One major focus in coverage of the Moore weddings is their use of a unifying color scheme. Raymond’s marriage to Mary Dee Lum featured a then-popular green and white theme that extended from decorations at the Methodist church to the bridesmaids’ dresses of pale green silk. Even refreshments at their reception followed the pattern, with guests enjoying white, heart-shaped cakes served atop green ferns on white china. John Jr. and Etta May stuck with this elegant palette for their own ceremonies, but both added pops of pink through food, the bridal party’s attire, and floral elements. (The Houston Post was especially smitten with Etta May’s artful arrangements of dainty green vines, pink Kilarney roses and white Easter lilies--among other beautiful botanicals.)
Much like the green and white motif, highly elaborate white bridal gowns appear repeatedly at Moore weddings. The different components Etta May’s dress read like an inventory for a luxury fabric shop, including two varieties of white satin, royal velvet, Venetian and Chantilly lace, cloth of silver, and embroidered accents of crystal and pearls. Mary Lum and Dorothea Guenther, John Jr.’s wife, introduce muslin, chiffon, and crepe de chine to the mix of materials, not to mention diamonds in the form of a starburst pin Mary used to secure her veil. For her part, Etta May donned a veil of French tulle, while Dorothea opted for one of lace swept into a demure Juliet cap; Ivy Moore’s long veil cascaded, fittingly, from a wreath of flowers perched in her dark hair. In an echo of Queen Victoria’s much-celebrated 1840 marriage, which had helped standardize white as the fashionable hue for bridal garments, Dorothea and Etta May’s ensembles both incorporated orange blossoms, a symbol of fertility.
For all their gossip-worthy glamour, these extravagant affairs also illustrate how tightly knit the Moore clan remained even as it expanded. Ivy shared a group bridal shower with brother John Foster Dyer’s fiancée, Lida Lum Davis, and performed the song “All Because I Love You” at their wedding; she later served as matron of honor at Etta May’s ceremony, where J.F.D. and Lida pitched in by greeting and directing guests and Dorothea took charge of dishing out dessert. In the end—and color-coordinated cakes aside—Moore weddings boiled down to a simple celebration of family old and new.
By Melinda Narro
Fort Bend Museum Intern
John Matthew Moore began his career in Congress in 1905 at the age of 43—coincidentally, the same age that the nation’s then-Commander-in-Chief, Theodore Roosevelt, had become President after his own predecessor was assassinated. However, unlike President Roosevelt, who was famed for his larger-than-life personality and impassioned speechmaking, Moore left his mark on the American political landscape in a much less boisterous fashion.
During his seven years in Congress, Moore never made a spectacle of himself on the House floor. Instead, the modest, well-liked Richmond businessman went pragmatically about the work of, as he put it, representing “the best interests of the whole people of the district.” A staunch Democrat, Moore lent steady support to his party’s national initiatives, including lowering tariffs, enlarging the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and ensuring speedy completion of the unfinished Panama Canal. At the same time, his focus never strayed far from directly serving what he deemed “one of the best districts of the best State in the Union.” Moore’s diligent efforts helped secure federal appropriations for a variety of civic projects in East Texas, most notably waterway improvements on Buffalo Bayou, the Brazos and Trinity rivers, and the Galveston ship channel. He also rustled up funding to construct a Federal Building in Houston and a post office in Navasota, as well as increasing rural mail delivery routes within his district.
By the time John Moore announced his retreat from Washington politics, a new, much embattled President, William Howard Taft, sat in the Oval Office. Democrats had recently wrested House control from Republican hands for the first time in more than a decade, and the past several years had witnessed an uptick in progressive-versus-conservative squabbling and intra-party rifts. Amidst such noisy conflict, Moore’s legacy of quiet, effective collaboration with his Congressional colleagues—what the Houston Post dubbed his “Get Results” approach—must have seemed especially notable and praiseworthy. “The people of Houston,” the Post declared in concluding its 1912 article, “will remember gratefully his splendid service on (their) behalf."
By CHRIS GODBOLD
Chief Curator of Collections
When Churchill Fulshear, an ex-sailor, came to Texas in 1824, he received a land grant from the Mexican government in what is now north Fort Bend County. He died just seven years later, but his children — Mary, Benjamin, Graves and Churchill, Jr. — carried on his legacy. Benjamin, Graves and Churchill, Jr. participated in the Texas Revolution, scouting the Mexican army as it crossed the Brazos River. Churchill, Jr. also fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. Churchill, Jr. and his wife Minerva had five children and, by 1850, were prominent landowners and cotton farmers. (Churchill, Jr. had inherited land from his father and also purchased land from his siblings.) He built a large house on his property, a school, a cotton gin and a flour mill. He also became well known for his horse-racing ventures. He built a race track on his property called “Churchill Downs” and raced horses there from 1850 to 1870.
