GEORGE E. MOORE. Prominent among the pioneer families of Ness County is that which bears the name of Moore, and the members of which have resided in Franklin Township since their arrival here in 1878. This family is now represented on the old homestead by the widow and son of the late John F. Moore, Mrs. Emily and George E. Moore, than whom few residents of this locality are better or more favorably known.
Mrs. Emily Moore is a real pioneer of Ness County and is occupying the place her husband homesteaded in 1878. She is one of the earliest settlers of the county yet living in it and is a landmark when it comes to seeking real guide posts of civilization in the county. She came with her husband, John F. Moore, to Kansas in the above year direct from Wisconsin by way of wagon and pony team all the way, the journey being uneventful and the party reaching Ness County after six weeks, in June. When they struck out for the West they had no settled destination in view, but this part of the country seemed to be suited to their needs, and Mr. Moore entered the southeast quarter of section 21. township 19, range 24, on the south fork of the Walnut. The family property consisted of only the team and wagon and its cash was about exhausted when the freight had been paid on the household goods, shipped to Hays City.
The start of Mr. and Mrs. Moore was made in a small stone house, 16 by 20 feet, on the farm, which was erected for them by a friend, Hiram Boyington. When this was completed and a shelter made for the team, Mr. Moore went to Hays City to work at wheat-sowing for others. He had to seek work every year for several years, harvesting and threshing, going down into McPherson County, where he helped the farmers with their work during the rush period of the season. On his own farm he broke out land and first raised cane and millet, and when the youngest son was large enough to herd cattle the family bought a cow and started into cattle growing.
Because of the excessive and continued drouth the community was compelled to accept aid from the charitable and more fortunate settlers to the east of this locality, and the Moore family shared in it with the other residents. The assistance sent included some meat and the quantity apportioned to each family was so small that Mrs. Moore did not fry her portion, as most housewives did, but used it to make bean soup, in order that the meat might go as far as it could. When the Moores settled here Ross Calhoun had just started his store at Ness City, and it was the only house on the townsite. The country was covered with cattle ranches along the creeks, and settlers were scarce all over the county, although the antelope, jack rabbits and small rabbits were to be found in great numbers and were preyed upon by the settlers, wild meat at that time being quite an item in the daily bill-of-fare. Mr. Moore proved up on only his homestead, and this was all the land which he himself acquired. There was a school in this locality from an early time and Jay Peckham, a son of the pioneer N. A. Peckham, was the first teacher. The school was taught in the dugout of Mr. Peckham, who is referred to as entering the first claim in Ness County. It was some time before religious service was held in this community, and Rev. Billy Hartgrove was the pioneer preacher here and settler of the county. He was a crowd-drawer as a preacher, and while he was not greatly educated was a Godly man and his popularity was widespread. John F. Moore never served in public office except as a member of the school board, and, not being well educated himself, shunned the responsibility of office.
John F. Moore was reared in New York State, where he was born near Oswego August 14, 1835, the only child of John Moore. Mr. Moore went to Milton, Rock County, Wisconsin, before the outbreak of the Civil war and entered the Union army from Whitewater, being a member of the Thirteenth Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Company A, Captain Cobb. He became a soldier at the beginning of the war for a short term of service, at the completion of which he veteranized, and served more than four years, escaping wounds or capture, although his war experience was noticeable in his physique in after years. He was a very erect man in stature, full chested, and although not a large man was well muscled and strongly built. He never joined a church, although he believed in church work, and the Grand Army of the Republic was the only organization to which he belonged. His death occurred January 19, 1915.
John F. Moore was married January 1, 1867, at Milton, Wisconsin, to Miss Emily Perry, a daughter of William Perry, Reverend Payne performing the ceremony. Mrs. Moore was born near Milton, Wisconsin, in February, 1847, and her parents were natives of Oswego, New York, her mother having been Sarah Ann Wandle, a daughter of Thomas Wandle, who spent his last years in Wisconsin. The children of William Perry were as follows: Melissa, who married Groves Sturdevant and spent her life in Wisconsin; Alonzo, of that state; Emily, now Mrs. Moore; Rachel J., who married J. Williams, of Wisconsin; Marjorie, who married Seth Reynolds, and lives near Kansas City; and William G., of Wisconsin. To Mr. and Mrs. Moore there have been born the following children: Lizzie Henrietta, who is the wife of Oscar Fowler, of Olathe, Kansas, and has seven children, Alden, Effie and Essie, twins, Annie, Lettie, Edwin and Ina; George Edwin, who still lives on the old homestead; Frank Henry, who passed away unmarried; and Cora, who is the wife of Schuyler Pearce, of Ness City, and has one daughter, Melba.
George Edwin Moore was born at Milton, Rock County, Wisconsin, January 27, 1868, and came into Ness County, Kansas, with his parents when ten years of age. He has spent his life since then in the county, and his schooldays here began when he became a student of the pioneer school taught by Jay Peckham in the little Peckham dugout then used for that purpose. Mr. Moore secured little schooling, as his time was largely employed as a wage-earner on farm and ranch, at a wage of from $1 a week, as a boy, to as much as $1 a day. It was a good many years before he was able financially to conduct a business of his own, when he and his brother, as partners, started for themselves with a cow and a horse. They engaged in limited farming, being partners for a time and in addition spending their spare time in working out. They bought their first quarter section of land a number of years after their starting, and when the brother died their success was shown by their section and one-half of land, a number of horses and a good bunch of cattle. With his portion of his brother's estate George E. Moore continued to farm and raise stock and his prosperity has enabled him to own a section of land. As he has lived with his mother he has given little attention to the improvement of his own land, and has now seventy-five acres under cultivation, but is farming 250 for himself and his mother. While he raises some grain, he is more largely a stock man.
Mr. Moore grew up in the atmosphere of a democratic home, but does not allow himself to be bound by party ties and has never voted a straight democratic ticket from the time he cast his first presidential vote for Grover Cleveland in 1892. He has never done any public service, and belongs to no fraternal order. He belongs to no church, yet he has a strong sympathy for the usefulness of churches. Mr. Moore has never married.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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