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Behethland Foote Moore Butler 1764 ~ 1853


Behethland Moore was born on the 24th of December, 1764, in Fauquier County, Virginia. Her father, Captain Frank Moore, commanded as lieutenant one of the Virginia troops at Braddock's defeat. Her mother was Frances Foote. About 1768, her parents removed to South Carolina and settled on Little River, in Laurens District, where Captain Moore died two years afterwards. His widow then married Captain Samuel Savage, who in 1774 removed to a plantation just above what was then known as Saluda Old Town. Here Miss Moore and her two brothers, William and George lived with her mother and stepfather.

On one occasion a band of Tories came to the house of Captain Savage and were taking off a Negro boy, who had been a personal attendant of Miss Moore's father in the Indian Wars. With no thought of risk to herself, she hastened after them to rescue him. The men finally compromised on being shown where the horses were and appropriating certain of them for their use. One horse proving refractory, they ordered the black servant to catch it for them, and when, at Miss Moore's direction, he refused, the Tory swore he would beat the servant for his disobedience, but the intrepid young girl threw herself between them and the grumbling Tory was forced to withdraw the intended violence.

When the Revolutionary War was in progress, it became necessary at one time to convey intelligence of danger to Captain Wallace, who was in command of a small force on the other side of the Saluda River just above her home. No male messenger could be procured, but Miss Moore, then but fifteen years of age" volunteered to undertake the mission. Accompanied by her little brother and a friend named Fanny Smith, she went up the river in a canoe in the middle of the night, gave warning to Captain Wallace and through him to Colonel Henry Lee, and thus a disastrous attack on our feeble troops was averted. The next morning a young American officer, who had been below this point on some reconnoitering service, rode up to the house to make a few inquiries. These were answered by the young lady who apparently appeared as pleasing to the young officer as this handsome fellow in dragoon uniform did to her, for this was the first occasion on which Miss Moore saw her future husband, Captain William Butler. The marriage took place in 1784 and the young people took possession of a small farm near Willing which Captain Butler had inherited.

General Butler was almost constantly engaged in public service, and was necessarily absent from home a great part of the time. In Congress from 1801 to 1814, and commanding the South Carolina forces in Charleston as Major-General during 1814 and 1815, naturally the whole care not only of the large family but of his plantation devolved upon Mrs. Butler. Never were such varied responsibilities more worthily met and discharged. The support of the family depended mainly upon the produce of the small farm and in the energetic toil of wringing profit from the soil. Mrs. Butler evinced a wonderful fertility of resource. More-over, she superintended her children's education and did what few modem mothers with all their leisure accomplish, impressed ' upon them the moral point of view which always gives tone to character in after life. "With a singular power of command and stem energy,'' it has been said of her, ''she combined the softest and most womanly qualities. In her it might be seen that a superior mind, rigidly disciplined, may belong to a woman without the development of any harsh or unfeminine lineaments, and that a heart the most tender and affectionate may prompt to all generous charities of life without being allied to weakness."

Her sons did illustrious service for their country and one of them is said to have declared on the occasion of his public honor that he deserved no credit since it had been his mother who instilled in his and his brothers' minds the old Greek idea that they were born but for their country.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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