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History of Moro, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser




The unincorporated village of Moro, on Rattan’s Prairie in Moro Township, began with the building of the railroad through the area in 1853. The tracks ran north and south through the township, with depots at Moro and Dorsey. Moro was first called Hampton, and was laid out by James H. Smith and James Montgomery. The plat was recorded March 7, 1855. On August 23, 1855, Smith and Montgomery made a small addition, re-platted the town, and re-named it Moro.

Hugh and James P. Smith built a frame storehouse soon after the railroad was completed, and sold general goods. The next house – a two-story and a half dwelling - was a residence, built by Samuel Smith.

Lowder Tatman, Peter Hassinger, Mrs. Matilda Dorsey, and several other began building about the same time, and in a year or two, a nice little village had sprung up. A large general warehouse for shipping purpose was also erected by James Montgomery.

In 1856, James Montgomery and Hugh Smith erected a large, frame, three-story steam flour mill, with a run of three burrs. It did a good business until the winter of 1870-71, when it was destroyed by fire.
                                                              1861 Moro, Illinois
William Montgomery, a prominent merchant of Moro, was elected to the State legislature three times, beginning with 1902, and died in office.

By 1882, the following businesses were located in Moro:
Blacksmiths – Mr. Skiles (the first blacksmith), John Klaus, George Griffith
General Stores – William Montgomery and T. A. Mutchmore
Shoemaker – Carl Boettger
Tailor – William Zoelzer
Wagon Maker – T. J. Sapp
Saloon – George Schubert and William Meyer
Postmaster – James Perd Smith and William Montgomery
Physician – Frank Gere
Brickyard – Henry DeWerff (3/4 mile north of Moro)

There were two or three coal mines operated by horsepower in the vicinity of Moro. The vein ran about five feet thick, and coal was found about thirty feet from the surface.

Early Schools of Moro
A one-story brick schoolhouse was constructed in 1880 at a cost of $2,500. It was located about three-quarters of a mile north of the town.

Early Churches of Moro
The Presbyterian Church in Moro was organized December 9, 1848 by Revs. Valentine Pentzer and P. D. Young. The Presbyterian Church, a frame structure erected in 1852, was the first and only house of worship built in the village. It stood just across the township line in Fort Russell.


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