Bio: Moon, Delos Rensselaer (1835 ?)

Contact: crystal@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

Surnames: Moon, Porter, Baker, McKnight, Gilman 

----Source: History of Eau Claire County, Wisconsin (1914) pages 799-800 

Delos Rensselaer Moon, Sr., whose death occurred at Eau Claire, was a leader in the commercial life of Eau Claire, Wis., and an illustrious example of that type of enterprising, intelligent and resourceful business men which has given to that prosperous city the station it holds among the progressive cities of Wisconsin. He was a native of Chenango county, New York, and was born August 29, 1835. When eight years of age, he, with his widowed mother, moved to Kendall county, Illinois, where he lived until his mother married the second time. In 1845 the family moved to Aurora, Ill., and there Mr. Moon grew to manhood. At the age of nineteen, he accepted a position as bookkeeper in the bank of Hall Brothers, remaining thus employed until 1857, when he was sent by his employers to Eau Claire to take charge of the bank of Eau Claire. At this time, the securities of the bank consisted largely of Missouri state bonds, which were then recognized as security for bank circulation in Wisconsin. In 1861, on account of the pending war, these securities depreciated to such an extent that the bank was closed by the state comptroller. After the close of this institution, Mr. Moon engaged in buying and selling logs, timber land and general merchandise, a business he followed for six years. In 1867

he formed a partnership with Gilbert E. Porter, and they rebuilt the saw mill at Porter's Mills, which had been owned and operated by Brown, Meredith and Porter, and which had been recently destroyed by fire. The mill completed, they began the manufacture of lumber, which was rafted down the Chippewa and Mississippi rivers. 

The partnership above referred to was the real beginning of Mr. Moon's active business career. The education and business training he received while connected with the bank proved of inestimable value to Mr. Moon, who combined native talent and strength with a good mercantile education. Mr. Moon was in the best sense, a thorough and practical business man whose clear cut, honorable methods, skilful management of affairs and sterling manliness in all his varied relations, made him a leader among his associates and a force for good in the community and city in which he lived. His life was clean, his motives pure, and no one could come within the range or sphere of his influence without recognizing his strong personality and inherent qualities, elements of character which had much to do in securing for him the high place he held in business and commercial circles, as well as in his social and other relations. 

In 1869 the firm of Porter & Moon started a lumber yard at Hannibal, Mo., under the name of S. T. McKnight & Company, to which point the entire output of their mill was shipped. In 1870 the firm of Porter & Moon consolidated with that of S. T. McKnight, and the firm name changed in Eau Claire to Porter, Moon & Company, Mr. Moon acting as the financier of the company, disposed of the lumber until the death of Mr. Porter in 1880. In 1873 the two firms were merged into the Northwestern Lumber Company, and a stock company was organized under the laws of Wisconsin. Mr. Porter was president of the organization and attended to the manufacturing. Mr. Moon was vice-president and Mr. McKnight, who was secretary and treasurer, resided at Hanibal and disposed of the lumber products. This new organization employed at first about fifty men, which number was gradually increased to nearly seven hundred; their operations were principally carried on on the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers. In 1867 the lumber produced was three million feet, and in 1873 ten million feet. The output was gradually increased until 1892, when more than sixty million feet were produced. They owned and operated at one time two mills at Porter's Mills, and a saw and planing mill at Sterling, Wis. 

Mr. Moon was also an extensive stockholder in the Montreal Lumber Company, at Gile, Wis., which alone cut twenty-five million feet of lumber. He was also interested in the Chippewa Lumber & Boom Company, of Chippewa Falls. He was vice president of the Shell Lake Lumber Company, a director in the Barronett Lumber Company, and in 1880 became president of the Northwestern Lumber Company. He was in very truth a captain of industry, and his memory is cherished and kept in grateful remembrance for the important part he played in the commercial and material growth and development both of the institutions with which he was so closely connected and the city in which he lived and loved. 

At Aurora, Ill., on October 12, 1858, Mr. Moon married Sallie Gilman. Mrs. Moon was born August 22, 1836, in Harrison, Licking county, Ohio, and was a daughter of John L. and Cornelia (Baker) Gilman, natives of Vermont and New York respectively, and descended from English and Scotch ancestry. Seven children were born to this union as follows: Gilman L., Frank H., Angeline, Sumner G., Chester D., Pauline and DeLos R. Jr. 

 

 

 


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