The history of few men better deserves to be commemorated in this work than that of Moses True, one of the earliest citizens of Bunker Hill. He was born in Salisbury (now Franklin), New Hampshire, August 30th, 1805. He obtained an ordinary common school education, and after reaching manhood was employed for six years in connection with Stephen Sanborn, afterward a resident of Bunker Hill, in the transportation of goods between Franklin and Boston. In the year 1831 he took charge of a canal packet running from Brockport, New York.
His acquaintance with John Cavender, John Tilden, and others, who had bought land (covering the site of Bunker Hill) with the intention of improving it and building a town, was the means of bringing him to Illinois. He traveled from the East in an ordinary covered wagon, and on Christmas day of 1835 halted his team on the ridge where now stands the town of Bunker Hill, then a wild prairie inhabited only by wolves. As a member of the firm of John Tilden & Co., he had an interest in the projected town, and acted as local agent for the other proprietors. His indomitable energy and perseverance were of great service in building up; and improving Bunker Hill. In January, 1836, he brought from St. Louis a wagon load of groceries and dry goods, and opened the first store in the town. His cabin on the west side of Washington street was also the first hotel. Its accommodations were extremely limited, but with genuine western hospitality its space was made adequate to every exigency. When it was found necessary to erect a larger building, the architect, who with the pioneer settlers of the surrounding country, entertained very limited expectations of the future prosperity of Bunker Hill, christened it at the grand "raising" which celebrated the occasion "True and Tilden's Folly," little anticipating that the building was the germ which would develop into a prosperous and beautiful town.
After 1836 he devoted his attention entirely to farming and improving the site of the town. He was the leader in all kinds of improvements. When Mr. Cavender and the other parties interested with him, made a division of their land in 1839, Mr. True took the southeast quarter of the town as his share. His residence was changed to Franklin street, and his time and energy given toward improving and beautifying that part of the town. His leisure time was occupied in setting out trees; and to him more than anyone else is due the extent and beauty of the foliage which adds so much to the attractions of Bunker Hill, and the shady and beautiful streets of the town are the best monument to his wisdom and foresight. Among his other acts of public spirit was the erection of the building which stood on the site of the present Congregational church, which for years served both for school and church purposes. He joined the Woodburn Congregational Church in 1838, and united with the Bunker Hill church on its establishment in 1842, and was chosen deacon, a position which till his death he honored by an unselfish devotion to the interests of the church, and a consistent piety. He was a liberal supporter of all worthy objects, and assisted in founding the Bunker Hill Academy, the Library, and the Cemetery, of all three of which he was a member of the Boards of Directors.
His death occurred February 22d, 1878. He left a widow, formerly Betsy M. George, and two children, James True, now living near Wichita, Kansas, who was a son by a former wife; and a daughter, Mary George True. He will be remembered as a public-spirited citizen and a man of many strong and admirable traits of character. He possessed an untiring energy, which spared no effort in the accomplishment of its object. In carrying out his business engagements, hardship and exposure were of little moment. Yet there was but little of the stern and forbidding in his nature. In his habits and inclinations he was social, cheerful, and kindly, and had a strong liking for beautiful and pleasing objects. His residence on south Franklin street was the handsomest in Bunker Hill, and was surrounded by ornamented grounds, which plainly showed the aesthetic tastes of the owner.