Texas Day by Day
On this day in Texas history…
Pioneer settler's death prematurely announced
August 17th, 1842
On this day in 1842, the Telegraph and Texas Register announced the death of John Henry Moore. Like the famous announcement of Mark Twain's death, however, the news was exaggerated; Moore lived for thirty-eight more years. He was an early settler who was involved in numerous important events in early Texas. As a member of the Old Three Hundred, he received a land grant from Stephen F. Austin. He built a blockhouse called Moore's Fort at the future site of La Grange. He was an outspoken advocate of Texas independence, and fought against the Mexicans both in the Texas Revolution and afterward. Moore commanded the Texans in the battle of Gonzales (October 2, 1835). He was involved in several campaigns against Indians. It was between the two Mexican invasions of 1842--in both of which he fought--that the newspaper announced his death. He was sixty-one when he enlisted with Terry's Texas Rangers for service in the Civil War; since he was too old to fight, he was put to selling war bonds. After losing most of his property, including slaves, in the Civil War, he died in 1880. This would have given the Telegraph an opportunity to state Moore's death date correctly, if the paper had not itself died three years before.