Richard Channing Moore
Early Life




Early Life


Virginia Seminary








    "Richard Channing Moore was born on August 21, 1762 in New York City. At the outset of the Revolutionary War the family removed from the city to the family estate called "Moore's Folly" on the Hudson River at West Point.

    "Mr. Moore studied medicine in New York under the renowned surgeon, Dr. Richard Bayley. He then practiced medicine in New York and Long Island. His first wife was Christian Jones; she died in 1796. Christian bore him five children. He later married Sarah Mersereau of Statan Island, MY. She bore him six children.

    "He was ordained to the Diaconate in July, 1787, to the Priesthood in Sept. 1787, in St. George's Church, New York City, and was immediately appointed Rector of Grace Church, Rye, N. Y. One of his parishioners there was the Hon. John Jay, LL. D., M. C., Chief Justice of the U. S.. Diplomatist, whose life long friendship he retained. From thence be was called to St. Andrew's, Staten Island, in which parish he was succeeded by his son, the Rev. David Moore, D. D. He was from thence called to St. Stephen's, New York City, where he remained five years. From this church he was called in 1814 to the Monumental at Richmond, Va., and was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia. May 4, 1814, and consecrated May 18th in St. James' Church, Philadelphia, by the Rt. Rev. William White, D. D., Bishop of Pennsylvania, assisted by Bishops Hobart, Griswold and Dehon."
        quoted from Six Centuries of Moore of Fawley by David Moore Hall.



The following is from: Sketch Of The Life And Character Of Bishop Moore, Of Virginia. Written In 1841, Just After His Death; privately printed.

    "The first ancestor of Richard Channing Moore, the late Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia, of whom there is anything known, was Sir John Moore, whose family seat was Frawley in Berkshire. This gentleman was knighted by Charles the First of England, on the 21st of May, 1627, two years after he came to the throne, and lost both his estate and life in the revolution which ended in the execution of that unfortunate king. The motto of his coat of arms was, "Non ignarus mali disco succurrere miseris."

    "Of the descendants of Sir John Moore little is known until we come to John Moore, the grandfather of our lamented Bishop, three of whose brothers were distinguished as well as himself. One of them was the Rev. Dr. Thomas Moore, chaplain to the celebrated scholar and Bishop of Rochester, Dr. Atterbury, whose sermons he published. He died Rector of Little Britain in London, leaving a highly respectable family, among whom were Thomas Moore, D.D., Rector of North Bray in Kent, and the Rev. Dr. Charles Smyth, whose sermons were published in England in 1822 and are highly esteemed. Another of the brothers of John Moore was Daniel Moore, a gentleman of large estate, who was a member of Parliament for many years, whose daughter married the celebrated Lord Chancellor Erskine.

    "Another of the brothers was William Moore, of Moore Hall, Pennsylvania, who left a highly respectable family. One of his daughters was married to the Rev. Dr. William Smith, a celebrated preacher of Philadelphia, and formerly President of the University of Pennsylvania. John Moore, the brother with whom our narrative has to do, being the grandfather of the Bishop, was an eminent merchant of New York in Colonial times. He was an alderman of that city, for many years a member of the Legislature, and at the time of his death colonel of one of the New York regiments, and a member of the King's Council for the province. He was born in 1686, and died in 1749, at sixty-three years of age. He was the first person buried in Trinity churchyard, and the title of the family vault was in Bishop Moore's name at his death.

    "Mr. John Moore married Frances Lambert, and was blessed by her with eighteen children, among whom were three pairs of twins. The descendants of Mr. Moore married into the Bayard, Livingston, Hoffman, Onderdonk, Bailey, Tredwell, and Rogers families, which are among the most respectable families of the North.

    "Stephen, the seventeenth child, owned West Point, which he sold to the United States and removed to North Carolina. Upon the invasion of the Southern States by the British in 1779, he commanded a regiment of North Carolina militia. He was afterward taken prisoner at the first battle of Camden. Being exchanged, he returned to his beautiful seat, "Mount Tirza", in North Carolina, where he died, leaving in that State a highly respectable family.

    "The seventh of the thirteen sons of John Moore was Thomas*, the father of Bishop Moore. He was born in 1722, was sent to England for eduation, and was bred a scholar in Westminster School. At twenty-one years of age he returned to his native country, and settled in that part of the State of New York which was called the neutral ground. Here he lost all his property amid the devastation and plunder which desolated that part of the country. His house at West Point, where he resided during the early part of the Revolutionary War, was plundered by the Hessians when the British took the posts of the Highlands, and his family was turned out of doors in a desitute condition. He removed thence to the city of New York, where he obtained an appointment in the Customs, and lived in comfort until the conclusion of the war. After this event, he removed to his brother John's in Norwich, Conn., where he died of a pulmonary disease, on the 19th of June, 1784, in the communion of the Church. In the spring of 1785, his remains were removed to New York and deposited in the family vault in Trinity churchyard by his son, the late Bishop of Virginia, who then resided in that city.
*[This text erroneously listed Lambert; it has been corrected here.]

