John William Moor

John William Moor
By B. J. T. Leverton


JW Moor

“(*Estcourt, Natal, September 1859 – †Pietermaritzburg, 18.1.1933), farmer and politician, was the son of William Frederick Moor and his wife, Sarah Annie Ralfe.  He was the younger brother of Sir Frederic Moor.

Having been educated at Bishop’s College, Pietermaritzburg, he went to the diamond digging at Kimberly from 1881 to 1886, after which he returned to Natal to farm firstly at Ennerdale and then at Hertford, near Mooi River. An advocate of mixed farming for the Natal Midlands, he urged the general adoption, where possible, of irrigation and the combining of crops and artificial grasses.  From Holland, he imported Friesland cattle and from Australia merino sheep.  He was president of the Weenen Agricultural Society (1898 – 1902) and in 1898 was one of a group of local farmers who seriously planned marketing outlets for surplus milk.

He became a foundation member of the Natal Co-operative Creamery Limited (afterwards Natal Co-operative Dairies) and served as chairman from 1902 until 1927.  A great believer in agricultural co-operation, he was instrumental in founding the Federated Farmer’s Co-operative Company and also the Overseas Co-operative Sellers’ Agency in London, through which the export of Natal’s agricultural produce was propagated.  M. could see that there was a great future for the South African dairy industry if it were rationalised and in Natal, this rationalisation was possibly his greatest contribution to the benefit of the farmers.

With T. E. Turner and J. Swan, M. established (1917) the Farmers’ Co-operative Bacon Factory at Estcourt, the first bacon factory in Natal, and was chairman of this organisation from 1917 to 1933.  Together with J Morton, a member of the first Natal Land Board, he contributed considerably to the general welfare of farmers in this capacity.

M. served on the Weener local management board and from 1907 to 1910 represented that constituency in the Natal Legislative Assembly, where he strongly supported action and positive steps towards agricultural improvements for the colony.  From 1910 – 1913 he represented Weenen in the Natal Provincial Council and served on the Executive Committee.  From 1915 to 1924 he represented the same constituency for the South African Party in the Union House of Assembly, until he retired on account of ill health.

He first married Lydia Sara Wheeler and after her death (2.1.1907), Alice Rosanna Ward.  He was survived by four sons and three daughters.”

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From the Dictionary of South African Biography, Volume IV.

Further Reading

A Most Remarkable Tale:  The Story of Eskort