William Moore

In January 1854, as the Kansas-Nebraska Bill was being considered, the Reverend William Moore wrote to the St. Joseph Gazette wanting to know more about the territory, its climate and forests, the status of the Indian treaties and plans for railroads. Since he already planned to move in the coming spring, he sent money for only six months subscription. [Brackman, Kansas Troubles, Jan.11-17, 1854] The Moore family moved from Greenfield, Indiana to Franklin County, Kansas in August 1854, among the first arrivers. Moore and his five adult sons settled about a mile east of the present location of Norwood, on the west branch of Ottawa creek. [Cutler, History, Franklin County, Part 2]

"Ten Nights in a Bar-Room," by Timothy Shay Arthur

Published in Boston in 1854, this temperance tract was second only to Uncle Tom's Cabin in popularity, selling over a million copies. The Reverend Moore was a strong temperance man.
[The Library Company of Philadelphia]

Moore was at the fourth district polling place in March 1855 where one of his sons served as election judge. He told the Howard Committee the majority of the voters were drunken Missouri men, some of them known to him. As he arrived at the polls, he said:

"...we got to the top of a rise, we saw quite a number of carriages and buggies, and perhaps a rise of a hundred men, who, with few exceptions, were entire strangers. I do not think there were more than a dozen men there who belonged to the district. We went up to the place where they were voting. The principal part at that time, eight or nine o'clock, had voted, had got off in little groups around, and appeared to be playing cards and drinking liquor, and were quite noisy. They said their liquor had about run out, and they started off, two or three on horses, to hunt more liquor."[Howard Report, 219]

After serving as a delegate to the Big Springs meeting in August 1855, Moore joined the town company organizing Centropolis, with the ambition that the centrally located city would become both the Franklin County seat and the territorial capital. Begun in 1856, the town grew rapidly and quite a number of homes and businesses were built. The trader Jacob Long had earlier established a trade with the Indians, selling liquor and other goods. Moore and his friend Perry Fuller purchased Long's stock in 1856,"knocking in the heads of the [liquor] barrels and letting it flow out onto the prairie." Would-be purchasers rushed to collect as much of the fluid as they could in buckets. [Cutler, History, Franklin County, Part 10]

The Centropolis Methodist Church was also organized in 1856 and Moore served as its second minister. The Reverend Moore "belonged at that time to the church militant in a worldly sense as well as the religious sense." In July 1856 he went to Iowa to meet with a group of James H. Lane's free-state "immigrants" and guide them down the "Lane Trail" through Eastern Nebraska and into Kansas. There were said to be 400 to 500 men in the group, "prepared to fight if fighting [was] necessary." [Franklin County Historical Society,History,14] The Lane Trail was an alternate emigration route through free-state territory after the Missouri River was effectively closed to free-state travel in 1856. The trail was marked by rock cairns built on elevations. Known as "Lane's Chimneys," these markers were later followed as the Underground Railroad route out of Kansas. [Connelly, Lane Trail, 269]

Moore mellowed as he grew older. In the 1880's, according to a local historian, he was living in Ottawa, "a respected old gentleman."

Charles Clark