The Moyers of Switzerland

The Family of Belle Moyer Anderson

Jacob, William, Henry and Peter Moyer arrived in America from Switzerland around 1742.  The four brothers came with their widowed mother.  All were natives of Switzerland, but the year previous to their migration, they had been guests of connections in Germany where the family had originally resided.  They had been driven into exile by the State Reformed Church, or Calvinists.

Peter is the ancestor of our line.  Springfield Township of what was then Bucks Co. PA.  The brothers and their families were prominent in Bucks, Berks, and Lehigh counties.

Peter served in the Revolutionary War and afterwards settled near Woodstock, Shenandoah Valley Co., VA.  He had brought his bride from Germany.  Her name may have been Catherine.  The couple had five sons:


            PETER, JR.,


            Samuel, and


In later years, the family evidently followed Peter Jr.'s migration to Tennessee.  John didn't like it in Tennessee and moved back to Virginia. Jacob went on to California.

The elder Moyer (Peter and Catherine) died in Tennessee within a few years of one another:  Peter in 1825 at the age of 101 years, and Catherine a little later at the age of 105 years.

During their lifetimes, they had amassed some property and, in one Virginia census, were listed as owning two slaves.

Peter Moyer, Jr.

Peter was born DEC 1752 at Berks County, PA; married 1 SEP 1807 Elizabeth Connel; and died 3 OCT 1836 at Lincoln County, TN.  He served in American Revolution, 1776, 1777, and 1778 and applied for a pension in 1832.  He said at the time that he was born in Berks Co., PA, sometime in December of 1752.

Following the War, Peter Jr. returned to Berks County for about five years and then moved to Maryland, where he lived about six years.  He left Maryland for Winchester, VA, and lived in Winchester for 22 or 23 years and other parts of Virginia for another three.  He finally settled down in Lincoln Co., TN.  Peter Jr. was more than 80 years old at the time he applied for his pension.  He died four years later on 3 OCT 1836.

Family sources say that Peter Jr. had traveled to Illinois and proved up on some land before moving back to Lincoln Co., TN.  His eldest son George Wiley Moyer made some improvements on the Illinois land and later sold it.

Peter married an Elizabeth Connel of Nashville, TN, and had five children: Matilda, Isaac, Joel, John C., and William C. George Wiley is not listed -- probably because his mother was not Miss Connel, but rather a Pennsylvania girl who may have died while the family was still living in Pennsylvania, Maryland or Virginia.

George Wiley Moyer

George Wiley Moyer was born in 1784 in Pennsylvania. This would be after his father Peter returned to Berks County following his military service. We do not know the name of his mother.

George Wiley married Miss Polly Windle, daughter of Augustin Windle of Woodstock, VA.  Polly was born about 1792 in the Cedar Creek community, Shenandoah Valley, VA.

George W. and Polly moved first to Lincoln Co., TN, no doubt around the same time as George's father Peter Jr. and family re-located there.  It is likely that it was after the family moved to Tennessee that Papa Peter met and married Miss Connel.

After his father came home from Illinois, George W. and wife moved to the southern part of the state in 1830.  They had 13 children and reared twelve -- Juliette dying in infancy.

George entered forty acres, erected a temporary log cabin and not many years later, erected a good and substantial log house, in which the family lived for some 14 years.  They sold that farm and bought another on which they lived a short time.  Later they bought a third farm of 200 acres, seven miles from Golconda, upon which they both passed their declining years:  George dying in 1858 at the age of 74, and Polly dying in 1864 at the age of 72.  Both, and maybe even Peter Jr., are supposed to be buried in the old family plot on the farm at Golconda.

George and Polly are listed in the 1850 census for Pope Co., IL.  He is 65 years old, born in Pennsylvania; and she is 55 years old, born in Virginia. Two younger sons are listed as living with the couple:

            Jarbus, age 18; and

            WILLIAM, age 17.

Both young men are later listed in the 1880 census for Eddyville Precinct, Pope County, along with their families.

