Ira E. Moore
The life story of Mr. Moore, one of the largest individual planters in the State, is an epic of loving sacrifice and intense devotion to his children: and of pride in his business relations which have been conducted on the principle of the Golden Rule.
Mr. Moore was born near Hampton, Calhoun County, Arkansas, on March 23rd of the alarming war-lashed year of 1862. His valiant father, Elisha Moore, marched away under flying colors to defend his beloved South, prayerful for the safety of his young wife and unborn child. On his first brief furlough home his war-weary, anxious spirit was lifted by the sight of his three months-old son in the arms of his adoring wife.
With a heart full of happiness, and a vision of speedy victory in the Cause for which he fought, Elisha Moore returned to his regiment, was sent to Vicksburg and died in defense of the city in the bloody seige of 1863.
The brave mother of Ira E. Moore, was Pauline Searcy, daughter of Reuben and Isabella MacDonald Searcy, and a sister of the celebrated Dr. J.B. Searcy, premier Baptist minister, and one of the founders of Ouachita College. She was devoted to her war baby, lavishing all the love of her nature on the child so tragically orphaned.
The early, formative period of this ambitious son was filled with hard work, for he was her sole support for years. Perhaps the burden of this responsibility called for special guidance and is the basis for this homely axiom that loomed large on the horizon of his youth, and which became the keystone of his successful life, "All people should work at something, and save part of everything made." He practiced this preachment diligently from the time he was sixteen years old, when he hired out at $6 a month.
At the end of the year, Ira Moore had saved $30.50 with which he bought a pony "the very prettiest one I ever had" to use his own words. The purchase of the pony was not a boyish whim; he had more serious things in mind than the use of it for pleasure. He rented a small tract of land and planted cotton. Soon he owned the rented tract, raised more cotton, and kept adding to his acres--first in a small way, then larger and larger, until at present his holdings total 22,000 acres in Cleveland, Jefferson, Lincoln and Dallas counties, 8,500 of which are given over annually to the production of cotton.
Thus began the career of a planter and business man who in his active and useful life is revered by all who know him. Rich in intellect, radiant of soul, benevolent, honorable and modest, he is loved in his community and held in highest esteem throughout the State. The more than five hundred families that dwell upon his lands do not forget him in their joys which are shared with him, just as their woes are poured into his ears.
On November 11, 1883, Ira E. Moore married Martha Elizabeth May. To this union seven children were born, five of whom are living. To them he has given the noblest efforts of his life, having * can't read* with the care and education of these five girls and two boys. His love for children is ably expressed in the words of Masefield: "Lord, give to men who are old and rougher, The things that little children suffer, And let's keep bright and undefiled, The young years of the little child.
Mr. Moore, denied an education that he craved in his youth, is self-taught in the subjects that in most cases require expert tutoring. From his adoring mother he inherited a keen intellect, culture and refinement; his heroic father left him an indomitable will, and the God whom he worships gave him vision and an understanding heart.
Ira Moore's hobby through the years has been to help boys and girls to a thorough schooling. One hundred and forty-one boys and girls are indebted to him for their years at college; but as they, by his help, have gone out into larger and fuller fields, he is convinced that the expenditure has been an investment, yielding untold wealth to themselves and to their communities. In this alone Mr. Moore has done Arkansas a service that cannot be measured by money. Naturally his own children--Iris Moore Clark, El Dorado; Eva Moore Morton, Fordyce; Victor Moore and Leon Moore, Rison, this State, and Vivian Moore Mann, St. Petersburg, Florida, have been given every educational advantage afforded by the best schools and colleges.
At seventy-one, Mr. Moore is a dynamo of energy under complete control, going to his office every day for long hours of work, and driving his own car on trips to his various plantations. In addition to his personal affairs, this sprightly, interesting man who stands erect and strong under his three score and eleven years, has always been an outstanding influence for progress, as a member of his town council and school board, and business committee of his church. He is president of the Bank of Rison, a direct of the Arkansas Power and Light Company and a member of the Board of Directors of the Simmons National Bank of Pine Bluff.
Mr. Moore is an interesting coiner of shrewd axioms the essence of years of experience boiled down to simple words, which taken at full value bring prestige and success. "Think much of yourself." is his constant advice, because he knows that if you examine your heart and mind frequently, you'll be honest with yourself and tolerant of others. "Be thoughtful of boys, they'll be men some day." "If people are good to you, you know who's to blame always." "Keep your credit A 1," he is fond of saying, and this is one of the strongest precepts of his life; he believes it, lives it and has implicit faith in people who practice it. Mr. Moore's business associates are axiom makers too, and all their love, esteem and enthusiasm for him is summed up in one simple but powerful self-evident truth, "his word is as good as his bond."
Source: Among Arkansas Leaders, Little Rock: Lex B. Davis, 1934. Submitted by Belinda (Brown) Winston