Biography of Oliver Moses
Sagadahoc County, Maine Biographies





Oliver Moses came to Bath, from Portland, in February, 1826. He had learned the trade of tinsmith in that city and noticing that a newspaper recommended Bath as a good opening for that business came at once to this, then, village and opened a shop. With his natural energy and industry he worked in his shop evenings. He was a single man and boarded with Mrs. Rachel Trott, the first class boarding house of that day. A year later, his brother, William V. Moses, who likewise learned the trade of tinsmith in Portland and coming from Gardiner, entered into partnership, and the firm of W. V. & O. Moses eventually became one of the most noted on the river.

From tin they enlarged their business gradually into dealing in iron and like goods. Iron fire frames coming into use, they dealt largely in those, and when stoves were introduced they were the first to deal in them in Bath and the business became immense. Square dealing brought the best of custom to the establishment. The demand for stoves became large, and there was profit in handling them. In connection with this business there was a demand for iron castings. With the enterprise for which Mr. Moses was always remarkable the firm established a foundry. The foundry was first on Vine street, where Emery's wool warehouse now is, and the plant was subsequently removed to Water street, the present location of the Bath Iron Works. When the marine railway was built in Bath the castings for it were made in the Moses foundry. The brick building occupied for so many years by the firm on Front street, opposite the head of Broad, was built by them. Like the generality of Bath business men, the firm had taken interests in vessels and finally relinquished their other business to enter into ship building. For this purpose they established a yard at the foot of Pearl street in 1844, where they built a large number of ships and other vessels.

The Moses Brothers possessed a laudable ambition for improving the city by the erection of buildings and blocks, among which were the Columbian Hall and Hotel and the First National Bank Block. Mr. Oliver Moses built the Church Block on Front street in 1860, and the Universalist Church on Washington street the same year, paying largely for it himself. He also became largely interested in railroads; was president of the Androscoggin Railroad Company and superintended the construction of the road; was president of the Knox & Lincoln Railroad and was active in its construction.

In 1861 Mr. Moses was chiefly instrumental in founding the First National Bank of Bath, the first established in the state and numbered sixty one in the United States; was the first president of the bank and continued in the office until his death, which occurred on February 11, 1882, at the age of 79 years. Mrs. Moses died May 1, 1886. He was also one of the founders of the Bath Savings Institution and served as one of the directors.

With the above record of his business career it would be superfluous to add that the life of Mr. Moses had been one of exceeding activity. He was known as a man of indomitable energy, decision, and force of character. With unerring judgment and innate foresight, all his undertakings uniformly resulted in success. He was a believer in force of will and that what one man had accomplished another man could. Starting in life as he did with a limited education, with nothing but his own unaided arms and brain with which to work, he steadily advanced from a humble avocation to a position of wealth and influence second to none in the community in which he lived, and in competition with those who had from the start superior advantages. In person Mr. Moses was above the medium size and well developed, with native courtesy and personal magnetism, clear cut in words and ways, and true to his convictions. All his life an ardent Democrat, he had no aspirations for office. In religious matters he affiliated with the Universalist denomination and was one of the chief supporters of that society in this city. Temperance in all things and strict morality were marked features of his long and active life.

Mr. Moses was born in Scarboro, Me., May 12, 1803. On July 9, 1829, he married Miss Lydia Ham Clapp, daughter of Charles Clapp of Bath. They had five children: Frank Oliver, Galen Clapp, Harriet Sylvester, Anna Elizabeth, and Wealthy Clapp.

From:
History of Bath and Environs,
Sagadahoc County, Maine.
1607-1894
BY: Parker McCobb Reed
Lakeside Press, Printers
Portland, Maine, 1894


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