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Sullivan, Parks, Wheeler, & Hawkins

Madison Berryman Moorman (1824-1912)

Gold Rush

The first page of his diary shows the crew that journeyed from Nashville to the gold-fields.

They arrived September 6th, and about a month later were enumerated in the census. The entire group is still together.

1850 census

Oct 5th, 1850, Consumnes River, El Dorado Co., CA, Series: M432 Roll: 34 Page: 357

1860 census

June 15th, 1860, Shelbyville, Bedford Co. TN, Series: M653 Roll: 1239 Page: 183

Remarried 25 Apr 1866

1870 census

July 30th, 1870, Shelbyville, Bedford Co. TN, Series: M593 Roll: 1514 Page: 243

1880 census

June 16th, 1880, 1-WD Nashville, Davidson Co. TN, Series: T9 Roll: 1249 Page: 20

As a traveling salesman, he couldn't always be with his family. His second wife died in 1872, so his children are with her mother, Martha Catherine (Graves) Ewing.

June 2nd, 1880, 1-WD Nashville, Davidson Co. TN, Series: T9 Roll: 1249 Page: 3

Journal of Madison Berryman Moorman [The following from the introduction written by his granddaughter Louise Blackmore (Parks) Banes]

By 1850 Madison Moorman had been for some time in Tennessee, probably engaged in learning the cotton business. Attracted, as were so many, by the lure of Gold in California, he made the journey recorded in this diary.

After the failure of this enterprise, he returned in 1851 to Tennessee and became a cotton broker. He married, first, Mary Helen Cannon of Shelbyville, Tennessee, a daughter of Duncan Cannon of the Texan Revolution. Joseph Cannon, for many years Speaker of the House Representatives, was her first cousin, and they were close friends as long as she lived. Mary Helen and Madison Moorman had two children: Duncan, who studied medicine at the Louisville Medical College, later settling in Garland, Texas, and Mary Lillian, who married Robert Milton Parks of Bedford, Indiana, and became my mother. Mary Helen died in 1863, and later Madison Moorman married Ann Ewing of Nashville. By this marriage he had another daughter, Martha Louise, who married Harris Allen of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

As a cotton broker Moorman traveled all over the South for many years. He retired about 1900, and spent much of the rest of his life as a welcome and honored visitor in the homes of his three children. He became quite deaf as he grew older, but he was never too deaf to enjoy good conversation; and his patience and unfailing good humor were a constant delight. He was a little over six feet tall, but never stooped; in his late seventies he carried himself as erect as a ramrod. His snow-white hair and beard were handsome, and he was a noticeable figure in any company. He loved to read, and to discuss what he was reading. His one vice was the use of tobacco, to which he often alluded smilingly as "that filthy habit." He died in Garland in 1915 [sic], and is there buried.

Facts and figures can give but a bare outline; perhaps two incidents from his life will best show what manner of man he was. During the War Between the States he sent his wife home to Kentucky because she was then expecting her second child and armies were fighting back and forth across the soil of Tennessee. His letters to her, some of which have been preserved, give a vivid picture of alarms and excursions. Yet during that whole time he pursued his business, calmly and without being disturbed. Several of his brothers served in the Confederate army, but he never entered it. He believed firmly in the Union, and would not take up arms against it, nor would he fight against his friends and relatives. Like his grandfather, Charles Moorman, who freed all his slaves soon after the Revolutionary War, he refused to believe in the institution of slavery. It took real courage to remain neutral in the sixties in Tennessee, but once Madison Moorman had decided upon a course of action he could not be swerved from his stand.

A few years later a cousin, who had engaged in distilling, offered him a half interest in his business if he would take charge of a branch in San Francisco. Madison Moorman replied, "I will never accept a cent which has come from the manufacture or sale of whiskey." The cousin died a millionaire; Madison Moorman never regretted his choice for a moment. He handed down to his descendants a memory of absolute integrity.

He spent at least the last dozen years of his life with his son in Garland, Texas. He died there at 5:30 Christmas afternoon of 1912. His death certificate was signed by his son, Dr. James Duncan Moorman.

[ Also see his obituary and the rest of the Moorman family ]