Jefferson County Historical Society

Home - Biographies Menu


James T. Moss, another pioneer citizen of Jefferson County, Mo., was
born in that county near Sulphur Springs in 1827.  He is the son of 
Capt. Thomas and Eliza (Smirl) Moss.  The father was born in Monroe
County, Ill., in 1799, and while yet an infant was brought to what is
now Jefferson County, by his father, William Moss, a Virginian who
served in the Revolutionary War, and while yet a young man left his
people in Virginia and sought the then Far West, locating in Illinois,
where he was married.  He was one of the first to settle within the
limits of Jefferson County, which was yet French territory, and St.
Louis a small trading post.  He was a great hunter and spent the last
years of his life in Jefferson County.  Thomas Moss, the father of 
James T., spent his entire life in Jefferson County as a farmer, and
died in 1874.  He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, and was then 
living near Galena, Ill.  He was one of three who voted for Jackson,
in Jefferson County, in 1828.  Mrs. Moss was born in Indiana in 1812,
but was brought by her father, James Smirl, to Jefferson County, in
her infancy.  She died in 1883 after a married life of fifty years.
Both parents were members of the Baptist Church.  James T. was reared
in the wilderness of Jefferson County, with but meager educational ad-
vantages.  He was married in 1852 to Miss Ella Jane Tevis, a native of
Kentucky, and the daughter of Silas and Rosa Tevis.  The fruits of our
subject's marriage were five children, three now living: Thomas, 
Fannie, wife of Richard G. Hoeken; and Lizzie, wife of Samuel Burns, of
Potosi.  Mr. Moss settled near his birthplace in Rock Township, where 
he remained until 1877, when he removed to Hillsboro.  In 1876 he was
elected county collector, was twice re-elected to the same position,
serving with general satisfaction for six years.  He had previously
served for some years as deputy sheriff.  As a farmer and stock raiser
Mr. Moss has been remarkably successful, having been one of the prom-
inent farmers of the county.  He is the eldest of nine sons and four
daughters born to his parents, nine of whom are living, and all in 
Jefferson County.  Mr. Moss is a Democrat in politics, and cast his 
first presidential vote for Gen. Cass in 1848.  He has frequently 
served as delegate to State conventions, etc.  Their son, Thomas, now
a teacher and farmer, served two years as collector, being appointed
by the late Gov. Marmaduke in 1885.  Mrs. Moss is a member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church.