Biography of Martin V. Moore

Martin V. Moore. One of the most interesting old time citizens of Homer Township is Martin V. Moore, who when a young man enlisted from this county and went out to fight the battles for the preservation of the Union, and in all the years since then has maintained the traditions of honor that actuated him on many a hard fought battlefield.

Mr. Moore was born at Eugene, Indiana, a son of Enoch and Adaline (Force) Moore. His father was a native of New York State and his mother of New Jersey. Enoch Moore when a small boy migrated with his family to Indiana. This was in the year 1832. From old New York State they traveled by water around the Great Lakes to Chicago, and reached that settlement when old Fort Dearborn was still standing and only, a short time after the organization of the village of Chicago, which then, contained only a few houses. Indians were perhaps more numerous than white men, and while the Moore family were there the Indians were receiving their last payment from the government. The Indians who lived in and around Chicago were great fishers and brought a large quantity of fish which they sold to the captain of the vessel that brought the Moores. Some of the children of this family had never seen an Indian before.

Martin Moore was one of the five children of his father’s second marriage and there were also five by the first union. Martin’s brothers and sisters were Anson B., Jane L., Angeline and Howard. Howard Moore when a boy was a student of the late Judge Cunningham of Champaign County. Judge Cunningham was at that time a young man employed as teacher in the school at Eugene, Indiana. Many pleasant recollections are retained of this old neighborhood school. The boys once in a spirit of mischief led horses upstairs and it required a long time and much trouble to get them down. The boys and girls thought a great deal of Cunningham as a teacher and he was very popular. The board urged him to remain for another term, but just then he decided to study for the bar.

When Martin V. Moore was six years of age he lost his father by death. The responsibility and care of the children were then thrown upon his widowed mother, who did all she could under the circumstances.

When Mr. Moore was ten years of age M. D. Coffeen, who was a resident of Illinois, was making a business visit to Eugene, Indiana. He saw Martin Moore down on his knees playing marbles with other boys and going up to him pleasantly asked if he did not want to take a ride. Like all boys Martin was ready for any adventure that promised novelty, and after obtaining the consent of his mother Coffeen brought him down to old Homer, Illinois. There he grew up in the home of Mr. Abraham Yeazel, Thus was Martin V. Moore introduced to Champaign County in the month of May, 1849.

While growing up he learned the lessons of industry and of good thrifty habits, and these were of even more value to him than the lessons he learned in school. He was twenty-two years of age when the war clouds arose over the country and with his brother Anson B. he enlisted at Homer in Company C of the Twenty-fifth Illinois Infantry. They were mustered in June 1, 1861, and soon went to St. Louis, where they received their arms and accouterments from the arsenal. They were next sent to Jefferson City, Missouri, took part in the engagements at Lexington and Booneville in the attempt to drive General Price out of the state, later were stationed at Holla in southern Missouri, and then had some skirmishes around Springfield, Missouri. The first big battle was that of Wilson Creek. Mr. Moore was under the command of Captain C. A. Summers, and the general leading his brigade was the noted Sigel. It was at Wilson Creek that General Sigel was deceived by the Rebel troops coming up dressed in Union uniforms and carrying the Union flag. The rebels did not open fire until they were quite near and General Sigel was compelled to retreat. After the next winter at Rolla they were again in the field fighting General Price and took part in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, where the Union troops practically sealed the victories of the campaign, as a result of which the Confederates permanently lost Missouri. In Pea Ridge the forces of which Mr. Moore was a part were nearly surrounded by the Confederacy. General Sigel, when told that surrender was imperative, responded, “I never was beaten.” Curtis, then his superior in command, insisted upon surrender, but Sigel interposed, “Give me the command and I will whip them in two hours.” Curtis replied, “Take it.” Sigel asked, “Put it in black and white.” The order was written, Sigel took command, gave the order for battle, and the result is known to every reader of Civil War history. After that Mr. Moore went to Little Eock, Arkansas, and soon afterward was sent to Pittsburg Landing to help out Grant, who was sorely pressed in that great two days engagement. During the Tennessee campaign he was at Murfreesboro, in camp for a time at Nashville, also at Knoxville, and then spent the winter at Nashville. General Bragg had massed a great army at Murfreesboro and General Rosecrans, in command of the Federals, moved down upon that point and fought the historic conflict known as Murfreesboro or Stone River. During the subsequent months Mr. Moore covered a large part of Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. He was also in the early advance through the heart of the Confederacy towards Atlanta and the heaviest fighting he ever saw in the war was at Chickamauga. He also fought at Missionary Ridge, but before the opening of the Atlanta campaign his term expired and he was mustered out at Springfield, Illinois, September 5, 1864.

Returning home to Homer Township, Mr. Moore in 1865 married Sarah A. Hayes. She was born in Homer Township, daughter of Moses and Martha Hayes. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Moore rented a farm in Homer Township for two years and then located on land which Mrs. Moore had inherited, situated in section 17. Here they undertook the task of making a permanent home and had behind them strength, courage, hope and industry, so that the future was absolutely unclouded.

At that time their own land and much of Champaign County was a virgin prairie. It was possible to go from their farm to Tuscola without seeing a single tree, while one might make a journey from Homer to Chicago and never encounter a fence. Mr. Moore, aided by his capable wife, has accomplished what he set out to do and has made his particular portion of Champaign County truly to blossom as the rose and meet every test of fruitfulness and beauty.

To Mr. and Mrs. Moore were born two children, Abraham and Martin V. The son Martin died in infancy. Abraham was educated in district school No. 10 and has always lived at home with his parents and is now active manager of the old farm.

In 1895 the death angel came into the home and took away Mr. Moore’s mother, who had lived with him for many years.

Reference to his brother Anson B., who was his companion in arms during the war, has already been made. Anson was one of the brave color guards appointed with five others to guard the color bearer at the battle of Missionary Ridge. These color bearers were always a conspicuous object to the enemy and the musketry fire was usually concentrated upon the standard of colors. In the battle of Missionary Ridge Anson Moore was mortally wounded and his brother Martin saw him only once after he was wounded until he died.

Mr. Moore’s other brother, Howard, has lived at the Moore home for many years. These three brothers, who were deprived of each other’s companionship in boyhood, are united in later days and have found a great deal of pleasure and mutual aid in each other’s company.

Politically Mr. Moore is a Republican, and has sustained the principles by ballot which he fought for as a soldier. In fraternal matters he is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and his son Abraham is enthusiastic in the work of the local lodge and also in the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen. Throughout his service as a soldier Mr. Moore kept a diary and put down all the interesting things that occurred. This diary makes most interesting reading today, and recalls with great vividness the many fearful scenes through which he passed as a soldier and it is also valuable in that it enables the people of the present generation to better understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by those gallant boys of the ’60s for the preservation of the Union. Mr. Moore, though more than half a century has passed since the war, possesses a splendid memory and is considered an authority on many old time events of both then and of later occurrence.


Stewart, J. R. A Standard History of Champaign County Illinois. The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York. 1918.

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