Pueblo County, Colorado
Moore Family

Contributed by Karen McKenzie.

Ellen Moore was born to Robert Lee Moore and Olive May Berry.  Robert Lee Moore born 1864 Blairsville GA, son of Burton and Martha (Blythe) Moore.  Olive was the dau of Issac Nelson Berry and Merci Treat Forsyth (first cousin to Gen Geo Alexander Forsyth of the Battle of Beecher Island).

Martha Blythe Moore

1893 photo in Rye CO  Ella Berry-Payne holding Robert Nelson Payne, seated, Merci Treat Forsyth- Berry, Evaline Moore (young girl), Albert Payne (young boy), standing Olive May Berry- Moore holding Ellen Moore.

Rye Homested house in the 1980's still in use

Rye Homested house with Martha Blythe-Moore in front prior to 1903 when she moved to Mancos.

Evaline Moore and Ellen Moore as young girls.

Ellen married 1st Roy Aubry Lathrop and 2nd Ed Johnson.

Her sister was born 1890, Evaline Treat Moore married Ulry Elliott Briggsdale CO where their family still own that homested land.

Letter written to Mabel Elliott Baxter by Ellen Moore Lathrop;

Asked as I was to put on paper, my recollections of my father Robert Lee Moore and my mother Olive May Moore, I hardly know where to begin, But, since each of them came as fairly young children, into an area in Colorado which became Pueblo County, grew to adulthood, married, and lived there nearly all their first thirteen years togather, that probably is the place to start.

History tells us that the U.S. Government, in order to encourage settlement of our country west of the Mississippi River, opened up areas, parcels at a time, to homesteders.  Dad's parents, as many others did, caught the "Western fever" and left North Carolina and Georgia where they had originated and arrived by covered wagon at Denver Colorado in the earley 1870's.

It so happened that a new tract of land a bit southwest of Denver, had just opened to settlers. The lans lay west of the town of Pueblo and ran back thirty some miles to the foothills of the Wet Mountain Range of the Rockies.

The Moores really had "Oregon country" in mind; but they were traveling with quite a large brood of children of whom some were quite small, so they decided to at least take a look at this newly-opened land before continuing west.

Result? They didnt ever see "Oregon".

They found what they thought they were looking for, filed a homested right, built a log cabin and other necessary buildings, farmed, gardened, raised domestic animals and poultry, and finished rearing their children.

A good many other families took up land in the same area, of course, and before long a little village began and flourished, since thirty some miles to Pueblo, in a lumber wagon, was "quite a piece" to go for supplies. The village was given the name "Rye".

Dad was an eight year old when the family settled in this new location.  Just how old mother was when her family, the Issac Nelson Berrys came into the Rye area, I dont recall; but it was after the settlement was well established and thriving. They were not homesteders. Grandpa Berry was a Blacksmith by vocation and a Minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church by avocation.

Mother was the youngest of her family and was under ten when they came to Rye, I know.  By that time Dad was well into his teens, for he was eight years older than Mother.  Of course, they knew each other a good while and finished growing up as friends.

Dad had two great misfortunes during his earley years.  Soon after he was a year old, he developed what, at that time, was called "white swelling".  It is known now as "Tuberculosis of the bone".  One of his ankles was affected and, due to the decaying of the bones in it during long months of suffering, he was a cripple for the remainder of his life.

A few years later, a group of boys, he among them, were throwing rocks with sling shots.  As one of the boys whirled his sling for the throw, the rock slipped out backwards and struck Dad in the eye.  The sight of that eye was destroyed as a result.  So Dad had two strikes against him almost his entire life.

Naturally, any and all types of work, farming, for one, were just not in Dad's line.  He could work with stock and poultry and he just loved doing it.  He could also fish and hunt, but took ONLY what we could use for food.

Above all, Lee Moore, was ALWAYS on call by neighbors, acquaintences, or stangers who needed help in sickness or in death.  THAT is my fondest recollection of my father.

The first occupation Dad took up for earning a livlihood was clerking in the general merchandise stores of those days.  Rye eventually had two of that type of stores.  He was clerking in the first one when he and Mother were married Nov. 28,1889.

They rented a house in the village and on the first day of October the next year sister Evalyn was born; then, almost three years later I made my appearence. 

As time went on we lived in various places outside the village of Crow on the way to Pueblo, where Dad worked in the store.

