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Frank Russell Moon, Sr.

Frank Russell Moon, Sr.,  1875-1955

Name:  Frank Russell Moon, Sr.

Date:  ca. 1927

Image Number:  CRMS18cdCRMS02

Comments:   Frank Russell Moon, Sr., was born on February 2, 1875, at Shirland in Albemarle County, Virginia; he was the son of James Nelson Moon (1836-1898) and Cary Ann (Coleman) Moon (1840-1921).  On June 26, 1901, Frank married Annie Dunscomb Horsley in Buckingham County, Virginia; Annie (1875-1949) was the daughter of John Horsley and Louisa (Brady) Horsley.  Their wedding was highlighted as follows in the July 5, 1901, edition of the Scottsville Courier:

"The wedding of Frank Russell Moon and Annie Dunscomb Horsley took place June 26, 1901, in Grace Church, Buckingham County.  The bride, escorted by her brother, Alexander Caldwell Horsley, was attired in white Paris muslin trimmed with lace and carried a shower bouquet of roses.  Her attendants carried ferns and daisies."

"Conducting the service was Rev. T. H. Lacy.  The groom was attended by his brother, Cary Nelson Moon.  Mrs. John Horsley played the wedding march."

"After the wedding, an elaborate luncheon was served at Traveler's Rest, Warminster, home of the bride.  Annie is the daughter of the late John Horsley and great granddaughter of Major Charles Yancy of Virginia."

"Mrs. Henry Burton, matron of honor, was attired in her wedding gown of white silk."

Frank and Annie Moon lived at Travelers Rest in Buckingham County, VA, where Frank farmed for many years.  Travelers Rest is located on the James River near Warminster.  It was built in 1724 by William Horsley, who came from Warminster, Wiltshire, England.  The house remained in the Horsley family from the time it was built until it was sold in 1972.  Frank and Annie (Horsley) Moon had a son named Channing Moon.  Channing and his wife, Ethel, were the last members of the family to live at Travelers Rest.

The children of Frank and Annie (Horsley) Moon included Channing Horsley Moon (1902-1970), James Cary Moon (died in infancy), Frank Russell Moon, Jr. (b. ca. 1905), Annie Moon (1910-1922), and Mary Louise Moon (b. ca. 1913).

Frank Russell Moon also was a merchant, operating a store in Warminster. Additionally, Frank served as postmaster at Warminster Post Office in Nelson County, VA.  In the 1927 photo below, Frank at center is shown with his brother-in-law, Nathaniel T. Sclater (seated on stair railing at left) and Frank's brother, Cary Nelson Moon, at right:

(L to R):  Nathaniel T. Sclater, Frank Russell Moon, and Cary Nelson Moon

Annie Dunscomb (Horsley) Moon passed away on June 15, 1949, in Buckingham County, Virginia, and is buried at the Travelers Rest Cemetery.  Frank Russell Moon, Sr., passed away in Charlottesville, VA, on February 5, 1955; he is buried near his wife, Annie, at the Travelers Rest Cemetery.

Buckingham Leader, 79, Still Active; Family Had Its Own Ghost
By Hamilton Crockford, Staff Writer
Times-Dispatch, Richmond, VA, May 30, 1954

MANTEO, VA, May 29 -- It was terrible, Channing H. Moon said, laughing.

When he was just a pup out here on the west edge of Buckingham, a little girl cousin used to come spend the day with him and his sister and brother, and they'd walk her home after dark.

And down the lane from their house was an old farm shop, and farther on a tobacco house, and a little farther on, another tobacco house.

And every night, his dad would pop out from behind the shop and say, "Boo," and they'd jump.  Then he'd run to the second one, and pop out, and they'd jump.  "We knew dern well he was there, but we'd still jump out of our skins."

Rowed Across James

When Frank Russell Moon, Sr., was up to all this, he'd already put in a 12-hour day across the James River keeping store, then rowed the boat back, ridden the horse a mile to the house, and maybe done a few farm chores.

Russell Moon, Sr., is 79 now, and still into everything.  He's Chairman of Buckingham's school trustee electoral board, Senior Warden of Grace Episcopal Church here.... You still never know what to expect of him--nor where he may pop out.

He lives near here.  He has two stores across in Nelson, run by his sons now.  He has an insurance office at home, but he gets six counties.  He's a Mason, an officer of the electric co-op and nearly every other outfit in two counties.

He was born in Albemarle, at Scottsville, Feb. 2, 1875, of an old family which was to boost a ghost of its own.

University students and neighbors used to come down to his uncle's to try and catch "the Moon ghost," which got to be known nationally, went into Albemarle history books, but never was explained.  It plagued his uncle from 1876 to 1878, he said.

