Charlie GillI was down at the library a while back and Gordon Luthringer, a reader of mine, came in while we were making some copies of some old Dowagiac pictures I had queried.

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‘Cardinal Charlie’: Grocer George Moore a self-made Orphan Train rider

Published 3:48pm Monday, July 5, 2010

He told me he had been to a sale and bought an old wooden cover of a box that had stenciled or painted in large black letters, George W. Moore – groceries and provisions – Dowagiac, Michigan.

He asked me if I had ever heard of George W. Moore.

I told him I may have written about him in a previous article some time ago.

I said I think George was one of the boys who came to Dowagiac on the Orphan Train years ago.

I said if I’m right, later in life Mr. Moore became a prominent Dowagiac businessman.

I think he owned a grocery store on the corner of Main and Front, where a Melvin boy has a business there now.

As a kid, I remember this store building had the Lyon’s funeral home furniture store (this used to be common for undertakers to have a furniture store).

Peg and I did a little research on old George recently, and I found my memory had not failed me once again.

George when he got to Dowagiac lived with the Miller family in Pokagon Township.
He worked hard all week, but had Sunday off.

He saved his money and vowed he would someday own the farm where he worked and he did.

George married and had two children, Charles and Maleta, who were both graduates of the University of Michigan.

George worked as a bagger and other jobs until he had enough money to build his own building at the corner of Front and Main streets, which was his grocery store.

He sold this building to William F. Lyon undertaking in 1918 for $6,000, which was the original cost of the building.

Of all the orphans who came to Dowagiac, only George and his brother, William, were two whose identities were known.

Last year the Dowagiac High School Class of 1947 had a mini 62-year class reunion get-together, not waiting for a 65th.

The thought being there may be a few classmates missing when that one comes around.
I was hoping our Class of 1948 would do a mini one like they did, but it was decided to wit for our 65th.

My friend Helen Leich and some of her local classmates got together and planned it.
They ended up with quite a few who came to this mini reunion.

I donated one of my books to be given away to someone in a drawing.

Helen told me later the winner was Jack Deming of Niles.

I told Helen I remember Jack, as we both worked at Heddon’s factory years ago.

Jack sent me a nice letter to thank me for donating the book and how happy he was to win it.

He told me he sure remembers us working at Heddon’s.

It wasn’t very long after I received his letter that I picked up the South Bend Tribune and read his obituary.

Hey, have you, like me, ever “dilly dallied” or “shilly shalled” about doing something?

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at

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