Toward the end of his life, Rev. William John Moore served as pastor of Saint John A.M.E. Zion Church in Wilson and Presiding Elder of the Wilmington District, Cape Fear Conference, of the A.M.E.Z. Church. In younger years, however, he had been a vital force in establishing the denomination throughout the region, as this entry in J.W. Hood’s One Hundred Years of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; or, the Centennial of African Methodism makes clear:
Rev. W.H. Davenport’s The Anthology of Zion Methodism, published in 1925, notes: “The Autobiography of Rev. William J. Moore, D.D., is interesting from cover to cover. Zion Methodism had its inception in the South in New Bern, N. C. Eliza Gardner, Mary Anderson and others of the Daughters of Conference of New England raised money to send Rev. J. W. Hood to the South. Shortly after his arrival he and Moore met and there began a friendship between them which was beautiful in its sincerity and purity. The early struggles of Moore’s life are intimately connected with the early struggles of Zion Methodism in North Carolina. The book is not cast in a high literary mold, but is a rugged and straightforward statement of a religious frontiersman and pioneer.”
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: minister William J. Moore, 64; wife Sarah J., 60; daughter Mary E., 29; and grandsons Alfred Hill, 12, and Wilbur, 3.
On 6 December 1906, Mary E. Moore, 29, daughter of W.J. and Sallie Moore, married Willie Mitchell, 24, son of Wiley and Betsy Mitchell, in Wilson. Judge Mitchell applied for the license, and Rev. N.D. King performed the ceremony in the presence of L.A. Moore, Isaac Stone, W.J. Moore and Mrs. Burtie Farmer.
On 2 January 1908, Alex Moore, 38, and Mary Magett, 26, were married in Wilson by Methodist minister G.A. Wood in the presence of Martha Wood, Joseph Sutton and C.G. Lewis.
Hill’s Wilson, N.C, Directory (1908).
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Stantonsburg Street, Willy Mitchell, 34, odd jobs laborer, wife Mary, 39, and son Wilton, 13.
In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Grace Street, Alex Moore, 46, factory laborer, wife Mary, 28, and son Charlie, 3.
Rev. Moore drafted and executed a will on 15 November 1913.
In it, he gave his children Mary and Alex a house and five lots in Wilson (which later revoked) and “all the endowment money ” coming from the Masonic Lodge, the Eastern Star Chapter, and the Brotherhood of the A.M.E. Zion Church. He further passed to Mary his interest in the mortgage held on property in Pamlico County, North Carolina, and named her his executrix. One of the witnesses, New Bern native Rev. Clinton D. Hazel, also served as Presiding Elder of Wilmington District.
In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 314 Stantonsburg Street, widowed cook Mary Mitchell, 46; barber Alex Moore, 43, his wife Mary, 38, a laundress, and their son Charles, 44. [The 1920 Wilson city directory lists Alex as an employee of M.D. Cannon‘s barber shop.]
On 9 November 1920, Mary E. Mitchell drafted a will with very terms. She had three insurance policies and specified that from the policy for $121.00 on the Durham Company [North Carolina Mutual] $50 be paid to Dr. W.A. Mitchner and $50 to Fannie Simpson “who nursed me last winter.” She owned “a house and some lots on Stantonsburg Street in the town of Wilson.” They were to go to Sylvia Best on the condition that she live in or rent out the house for ten years. “If at the time of the expiration of said ten years my son Alfred Hill, whom I have not heard from in a number of years, has not returned to Wilson,” the land would pass in fee to Best. If Alfred returned, he would receive the lot on which the house was located, and Sylvia the best. If he returned earlier than ten years, he was to allow Sylvia and her family to live with him until the ten years expired. W.A. Mitchner was named executor.
Mary E. Mitchell died 5 February 1921 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was divorced; resided on Stantonsburg Street; worked as a laundress; and was born 10 May 1865 in Beaufort County, North Carolina, to W. John Moore of Washington, North Carolina, and Sarah Moore. Informant was Alex Moore.
Mary Moore Mitchell’s will entered probate on 14 February 1921.
Alex Moore died 28 December 1928 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he resided at 108 Manchester Street; was a widower; worked as a common laborer; was 60 years old; and was born in Wilson to John and Sallie Ann Moore, both of New Bern, North Carolina. Charles Moore was informant.
North Carolina Wills and Estates, 1665-1998 [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.