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William Davis Moore Biographical Sketch


W.D. Moore, minister, New Vienna, was born in Winchester Township, Adams Co., Ohio, August 11, 1824. He was the eldest of a family of fifteen children, nine sons and six daughters. His father, Joseph Moore, was the sixth child and fifth son of Hon. Aaron Moore, a pioneer of Ohio, who came from Washington County, Penn., as early as 1793, and settled in Adams County, Ohio, about three miles west of the county seat, on the waters of Eagle Creek. He remained on this farm till 1814, when he sold it and purchased a tract of about thirteen hundred acres of land about four miles north of Winchester, Adams Co., Ohio. He he remained until his death in 1834. On this land W.D. was born and partly raised.

His mother, Sarah Moore, was a daughter of Ralph and Susannah Peterson, who came from West Virginia early in the nineteenth century, and settled on the waters of East Fork (of Ohio) Brush creek, about ten miles north of West Union, the county seat of Adams County, Ohio. Sarah Moore, wife of Joseph Moore, and mother of W.D. Moore, died March 27, 1830, when W.D. Moore, her eldest son, was less than six years old. Before she died, she taught her son to spell, and had impressed him with high moral and religious sentiment.

Between the ages of seven and fourteen, he went to school about twenty months, and learned to read and write, and gained some knowledge of arithmetic. Here his school-going stopped on account of misfortunes and ill health of his father. But though thus cut off from the advantages of schools, and for several years devoted to hard labor for the maintenance of his father’s large family, yet he devoted all his leisure hours in reading such books as the meagre libraries of generous neighbors afforded. And thus before he was grown, he had acquired a moderate knowledge of both ancient and modern history, both general and biographical, especially the history of the United States, and the biographies of her great men.

He read few works of fiction. This course of reading laid the foundation of all his after success and usefulness. It should not be overlooked that he had, at an early age, made himself familiar with the Bible, to which, more than to anything else, he owes the direction of his life. He made a religious profession when but little past fourteen years of age.  This early acceptance of the Lordship of Jesus the Christ, did much to save him from the temptations of early years.

Naturally sensitive, he often felt most keenly the the jeers of young people among whom he moved. His inability to dress in fine and fashionable clothes was often the occasion of much apparent merriment by a class of young people who judged from external appearances.

Greatly energized by such conduct, he attempted to repair the fortune of his family, and succeeded in helping them much. At twenty-one, he married Miss Sarah Ann Wick, whose mother and father had immigrated from West Virginia and settled in Highland County, Ohio in 1817. About fifteen months after his marriage, overwork and extreme exposure to the inclement weather which never stopped him in his business, his health gave way to such a degree that he was unable to continue at hard work. This made it necessary to engage in other business.

At this time, the School of Law of Ohio allowed certificates to be granted for reading, writing and arithmetic, and through the intercessions of the School Board of a district in Scott Township, Adams County, Ohio, he obtained such certificate and commenced his first school December 2, 1846 at $11 per month; $28 of the $33 which he was to receive was all the public funds the district had on hand, the other $5 were raised by a pro rata tax, part of which has never been paid.

During this year, Mr. Moore completed the study of arithmetic, and commenced English grammar and geography, and in 1848 received a certificate for those branches, as well as those he had studied before. In 1848-49 he commenced the study of geometry, Latin and Greek. These and other studies, such as anatomy and physiology, geology, botany, chemistry, rhetoric, logic etc., have kept him employed ever since.

As early as 1851, he had made so much progress in his church work that the church of which he was a member induced him to undertake the work of evangelizing in which he continued for a while but at last, he settled for a time  at Russelville, Brown Co., Ohio and preached and taught school. Since then, he has, at times, evangelized, but for the most part he has been at work for some church or churches as pastor and teaching school. Mr. Moore has held sixteen public discussions on various topics, as Capital Punishment, Man’s Future Destiny, Human Depravity, Baptism;  Subject, Action and Design; Human Creeds, Spiritism, Materialism, etc.

He has raised and educated eight daughters, of whom six have been, and some of them still are, teachers. The chief thing to be noted in this sketch, is the fact that a man can, if he wills it, make himself a scholar without the advantages of schools. Mr. Moore has arisen unaided, to be one of the most thoroughly educated and popular preachers of this vicinity, and is highly esteemed and respected by a large circle of friends and acquaintances, a purely self made man.

The Church of Christ in Wilmington, Ohio was built in 1833 or 34. It was added to and rebuilt until it became a large brick church with a large congregation of which W.D. Moore was pastor from 1883-1886. It is located on the corner of South and Columbus Streets and had a main bell which weighed over 700 pounds. William Davis also pastored at the new Antioch Church or “New Light” congregation on the Wilmington and Lexington Pike. This small church had a fireplace at either end, the pulpit to one side and the entrance on the other. It was lighted with tallow candles in tin hangers on the walls, 2 or 3 to  a pew. The congregation numbered about one hundred and eighty.  In Martinsville, the Christian Church was also pastored by W.D. for a time. From 1882-1883, before going to pastor in Wilmington, W.D. was pastor of the Macedonia Christian Church, in Washington Township, about 2-1/2 miles west from Martinsville. He was also pastor of the New Vienna Church of Christ. The beginning of the church, in 1861, was directly due to W.D.’s evangelizing in the town from his pulpits in Mt. Olivet, Bethel and New Antioch. He began preaching and holding meetings in new Vienna in 1859 and two years later had the satisfaction of organizing a church there. In 1860 he had raised between $1000 and $1800 for a building to house the congregation but the Civil War interrupted and it was not completed until 1866. W.D. was the first and founding pastor.

The History of Clinton County Ohio, WH Beers

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