George Wiley and Polly (Windle) Moyer’s children were:

            John Alfred, born 3 FEB 1810; married Martha Gavitt and lived in Golconda;

            Isaac Henry, born 1815;

            Margaret A., born about 1821; married 15 AUG 1842 George Franklin Hanna; residing at Fora, Clay County;

            Catherine, born about 1829; married 14 MAY 1844 William Thomas Chambliess; died May 1863 at Pope County, IL;

            Elan Malinda, born about 1830; married 26 FEB 1849 James H. Gallamore;

            Mary Hester, born about 1831; married 29 AUG 1844 William H. Porter;

            William Henry, born 10 DEC 1833 at Pope County, IL; married first 22 MAR 1857 Parmelia Morse; married second 7 NOV 1866 Louisa E. Shuffelbarger; died 8 AUG 1895;

            Jarvis Alexander, born 14 APR 1836; married first 8 FEB 1857 Nancy Grissom/Grisham; married second Catherine, born JUL 1864 in Illinois.

William Henry Moyer

William Henry Moyer was born 10 DEC 1833 in Illinois and went to school but very little as a boy.  He learned to read and write after attaining manhood.  William lived with his parents until his marriage to Miss Parmelia Morse on 22 MAR 1857 in Pope County.  He was 23 years old; Parmelia was about 14 years old.

Parmelia died in December of 1858.  Her son John W. (our ancestor) was raised by his maternal Morse grandparents for a period of time.  John W., age one, is listed in the 1860 census as a member of his grandparents household.  His father, William H., now 25, is listed alone in a separate household.

Parmelia was the daughter of John and Nancy (Bruckner) Morse. Additional information on this family is provided later.

In the 1870 census, William H., now 37, has re-married and is living in Eddyville, Pope Co., with his wife Louisa, age 31.  Three children are listed with the couple:

            John, age 11 (William's son);

            Charles, age 7 (Louisa's son); and

            Nora, age two (William and Louisa's daughter.)

The 1880 Eddyville Pct., Pope Co., census lists the family as:

            W.H. Moyers, 45;

            Louisa, 43;

            Charley, 18 (step-son);

            Nora, 13; and

            Mary, 6.

Our John is not listed.  Uncle Jarvis, 44, is listed, however.  He is married with eight children and one granddaughter at home.

Returning to William H., we find that after the death of Parmelia, William enlisted in Company E, 120th Illinois Infantry in 1862, under the command of William S. Hodge.  He served about three years as duty sergeant.  William was at Andersonville Prison ten months, and was exchanged at the close of the war April 1, 1865.  He recalled the ten month, eleven day, imprisonment as a living death in filth and starvation.  Being a man of great strength and endurance, according to the records, he rallied from the effects of his prison life at Andersonville, but would not have lived through it had he not bartered for and bought extra food.

William was discharged at Springfield, IL, 29 MAY 1865.  He married Mrs. Louisa Jenkins, a widow, on 5 NOV 1866.  The couple eventually had three children:

            Leonora (Nora);

            Mary; and

            William C.

As we have seen, William's oldest son, John, and Louisa's son, Charley, also were a part of this family.

William purchased 100 acres of land for $700 in 1865.  He later added 75 more acres.  At the close of his life, he was assisted in his general farming because of a heart condition which rendered him an invalid.  He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; had been a constable and school director; and was politically a Republican.  He died 8 AUG 1895.

William H. Moyer is buried at Boulden Cemetery, Township 11 south range 5 east section 36, Pope County, IL, with second wife Louisa E. (b.13 JUN 1838; d. 8 AUG 1931).

An infant son (1870) of this couple is buried in the same plot, along with "Claudie" and "Hurley" Moyers, no dates given.

The following is biographical information abstracted from Portrait and Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope and Hardin Counties, Illinois Chicago Biographical Publishing Company 1893.


            born: 1833, Pope Co, IL

            father: George Moyers, born 1784, VA; shoemaker

            grandfather: Peter Moyers, born Germany

            mother: Polly Windle, born VA, in Shenandoah Valley

            married: Parmelia Morse; died Dec 1858

            children: John W

            married 2nd: 8 Nov 1866, Mrs. Louisa Jenkins, nee Shufflebarger, daughter of R.S. Shufflebarger

            children: Lenora, wife of William V. Harper; Mary L., wife of Moses Lay; William C.; 1 died in infancy

            military service: Co E, 120th IL Infantry; prisoner at Andersonville for 10 months.

