Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Nonagenerian Dr. Paul H. Moore, Sr. Returns To Winston County For Heritage Tour

On a beautiful day in September, Dr. Paul H. Moore, Sr. and his son Dr. Hal Moore joined their new friend David Holder for a heritage tour of southeastern Winston County. Dr. Moore, Sr., a native of Winston County started his medical career at Pascagoula in 1963, and has resided there since that time. Dr. Moore began his practice in radiology at Singing River Hospital, and in 1972 he founded the Singing River Radiology Group and served as its president until 1996. Dr. Moore retired in 1999 after 36 years of dedicated medical service. Dr. Moore was active in numerous professional, civic, and business organizations. His dedication and service to his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, has been extensive. For all his years in Pascagoula Dr. Moore has faithfully served with the First Presbyterian Church in positions such as deacon, elder, trustee, and Sunday school teacher.

Dr. Paul H. Moore, Sr. was born in rural Winston County, the youngest of ten children of Dempsey C. and Ida McAdory Moore. He spent his youthful years of the 1930’s in the Calhoun community which is now part of Nanih Waiya. He completed the eighth grade at Calhoun School in 1940, then the family moved to Louisville where he graduated from Louisville High School in 1944. Dr. Moore interrupted his college education for 18 months duty in the US Army; after military service he earned his BS Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. In 1949, he married the former Jean Mauldin of Waynesboro. He returned to Louisville High School to teach science and coach football, basketball, and baseball for five years. He earned his Masters Degree in Education from the University of Mississippi in 1951. In 1954, he returned to Ole Miss to prepare for medical school. He received his MD from the University of Mississippi in 1959. After an internship and residency, he began his practice in 1963.

Dr. Moore remarked, “I really enjoyed teaching and coaching at Louisville. I was just four years older than the students.” Among his students was Bruce Mitchell who obtained his PhD in Entomology and made a large contribution to the eradication of the Boll Weevil. Two others were John Arthur Eaves and his wife Patricia Lovorn. John Arthur became a successful lawyer and once ran for governor. “The best football player I coached was Billy ‘Catfish’ Fulton. As a quarterback, he was the greatest passer around. But, he went on to play as a lineman at Mississippi State.”

The tour started at Oak Grove Church and the surrounding community. Two branches of Dr. Moore’s ancestors, both the Moore’s and the McAdory’s, settled in Oak Grove in the 1800’s. As a youngster, Dr. Moore occasionally made the two mile trek with his father from Calhoun, crossing Tallahaga swamp, to the church and to visit relatives in the neighborhood. Numerous relatives are buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.

The site of the former Calhoun School was of particular interest since Dr. Moore earned the first eight years of his education there. He completed the eighth grade in 1940 before the family moved to Louisville. According to Dr. Moore’s recollections, “Calhoun School was a wooden one story structure, painted white. The classrooms were air conditioned by raising the windows. The school was heated in the winter by wood burning heaters. Many stacks of stove wood were stored on the grounds. The latrines were outside, the boys on one side of campus and the girls on the other side of campus. The basketball courts were outside, thus no practice or games when it rained. Sometimes when there was no water at school, we were allowed to cross the gravel road and draw drinking water from the well at the Roebuck residence.”

Dr. Moore had great visits reminiscing with former schoolmates Mavis Robertson Hannah and Ruth Crumpton Warner. Kenneth Hannah, Mavis’s husband was a close neighbor, playmate, and school mate at Calhoun. Ruth Crumpton and her husband Jack Warner, a teammate on the football team, were close friends at Louisville High School. Quoting Dr. Moore, “I wish more of us were still around.”

At a curve on a small hill on Calhoun Road, Dr. Moore carefully surveyed the site of the former homestead of his Uncle Dan Fulton. Over the years, the homestead had been replaced by a pine forest, and other than the lay of the land, was not recognizable. “We lived on Uncle Dan Fulton’s place. He was my uncle by marriage, having married my father’s sister, Mary Jane Moore. We lived in a large white house, and I remember three ponds around the house. Uncle Dan owned a grist mill, cotton gin, and farm. We were sharecroppers and my dad ran the gin during the harvest or ‘cotton picking season.’ When I wasn’t working in the fields, I caught a lot of fish out of Nanih Waiya Creek and the branches that ran into it. We fished as far upstream as the Humphries Lake and as far downstream as ‘the head of the river.’ Pearl River begins where Nanih Waiya Creek and Tallahaga Creek converge. We needed a lot of lard, because we ate a lot of fried chicken and fried fish in those days. At one time my grandfather Moore owned the land around the Nanih Waiya Indian Mound which was in sight of our tenant house. The bridge across Nanih Waiya Creek was named Moore Bridge after him. The road past the bridge led to Neshoba County but was only passable during dry weather. Usually, it was impassable during the winter months.”

The group made a stop at Salem Baptist Cemetery in Kemper County near Preston. Dr. Moore’s first ancestors to arrive in Mississippi are buried there. Needham F. Moore (1845 – 1910) and his wife Sara Barnes Moore (1844 – 1924) were married in Kemper County in 1865. They are buried in line with her parents, Demroy Barnes (1820 – 1875) and Elizabeth Barnes (1830 – 1901). Needham F. and Sara Barnes Moore were farming at Kellis Store, now extinct, in 1870. They were farming in Oak Grove in Winston County by 1880 and continued to rear their family and live there for the rest of their lives. They were mentioned in newspapers as prominent citizens. Numerous descendants of this couple continue to reside in Winston County.

At Memorial Park in Louisville, Dr. Moore visited the gravesites of family, parents Dempsey C. and Ida McAdory Moore, sister Cecile Moore, sister Kitty Sue Moore Harris, and brother-in-law Steele Blon Harris. Upon reflecting, it is remarkable that nine of the ten siblings in Dr. Moore’s family earned college degrees.