Jesse Moore (Moore – Hunt)

Provenance: Stephen Hubbell Collection

This is our second Jesse Morre bottle in the museum. The first being the earlier J. Moore Old Bourbon Elia Chielovich & Co. bottle. The Jesse Moore (Moore-Hunt) bottles occur from 1876 to 1885 according to Thomas. The early examples are quite crude, strongly embossed and come in a wide range of colors. Our example with a green tone it quite spectacular.

In 1833, George J. Moore, Jesse Moore’s older brother, arrived in Louisville, Kentucky from New England and became a private banker at the age of 23 or so. Meanwhile, Jesse was in Worcester, Massachusetts where married Hanna Cloff in 1830 who bore one daughter and died in 1843. Jesse re-married Lucy Cloff who died, childless, in 1846. It is believed that George invited Jesse to Kentucky after the death of his second wife. George J. Moore had since gone into the grocery business in Louisville as Moore, Fonda & Co.

George J. and Catherine had a son, George H. Moore who was schooled in Shelbyville and then worked in his father’s wholesale grocery business until 1858 when he went to work in Jackson, Mississippi as a bookkeeper in another large wholesale house. When the Civil War broke out, George H. volunteered for the Confederate army, was captured at Altoona, Georgia, and was a POW until 1865 when he returned to Kentucky.

Meanwhile, Jesse spent a missing 12 years, probably in Louisville. He returned to Worcester and married Frances Payne Melcher (of Brunswick, Maine) in 1858 and immediately took his bride to Louisville, as a son, Edward H. Moore was born there in 1859 and a second son, George, in June 1862. Jesse Moore appears in the 1861 Louisville directory as a wholesale liquor dealer listed as Jesse Moore, Liquors, 212 Second St. bet. Gray and Broadway. Apparently, Kentuckians did not take well to a Yankee whiskey dealer during the war, as Jesse and Frances were next found back in Worcester with the birth of a third son, Frank, in March 1865, a daughter, Jessie Louise, in 1867 and a second daughter, Mabel, in 1872.

George Henry Moore seems to have become a partner in Jesse’s business in 1868 as “Jesse Moore & Co., whiskies, 223 and 225 W. Main” in the 1890 Louisville directory, George H. Moore was involved in the distilleries of Moore & Selliger and as a partner with Jesse in Moore, Hunt & Co., wholesalers in San Francisco and elsewhere. George H. is also described as a banker and philanthropist. In 1892, with Jesse 70 years old, George H. Moore bought out his uncle’s interests and Jesse retired. In Jesse’s obituary in Worcester in July 1898, he is described as “one of the largest whiskey distillers” and “has amassed a large fortune.” He had a net worth of $140,000 when he died.

Elia Chielovich was a native of the Kingdom of Dalmatia and was born about 1825. He was in California at least as early as 1856 and was simply listed as a merchant in San Francisco in the 1860 United States Federal Census. By 1867, he formed E. Chielovich & Co. in San Francisco in the business of wholesale wine and liquor sales. Among other ventures, he was an early investor in Sitka gold mines, which was not a successful venture for him.

Chielovich first introduced Jesse Moore whiskey into the western states in January 1872, at the time when Henry Brown Hunt was admitted to the firm. The partnership continued until August 18, 1875, when Henry B. Hunt withdrew from E. Chielovich & Co. and formed a partnership with George H. Moore in the style of Moore, Hunt & Co. In doing so, Hunt took the Jesse Moore brand with him.

Support: Jesse Moore family archives by Gordon Eliot White, Deltaville, Virginia

Support: Whiskey Bottles of the Old West by John L. Thomas

Support: Secondary example images from Westfall collection, Western Bitters News and Western

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