John Windell Moyers

We find John W. Moyer, 21, working out as a farm laborer in Golconda precinct, Pope County, IL in the 1880 federal census.  Two years later he is married.

John Windell Moyers married Miss Alice Augusta Davis in 1882.  The couple were said to have farmed in the Glendale precinct of Pope Co., IL, and were the parents of three sons and three daughters.  A review of the 1880 and 1900 censuses did not reveal a "Glendale" precinct, nor references to this family, but this does not necessarily mean they weren't there.  Family sources indicate that John Windell died 15 SEP 1903.

We knew of three of John Windell Moyers' children:

  • Son John Burnett Moyer of Baltimore, MD, is responsible for the extensive research done on the Moyer and Davis families;
  • Daughter Nola became Mrs. Nola Moyer Jones of Metropolis, IL; and
  • Daughter Isabelle (Belle) Moyer, the young woman who married Henry Lee Anderson in 1910 at Metropolis.

In the spring of 2001, we learned of three others:

  • Curran (Kern) Moyer
  • Samuel B. (Barney) Moyer and
  • Bertha Siranthony Moyer (Mrs. Will Hayes -- grandmother of Joanne (Vonda) Haynes Orchow of Las Vegas, NV.

Their existence was confirmed through obituary and Card of Thanks printed in Republican Herald, Metropolis, IL at the death of their mother (Alice Augusta "Gusta" Davis Moyers, more of whom later.)

Isabelle Moyer Anderson

The Cherokee Indian Connection

Belle Moyer was born 22 JUN 1883 at Pope County, IL, the daughter of John Windell and Alice Augusta (Davis) Moyer; married first Mr. Munal; married second 6 JAN 1910 Henry Lee Anderson; died 19 JAN 1978.   The names and birthdates of her children come from Belle Anderson's Bible.

Belle’s first husband (Mr. Munal), allegedly an acquaintance of Jesse James, was shot dead while sleeping in a tent.  The couple had had no children.

Belle Moyer believed herself to be of German and Cherokee descent. On her death certificate, Belle is listed by her children as "German/Indian".

Family members believe that Belle's mother Alice Augusta Davis was Cherokee, but we have not been able to confirm this belief through any official record.  Virtually all of what is now the state of Tennessee was Cherokee lands in 1791. Persons moving into the area in those early years often intermarried with local residents.

We know that many Cherokee Indians left the Trail of Tears -- the forced march from the Southeastern United States to Oklahoma during the winter of 1838-1839 -- and found refuge in Illinois and Missouri and other areas. The entire Indian migration took from about 1820 to 1842.  Belle's Davis and Gulley parents and grandparents left Tennessee sometime between 1860 and 1870 (either during or immediately following the Civil War). They were not a part of the Trail of Tears -- but that does not mean that they were not of Indian descent.

Many southern Illinois families believe a Cherokee Indian from this migration was one of their ancestors.  Unfortunately for family historians, Indians who left the tribe took Christian names and were carried on all legal documents as such.  They often did not acknowledge their own Indian ancestry, at least publicly.  The federal census listings for the family all list them as "white".  But the choices were "white", "black" or "mulatto", in most cases.

The 1896 Dawes Indian Rolls, however, list:

G.W. Davis, 834 Cherokee (Right initials and name, but wrong age.)

George Wesley Davis, 5490

John A. Gulley, 197

William Gulley, 197

Eugene Attillar Gulley, 1013 (Choctaw).

There is even a J.F. Moyer, 357, Choctaw.

Belle probably had Indian ancestry.  We just haven't been able to confirm it in the records. Regardless, Belle comes from a long line of Tennesseans going back to at least 1820 on both her father's Moyer side and her mother's Gulley side.

Let’s meet the Gulleys.

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