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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Helena/Mooresville

An undated typed paper was found in a museum file in a folder called “Helena”. The title of the paper though was Mooresville by Noble Dale Moore. It is copied below.


"The story goes that about 1830, two Moore brothers and their families left the state of Tennessee for the North, traveling across Kentucky into Indiana. Somewhere north of Princeton, Indiana they decided to go their separate ways. One brother and his family preceded north and east and settled in the vicinity of Washington, Indiana. The other brother crossed the Wabash River and traveled northwesterly and settled in Lawrence County Illinois.


Using Bethlehem church corner as a focal point, we find that this Mr. Moore settled 1/2 mile east and 1/2 miles south of that corner (the church was established in 1839, a log building was built south of the corner where the present church stands today.


Mr. Moore had eight sons and four daughters. Most of the children, upon reaching adulthood, married and took up land in the nearby locality, farming and hunting as a means of livelihood. The Moore tribe apparently prospered and increased. They eventually cleared and settled about four sections of land in this vicinity.


The first trading center was founded by William Bell about 1880, just 1/4 mile east of the 'corner', in an old log cabin that still stands across the road from Lukin school. He kept a line of merchandise suitable to the needs of the community such as calico, sugar, salt, gun powder and shot. The store was in the upstairs of the building while the family occupied the lower room.


The next trading center was located on the site of the Elva Lewis residence. It was operated by Isaac Worstell, during the 1890s. He kept a similar line of goods. In the late 1890s, E. James Moore established a store 1/2 mile east of the corner and operated it for about two years and then moved it to the present site of Hugh White's store.


The community was without mail service and had to go to the hamlet of Lancaster for their mail. About 1897 the community was so densely populated that the US government established a post office and gave the settlement a name, Helena.The post office was located in the east part of E. James Moore's store, with Mary S. Moore as the first and only post mistress.


About the turn of the century, the government established rural free delivery and the post office was abandoned. Mail for people living off the rural route was left at the Samuel Moore home where they could pick it up at their convenience.


By the year 1910, Albert Moore had erected a store on the northeast corner of the crossroad and a little later S. M. Moore built a store on the northwest corner. There were also two blacksmith shops operated by Fred Harper and Thomas Utterback. There was a grist mill just north of the corner and a saw mill behind it so they could both be run by the same steam engine. The operators were Fred Moore and John Robinson.


A brick kiln where bricks were made and burned using native hickory was located on the S. M. Moore farm. The clay for the brick came from the land that lies north and west of the present lake on the Bert Sager farm. Old pieces of brick are still in evidence there. A shop where photos could be taken was located just north of the Gristmill and the photographer was Bill Shoups, who also sold "Kemp Balsam" products. An agency for International Harvester Machinery (horse drawn) was located on the north East corner, too. About 1912 Albert Moore went into partnership with his father.


By 1910, there were within a radius of 2 miles of the 'corner', 21 Moore families with a population of 89 and within Lukin Township there were three other Moore families totaling 18 more. In 1910 the Moore's started an annual Moore's reunion, which lasted about five years or more. On occasions as many as 800 Moore's and relatives attended the get together. It was held in the woods around and to the west of the church on land belonging to Jim Moore, presently owned by Keith Moore.


With the closing of the post office and little use of the named Helena, the community became known to the people of the surrounding areas as 'Mooresville'. Following World War I, the coming of the automobile and mechanized farming, the Moore tribe began to disperse. Very little is left of the once active little center except the country store owned and operated by Hugh White.


S. M. Moore closed down his store in the early 20s, leaving one store in operation. John A. and Matt Moore, the owners of the other stores sold their store to William Loos in 1925, which is the present store known as White's store.


So today in the community where more than 24 families of Moore's once resided there is only two Moore families, Floyd Moore and Keith Moore. Everett Moore, lives in nearby Hopewell community and Mrs. Omer Moore near Berryville.

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