power for quite some time... even taking virtual control of the rival town across the river... Wilmington.  Again, there was a riot there in 1898... the only coup to ever occur in United States history... over race... hundreds murdered... you might have heard... "negro carcasses" clogging the Cape Fear River... led by one of Maurice Moore's great-grandsons, Alfred Moore Waddell and his cousin, "Col." Roger Moore (named for Maurice's brother, "King" Roger Moore).  Yeah... "Gone With the Wind" might easily have been set in the Lower Cape Fear with the immense rice plantations that once sat on the river...

By the way, seeing his signature on the money must have given wannabe rich kid, Eddie, a sexual experience!

The soapbox is free... :)


Dethroning the Kings of Cape Fear: Consequences of Edward Moseley's Surveys

Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks

Aristocratic Pyrates of the Albemarle

Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks







Brunswick Town and Wilmington

 Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks