Miss Mariah Tall was born in Montgomery County, Mo., Aug. 7th, 1828, and died in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Jan. 23rd, 1900. Age 71 years, 5 months and 16 days. The subject of this sketch was born of slave parents and, according to the custom of that time, she was the property of her mother's master.

Her father died when she was but three or four years old and a few years later, her mother died, leaving a younger sister, and herself, the only children, to the care of their owners, who raised them up to serve and obey their so-called owners.

Miss Tall was married to Moses Mosely, April 9th, 1854. Four children were born to them, an infant, passed from earthly bondage to the freedom of Heaven.

Early in the fall of 1862, she, with her husband gathered together part of their personal possessions one Sunday night, and, with their remaining children, while their masters and mistresses were asleep, marched out of their slave prison in search of freedom for themselves and children. After seven miles of brisk walking along a blind path through the thick woods, and facing the possibility of capture, or death at the hands of "Bushwhackers," they arrived at the Missouri river which it was necessary to cross in their flight. A fog so dense overhung the river, that the oarsmen lost their course and several times found themselves on the side from which they started. After seven or eight hours of wandering, they reached the opposite shore. On the following Friday, they reached St. Louis, Mo., but found themselves still hemmed in the state by the proclamation of the then Governor Gamble, which forbade the assistance offered in President Lincoln's proclamation to the slaves in general because Missouri was still in the Union.

Still surrounded by the unpleasant influences of slavery, they sought in vain to get farther away from it, and into a free state, appealing repeatedly through an agent to Gen. Dick, who was then Prov. Marshall, for passes to leave the state. Finally they met the late Rev. James H. White, of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, who was then superintendent of the slave contraband department in St. Louis. He gave them passes on request, and they left immediately for freer parts, arriving in Henry County, Iowa, April 1st, 1863, moving into Mt. Pleasant the following fall and remaining here ever since.

Mr. and Mrs. Mosely had four children born to them since coming to Mt. Pleasant and have laid four to rest in Forest Home cemetery.

While mother Mosely was not connected with any church, she was a pious Christian, from her girlhood, loving God and His righteousness, and trying to live a life of the just, before the Lord.

She was a loving and lovable wife and mother, always doing and advising that which she thought best for the Christian elevation of her family.

Asthma, contracted when a girl, from exposure to cold and damp, in serving others, clung to her for nearly sixty years and finally caused her death.

On the 25th of January, at her late residence the funeral services were held. Rev. O. W. Rogers, of the Congregational church spoke words of hope and comfort from the Raising of Lazarus, John 11th chapter and caused those who mourned a great loss, rather to rejoice in the midst of their sorrow, that she who was gone had passed beyond the power of pain and death, into a home prepared for all those who love His appearing.

Rev. W. R. Cole, of the Unitarian church paid a high tribute to Mrs. Mosely as a neighbor, a friend and mother for he had known her many years and had known nothing of her, but good. He testified that hers was a beautiful life, nobly lived.

Rev. Rhinehart, of the A. M. E. church closed the services with a prayer.

The beautiful floral offerings of friends were a fitting tribute to a womanly life. That which was mortal was laid to rest in Forest Home Cemetery, for that which was spirit had returned to God, who gave it.

"And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, write: Blessed are the dead of which die in the Lord, from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them." Mt. Pleasant, Feb. 12th, 1900.

["The Free Press", Thursday, February 15, 1900, page 5]

Resource provided by Henry County Heritage Trust; Transcription done by James Peters, University of Northern Iowa Public History Field Experience Class, Fall 2021. Added to Henry County IAGenWeb, 17 Nov 2021.
Return to:
Were They African-American   ***   Henry County IAGenWeb
Copyright © IAGenWeb.  All rights reserved.