About a month ago I asked questions about the role my great grandfather, Jesse Moore, played in the bourbon business in Kentucky. The response was generally that no one knew. Since then I have done more research in Jesse's will, the Louisville city directories for 1861 and 1890 and a volume "Kentucky Biographies," a genealogical history.
I find that Jesse's older brother, George J. Moore, arrived in Louisville from either Ashford, Connecticut, where he was born, or from Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1833. Then 23, he became a private banker. Meanwhile, Jesse was in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1830 he married Hanna Cloff who bore one daughter and died in 1843. Jesse re-married to Lucy Cloff who died, childless, in 1846. MY ASSUMPTION is that George invited Jesse to Kentucky after the death of wife # 2.
George J. Moore married Catherine Fonda, of Troy, NY and went into the grocery business in Louisville as Moore, Fonda & Co. George J and Catherine had a son, George H. Moore who was schooled in Shelbyville and then worked in his father's wholesale grocery business until 1858 when he went to work in Jackson, Mississippi as a bookkeeper in another large wholesale house. When the Civil War broke out George H. volunteered for the Confederate army, was captured at Altoona, Georgia, and was a POW until 1865 when he returned to Kentucky.
Meanwhile, Jesse spent a missing 12 years, probably in Louisville. He returned to Worcester and married Frances Payne Melcher (of Brunswick, Maine) in 1858 and immediately took his bride to Louisville, as a son, Edward H. Moore was born there in 1859 and a second son, George, in June, 1862. Jesse shows up in the 1861 Louisville directory, p. 178, as a wholesale liquor dealer, "Jesse Moore, Liquors, 212 Second St. bet. Gray and Broadway".
Apparently Kentuckians did not take well to a Yankee whiskey dealer during The War, as Jesse and Frances were next found back in Worcester with the birth of a third son, Frank, in March, 1865, a daughter, Jessie Louise, in 1867 and a second daughter, my grandmother, Mabel, in 1872.
George Henry Moore seems to have become a partner in Jesse's business in 1868 as "Jesse Moore & Co., whiskies, 223 and 225 W. Main"in the 1890 Louisville directory. George H. Moore was involved in the distilleries of Moore & Sellinger and as a partner with Jesse in Moore, Hunt & Co., wholesalers in San Francisco and elsewhere. George H. is also described as a banker and philanthropist. In 1892 with Jesse 70 years old George H. Moore bought out his uncle's interests and Jesse retired.
In Jesse's obituary in Worcester in July 1898 he is described as "one of the largest whiskey distillers" and "has amassed a large fortune." He had a net worth of $140,000 when he died, worth in 2003 probably $14 million and he and his two grown sons had fabulous houses in Worcester. None of his children ever had to work until they died in the 1940s. (I knew Edward, George, Frank, Jessie Louise and of course Mabel when I was a child.) Jesse carried on his very successful Louisville business from Worcester, where he appears in city directories consistently from 1865 until his death, with never a hint of his occupation. In the 1870 and 1880 censuses, however, he is shown as a "liquor dealer."
I would like to know more about the Moore businesses in Kentucky and how a man living in Worcester, Massachusetts, becomes and stays quite wealthy while living 800 miles from his business?
(His son George Dunning Moore, married George H. Moore's daughter, Jessie Moore, his first cousin and had one mildly retarded son, Francis D. Moore who died in the Maine north woods in 1975. The wife remembered her brother, Percival Moore, of Louisville, in her will.)
Obviously I have found a great deal, but I would like to know more. Any information about Jesse's or his brother's parents (father, John Moore, born in Rhode Island) would be helpful. - Gordon Eliot White, Deltaville, Virginia