James Moore (1818-1901)

James Moore, of Philadelphia; Iron Manufacturer of the Bush Hill Ironworks

Associated Houses



He was born on a farm in County Down, Northern Ireland, and came to America with his father in 1827 when they settled in Philadelphia. He left school at sixteen, taking an apprenticeship with Coleman Sellers & Co., machinists and paper manufacturers who became pioneers in the manufacture of locomotives. In the 1830s, he was appointed master mechanic of the railroad between Chambersburg and Hagerstown before becoming the factory foreman at the Bush Hill Oil Cloth Company.

By 1843, he saw the future in iron and joined I.P. Morris & Co. as manager of their machine shops. In 1846, he and four others formed the nucleus of the Bush Hill Ironworks of which he would become sole proprietor by 1870. They built engines and rolling mills and in 1850 Moore travelled to Cuba where he secured an important contract to build machines for processing sugar. By 1870, he enjoyed, "very extensive dealings" with nearly all the large iron and steel workers in the United States, particularly the steel rail mills. He later continued the business with his son and sons-in-law as James Moore & Son.

In 1852, he married Abigail Sharpless Reed, of West Chester, Pennsylvania. They were survived by two daughters and a son. They all lived together (including his sons-in-law) at Farley, the large house he purchased in 1881 at Bridgewater in Bucks County.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 09/12/2021 and last updated on 10/12/2021.