Abraham Moïse emigrated from Strasbourg, Alsace, to the West Indies, where he established himself in trade. On the little island of St. Eustatia he met and married Sarah, 26 years his junior. The couple lived with their four small sons on a plantation in the northwestern corner of Santo Domingo, now Haiti.
The slave uprising of 1791 sent them fleeing to Charleston. They carried with them the clothes on their backs and a small trunk of valuables. Family historian Harold Moïse reports that the couple never regained their former affluence. This miniature of Abraham, mounted in gold with the family monogram engraved on the back, remains the only relic, “to attest his erstwhile prosperity.” From their house on Queen Street, three doors from King, the Moïses sold cloth and tea.