A.H. Moore, Pioneer of Industry
It might seem at this point that Merry was the one-man story of Magog’s growth. He was its founder, true, and his enterprise was responsible for its early growth. But to A.H. Moore, a younger man with even wider vision and greater ambitions, fell the opportunity of setting Magog on the real road to progress. Many a town had grown like the Outlet. The Townships were spotted with them; but most of them today are but little larger than they were then. Some even have vanished. Moore saw to it that Magog did not.
There is no record of the exact year when this dynamic, youthful personality, with the great faith, courageous foresight and tireless enterprise arrived in the Outlet. It is known that he came from Hatley in Stanstead County, an even younger settlement situated about ten or twelve miles to the east. It is known that he was well educated, and intelligent, and that he came to The Outlet to teach school. It is known, too, that a career in the schoolhouse held his interest for more than a year.
He married shortly after his arrival, and “married well” — Julia Ann, the eldest daughter of Squire Merry. It was not long before Schoolmaster Moore appeared in a new capacity in The Outlet, as proprietor of the general store. Whether he obtained the store as a result of marrying Merry’s daughter, or acquired the daughter as the result of taking over the store, available records do not make clear. Whatever the sequence, Moore know what to do once he had the store. It was not wasted on him. He had the success touch, a gift that stayed with him for more than a half-century, to Magog’s tremendous and permanent advantage.
The Outlet was growing at this time, but growing slowly. Formation of the British American Land Company in Sherbrooke in 1833, had secured for that company all Crown lands between Magog and Sherbrooke. While the timber removed from this area was all floated down-steam to Sherbrooke, the company had at least laid out a road through its territory connecting The Outlet with Sherbrooke. And Sherbrooke was linked to Montreal by rail.
While Moore was establishing himself in the business life of the community, the district transportation facilities improved. A stage coach service was inaugurated between Sherbrooke and Magog, and between Stanstead and Magog. At Magog these two lines were doubled up with another single line running from Magog and Waterloo, connecting with the Central Vermont Railroad to Montreal.
The developing trade appealed to Mr. Moore. He sought the business of the district and sought it with an agressiveness the town had never before witnessed. From settlers of the district he bought farm produce and the timber they felled. In return he sold them goods from his store. There was little money in the town in those days but that did not stop him. He bartered hoopskirts, bustles and hog-feed for crops, raw wool and cattle. Then he shipped what he received to Montreal. There the produce could be turned into cash and more supplies.
Sometimes his shipments went by Sherbrooke, sometimes by Waterloo, which was also connected to Montreal by railway. Lumbering oxcarts, wheeled out of The Outlet carrying farm products eastward to Sherbrooke or westward to Waterloo, eventually reached Montreal.
This part of Moore’s business lay east and west. But the year 1851 brought something new of the Townships: good north and south transportation. A tiny steamship, “Jenny Lind” was launched and put into service on Lake Memphremagog. That her imported engine was too heavy and made her run stern high, was unimportant. That her name, borrowed from the famous Swedish nightingale of that time, was later changed to “Mountain Maid”, made no difference. She chugged up and down the 30 mile length of Memphremagog from The Outlet to Newport in the United States, and she called at every dock or wharf strong enough to hold her cables.
To Moore she represented new fields for his business. Farmers twenty miles down the Lake did not have to wait for week-ends to haul their saleable materials into town. They could ship them by boat, and goods bartered from Moore’s store came back the same way. Settlements down the length of the Lake were sought out as new customers. The time soon came when Moore and clerks were out taking orders-the countryside’s first commercial travellers. And as fast as the roads improved Moore had delivery wagons, long before they were known in much older and larger settlements.
The advent of the “Mountain Maid” also added considerably to the social life of The Outlet. An account in the Sherbrooke Gazette of July 16, 1853, headed “A Trip on Lake Memphremagog”, told of a July 4th outing of that year, and incidentally revealed something of a local oldsters, impatience with the youngsters and “modern American habits”. It read:
“Next day, the 4th of July, all Yankeedom was astir to enjoy their national festival, and the tight little Maid made no less than three trips between the head and the Mountin House, bringing at each voyage full cargoes of holiday folks. The lads and lassies tripped “the light fantastic toed” on the streamer’s deck, to the music of a clarionet and fiddle, the latter oddly enough, played by a woman, and that not badly. It was a pity by the way to see our young girls disfiguring themselves by “chewing gum”. It was something marvellous to behold so many jaws wagging in the nasty process, with an earnestness and an assiduity, worthy of a better occupation. Paugh!