By that time Evalyn and I were old enough to be enjoying the ways of our simple living as a family.  For instance; If the weather was at all fit, the four of us had a happy and interesting walk as sure as Sunday afternoon came around.  In season, we often took pails and baskets into which we picked wild plums or choke cherries which Mother soon converted into preserves, jams, and jellies which made delicious eating for us when the countrysides were blanketed down with snow.

Then there was a community literary Society in which Dad and Mother both participated eagerly.  Even we children in the area had our turns.  The group put on plays, had readings - humorous and otherwise, had local debates at times and contests with neighboring Societies at other times, did alot of singing, and had just a grand social time.

It was then that I became aware of the fact that Mother had a beautiful Contralto voice.  She was a little reluctant to display it, but if she could have had the chance to have it trainned, I know she could have gone places with it.  She also played the organ well but confined her playing to Hymns, mostly since she had been reared in a Ministers home.

We spent over a year in the Crow area and by that time Evalyn was well on the way to being seven years of age and Dad and Mother knew they had to get her where she could go to school, so we moved back to Rye and Dad went back to clerking - that time in the newer store. 

We lived just across the road from the Methodist Church, so it was easy for all of us to get involved in Church activities, which all of us enjoyed.  There again, we had the pleasure of hearing Mother's voice as she sang in the choir. But always there was that Sunday afternoon walk up into the foothills of the Mountains.  There was no way of telling which of we four enjoyed those excursions the most.  Our parents sure taught us girls to love everything in nature.

Of Course, I started to school the second year we were back in Rye.  After we girls were going to school, we learned to appreciate another talent our Mother had - her ability as a seamstress.  She made all our clothes and did a commendable job of it.

About the time I started to school the man, Johnnie Thomas, for whom Dad was working concieved the idea of sending regularly, a wagon of general product to the coal mining camps in Huerfano County, which adjoins Pueblo County, to be peddled out among the residents of the coal camps both North and South of Walsenberg.  Dad was given charge of the venture and built up quite a good trade.  But the trips were long and lonely.  So after a time, he decided he could see more of his family if we moved to Walsenberg, since he consumed much more time with his peddling than was spent making the trips back and forth to Rye.

We moved the summer before I was eight and after that the pattern of our family life changed.  Walsenberg was much larger than Rye, we had no relatives or tried friends to be with often, there was no inviting hills close to go into on pleasure walks, Dad no longer had the group of five to seven men - all relatives by either birth or marriage - who had always done their Fall hunting in the mountains near Rye, there was no one who seemed to care whether we ever went inside a church.  So Dad made the trips to Rye for more commodities usually on the weekends.

After two school years, Dad gave up the huckstering and found work at the coal mine at Pictou North of Walsenberg some three miles.  He had elways had a marvelous head for mathematics, machines and electricity, so he fired the boilers and ran the power house for some time.  Then he was put down in the mine to run the pumps that kept water from flooding it, thus making mining impossible.

Of course we moved to Pictou where both Evalyn and I finished grade school.  For Evalyn it was a two year period, then since there was no High School at Pictou, arrangements were made for her to go to Mancos Colorado, in Montezuma County, live with and work for Uncle French Moore, Dad's youngest brother and his wife aunt Hattie, and attended High School.  That was the Fall of 1905.

In the summer of 1907, Uncle French learned of a man who owned land, between Mancos and Durango, which showed outcroppings of coal.  He was trying to find a man to test out possibilities for a coal mine or mines.  Uncle French wrote Dad to learn if he would be interested in doing the test work. With Evalyn already over in that part of the State, Dad corresponded with the man and they finally came to terms.  So we moved that summer over to Durango in LaPlata County.

We spent the next five years there during which time I finished all my High School work.  Evalyn came home after we were in Durango, she completed her last two years of High school, graduating in 1909.  I had two more years to go at that time.

It was on a Winter's day during my senior year, that we four welcomed a little baby brother into our family circle.  That was February 26, 1911 during a heavy snow storm.  As much as three feet of snow down on the ground and more falling when we had to call the doctor for Mother.  That boy, Ronald Leroy - named by the younger of his two sisters - was the pride and joy of us all,  and for some reason, I the only survivor of the four, who welcomed him, still love him very much.

Ellen Bertha Moore-Lathrop (later Johnson). date uncertain but after Robert Lee Moore died 1949. (he is buried in Greeley CO at Linngrove cemetery).
typed by Karen Moore-McKenzie, granddaughter of Ronald Leroy Moore.

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© Karen Mitchell