Other communities nearby also competed for settlers to north Fort Bend County. Just three miles north of Fulshear, Pittsville had about 200 people living there in 1860. The town was named for the Pitts family, who operated a store and distributed the mail. All of the mail for people in the surrounding area went to the Pittsville post office which was founded in 1870. Merchants, doctors, schoolteachers, ranchers, farmers, a blacksmith shop and more could all be found in Pittsville. Prominent Pittsville families included the Bains, Walkers, Nesbitts, Cumings, Hugginses, Brookshires, Harrises and Pools.
In the late 1880s, the San Antonio and Aransas Pass (SA&AP) Railroad approached landowners in Pittsville and asked them to provide the railroad right-of-way. They said no. The railroad then approached Churchill Fulshear, Jr., who agreed to give right-of-way through his land. The town of Fulshear then grew up around the railroad and was laid out in 1890. Settlers from Pittsville and the surrounding towns moved to Fulshear to get closer to the railroad.
The Fulshear school district was established in 1893 and a Methodist Church, which still exists, began services in 1894. By the early 1900s, there were several general stores, a barber shop, doctor, drug store, blacksmith, saloon, hotel, post office and telephone company in addition to the school and Methodist Church. Fulshear had a population of approximately 250 persons and grew to 300 by 1929. The population dropped during the Great Depression and stayed low until the population of Houston started spreading to outlying communities in the late 1970s. Fulshear was incorporated in 1977. The last resident left Pittsville in 1947; all that is left is a marker on FM 359 north of Fulshear.
By SHEREEN SAMPSON
Fort Bend Museum Site Manager
A differing approach to historic house museums has become a hot topic of conversation among public historians, due in part to recent scholarly works such as The Anarchist’s Guide to Historic House Museums.
When we examine the John and Lottie Moore Home, do we see a house that was filled with five rambunctious children? Or instead do we see a house filled with precious furniture behind velvet ropes? The goal of the Fort Bend Museum is to bring to life what the interior would have truly looked like during the Edwardian period in the Moore Home, at the time when John Moore was elected to Congress and the house was re-designed in its current Classical Revival style.
The public may be surprised by the brilliant colors of both wallpaper and wall-to-wall rugs during this time period, and might be astonished to hear of the dictated societal norms in the decade prior to the beginning of WWI. Calling cards, portières, tortuous stays, the crackling sounds of a phonograph, Edwardian entertainments, and new-fangled electric lights will all be part of the visitors’ experience when the Moore Home is brought back to 1905.
Join us on Saturday, May 7 from 3-6 p.m. for our very first Southern Garden Party. The event will honor longtime docent and Fort Bend Museum founder Billie Harris Wendt -- plus, funds raised during the event will go exclusively toward the restoration of the Moore Home! Tickets cost $45 for general public, $40 for members, $30 for docents and $15 for children (ages 5-12). A limited number of reserved tables for eight are available for $500 each.
To buy tickets, please call 281-342-6478 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you there!
We have so many great things in store for you in 2016. This Sunday, we're officially kicking off the new year with our first exhibit featuring local artist Fran Knueppel. If you can't make it to the opening, you're definitely going to want to stop by and marvel at her creations! But back to the calendar: We are super excited about the programs, events and projects on tap for 2016 and we know you will be, too. Our top six, in no particular order:
A Southern Garden Party
Brazos Cultural Heritage Festival
Our new outreach venture, this event will be held in Decker Park and will bring together the diverse cultures that were prominent in Fort Bend County during its formative years, as well as include the new wave of cultures that have helped create one of the most diverse counties in the country. This will be a fun, family-friendly event with food, drink, and entertainment centered around German, Czech and other cultures. May 21. Decker Park.
Texian Market Days
The Restoration of the Moore Home
Plans are underway to restore the interior of the 1883 Moore Home to its Edwardian appearance, which will bring the home back to the beauty and gracefulness of that era. Historically-accurate wallpaper, light fixtures, floor treatments and other furnishings will be carefully edited to provide the tour guests with an experience unlike any other in our region. The family of Congressman John Moore, including his wife Lottie and five children, will come alive again as guests tour the home furnished as it would have appeared during the years 1905-1910.
Lone Star Stomp
...and so much more!
Okay...we really tried to narrow it down to the top six, but that leaves out way too much. There's still Bites and Brews, the lecture series (the first of which takes place on Feb. 5 and features Virginia Davis Scarborough!), summer history programs for the kiddos, the Candlelight Tours, new exhibits and SO. MUCH. MORE. Stay connected with us this year -- we'd love to have you get involved as a volunteer, a docent, a member or part of the Fort Bend Archeological Society. We're looking forward to experiencing 2016 with you!
