John Wesley Moore.As one of the most progressive and successful farmers and stockmen of Kansas, a speaker on public affairs of statewide reputation, and as a citizen of Marion county who for some thirty years has been actively identified with her growth and development, Mr. Moore merits distinctive recognition in this publication.
John Wesley Moore is a native of Ohio and was born on his father's farm in Mohawk Valley, Coshocton county, Jan. 1, 1846, a son of Robert and Anna (Thompson) Moore, both of whom were born in County Tyrone, Ireland, and were of Scotch ancestry. Robert Moore's grandmother was Margaret Buchanan, born in County Tyrone, and a near relative of the father of President Buchanan. Robert Moore learned the trade of weaver and, on June 11, 1830, left his native land for America. He arrived at St. Johns, New Brunswick, July 30 and at Baltimore, Md., on Aug. 22, and located in Virginia, near the city of Wheeling, and engaged in farming. He was married March 6, 1835, and shortly afterward removed to Coshocton county, Ohio. Here he became a successful farmer and a man of influence, was an active worker in the Abolitionist cause, and was connected with the workings of the Underground railway. He retired from active pursuits, in 1875, became a member of his son's family in Jones county, Iowa, and died in Washington, D. C., in 1884, while visiting a daughter. His widow remained with this daughter until her death, in 1894. But two children survive these parents at this writing (1911)John W. and a sister, Sarah, the widow of Rev. Nathan Sites, for forty years a missionary, stationed at Foochow, China. Clement L. Sites, her son, is a professor in the Anglo-Chinese College at Foochow.
John Wesley Moore secured his early educational discipline in the public schools of Coshocton county and attended, for one year, Denison University, at Granville, Ohio. In the fall of 1863 he enlisted as a private in Company G, One Hundred and Forty-second Ohio infantry, and received an honorable discharge in the fall of 1864. The summer of 1864 was spent by his regiment between the Appomattox and James rivers, near Petersburg. Mr. Moore was made a corporal at the age of eighteen. He was then matriculated in Cornell College, at Mount Vernon, Iowa, in which he graduated in 1868. The following year was spent on the home farm, in Ohio, and in 1869 he located near Olin, Jones county, Iowa. His father had acquired a tract of some 400 acres of wild land in that county and this land John W. broke, fenced and improved, later becoming its owner. During the winters of 1869-70 and 1870-71 he taught school in Sangamon county, Illinois. During the campaign of 1873 the chief topic before the people of Iowa was the demand for the enactment of railway-rate legislation. The Republican party, then largely controlled by the railroads, refused to make this issue a part of their platform and an independent faction, known as Anti-Monopolists, placed a ticket in the field. Mr. Moore was made the nominee of this party, in his county, for a seat in the lower house and was elected by a large majority, leading his ticket. He was the youngest member of that body in the session of 1874, was made a member of the railroad committee and was an active factor in securing the enactment of a law, since referred to in several speeches by Senator LaFollette of Wisconsin, as "Iowa's pioneer railroad law." This law was attacked by the succeeding legislature, supported by the press of the state and the railroad lobby, but they failed to agree upon an amendment. It has since stood the test of all courts and has been the base of railway legislation in all sections of the United States since its enactment. Mr. Moore was urged to accept a renomination, in 1875, but refused. While teaching in Illinois he had become engaged to a charming girl. Her health had become impaired and he urged an early marriage, in order that he might take her to southern California, in hopes that she would recover. They were married Sept. 1, 1875, journeyed to Washington, D. C., to visit his parents and returned to his wife's home preparatory to going to California, when she died suddenly on October 5. He returned to Iowa and remained on his farm until the fall of 1879, when he sold the property, being advised by his physician that a change of climate was essential to continued life. He had married a second time, in March of 1879, and with his wife removed to New Mexico. There he remained until the spring of 1881. Not liking the country and being greatly improved in health he came north and reached Newton, Kan. Here he bought a pair of horses and a carriage, and with his wife prepared to drive about the state, living in the open air. During a visit to the Crane ranch, in Marion county, he was so favorably impressed with the agricultural possibilities of that district that he purchased a quarter-section at the headwaters of the Cottonwood. There he located and again engaged in farming and stock raising. At this writing (1911) the great Moore ranch is considered, by those in a position to know, one of the most highly improved and best managed farms and stock raising enterprises within the state of Kansas. Mr. Moore's personal holdings comprise fifteen quarter-sections, located principally in Moore township, and are chiefly choice farm lands. Twenty quarter-sections are leased from the William Scully estate and are wholly grazing lands. Of the 1,600 acres under cultivation 300 are in alfalfa. Hogs, mules and colts are bred in large numbers and calves are matured and fattened for market. From 600 to 800 head are wintered each year. Steer calves, only, are matured and these are purchased at weaning time, particular attention being paid to class when buying. There are six tenant houses, besides the home residence on the ranch. Thirty miles of fencing, shelter sheds, with corrugated iron roofs, affording room for 1,000 cattle, and feeding racks accommodating 1,500 head are included in the improvements. Mr. Moore is the owner of a town house in the city of Marion, which is seldom occupied, the family preferring life on the ranch. The growth and development of this enterprise has been marked by broad and progressive management and careful attention to details. The property as a whole offers one of the best examples of highly systemized and successful farming and stock raising to be found in the West.
