The Moore House Museum can be found
on the Yorktown Battlefield, on Moore Lane and Hamilton Road, about 1.5 miles
from the Yorktown Visitors Center, on route 238. There is a small park entrance
fee, payable at the Visitors Center.
Address: Yorktown Battlefield, Yorktown,
757-898-3400 * Web-Site
for Tours: (Mid-June-mid-August:daily; spring and fall: weekends)
Moore House Museum is a two story, 1730 Colonial style home, which is operated
as a house museum. The Moore House Museum does a good job showing what life was
like in the 18th century. Replica era furniture of the time can be found on display
in the rooms. Stepping through the front door, is like stepping into the 18th
century. A tour guide, dressed in 18th century attire will guide you through the
It was sturdily made in the first place, and must have been well taken
care of over the years, even surviving a shell exploding in its living room during
the Civil War battle which took place here. When the smoke cleared, the home was
still upright! Even more amazing, when abandoned for 15 years or so, it was in
good enough shape to be renovated.
The land where the Moore
House now sits became part of a land grant in the 1630s, "patented"
by Governor John Harvey, and was named "York Plantation." A hundred
years later, in 1730, a family home was built by Lawrence Smith II who owned this
500 acre plantation which he called "Temple Farm." In 1754, this farm was inherited
by Lawrence Smith's son, Robert, who was the third generation of Smiths to work
this farm. Unfortunately, Robert ran into financial difficulty in 1760, and was
forced to sell the family's 500 acre estate to his brother-in-law, Augustine Moore,
a man who was a successful merchant. He moved his wife and only son into this
plantation home to be a gentleman farmer, which was popular thing to do in Virginia
as well as other places in the South.
It was a beautiful location, far enough
out of Yorktown, yet within riding/walking distance. It seemed like a great
idea at the time. He didn't know that this property would be involved in two wars,
one which would affect his family personally, The Revolutionary War came to Yorktown,
but this home wasn't near the major fighting. While the farm wasn't in any of
the direct battles, Augustine Moore's twenty year old son, Augustine Moore Jr.
was fatally shot while working the fields.
While he lost his only son,
Augustine Moore did have the honor of having the British sign the surrender conditions
at his home, a momentous occasion which later saved this home from the ravages
of decay 100 years in the future. During the Revolutionary War, The Moore House
and farm was the spot picked by British Commander Cornwallis to sign The Articles
of Capitulation to end the Revolutionary War on October 19th, 1781.
the death of both Augustine and his wife Lucy in 1797, this home and farm passed
into the hands of Hugh Nelson. Throughout the first half of the 19th century this
home and property passed through the hands of many owners. The Smith family lived
here from 1830 - 1860. When the war broke out, the Smith family moved to a safer
During the 1862 Peninsula Campaign of the Civil War, the Moore
House wasn't so lucky. It was situated between the Union forces on Wormley Creek,
and the Confederate front lines located in Yorktown, which would be any homeowner's
nightmare! While no one in the family who lived here were silly enough to stick
around, the house suffered considerable damage from flying shell fire, a little
off their mark. To add insult to injury foraging soldiers in search of firewood
helped themselves to the wood siding and other usable wood which would be easy
to carry away.
After the end of the Civil War, the now woe-be-gone Moore
House sat abandoned, being unlivable. However, in 1881, in preparation for the
100 year anniversary celebration of end of the Revolutionary War, this house was
repaired and renovated so that visiting dignitaries could actually sleep in the
place where the British signed "The Articles of Capitulation."
The National Park Service, during the time between 1931 and 1934, restored the
Moore House to its original colonial appearance, after first establishing the
Colonial National Monument. Archeology and historic images were important tools
used by the National Park service to authentically undertake such a restoration
project, the first one they had ever attempted. The newly restored Moore House
was dedicated as a museum on October 18-19, 1934, which was the 153rd anniversary
of the surrender of Cornwallis and his British army at this very site.
Augustine Moore Jr. was
shot by a stray bullet when he was working the family fields during the Revolutionary
A local merchant John Turner, who lived in Yorktown though it was safe
to watch the shelling of the British Army in Yorktown just days before they surrendered.
He probably knew it was dangerous, but that he would be careful and it wouldn't
happen to him. Right! He was wounded as a result of the shelling and died in his
wife's arms, as his wife helplessly watched. There was nothing she could do to
John Turner's remains are buried in the Moore House family graveyard
which is near the Moore House. The dates on the graves are from 1730 - 1800s,
the final resting place of the families who lived here.
manifestations of the entities started making their appearance after the Park
Service fully restored the home to its 18th century decor and style, which may
mean the entities who reside here were alive in the 18th century.
entity of Augustine Moore Jr.
Sheets on the bed in the master
bedroom has been found with indentations as if someone had been sleeping in this
Tour guides showing groups around the home felt that an unseen, friendly
presence was overseeing their tour, like a good host would do.
entities may keep the spirit of Augustine company! Two candidates would be the
entities of John Turner and his grief-stricken wife.
on the other beds in the bedrooms on the second floor also look like others had
slept in them.
In the parlor, there was a depression in a red velvet chair,
like someone was sitting there, enjoying the atmosphere and decor.
Psychics who came to investigate the home, sense
the presence of Augustine Moore Jr.
To make up for dying so young,
the entity of Augustine Moore Junior is residing in his family's home, with perhaps
John Turner and his wife keeping him company. John Turner wasn't expecting to
die and his wife was traumatized by his death. Chances are they are both buried
in the Moore House graveyard, which is an easy walk to the house itself.