It's a "You Pick Two" deal where everyone wins! On Tuesday, January 12 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., you get to enjoy your favorite soups, salads and sandwiches -- and Panera Bread will donate a percentage of the proceeds to the Fort Bend Museum Docents!
Download the flyer below or click here to download it as a Word document. Then, bring the flyer with you or show them a mobile version on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at the Panera Bread located in Brazos Town Center (24401 Southwest Freeway, Rosenberg, TX 77471).
We need a minimum of 20 people to order food that night to guarantee a donation to the Docents. Will you help out? As for us, we're ready for some cheddar-broccoli soup and a Bacon Turkey Bravo!
Question? Email email@example.com or call 281-342-6478.
'Twas the week before Christmas
at the Fort Bend Museum
We're looking for Santa--
Perhaps you have seen him?
He likes to come shopping
at our gift shop boutique
For we stock Fort Bend items
That are fun and unique.
Take a look at our gift guide
And here's a good reason:
Support Texas history
This holiday season!
By CHRIS GODBOLD
Curator of Collections
People living in mid- to late-Victorian (1870-1901) and Edwardian (1901-1910) Texas enjoyed sending postcards. Folding greeting cards, while available, were not widely sent; early postcards were printed with artwork, an advertisement or left without a design on the front. Photos were not added to postcards until around 1900.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Moore Home! Docents and volunteers have been hard at work this week preparing for the annual Candlelight Tours, which has been a festive holiday favorite since 1977!
This year's theme is "To Grandmother's House We Go: A 1950s-era Moore Family Christmas." The Moore family actually did have grandchildren during the '50s, so the theme is quite spot-on with the home's history. Each room in the house is decorated with mid-century flair...we know you're going to love it!
That's it for the sneak peek...you'll have to come take a tour to see the rest of the house! Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for kids. Join us on Friday from 6-8 p.m. or Saturday from 2-8 p.m. -- plus, if you come Saturday, you can also check out Miracle on Morton Street happening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. just a couple of blocks over from the Museum!
See you this weekend!
(Questions? Call us at 281-342-6478 or send an email to Rose!)
Part Two: The Long-Smith Cottage
(For part one, click here.)
The Long-Smith Cottage once stood on land owned by Jane Long, the "Mother of Texas." The house was built in 1855 by Long's grandson, James Winston, and was first lived in by Dr. James Gibson and his new wife Caroline. Their sons would later figure prominently in the bloody Jaybird-Woodpecker feud of 1888.
The bedroom of the Long-Smith Cottage features a rope-strung bed with a bedspack (kind of like a feather bed, except this form of mattress would have been stuffed with straw, Spanish moss or cornhusks).
"Legend has it that Museum docents would often find the bed with a deep depression in it, as if someone were sitting on the bed," said Site Manager Shereen Sampson. Though the bed is currently covered by a 1930s-era quilt, it was once covered by Jane Long's original quilt; rumor had it that the ghost of Jane Long was sitting on the bed.
"However," Sampson continued, "I never witnessed any depression on the bed. As I spent a lot of time in the Cottage redecorating the interior, I assumed I would have felt any unusual sensations. But there was nothing."
But all that changed this month. Sampson was chatting with a docent about her disbelief in the legend, but the docent insisted it was true and that she had witnessed the depression first-hand.
A couple of days later, Education Coordinator Jessica Avery walked into the office wide-eyed and asked if she had seen the bed in the Cottage that morning.
"I thought she was joking with me but she seemed a bit nervous and wanted me to come take a look. When I walked into the bedroom, the hairs on my arms stood on end: There was a deep depression on the bed, right where the docent told me they used to see one. I made Jessica swear she wasn't playing a joke on me - it was a perfect depression of a sitting person, and there was no way it was by the 'settling' of the mattress."
So who could it be? Perhaps we can say it isn't Jane Long, who never lived in the house and whose quilt is now kept in storage. Could it be Julia Bassett Smith, Thomas Jefferson Smith or perhaps Deaf Smith? For now, we can only guess...but we certainly wish we knew...
Want to learn more? Join us on Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30 for All Hallow's Eve house tours of the 1883 John M. Moore home and Haunted Walking Tours of historic Richmond, which includes a peek inside the Long-Smith Cottage and the 1882 McFarlane House! House tours will take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the walking tours will begin at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for members/$10 non-members for house tours only; Cost for a house tour plus a walking tour is $10 for members/$15 for non-members. Email Pat Wright or call 281-342-6478 to order tickets!