GOD & TEXAS: Tithingman!
The man wearing the clown costume was John Henry Moore. It was a fun event, but many where surprised when the well-known businessman, soldier, and government official dressed as a clown to entertain the children.
Born in 1800, John H. Moore came to Texas from Tennessee as part of the Old 300. He became famous as an Indian fighter, a leader in the Texas Revolution, and as a member of Terry’s Rangers during the Civil War. His comprehensive writings have contributed to a better understanding of early Texas history, and of the beginnings of Fayette County in particular.
Moore married Eliza Cummins in Columbus in 1827, and moved into Fayette County where they raised a large family. The house he built was called “Moore’s Fort,” and at that same location, the town of La Grange was established on May 17, 1832.
Life for these early settlers was full of danger. On October 2, 1835, when Mexican General Ugartechea demanded the return of the cannon from the people of Gonzales, it was Moore who was elected colonel and given the responsibility to protect the artillery. He fought nobly and successfully, and the cannon remained safe.
Frequent attacks by the various Indian tribes, caused Moore to accept a request from Texas President Mirabeau Lamar to move them westward. In a letter from the President to Moore, dated August 31, 1839, Lamar said, “Your known gallantry and long experience in Indian warfare naturally turn my attention to you.”
But the people of Fayette County knew Moore as a friend and a man of faith. Not only did he have fun at local parties, his deep love for God inspired him to build the first Christian church in Fayette County. He served in various church positions, and contributed abundantly to benevolence programs, especially to ministries that helped the poor and needy.
In the original colonies, the first American churches brought the position of “tithingman” with them from England. Besides other duties, it was his job to keep order in the church services using a long stick with a rabbit’s foot on one end and a fox tail on the other. The heavy end was used to discipline men, and the softer end brushed the face of sleeping ladies.
Moore was so committed to the church that he served as a Texas version of a “tithingman” in his congregation. Whenever services were conducted, Moore stood next to the pastor and watched over the congregation. If anyone fell asleep or became unruly, Moore quickly restored order.
Apparently, John. H. Moore fulfilled these duties admirably and certainly earned the respect of the people. He was a warrior, watchman, and a worshipper. He fulfilled Matthew 12:35NKJV, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things.”
May the Lord raise up more good men like John H. Moore to care for the church.
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