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Response or Comment

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University of Dayton Libraries blog


In the 1880 census, African Americans in Montgomery County, Ohio, numbered 1,310 — or less than 2%. The enumeration files for that census included Moses C. Moore, a single male, 30, born in Kentucky, living on East Second Street in Dayton and working as a laborer. His race was noted as “mulatto.” Although this census entry is fairly unremarkable, it provides a first glimpse of Moore’s life in Dayton. In time, Moore proved to be an astute businessman and a generous resource for Dayton’s African American community. In one Dayton history, Moore is described as the “wealthiest black man in Dayton before 1900.” Even though that assertion is difficult to prove, it seems likely that the wealth he accumulated far exceeded that of many Daytonians at that time. Wealthiest or not, he was a remarkable man.

Moore died in 1927. None of his children survived him; his first wife died; and his second wife remarried within a few years of Moore’s death. His story is told here through newspaper accounts, public documents and maps. Largely absent from this story, however, are the words of Moore himself. Although this void presented challenges to piecing his life together, his presence in multiple sources provides a sense of his busy life.

The document available here is the bibliography for the series.

You can read the other installments on the Roesch Library blog: