American Jewish family descended from Abraham Moïse, who was born in Alsace and emigrated to the West Indies, where he married a member of a Jewish family of St. Eustace. He amassed great wealth, but in 1791 was compelled to flee on account of the insurrection of the slaves. With his wife, Sarah, and his sons, Aaron, Benjamin (d. unmarried), Cherie, and Hyam, he reached South Carolina. Three other sons and two daughters were born to him in Charleston, S. C.

A. Welborne Moïse:

Eldest son of Aaron Moïse, the lawyer and editor; born in 1846. After serving as page in the United States House of Representatives from 1857 to 1861, he entered the service of the Confederacy and served through the war with distinction, being promoted for bravery.After the surrender he studied law, practised for a time in Richmond, Va., and then went West.

Aaron Moïse:

Elder son of the founder of the family; cashier of the Bank of the State of South Carolina. He married Sarah. Cohen of Kingston, Jamaica, by whom he had nine children. He studied medicine, but did not follow it as a profession.

Aaron Moïse:

Lawyer and editor; born in Charleston, S. C., 1820; died in Richmond, Va., 1880. He was appointed clerk in the United States Treasury in 1853, which position he resigned in 1861, when he went to Nashville, Tenn., and was appointed captain in a Tennessee regiment. Three months later he was called to Richmond and made chief clerk in the auditor's office of the Confederate government. After the war he took up the practise of law, which he continued until his death.

Abraham Moïse:

Lawyer; born 1799, the first of the family born in America; died 1869. He married Caroline, granddaughter of Meyer Moses, and left two sons (Charles H. and Edwin W.) and one daughter. His brother Isaac married Hetty Lopez, descendant of the Newport family of Lopez. Isaac died early, leaving three sons—Isaac, Edwin, and David—and four daughters. All three sons served throughout the Civil war on the Confederate side. David afterward studied law, and was judge of one of the courts of New Orleans at the time of his death.

Abram Moïse:

Succeeded his father as cashier of the Bank of Charleston, S. C., which position he retained until his death; died without issue. He married Louise Lopez, a member of the Newport family of Lopez.

Camillus Moïse:

Son of Aaron Moïse; died at the age of twenty-seven while serving in the Mexican war.

Cherie Moïse:

Third son of Abraham Moïse, the founder of the family. He married Hetty Cohen of Charleston, S. C. Their daughter Cordelia (b. 1809; d. 1869) was known for her gift of poetry. She wrote a number of the hymns used by the Portuguese congregation of Charleston.

Columbus Moïse:

Son of Aaron Moïse; born in Charleston, S. C., 1809; died in Virginia 1871. He married a daughter of D. C. Levy of Philadelphia, Pa. For thirty-five years he was president of the principal bank of New Orleans, La. He was postmaster of that city, and was chosen by its citizens to receive Gen. Zachary Taylor on his return from the battle of Buena Vista. He was granted a large tract of land in Florida for services rendered in the Indian war. Columbus Moïse wrote many short poems, one of which was sung at the laying of the cornerstone of the Portuguese synagogue in Charleston, S. C.

Columbus Moïse:

Son of Columbus Moïse; born in New Orleans, La., 1855; died in Kansas City, Mo., 1895. He was city attorney of East Las Vegas, N. M., regent of the Territorial College, master in chancery of the United States Court of New Mexico, and chief justice of New Mexico. He wrote a number of short stories and poems, contributing to "Harper's Magazine," the "Century Magazine," and other periodicals, under the nom de plume "C. Esiom."

Edwin Warren Moïse:

Son of Hyam and Cecilia Moïse; born at Charleston, S. C., 1811; died in New Orleans, La., 1868. After being educated as a physician at Charleston Medical College, he went to Woodville, Miss., where he practised his profession with great success. In 1840 he removed to New Orleans, studied law there, and for many years practised at the bar of Louisiana. He was elected for a number of consecutive terms to the State House of Representatives, of which he was speaker for many years; later he was appointed United States district attorney, and in 1861 was made judge of the Confederate States Court in Louisiana. Under the administration of Governor Wycliffe he became attorney-general of the state. He was a secessionist of the Calhoun school, an acknowledged leader in the Democratic party of Louisiana, and was closely identified with the history of the state during the Civil war. Two of his sons, Harry and Theodore S., are identified with various railroad enterprises; the latter is now (1904) superintendent of the Georgia Central Railroad. Another son, E. W. Moïse, resides in California, where he is well known as a financier.

Edwin Warren Moïse:

Son of Abraham and Caroline Moïse; born May 21, 1832, in Charleston, S. C.; died in Sumter, S. C., Dec. 9, 1902. He married Esther Lyon of Petersburg, Va., in 1854. In 1856 he opened a law-office in Columbus, Ga. When the Civil war began he organized a company of 120 men, 50 of whom he mounted and equipped at an expense of $10,000—the whole of his fortune. This company bore his name until it became Company A, 7th Confederate Cavalry, with Moïse as its captain; in 1863 he became major of the regiment, and was in command of it at the end of the war; he had not received his colonel's commission, but he had been recommended for promotion after the battle of Burgess' Mills, and the recommendation had been approved by General Lee. He fought in all the battles of the army of northern Virginia under General Lee, was slightly wounded at Gettysburg, had three horses killed under him in the battles below Petersburg, and was with Hampton in his raid and capture of Kilpatrick's camp. With 200 of his men he built the dams at Hatch's Run which protected Lee's left flank against Grant, and at Smithfield, N. C., in 1865, he performed the service of burning the bridges in the retreat of Generals Hampton and Butler from Bentonville to Raleigh. He surrendered with Gen. Joseph Johnston at Greensboro, N. C.

