Carolyn Dabbs Moore,daughter of James and Jessie Dabbs

Carolyn McBride Dabbs  (6/11/1931- 5/22/2010) and Richter Hermann Moore

            Call Carolyn a seeker, a gatherer, an adventurer, a collector, a feminist, a non-conformist, a historian, a story-teller or a researcher and any of those would fit.  Carolyn, herself has said she’s basically been “muddling” most of her life, but ah, what a unique and memorable life she has created for herself and others.  At the time she was born, life dealt her a blow.  Her father was preoccupied with her mother who was very ill.   She was kept at a distance from the woman who had given her birth and for the first two years of her life it was Jezebel who looked after her.  Her real name was Jessie Belle, but that’s not the way Carolyn learned it.  Ironically her mother’s name was Jessie also.  From that moment on she was seeking this mysterious woman she never knew, but called mother.
            When Jessie died her father seemed even more pre-occupied and moody until he married Edith Mitchell on Carolyn’s fourth birthday. They moved from Hartsville and returned to Rip Raps.  Her older sister, Maude, stayed in Hartsville at Coker College.   At the Crossroads her closest companions were her cousins Joe at Aunt Stella’s house and Mac at Aunt Wrenna’s.  To get to either she had to ride her father’s bicycle down the long avenue from her home at Rip Raps to the main road and over the wooden bridge where the trolls lay in wait of her crossing.  This was the beginning of great adventures in her life.
            Within two years a baby brother was born and Carolyn never received the luxury reserved for an only child or a baby in the family.  She rode the school bus with he  cousins up to the Mayesville School where she was in a class of three. Her cousin, Martha, said she watched in disbelief as Carolyn smoked poured peroxide on her hair and painted her finger nails.  Martha promised herself she would never ever do all the bad things that Carolyn did.  In the end, Martha would.  It must have been the Warren in them.
  Carolyn and her step-mother struggled with one another while her father retreated to his study and worked the farm.  She was a non-conformist in a small southern community that was desperately trying to raise southern young ladies.
            At 17 years of age Carolyn took off for Coker College but quickly tired of being compared to her father and her sister, Maude.  She transferred to the University of South Carolina where she promptly met Richter Hermann Moore.  (8/19/1929 – 3/12/1996)  A year later they were married at Brick Church on December 30, 1950.  She wore the wedding dress that her step-mother had worn when she married her father.  Richter soon left to go to the Warner Robbins Air Base in Georgia and Carolyn returned to USC, rooming again with her same roommate.
            Carolyn and Richter would eventually settle in Jonesboro, TN, after he completed a PhD at the University of Kentucky in 1964.  He became the Chairman of the Political Science Department of Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.  Carolyn became an outspoken feminist on behalf of her three daughters and her granddaughter.  During a visit to the Crossroads she was frustrated to find herself arguing with Aunt Sophie and Edith over whether “Ms.” was an inappropriate title for a woman.  “I was flat out stunned,” Carolyn wrote.  “… I finally took Mother and Rick and I reeled home – not from having too much to drink but from Shock…..”
            As a historian Carolyn was one of the family members who has had the most interest in collecting bits of data connecting the family lineage.  As she collected it she sent out information at random to several people.  A letter from Carolyn was a stream of consciousness, revealing, not only  your ability to connect the pieces together, but also the sheer amount of information she could convey amidst an on-going monologue of her opinions.   As I have come across copies of her correspondence I have sat up nights piecing together a paragraph here and a paragraph there from court records, wills, or letters that she found.  Sometimes it’s like a giant puzzle.  I’m afraid to leave it and get some sleep for fear that I’d have to start all over again the next day trying to get a handle on it again. But when you suddenly see it, it’s like a great discovery. My father called these the wonderful “AHA” moments in life.  The dots connect!   Carolyn was my favorite kind of historian; a story-teller.
Carolyn deserves the credit for being the one to recognize the value in the family history and to make sure that donations of letters and documents were given to the Caroliniana Library in Columbia.  She has been the collector.  She was not, however, the organizer.
            Carolyn collected not only history.  Carolyn collected everything.  Her large old home in Jonesboro was at one time filled to the brim – the absolute brim – with memorabilia that she had collected throughout her lifetime.  There was little organization to the collection, at least to the eyes of the beholder, and little room for anything else.  Reports have it that she had stopped cooking because the stove had become a storage unit as space became a rare commodity.  In 2001 her three daughters helped her organize an estate sale, and her considerable collection was sold at a considerable profit.  Kudos to Carolyn and the girls.  However, during a brief visit in 2008 it was still hard to find an empty chair.