Wednesday, July 24, 2013


© Kathy Duncan, 2013

In 1885, a beautiful actress by the name of Jennie Winchell collapsed in the streets of Omaha and died an hour later. An lengthy article published about her in the Wheeling Register offered clues that seem to link Mary C. (Moyston) Kells Fox to her family. The article titled, "A Wheeling Beauty Falls Unconscious Upon the Streets of Omaha," related that Jennie Winchell's father was William Moysten, a resident of Wheeling, who had also been an actor in his youth. Her mother's maiden name was Caldwell. The family consisted of six children, three boys and three girls: William, James, Richard, Mary, Jennie, and Lizzie. James was a dentist in Baltimore, Lizzie and Richard died of the yellow fever in New Orleans, William resided in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and "Mary, who, we believe, married a gentleman named Kells, is probably living in New Orleans, where she went with her mother after the departure of Jennie and her husband from this city."

The following newspaper notices detailed the deaths of siblings, Richard and Lizzie Moyston:

Died. In New Orleans, La., on the morning of the 17th instant, of yellow fever, Dick Moyston.
He was for a while connected with the Post Office of this city. Energetic and ambitious, he sought a larger field where his ability would win him brighter laurels. He leaves numerous friends in our city to mourn his untimely end.
Wheeling, Va., papers please copy.
[Source: Memphis Daily Avalanche; Memphis, TN; Wed., 18 Sept 1867]

Died. In New Orleans, on the 16th instant, Mrs. Lizzie L. Synder, aged twenty-three years, daughter of the late W.A. and Anna M. Moyston, of Wheeling, Virginia.
In New Orleans, on the 17th instant, Richard H. Moyston, aged eighteen years, son of the late W.A. and Anna M. Moyston, of Wheeling, Virginia.
[Source: Memphis Daily Avalanche; Memphis, TN; Thurs., 26 Sept 1867]

Married. At the residence of George Nickols, Esq., Memphis, Tenn., June 13, by the Rev. Dr. White, Mr. A.C. Synder, of New Orleans, to Miss Lizzie Moyston, of Wheeling, Va.
[Source: Times-Picayne; New Oleans, LA; Tues., 18 June 1867]

Mary's father, William Andrew Moyston, died in 1866 and is buried in Wheeling, West Virginia.
Her mother, Anne M. (Caldwell) Moyston,  died the previous year in 1865 and is buried Wheeling, West Virginia.

Census records for Willam Andrew and Anne M. (Caldwell) Moyston:

14 Sept 1860, Wheeling, Ward 5, Ohio County, Virginia:
Wm A. Moysten 56 M Autioneer NY
Helen M. 50 F. VA
Wm H H. 20 M Dentist VA
Jas G. 14 VA
Richard 12 VA
Bridgett Boggs 18 F Domestic Ireland

30 Oct 1850, 44th Dist., Ohio County, Virginia, p. 180:
William A. Moyston 45 M Lottery Vender NY
Ann 43 F VA
Mary 19 F NY
Elizabeth 16 VA
Virginia 12 F VA
William 9 M VA
John 7 M VA
Richard 1 VA

Mr. Wm. A. Moyston of Wheeling, has procured a drawing, taken by J. Leslie, of Cincinnati, and is about to have lithographed a view of the Tomb of the lamented Harrison, at North Bend, Ohio, with the surrounding scenery.
[Centinel of Freedom; Newark, NJ, Tues., 5 Oct 1841]

Married--In Wheeling, Vir. on the 5th inst. Mr. William A. Moyston, formerly of this city, to Miss Anne M. daughter of Joseph Caldwell, Esq. of the former place.
[Cabinet; Schenectady, NY; Wed., 30 Jan. 1828]


  1. Virginia Pierce "Jennie" Moyston Winchell, was a stage actress who used the stage name Jennie Morton. She was married to Dr. Edward Grove Winchell, who died in 1873. Their son, Edward Everett Winchell, was famous American printer/designer. Their daughter Annie Louise Winchell, married the stage and silent screen actor John D. Walsh.

  2. Mary's brother John Hugon Moyston, had children that included a Texas lawyer and oil magnet, who left millions to the U of VA; another, a play right, editor and author who dated (and proposed to) Rose Wilder Lane (dau of Laura Ingalls Wilder)(he also set up a pharmaceutical company to assist Margaret Sanger in her birth control efforts); a daughter who married a wealthy tobacco farmer, whose son wrote with nome de plume Victor Appleton, some of the Tom Swift book series.