|Hon. Norman H. MOSS
A distinguished member of the Illinois Bar with a reputation extending beyond the limits of his state and for many years one of the leading citizens of Southern Illinois, the subject of this sketch holds distinctive prestige among the representative men of Jefferson county and is pre-eminently one of the influential factors in the public life of the city, which he makes his home. The family to which Hon. Norman H. MOSS belongs is an old and prominent one and from an early day has been closely identified with the development and progress of Jefferson county and influential in various lines of thought and activity. Several of its members have risen to high positions in professional and political circles, but to the subject is due the credit of adding to the prestige of the name and to the brightness of an escutclieon which shines with peculiar luster in a community long noted for the high standing and distinguished achievements of its public and professional men.
Norman H. MOSS is a native of Jefferson county, born four and a half miles southwest of Mount Vernon in McClellan township, on the 25th day of March, 1856. He comes of a long line of sterling ancestry, inherits many of the sturdy characteristics for which his family has long been distinguished and is a splendid type of that high order of American manhood and citizenship which have contributed so much to the progress of the codntry and solidity and popularity of its institutions. Capt. John Riley MOSS, his father, of whom a sketch appears elsewhere, was a pioneer of Jefferson county, a farmer by occupation and one of the leading men of his day in this part of Illinois. Permelia C. ALLEN, wife of Captain MOSS and mother of the subject was born in this county, November 23, 1835, and died on March 16th, of the year 1908. She was the daughter of Rev. George W. and Eliza ALLEN, the father a pioneer minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, and for a number of years a prominent farmer and public-spirited man of affairs, who held various oflicial positions and achieved an honorable reputation for his activity and influence in promoting the interests of the community. Mrs. MOSS was early instructed in the tenets of Methodism and from her childhood lived the life of an earnest and sincere Christian, takmg especial delight in assisting the needy, and leading souls to the better life. For about two years prior to her death she was totally blind, despite which heavy affliction, however, she continued to be bright and cheerful and contributed to the.enjoyment and happjness of all who came within the range of her influence. Hers was indeed a grand and beautiful poem of duty faithfully and cheerfully per-formed and her descendants mention her name with something of the profound love and respect which the pious pilgrim feels in the presence of some sacred shrine.
Norman H. MOSS is the second of a family of six children, the names of his brothers and sisters being as follows: Angus I.. of Shiloh township; Mrs. E. W. Neal, of Knoxville, Tennessee; Dr. Harry C. MOSS, a practicing physician, of Albion, Illinois; Mrs. Rufus GRANT, of Mount Vernon, and Addie May, deceased, who married Dr. John T. McANALLY, of Carbondale, this state. Of the early life of the subject little need be said as it was devoid of incident or experience of striking nature, having been spent on the farm when in close touch with nature, in a daily routine of duty, he acquired the bodily strength and independence of mind which subsequently developed into well rounded manhood and enabled him to successfully grapple the problems by which he was confronted from time to time. His preliminary education acquired in the district schools was supplemented by a course in the Illinois Agricultural College at Irvington. He subsequently entered the Southern Illinois Norma School at Carbondale, where he made commendable progress in the higher branches of learning. On leaving the above institution young MOSS turned his attention to teaching during the winter of 1879-80 at Toney Point, and the following year taught the first term in what is known as the Arlington School, Moore's Prairie township, Jefferson county, Illinois, meeting with encouraging success as an instructor, but using the work as a stepping stone to something better and more permanent.
Having early manifested a decided preference for the law, a profession for which a naturally strong and analytical mind peculiarly fitted him, Mr. MOSS in 1880 entered the office of Hon. Seth F. CREWS and George M. HAYNES, a well known and successful legal firm of Mount Vernon, where he prosecuted his studies with such diligence and satisfaction that on May 5, 1882, he was admitted to the bar and at once began the practice of his profession at the county seat. Without entering into a detailed review of Mr. MOSS's legal career, suffice it to say that from the beginning his progress was not only commendable but rapid, and it was not long until he forged to the front rank among the rising attorneys of the Jefferson County Bar and won his full share of professional patronage. His was the standard by which younger lawyers seek to be measured in the field of legal learning, eloquence, general attainments and industry which hestitated at no obstacles however numerous and formidable, and a faithfulness to the cause of clients which invariably gained their confidence and paved the way to higher achievements and success.
