MOORE, (Dr.) Edmund, (deceased), a pioneer physician and surgeon of Morgan County, was born in Elphin, County Roscommon, Ireland, May 26, 1798, a son of Lewis and Ellen (Lockwood) Moore. The paternal ancestry of the family is Scotch-Irish. Dr. Moore's mother was a descendant of the historic Shannon family, and had two brothers who attained great distinction in British military and naval affairs. One of these, a Lieutenant under Nelson, commanded a ship at the battle of the Nile, and also fought at the battle of Copenhagen and at Trafalgar, where Nelson was killed. He died at the Soldiers' Home at Greenwich. Another brother, who became a General in the British army, was in the East India service for many years, and died while in the East, the husband of an East Indian princess.
When Edmund Moore was an infant in arms, his parents came to the United States, locating temporarily at Frankfort , Ky. Soon afterward they removed to Florida, then a Spanish colony, and subsequently to Louisiana, then under French dominion, remaining about five years in the two provinces. Returning to Bloomfield, Nelson County, Ky., the elder Moore took up a tract of land and spent the remainder of his life there. There Edmund Moore was also reared and educated. After reading medicine under the supervision of Dr. Bemis at Bardstown, Ky., and attending lectures at Louisville, he began practice under a State license at Rockport, Ind., remaining there until his removal to Morgan County, Ill., in 1827. Here he was examined and licensed by the State of Illinois. Upon arriving in Morgan County he purchased a tract of land located about one mile east of the farm now owned by George W. Moore, his son, erected a cabin, and occupied that place about six years, practicing his profession and improving his farm. In 1833 he located on Section 29, of the same township, where he spent the balance of his life, dying there May 29, 1877.
Dr. Moore was a splendid specimen of manhood, mentally and physically. He typified the "doctor of the old school," immortalized by Ian MacLaren, the Scot novelist; for, during the half century of his residence in Morgan County, he was called upon to perform a vast amount of professional work for which he expected and received no remuneration. His practice necessitated very extensive rides throughout the surrounding country, and his trips to relieve suffering humanity were frequently attended by great personal risk, through exposure to the elements in a wild and sparsely settled country. Most of his early practice was accomplished on horseback, with the old-fashioned saddlebags. For many years there were no other physicians in his neighborhood, and it was not infrequently the case that he was called to ride as far south as Edwardsville. Many of his rides covered a distance of sixty miles or more from his home. He became an acknowledged expert in the diagnosis and treatment of the fevers and other diseases peculiar to the Illinois and Mississippi valleys. During the Black Hawk War he was Surgeon of the Third Regiment of Illinois troops, which rendezvoused but was not called into active service. During the War of 1812 he had endeavored to enlist for the service under General Harrison in the Canadian campaign, but was not accepted on account of his delicate health.
Dr. Moore was well acquainted with Abraham Lincoln as a boy and man. While practicing his profession in Spencer County, Ind., he was frequently called upon to attend the Lincoln family, but lost sight of the future President after his removal to Morgan County. After Lincoln's election to Congress, the two men met one day on the streets of Jacksonville, when the former, extending his hand to Dr. Moore, asked him if he did not remember his former patient. The Doctor finally recognized him and in later years reverted to the incident with feelings of great pleasure.
Though deeply interested in public matters, the only office which Dr. Moore ever consented to fill was that of Township Treasurer of School funds. A Whig in early life, he became a Republican upon the founding of that party, voting for John C. Fremont for the Presidency. In religion, stanchly devoted to Presbyterianism, he served as an Elder in the Pisgah Presbyterian Church for about thirty years.
Dr. Moore was married November 30, 1823, to Mary O'Neal, who was born near Bardstown, Ky., May 18, 1796, a daughter of Bryant and Ann (Cotton) O'Neal. Her father was born in Ireland, accompanied his parents to Virginia, was reared in that colony, and afterward removed to Kentucky. He served in the Revolutionary War, and for his patriotism and service, received from Patrick Henry, then Governor of Virginia (which included the territory now embraced within the limits of Kentucky), title to a tract of valuable land near Bardstown, Ky. Bryant O'Neal fought under St. Clair when the latter was defeated by the Indians in the Ohio campaign, and also under General Wayne at the battle of Fallen Timbers, near Fort Wayne. His son, Thomas, the only brother of Mary O'Neal, saw valiant service in the War of 1812. He fought throughout Harrison's campaign, helped to defeat the British forces at the battle of the Thames where Proctor surrendered and Tecumseh was killed, and personally assisted in the capture of the noted British General. He held a commission as Sergeant-Major in a regiment of dragoons. It is worthy of note that Ann Cotton O'Neal was an eye-witness to a battle between the British and Continental forces during the Revolution, which occurred in her father's wheat field in Fairfax County, Va.
A romantic incident of the Revolutionary period is related by George W. Moore, son of Dr. Moore, and is here preserved for the first time in print. During an engagement between the British and Colonial troops near the home of the Cotton and O'Neal families in Fairfax County, Va., a British soldier who had received a serious bullet wound in the abdomen dragged himself to the Cotton home and asked for a drink of milk. This was furnished to him by Mrs. Cotton, who invited the sufferer into the house that he might receive the care and treatment necessary to his recovery. The milk that he drank passed from his digestive organs through the wound, soothing it and eventually curing him. He remained at the Cotton home, and ultimately transferred his allegiance to the Patriot cause.