James D. Moore

Taken from: "Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, edited by Newton Bateman, LL.D., and Paul Selby, A.M.; and History of Schuyler County", edited by Howard F. Dyson, 1908; pages 889-890, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Company, Astoria, Illinois, 1970, is sold by the Schulyer County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Moore, James - The extremes of poverty and affluence have met in the career of James Moore, the pendulum of whose life has swung between a rude log cabin, sixteen feet square, sheltering resolute pioneer parents and their twelve children and a beautiful home in Rushville, including 450 acres of as fine land as is to be found in Schuyler County.  Many useful lessons fall from the life of this earnest, high-minded retired farmer, and among these the value of industry, definite purpose and belief in one’s own good destiny are by one means the least important.
  Mr. Moore has far exceeded the biblical allotment of life, being more than four-score years old.  He was born in Lincoln County, Ky., August 30, 1828, his parents, Thomas and Mary (Elmore) Moore, being natives of the same state, in which one of his ancestors, from North Carolina, settled previous to the Revolutionary War. At the age of thirty-five, the elder Moore was appointed a drillmaster of the militia for the region of Kentucky in which he lived, and served in that capacity for eight years.  The family removed from Kentucky to Schuyler County during the fall of 1836, and located in what now is Buena Vista Township, but which at that time had not been visited by a surveyor, or platted in even irregular fashion.  The first surveyor was a Mr. Edmonton, who also did the assessing for the whole county.   Mr. Moore was about eight years of age when brought to Schuyler County, and his early experiences were along hard and self-sacrificing lines.  The constantly increasing number of children in the Moore household proved a drain upon the comparatively meager resources of a crude farm, with its cruder implements, but in spite of never ceasing tasks during the summer, and but little leisure in the winter, he gained a fair common school education, and developed great self-reliance and determination.
  The monotonous round of farm life remained Unabated for Mr. Moore until the neighborhood in which he lived became infected with the gold fever in the early 'fifties.  With characteristic readiness to recognize and utilize the opportunities of life, he set to work to make his dream of wealth come true, seeking for some way to reach the opulent land, basking under the perpetual California sun.  The winter of 1852-32 found him busy with consultations and preparations for the long jaunt across the plains, and in March he started out with his cousin and a friend, their equipment consisting of two yoke of sturdy oxen, a yoke of cows, a wagon with a cover, and the necessary provisions for six months on the road.  The long train left the Missouri River to encounter a thinly settled region, and upon the present site of Omaha was a Indian trading post, surrounded by the huts of a few courageous settlers.  The travelers made settlement in the northern part of California, camping beside Snake Lake, which Mr. Moore thought appropriately named, as thousands of reptiles infested both lake and the immediate country.  Mr. Moore found work at Bidwell's Bar for a time, whence he went to Hangtown, and later to Placerville, where he remained until 1855.  He then returned home by way of Panama and New York, reaching the latter place February 1, 1855.  His luck had been only that of the average miner, but he had stored his memory with a wealth of varied experience, and had gained much of self-assurance and independence from contact with the rough elements of the mining camps.
  Again in Schuyler County, Mr. Moore invested his earnings in a farm of 140 acres in Oakland Township, paying $800 down and going in debt for a similar amount.  Much timber and undergrowth abounded on the place, but when it was cleared and the land tilled, he sold it at great advance over the purchase price.  He then purchased  159 acres in Buena Vista Township, built on it  a fine residence, barns and outbuildings, and in time added to it until he was the owner of his preent {present} farm of 450 acres.  His land is fertile and splendidly improved, and has been the scene of important scientific operations in accordance with the best known methods.  Mr. Moore has also possessed keen business sagacity, a trait which had belonged to many members of his family, and upon which all have prided themselves.  He is broad-minded  and generous enough to attribute much of his success to help and sympathy of a capable wife, whom he married October 5, 1859, and who was formerly Margaret I. Ellis, daughter of James Ellis, one of the honored pioneer farmers of Schuyler County.  Six children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Moore, the first of whom died at the age of seventeen months, and the second at the age of five months.  Lois, next in order of birth, is living with her parents; Bertha is the deceased wife of Joseph Clow, an attorney of Chicago; and her only child, Margaret, is making her home with her Grandfather Moore; Mary is the wife of Robert R. Jones, for some years Washington correspondent of the Chicago Inter-Ocean, and later managing editor of that paper, and is the mother of three children, Robert M., James M. and Ellis R.; and Harriet M. is the wife of George Thomas, a belt manufacturer of Evanston.  
  In 1876 Mr. Moore left his farm and located in Rushville in order to educate his children, and in 1893 he went to Evanston in order that his daughters might attend the Northwest University.  In the education and training of his children he has maintained the same high standards and ideals which made his work as a farmer worthy and successful, and, in their moral and religious development, he has shown great consideration and forethought.  All of the family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Of the twelve children born to Thomas and Mary (Elmore) Moore, seven are now living, and all are prosperous and honored members of the communities in which they live.  No greater contrasts could picture human memory than those cherished by Mr. Moore and his brothers and sisters.  The small farm of the establisher of the name in this part of the State has been lost in the properties of the Moore Brothers, which, in the aggregate, would cover more than two square miles.  Gas and electricity are at the disposal of these people who clasp hands with the crude pioneer days, but all can recall how the cabin was lighted by a tallow dip, and how the mother often would be driven to the expediency of putting her little brood to bed by the light of a burning rag in an iron spoon filled with lard.  Throughout all of these changes Mr. Moore has kept his nature serene and his heart young, and today he is conscious of few of the infirmities usually associated with men of his years.
1861 Militia Roll  Old Settlers Bio

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