Mr. MOSS possesses a peculiar charm of voice and manner which render him especially strong as an advocate; but he is no less distinguished as a counsellor, his familiary with the science and principles of law, his independent character of mind, his quick perception and sound judgment and above all his well known integrity, eminently qualify him to act the part of a discreet and trusted adviser. It is a Combination of these and other equally as strong qualities Which has the respect and esteem of the bar and the cofidence and commendation of the Public.
In 1884 Mr. MOSS without any solicitation on his part, was appointed State's Attorney to fill out the unexpired term of Hon. W N. WHITE and so ably and satisfactory Were his oflicial functions discharged that at the expiration of the term he Was the unanimots choice of his Party for the 0ffice but failed of election by reason of the over- whelming strenghth of the opposition. Politically he is a stalwart Republican, and for a number of years has been one of the leading factors of his Party in Jefferson county, besides taking, since 1889, an active and inlluential Part in state Politics and assisting very materially in the various victories gained in the meantime. He has long been recognized as one of the ablest and most judicious Politicians in Southern Illinois and in campaign years his services are in great demand, his judgment, foresigned and ability as an oiganizeing especially appreciated in Party counsels. On various occasious has been honored by nomination for important offcial Positions, the first time in 1884 for State's Attorney, as already indicated, in 1886 for County Judge and again in 1888 for State's Attorney. Although unsuccessful in these different contests, he carried much more than the strength of his ticket and succeeded in reducing the nonnal Democratic majority to the lowest minimum in the history of the county.
From 1890 to 1892 inclusive Mr. MOSS served as secretary of the Republican committee of the old Nineteenth Congressional District, and in the latter year was nominated by acclamation for Con gress, but as usual in the district lead a forlorn hope, though making a brilliant canvass and causing Wide spread uneasiness in the ranks of the enemy. In 1890 he was appointed under President Harrisson's administration Supervisor of census for the Eighth District, comprising twenty counties, and discharged the duties of the position with his accustomed care and ability, winning the approbration of his superiors and favorable comments from the head of the department. In 1893 he was elected City Attorney of Mount Vernon, which office he filled with credit to himself and to the entire satisfaction of the public for a period of two years and in 1898 he was further honored by being elected from the Forty-sixth District, composed of Jefferson, Wayne, Franklin and Hamilton counties, to the lower house of the General Assembly.
Mr. MOSS proved an able and judicious legislator and was recognized as one of the strong and influential members of the House during his incumbency. He at once became one of the Republican leaders of that body and in addition to serving on a number of important committees took a conspicuous part in the general deliberations, displaying marked ability as a debater and as a member of the "Steering Committee," which virtually determined the course of the majority, he impressed his personality upon his associates and took the initiative in a number of important preceedings. He rendered especially valuable service on the judiciary, corporations, elections and claims committees, where his influence was duly recognized and appreciated, also succeeding in passing a number of bills of vital interest to the people of the state and was untiring in his efforts to promote the interests of his constituents, the majority of whom irrespective of party allignment reposited the utmost confidence in his ability and judgnient and expressed themselves as fully satisfied with his course. Additional to the various official positidns indicated Mr. MOSS from time to time has been called to other places of responsibility and trust, all of which he worthily filled and added to his reputation as a capable and painstaking public servant. In 1889 he was commissioned Special Bank Examiner to investigate the affairs of the First National Bank, of Arkansas City, Kansas, and later was appointed by Hon. Charles G. DAWES, Comptroller of the Currency, receiver of the same institution. also of the First National Bank, of McPherson, Kansas, legal and financial ability of a high order being required in both instances. Suffice it to state that in these important and responsible trusts, his course was eminently satisfactory to the authorities and creditable to himself.
