I was born in 1926 in Buchanan County, Va., where I have spent most of my life practicing law, and I have been a close friend of Alfred and Irene Moore and their children for many, many years. I was very disappointed to see Bob Geary's article ["Mine-owner's daughter," March 29] questioning Sen. Bev Perdue's veracity in describing the conditions of her childhood.
For seven years during Bev's childhood, I lived almost directly across the road from the Moore family in the rural community of Harman Junction, about six miles outside the town of Grundy, Va. I knew both of her parents well. Alfred Moore, her father, worked as a daily wage-earning coal miner for several years, and I later became a business partner of his in the United Coal Companies.
Moore had been born to a coal-mining family of little means and lived in a mining camp until he met and married his wife, Irene, and they rented a home of their own. Sometime in the early '50s, after his military service, Moore moved his family to the little house with brick siding in Harman Junction and became my neighbor. The house was small and inexpensive. He made monthly mortgage payments on that house, and I know he was a frugal, hard-working man. Bev was not raised in the lap of luxury, as suggested in Geary's article. They had to live on Moore's wage, so it was a struggle for them, regardless of what Lee Smith or others said to your reporter.
I watched the Moores raise their children, Bev and Rick. They had a lot of personal pride, and Bev's mother made sure she dressed neatly and was clean.
The difference between Moore and many of the other coal-mining families I knew was that he and his wife were very frugal. During Bev's childhood, money was tight. Moore had an innate ability to find coal, and he developed sharp business skills over the years. He borrowed capital to invest, with others, in a mine. He continued working daily as a miner or in mine-related jobs until he sold his company interest in the early '70s. It was only then that the Moore family realized any great financial success, well after Bev left Harman Junction for college. Moore laid the foundation for his success during Bev's childhood, but his late success did not bear upon her formative years.
I have followed Bev's public achievements in North Carolina and have been proud to support her campaigns financially. The state should be proud of her and her abilities, as well as her personal dedication to its people and institutions.
The Smith family of Grundy, Lee Smith's family, were also good personal friends of mine. The Smiths were one of the most prosperous families in Buchanan County. There is no comparison between the childhoods of these two women. In my opinion, Bev is not lying or stretching the truth when she says she was raised as a coal-miner's daughter in a coal-mining community, with very limited finances in her growing-up years.