Chronicles of Oklahoma
Volume 13, No. 4
AUGUSTA ROBERTSON MOORE,
A Sketch of Her Life and Times
Carolyn Thomas Foreman.
An auspicious day dawned for the Indian Territory when the Rev. Samuel Austin Worcester, with his family, accompanied their
friends, the Cherokee Indians to their new home in the West. There was never any faltering in his purpose to bring a knowledge
of the Scriptures and a secular education to the Indians, although he and his wife endured every sort of hardship and illness
in so doing. This noble work did not end with their generation but was carried on by their daughter Ann Eliza and her husband
when they took up their life-work at Tullahassee Mission. Miss Worcester and the Rev. William Schenck Robertson were married
April 16, 1850, at Park Hill and departed for their new home in the Creek Nation.
The Creek Indians were at first utterly opposed to all missionaries and schools but after they saw the workings of Kowetah
Mission the chiefs agreed with the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions to permit erection of a manual labor school. The
Indians promised to pay one-fifth while the Board would bear the remainder of the cost. The Rev. Robert M. Loughridge selected
the site for Tullahassee Mission and bought 70 acres of cleared land from Thomas Marshall. On that place was constructed a
brick building of three stories, which was opened March 1, 1850, and accommodated eighty pupils.
Mr. Loughridge appears to have managed the school in a succesful manner and he was soon joined by Mr. Robertson and his bride
who were both on the teaching staff. Robertson was graduated from Union College, Schenectady, New York, in 1843. He then took
two-thirds of a medical course but decided that teaching was the profession to which he would devote his life. After several
years of teaching in academies in New York state he offered his services to the, Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions and
was finally assigned to the new mission among the Creeks.
There on October 9, 1851, was born to the young people a baby girl who was given the name of Ann Augusta. Two years
later a second daughter was added to the family and she was called Mary Alice. Her name was later reversed and Alice M. Robertson
became one of the famous women of Indian Territory and Oklahoma. Ann Augusta soon dropped her first name; she was called "Gusta"
by her immediate family. She bore much of the burden of rearing her younger brothers and sisters as her parents were constantly
occupied with the affairs of the mission, the translation of hymns, text books and the Testaments. Mr. and Mrs. Robertson,
being college graduates, determined that their children should not be deprived of a sound education even if they were reared
in the wilderness, and their daughter commenced her studies at an early age.
Tullahassee was an austere appearing place as there were no porches on the building; but the rooms were well lighted by numerous
windows, the grounds were shaded by majestic cedar, oak, and hickory trees while the path to the front door was marked by
rows of rose bushes.1 As a little girl Augusta played with a doll having a stuffed cloth body and a china head until she was given a wooden doll,
exquisitely dressed. The children also played with green walnuts that fell from a tree planted by their father in front of
the mission. The nuts became cattle, and in childish games represented the great droves of Texas cattle that were driven past
the school to be marketed in St. Louis.2 The little girl did not learn to swim but she recalled shooting a pistol on one occasion and an Indian, standing near, exclaimed
"Koot! Iste ele-che tayes," which means "Why, she could kill a man."
There was an orchard of apple, peach and quince trees at Tullahassee and wild flowers covered the prairies in colorful patches.
"Gusta" and her playmates picked spring-beauties, many species of violets, innocence, anemones, red bud, black-eyed Susans
and butterfly weed; in the spring they haunted the surrounding dogwood thickets which looked like immense canopies of white
lace spread in the woods.
The children were accustomed to watch the rabbits, deer, squirrels, opossums, and racoons in the neighboring woods. Wildcats
and cougars were sometimes seen, wolves crept close to the
school and howled in an alarming way. Great flocks of prairie chickens were a common sight but the time was gone when buffaloes
were to be seen. A neighbor, near the mission, had a buffalo he had tamed that furnished interest and amusement for the children.
When visiting relatives at Park Hill or Tahlequah the long journey was made in a wagon. The route led north of the Arkansas
River and the Verdigris was forded near the present town of Okay, and the Grand River at Fort Gibson. Sometimes they were
compelled to ferry the Verdigris near the Arkansas River and also the Grand in order to reach Fort Gibson. Droves of cattle
in the immense cane brakes along the Arkansas made an impression on the alert minds of the Robertson children.3
At the time of the Civil War the mission at Tullahassee was abandoned and the missionary families fled to the North. Mr. and
Mrs. Robertson with their four children traveled in a covered wagon, driven by a part-Indian. The New York missionary had
been " . . . pronounced a 'Yankee Abolitionist' and given twenty-four hours to quit the Creek nation. We lingered a short
time at the Cherokee mission [at Park Hill] and then began a hard journey through byways of the Ozarks. . . "4
The refugees were three weeks on the way after leaving Park Hill where they had deposited most of their belongings with Mrs.
Robertson's sister, Mrs. Abijah Hicks. Mr. Robertson narrowly escaped death in one house where they spent the night in the
mountains of Missouri; their ignorant host professed to believe the minister a spy. A safe-conduct was secured from Gen. Sterling
Price, whose camp was only a mile away, and he assured him "the Confederacy does not make war upon preachers nor women nor
children . . . "5
The Robertsons finally reached Rollo, Missouri where they were cheered by the sight of the Stars and Stripes floating over
the town. Here they had their first sight of a railroad and the children boarded the cars with wide eyes, eager for the great
experience of a journey into the world. The absence from the Indian Territory was not a time of leisure for the Robertsons
teaching was continued in several places.6 Mr. Robertson conducted a private school for young men in Mattoon, Illinois but it was disrupted when many of the youths
volunteered for army service at the time of Gen. Morgan's raids into Ohio. Augusta attended a school that year under a Mr.
McFarland and his wife.7 In Centralia she went for a year to a girl's school, conducted by her father.
The year 1866 was an eventful one for the youthful Augusta who was sent to Dayton, Ohio to attend Cooper Seminary. She remained
there until 1870 when she was graduated. Latin was one of the subjects she studied and it seemed to have made more of an impression
on her mind than it usually does on young people. Letters she received from home were treasured and in her later years she
read them to the author with wise and witty comments. While she admired her mother highly and was exceedingly proud of her
literary achievements, she frequently spoke of her father in a most devoted manner and recounted what a comfort his letters
were to her during her years in college. She pointed out that while her mother and sister Alice wrote long letters, it was
in the hastily penned notes from her father that she learned of events at home. She once remarked that he never wrote anything
that was not full of interest. Miss Robertson's letters from home were postmarked (in writing) "Creek Agency" or Fort Gibson.
It is easy to understand why Mr. Robertson was lovingly called "The Teacher";8 "I wish I could paint an adequate
picture of the missionary . . . as he stood framed in the doorway . . . [at Tullahassee]. His hair was long and brown, with
little sprays of gray in it. He was at least six feet tall and so thin as to be almost gaunt. He wore glasses with lenses
so thick that it seemed to me they must be a burden to his nose. His face was sunburned. But behind the sunburn and the glasses
was a face so sincere and genuine that I shall carry the image of it to my last day."9
One year at college was devoted to teaching as a part of Miss Robertson's training and it proved useful after her return to
Indian Territory. Her journey home from Ohio was made under the care of Captain Field,10 the newly appointed agent to the Creek Indians. From Cincinnati they traveled to Baxter Springs, Kansas, where they were
obliged to spend the night. The town was the last station on the railroad and the young girl was kept awake all night by the
swearing and noise of the rough characters who invariably hung about the end of the road. Captain Field had brought a small
satchel containing $30,000 in currency with him and he had Miss Robertson use it as a foot stool aboard the train. While they
were eating their supper at Baxter Springs the officer kept a close watch on his money and immediately afterward he hunted
up a banker and left the satchel with him until morning. They departed by stage and took dinner the next day at Adair. There
were a number of people at the hotel table and when a critical guest referred to the pie crust as "sole leather" the waitress
showed her resentment by throwing a heavy teacup at his head. "We then went to Fort Gibson and instead of leaving me there
Captain Field took me to his home at Fern Mountain [near where the Creek Agency was located], and then took me to Tallahassee
and I remember that Mother wasn't glad to see me because I came home on Sunday."11
Miss Robertson began teaching the girls at Tullahassee and continued until 1882. An occurrence that made a lasting im-
pression on the memory of the young teacher was the advent of the grasshoppers in 1874. The insects settled in a solid mass
on the picket fence at the mission; they covered the trunks of the trees; ate all of the peaches, leaving the bare stones
hanging to the twigs perched on every blade of grass and the children were greatly amused to see all of the little brown heads
sticking up. When the grasshoppers flew long streamers of iridescent cobwebs caught on their wings and rendered them beautiful
in the sunshine.
The first paper published in the Creek Nation was Our Monthly issued from Tullahassee Mission. Volume I was written with pen and ink with one copy to an issue but in January, 1873, No.
I of Vol. 2 appeared, in print, with Mr. Robertson as editor. Mrs. Robertson was the principal contributor and their son,
Samuel Worcester Robertson chief printer. The Creek National Council having given a hand press to the school, Mr. Robertson
and his daughter, Augusta studied the art of printing from a handbook, and taught Samuel who was just entering his teens.
A supply of type came with the press but much of the old type from the Park Hill Mission Press was moved to Tullahassee after
the Civil War and was thus utilized for more years in bringing civilization to the Indians.