    "Elizabeth Channing, the mother of Bishop Moore, was descended of a highly respectable family. Being left an orphan at two years of age, she was brought up in the family of her uncle, John Pintard, Esq., one of the aldermen of New York. She was an accomplished lady, having received the best education which New York afforded, and was highly esteemed in the best society of her native city. She was polished in her manners, of the most amiable disposition and exemplary piety, and was remarkable for sound judgment and strong good sense. To the early religious instructions, the prayers and lovely and pious example of this exemplary Christian mother, Bishop Moore often delighted to revert, with tears of gratitude in his eyes and a bosom swelling with filial affection and reverence. To her early nurture and admonition in the Lord, he ascribed under God all his happiness and usefulness in this world and his hopes of a blessed immortality in the next. She entered upon her eternal rest at his house on Staten Island, on the 7th of December, 1805, in the seventy-eighth year of her age.

    "Of the eleven brothers and sisters of Bishop Moore, our limits will allow us only to say that they were all honorably connected in marriage, were respectable, virtuous, and useful.

    "Richard Channing Moore, the late Bishop of Virginia, was born in the city of New York, on the 21st of August, 1762. He received a liberal education, and was bred a physician; but after practicing medicine for several years, in 1787 he resolved to devote himself to the ministry of the Gospel of Christ, and was ordained by Bishop Provoost in New York. The first two years of his ministry were spent at Rye, in the county of Westchester, most acceptably to the congregation among whom he labored, and usefully for the church at whose altar he ministered. Thence he was called to a wider field of labor by the congregation of St. Andrew's Church at Richmond, Staten Island.

    "Here Dr. Moore labored for twenty years with eminent success. His faithfulness in all the departments of ministerial duty, his zeal in the advancement of true religion, his love of his Divine Master and of His work, his unaffected love of all men, his amenity of manners and entire freedom from spiritual pride and all moroseness in his theological views, gave him not only an unbounded popularity among his people, but won for him their warm admiration and sincere attachment. The fruits of such labors and of such a Christian character were soon abundantly manifested. The bounds of his parish were greatly enlarged, his congregation soon overflowed, and it became necessary to enlarge his church edifice. The number of his communicants rapidly increased and the standard of their piety was much elevated. Even after a large addition to the sittings of his church, it soon became necessary to make still further provision for the numbers who flocked to his ministry, and a Chapel of Ease was provided six miles distant from the parish church.

    "During his attendance upon the late General Convention in October last, the writer of this sketch visited this scene of the early labors of his venerated and beloved friend. It was grateful to every good feeling of the heart to witness the ardent love and unaffected veneration for their old pastor which were still cherished and remained enshrined in the hearts of his former parishioners and their children. It was delightful to address, in the two beautiful churches of the parish, large congregations of zealous worshippers of Almighty God, and to see the son of this venerable man who had in his earliest manhood, and immediately after his admission to Holy Orders, succeeded his father in this interesting charge, now himself more than fifty years of age and honored with the title of Doctor of Divinity, after a useful and successful ministry of thirty-two years, still occupying the post of his father's duties and walking in the steps of that good old man as a faithful and beloved shepherd of Christ's flock. The Bishop loved, in his social intercourse with his friends, to revert to this scene of his former ministry, to talk of those zealous members of his congregation who were wont to hold up his hands in his arduous duties, and to recount the many evidences of his Heavenly Father's goodness then vouchsafed to him.

    "The reader will pardon me for here introducing one or two of the many anecdotes which I have heard him relate. It pleased God at one time to eminently bless his labors by an unusual influence of Divine grace among his people. There was a true revival of religion, the work of God's Spirit, and not the ephemeral effect of those hotbed contrivances and human devices which have with pernicious consequences so often been resorted to for doing that work which the Holy Spirit only can really effect. Within a few weeks more than sixty persons were added to the list of his communicants. During the prevalence of this happy state of religious feeling, Dr. Moore went to officiate in the chapel where he regularly performed Divine service in the afternoon. After the services and sermon, the blessing was pronounced but instead of the usual bustle of a retiring congregation, entire stillness pervaded the assembly, interrupted only by suppressed sobs. A church warden arose and said, Dr. Moore, the people are not satisfied with the Bread of Life; will you not preach again?" Hastily selecting a portion of Scripture during the singing of a hymn, he again preached an extempore discourse of the usual length and pronounced the benediction; but all was quiet, and again the people, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, asked and received in a third sermon heavenly food from their shepherd's hands. The afternoon by this time being far spent, and the strength of even this able laborer having been exhausted, he was obliged to entreat the enchained throng to depart to their homes. Such an instance may in vain be searched for since apostolic times.

