Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History

Moore-Morse Family Papers

Manuscript Collection: MC091

Collection Summary

Creator: Moore family
Title: Moore-Morse family papers
Dates: 1721-1938
(Bulk: 1828-1846)
Abstract: The Moore-Morse Family Papers are comprised of correspondence, financial and legal documents, and creative works created by a Texas family in the colonial, Revolution, and Republic eras.
Identification: MC091
Quantity: 1 box (.4 linear feet)
Language: Materials are in English and Spanish.
Repository: Albert and Ethel Herzstein Library, San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte, Texas

Creator Sketch

William Moore was born in 1808 to Lawson Moore and Jane Rochester in Danville, Kentucky. In 1827, Moore went to West Point Military Academy and in 1828 he apprenticed under the surveyor Frank W. Johnson in Texas. During the Texas Revolution, Moore served as aide de camp to Colonel Frank Johnson and participated in the Siege of Bexar. In 1835, Moore married Charcila “Chess” Cassandra Van Pradelles, daughter of Benedict Francis and Cassandra Owings Van Pradelles, of Maryland. Chess was orphaned at age 15 and she and her siblings, including Albert G. Van Pradelles, were raised by her widowed sister, Colegate Donaldson.

In 1837, Moore purchased a sitio of land, which he referred to as Moore’s Bluff, located on the Trinity and San Jacinto Rivers. Chess Moore died of complications during childbirth in 1838, after giving birth to their second daughter, Charcila. Shortly after, in order to assist him in raising his two young daughters and to ensure their well-being, Moore married his sister-in-law, Colegate Donaldson, in 1842. William Moore died of consumption in 1842 and is buried on Moore’s Bluff, alongside his wife, Chess.

Colegate D. Moore was born sometime prior to the year 1800, the eldest child of Francis Benedict Van Pradelles and Cassandra Owing. She married diplomat William Donaldson and lived in France for a few years before returning to the United States. Shortly after the death of her husband, at around the age of 16, she lost both her parents; she took responsibility for raising her siblings. In 1842, Colegate married her brother-in-law, which was considered a marriage of convenience that allowed her to care for her young nieces, Charcila and Colegate. Colegate D. Moore died in 1846.

Charcila Moore Morse is the daughter of William and Chess Moore. She married attorney Charles Nathan Morse. Their daughter Ethel Morse is the donor of the collection and had spent years collecting her family’s papers.

Scope and Content Note

The Moore-Morse Family Papers are comprised of correspondence, financial and legal documents, and creative works spanning the years from 1721 to 1938 and are organized into five groups: William Moore Papers, Estate of William Moore, Colegate D. Moore Papers, Estate of Colegate D. Moore, and the Morse Family Papers. Each of the five groups is divided into series and sub-series. Photostats and transcripts occur for many of the original papers, some present as transcripts only.

The William Moore Papers are comprised of correspondence, financial and legal documents, and a creative work which details the life of William Moore in Texas. Correspondence of Charcila “Chess” Moore includes William Moore’s description of his travels aboard the steamboat Laura while on the Brazos River in 1835. Other letters to and from Chess Moore concerning family affairs are with correspondents cousin Mary, William Moore, aunt Charlotte C. D. Owings, and aunt Mary Moore. Letters to Lawson Moore concern land purchases by William Moore in Texas and family news dating from 1829 to 1841. Of interest are two letters written in 1835; one from George Moore to his brother William Moore regarding current situations in Mississippi, a second from F. W. Johnson in Bexar, Texas, recounting updates on the war against Mexico. An 1837 letter from William Moore to brother Albert from “Negro-ville” Danville, Kentucky, concerns the purchase and sale of slaves. Photostat letters include an 1828 letter from William Moore at West Point to his brother John regarding his education, and two letters from Moore to his wife in 1835 and 1836. The financial document is an 1837 statement of account of purchases made at Malcolm Sandermand[?] & Co. by William Moore. Five legal documents in the William Moore Papers are an 1830 Spanish land grant from the Mexican Government to John A. Williams; an 1837 certified copy of a deed from John A. Williams to William Moore; a Photostat of an affidavit by Colonel Frances W. Johnson which certified William Moore served in the Siege of Bexar; an 1839 license as a merchant in Anahuac, Liberty County, Republic of Texas to William Moore; and undated land survey field notes by John R. Johnson, Deputy Surveyor. The creative work is a ten page biographical sketch of William Moore by Ethel Morse.