Edwin Moïse emerged from the war penniless and settled in Sumter, S. C., where he practised law with success. He was largely instrumental in redeeming South Carolina from radical rule in 1876, giving up his practise to cooperate with Hampton for that purpose. He was nominated as adjutant-and inspector-general of his state on the same ticket with Hampton, receiving more votes than his leader. Reelected in 1878, he served four years and declined renomination in 1880. He gave the whole of his first term's salary to the public schools of his state. He was a delegate to the Reconstruction Convention in 1865, was presidential elector in 1880, and was repeatedly sent as a delegate to various state conventions.His son, Marion Moïse (b. June 15, 1855, at Sullivan's Island, S. C.), was educated at the Virginia Military Institute and South Carolina College. He was elected intendant of the city of Sumter, S. C., in 1884, serving two terms, and was chosen state senator from Sumter county in 1886, serving four years. He is now (1904) prominent as a lawyer at Sumter. He married (1877) Isabel de Leon of Charleston, S. C.

Hyam Moïse:

Fourth son of Abraham Moïse; born at Port-au-Prince 1755; died 1811. He married Cecilia Wolfe of Charleston, S. C., by whom he had two sons—Theodore Sydney and Edwin Warren.

Jacob Moïse:

Youngest son of the founder of the family; died in 1837. He married Rebecca Cohen, of Charleston, S. C., and settled in Augusta, Ga.; they were the first Jewish family there. His eldest daughter, Sarah Ann, showed literary ability at the early age of twelve. She married T. W. Dinkins, an editor, and is known for her stories, sketches, poems, and for numerous contributions to the Jewish press. Her youngest brother, Howard, served through the Civil war on the Confederate side. He was wounded three times and was made deaf by exposure and by the bombardment of Fort Sumter. He helped to build the batteries on Morris Island in 1860. He now lives (1904) in Sumter, S. C.

A. L. C. H.Penina Moïse:

Daughter of Abraham Moïse, who settled in Charleston, S. C., in 1791; born April 23, 1797, at Charleston; died Sept. 13, 1880. Her father died when she was about twelve years of age, and the helpless condition of the large family he left compelled her to give up school at that age. She gave early promise of literary ability, and her verse soon became known throughout the South. In 1833 she published a collection of poems entitled "Fancy's Sketch-Book," which was favorably received. From that time on she became a regular contributor to the publications of her day. Among the periodicals to which she contributed may be mentioned the "Washington Union," "The Home Journal of New York," "The Boston Daily Times," "Heriot's Magazine," "The New Orleans Commercial Times," "Godey's Lady's Book," "The Occident," and the "Charleston Courier." She contributed also several articles to the first copy of the "Charleston Book," a well-known publication in its day. Her contributions to the daily press were frequently of a humorous character. As a poet she was so highly esteemed that her fellow citizens looked to her for the celebration of every local event of importance.

An ardent Jewess, Penina Moïse wrote much on topics affecting her race. She took a lively interest in communal affairs, and was for years the superintendent of the Sabbath-school of the Charleston synagogue. During this period she wrote many hymns and religious pieces. Her book of hymns has been in use in the Congregation Beth Elohim of Charleston and in other Southern congregations.

In 1854, during the epidemic of yellow fever in South Carolina, she devoted herself to caring for the victims, whom she nursed irrespective of creed. Just before the outbreak of the Civil war her sight began to fail. The war compelled her to leave Charleston, but at its close she returned with her sister, Rachel Moïse, and opened a school which became widely known. Finally she lost her sight completely and met with other misfortunes as well.

  • Appleton's Encyc. of American Biography;
  • Mrs. S. A. Dinkins, in American Jews' Annual, 1885;
  • Isaac Markens, The Hebrews in America, p. 59, New York, 1888;
  • M. Kayserling, Die, Jüdischen Frauen, Leipsic, 1879;
  • Charlotte Adams, in The Critic, xv. 327.
A. L. Hü.Theodore Sydney Moïse:

Elder brother of the attorney-general of that name; born in Charleston, S. C., 1806; died in Natchitoches, La., July 2, 1883. He married Cecilia F. Moses, granddaughter of Meyer Moses of Revolutionary times; by her he had one daughter, who married her cousin, Charles H. Moïse. Theodore Moïse was an artist of ability. His portraits are found in many homes in South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky (where he painted a portrait of the beautiful Sallie Ward, a famous Kentucky belle of that day). In 1836 he removed from Charleston to Mississippi, and afterward to New Orleans, La. He served during the Civil war on the staff of General Herbert of Louisiana, and his ingenuity contributed to the planning of the fire-rafts which were used to repel the Federal fleet. His second wife, Mathilde Vaughn, bore him six sons: Robert (entered the Catholic priesthood); Charles; "Brother Ambrose" (head of the Christian Brothers' College in St. Paul, Minn.; won the gold medal offered during the World's Fair at Chicago for the best epic on the discovery of America); and three others who became prominent lawyers, one of them, James C. Moïse, being at the time of his death (1901) judge of the criminal court of New Orleans.

A. L. C. H.
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