Moore Monthly
News News
  • NRHS 728x90
Rob Morris
Rob Morris

A Moore Family Reunion and the Birth of Our City

Jul 08, 2019

Photos courtesy of Kathie Linders and "Moore's Stop" documentary.

Often, we tend to think of history in terms of big events like world wars, disasters, epic journeys to new lands, and momentous discoveries. While it’s true that all those things are the major building blocks of history, it’s also true that history lives and breathes on a personal level. A level that can be experienced by every single person who lives through the stories of their families. Each of us has our own history that can be traced through the genealogies and stories that are handed down from generation to generation.

Moore is filled with the descendants of those early settlers who bravely came to this new place to build new lives and summer is a favorite time for family reunions. We spent time at one of those family reunions this summer, the Jury-January-Caldwell-Johnson family, as they gathered together to remember their roots and celebrate those who went before them. As they told their stories and shared photos of their past, we are reminded of the roots from other chapters of Moore’s rich history.

The photos you'll find here will help you take a walk back through the birth of Moore through the eyes of family members who have kept our history alive through their family photo albums and stories shared at family reunions. We'd especially like to thank the members of the Jury-January-Caldwell-Johnson family for making their photos available.

“He could hear an old boy playing a fiddle.  So he walked up there and started talking to the old boy and the old boy says, I’m ready to go back home.  What’ll you give me for this place?  Grandpa traded a mule to him for that farm.”

Clarence Jury
Story of how W.G. Jury obtained his land in what is now Moore.

One of the youngest members at the Jury-January-Caldwell-Johnson family reunion greets a friendly resident of the current January farmland.

German immigrants Peter and Barbara Dreesen were well-established, prosperous farmers in Nebraska. But the lure of better land in Oklahoma was too hard to resist.

"They moved to Moore about seven years after the opening. They came in with eleven children and most of them were adults. And three of those people spent their life and three generations of their descendants helped to make Moore. And there were a number of families that were like that."

Clyde Shroyer
Descendent of Early Moore Settlers

"The family story we continue to tell is that back in 1893, W.G. Jury was meeting with the enumerator, trying to get Moore incorporated as a town. They had counted 99 people and needed 100. About that time they heard a donkey bray and my grandfather said, 'Make it a hundred!'"

Kathie Linders
Granddaughter of W.G. Jury

The very first was a business in Moore was called the Iowa Hotel, built by none other than Henry Applegate.  Applegate hailed from Iowa and named the hotel in honor of his home state.  Others soon came on the scene including McCartney’s Blacksmith Shop, Forbe’s Saloon, Beal’s general store, Benton’s livery stable and a U.S. Post office.  These businesses served the many homesteaders in the area.  


“I understand that the north side of Main Street and to the west of the railroad built up first.”

Jenny January
Descendent of Early Moore Settlers

The three Jury brothers; George, Will, and John, enjoying a quiet moment of reflection on the running board of W.G. Jury's Ford sedan.

William Butcher Jury, brother of George Jury, enjoying a game of horseshoes back in the early days of Moore's history.

While the town-site of Moore existed even before the land run, its true birth did not occur until 1893.  In that year an election was held to see if there was interest in chartering the community as an official town.  The 22 people who were eligible to vote unanimously approved the idea.  As for choosing a name, everyone in the area already called it Moore’s Stop on account of Mr. Moore’s railroad sign.  Naturally then, the name became Moore.  So in 1893, the town of Moore was officially born, and with it a town government, led by a group of three trustees.


“And actually, that’s the type of town government it was until 1962 or 3, whenever we incorporated into a city and they went to council, manager form of government.  So all those years actually, there was a president or I believe they called him chairman of the board of trustees.  But the name he went by of course was mayor.”

Jennie Teasley January
Descendant of Early Moore Settlers/Former City Employee

Joe Jury can be seen examining one of the first airplanes seen in Oklahoma at a 4th of July picnic in Norman. He’s on this side of the plane standing with his hands clasped behind his back.

The Januarys moved to Moore in 1904.  They bought a farm right next door to the Jury’s and before long, the two families became one.

"My parents had nine children and the January’s had nine children.  All of 'em didn’t survive in my family, but we were double cousins.  So we all had the same blood.  My mother was a January, she married Joe Jury.  Eugene’s mother was a Jury and she married Allan January."

Oleta Tolen
Descendent of Early Moore Settlers

PR Simms came to Moore in 1902 and opened up a barbershop.  In between haircuts, he became one of the most industrious men in town.


"PR was really a unique person.  He had a barbershop and he was a watchmaker, a licensed watchmaker and an inventor and I believe a painter.  Yes, I know I have a painting that he painted.  But he was just an all around Thomas Edison type fella."

Jennie Teasley January
Descendent of Early Moore Settlers/Former City Worker

Simm’s inventiveness would be needed in the aftermath of Moore’s first disaster. 

In 1910 a grease fire started in a cafe on Main Street and quickly spread throughout the center of the small town.


“Once it would start, there wouldn’t be any stopping it.  We didn’t have much of a fire department.”