Since early manhood Mr. Moore has been a close student of questions affecting the public welfare, and during his residence in Kansas has been an active and influential factor in affairs political. His only public service in a political capacity was during the years 1887-1892. He was elected, on the Republican ticket, treasurer of Marion county, in 1887, and reëlected in 1889. He first attracted state-wide attention as a public speaker during the campaign of 1892, when he took the stump in support of President Benjamin Harrison. His speeches in favor of a protective tariff were masterly and his associates in that campaign often remarked that "Moore was the only man who could talk tariff and compel applause and laughter from his audience." An apt illustration of his power as a speaker occurred in Douglas. He was sent there by the state committee to fill a set date of the Hon. J. R. Burton, then one of the most popular speakers in the state. A large audience was there to greet Burton and they were disappointed at his non-appearance. In a speech lasting three hours and interrupted by frequent applause Mr. Moore proved conclusively his mastery of the questions at issue and the audience extended congratulations on the success of the meeting. Previous to the meeting of the Republican state convention, in 1906, a platform was drafted and candidates named by the railroad attorneys. The platform and the names of the candidates were published in the "Topeka Daily Capital" the day before the opening of the convention. Although a number of close friends were on the ticket, which was ratified, Mr. Moore denounced, in open convention, this manner of platform drafting and slate making, and in so doing became the pioneer insurgent in Kansas. His stand in this matter caused the Democratic party to urge him to accept a nomination at their hands for Congress in the Fourth district. This he accepted, with that party's full knowledge of his Republican convictions. In accepting the nomination he was influenced by his desire to give public utterance of his convictions upon subjects pertaining to the general welfare. The entire expense of his campaign was borne by himself. In the election which followed he reduced the previous majority of his opponent, Hon. J. M. Miller, from 10,000 to 2,000. During the campaign he preached the same doctrines since advocated by Governor Stubbs and Senator Bristow, and the Fourth district has since given the largest insurgent majorities of any Congressional district in the state. His last work in behalf of his party was during the campaign of 1908, when he stumped the state for Bristow and Stubbs. In 1907 he had purchased the "Marion Headlight," with the end in view of turning Marion county from the stand-pat to the insurgent column. The publication was run without regard to expense and in the primary election of 1908 Stubbs, for governor, received a majority of 887, and Bristow, for senator, 773. Having accomplished his ends as an editor and publisher he sold the property the following year.
Mr. Moore was appointed by Governor Morrill a member of the State Live Stock Sanitary Commission and rendered valuable service in that capacity. He is a member and post commander of Pollock Post, No. 42, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Kansas; Center Lodge, No. 147, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Delta Chapter, No. 19, Royal Arch Masons, and of the Methodist church.
He has been married twice. On Sept. 1, 1875, he married Miss Harriet Z., daughter of Robert Bone of Menard county, Illinois. She died Oct. 5, 1875, as previously mentioned. On March 18, 1879, he married his present wife, who was Miss Matilda Katherine Lamb, a daughter of Jacob Lamb, a native of Ohio and a pioneer of Jones county, Iowa. She is a descendant of Jacob Lamb, who built in Philadelphia, in 1746, Lamb Tavern, which he conducted for many years. On this site was built, in 1845, the Adams House. Members of the Lamb family served in the war of the Revolution, and Mrs. Frank Austin of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a sister of Mrs. Moore, is one of the most prominent and influential members of Iowa Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. Mr. and Mrs. Moore have never enjoyed the companionship of children of their own, a loss which is keenly felt. Their marriage has been ideal in all other respects and they have seldom been separated for any length of time. Since their marriage Mr. Moore has never started on a trip, either for business, pleasure or public speaking, without inviting his wife to accompany him and she has almost invariably accepted. During his service as county treasurer she acted as cashier of the office, and she is considered a woman of fine business judgment. Mr. Moore is in all respects a high type of the conservative, unassuming American, diligent in his various duties and commercial affairs, and conscientious in all things. His success in life has been such as should fill in a great measure the cup of his ambition. His position is the result of his own well directed efforts. His methods have been clean, capable and honest, his standard of life high, and he possesses a well earned popularity, the esteem which comes from honorable living and slowly develops from unselfish works.Pages 1408-1412 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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