    "On another occasion, the doctor was invited to meet a company of highly esteemed friends at dinner. Just as he was getting into his gig, a messenger arrived from a distant part of the island, requesting him to visit a very poor communicant who was dangerously ill. Obedient to the call of duty, he relinquished his proposed pleasure, but still with some reluctance, wishing the call of duty had not been made, and almost inclined to delay it until the morrow. When arrived at the humble cottage, he was unusually successful in imparting the consolations of religion, and succeeded in quieting the fears and animating the hopes of his humble friend. As he knelt on the dirt floor, the grace of God warmed his affections, and with unwonted fervor he poured forth his supplications for the dying Christian before the throne of their common Father and God. As he returned home late in the evening, with his own faith strengthened and his Christian graces enlivened, he wept at the thoughts of the reluctance with which he had gone to so delightful a duty, and was humbled under a sense of his ingratitude to that merciful God who had thus by His very kindness rebuked him. That night his sick friend died full of peace and hope. The Bishop continued to his death to look back to that evening spent in the dying Christian's chamber as perhaps the happiest of his life, and he learned from the occurrence a lesson which he did not forget: never, under any circumstances, to postpone duty to pleasure.

    "In 1809, Dr. Moore was called, by God's providence, to a still more important sphere of usefulness in St. Stephen's Church in the city of New York. Here he continued five years. His labors were very great; but neither the strength of his fine constitution nor the ardor of his zeal failed, and he was again, as on Staten Island, richly rewarded for all his toils by the abundant bestowment of God's blessing on the work of his ministry. He found a small congregation and only about thirty communicants. After a short ministry of five years, he left a crowded church and between four or five hundred communicants. There is, I believe, to this day in St. Stephen's Church an honorable monument to the zeal and efficiency of his ministry while there. When the whole church had become crowded, every pew, not only in the body of the church but in the galleries also, being occupied, a gentleman called on the rector and applied for a pew. "There is none," was the reply. "Will you permit me to build one?" was the answer. "Where?" said the doctor. Over the gallery against the wall," said the persevering applicant. "But how will you gain access to it?" said the doctor. "By cutting a small door in the wall and building a private stairway outside of the church," said the zealous man. And there, I understand, high up against the wall, is the pew to this day, a lasting memorial of pastoral zeal, fidelity and eloquence such as few ministers of Christ are cheered by."

St. Andrew's, Staten Island, where Rev. Richard Channing Moore was succeeded by his son, the Rev. David Moore.


The following is taken from The Church of St. Andrew, Richmond, Staten Island by William Davis, Charles Leng and Royden Vosburgh; pp. 42-43.

    "Rev. Richard Channing Moore, 1788-1808
    "Born in New York City, Aug. 21, 1762, a descendant of Sir John Moore (knighted by Charles II in 1627), whose son Sir Francis Moore was the father of John Moore, a settler in South Carolina about 1680. John Moore moved to Philadelphia and became a lawyer and a judge. His son Thomas Moore, a merchant in New York, was father of Richard Channing Moore, who was educated at King's College, New York, and lived for four years at West Point, then practiced as physician in N.Y. for four years. He was ordained in 1787 and preached first at Rye, N.Y. He was called to St. Stephen's, N.Y. and seven years later became Bishop of Virginia. He died Nov. 11, 1842. A "Memoir" of his life by Rev. J. P. K. Henshaw, published in 1845, is in the library of the Staten Island Historical Society.

    "His rectorate was one of remarkable success, marked by adding sittings to the church (sixteen pews in the East Gallery were sold for 227.17.0 between Aug. 12, 1807, and Apl. 2, 1810) and by the erection of Trinity Chapel (later known as the Church of the Annunciation) in 1800-1802. From 1793 to 1801 he preached also in Perth Amboy. Dr. Burch says he had a "splendid persuasive oratory."

    "The breaking up of the Duxbury Glebe began in 1799, during his rectorate, by thirty acres being taken for a lazaretto afterwards known as the Quarantine grounds."


"Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"
"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?"
© Charles C. Hall 2002