Mr. MOSS in August, 1903, Was appointed by Governor YATES, chief clerk of the Southern Illinois Penitentiary, and after holding the Position until 1905 was appointed Parole Commissioner of the same institution, which place he still holds.
He is an honorary member of the Cook County Republican Marching Club of Chicago and for a number of years has served on the Republican Central Committee of Jefferson county, and for four years (last Past) was a member of and chairman of the Congressional Committee of the Twenty-third Congressional District.
He is also an enthusiastic member of the Sons of Veterans, in which organization he has held various official Positions including that of Judge Advocate of the Illinois Division and delegate to both State and national encampment of the order. At the present time his membership is with Camp No. 100, Chicago, but his interest in the organization has made his name a familiar sound throughout the bounds and he appears as much at home in one camp as another.
Mr. MOSS is a charter member of Camp 1919, Modern Woodmen, of Mount Vernon and also belongs to Jefferson Lodge, No. 121, Knights of Pythias, in which he has passed all chairs besides taking the grand lodge degree, and attaining a Prominent position in the higher work of the order. In addition to the above fraternal societies he is a Mason of exalted rank, holding membership with Mount Vernon Lodge, N0. 31, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, H. W. Hubbard Chapter No.160, Royal Arch Mason and Patton Commandery No.69, all at Mount Vernon, Illinois.
By reference to the foregoing review, the life of Mr. MOSS appears to have been a very strenuous one, filled to repletion with duty ably and faithfully performed and characterized throughout by a devotion to principle, above reproach and a sense of honor defying adverse criticism. He has a capacity for large undertakings and his professional success, political activity and influence and official integrity, have not only commended him to the people of his own county and state, but have given him a reputation much more than state wide and an honorable name among the leading men of his day.
Mr. MOSS is a man of fine sensibilities and a high sense of justice and honor, and it has ever been his aim to be on the right side of every question with which he has had anything to do and to lose sight of self or selfish interests in the noble endeavor of striving for the greater good of the greater number.
Broad-minded, public-spirited, fervidly patriotic and taking liberal views of men and affairs he has impressed his individuality upon the commurnty as an enterprising large-hearted, progressive American citizen of the best type, while among his immediate friends and neighbors, he will always be regarded as a man without pretense and a courteous gentleman whose integrity and loyalty will bear the closest and strictest scrutiny.
An interesting chapter in this history of Mr. MOSS is his happy domestic life which dates from September 4, 1889, when he was united in the bonds of wedlock with Miss Mary MCANALLY whose birth occurred at Decaturville, Tennessee, on the 11th day of September, 1860, but who at the time of her marriage was living in the city of Carbondale. Mrs. MOSS is the daughter of John F. and Martha E. (Haley) MCANALLY, natives respectively of North Carolina and Tennessee, and has borne her husband three children, whose names and dates of birth are as follows: Robert Allyn, April 6, 1893; Norman McAnally, August 12, 1895; and Eugenia, who saw the light of day November 1, 1897 Mr. and Mrs. MOSS have a Commodious and Pleasant home in Mount Vernon, Where all their children were born, and in many respects their family circle approaches the ideal. No efforts are being spared to rear the sons and daughter to useful and honorable lives, and if the example of their Parents and the Pleasing environnient of the home have the usual influence it is eminently Proper to Predict for these young People a bright and hopeful future. Mr. and Mrs. MOSS are members of the First Methodist Episcopal church of Mount Vernon and manifest a deep and abiding interest in all good work under the auspices of the same. Mr. MOSS has been a member of the oflicial board of the church for a number of years and displays the same interest in the affairs of the congregation as he does in his secular enterprises.
Source: Walls History of Jefferson County 1909
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