Frank Russell Moon disclaimed all responsibility.  But whether this spirited start had anything to do with his shenanigans through life, he didn't say.  At any rate, wherever he popped out, things were lively.

He came down to Manteo in 1898 to clerk in a store.   He traded his bicycle for a heifer calf, a barrel of corn, and $5 "boot."  He was on his way....

In 1901, he married Miss Annie Horsley, descendant of one of the first two families to settle among the Indians.  (She died in 1949.)

In 1908, he bought out her brother's store at Warminister.  It grew from one room to a two-story trade center.  He opened another later at Shipman.  He ran the family farm until two years ago.  The folks killed the fresh meat to sell at the stores.

And from 1908-1947, he rowed the boat across to Warminister, kept store and post office, and rowed back at night....that is when the James wasn't frozen.   When it was, he walked.

It froze for three months in 1917-1918, he remembered, and one day he bought a cow on the Nelson side and started it home.  She balked half-way across.  Playful helpers hustled out with brush and built fires under him.  Just then the ice made crackling sounds--it was too thick to break but it cracked, he explained.  All help scattered.  Moon and cow meandered home.

"And bless your soul, I took the rope off her, and she wandered up to the straw stacks, and ate straw all night.  Next morning she she was swelled up dead!"

That was the Winter he had men cut ice on the river and put it in the store basement.  One man slipped into the first hole he cut, and would have gone under the ice.  Moon, a slightly-built man, grabbed his coattails and yanked him out.

It was always something.  The store used to be broken into quite a bit, they said, and finally the authorities went to a suspect's house with bloodhounds.  He wasn't home, but that afternoon the man--"a big fellow, weighed twice as much as I did"--spied Moon outside his store and knocked him into the 10-foot ditch there which had been the canal bed, they recalled.

Reached for His Knife

"His thumb went right into my mouth--I held onto what I had," laughed Moon.  "The man reached for a knife, and a colored friend of mine jumped down and knocked it away."  The man fled.  Coming back that night, he was shot by the constable when he pulled a knife on him, Moon said.  "He died on the doorstep of the store....There were no more thefts.  We always said his ghost protected us."

But Russell Moon's most lasting shield was a good laugh.   And you never knew.... Better than 20 years ago, his son said, they had one of those "Star" automobiles for the insurance business.

"Going through west Nelson one day, we picked up a school teacher who lived there.  Dad told her, "I bet you're doing something you never did before."  She asked what.  'Riding a Star between the son and the Moon,' he told her."

You never knew, with a man who tells everybody, "I'm twins with the groundhog." ...That February 2 birthday, he's bragging about then..

Said Channing Moon:  "We try to keep him in the house that day..."

Copyright © 2020 by Scottsville Museum

Top Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD CRMS02
This photo of Frank Russell Mo, Sr., was provided courtesy of Cenie Re Sturm, Scottsville, VA.

Second Image of Travelers Rest appeared in an unidentified Virginia newspaper clipping.

Third Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD CRMS01
This 1927 photo of Nathaniel T. Sclater, Frank Russell Moon, and Cary Nelson Moon was provided courtesy of Cenie Re Sturm, Scottsville, VA

Fourth Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD CRMS02
This photo of N.T. Sclater, Frank Russell Moon, and Cary Nelson Moon was provided courtesy of Cenie Re Sturm, Scottsville, VA.

1.  Sketches of The Moon and Barclay Families Including the Harris, Moorman, Johnson, Appling Families compiled by Anna Mary Moon, Chattanooga, Tennessee, November, 1938; p. 25-27.
2.  1880 U.S. Federal Census, James River District, Buckingham County, VA; Enumeration District:34, 16 June 1880, p. 26, Dwelling No. 233.
3.  1910 U.S. Federal Census, James River District, Buckingham County, VA; Enumeration District 65, 12 May 1910, p. B4, Dwelling No. 72.
4.  1940 U.S. Federal Census, James River District, Buckingham County, VA; Enumeration District 55, 16 April 1940, p. 8B, Dwelling No. 135.
5.  Certificate of Death, Commonwealth, VA, Warminster, Buckingham Co., VA; Annie Dunscomb Horsley Moon, d. June 15, 1949; State File No. 15591.
6.  Certificate of Death, Commonwealth, VA, Warminster, Buckingham Co., VA; Frank Russell Moon, died February 5, 1955; State File No. 2557.
7.  Early Cabell Family Graveyards by Archer Minardi, 2008; Burials at Travelers Rest House Cemetery, Buckingham County, VA; p. 62-63.
8.  "Buckingham Leader, 79, Still Active; Family Had Its Own Ghost", Richmond Times-Dispatch,
May 30, 1954.



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