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Zenora Moore Hendrix
*Nora” Moore Hendrix was born on this date in 1883. She was a Black vaudeville singer and dancer.
Born in Georgia, Zenora “Nora” Moore’s parents were Fanny Moore, originally from Ohio, and Robert Moore Sr., a Georgia native. Fanny Moore was half Cherokee and half African. Robert Moore Sr. was a freed African slave. Together to make a life for their family they relocated to Tennessee, where Nora was raised. By the beginning of the 20th Century, as a teenager, Nora Moore noticed the growing popularity of touring vaudeville acts and took an interest in this form of entertainment.
She thoroughly enjoyed the music, dancing, comedy routines and the excitement of the stage. By her early twenties she began performing. Along with her sister, whose stage name was Belle Lamar, Nora joined a traveling vaudeville group as a chorus girl/dancer. For the next several years, Nora and Belle toured the country as part of this lively body of entertainers who quickly became known for their extravagant costumes.
During this time, Moore and Bertram Philander Ross Hendrix met traveling around the country together as part of the same Dixieland vaudeville troupe. Their troupe included six band members plus a cast of seventeen actors, comedians, and dancers as well as stagehands such as Ross Hendrix. As Nora performed her act onstage, a bond was developing offstage between the entertainer and the stagehand. As the tour began to concentrate in the Pacific Northwest with the entertainers often traveling between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington, both Nora and Ross began to view the area as a permanent home. Financial difficulties brought the tour to an end in Seattle in 1912 and the beginning for them as they decided to marry in that city.
Non-stage work soon proved difficult and Ross and Nora Hendrix moved to Vancouver, British Columbia where he would find work with The American Club in Vancouver. With employment, Ross and Nora started a new family and a new life. All four of their children were born in Canada. Leon Marshall Hendrix, on April 12, 1912, Patricia Rose Hendrix, was born on May 3, 1914, Frank Hendrix on October 3, 1917 and James Allen Ross Hendrix on June 10, 1919. James Allen (“Al”) Ross Hendrix, the father of guitarist Jimi Hendrix. A fifth child, Orville Ronald Hendrix, was born on January 25, 1926.
On November 28, 1922, Ross and Nora Hendrix were officially naturalized and became Canadian citizens. Ross also became very active in Vancouver’s Fountain Chapel, the local African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Being a “people person,” he enjoyed his work as a steward in some of Vancouver’s most prestigious clubs including the American Club and the Transportation Club of Vancouver. In 1925 he accepted the position of first porter at the newly opened Quilchena Golf & Country Club. Ross held this position at Quilchena until March 21, 1934, when he passed away because of a ruptured aorta. Following the death of their father, the Hendrix children went in separate directions.
Nora Hendrix, remained in Vancouver for several decades, moving to Seattle in the 1980s with her son Al Hendrix and family. She later returned to Canada where she lived until her passing due to cancer on July 24, 1984 at the age of 100.