Henry Champion Moseley
Steve Moseley (email@example.com) sent us an email inquiry regarding his great-great grandfather. If you have any information that might help Steve, please contact him directly and post to this thread. Thanks!
Greetings, I was searching the 1860 Census for my great great grandfather, Henry Champion Moseley, 1826 Westfield Mass to 1892 Springfield Illinois, and I 'found' Henry-attorney, his wife Susan and baby David Moseley, on the October 1860, as living in Fernandina Beach Florida. Wow, was this unexpected. A Yankee in the Deep South, just months before the southern states began seceding.
Henry's life after leaving Westfield, in 1852, for the California Gold Rush, was a real odyssey. California, then Oregon then Washington territories where he had been a surveyor, attorney, seller of Government lands, Probate Judge, newspaperman, territorial legislator. Then around 1857, Henry and Susan are in Indianola Texas, on the Gulf Coast. After Fernandina Beach, they are in St. Joseph Missouri, Boulder and Denver Colorado, Boise Idaho, Elgin Illinois, Yellowstone National Park on a surveying team and finally Springfield Illinois.
I have two questions that I hope you can provide answers for. First, what would encourage Henry to come to Fernandina Beach? The cross-state railroad? Or ? As a part of this question, why would a Yankee come to the Deep South in an era of heightening tension after the election of Abe Lincoln? Second, I searched your website-no Land Record, no 'name search." Did the Florida Bar admit Henry? Is there any paper trail, at all, on Henry.
Of course, I would be glad to pay for any research and or copying fees that you incur.
Looking forward to any answers to why Henry showed up on the Florida-Georgia border.
Sincerely, Steve Moseley, Solana Beach (north of San Diego)
I'm not a native Fernandinan, but I am curious about the time period you are talking about. It sounds like your ancestor was a real go-getter. I did a search on Google Books to see if I could get any clues and found the following: (copy and paste)
http://tinyurl.com/osnysew (TinyURL link to Google Book's page, cut and paste to follow link)
It's a page from 1889 Engineering News. I have no idea if this is your H.C., but I was intrigued by the fact that there is a Mosely (of any spelling) on the same page with 'Fernandina'. At least I am now aware that there were journals back then that advertised current or future projects so that a go-getter like Henry would know where the work was.
If I find out anything else, I'll post.
Also, we had a speaker come this past September, John Hendricks, who gave a talk on The History of Railroads in Nassau County. He did a wonderful job explaining all the politicking and planning for several projects as well as the personalities involved. You may want to email him and find out if he has seen the name connected to any projects:
If for some reason that email is no longer valid, contact the West Nassau Historical Society and ask them to forward a message.
You may be interested in his work just to get a feel for the local development during the time period you're researching:
Is this the same 'H.C. Moseley' employed by the General Land Office in an 1855 list? It says he was born in Olympia, born in Mass., and appointed in Washington Territory.
P.S. You can contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org. If you provide any further information, I'll add it to the post.
Quite unexpectedly, and I don't even know what I was searching now, I came upon the following:
Journal of the executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, 1852-1855
Mr. Dodge, of Iowa, from the Committee on Public Lands, to whom were referred this day the nominations of Ralph Wilcox, James Guthrie, jr., James Tilton, John Calhoun, William Pelham, Deidrick Upman, Lorenzo D. Smith, William W. Phelps, Christopher Graham, H. C. Mosely, and Elias Yulee, reported.
I find this totally intriguing. Elias Yulee was the brother of David Yulee, the guy who convinced the town of Fernandina to pick up and move itself so he could build his railroad more easily.
. . .
I just did a search for "Elias Yulee" and "H. C. Moseley" and came up with several hits, all about the same situation in Washington Territory. Apparently these two gentlemen were well acquainted. If this is the same Elias Yulee as the brother of our David Yulee, I'd say you've got a pretty strong case for something more than a passing fancy of H.C. Moseley to see a new part of the country.
Regarding coming to Florida before the Civil War:
I am hoping someone else here can advise you on some resources so that you can learn more about the political climate of north Florida in the 1850s.
When I was growing up, with a mom from Massachusetts and a dad from Washington, I had no knowledge of any southern lines in my family. Surprise, surprise, researching my father's biological mother's line, I found a Confederate soldier in Arkansas! His granddaughter-in-law interviewed them and wrote an account of what their town in Arkansas was like when the War was on the brink. In it, the (soon-to-be) soldier's wife, commenting on the arguing going on in their town, says, "Well, you can call me a rebel, but never, ever, call me a secessionist!"
That was odd to me. From all these decades, looking back, all of that looks the same to us. But there were obviously more than 2 views on the unfolding events. It's important to keep in mind that we are looking back with 20/20 hindsight. But history needs to be viewed in context. If someone 150 years from now asks why someone would move to New Orleans when only just a year later Hurricane Katrina would wipe out a substantial portion of the city...well, you see what I mean.
From your Ancestor's end, here was a relatively new portion of the country (Florida became a state in 1845) that held some interesting opportunities for someone experienced in the administration of land issues. Perhaps he assumed the government would be able to solve their problems without breaking the country. After all, there was no precedent in his lifetime for a Civil War on American soil.
In the first post, you mention that you found Henry, wife and son in Fernandina in October 1860. What source is this? The 1860 Census - the day it was taken was in September, but the 'official' date was June - shows Henry, then a 14-year-old, then I guess his wife and son. Is this the source? He is actually at the Florida House Hotel. Was this, then, just a stop-over to see a friend or on the way to somewhere else?
If I would have seen this first, I would never have looked for a Moseley/Yulee connection.
Florida House, according to their website, was built in 1857 as a boarding house by David Yulee. Did you know it's still in business? Come and visit - maybe you can find out what room!
P.S. If you're reading this, David Yulee might be looking at you right now...