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."
Fort Bend Museum Staff