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Charles Moore


Posted By: Pat Hochstetler (email)
Date: 6/11/2016 at 12:07:15

The Winterset News
Wednesday, July 7, 1920
Page 1


A Resident of Winterset for More Than Half a Century


Was A True Lover of Horses And Few Knew More About the Characteristics of Them Than He.

By E. R. Zeller

Charley Moore, who died in Winterset last Monday, was in a class by himself. Although he had lived in Winterset for more than half a century, very little was known of him before he came to this city. He was born in Tennessee about 1830 of parents who were slaves on a southern plantation. While but a boy, he was sold to a man in Nashville who trained and traded race horses. It was there when but a youth that he acquired that fondness for the noble animal which was his well known characteristic in older years. He truly loved horses and there were few who knew more about the nature and characteristics of them than he.

There are few remaining in the city who knew Charley when he came to Winterset. Those who remain tell different stories about him. Some say Judge Mott brought him here when he returned from the war, but they have him confused with Tobe Edwards who was Mott’s factotum and who removed to Osceola many years ago. The first reliable information we can obtain is that he was first known as a keeper of Col. Lothrops when he was in the business of transporting passengers from De Soto to Winterset before the Winterset railroad was built.

There is also a difference of opinion about how Charley came here. On account is that he was spirited from the south through the underground railroad and that some man near De Soto hid him away for some time and brought him to Winterset. Another story is to the effect that at the close of the war a soldier from Grinnell brought him from the south; that from Grinnell he went to Amity, a small town near the Rock Island railroad in Scott county and from there to Winterset. These two stories are both corroborated by different persons who claim to believe that the latter account as the most reliable to obtain from his relatives is that he went from Grinnell to Amity where he was married to his first wife who is a sister of Mr. Jeffries’ wife who lives in Des Moines and who was present at the funeral. Mr. Jeffries is a brother of Charley’s second wife who still lives here.

After locating in Winterset, Charley was employed by Col. Lothrop to care for his horses. Afterward he and George Stanfield operated a livery stable and a mail route. Later he was employed in managing a feed stable, training horses and exchanging or trading them. He was the most competent trainer of horses that ever lived in the city.

Dr. Leonard who is well known by the older citizens had quite a number of horses on his farm near Winterset and at the time of his death it became the duty of his neighbor, Judge Lewis, to dispose of them. Few of them had been harnessed and most of them were colts and some stallions. The Judge tells us he hired Charley to come out and tame the wild and undisciplined herd. He says that in a few hours they were reconciled with their new keeper. It was not long until some of them would follow him about. When he intended to harness any of them for the first time he would lead them out into a lot and play with them for a time and then bring out the harness and throw it down on the ground. Then by easy approaches would lead the horses to where it was lying; he would pick up the harness and throw it down again in this way familiarize the animal with the harness until he could gently place it on the beast’s back without frightening it.

Charley did a thriving business training horses during the period when Winterset went crazy about horses and when every citizen had a trotter or a pacer which he thought could trot or pace faster than any other horse owned by any other man. It was about that time Charley came in possession of the young stallion which he named Moline and which was his inseparable companion and friend for a quarter of a century. Most any week day or Sunday, any season, one of the most familiar sights was to see Charley riding in a buggy drawn by Moline. When Charley was prosperous Moline shared the prosperity. He was always sleek and fat. Age and adversity struck Charley and Moline about the same time. About two years ago we saw Moline for the last time, Charley had him hitched alongside an old and decrepit mule and was conveying a wagon load of scrap iron to the junk dealer. Whether it was the disgrace of being harnessed up alongside that mule or lack of forage or old age we know not, but soon afterward Moline refused to eat, laid down and refused to arise and his days were numbered.

Soon after the Moores came to Winterset, their first and only child was born, a boy, and named him Charles Marion, thereafter for many years known to the people as Maney. He grew to manhood here, graduated at the city high school and for a time studied law with A. R. Dabney. Not finding law congenial he turned his attentions to music and became quite proficient. He then went east and entered the theatrical profession which, we understand he still follows. Several years ago when the Chautauqua was held in a tent located near the high school grounds, Maney and his wife were members of a concert troupe which gave an afternoon performance under the auspices of the Redpath Chautauqua bureau. Many years ago Charley’s aged mother came to spend her last days with him. She too had been a slave and although he had been sold by their master and had been taken elsewhere, the son and mother having been separated when he was a young boy, he had not lost his affection for her, neither did he try to evade his responsibility to care for the one who bore him. He cared for her until her death.

His first wife died about forty years ago. In January, 1909 he was again married, this time to Mrs. Kay whose family name was Jeffries and of slave parentage. She was a well trained and skillful cook and during her residence here has been a very popular helper in aiding to prepare dinners for the guests assembled at the best homes in the city. I have heard many speak in the highest terms of her services and indulge the hope that she would remain in Winterset. This is, however, very improbable as she has been worn out in caring for her late husband during his long illness and she probably will make her home with his brothers in Des Moines.

Some may think that such an extended biography as the foregoing is in bad taste, considering his parentage, the humble life he led, not without faults, and the unimportant events herein notated. I said at the beginning that Charley was in a class by himself and this alone would warrant a more extended obituary than otherwise. Moreover, considering that he was of a despised race, that he was a slave and the many other handicaps he met with in the struggle of life, we think Charley did exceptionally well, and for a precedent we refer you to the best stanza of the longest elegy ever written:

Let not ambition mock his useful toil.
His homely joys, and destiny obscure
Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.

Mr. Moore had been failing in health for some time and last winter suffered a stroke of paralysis from which he never fully recovered. He died peacefully in his home in the southwest part of town on Monday, June 28 and the funeral service, in charge of Rev. Jackson Giddens, occurred on Tuesday from Ramsey’s funeral parlors.

No one can say with a certainty how old Charley was; he did not know exactly himself. Rufus Clark says he was about his age, which is less than eighty years. Mrs. Moore says that as near as she could learn from statements made by him he was about ninety-one years old.


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