"Jesse Burris Moore was a farmer from young manhood until 1896, and from that time until 1901, the owner of a bakery. In September of 1901, he entered into the grocery business, in which he continued until the time of his death. He was interested, although not particularly active, in Republican politics. His business organizations included the Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Merchants Association, the Religious Luncheon Club, and the Old Current Topic Club. He was much interested in, and the supporter of, all school sports. His religious affiliation was with the First Baptist Church. His hobbies were school, his home, and his children."
- From "Illustriana Kansas" (1933, Out-of-Print)

J.B. Moore circa 1920

In 1901, Jesse Burris "J.B." Moore (1870-1931) opened J.B. Moore & Sons Grocery at 1002 S. Main in Fort Scott which would later be expanded to include 1004 S. Main. Owing in part to his years spent on the farm in the Devon area, J.B. had a common touch with people and his customers, many of whom were Fort Scott High School and Junior College students from across the street. One person described J.B. as a "handsome, fine-looking man, was noted for his pleasant smiling ways." J.B. enjoyed participating in the everyday discourse between his customers that took place inside his store or on the benches out in-front where students and people from the neighborhood would often congregate. J.B. was thought of as generous, kind, and considerate and one person speculated that he gave customers credit and "probably lost a lot." J.B. was also known for his sense of humor and an occasional practical joke.

Advertisement 1909 FSHS Crimson Yearbook

J.B. endured professional hurdles and triumphed in the face of adversity. In 1912, faced with the imminent loss of the lease on the 1002 store property (and the family livelihood) in a dispute with the building owner, J.B. quickly had a new store built on the 1004 property next door that he owned. J.B. and family moved merchandise and fixtures over one weekend and didn't lose a single hour of business operation in the process of moving to the new store. Personifying the old adage "all good things to those who wait", J.B. was able to purchase the 1002 property in 1927 and by knocking out the wall between, combined the two buildings into one store.

J.B. Moore & Sons Grocery at 1004 & 1002 S. Main.

J.B. was also a man for all seasons. Though J.B. himself had minimal formal education, J.B. had been instilled by his mother Margaret the value of learning and education and he passed these values on to his children and, in turn, his grandchildren. J.B. was, in part, schooled by his mother and self-taught and he was said to recite poetry, quote Shakespeare, and listen to opera and classical music. J.B., the raconteur, would enthrall his children and grandchildren (four of whom he resided with) with his stories. Due in part to J.B.’s influence, a daughter and all eight of his adult Moore and Warren grandchildren would eventually attend the Junior College across the street.

J.B. enjoyed being around the young people from the high school and junior college, he very popular with them, and as such there was said to be an outpouring of emotion when his imminent demise was announced at a school assembly Friday May 22, 1931. Popular not only among students, the procession of cars to J.B.'s burial at Centerville Cemetery outside of Devon was over a mile long. J.B. Moore & Sons Grocery would continue to operate after J.B.’s death and for nearly 50 years in all until it was sold in 1948 to the Maguire's. J.B.'s obituary mentions that he "maintained one of the most up-to-date and prosperous groceries in the city" in a time when there were over 20 grocery markets in Fort Scott. Also that "he was endowed with self reliance, and a spirit of honesty and initiative." J.B. took a great deal of pride in being able to provide a valuable service to his customers and in being able to earn their loyalty and repeat patronage. Along with the presence of the railroad, Fort Scott was originally built on the independent pioneering spirit of enterprising small business owners like J.B. Moore.


J.B.'s grandson & namesake J.B. Moore
with Patricia about 1935.

J.B. with granddaughter Mary Jean Moore about 1926.

J.B. in front of old Fort Scott High School.


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