Jennie Teasley January
Descendent of Early Moore Settlers/Former City Worker


The custom of the day was to shoot three times in the air should a fire break out.  Townspeople would then run to the well at Main and Broadway. A bucket brigade would form, sending water to douse the flames.  But the night was windy, the buildings were all made of wood and any effort to stop the fire was in vain.


“And the wind carried it and it spread from one roof to another.  It burned the entire block out.  Included in that block was a wagon yard, a grocery store, a restaurant, two bars, and I can’t remember what else. But it just wiped everything out.”


Clyde Shroyer
Descendent of Early Moore Settlers

The town’s business district was largely lost.  But P.R. Simms took this as an opportunity to improve things.

"So the first thing he did was to invent a way to make concrete blocks, cement blocks.  I don’t know what’s the difference between concrete and cement, but they were big heavy blocks.  Then he made the blocks and he built the building."

Jennie Teasley January
Descendent of Early Moore Settlers/Former City Worker

Joe and Linnie Jury decided to go into the grocery store business around 1925. The business was located on the east side of South Broadway between Main Street and SW 1st Street.

A look in 1927 at some of the bread delivery trucks that made regular stops at the Jury's store.

Joe Jury in front of his grocery store with Albert, Clarence, and Oleta around 1930.

An ad for Jury's Cash Store, 1218 West Main, around July 1929.

A gathering of part of the January clan in May 1936. Front row are Lena Bruce, Doris Bruce, Donna Ives, Zelma Jury, Oleta Jury (holding LeRoy Jury), Eugene January and Leonard January. 2nd row: Allen Jr., Norma Dean Ives, Roberta January, Viola Iverson, Letha Bruce, Earl Bruce, Willie January in back with Clarence Jury and Frank Bruce.

Linnie Jury standing next to the Jury Grocery’s trusty International pickup. It hauled everything from produce to cream to ice. It was said that Linnie could handle the truck as well as anyone.

Another January get-together in 1944. Front row seated: Billy Paul January, Earl Bruce, Doris Bruce, Greta January, Norma Lea January, Betty Faye January, Lena Bruce, Zelma Jury, Lloyd Sullivant (with LeRoy on shoulders), Bea Sullivant (with Kenneth January on shoulders). Standing L to R: Mrs. George Lewis, Viola, Oleta Jury, Dora Greeson, Charlie Bruce, Joan January, Grandma Emily Elizabeth January, Lucy January, William January, Letha Bruce (seated), Minnie Sullivant, Myrtle January, Mattie Cox, Frank Bruce, Harley Sullivant, Linnie Jury, Robert Gene January, George Lewis, and Clarence Jury.

I love it. The Heritage goes Way Way Back. It’s wonderful to be a part of that Heritage. And the respect that you get from folks and what you see around Moore. I grew up just a quarter of a mile from right here on the farm. It’s home to me.


Used to be when I walk down 19th Street or Eastern I might see a car too. Maybe. I remember when Eastern was a dirt road before they chipped it for the first time.


 Now I pull up to the driveway on 19th and sometimes I have to wait for 20 cars to pass before I can pull onto the road.


Kenneth Jury
Grandson of W.G. Jury 


Joe Jury was said to be a sharp businessman and never let his family down when it came to negotiating oil leases on the family property. This is believed to be either the first or second Jury well. Joe would spend days and nights with the oil crew waiting for the well to "come in." The story goes that on the day the well started spewing oil, one of the crew caught his pants leg on a nail as he ran from the oil spray and dragged the log "quite a ways."

I can remember moving here when I was 3 years old. It's not great memory clear memory but I remember it. We moved here in 1943 and I was 4 years old actually. I live my whole life out here. I have lots of thoughts and wonderful memories about growing up out here.


Myron January
Last of 9 children born in the big farmhouse

The original cabin W.G. Jury built to replace his dug-out still stands today exactly as he constructed it.

He built that I understood in 1890.  It was either 1890 or 1893 that it was built.  And then when he married my grandmother in 1894, he built a lean-too kitchen on the south end of it.  And then after they had their third child, they had four all together, when they had the third one, they made a bedroom to the north of it as a bedroom for my mother.


Eugene January
Descendent of Early Moore Settlers


My family moved from Missouri in 1935. I was 4 years old. My dad went to work for a farmer at the intersection of 4th and Telephone Road. There was a big farm there then. My earliest recollection is school kids is girls from school. After school we would walk down 4th Street to the cemetery and my brothers and I would be playing out in the street because it was just a dirt road back then. And those girls would take us over to the cemetery with them and we grew up playing in the Moore Cemetery. 


Jennie Teasley January
Descendant of Early Moore Settlers/Former City Employee

Joe Albert Jury is fondly remembered by all of his family as a man who worked hard all his life to make a good home. He also spent much of his spare time at the dining room table studying the Bible or a Bible commentary, the dictionary, or even the encyclopedia.    


Members of the January-Jury-Caldwell-Johnson family stop at Moore’s Veterans Memorial Park to pay tribute to family members who served in the military.

« back