Our Monthly was printed in Creek and English and in October, 1874 the National Council passed an act appropriating $100 to pay for 1,000
copies of the paper to be distributed free to citizens of the Creek country. When the youthful printer fell behind in his
type-setting "Sister Gusta" would come to his rescue, lending a helping hand after a hard day's teaching.12
John H. Craig, employed as farmer at the mission, fell in love with the blonde young teacher and they were married April 15,
1877. A daughter was born to them whom they named Alice Galloway She lived only seven and a half months and her sad young
parents took the little body to the mission burying ground at Park Hill. Mr. Craig soon fell a victim to tuberculosis and
followed the baby to the grave.
Miss Nancy Thompson, one of the original workers at the mission, was born in Washington County, Virginia, March 20,
1792. She became a member of Gideon Blackburn's church at Marysville, Tennessee, in 1806. She decided to become a missionary
to the Cherokees and was assigned in 1826 to Haweis Mission, located about a mile north of Coosa River, near Rome, Georgia.
In March, 1833 she was transferred to Willstown Mission near Fort Payne, Alabama. Three years later she was serving at Creek
Path (now Guntersville, Alabama). In 1839 she removed with the Cherokee Indians when they were forced to leave their homes
in the East and she continued her duties at Park Hill in the mission established by Dr. Worcester.13 In 1849 Miss Thompson went to the new Creek mission at Tullahassee. " . . . by her long experience in boarding schools among
the Indians, her remarkably good judgment, and common-sense, [she] was of immense assistance in preparing for and afterwards
in conducting the mission work.14
According to an associate at the school, Miss Thompson was not well educated and she occupied the position of stewardess at
the school. She was fond of reading and was a subscriber to the New York Observer. This newspaper was divided into two parts, one secular and the other religious. Miss Nancy read the news portion through
the week reserving the religious part for Sunday reading.15
A touching description of Miss Nancy is given in Scenes in the Indian Country by Augustus W. Loomis (Philadelphia, 1859, 86
ff): "Soon after our mission was established among the Creeks, she joined it, and for more than thirty years has she been
toiling, planning, and praying for the interests of these Missions...
"Day after day she worked in the kitchen or laundry, or school room, or in nursing the sick—anywhere, so that she might be
ful. Day after day for thirty years, she labored and fainted not . . .It was still the cause which lay nearest her heart .
. . the missionaries were constantly consulting her, and freely and kindly was advice imparted. . . "
During the Civil War Miss Thompson stayed at Centralia, Illinois later joining Mr. and Mrs. Robertson at the Indian Institute
at Highland, Kansas. She returned to Tullahassee in November, 1866 and resumed her work which she was able to continue until
her ninety-first year.
Tullahassee was burned in 1880 but the brave and resourceful missionaries converted the laundry into a dining and living room
while the work shops and wagon shed were fitted up for school and sleeping rooms at a trifling expense. Twenty boys were received
in the school of whom fourteen were orphans. Health in the school was good that year except for two cases of pneumonia. Miss
Thompson, who had been a power and a comfort in every emergency, died and her body was interred in the Mission Cemetery at
Park Hill where she rests "between my father and the fence enclosing our kindred. . . "16
Six weeks later, from overwork and anxiety, Mr. Robertson died and the following spring his daughter, Mrs. Craig was appointed
principal pro tem. Later she was made superintendent until the school was turned over to the Negroes.17 Mrs. Craig asked permission to open the school in October and continue it until the completion of the new building at Wealaka
but the trustees decided against the project.18
On a vacation from Tullahassee Mrs. Craig went to Washington to visit her sister Alice who was employed as a clerk in the
Indian Office. She was accompanied by Miss Samantha Brown, also a teacher at the mission. "One day we visited the White House
where the famous old colored doorman met us. I told him it was our only chance to see the White House and asked him to show
us all he could. He took us through the East room and on through the Red, the Green and the Blue parlors. When we came
back into the corridor a line of men and women were climbing the stairs to the second floor and the porter told us to fall
in line and see the president. President Grant was standing with one hand resting on the end of his cabinet table and every
man and woman took his hand without a word being spoken. It struck my funny bone and when my turn came I looked up in his
face and said 'From the Territory, General.' I shall never forget the smile that lit up his tired face as he answered, 'I
am very happy to meet you Madam.' Wasn't it amusing? As if there was only one territory and he still a general!"19
While a young lady, Miss Robertson visited her uncle, the Rev. Henry M. Robertson, pastor of a Presbyterian church in Columbus,
Ohio. ". . . He took me through the capitol building and introduced me to his friend Governor [Rutherford B.] Hayes. What
I remember best was the great number of captured Confederate flags that were returned later to the South—at least most of
On November 20, 1882 Mrs. Craig became the bride of Judge Napoleon Bonaparte Moore at Oswego, Kansas, in the home of the Rev.
