Son of Founder Locks Door As Moore's Grocery Closes
by Frank Reeds
Fort Scott Tribune
When Harold (Pat) Moore closes and locks the door of the J.B. Moore grocery, 1004 South Main, this evening he will be shutting the gate on a lifetime devoted to the Main street store and bringing an end to a tradition which has kept the name of the store's founder above its doors for nearly 50 years.
The key will go to the store's new owners, Bruce Maguire, veteran Fort Scott merchant and his son, Bernard. The store will be closed during extensive remodeling and redecorating, which may take 30 days.
It will be the first time since the grocery was opened by its founder, Jesse B. Moore, in September of 1901, that the doors have closed except for holidays and at the death of its founder and again at the death of a son, George, a partner in the firm. Even when the stock was moved to a new building next to the original site (both now incorporated into the big floor space of the grocery and market) not a single business day was lost.
"Pat" Moore, a son of the founder, grinned as he prepared to begin the last day of business for J.B. Moore and Sons this morning.
"Old Deb" His Favorite
"How long have I been in this store?" he asked. "Gosh, that's hard to say. I remember I swiped my first candy from dad's candycase right here when I was three years old. I think I must have waited on my first customer when I was just a kid. I remember I was proud as a peacock about that first sale."
Pat has seen a good many changes inside and outside of the store in his years here. Today he made his last delivery in the store's truck. He made his first delivery a good many years ago - behind a horse named "Deb."
"'Old Deb' was my favorite," Pat explains. "But 'Old Gray' was George's favorite."
George, brother of Pat, died in June, 1934. For years, almost since boyhood, the two brothers were known throughout Southeast Kansas as top-flight ballplayers and almost every ball park in this section has heard the ump's starting call: "Batteries for today's game: George Moore, pitch; Pat Moore, catch."
The store triumphed over a serious blow in 1912 when it was forced to vacate the original building at the corner of Main and Tenth streets. But J.B. Moore was not easily defeated. He rushed through a new brick one-story building just south of the original location and, with the encouragement of his wife, always active in the firm's affairs, moved to the new site without losing a single business hour.
In 1927 the store's founder had the satisfaction of seeing the original building once more a part of the store. With the purchase of the original site, the wall between the two buildings was knocked away and the double floor space has been in use ever since. It was at that time that Pat and George became members of the firm.
Founder's Wife Is There
Another brother, Burt Moore, now with the post office here, was also in the store until he entered the army during World War I. When he returned from service in France he resigned from the firm.
The death of Jesse B. Moore in May, 1931, saddened a good many high school and junior college students and graduates to whom he had always been a traditional "across-the-street" friend.
Two daughters of the founder, Mrs. Marian Warren and Miss Mildred Moore, have been active in the firm, and with Mrs. Harold Moore were on duty during the store's closing day today. Mrs. J.B. Moore, wife of the founder and active in the firm throught its long history, came from her home next door to visit the J.B. Moore and Sons store for the last time.
As Pat temporarily ends his retailer career tonight he will have a great deal to remember, but chiefly he will be looking ahead - to a well-earned vacation.
"A long vacation," he said today with a grin. "Well - a month anyway. I think I'll do some fishing. And watch a few ball games."