A few of those heroes came from Canada. One of them was Philip J. Moore who, the story tells us, came from Newfoundland.
Yet to discover anything about his youth on the island, I have found that at about the age of 14 he left home, be it there or perhaps already in Massachusetts, and moved in for a time with a cousin and family in Sumerville Mass.
Within a couple of years he walked on-board the USS Wabash at Boston and signed up for 3 years service to the navy. It was April of 1876, and since he was living at Sumerville at the time I guess he decided that was a good enough place to list as his place of birth.
The records have yet to reveal any details on his service over the next three years other than that he would sail on the USS Colorado, Nautilus and Franklin. When his term was up he was released in May 1879.
Family and fellow servicemen would later recall that whilst quite fit on entry, he was considerably troubled with stomach ailments on his release. But he'd soon be fit enough and would wander on board the USS Constellation at Newport Rhode Island in May of 1879. There he signed up for another 3 year stint and would serve on the USS Colorado, Constellation, Trenton, Wabash, and Alliance before taking his final release in December of 1882 back in Boston Mass., the very place he signed up some 6 years earlier.
His career would take him to the Mediterranian, Naples, Alexandria, Egypt, an Aegean cruise, to Turkey, Marseilles, to English, Dutch and Belgium ports and even up to Alaska.
It came by way of a cry for help when a fellow sailor had fallen overboard. History so far is holding back the details, but it is known that he dived in with another from one of the decks and helped save the man from a sure death by drowning. The date was 21 September 1880. Moore would continue serving till his term was up and he took release back at Boston in August 1882. At the time he held the rank of Captain of the Top.
Just over two years later the general order came out announcing that Moors and the others had been awarded Medals of Honor for their bravery.
Philip moved back with relatives in Sumerville Mass for awhile, took up manual labour at a meat packing plant for several months then went on a 7 month fishing trip to Greenland. Later he worked for the B&M Railway freight yards and by early 1886 he got married at Boston.
Soon a son came along, but it is believed he died in his youth. Along the way two daughters came along as well.
But health issued were a problem for Philip on and off for the rest of his life. Documents in a file applying for a pension years later showed that after the first term of service life was difficult. But after the second it got far worse.
One document says that after he dived into frigid waters, his hair turned white. Another said that when he went off to serve for the second time he had a "beautiful turf of hair," but on his return, "he was bald clear through to the back of his neck."
There were claims that the hair problem was because of the fever he would often have. He was described as being shallow, heavy sunken eyes, yellowing said one person, swollen says another, back and liver problems and often in the later years unable for short periods to even do a day's work. One said he was "full of vigor and courage before enlisting," and after his return, "all used up."
In a span of a few moths he had two operations on his liver, and whilst in hospital regarding the same problems he passed away on 18 September 1902, almost 20 yrs to the day since he dove in the water to save a shipmate. He apparently died from malaria and cancer of the liver.
Pension records tell that he left a widow, a mother and 2 daughters under the age of 16 to carry on his name. The files also reveal that he had several brothers, no numbers, but that at the time of his death they had also passed away.
Philip Moore lays at rest at the Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleum at Malden City, Mass.
Several documents in his pension application show that he was born at St. John's Newfoundland, and that his middle name was Joseph.
While he first signed up from Massachusetts, his medal was earned for bravery whilst serving a term that began from not Mass, but Rhode Island. Thus, his medal is credited to that state.
Hope to be back with you next Sunday.