John Elliott who read the marriage vows. Moore was prominent in the affairs of the Creek Nation. He was born in Russell County,
Alabama, June 8, 1828. His father was William Moore, his mother Lucy Chemulee of the Kussetah town. Judge Moore was educated
in the publc schools of the nation. He served as a lieutenant in Col. D. N. McIntosh's regiment in the Confederate army, fighting
throughout the Civil War. He was revenue collector for his tribe; was elected to the House of Warriors for four years and
to the House of Kings for the same number of years; he was judge of the supreme court of the Creek Nation.20
Judge and Mrs. Moore made their home at his 200 acre "Mule Shoe Ranch," three and a half miles from the present town of Haskell.
Their first home was a log house sixteen feet square but they soon added a story and half frame house to it and covered the
logs with siding. Their Negro farmer occupied an adjoining log cabin.
20Muskogee and Northeastern Oklahoma by John D. Benedict, Chicago, 1922, P. 181; Times-Democrat, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, August 8, 1935, "The Moores of Mule Shoe and Half Moon Ranches" by Harriette Johnson Westbrook, p. 14,
After the loss of Tullahassee it soon became evident that it must be replaced by another school and Miss Alice M. Robertson
went east to raise funds for the building among friends of the Indians. During her absence, Mrs. Moore filled her place in
the Creek public school at Okmulgee where she stayed with her widowed mother.
Trustees, appointed by the two houses of the National Council to supervise the selection of a site and the building of the
new mission, were N. B. Moore, chairman, Thomas J. Adams and Thomas Ward Perryman. They were also empowered to make a contract
with the Woman's Executive Committee of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church which had agreed to funish $10,000 while
the Creek National Council appropriated $2,500.21
This school was "for the especial benefit of the full bloods in the western part of the Muskogee Nation" and the committee
expressed deep regret that the project had been delayed by " . . . the unhappy troubles among our countrymen which for many
months rendered it impossible to proceed. . ." The committee finally agreed on a promising site on Salt Creek but when a well
was dug, after considerable expense, the water was found unfit for use and the location was abandoned.22
"This Council  passed an Act directing your committee to place the school on the south side of the Deep Fork River.
In compliance with this act a location was first chosen in New Yorker town, but the people of that town objecting to the site
as too near their square [buck ground], a third and successful attempt to secure a satisfactory location was made, and the
committee agreeing on that place known as the 'Jimmy Larney place,' near David Carr's ranch on the south side of the Deep
Fork River about fifteen miles [almost due west] from the Muskokee Capital. . ."
It was desired to have the school " . . . as nearly as possible in the nature of a christian family . . [with] the boys and
girls in separate buildings under the care of teachers who should exercise a parental care over them. . . "23 Four buildings were erected
"the first contains a chapel or assembly room and school rooms, the second the boy's home and Superintendent's apartment,
the third and fourth are smaller cottages for the girls and the teachers in charge of them. Each of the last three buildings
is complete in itself, with kitchen, dining room, bath room, &c. "24 The act had provided for forty pupils at $70.00 per annum to be cared for in the mission but through the liberality of the
Presbyterian Board, buildings had been provided which would accommodate at least twice the original number specified by the
council and this was a great blessing, in the opinion of the committee, owing to the "great and increasing desire of the Muskokee
people to have their children in boarding school . . . "
The trustees asked for an additional appropriation for the building of a barn and other out buildings, for fences, the purchase
of live stock and submitted an estimate for the expenses. This report contains a statement that the daughters of Mr. Robertson
had requested that the school should be named for him but a letter is appended from Augusta Robertson Moore saying: "While
we gratefully appreciate the respect shown the memory of our father by the Principal Chief calling the new school 'Robertson
Institute' we should prefer that it receive its name from the language of the Muskokee people. Our father, during his lifetime,
sought no distinction save that of entire and self-sacrificing devotion to the Muskokees."25 The school was accordingly named Nuyaka Mission.26
On April 16, 1885 this school was opened with Mrs. Moore as principal and superintendent. During the first ten years she was
employed by the Presbyterian Board her salary was paid by the Rev. T. K. Beecher of Elmira, New York.27 The faculty of
27Thomas K. Beecher, a son of Dr. Lyman Beecher and brother of the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, was born at Litchfield, Connecticut,
February 10, 1824. He was graduated from Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois in 1843, and later became pastor of a Congregational
church at Elmira. He was an eloquent preacher and a zealous philanthropist (Universal Pronouncing Dictionary of Biography . . . by Joseph Thomas, M. D., L. L. D., Philadelphia, 1888).
