Letter from my grandfather

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    I am copying a letter from my grandfather he wrote in 1943 to his niece:

    Dallas, Texas
    June 5 – 1943
    Dear Mariana:
    I rcvd your letter about a week ago, and since have been trying to refresh my memory on the subject mentioned.
    In the year 1649 William Moseley a wealthy merchant of London fled from England with his family when Charles I was beheaded. He was a royalist, of course. He first went to Rotterdam, Holland, and the same year emigrated to Virginia purchasing a large tract of land in Norfolk and Princess Anne Counties. He named his estate Rolleston Hall after the old family estate in Staffordshire, England. Sir Oswald Mosley – in jail now as a fascist – is the present heir of the English estate being the eldest son of the eldest son on down. Rolleston Hall England was founded in the 11th century by one Erwald, a Saxon who received a King’s grant of land at Mossy Lea (?) Staffordshire. This is our first known ancestor, and the name Moseley, evidently was derived from the name Mossy Lea (?).
    We are descended from second sons. Our branch went to London, accumulated wealth, and one of our ancestors, Sir Christopher, was Lord Mayor of London. Our family in London was supposed to have been diamond merchants. The Moseley family of Virginia had more family jewels than any other, and was second only to the Randolph’s in family portraits. They were blue blooded aristocrats, but some of them do not have an enviable record. The Virginia Moseleys were Tories during the revolutionary war and friends of Benedict Arnold and some of them barely escaped hanging. Our branch of the family, however was already in North Carolina and were loyal revolutionists.
    Your descent in America is as follows: [Moseleys] William – Arthur – Edward I – Edward II, – Tully – Matthew – Alexander I, – Louis Matthew – Alexander II, and Thomas, your father.
    Arthur [Moseley] was the second son of William, and his son Edward I, know as Colonel Edward Moseley, emigrated to North Carolina. He owned a plantation of more than 20,000 acres, was a lawyer and land surveyor, and for more than 20 years was speaker of the Colonial Assembly of North Carolina. He is our most distinguished American ancestor. He married Ann Lillington, daughter of Gov. Lellington, whose wife, the mother of Ann, was an Adams of Massachusetts of the same family as John and John Quincy. So you are blood kin to two presidents. Col Edward [Moseley] and two other commissioners appoint by the Governors of Virginia and North Carolina surveyed the boundary lines between the two states. A colonial governor of North Carolina, – later than Gov. Lellington – was suspected of being in conspiracy with a notorious pirate known as Blackbeard. Col. Edward [Moseley} and another member of the Assembly searched the Governor’s office in his absence and found paper of sufficient evidence to convict the Governor. The Governor, however apprehended them, regained his papers and ordered their arrest. He fined them 500 pounds each and sentenced them to 1 year in jail. He offered to pardon them if they would apologized on the floor of the Assembly. The other Assemblyman did so, but Colonel Edward [Moseley] refused. The jail sentence was pardoned, but the fine had to be paid. Blackbeard’s fleet was afterwards destroyed by the British Navy and Blackbeard killed. What became of the guilty governor is not recorded.
    Edward II, or Edward Jr. as he is called, son of Col. Edward [Moseley] married Mary Empereur, daughter of Tully Empereur, of Princess Anne County Virginia. This name Tully was derived from Tully Empereur’s mother, who was Mary Tully and came to America from England with her brother Marcus Tully. This Tully Empereur was the wealthiest of all of our ancestors. They owned vast estates in the Barbados Islands, in Virginia, and the Carolinas. The grandson, Col. Tully Moseley, son of Edward and Mary, was the wealthiest of our Moseley ancestors. He made his home on Cape Fear River of North Carolina. He was born in 1711. He lived a long life, was a man of high intellect and principles, and had the respect of every one.
    Col. Tully was the grandfather of Alexander, you treat great grandfather and William D. who became the first elected Governor of Florida after this territory became a state. Both Alexander and William D. were members of the North Carolina legislature before they moved to Florida. Alexander, our ancestor, quit the law to become a Baptist preacher. William D. continued the practice of law and became Governor of Florida. He as a man of extraordinary intellect, but he did a thing in North Carolina that makes me glad that Alexander the preacher, and not he [William D. Moseley], is our ancestor. He {William D. Moseley] sponsored a bill and it became a law making it a penitentiary offence to teach a Negro reading or writing. This was during slavery and the bill evidently intended to keep the Negro in ignorance and bondage forever.
    Louis Matthew Moseley, your great grandfather, was born in 1815, the son of Alexander the preacher. He owned a 10,000 acre plantation and more than 100 slaves. This plantation was called Moseley Hall and was located on the Suwannee River in Live Oak and Madison Counties, Florida. He was a member of the Florida legislature. He had the following children: Corrie, Cousin ______ mother, – Sue, – Alexander, mine and Toms father, – Margaret, Thomas, William, Matthew Barton, Frank and Mr. B’s father – MacDonald, “Uncle Don” – and Josephine, “Aunt Josie at Italy.
    Alexander, mine and Tom’s father became a Confederate soldier at the age of 16. His ‘buddy” in the war was Shelton Sessions who lived there at Ennis, and for whom your Uncle Shelton was named. Mr. Sessions also named his first son Alexander for our Father. They first served with Longstreet’s division In Virginia, but took part in only one serious engagement, the battle of Fredricksburg. After this on account of their age, they were sent back to the army of Florida where they remained without active service to the end of the war.
    The information that I have given you down through the record of Tully Moseley I found in the year books published by the Virginia Historical Society (or Institute?) and also in an old North Carolina History. All of these books may be found on the second floor of the Dallas Public Library and are for reference only. The information is pretty hard to dig out and you have to use the index entirely. Some volumes will give a rather lengthy account, some only a little, and most of them nothing. In one of these year books is a replica painted portrait of William the Emigrant, and he looks like Capt Miles Standish, and also very aristocratic with his lace collar and cuffs, his goatee and straight brushed mustaches. Strange, but the original Moseley’s are dark brunettes, and our branch has become fair through marriage with blondes.
    What I have given you is from memory, but it is fairly accurate. I don’t want to write another, so I would advise you to type and file it for safe keeping and if any other Moseley want his copy let him or her copy.

