Saturday, July 21, 2012

Tribute to John Moran, Confederate Veteran

John Williamson Moran,
portrait by Cornelius Hankins
From the Confederate Veteran
vol. 20, no. 6, June 1912

John W. Moran

That no worthier man wore the Confederate gray than John Moran will stand all tests.  He was born in Dresden, Tenn., March 20, 1840; and died in a Nashville Hospital April 12, 1912. His father, James Moran, was a merchant of Dresden, and his mother was Miss Harriet Harris, of McLemoresville, Tenn.  He was educated in the schools of his neighborhood.  He was of philosophic temperament; and while performing the duties that were incumbent upon him, his humor was proverbial and he was ever entertaining to his associates.

He was about ready for business life when the War of the States began, and he, together with a younger brother who soon surrendered his life in the cause of the Confederacy, enlisted in Company I, 31st Tennessee Infantry, in the brigade gallantly commanded by Brig. Gen. O.F. Strahl.  His first battle of importance was that of Perryville, Ky, in which the army and his company suffered heavily.  It had perhaps the largest percentage in killed and wounded of any company in that sanguinary battle.  He was wounded in the battle of Chickamauga.  He was again severely wounded in the battle of Franklin, and was long a sufferer in the hospital.  He frequently told a good story of his experience in the battle of Resaca.  He had captured a rabbit, which he secured in his shirt bosom, and of course had fond anticipations of a feast after the fight.  The battle waxed so hot, however, and his heart became so generous toward "Molly Cottontail" that he gave her freedom.  He may have been author of the Zeb Vance story in saying: "Go it, Molly Cottontail!  If I had no reputation at stake, I'd run too."  At all events, when the battle was over he regretted not having the rabbit for supper, as he had more appetite then than during the battle.

The funeral was conducted by Rev. J.W. Irion, assisted by the regular pastor of the M.E. Church, South, Rev. Mr. Douglass, and Rev. G.T. Mayo, pastor of the Baptist Church of Dresden.  It was largely attended.

Joseph E. Jones in an interesting sketch of Mr. Moran states that "he succeeded along all the lines of life that are worthwhile.  His business methods were open and above suspicion.  As possessor of a large fortune at his death, there was not in it all an unclean dollar."

Mr. George W. Martin, a life-long friend and a man who has long given liberally of his time and his means for the cause of education, paid high tribute to the deceased at the funeral and complied with the request of the Veteran in sending the manuscript that follows:

"The late John W. Moran, who died recently at St. Thomas Hospital, Nashville, on his way from Florida to his home in Dresden, Tenn., was one of the most prominent and best known citizens of his county.  His father was one of the early settlers of Dresden, and for many years was a leading merchant of the place.  John spent his entire life where he was born and reared, with the exception of four years in the Confederate Army.  When not at school he was in the store assisting his father, and had just arrived at manhood when the War of the States began.  He volunteered early in the struggle, remaining throughout the the entire war, and from the record given by his comrades no one performed his duties with greater fidelity and bravery than he. He spoke often of the war, but claimed little for himself.  He took great pleasure in commending the noble acts of others, as he was accustomed to do through life.  He was a man of remarkable courage, but he used it with great discretion and justice. He had excellent self-control and possessed decided opinions on all subjects, but expressed himself reasonably and rationally and always with a view of being just and truthful.

"As a successful merchant and banker his integrity was above reproach and never questioned by any one who had business relations with him, and he performed every duty put upon him with noble fidelity.  His integrity was of such high order that if I had met him in the most remote part of the world and he had been on his way to Weakley County I would have been willing to intrust my entire fortune, great or small, to him to deliver in Weakley County without the slightest fear of his failing to comply with my request literally.  His individual wants were few and easily supplied but he spent his life in honest toil to supply the wants of his family and to fulfill his duty to the public, which he did admirably.

"John Moran was a well-developed and an "all-round" man.  As husband, father, citizen, soldier, neighbor, he contributed well to all these relations.  He had the misfortune to lose his wife when his children were young, and his devotion to rearring and training them cannot be commended too highly.  If there is anything that can lighten the grief and sorrow for the loss of this valuable man it is to know how well his life was spent and all his duties performed.  The influence of his life will long retain a benefit and a blessing to many."

While frugal in his personal affairs, he was diligent for the public, and served most efficiently as chairman of the Democratic committee of his (Weakley) County as well as publicly in many other useful ways.

In his early thirties Mr. Moran married Miss Sophia Gunn, whose father, Dr. Gunn, formerly lived in Nashville.  She preceded her husband to the better land seventeen years.  Their five children are, Fannie (Mr.s J.B. Ezell), Ida (Mrs. W.G. Timberlake), Marion (Mrs. C.Eh. Cobb), Harold (Should be Harrell), and James.  The latter of the two sons succeeds as president, while Harold takes the place of their beloved father on the directorate of the Bank of Dresden.  He is survived by an aunt, Mrs. Virginia Wood, and a sister, Mrs. Aggie Irvine.  Not only these loved ones but the entire community sorrowed in his death as if all were of close kin to him.  The testimony at his funeral of a life devoted to uprightness and love for his fellow men was well worth his struggle for seventy-two years.