Nuyaka Misison was composed of seven women teachers and one man who had charge of the boys out of school hours. The Rev. Thomas
Ward Perryman was pastor of the church and instructed pupils in the Bible.28 At the first meeting of the board on April, 17, 1885, David Thompson, Koncharty Micco, Thomas J. Adams and A. R. Moore were
present. Hotulko Figico was a member of the board but was not in attendance.29
At the opening of Nuyaka ". . . seventy pupils were enrolled . . . and of these but two boys and less than a dozen girls could
speak English at all. The highest class at the time, consisted of two girls in the second reader . . .
"The plan of Nuyaka Mission is to furnish the native children—especially girls—with a good Christian training. The latter
are taught all that thrifty Christian mothers teach their daughters, viz., washing, ironing, making and mending their clothes,
as well as general house-work. English only is allowed to be spoken. The two cottages . . . are 'Marquand and Robertson,'
so called from the donors of the money which paid for the buildings. . . Mrs. Moore is an excellent financier, as well as
an educational superintendent."30
The committee on education of the Muskokee Nation, October, 17, 1885, asked for an appropriation of $5,600 for the scholastic
year 1885-86 for "New Yorker Mission." The matter was recommended by Henry Thompson, president of the House of Kings, concurred
in by T. J. Adams, speaker of the House of Warriors and approved by J. S. Perryman, Principal Chief on October 23, 1885.31
Some of the expenses incurred at Nuyaka were "Sofkey for a sick boy, 15 cents," berries and sofkey gritts; fifteen pounds
of honey; venison hams at fifty cents each; one wild turkey fifty cents; apples, plums, sweet potatoes and milk; "2 chickens
Provisions were bought from James Parkinson, James A. Patterson & Co., and F. B. Severs. Ferriage was a large and frequent
item in the expenses of the school.32
Chief Perryman approved the same amount for "Nuyarker Mission" for the school year 1887-88 and Augusta R. Moore, superintendent,
made her fourth annual report to the House of Kings and the House of Warriors. The school term began September 30, 1887 and
closed with a public examination June 23, 1888. During the fall term there were several cases of malarial fever among the
students some of whom were taken home by their parents. Six homesick pupils who ran away, lost their places as they did not
return to the school. Eighty-four names were retained on the rolls. There were no deaths at the mission during the year but
Melissa James one of the pupils, had to be taken home a victim of consumption and she died in about three months. One of the
most promising students, and the one who had made the greatest progress for the length of time he had attended school was
Gabriel Ispahecha but he was stricken with the same fatal disease in April and died at his home, the middle of July.
During the year a number of barrels of clothing were sent to the mission from which many of the children were entirely or
partly clothed. Other gifts were fruit trees to the value of $20.00; a grant of 100 Bibles and a large pulpit Bible from the
American Bible Society; a set of fire extinguishers for each of the three cottages from the Board of Home Missions; many new
books and $199.00 from James Parkinson for an addition to the Boys' Hall.
Mrs. Moore reported: "A year ago a young Californian half breed Indian who had worked on the Mission farm, for a year and
a half, died at Nuyaka . . . the name of the young man was Peter Simes." An unsuccessful effort was made to find his friends
and after all of the expenses of his illness and burial were paid it was decided to buy cattle for the mission with the remainder
of his money as the amount could easily be refunded if his relatives ever appeared.
A full accounting of the funds appropriated by the Creek Nation was made in this report: "For Buildings $2500.00; for
furniture $1000.00; the farm, stock, wagons, etc., $1600.00. Total $5100.00. The Presbyterian Board of Home Missions paid
the balance of the $12000.00 which the mision buildings cost, and also paid $1200.00 in addition to the $1000.00 for furnishing
the school properly. . .
"From the time of the third quarterly payment of last year's drafts until within two weeks of the time the third quarterly
draft for the present year was due, not one cent was paid on the Nuyaka drafts, although they were duly made out, audited
and presented. The school was, therefore, for one whole year, run on credit, and would have had to be closed but for the kindness
of F. B. Severs and James Parkinson, who paid all33 of my bills for the year. . . " The school of forty-four boys and forty-three girls during that term, numbered many of the
most prominent names in the tribe. Among the pupils were members of the families of Herrod, Porter, Berryhill, Monahwee, Harrell,
Tiger, Sands, Checote, Dunson, Bruner, Marshall, Yargee and McGilvray.34
On October 9, 1888 the secretary of the Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church notified the Muskogee Council, which
was then in session: "I regret to announce that our efficient Superintendent of Nuyaka school felt compelled to resign the
first of August. I desire to bear testimony to the efficiency of Mrs. Moore and to her zeal and earnestness as a teacher and
her capabilities as a manager of Nuyaka school.35
An extra was issued November 1, 1888 by the Muskogee Phoenix, printed on rose colored paper, to announce the appointment of
Judge Moore as treasurer of the Muskokee Nation. The paper commented on the appointment as "a most fitting one and a just
tribute to his sterling worth. The Creek treasury is safe in his hands." Mrs. Moore's financial talent was again brought into
service and she "was called the 'Little Treasurer' because she kept the books and paid the bills so that she was de facto
It is said that "a movement was once started to have her adopted into the Creek nation, but nothing came of it. It would
have honored the Creeks, had they adopted her."37 Mr. S. W. Robertson states that "The 'honor' of being made citizens of the Creek nation was lost to the whole Robertson family
when the council refused to pass a bill that would have granted them citizenship because they feared to establish a precedent
that they might not want to follow later I have a copy of the bill . . . It may be that at that time [while Judge Moore was
treasurer] a special effort was made to give citizenship to Gusta, but if so, I never happened to hear of it."