    With love and best wishes

    You Uncle

    P.S. I forgot to mention the Moseley Coat of Arms. I have seen this. It has three pick axes in one corner – why, I don’t understand for none of the Moseleys ever did any ward work. Like all coat of arms, it has a Latin inscription, which I have forgotten, but which translated means “Custom make the law” which I don’t believe.
    I believe that the present generation of all families are for better, intellectually, morally and spiritually than their ancestors and this dulls my interest in family histories. A good heredity is a good thing, but so called aristocracy may not be so good. “A mans a non for this.” A.T.M.

    As to religion the early Moseleys in England, like every one else, were Roman Catholics. They changed to the Episcopal Church of England during the reign of Henry VIII, and after they came to America, very likely down to Alexander, the Baptist preacher.
    Herbert Hoover’s ancestors lived in North Carolina during the life of Col. Edward Moseley. They belonged to a Quaker sect against which a violent persecution arose by member of the Church of England. Col. Edward, though denounced the persecution over and over again on the floor of the Assembly and did not cease until the government stopped the persecutions.
    The Moseley family is noted for the intellectuality of its men and the beauty and purity of its women. In fairness to the men, I want to say that though they may have occasionally departed from our present standard of right, they were on the whole men of the higher honor and integrity whose work was their bond. And particularly were they kind – kind to their families, their slaves, and all – and they still are kind. That which “Uncle William D.” [Moseley] the Governor did in North Carolina who no doubt believed to be right, since African slavery at that time was regarded as ordained of God by the majority of the southern people, and John C. Calhoun was it chief exponent. This belief was based mainly upon Noah’s prophecy concerning the descent of his 3 sons, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” – Genesis 9:25
    I will tell you Mariana as I have often told my children you have an ancestry equal to any and you need never feel an inferiority complex nor an unfavorable comparison on that score.
    Intellect and integrity are the most persistent heredity traits and I am happy to know that they still appear in the Moseley descent. We can be particularly proud of our Adams ancestry for this family is one of the most outstanding cultured and intellectual families of America, and has been so for generation after generation. Colonel Edward married the daughter of the Adams women but he himself was about the most intellectual man of North Carolina at that time. When I would read of him in the old North Carolina History his every act – his land surveying, his consultation with people, etc. etc. – would remind me of your grandfather –mine and Tom’s father –who was a man exactly of that type though not so distinguished.
    The Moseley at the beginning are pure English but through intermarriages are now English, Dutch, French, Scotch, Irish, and goodness knows what else. My children and 1/8 German from their mother. The melting pot is at work and this mixture of races is making the American the greatest of all people.
    [Alexander Tully Moseley]



    What a lovely letter filled with so much history. I am having a very hard time trying to track down my Mosley’s. It seems they didn’t exist before my grandfather William Henry Mosley whom was born in 1866 in KY.. His father was John Critinine and went by Crit. His mother as best we know was Cecilia Ross. Have you by chance run across these names? I would love to know if you have. Thanks for your time.

    Velma Mosley

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