Charles H. Moore, chairman of the board of directors of the Miller & Vidor Lumber Company, of Galveston, Tex., is stepping lightly through the springtime days of his 69th year and he is as forceful, as kindly in his association with people, as clear visioned in business as he was when he journeyed to California in 1867 or again about twenty years ago when he showed his virile spirit by subsidizing a silver cornet band to play "Dixie" during the entire trip of the steamer Republic, then on a lumber excursion to the Ead's jetties on the lower Mississippi river.
Col. Moore is indivisibly related to the founding of the sawmill business in this country, and before making a specific statement we will quote from the "History of the Lumber Industry of America," by James Elliott Defebaugh, Volume 1, Chapter 30, page 473, concerning the establishment of saw mills in Maine:
"Lumber production began with the first settlement and it was established as an industry as labor became diversified and villages, towns, and cities arose whose needs could not be supplied from the timber within their boundaries or immediately adjacent. As a local industry, the saw mill could be, and was, located at any point convenient to the demand which it supplied, provided always that there was a stream furnishing power, for the saw mill of the old type antedated the practical use of steam. The first saw mills, aside from those cutting for purely local use, were established on the coast at the mouths of streams down which the logs could be floated, or on streams down which their product could be rafted to market, or on streams of such size and character that they could be reached by vessel. Thus at an early date there were mills as far inland as the site of Augusta, on the Kennebec river, in Maine, and as early as 1682 there were six saw mills in Kittery, at the mouth of the Piscataqua river, and twenty-four in the territory now known as Maine."
C. H. Moore's great-great-grandfather built and operated the first saw mill in the state of Maine, near the mouth of the Piscataqua river, in or near the town of Kittery, in York county, some time early in the seventeenth century. This was probably after the landing of the Mayflower, but whether or not the emigrant Moore came through the gateway of Massachusetts or directly to the state of Maine is not related in any contemporaneous history. This statement of mill building is based upon family tradition and collateral facts and is undoubtedly true in every respect.
Col. C. H. Moore's great-grandfather's name was John; his grandfather's name was John and his father's name Ira Moore. Ira Moore was born at Parsonsfield, Me. The first John Moore was born in 1749 and was a revolutionary soldier.
Col. C. H. Moore's mother was a member of the family of Doe; her given name was Martha A. Doe. She was born in Parsonsfield, Me., and was of English descent. C. H. Moore's grandfather on his mother's side was Bartlett Doe, who, with his sons, went to California in the very early days and engaged in the sash, door and blind business. The Doe family came over some time in the fifteenth century and settled in New Hampshire.
C. H. Moore was born in or near Freeport, Me., August 10, 1842, and each year of his life Colonel Moore sets aside his business pursuits — but not his epaulets as a citizen of Texas and resident of Galveston — and journeys to the Kittery country, where he has a summer home and where he revisits the scenes of his childhood.
When a boy Colonel Moore went to the local school at Freeport and to the North Parsonsfield seminary, a preparatory school, to which latter-named town the family had moved in the early years of the subject of this sketch. It was at the North Parsonsfield seminary that young Moore finished his education from books. He considers that his education in the university of the world has not yet been completed, which attitude really marks him as a Seer of his time.
In his young days Colonel Moore taught school after he had received his education. He "went to California in 1861 and worked with his relatives in the sash and door business, which business was located in the city of San Francisco under the firm name of B. & J. S. Doe. With these people Colonel Moore learned the sash and door business thoroughly from June, 1861, up to January, 1867.
In January, 1867, Colonel Moore was a young man grounded in the idea that the lumber business should be his life work in a commercial sense, and so, with this specific desire, he began to shop about for a place in which he felt he might properly grow into affluence. In his travels during the most of the year 1867 he went to Charleston, S. C, Savannah, Ga., and New Orleans, La., and finally brought up on Galveston Island, which he believed to be the commercial gateway of the Southwest and which he has seen grow—in its export trade—from a straggling coast town to the second city of the United States.
In 1867 he founded in Galveston, Tex., the firm of C. H. Moore & Co., located on Market street between Twenty-seventh and Twenty-eighth streets, and opened up a sash, door and blind jobbing business. In this business George I. Doe of Boston was a partner, and the sash, door and blind stock was shipped from Boston to Galveston by water.
In 1867 and prior to that time practically all the Bash, doors and blinds that were used in the West were shipped from Boston by water to the coast towns. This article of commerce was shipped around The Horn for use on the Pacific coast through the gateway of San Francisco.
About 1877, when the great trunk lines invaded the Lone Star Empire from the North, the jobbing business in sash and doors in Galveston necessarily waned and about that time, or probably a little earlier, Colonel Moore formed a partnership with W. F. Stewart and Henry Beissner and started a retail lumber yard at Mechanic and Twenty-eighth street in Galveston. W. F. Stewart & Co. were in business until 1881.
In January, 1881, Colonel Moore formed a partnership with A. J. Perkins, of A. J. Perkins & Co., of Galveston. Mr. Perkins was a member of the sometime Perkins & Miller Lumber Company, of Westlake, La.
In January, 1882, Lock, Moore & Co. of Westlake, La., was formed; in this company Colonel Moore secured a fourth interest, which has since been increased.
In conjunction with A. J. Perkins, who had always been a logging man, Colonel Moore inaugurated the utilization of the steam tram road in the lumber business of the Southwest. These two gentlemen built the first tram road in Calcasieu parish, Louisiana, in 1881. The business consisted of three miles of rail, a locomotive; and 8,000 acres of land in that parish. This business was incorporated under the style of the Edgewood Land & Logging Company, one-half of which business was ultimately sold to Lock, Moore & Co. Colonel Moore finally bought out Mr. Perkins in 1894.
During all these years of branching out into the yellow pine manufacturing business Colonel Moore had been very active in the retail lumber firm of Moore & Goodman at Galveston, Tex., which concern is still at the head of that branch of trade in the Island City. This firm was established by C. H. Moore and H. B. Goodman in 1876 and is yet watched over actively by H. B. Goodman and sympathetically by Colonel Moore. Each day when he is in Galveston Colonel Moore visits the plant, but he does not return to it automatically as did, one time, the hero of Jesse Lynch Williams' novelette "The Stolen Story," but rather for the reminiscent love of the business and just to keep in continuous touch with live matters and live men.
In 1907 Colonel Moore turned over his interest in the firm of Moore & Goodman to his two sons, Kilburn and Bartlett D.
Colonel Moore married in 1876 Miss Ida Kilburn, of Napa, Cal., who died in February, 1906. Four children were born to Colonel Moore and his wife, two of whom, Kilburn and Bartlett, are actively engaged in the lumber trade.
Colonel Moore has been interested in the Miller & Vidor Lumber Company from its inception and is a guiding and leading figure in its executive control. Besides his interest in the Miller & Vidor Lumber Company, Colonel Moore is a stockholder at this time in Lock, Moore & Co.; the Edgewood Land & Logging Company; W. A. Guyton & Co., handlers of fuel oil, has other oil interests of a profitable nature and is vice president of the Texas Bank & Trust Company of Galveston, as well as director in the First National Bank of Galveston.
Colonel Moore is an Elk, a Hoo-Hoo, a member of the Aziola Club and the Artillery Club of Galveston, a Son of the revolution and one of the most widely known and best beloved yellow pine operators in the Southwest.