Eli made his way to a point on the Escatawpa River, on the Alabama side, and south of the present T. C. G. Railroad bridge on the river. This could have been about the time Mississippi became a state in 1817. He
operated either a toll bridge or a ferry on the Escatawpa River. It probably was a toll bridge. Eli must have been a proficient bridge builder, as he was away from home building a bridge near "old" Augusta (Perry County, MS) when James Copeland and John Copeland visited his place with the intention of robbing them. The following is a excerpt from the biography by James Copeland, titled "Life and Confession of the Outlaw, James Copeland" (pages 110-113)
"The same day Wages and I were consulting thus, my brother John Copeland came to bring me some clothes, and he informed me that it was reported that old Eli Moffit (sp) held a large amount of money, and that there was a project on foot to rob him and burn his house the first good opportunity; that Moffit had taken a contract to build a bridge in Perry County, and would shortly leave home, and that Eli Myrick was to let the party know what time Moffit commenced the bridge and would be absent from home. I then told Wages what was on foot. He then said, ‘Let me leave home about three days before, and I will try on the same night to rob old Sumrall and burn his house.'
In a few days Myrick came down and told us that Moffit was up in Perry County, and would not be home in two weeks. Wages immediately geared up, and started with his cart, his wife and McIntosh. Three nights after that Allen Brown, McGrath, John Copeland and I went to Moffit's just after dark, about seven o'clock, on the night of the 15th of December, 1847. Eli Myrick did not go with us, because he said Mrs. Moffit would know him too well. but he was in the secret and shared his part of the money.
On getting near, we stopped to consult as to the safest way to get the money. Some were for robbing the house and not injuring any of the family. That I opposed, for I never believed in leaving any living witnesses behind to tell what I had done, if there was any way to prevent it. I always thought that two persons were enough to keep a secret, and it was safest if one of them were dead, for dead witnesses give no evidence. It was agreed that we should go into the house and demand the money, and if given up, to leave the inmates peaceably and unharmed.
John and I went in with a very stern look, thinking we could frighten the old lady, and make her give up every dollar that was in the house. But we were as sternly and peremptorily refused. The old lady said that she knew nothing about the money, and if she did, that we would not get it; we then told her that we had come after money and that money we would have before we left that house, or her life; and she still bravely defied us, John had in his hand a large hickory stick and I had another. Perceiving that she was determined, and our only chance to get the money was to kill her, while the old lady and I were quarreling about the money, I gave my brother John the wink, and he struck her a blow on the head which felled her to the floor. He repeated the blows, and I hit her several blows. We then commenced plundering the house, in search of the money; and we ransacked the whole house from top to bottom, but the amount we did find was small. I do not remember the precise amount we got, but it did not exceed two hundred dollars. To our great displeasure we afterwards found out, that there was a large amount of gold and silver in the house at the time, that we did not find.
After we had plundered the house to our satisfaction, of all the money we could find, and each one of us had his load of the most valuable articles about, we set the house on fire and burnt everything up, together as we thought with Mrs. Moffit who we thought was dead, and we left with a full conviction in our own minds that she would be burned in the house. When I afterwards learned that she was not dead I often wondered at her providential escape.
The gold and silver we had overlooked, was all melted, and I understand that Moffit afterwards took it to Mobile and disposed of it. "
[Matilda was rescued from the house before it burned to the ground by Person (s) unknown.]
Matilda Annie Thomas Moffett (1800 - 1865)
Gabriel Moffett (1820 - 1862)*
Thomas T. Moffett (1823 - 1864)*
Ira E. Moffett (1830 - 1898)*
Matilda Ann Moffett Shelby (1833 - ____)*
Note: Eli Moffett Cemetery (East side of Escatawpa (Dog) River and south of the I. C. G. Railroad Company bridge on the river)
Old Eli Moffett Cemetery
Created by: Terry Rasberry
Record added: Apr 20, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 36082651
You are my great, great Grandfather and I would have loved to have known you. I`ve read so much about you. Your good qualities have been passed down to my grandfather also that I never met, nor did his last daughter who was only 8 months old.|
Added: Oct. 11, 2012
Sending love to my 4th great grandfather... remembering your legacy.|
Brynn Moffett (Asarch)
Added: Oct. 8, 2011
Elias, I'm glad that your wife was safe from the robbery and the house fire. Rest in Peace. See you and your family in Heaven.|
Added: Jul. 16, 2010