While busy making dollars in the commercial world a man who, at the same time, has not neglected to make friends is a fortunate individual. No knack exists in the making of real friends; friendships spring from the seeds of kindness and courteousness sown without a mercenary expectation of re-ward. Thomas A. Moore, of St. Louis, Missouri, has acquired both wealth and friendship in his business career, but if he were given his choice as to which he would keep he would choose friendship—the one thing money will not buy.
He belongs to the younger generation of lumbermen of the South who have forged ahead to positions of trust and responsibility in the business world by their own fighting and winning abilities alone. He began his lumber career as a wholesaler—not the wholesaler with a luxurious office and strong credit, but rather amid humble surroundings and with capital limited to the comparatively small amount he and his partner had been able to save as employees. In this unostentatious manner he began following a trade of which he had no practical knowledge, this essential training being part of the assets of his partner. But Mr. Moore seized every opportunity to acquaint himself with the practical side of the business and within a few years he had acquired a substantial knowledge of the manufacture and distribution of lumber.
Thomas Anthony Moore comes of a distinguished line of ancestors. In the latter part of the Eighteenth Century his great-grandfather, Eli Moore, left his home in the north of Ireland and came to America, settling at Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where he married Deborah Updegraff. His wife was of the old Knickerbocker stock that settled in New York, and she was related to the Van Rensselaers. T. A. Moore, Senior, the father of T. A. Moore the present day lumberman, was born in Harrison County, Ohio, in 1838. On his mother's side, Mr. Moore, Junior, traces his lineage to Sir Archibald Mossman, of Berwick, England, who married Margaret Young, of that place. The Mossmans had one child, a daughter, Lady Eleanor Mossman, who married Anthony Ballard after the family had migrated to America and settled in Virginia. Their daughter, Louise Ballard, the grandmother of Thomas Anthony Moore, Junior, married Ezekiel Pilcher, at Springfield, Illinois. Clarissa V. Pilcher, a daughter, married Thomas A. Moore, Senior, October 7, 1862, and to this couple was born in St. Louis, Missouri, a son, Thomas Anthony Moore, October 15, 1867.
What education Mr. Moore recalls was obtained in the public schools of St. Louis. His school days were not many, for a combination of adverse circumstances compelled him to begin the serious work of life when he was thirteen years old. In 1880 he began his business career as a cash boy in the store of the Barr's Dry Goods Company, at wages of $2 a week. A year had not elapsed before he secured a position with Wood-ward, Tiernan & Hale, now the Woodward & Tiernan Printing Company. He began as a "printer's devil," and he was scarce more than that when two years later he sought another position with more pay. Work was not readily obtainable and the lad walked the streets for a week before he found a position as office boy with Fullerton & Post, a firm of lawyers, where he was paid $2.75 a week for his services. A few months later he became collector and office boy for A. Judlin & Co., real estate agents, for which he received $5 a week.
Young Moore constantly was looking for an opening where he was sure merit would be rewarded. In the spring of 1885 he became a messenger for the Wiggins Ferry Company, and in the nine years he remained with that concern he was promoted successively to the positions of collector, assistant cashier, secretary to the general manager, chief clerk and assistant general freight agent of the company. When a change in the management of the company was made in 1893 Mr. Moore resigned to become connected with the St. Louis South-western Railway, now a part of the Cotton Belt Route. In the railroad work he handled freight claims, overcharges on rates and loss and damage claims. He was with the company but a few months when a retrenchment order reduced the force and Mr. Moore found himself without a position. But a man of his energy and capability was not long without a connection, and, in the fall of 1893, he became bookkeeper and accountant for Swift & Co., at St. Louis, but later was transferred to Chicago.
Subsequently, Mr. Moore returned to St. Louis as city agent for the Aetna Life Insurance Company and remained in that line until the spring of 1899. At that time he came into business contact with George T. Mickle, now a prosperous wholesale lumberman of Chicago, whom he had known socially as well. Mr. Mickle was then traveling for J. C. McLachlin, manager of the Big Four Lumber Company. The two men determined to engage in the lumber business for themselves, and, with a small amount of capital, they rented a little back office in the Fullerton Building and began business as the Mickle-Moore Lumber Company. Mr. Moore did the book-keeping and typewriting and Mr. Mickle attended to the buying and selling. The combination proved an effective one and the business prospered from the outset.
Buying his partner's interest in the Mickle-Moore Lumber Company in the spring of 1901, Mr. Moore changed the style of the business to the Moore Lumber & Mill Company. In the meantime Mr. Mickle went into business with B. H. Pollock and M. L. Fleishel, organizing the Colonial Lumber & Timber Company. The interests of Mr. Pollock and Mr. Mickle in this concern were bought by Mr. Moore in 1902, and he became vice president of the company, retaining the office until December, 1904. At the end of that period Mr. Moore took a well earned rest, spending most of his time in outdoor games at the Glen Echo Country Club, at Normandy, Missouri.
The Moore Company, which comprises Mr. Moore's sole lumber interests today, was organized in October, 1905, for the purpose of handling yellow pine, hardwoods, Pacific Coast lumber and shingles at wholesale. The offices of the company are located in the Fullerton Building, St. Louis, the scene of his initial appearance in the lumber field. With his characteristic energy and showing of ability Mr. Moore made excellent mill connections in each line and proceeded to build up a business that has long passed the experimental stage and which attests his experience and popularity.
Mr. Moore is a member of the Glen Echo Country Club and the Mercantile Club, of St. Louis. He is secretary of the Yellow Piners, a purely social organization which he assisted in organizing and which has a wide reputation among lumber-men. In September, 1903, Mr. Moore was appointed vicegerent snark of the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo for the southern district of Missouri, and was nicknamed the "World's Fair Snark." He earned the title by his activity in behalf of the order during the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, at St. Louis, where he probably met more Hoo-Hoo than any other person.
Mr. Moore has all the vigor and ambition of a young man. He is an optimist in all matters and decidedly genial in his manner, as becomes a man of his physique. He has a smile and a hearty handshake for all with whom he comes in contact, giving a lasting impression of the wholesouled, earnest man whom it is a delight to know.
Mr. Moore married Miss Rebecca Homer Tebbetts, at St. Louis, April 27, 1895, and they find much enjoyment in the social life of the city in which they make their home.