George Washington Moore’s house on South Madison was in the country when it was built in 1908. Note the barn in the distance behind his car. The bricks were gray with red mortar.


Old News

From the 3rd floor
of the Webb City Public Library

Grand home on South Madison Street was built for git-’er-done Mayor George Moore

George Washington Moore was born Sept. 29, 1871, in Dallas County, Mo., to Alexander and Louisa (Richey) Moore. Before 1880, Alexander Moore moved his family to Joplin, where he found work in the mines. George married Ida Watson on June 19, 1892, in Aurora, Lawrence County. Ida was the daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Wallace) Watson. She was born on Sept. 3, 1875, in Mount Vernon, Ill.

George attended school in Dallas County and Joplin until the age of 14 when he was forced to go to work to earn a living. By 1896, at the age of 25, George was working as an ore buyer for the W. J. Lanyon Zinc Company. George and Ida Moore moved to Webb City in 1898.

George was involved in politics and served on the Aurora and Webb City city councils. He was elected mayor of Webb City in 1904, won re-election in 1906, and served until 1908.

In 1907, George was living at 732 W. First St. and operated multiple businesses that included the Geo. W. Moore Insurance Company, the Webb City Smelting Company, the Victory Metals Mines and the American Metal Company Ltd. just to name a few. It was reported that George Moore was one of the truly “big operators” among the ore buyers and that he probably staked more mining men and helped them get established than any other ore buyer in the district.

Ida Watson Moore

George Moore

George Moore with his cronies on Webb Street. The scale in the window says Mining Belt Bank Webb City. He was known as mayor for paving the dirt streets with bricks.

Due to his success in the business world, George was able to purchase a fine new home that was constructed at 903 S. Madison St. by C. C. Howard. Other sources list the builder as W. W. Howard. The home was finished in November 1908 and was purchased for $10,000. It was constructed with gray brick, and a semicircle of massive white columns framed the front entrance.

The mansion occupied three lots and was landscaped using the plans of a St. Louis artist. The interior woodwork was built from quarter sawn oak that included polished oak flooring. Mr. Howard was an expert cabinet maker and crafted all of the interior finishes. The structure was one of the finest homes in Southwest Missouri at the time.

George and Ida were the parents of two children, Nanna Mae and Clyde Earl. Nanna Mae married Trevous A. Merrell and died in 1926 after childbirth at the young age of 31. Clyde Earl died in 1909 while on a trip with his mother to Manitou Springs, Colo. The 12-year old boy contracted typhoid fever during the trip and died several days later.

During George’s terms as mayor, he was responsible for many improvements in Webb City. Mayor Moore is credited with “lifting Webb City out of the mud” because 21 blocks of streets were paved with vitrified brick. Mayor Moore’s interest in street improvements may have been due to the enthusiasm he had for the automobiles that were becoming quite popular during this era. Other improvements during his administration include the installation of street lights in the residential districts and arc lighting in the business district. One of the most important improvements he made was the establishment of the city sewer system.

In 1930, George and Ida sold their home on Madison Street to W. J. Cochrane. They moved to Joplin after purchasing the former residence of Charles Schifferdecker at 422 S. Sergeant Avenue.

George and Ida celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1941. Ida died on Aug. 26, 1946, at the age of 70 at her home on Sergeant Avenue. George died at the age of 82 on Aug. 4, 1954, in an automobile while he was en route to Colorado Springs for a vacation. His obituary stated that he was a charter member of the Webb City Elks, a 50-year member of the Webb City Masonic Lodge, a 50-year member of Joplin Scottish Rite and a member of Abou Ben Adem Shrine.

George and Ida Moore, along with their children, are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.

This early photo shows the carport on the right.

By the time this later photo was taken, dormers had been added on the north and south to make the third floor more usable. Sidewalks and stone wall had also been added. And streetcar tracks had been installed in Madison Street.

Sentinel bound volumes are now in the Genealogy Room

The WCAGS has accepted ownership of the complete collection of bound volumes of the Webb City Sentinel, from 1983 (after the fire) until the final issue on Dec. 30, 2020.

Those issues can also be viewed on microfilm, along with much older issues.

Webb City Area Genealogical Society

WCAGS members staff the Genealogy Room on the third floor of the Webb City Public Library. Current hours are noon to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Meetings are held at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month in the Genealogy Room.

Everything you want to know about Jasper County Missouri Schools is available at a site compiled by Webb City Area Genealogical Society member Kathy Sidenstricker.