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Henry D. Moore

A Portrait at the Top of the Stairs

Bro. Henry D. Moore and Local History

By RW Gene Fricks, Rising Sun Lodge No. 15

November 2022

If you have ever visited Rising Sun Lodge, or its predecessors in the Haddonfield Masonic Temple, and specifically the lodge room on the upper floor, you may have observed mounted just outside the lodge room doors a large portrait photograph of a distinguished gentleman, dressed in the fashion of a century ago. No plaque marks his accomplishments or the reason his portrait hangs so prominently. Unless you inquired of a knowledgeable brother, therefore, you might not know his name and significance. Henry Dean Moore (he went by Harry), farmer, industrialist, soldier, and philanthropist, was responsible for the impressive Greek Revival-style temple which is the home of Freemasonry in Haddonfield, and much more.

A native of central Maine, Moore served as a sergeant in the 3rd Maine Cavalry during the Civil War and participated with distinction at the battle of Ft. Fisher in South Carolina. Upon returning home, he discovered that his girlfriend had moved to southern New Jersey to live with her uncle. He promptly sold the farm that he had inherited and set off to follow her.

Being a farmer, Harry decided to take up viniculture, which had become quite popular at the time. A new town called Vineland had just been established, and one Dr. Welch was promoting grape juice as the newest wonder health aid. Harry owned grape vineyards in the area where Renault winery exists today. A grape blight soon badly affected crops, however, and Dr. Welch left for Massachusetts. Needing a new way to support himself and his wife, Harry took a job as a clerk in the offices of the American Snuff Company in Philadelphia and moved his family to Haddonfield. Within three years, Harry had so impressed the owner of the snuff company that he was offered the opportunity to run the company (company operations weren’t so complicated in those days).

Philadelphia in the 1870s and 1880s was a major center of tobacco processing and marketing, with New Jersey a significant source of tobacco agriculture. Philadelphia and Tampa, Florida were the national centers of cigar manufacturing. Harry soon formed a business alliance

with George Helme of Monmouth County, a major grower and processor (George had two centers of operation, Jamesburg, named for his son James, and Helmetta, named for his granddaughter). Harry also found time to petition and join Haddonfield Lodge No. 130, where within a short time he was elected Worshipful Master. Eventually, Harry would serve the lodge as Secretary for 13 years.

In time, Harry would have four sons and two daughters. All four sons and a son-in-law would follow him into the lodge, and all but one would follow to the East. His fourth son, unfortunately, would succumb to an ailment before being elevated to the East.

At some point, Harry Moore met James Duke, of Winston, North Carolina, one of the largest tobacco processors in the Southern United States. Moore, Duke, and Helme formed the American Tobacco Company. In North Carolina, they encountered an inventor with a new machine to manufacture cigarettes, which invention they bought. Up to that point in time, cigarettes had been hand-rolled, which limited their marketability; with the new machine, output could soon

number in the millions. Helme, Moore, and Duke would alternate as president of the American Tobacco Company, affording the other two time to travel, undertake philanthropy, and pursue other interests. Duke would underwrite two colleges in North Carolina (at least one of which you may be able to guess), and eventually an electric power company.

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Harry served for years on the Haddonfield Board of Education and donated to the Borough the property for the school (presently Haddonfield Central School) located directly behind Haddonfield Masonic Temple. In 1894, he traveled to Jerusalem in Palestine, where he attended lodge held in the quarries adjacent to the Temple Mount. He returned with gifts for the lodge in Haddonfield, including gavels and samples of acacia, and glass vessels dating from the time of the Second Temple. As a memorial to his youngest son, he underwrote the construction of the First Presbyterian Church (next door to the land on which the present Masonic Temple would eventually be built). A portrait of his son, Garrett, hangs in the church chancel.

Haddonfield Lodge had been constituted in 1872, with Napoleon Jennings, M.D., as the first worshipful master. The lodge originally met in a building near what is now the intersection ofKings Highway and Haddon Avenue. By 1877, the brethren sought larger quarters to accommodate a growing membership. Land at the corner of Washington and Lincoln Avenues was obtained, and a new lodge building was constructed, within walking distance to the Atlantic Railroad station as the lodge had at least two members located in Atlantic City. By 1913, this building, too, had become inadequate. Harry, who lived at 131 Chestnut Street, owned more property adjacent to the Presbyterian Church and commissioned a design in neoclassical style. The initial cost estimate was $30,000. However, with the onset of World War I in 1914, building supplies became a problem; after the war the project recommenced with completion in 1921, with a finished cost of $300,000. Harry covered all of it. The building incorporated many innovative features both structurally and mechanically; furnishings were by Wanamaker’s in Philadelphia.

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Harry and his sons engaged in land development. Harry was noted as having said that he was too young to have been involved in the development of Atlantic City, but he did play a major role in Ocean City, with financing of utilities and transportation. He traveled extensively both  in the United States and abroad. He had contracted asthma during his military service and sought climates that were warm and dry. At one point he visited Montana and stopped at a small town named Helena. He saw potential there, especially if the westward-building railroad served the town. He took options on properties along the road from the likely station into

town. A year later with the approach of rail service, he played the role of developer.

Meanwhile, back in Haddonfield, the New Jersey legislature had enacted a ‘blue law’ banning the playing of golf on Sundays unless the municipality specifically permitted it. In 1921, along with three of his friends (Frank C. Sayrs, a Past Grand Master, Scottish Rite

deputy for New Jersey, 33°, and a real estate broker; Frank Hurley, owner of a string of furniture stores; and Frank Hineline, PM of Ionic Lodge No. 94, Excelsior Consistory, Commanderin-chief, 33°, president of Camden Lime Company and director of Camden Trust), Harry organized a municipality on farmland immediately south of Haddonfield. They named it Tavistock, and Sunday golf was safe in Haddonfield.

In 1915, New Jersey held a referendum to amend the state constitution to (1) grant women the right to vote, (2) enact prohibition, and (3) change the way the constitution was amended. Camden County became a hotbed of activity. The campaign polarized Haddonfield. The churches lined up on sides: pro-right to vote—Presbyterian, Baptist, Quaker; anti-right to vote—Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal. A similar lineup occurred in Camden with the Jewish community in the pro-right camp. Surprisingly, black women came out against the right-to-vote movement saying that until Jim Crow was abolished, they saw no point in supporting

it. Surprisingly, the Camden County area was the only place in the state where the pro-right-to-vote initiative passed. The Irish community of Hudson County, the German community of Essex County, and the mixed community in Atlantic County turned down the initiatives overwhelmingly. Unsurprisingly, prohibition received little support. Harry’s wife strongly supported the pro-suffrage move (as did Harry). Elizabeth Potter, the leader of the suffrage movement in the county, was the older sister of Stephen Potter, a member of Haddonfield Lodge.

Harry’s wife was also a decided anti-smoking, anti-tobacco advocate, going so far as to publish anti-tobacco limericks and tracts in the Camden newspapers. Harry is recorded as saying that cigars were ‘not welcome’ in her house. She campaigned as early as 1900 to ban smoking in the lodge building(s).

Henry Dean Moore died March 19, 1930 and is buried in Harleigh Cemetery in Camden. He left a towering legacy of accomplishment, not the least the Haddonfield Masonic Temple and the many Masonic groups that have met there over the years.

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