Moon, Moses, Cyphering Book with tipped-in deed and map


Date: 1772; 1787 | Size: 2 item(s)


Moses Moon (1754-1822) was a Bucks County, Pennsylvania resident. He spent his entire life living and working at his family's Woodbourne Estate in Bucks County as a farmer, horticulturist and surveyor. The collection consists of what Moon called his Cyphering Book, containing drawings of the solar system, and the positions of the stars dated 1772, as well as a copy of a deed with a map on the reverse from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, dated 1787.

Background note

Born on December 10, 1754 in Falls Township, Bucks County, Moses Moon was a farmer, horticulturist and surveyor. Son of James Nutt Moon and Ann Sotcher, Bucks County Quakers, Moon married Rachel Burgess at the Falls Meeting of Friends on July 17, 1776. Moon lived his whole life at the family's 218 acre Woodbourne Estate in Middletown Township, which he inherited from his father, and left to his only child, James. Moon died on June 19, 1822 at the age of 68, at Woodbourne, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Locally, Moon was prominent for the design of the Wrightstown School in Oxford Valley, near Middletown and Falls Township. The Wrightstown School was among the first of many octagonal schoolhouses privately financed and constructed by local Quakers from the 1770s through the middle of the 19th century. The schoolhouse was constructed as economically as possible; the shape and general design of the building allowed for the most natural sunlight to enter the structure, reducing the need for expensive candlelight, while the contours of the ceiling efficiently and evenly diffused heat, allowing for less fuel consumption in the winter. The Wrightstown School functioned as a schoolhouse from 1802 until 1851, when public education had become more widespread, and the need for private school diminished. Of the over 100 octagonal schools constructed in the Delaware Valley, only the Wrightstown School remains standing today.

Scope and content

The collection consists of two items, a notebook of astronomical charts and notes, and a deed with a map of a parcel of land. The astronomy notebook has a section of charts and notes concerning the positions of the stars and constellations in the sky above Pennsylvania, as well as a geometrical treatise entitled, "The Solution of the 16 Cases of Rectangular Spheric Triangles, by the Lord Napier's Catholick Proposition." The second item is a deed for a tract of land in Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, with a map of the property on the reverse, dated 1787. The collection was a gift of Harvard professor Owen Gingerich, in 2008.

Digital objects note

This collection contains digital materials that are available in the APS Digital Library. Links to these materials are provided with context in the inventory of this finding aid. A general listing of digital objects may also be found here.

Collection Information

Physical description

2 items.

2 items.


Gift of Owen Gingerich.

Preferred citation

Cite as: Moses Moon Collection, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Processed by Adam Najarian, February 2010.

Early American History Note

This collection contains two discrete documents. The first contains astronomical calculations performed by Moses Moon dated 1772. The second document is a deed with a map for land in Bucks County dated 1787.

Indexing Terms


  • Maps and Surveys
  • Scientific Data


  • Land and Speculation
  • Surveying and Maps

Detailed Inventory

 Cyphering Book
17721 itemBox 1

General physical description: 1 item

Access digital object:

 Deed with map
17871 itemBox 1

General physical description: 1 item

Access digital object: