Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements

Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life

By: Ethelene Dyer Jones

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Couple leaves Choestoe for New Holland William Bruce Moore and Catherine Souther Moore

Through mountain mists we discern motives as to why people of the late nineteenth century left family and familiar scenes to go to a new location. Sometimes the very survival of families depended on it. Such seemed the case of Catherine Souther Moore (01.16.1869-02.03.1921) and her husband, William Bruce Moore (04.16.1868-08.26.1905).

This couple was married in Union County, Georgia on September 23, 1886. The husband, William Bruce Moore, was from Towns County, Georgia, a son of Andrew and Adeline Greer Moore. Catherine Souther, his bride, was the ninth of ten children born to John Combs Hayes Souther (10.22.1827- 01.04-1891) and Nancy Collins Souther (02.13.1829-07.22.1888).

Catherine had three brothers, William Albert Souther, John Padgett Souther, and Joseph Newton Souther. William Albert married Elizabeth "Hon" Dyer. John Padgett married Martha Clemetine Brown. Joseph Newton married Elderada Swain. Catherine had seven sisters. They and their spouses were Mary Elizabeth Souther who married Smith Loransey Brown; Celia Souther who died at about age 16; Sarah Evaline Souther who married Bluford Elisha Dyer; Nancy Roseanne Souther who married William Hulsey; Martha Souther who married, first, Jasper Todd Hunter, and, second, James Hunter (her husbands were brothers); and Catherine's youngest sister was Ruthie Caroline Souther who married, first, William A. Sullivan and, second, Logan Souther. This youngest sister moved west to Pueblo, Colorado.

Perhaps it was the fact that Catherine's sister, Nancy Roseanne Souther and her husband, William Hulsey, already lived in New Holland that helped Catherine and Bruce Moore decide to move there. Times were hard, and the couple seemed to realize that their chances for a regular income lay, not in tending the land at Choestoe to eke out a living, but to go to New Holland where Bruce could be employed for a regular $1.00 per day salary working in the cotton mill.

In the history of New Holland Cotton Mills, it was indicated that the Pacolet Manufacturing Company of South Carolina established a cotton mill in the village of New Holland, two miles northeast of Gainesville in 1901. There the company built a brick building to house the cotton mill, the weaving looms and other equipment necessary to producing quality cotton cloth. Also on the property secured by Pacolet were mill village houses which could be rented by families who worked in the mill. There was a bold spring, supposedly with health-giving water, that provided drinking water for the houses. Any of the ambitious families who wanted to tend a side-patch next to their rented house could plant a vegetable garden and hope for fresh vegetables in a favorable growing season. The manufacturer also provided a mill village store where families could buy necessary supplies. A school for the children, New Holland Academy, was also established. The whole village seemed a haven for families hard-pressed to make a living in the early twentieth century.

William Bruce Moore and Catherine Souther Moore had seven children as follows: James Andrew Moore (08.05.1888 - 12.29.1909); Nancy Adeline Moore (07.07.1890-?) married L. O. Coker; Mary Ellen Moore (10.25.1891-03.10.1935) married Will Voyles; Emma Mae Moore (04.10.1894 -?) married Arthur Franklin; Katie Evaline Morre (12.23.1896-05.08.1957) married Earl Franklin; Martha Wortie Moore (05.25.1900-05/26.1949) married Bruce Meta; and William Virgil Moore (09.30-1902-05.08.1962) married Thelma Cook.

As already mentioned, in that day the New Holland mill employed men for $1.00 per day. Women worked for fifty cents per day, and children, upon becoming age 12, got jobs for fifty cents per day. In the early years when the Moore family worked there, few health restrictions were intact, and workers breathed the cotton dust from the milling processes. It was an unhealthful environment. William Bruce Moore died August 26, 1905, leaving his wife Catherine to raise their family of seven children on her own. Imagine this mother, tired from a twelve-hour day at the mill, returning home, heavy with grief, and having to prepare a meager meal for her children, do their laundry, and keep the house in order. Another sadness came to Catherine Souther Moore as her eldest son, James Andrew, died December 9, 1909 at age 22. Was his death also caused by exposure to cotton dust in the mill?

On June 1, 1903, a tornado ripped through Gainesville and New Holland. Forty were killed in New Holland. Historical pictures show caskets lined up, side by side, in the New Holland mill, awaiting burial. Some, for which caskets had not yet been secured, were covered in materials that had been woven in the plant. Over three decades later, on April 6, 1936, another devastating tornado ripped through Gainesville, doing much damage to the city and to outlying districts like New Holland. In 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt visited the city, surveying the damage, and promising federal help for rebuilding.

My great aunt, Catherine Souther Moore, did not have to worry about cleaning up from the great tornado of 1936. She had quietly laid down her life on February 3, 1921, dying of what was then known as "consumption," a disease of the lungs brought on by years of breathing the cotton dust in the mills. She was buried in the New Holland Cemetery alongside her husband who had preceded her in death on August 26, 1905.

c 2007 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Nov. 1, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

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