Bullitt County History

Colonel James Francis Moore

The name of Colonel James Francis Moore, who settled at the Fishpools in what is now southern Jefferson County, has been recorded numerous times in the early history of Bullitt County as well.

We found these comments about Colonel Moore in an article about his brother, Nicholas Ruxton Moore, printed in The Patriotic Marylander [Vol. III, No. 1, September 1916, pp 228-9], a volume published under the auspices of the Maryland Daughters of the American Revolution.

James Francis Moore, another brother of Col. Nicholas Ruxton Moore, was born August 12, 1751. Family tradition said that all the brothers of Nicholas Ruxton Moore went West before the Revolutionary War and were all killed by the Indians and none of them were ever heard from afterward.

As a matter of fact, when Col. Nicholas Ruxton Moore died, his children were too young to know anything about their family and all of their uncles had gone West and for some reason were not heard from again until Colonel Moore had been dead for nearly one hundred years, when the descendants of James Francis Moore, in getting up their family history, advertised for the descendants of Nicholas Ruxton Moore, and correspondence between the descendants of the two brothers brought out the interesting fact that James Francis Moore had served in the Revolution until July 27, 1779, as a captain of the Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment and was discharged with honor.

We find him in Kentucky in 1780 on the staff of Gen. George Rogers Clark, stationed at the Falls of the Ohio, now the city of Louisville. He filled many positions and offices in Jefferson County with honor and credit to himself. As soon as Kentucky became independent of Virginia he was elected to the Legislature and in 1803 to the Senate, where he served continuously until 1810. He died upon the floor of the Senate. In 1809 he was Humphrey Marshall's second when he fought his celebrated duel with Henry Clay. He was one of the five commissioners named by the Virginia Assembly in "Clark's Grant" and served on that commission until his death. When he died he had 55,000 acres of land in the State of Kentucky and he controlled the great salt wells of that State. He built the first large house ever constructed in Kentucky. It was a palace in those days. It contained sixteen rooms and the interior finish was as fine as anything that could be found in this day. It was, unfortunately, torn down a few years ago. A Kentucky writer says that if it were yet standing it would be historically one of the most interesting things of which Kentucky could boast. Among the prominent descendants of James Francis Moore living at the present time is Judge Shackleford Miller, the chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He is a distinguished lawyer and a charming gentleman.

In a letter written by Col. Nicholas Ruxton Moore, dated at Baltimore, February 20, 1787, and addressed to his brother, Col. James Francis Moore, Bear Grass. Ky., he mentions a niece, Betsy, who was making her home with him at that time. She was then 14 years old. Her mother died at Sullivan Fort, which was located on Bear Grass Creek, Jefferson County, Kentucky, when Betsy was only 3 years old. After her mother's death she was sent back to Baltimore, where she remained until she was 14, when she, with her uncle, Nicholas Ruxton Moore, rode on horseback from Baltimore to Louisville, Ky., which was a very perilous as well as a very brave thing to do, as the whole country at that time was infested with hostile Indians. When she was 16 years old she ran away and married Jesse Eliot Pendergast, a cousin of Commodore Jesse Duncan Eliot and the father of Commodore Garrett Jesse Pendergast, who died while in command of the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1862, a distinguished naval officer and as fine a gentleman as ever served in the United States Navy.

A descendant of Col. James Francis Moore, recently writing from Kentucky, states that the name of James Francis Moore still lives but that few of his descendants have held on to their wealth. The children were reared in luxury and never knew the value of money.

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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 11 Sep 2020 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/james-francis-moore.html