Mrs. Moore wrote an interesting account of the manner in which the Creek elections were conducted: "The voters of each 'town'
—Kussehta, Okfuskee, Alabama etc., gathered at a set time, opposing candidates stood at the head of parallel lines made by
their friends who were then counted by the town king, as near as I understood the method — it was like the Jews going to their
home town to be taxed. No matter how the 'towns' were intermarried they had to go to their 'town' to vote. Mr. Moore was a
Kussehta and he had to go to his town near Okmulgee."38
Mrs. Moore accompanied her husband to Washington in 188889 when he went as one of the delegates from his nation. The purpose
of the delegation was "to try to get congress to appropriate $400,000.00 of the Creek funds for a per capita payment to relieve
distress. [Their attorney], Ex-Gov. [S. J.] Crawford of Kansas managed to get the bill tacked on to the Indian appropriation
bill as a 'rider'. Senator [James Kimbrough] Jones of Arkansas was a warm friend of Mr. Moore's and did all he could. It had
leaked out that [President] Harrison would demand a very heavy bond-at that time the Creek Treasurer's bond was only $5000.00.
Severs and Patterson and others in Oklahoma [Indian Territory] with the help of their wholesalers in St. Louis were prepared
for a million dollars.39
"I . . . went with him [Mr. Moore] by appointment to call on President Harrison. We sent in our cards (Mr. Moore's as Treasurer
of the Creek Nation) and mine as superintendent of the
Presbyterian mission school at Nuyaka. Mr. Moore told his errand; that he wished to know officially what bond the president
would require of him. He tossed our cards with a disdainful gesture into the waste basket and answered that he hadn't decided
on the exact amount, but it would be very large. The outcome was that no extra bond was required! I was head clerk in paying
the money out and by act of council was allowed to take Mr. Moore's place while he was sick a few days."40
Mrs. Moore resumed her position at Nuyaka and her report for 1891-92 stated that subjects taught in the school were Algebra,
Natural Philosophy, Physiology, United States History, English Grammar, Arithmetic, Reading and Bible. All of the students
were given a thorough examination in these studies at the close of school. The Board seemed surprised at the proficiency shown
by the highest classes. The health in the mission had been remarkably good although sickness throughout the country was unusually
common that year. Mrs. Moore noted with regret that a few pupils had run away but that the average attendence was 77 1/3.
She stated that this was probably her last report: "on account of family reasons have been compelled to lay down my school
work." She was succeeded by W. B. Robe who, with other members of his family, had a remarkable teaching career in the missions
of Indian Territory.41
"I have known all of the Creek chiefs since the Civil] War. Went to school with Pleasant Porter [at Tullahassee Mission].
I had children of both Sam Checote and Isparhechar in my Nuyaka school. I knew [Gov.] C. N. Haskell . . . I heard Bryan speak
in Muskogee and heard his famous peace speech on the hill side at Hot Springs. I knew my uncle, Gov. (Francis A.) Pierpont
of Virginia who married my father's youngest and favorite sister, Julia Augusta." Mrs. Moore was named Ann for her mother and Augusta for Mrs. Pierpont. "I knew Chief W. P. Ross of the
Cherokees and the famous John Ross before the war. His family attended grand father's church at Park Hill. . . "42
Mrs. Moore relinquished her position because of the declining health of her husband and they retired to their ranch which
was a center of hospitality. Friends and travelers were always welcomed and missionaries were received and made to feel at
home. On these occasions religious services were held before the house, under the forest trees on the spacious lawn.
In 1908 Judge and Mrs. Moore built a stone church in the town of Haskell as a memorial to her parents. It is called Robertson
Memorial Chapel. While no children were born of the marriage of Judge and Mrs. Moore it cannot be said that they were childless
as their home was a refuge for numerous orphans and Mrs. Moore helped to educate twenty young people. Judge Moore died October
10, 1911 at Battle Creek, Michigan where his wife had taken him hoping for an improvement in his health. Mrs. Moore carried
on the interests of her husband and managed the "Mule Shoe Ranch" for years.
