Sometime during the twenty-four hours of January 30, 1823, Nathan Moore, in faint, yet unmistakable tones announced that he had come from the mysterious realm of the unknown to stay in the household of his parents, board and lodge with them without the formality of a previous contract.
Curious as it may seem the expectant was made welcome. His food for a year or more had been prepared and like manna was fresh every morning and warm and ready at all hours.
After some family consultation the good old Biblical name of Nathan was settled upon by which to designate him and he was so registered on the blank leaves between the Old and New testament. This was the custom in those days when the bible comprised about all there was of the family library and which was perused much more than now. Though the account was not inspired, there was nothing apocryphal about it, for that he had appeared was as true as anything between the sacred lids, and no one, not even higher criticism, has questioned its authenticity or attempted, to give it a theoretical or twisted, meaning.
The bibles in those days were big affairs, probably so that the birth page should be ample to record the names, as it was a pioneer custom to endeavor to fill a page, a pocket edition would not serve the purpose. It seemed to be a Christian duty to multiply and replenish the earth and there was no shirking of that supposed duty, but that the command meant just what it said.
The advent of Nathan was made in Springfield township, Portage county, now a part of Summit county, in the northeastern part of the state then known as New Connecticut, as the inhabitants of the Nutmeg state spiced the region. Here the sturdy little Buckeye took root and nourished in the native soil for nine years but was uprooted by his parents when they moved to Wood county, and transplanted him there. But the removal probably stunted him some, as the animate Buckeye never grew to a lofty height but it was compensated for by muscles and a frame of iron actuated and directed by a brain of pluck and energy that has characterized him for four score and five years and which has not abated in intensity.
Such capital was necessary in those pioneer days when the rigor of mother nature had to be subdued. None were born with a gold spoon in their mouth.
Mr. Moore, senior, entered a section of land on which the thriving city of Bowling Green now stands. Transportation was not very direct in any way unless a person footed it or rode on horseback for there were no through lines nor even sides ones. The Ohio canal to Cleveland was in operation for which place they embarked. Lake Erie was there and had been from time immemorial but no regular lines of navigation were in vogue, but they found a sailing smack for Detroit, procured passage and landed there. After a few days delay they took another sailing boat for Perrysburg, the head of navigation, on the Maumee. It was a brisk little place but Toledo had not been
thought of outside of Spain. It did not have even a Blade nor a Bee.
Bowling Green being on an undulating sand ridge was selected because it was above high water mark and had a surplus of gnarled scrubby oaks, stubborn to a provoking degree. The outlying prairie, now the garden spot of Ohio, was inhabited by frogs, turtles and such amphibious brutes and was a paradise for mosquitoes. The citizens were Indians principally and the Moore family was about the first white people that settled in that section. Neither schoolhouses nor churches dotted the landscape on this outlying post of civilization. There were no idle hands, so Satan did not have to find them employment.
The facilities for book education were few and slim, but Nature's volume lay open and Nathan took delight in reading it, for he found that the very trees had a language and that there were sermons in stones and running brooks. Having a taste for arboreal culture and as trees take kindly and cheerfully respond to intelligent cultivation and are ready to surprise any one with results when they work in accord with the unwritten law which govern them, for the same development is possible in inanimate nature as there is in animal life, including man, he turned his attention to the cultivation of trees, fruit and ornamental and has made nursery business his life work with marked success and is at present, at the ripe age of four score and five years, engaged in raising ornamental trees and shrubs to beautify the lawns and. parks of Toledo of which his son, Milton L. is superintendent, and has been for years. Few men in the state are better authority, if as good in the nursery line, as he, with his seventy years of experience with his eyes wide open.
A volume of fiction is dull if there is not a thread of love romance running through it and the actual life of a person who has had no heart throbbing with the tender sentiment is barren of flowers, even though they did not fructify into any thing serious. The environments around Bowling Green, at that early day, were by no means crowded with the softer sex, with the exception of Indian maidens, but Mr. St. John moved into that vicinity with his family with a daughter, Julia, who awakened the tender sentiment in the breast of Nathan and his thoughts were divided between arboreal study and Julia. He was very much in the condition of Adam in the Garden of Eden, it was Eve or nothing. He wanted something to round out his life and so on December 25, 1846, Miss Julia E. St. John, became Mrs. Nathan Moore, and it may be well to casually state right here that if Nathan had had a thousand females from which to make a selection the chances are he would not have got so companionable a help-meet as Julia who walked by his side and adorned his home for almost sixty years, but who left him for permanent rest in Graceland September 25, 1904, her seventy-eighth birthday. She was accustomed in her youth to the privations as well as the sweets of pioneer life and was unmurmuring, in their early struggles as she was in the ease and comfort of her closing days.
Eight children, evenly divided, four boys and four girls, were born to gladden their household, Mrs. J. D. Geyer. wife of Dr. Geyer, of Sidney; Mrs. Frank Fruchey, of Marion, Ind.; Ida, who died in Sidney many years ago, little Carrie who died when two years old, Ezra in the nursery business at Toledo; Milton L., superintendent of all the parks in Toledo; Albert, chief teller in the Northern National Bank, and Charles on the free mail delivery force in the same city. All inherited the sturdy industry of their
parents and are true to those high moral principles which make valuable citizens, and the world, better for their having lived in it. It was and is a family flock with no black sheep in it; as none possessed moral obliquities to pain a parent's heart or cloud their lives with dismal apprehension.
In the early fifties, having become acquainted with Philip Rauth, father of Mrs. Mary Wagner and Mrs. John E. Bush, and who was engaged in the nursery business in Sidney, he was induced to move to this town in 1855 as the Big Four railway was in process of construction and the Cincinnati, Hamilton and Dayton railway was pushing its way northward from Cincinnati to Toledo which had sprung into existence and was sapping the life out of Perrysburg and had already given promise of becoming a great commercial city, the emporium of northwestern O, and one of the chain of beautiful cities on the great lakes.
Sidney being at the intersection of these trunk lines of railway, would afford good shipping facilities when finished and this fact, made plain by Mr. Rauth, was an additional incentive to Mr. Moore to pitch his tent in Sidney.
He, with J. C. Coe, bought what was known for years as the nursery farm across the river of John Mills, agent for the Big Four that owned it.
The late George Hemm became a partner and subsequently Mr. Coe sold his interest to William McCullough and the profitable business was continued for many years. Mr. Moore is the only surviving member of the firm. The children of the Moore family were all educated here and the writer of this article had for a time Ezra and Albert for diligent pupils, and hence has a warm spot for them, especially in his heart; and is gratified to know of their marked success and sterling worth.
Nineteen years ago Mr. Moore sold out his business here and moved with his family to Toledo with the exception of Mrs. Geyer and Mrs. Frank Fruchey, and resumed the nursery business in which he is still engaged. Mr. Moore has been a life long republican, not offensive as a partisan, for that is contrary to his nature, but so strong in his political conviction as not to admit of variableness or shadow of turning. While here he was with Mrs. Moore, a member of the Presbyterian church in this city, and will die in the faith. Such, in brief, is a sketch of his busy life and few can look back over an interval of a career, now verging on a century with fewer misgivings.