1865 - 1949
||17 Jul 1865
||16 Apr 1949
||Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina
||Chestnut Hill Cemetery, Rowan County, North Carolina
- Beulah Moore championed all causes
Published Friday, April 10, 2009 in Salisbury Post, Salisbury NC
Editor's note:This is from a story about Beulah Moore in a special edition the Post published for the nation's bicentennial celebration in 1976. By Mary Jane Park
She was born on July 17, 1865, barely three months after Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate troops to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomatox Court House, Va. When she died on April 16, 1949, at the age of 84, "Miss Beulah" Moore was a woman more contemporary than the times.
She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Stewart; her father was editor of the Carolina Watchman. Her maternal grandfather, J. J. Bruner, was long-time owner of the venerable paper.
Because she was from such an old family, remembers a friend, "No one could challenge her thinking, her accomplishments, her achievements."
Nonetheless, Beulah Stewart Moore was a constant topic of conversation in Salisbury. Wherever there was a cause, she championed it.
In 1922, for example, she ran for mayor of Salisbury, saying, "I want the people to run the town. I am tired of one-man rule, and believe that the mayor should be an instrument of the people and not in any sense of the word a dictator. I am for just and equal enforcement of the laws, and believe that the laws of the city should be enforced or wiped off the books."
She was, she said, in favor of the people getting what they wanted, not what some one else thought they wanted; in favor of the taxpayers being treated as masters and not as servants.
"No favors to anyone," she said. "I have no favorites, no favors for friends and no punishment for foes. I want justice and equity in every walk of life."
A staunch Democrat, Beulah Moore ran on that party's ticket in the primary but was defeated.
She was the first woman in Salisbury to run for mayor, announcing her candidacy two years after women were granted the rights of suffrage in the United States.
That was not to be the only time she ventured into unexplored territory. Friends remember that Beulah Moore was the first woman in Salisbury to crop her hair and she was the first woman seen smoking cigarettes in public.
Though she was something of a daredevil, Beulah Moore also was also widely known as a philanthropist, and she was active in numerous civic organizations.
In 1893 she gave a room of her house on Ellis Street as a headquarters for the Daughters of the King, an Episcopal order of which she was a charter member. She was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy, sharing in the erection of the Confederate War Memorial on Innes Street, and acting in several productions of the Salisbury Dramatic Club to raise money for the monument.
She was a charter member of the Elizabeth Maxwell Steele Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, the second chapter organized in the state.
She was organizer and first president of the Traveler's Club, the first federated club in Salisbury, which began the public library.
As president of the Civic League, she secured the old courthouse for conversion as the Community Building (now the Rowan Museum).
When the local suffrage league was formed, Beulah Moore enlisted and declared her eagerness to give women the right to vote.
Beulah Stewart and James Moore were married on Sept. 16, 1883. He was a locomotive engineer with the Southern Railway.
According to his obituary, "Jim Moore, as he was familiarly known to his friends, was a prince of a man, kindly, considerate, sympathetic and true to his friends and his loved ones. He was a Mason, Shriner and a wholesouled fellow. Before being stricken with ill health, he was the picture of health, of splendid physique and presented an unusually fine appearance, being of the Chesterfield type. He was a most agreeable man, an exceedingly entertaining conversationalist and a real southern gentleman."
Beyond that complimentary description, little is known about the Greenville, S.C., native, though he and Miss Beulah were married for 48 years.
A friend of the family said James Moore was away from home a great deal because of his work and spent much of his time in Asheville, visiting periodically in Salisbury. Theirs was not a completely platonic relationship (Beulah Moore suffered several miscarriages) but neither was the couple "bound by the traditional conventions of marriage."
Hope Summerall Chamberlain, in her book, "This Was Home," describes the town's reaction to the news that the young Mrs. Moore was to study art in New York under Elliott Dangerfield:
"My old friend Beulah was already married. While she was my friend and frequently my instigation, I never cared to imitate her, for she was, herself, inimitable. I was planning a pedestrian attack on society.
"When the news struck town amidships that my friend Beulah's husband had done the very unexpected and very indulgent, and, the gray gossips said, the very foolish thing of sending his beautiful wife to study art in New York, in the studio of Elliott Dangerfield and among the first coterie of truly American artists who had gathered in association there, I could only rejoice with her.
" 'Art, indeed, when she doesn't know how to keep house yet! Her mother has to go and untangle her and clean up her house every week!' So it was said on our street rather ill-naturedly, and quite untruthfully, for Beulah could do anything she chose and do it better than most people. I was delighted that she was going to have her chance. She accepted her limitations far less equably than I did, and she was a gifted person. The Beulah Moore who danced and who flirted, who talked witty nonsense and who always managed to give the old ladies of her neighborhood the titillation of an unexpected shock, was not the real Beulah at all! But the town would be duller than ever without her."
Beulah Moore's paintings won honorable mentions in a number of shows throughout the state and the country.
She was talented in other areas, too. She designed and drew the house she lived in at 124 S. Ellis St.; the residence still stands.
An intimate describes Beulah Moore as a "brilliant conversationalist. ...
"She had a mania for buying things and sometimes purchased sets of books whose pages had never been cut. Her house was full of interesting things.
"She was a modern woman — ahead of her time."
She remained blissfully unconcerned about public opinion; a relative remembers that her house — even her clothing — was always in a state of disarray, not because Miss Beulah knew nothing of domestic virtues, but because she found other things far more important.
The story goes that a group of women in town decided to give a tea for someone or another, and decided to give it in Miss Beulah's home. Several young women were sent to her house to clean and decorate it for the event.
"Don't dust that table," Mrs. Moore chided one of them as she was about to attack a dust-covered end table.
"Why not," the young woman wanted to know.
"Because," Miss Beulah pointed out, "if you dust that table, then you'll have to dust that one and then that one and then that one!"
She relinquished her position when the women assured her that was just what they planned to do.
She was fond of pets, and kept a number of animals around the house at all times. The most notable of her menagerie was a talking parrot, but numerous photographs of Miss Beulah show her with three or four pet dogs.
The author of Mrs. Moore's obituary wrote the following tribute to her on April 16, 1949:
" 'Miss Beulah' was beloved by her intimates of three generations for her wit and tolerance.
"Alert throughout her adult life to the public issues of the passing years, she was always exceedingly well-informed and outspoken. Though her incisive comments in polite conversation were sometimes too keen for the comfort of the stuffy and self-satisfied, they were always so 'in character' with her deep kindness and complete honesty that no hurt ever came from her. ...
"Miss Beulah was a genuine bohemian and adamant individualist."
That she was.
||Benbow Family and Allied Lines
||5 Dec 2010 |
||J. J. Stewart, b. About 1837, Georgia |
||Clarissa L. Bruner, b. About 1846, North Carolina |
||02 Apr 1861
||St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina
||James Preston Moore, b. 16 Sep 1861, Greenville, Greenville County, South Carolina , d. 15 Apr 1931, Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina |
||16 Sep 1883
||Rowan County, North Carolina
||5 Dec 2010 |