In 1912 she embarked on a trip abroad, her principal interest being a visit to Palestine. The itinerary was expanded to include
the other countries around the Mediterranean as well as Germany and the British Isles, where she particularly enjoyed visits
to the famous cathedrals. Mrs. Moore, being widely read, had a thorough understanding of the historical and literary shrines
she visited and she was able to transmit much of her pleasure to other people by her letters to the Haskell News and by talks in churches and schools after her return home.
When the first meeting of the American Red Cross was called in Haskell Mrs. Moore was elected head of the organization, which
was a branch of the Muskogee County Chapter. This branch accomplished fine work under the patriotic women of the town who
organized auxiliaries at Stone Bluff, Hickory Grove and Choska. A member of the branch was sent to Muskogee to learn surgical
dressings; Mrs. Moore took great delight, in learning to knit and she was as pleased as Punch the day she first turned a heel
in a pair of socks intended for a soldier. No call was ever
made on the Haskell branch that was not filled on time and in a most satisfactory manner.
Mrs. Moore made a second voyage abroad in 1922 when she again visited the countries around the Mediterranean. She was in the
Ghiza Gardens at Cairo when the guns were fired to mark the change of rulers in Egypt. She saw Gen. Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby
"among his roses which he tended personally, and was shown over the grounds of the British crown there.
"I was on board our ship in the Constantinople harbor when the city on both sides of the Golden Horn, and all the shipping,
was illuminated in honor of Mohammed's birthday. I saw the brilliant show when the sultan went to prayer."
When Mrs. Moore's sister Alice was a candidate for congress from the third Oklahoma district she was supported by her sister
in every way; she gave her time, her strength and much of her personal means to further her sister's ambition. No one took
greater delight in the honors that were showered on the second woman member of the House of Representatives and some of Mrs.
Moore's happiest recollections were of her visits to Washington during her sister's term in the House. "While Alice was in
congress she sent me to a review of the cavalry at Ft. Myer by General Pershing. After the review there was a 12 o'clock breakfast
at [the home of the commandant] and there I met the girlishly lovely Grace Coolidge. . .
"One of the greatest days of my life was when Alice had an important Indian committee meeting at the hour that the international
peace conference made public its report in the hall of the D. A. R building. [Mrs. Moore took her sister's place.] Exactly
on the hour the members entered the hall. I had a splendid seat where I could see and hear everybody... So many left the House
to attend that I heard a member say 'this looks like a meeting of the House.'
"Alice took me with her to the reception in the Pan-American building—if I remember it was given by Secretary Hughes for the
Peruvian minister—the one who sent Alice a splendid bouquet because, when for the first time in the history of the world a
woman presided over a legislative body, the question brought up for discussion was whether the U. S. should be represented
Peruvian fair. There I met Secretary Mellon and talked to him, and to Chinese ambassador Sze and his interesting wife. I exclaimed
over their excellent English and asked Mr. Sze where he studied and he said Cornell."
Mrs. Moore had travelled extensively in her own country, in Canada and in Mexico where she recounts: "I saw the very handsome
marble mausoleum that [Pancho] Villa had built for himself on ground which he stole-removing the bodies long buried there.
I was a guest in the house of the man in Chihuahua who sold the million dollar mine to Potter Palmer of Chicago."43 She attended the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the World's Fair at Chicago where she "was caught in the fearful
jam the night of October 9th" (1893), the fairs at St. Louis and Seattle.44
Mrs. Moore told with glee that "when Mr. Moore was in Battle Creek Sanitarium Taft made an address. The thing I remember best
is that [Dr. John Harvey] Kellogg sat on the stage, as a member of the reception committee, next his rival and enemy, Post,
and we who knew were amused at the disdain they showed toward each other.. .
"The only time I ever saw Roosevelt was when he spoke from a stage on the Katy right of way [in Muskogee]. Alice had not been
invited to be on the reception committee but he asked for her at once and I heard him say that Alice Robertson would be postmaster
as long as he was president."45 Mrs. Moore was in Muskogee in 1882 when an earthquake shook the town: she was visiting at the home of her sister, Mrs. Grace
R. Merriam, in Santa Barbara, California when the earthquake took place on the anniversary of the first one that destroyed
so large a part of the city.
On May 22, 1934 Mrs. Moore sent to the author a letter saying: "I am inclosing a letter from Sister Alice for you to do with
as you think best. You may have the story written for publication that she mentions." Miss Robertson's letter, written aboard
the presidential yacht Mayflower, on the note paper of the craft is as follows: "My dear Augusta: One of the finest men in the Pres-
byterian ministry was sent abroad when he could not take his wife 'Jennie' with him. He carried with him a little framed picture
of her and used to take it out and turn it in all directions saying 'Look Jennie, look!'
