Biography: D. M. “Bullhide” Moore

D. M. Moore was born in Ophir, Oregon, February 12, 1886, the sixth son of D. L. and Mary Cook Moore. His parents crossed the plains and settled on a ranch in the Willamette valley in 1880. A few years later they came to Curry County, where Moore engaged in logging on the Rogue River and drove a bull team in the Port Orford area.

The later settled on a ranch in Ophir and had eight sons and one daughter. The daughter and one son died in infancy. The boys were: Thomas William, William W., Asher H. (killed in a car accident), James, Walter, D. Milton (“Bullhide”) and Willis.

While a young man, Moore and his older brother, Walter, bought a store. Moore operated it until 1909. He also went to work on the home ranch until January 1, 1908, when he purchased a saloon from F. L. Crew and Son, located on the site of the present Drift Inn Motel in Gold Beach. He operated the saloon for about nine months and then sold it to Ira Moore. Next he started a meat market behind the Bishell Hotel where he sold meat by the chunk.

In the early years Moore noticed the cowhides were thrown away. When he opened his meat market in 1908, he started buying hides from the farmers and paid them a dollar for each one. He cleaned and preserved them until he had a sufficient number to ship. The name “Bullhide” was attached to him by County Judge Ed Bailey, and he became known as Bullhide up and down the coast. He received telegrams and mail addressed to Bullhide, and his wife and daughters were often called Mrs. Bullhide or Miss Bullhide.


He married Ruby Miller, the daughter or Mr. and Mrs. Ed Miller, at the home of E. A. Bailey, in 1908. They reared a family of nine children: Mary Thomas, Lena James, Velma Ross, Phylllis Walker, Doris Freeman, and Oma Adelle Stewart.

In June 1909, he started a general merchandise store in Gold Beach. The store was opened in a new building which had belonged to A. H. Gauntlett, built near where the courthouse now stands. A pool hall occupied the back of the building. On October 7, 1912, the County awarded a contract to Bauer and Stafford to move the building to the west side of the street. The contract was for 4400, but the contractor had to post a $1,000 bond. This business was sold to C. J. Marks and Frank Katherland in 1917.

Moore was postmaster of Gold Beach for three years, and for many years was clerk of the school board.

In 1915, he hired Frank Colvin and Charlie Gauntlett to run his grocery business so he could contract and build the first car road to Jerry’s Flat.

On February 5, 1918, the People’s Company was opened with fifty members in the company. When the operation closed in 150, on seven members remained. D. M. Moore managed the store for thirty-two years, during which time they operated a butcher shop and slaughterhouse which were government inspected and supplied meat to the Civilian Conservation Corps camps in Coos, Curry and Josephine counties in 1933. Moore bought, sold and shipped livestock to Portland and San Francisco markets. He helped promote the first Lamb and Wool Show, held in 1933 behind the court house.

In 1919, he built a cheese factory at Pistol river and one at Ophir. Tony Rath was hired as butter maker in the Ophir factory from 1923 to 1925. Carl Linke was the cheese maker. Z. J. Crockett made the cheese in the Pistol River Factory from 1919 to 1921. Ralph Helmken made the cheese in 1922 and James Walker from 1924 to January 23, 1928. Moore then sold the Pistol River Cheese Factory to W. J. Walker, having sold the Ophir factory to Carl Linke in 1925. The butter and cheese from these factories was sold to Swift and Company, with the Brookfield label on the cheese.

Between 1925 and 1930, Moore and Charles F. Morse operated the Moore and Morse Water Company. On January 30-, 1950, they sold this enterprise to J. C. Leith, and it became the Gold Beach Water, Light and Power Company.

In 1943, the company leased, from the Lloyd Corporation, the MacLeay Estate Company Ranch, which consisted of 9,000 acres on which sheep and cattle were raised.

For many years, the only way to transport merchandise to Gold Beach was by boat. The People’s Company owned the Della, which was wrecked at Port Orford. The Osprey and the Tramp came into the rogue from 1915 to 1925. Then the company obtained its own truck and hauled merchandise from Coos Bay, which was then Marshfield.

Moore married Ruth Mary Lane on October 14, 1939, in Los Angeles, California. She passed away on October 8, 1943. In August 1944, he married Kate Caughell.

When Gold Beach became incorporated in, D. M. Moore was elected to the city council and served seven years.

The People’s Company closed its doors in 1950 and Bullhide retired after serving the public for forty-one years.

He could not stay inactive long, and on October 8, 1951, he purchased a 3/8th interest in the Caughell and Fromm ranch, which consisted of 3,000 acres at Powers, Oregon. He maintained his interest until his death on January 28, 1965.

Being proud of his Bullhide Moore nickname, the family had an outline of a bull sandblasted on his tombstone with the nickname inscribed as well. Near the entrance of the Curry County Courthouse is a water fountain, benches and an historical marker placed there in his memory by his descendants.