Though their backgrounds, families and locations were diverse, they were united in the cause to create this new organization. Without a centralized advocate for sharing and preserving Fort Bend County history, that rich heritage known first-hand to so many of them was in danger of being lost.
“The purpose for which the corporation is formed is to support an educational undertaking and to support and maintain a place where historical, patriotic, civic, educational and other scientific collections may be housed [and] to increase and diffuse a knowledge and appreciation of history, art and science,” the charter document reads.
The new organization’s purpose was also to preserve objects with historic, artistic and/or scientific interests and to offer “popular instruction and opportunities for education and esthetic enjoyment.”
Its name: Fort Bend County Museum Association.
For the past 50 years, the Association has been working diligently to achieve those goals as set forth in the founding document. It owns and operates the Fort Bend Museum in downtown Richmond, and its adjacent 1883 Moore Home and 1850s Long-Smith Cottage. It houses a collection of more than 40,000 artifacts and archival items, with particularly significant collections on topics of Stephen F. Austin's Texas Colony (1821-1836), ranching and black cowboy traditions. It runs the educational programs at the George Ranch Historical Park, the internationally-recognized living history museum that welcomed more than 61,500 visitors in the first 11 months of 2016. It operates an avocational archeological society, the programs at the DeWalt Heritage Center in Missouri City, and several historic structures, including the turn-of-the-century train depot, at Decker Park in downtown Richmond.
"Though the Museum Association has grown larger through the past 50 years, the passion of the volunteers, employees and supporters has not lessened one bit. We are still just as excited about preserving and sharing the history of this county and its people as we were back in 1967 when the Association was chartered,” said Executive Director Claire Rogers.
As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, next Saturday's Lone Star Stomp will have a fun 1967 theme of "Peace, Love & Texas." If you haven't bought tickets yet, we still have a few seats available! With live music by The Triumphs, a fun 1960s-inspired menu by The Swinging Door, live and silent auctions (watch your email for a preview coming this week!), signature cocktails and more, it's going to be a 50th birthday party to remember! Click here to learn more about the Lone Star Stomp, or call the Museum Association's Administrative Offices at 281-342-1256.
Happy birthday, Fort Bend County Museum Association!
In the late 1870s, Lottie traveled to Virginia to attend the Wesleyan Female Seminary, a respected academy for well-to-do young ladies. Here she received accolades for her fine artistic skills, and when Lottie returned to Texas she was a polished and accomplished lady. Later, she attended Baylor's Female Academy, where considerable emphasis was placed on music training. Lessons were taught in piano, harp, guitar, and voice. Lottie became an accomplished musician, and in later life passed down this legacy to her children.
Upon returning to Fort Bend County from Waco, the now graceful and educated young woman was courted by an up-and-coming businessman named John Moore. In 1882, a shadow was cast on the courtship as she struggled with the early loss her father, James Foster Dyer, who died at the age fifty-five. Perhaps at the encouragement of their mother, both Clara and Lottie traveled to Tennessee to visit relatives the following year. Here, Lottie was met with another devastating blow – news of their mother’s death was announced to the daughters during their visit to Nashville.
In a letter Lottie penned to her beau in Texas, she wrote: I am feeling very badly and you are the only one I could possibly think of seeing…but I feel that you do realize and sympathize with me in my terrible loss and affliction, and of course will be glad to see you.
John Moore quickly arrived Nashville. One week later, the orphaned 18-year-old was joined with him in matrimony at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. The newlyweds left the heat of the summer in the city and arrived in the mountain town of Sewanee for their honeymoon. Upon their return to Texas, Lottie was informed of her immense inheritance, which included her grandmother Nancy Spencer’s league of land and a large number of cattle. This enabled the newlyweds to begin plans for a large home, to be built on an entire square block in the city of Richmond. By 1884, they had moved in to the grand and romantic house which took its architectural influences from both the Italianate and Queen Anne styles.
John and Lottie were anxious to get settled, as she was expecting a child in the summer of 1884. On June 19, 1884, Lottie gave birth to a baby boy, whom the parents named Maxwell. A few days later, they would stand at his graveside in Morton Cemetery as he was laid to rest. The following year, they welcomed a robust son whom they named Raymond. Two years later, a daughter named Ivy was born. James Foster Dyer Moore, named after Lottie’s father, was born in 1890, and he was soon followed by John Moore, Jr., born in 1892. The youngest, another daughter, was born in 1894. She was christened Henrietta (Etta Mae,) after John’s mother.
Throughout this time of pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing, Lottie maintained her social status in the community as was fitting for a women of her stature. In her gracious drawing room she entertained neighbors and important visitors to Richmond, and hosted musical events and grand parties. She was instrumental in the founding of the First Baptist Church of Richmond, and the growing congregation met in the Moore home until a church sanctuary was built across the street on land donated by John and Lottie.
One can imagine the amount of order needed to raise five rambunctious children under age ten in the Moore household. The family’s wealth enabled Lottie to hire domestic help, which included cooks, nannies, housemaids, serving staff, and governesses. Staff would also attend the family as they traveled the country during the summer months to escape the stifling Texas heat.
By the turn of the nineteenth century, John Moore had established himself both commercially and politically, and in 1905, he was elected to the U.S. Congress. This would dramatically change life for Lottie as she was elevated into a prominent position as wife of a prominent political figure.
Note: This information originally appeared in the 2016 exhibit "Progressive & Prosperous: The Moore Family During the Edwardian Era."
Funding has been provided to the Fort Bend History Association from Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
Fort Bend Museum Staff