The Estate of William Moore is comprised of correspondence, financial and legal papers and a Photostat which together document the aftermath of Moore's death. Correspondence is an 1842 letter from Albert G. Van Pradelles to Mary Moore, which expresses his condolences over the death of William Moore, and a transcript of an 1878 letter from Charles N. Morse to Albert G. Van Pradelles regarding the original deed to Moore’s Bluff. Financial documents include statements of account and tax receipts

The Colegate D. Moore Papers are comprised of correspondence, a legal document and creative works that detail the life of Colegate Donaldson Moore prior to her arrival in Texas. Correspondence includes an 1831 letter from Thomas F. McCaleb to Mrs. C. D. Donaldson pleading with her to persuade Congress to bring up the subject of claimed lands and the acquisition of other available lands. An undated letter from M. C. Morse to cousin C. D. Donaldson regarding the loss of a Mr. Johnson and the acquisition of certain items, including a set of veils. An 1842 letter from A. G. Van Pradelles to his sister Colegate D. Moore states that he is sending her their personal effects. A typescript of an 1844 letter from a nun to Colegate D. Moore concerns the loss of their slave Sarah, and news regarding the annexation of Texas. The legal document consists of a typescript of the 1721 will of Richard Colegate of Maryland. Creative works include biographical sketches on Benedict Francis Van Pradelles and Cassandra D. Van Pradelles by Ethel Morse.

The Estate of Colegate D. Moore is comprised of correspondence, financial and legal documents and Photostats. An 1846 letter from C. A. Williamson to William C. Abbott recounts local news and family events in New Orleans. Financial documents include 21 bills of sale for personal items and items needed for the burial of Colegate D. Moore; 10 statements of account, and three receipts dating from 1847 to 1849. Legal documents include the 1845 will of Colegate D. Moore, an inventory and appraisal of the estate of Colegate D. Moore, and documents concerning the appointment of William C. Abbott as executor of the Estate of C. D. Moore.

The Morse Family Papers which date from 1824 to 1880 document the family history of Ethel Morse, a descendant of William Moore, and are comprised of correspondence, financial records, legal papers and a lock of hair. Correspondence consists of an 1828 letter from General Houston to Mrs. Colonel Morse with an accompanying lock of hair from Gen. Andrew Jackson, a transcript of an 1824 letter from Lafayette to Colonel Nathan Morse, and an 1880 letter from Charles N. Morse to his wife Chessie Moore. A short typescript excerpt from the diary of Isaac Edward Morse is dated in 1832.


Arrangement is alphabetical and chronological.


Restrictions on Access


Terms Governing Use

Open for research by appointment.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jacinto Museum of History. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Jacinto Museum of History as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Index Terms

Colegate, Richard--Will
Houston, Sam, 1793-1863--Correspondence
Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845--Relics
Johnson, Frank W. (Frank White), 1799-1884
Lafayette, Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier, marquis de, 1757-1834--Correspondence
McCaleb, Thomas F.
Moore, Charcila Cassandra Van Pradelles, d. 1838
Moore, Colegate D., d. 1846.
Moore, Colegate D., d. 1846--Will
Moore, George
Moore, Mary
Moore, William, 1808-1842
Morse, Charcila Moore
Morse, Charles N.
Morse, Isaac Edward--Diaries
Owings, Charlotte C. D.
Van Pradelles, Albert G.
Van Pradelles, Benedict Francis
Van Pradelles, Cassandra D.
Williamson, C. A.
Laura (Steamboat)
Land tenure--Texas
Slave trade--Kentucky
Texas--History--Revolution, 1835-1836

Administrative Information


[Identification of Item], Moore-Morse Family Papers, MC091, San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas.


Ethel Morse, 1940, 1945, and 1961.

Processing Information

Processed by Sandra Eileen Yates, 2009.


William Moore Papers

box folder
153 1 Correspondence: Charcila "Chess" Moore 1835-1836
2 Correspondence: Lawson Moore 1829-1841
3 Correspondence: Received 1835
4 Correspondence: Sent 1828-1837
5 Financial 1837 February 3
6 Legal 1830-1839
7 Creative Work undated
8 Photostats undated

Estate of William Moore

box folder
153 9 Correspondence: Albert G. Van Pradelles 1842, 1878
10 Financial 1842-1866
11 Legal 1938 April 27
12 Photostat undated

Colegate D. Moore Papers

box folder
153 13 Correspondence: Received 1831-1844
14 Correspondence: Sent 1836
15 Legal: Will: Richard Colegate 1721 August 8
16 Creative Works: Biographical Sketches undated: circa 1930

Estate of Colegate D. Moore

box folder
153 17 Correspondence 1846 November 24
18 Financial: Bills of Sale 1846, undated: circa 1846-1850
19 Financial: Statements of Account 1846-1850
20 Financial: General 1846-1849
21 Legal: Will: Colegate D. Moore 1845 October 30
22 Legal: General 1846-1848
23 Photostats undated

Morse Family Papers

box folder
153 24 Correspondence: General Houston to Mrs. Colonel Morse 1828 January 30
25 Correspondence: General 1824, 1880
26 Creative Work: Diary of Isaac Edward Morse 1832