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M. F. Moriarty


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"Spokane and The Spokane Country - Pictorial and Biographical - Deluxe Supplement." Vol. II. The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912. (No author listed.) pgs. 228-231.


       PROBABLY no one citizen has been more prominent or influential in the commercial development of Reardan than the late M. F. Moriarty, who had been successfully identified with the business interests of the town for nineteen years at the time of his death and had contributed largely toward the financial success of various local enterprises. He was born in Fillmore county, Minnesota, on the 10th of June, 1857, and was a son of Florenze and Mary (Pierce) Moriarty, both natives of County Kerry, Ireland. The father engaged in railroad contracting in Minnesota during the early years of his residence in this country, but he subsequently turned his attention to agricultural pursuits.
       Reared in a home of moderate circumstances, M. F. Moriarty was given but meager opportunities for learning during his boyhood and youth, his education being confined to the course provided by the district school. On the 20th of May, 1889, he came to the northwest, first locating in Spokane. A few months later he went to Deep Creek, where he remained for about a year. In the fall of 1890 he bought grain for a short time at Mondovi, where by his generosity, his open-hearted and strictly honest business methods, he formed lasting friendships among the tillers of the soil. From there he came to Reardan, thereafter making this city his home. At that time he was a grain buyer for the Northern Pacific Elevator Company, but he subsequently left their employ and engaged in the mercantile business in this city. He was a man of tireless energy and applied himself to any-thing he undertook with that earnestness of purpose that invariably wins success by reason of its unceasing persistence. His undertakings were always characterized by keen discernment and excellent judgment, and he never went into any enterprise without planning definitely his course of action, carefully considering every possible issue, and as a result he prospered and became known as one of the most capable and efficient business men not only of Reardan but of Lincoln county. In 1899 he became associated with J. K. Smith and others in the Washington Grain & Milling Company, of which firm he was president and manager. This likewise proved to be a very profitable enterprise, owing to the judicious management and sagacity Mr. Moriarty exercised in expanding its interests. In 1902 he and his associates further extended the scope of their activities by purchasing a controling interest in the Reardan Exchange Bank of Reardan, of which Mr. Moriarty was president until his death. It is largely due to his capable guidance of its affairs as well as his foresight and discretion that this institution is now numbered among the well established and stable banks of the county.
       On the 18th of May, 1891, Mr. Moriarty was united in marriage to Miss May Morton, a daughter of Elias and Elizabeth (Van Eman) Morton, natives of Lawrence county, Pennsylvania. The father was a shoemaker by trade, but the latter years of his life were entirely devoted to agricultural pursuits. Two children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Moriarty, Ella M. and Francis F., who have not yet completed their education.
       Mr. Moriarty was a communicant of the Roman Catholic church. His fraternal relations were confined to his membership in the Woodmen of the World and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In politics he was a democrat and had the distinction of being Reardan's first mayor, in which capacity he served for two terms, manifesting in the discharge of his public duties the same promptness, unswerving purpose and fidelity to the trust reposed in him that characterized his business transactions. During Cleveland's last administration Mr. Moriarty also served as postmaster.
       He was a most unusual man and possessed many rare qualities, not least of which was his democratic spirit and sympathetic understanding that made him the friend of all. He was as ready to rejoice over the successes of his friends as to sympathize at their misfortunes and was at all times ready to lend aid to the unfortunate. There passed before his bier a strange assemblage composed of day laborers and bankers, representatives of large business interests and state legisla-tors, and one and all could relate some little incident of an intimate, personal nature indicative of this man's greatness of heart and magnanimity.
       One incident related by a former business associate that illustrates his generous spirit of helpfulness occurred when he was engaged in the grain business. A poor season and hard times had compelled the farmers to dispose of all of their wheat in order to provide their fam-ilies with the actual necessities of life, so when the planting season came they were without seed. In their need they sought the keeper of the warehouse, and frankly stated their circumstances, asking him to extend them credit for the grain they needed to plant their fields.
       The manager laid the matter before Mr. Moriarty, asking what he should do, as the farmers had neither grain nor money and in case of crop failure they might not get their seed back. "Well," he replied, "their families must live even if we never get the seed back; let them have it."
       This man's life and his successes should prove an inspiration and incentive to every young man, who is struggling for recognition, as he was in every sense of the word self-made. The limited advantages afforded him in his early years were never permitted to be a hindrance nor an excuse in his struggle to attain the goal, and his leisure mo-ments were wisely and judiciously spent in reading carefully chosen books. He was a lover of art, music and literature and availed himself of every opportunity to extend his knowledge and understanding as well as appreciation of the best things the world has to offer along these various lines.
       Mr. Moriarty died on June 28, 1911, and in speaking of him one of the local papers said: "By his death the people of Reardan have lost a companionable friend and citizen, one who exerted a valuable influence in building up the town from its pioneer conditions to the prosperous little city it is today. The entire community has lost a firm and loyal neighbor, and a vacancy is caused which cannot be filled."

Submitted by: Nancy Pratt Melton

* * * * Notice: These biographies were transcribed for the Washington Biographies Project. Unless otherwise stated, no further information is available on the individuals featured in the biographies.


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