"So I wish you could look, for this tiny scrap is written on the 'Mayflower' the 'President's Own' yacht, on which I am out
for a day's 'junketing' the only woman invited,—
"And this is as much as I wrote, for there was too much doing. I wish I could give you a history of the day, when the Secy.
of the Navy treated me as tho' I were the especial guest of honor, how Mrs. Harding's room was placed at my disposal &c, &c.
"Don't give this little boasting to the papers— If I can I'll write a little account of the day . . . Alice. Thursday May
Mrs. Moore made many valuable contributions to the Oklahoma Historical Society in the way of letters, manuscripts and pictures.
She was elected three times to the school board of Haskell where she gave devoted service. She served two full terms " . .
. and then we voted ourselves out to be part of a union school district."46
She was a member of the Haskell Women's Civic League, the American Red Cross, vice president of American Bible Society, president
of the federated women's missionary societies of Haskell, president of the missionary society of the Robertson Memorial and
member of the Ladies' Guild of the same church.
During the influenza epidemic of 1918 the mayor of Haskell called upon Mrs. Moore to take charge of the situaton and she acquitted
herself, as she always did, with honor to herself and satisfaction to the public. Mrs. Moore was formerly a wealthy woman
but she had impoverished herself doing for other people. She made an unsolicited gift of $500.00 to help liquidate the indebtedness
of the University of Tulsa, formerly Henry Kendall College of Muskogee, which was founded by Miss Alice M. Robertson. For
the last year and a half of Mrs. Moore's life she resided with Mr. and Mrs. Head Right Moore, on their ranch near Haskell.
She and Judge Moore had reared this nephew when he was left a tiny
orphan and he and his faithful wife showed their appreciation by their tender care of "Aunt." Mrs. Moore displayed with pride
a wool cover for her bed made by her niece "Ellen" from lambs she had grown on the ranch.47
Mrs. Moore never lost her interest in world affairs and at an advanced age she was able to read without glasses. Her letters
to her friends were filled with shrewd comments on events in this country and abroad. She was a delightful hostess and a charming
guest. Her kindness and charity were a part of her being and her place cannot be filled in the community she loved and called
The day before her death she was visited by a party of friends from Okmulgee. Among them was the Rev. Sam Checote, one of
her pupils at Tullahassee. On being shown into her room he knelt beside her bed and while holding her hands he prayed in Creek
"giving thanks for the life of the great, good woman who had done so much for his people. Then he prayed that she might know
the peace of an untroubled heart after a life spent so well . . .
"After a while she asked me to hand Mr. Checote her old Creek hymnal, she wanted him to sing . . . They sang No. 1, first
in the modern version and then to the old tribal chant . . . [with] a clear, ringing 'God bless you' " her old friend left
her.48 She died that night and her bark sailed out on her last voyage on the wings of a prayer and song from the lips of a member
of the tribe to whose betterment her life had been devoted. Mrs. Moore was found dead in her bed on the morning of August
17, 1935, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. H. R. Moore. She had been in ill health for over a year and her end came as a result
of heart trouble.49
Her funeral services were held in the Robertson Memorial Chapel and were largely attended by friends from Muskogee, Tulsa,
Okmulgee, and other towns. The services were conducted by the Rev. C. M. Wallace of Muskogee, Rev. R. J. Lamb and Rev.
49Muskogee Times-Democrat, August 17, 1935, p. I, col. I; Muskogee Daily Phoenix, Sunday, August 18, 1935, p. I, col. 5; Sunday Times-Democrat, Okmulgee, August 18, 1935, "Mrs. Augusta Moore" by Harriette Johnson Westbrook, p. I, col. I and p. 9, col. 4.
C. W. Kerr of Tulsa. She was buried beside her husband in the Haskell cemetery.50
Mrs. Moore is survived by her brother Samuel W. Robertson of Santa Barbara, by a nephew, Hon. Alfred Robertson of the same
city; by her nieces Mrs. Roderick Thompson of Santa Barbara and Mrs. Joseph Daltry of Middletown, Connecticut (daughters of
her sister Grace R. Merriman); and four cousins, children of her mother's sister, Mrs. G. I. Hopson, Mrs. Edith Walker and
Miss Emma Hicks, of Muskogee, and Herbert W. Hicks of Vinita, Oklahoma.51
Mrs. Moore modestly summed up her life in the questionnaire frequently quoted in this sketch: " . . . while leading a very
quiet life I have seen a great deal of my own country, parts of Canada . . . and Mexico, besides my foreign [European]tours
. . . I have enjoyed living and glimpses into the lives of people far above me in education and position."
Return to top
Electronic Publishing Center |
OSU Home |
Search this Site