“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.” ~ George Burns
There’s no doubt that I come from a family of long livers. On both my mother’s my and father’s maternal and paternal lines there are scads of people who lived well into their nineties and some just the other side of one hundred. If the average life expectancy is around 73 years, then we’ve been beating those odds for a couple hundred years.
I’ve always been curious about things that tend to run in families, like longevity, and eye and hair color, and handedness. Not just those things that are explained away in biology classes, but also things like a love a reading, or athletic ability, or artistic talent, or even the sound of one’s voice. In the nature versus nurture argument, I tend to lean more towards nature having the biggest influence on one’s life. With this in mind, a couple of years after I had my DNA tested, out of curiosity I uploaded my results to Promethease, just to see what the report might have to say. I was pretty pleased to see that I carried an SNP associated with “better odds of living to 100” and an SNP related to an exceptional long life and a 70% less chance of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s. My immediate thinking went to my ancestors and realized that this would be one possible explanation for having so many “long livers”.
Since I was a kid, I had heard stories about my great-grandfather, William Grant Moore. Apparently, he was quite the character and among the stories that I’d heard about “The Old Man”, was that he was 100 years old when he died.
If any of you have Moores in your line, you might be able to sympathize with me concerning the trials of searching for any Moores, let alone those with names like William, Charles, David, Thomas, James, Sarah, Emma, Mary. I knew that he had died in 1963, but there are more than 20 William Moores who died in Ohio in 1963 that could have fit the bill and several of them are listed as William G. I didn’t have a lot of information to go on and these were pre-internet days. After waiting 12 long weeks for the first death certificate that I had sent for, I learned that it was the wrong man. Sigh. Back to the library and the microfilm readers.
The scant information that I had from my grandmother suggested that William was born after his father, “Mr. I Don’t Know What His Name Was”, came home from the Civil War. She thought that his mother’s name might be Ruth. She also knew that at one time they lived around Salineville, that he dealt in horses and that the undertaker frequently called on him to provide horses to take the caskets to be buried, and she knew the names of some of William’s brothers and sisters and who they married. There was Thomas, Sadie (who married a Duke), Lucy (who married a Liggett), Charles (who was called “Tally”), and Mary, who was sometimes called Moll, or Polly (who married a Wallace). I spent a lot of time looking for Moore families with children’s names like these.
My breakthrough came several years later when I was digging around in 1870 Coshocton County census films trying to help a friend find something and stumbled upon a “More” family with children with these names. I looked at those names something like 10 times trying to figure out if they were, indeed, my Moores. What the heck were they doing in Coshocton County? Turns out that they were there for work. Stumbling upon this information opened up a bunch of information that I’d been unable to find before, but there was a problem. It looked as if William had been born in 1866. Uh-oh! Not 100 when he died, but a long life nonetheless.
This is the complete list of William’s siblings:
Wesley, born 1849 and married Sarah Catherine Landers, and Mary B. Rose.
Mary, born 1852 and married James Wallace.
Thomas, born 1854 and married Elizabeth Cameron.
Sarah Ann, “Sadie”, born 1856 and married John Duke.
Emma, born 1858 and married Joseph Griffith.
Charles, born 1860 and married Mary Elizabeth Wilson.
James H., born 1862 and married Ida L. Simpson.
Lucinda, born 1862 and married Neal M. Liggett.
William was born on April Fool’s Day, 01 April 1866, to Charles Moore and Jane Johnson near Jacobsport, Coshocton County, Ohio. William married Nancy Jane Hale 14 April 1886 in Jefferson County, Ohio. She was the daughter of Elisha Hale and Mary Ellen Jacobs and was born on 10 May 1868 near New Somerset, Jefferson County, Ohio.
The following census snips show William’s age progression over a period of sixty years.
1870 – 4 years old.
1880 – 14 years old.
1900 – 35 years old. April 1865 stated as birth year and month.
1910 – 43 years old.
1920 – 53 years old.
1930 – 67 years old.
1940 – 75 years old.
William and Nancy were married for 65 years and had seven children, including my grandfather David, who was born 07 April 1903. Nancy Jane passed away on 01 September 1951. William died 18 February 1963. They are both buried in West Lawn Cemetery near McKinley Monument in Canton, Stark County, Ohio.
I guess that sometimes family stories aren’t exactly as they appear to be. Even when faced with evidence that seems to back up some circumstances, the end result is usually a product of pulling all of the pieces together and making some assumptions before you can get a clearer picture of what the actual story was.
This is my Week #16 post for Amy Johnson Crow’s
52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Challenge.
The optional theme for this week was “Live Long”.