By Tammy Moore Teague
Have you ever met anyone who just inspires you? You hear them speak about the trials they have overcome in their life, and yet they were a stronger person because of them. It forged strength and courage and they stand tall today. Jerry Moore, a Huntington native, is that man. He’s a living history book with stories of family ties going back to the Civil War era. He’s proud of that heritage, and its made him the man he is today.
Moore, 69, was born in Kansas City, KS and came to Huntington when he was 17 months old. His adopted parents are his mother’s parents, Doyle and Eva Martin Moore. He attended Mansfield Schools and graduated with the class of 1968. After high school, Moore went on to get his bachelors degree and later a masters degree. He taught history at Northside High School from 1972-1980 and after receiving his masters degree, began teaching sociology at Northwest Arkansas Community College.
His education and experience has afforded him opportunities few have only dreamed of. Lifetime opportunities, including work in the nation’s capital. Moore even turned down a job from former President Bill Clinton. “I got a phone call from Bill Clinton while he was transitioning into the White House and he offered me a job, any job I wanted,” explained Moore. Moore ultimately declined the offer and has continued to build on his family legacy and explore captivating family history.
He jokingly commented that he holds more national security clearance than his driver/body guard, Scott Davis. Davis, a Navy Seal, is also an off-duty police officer for the State of Arkansas and has served in the specialized operations force, Para Rescue, since 1982.
Moore is the great-great grandson of Samuel (Sam) Martin, who is buried in the Cherokee African American Cemetery in Huntington. Recently, Moore was a part of a Confederate Grave Marker Dedication Ceremony recognizing Martin. Present were the Sons of the Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy. Also present for the ceremony were Mayor of Mansfield, Mike Gipson, State Senator Terry Rice and Emma Feimster, the former First Lady of Huntington. Lastly, the descendants of Elijah J. Wollage, who donated the cemetery’s land. During the ceremony a Cross of Honor was placed on Martin’s grave. This will add the cemetery to those listed in the National Cemetery’s registry.
The following is the speech delivered by Moore during the ceremony:
“Good afternoon to all of you who are here to honor my Great-Great Grandfather Samuel (Sam) Martin, who served in the CSA Army during the American Civil War. What an emotional time for me. This event would not happen without the work of my dear friend, Commander Wayne Fuller. Thank you, and to those in your camp who are here today for this honor. Sam Martin, around the age of 14 years, left the Norwood Farm in Horatio, AR with Lewis and Benjamin Norwood to serve them in the Confederate Army. I wonder what was on his mind or his thoughts as he left the Norwood Farm that day in 1863. He did not know if he would return alive or if it would be his last time to see it. But thank God, we know the answer. He returned to Norwood Farm and stayed there for six more years before he left for Mansfield. While in the War, Sam was a personal servant and body guard for Captain Ben Norwood and Lt. Lewis Norwood and was employed in building defenses for the Confederate Army for three years of the war until the close of the war. J.H. Caldwell, Commander of the Robert E. Lee Post No. 1811, United Confederate Veteran of Mansfield Scott County, Arkansas, stated, that Samuel Martin was honest and upright, and he was entitled to full faith and credit (July 1, 1927 CSA Pension Application Number 29202.) According to the Arkansas State Archives website, 16 Colored CSA body servants was granted a pension. Grandpa Sam left Granville County North Carolina on a journey that led him down many roads, with a brief encounter with the Civil War that prepared him in many ways for the battles he had to face in his life to his final resting place on earth here at Cherokee Cemetery. (Moore sang “I’m on the Battlefield for the Lord.”) The spot that he personally selected many years ago. Grandpa Martin what an honor to stand here today with your DNA, the same DNA of Doyle and Eva Martin Moore that I loved so much.”
This small town boy from Huntington, who has been to Capital Hill, still returns to that old home place and recounts the history of his family. He has done a great service to us all by sharing that history. He is truly inspiring and the world is a better place because of him!