One of the founders of modern North Buckhead

This article outlines the history of the Lakemoore estate and suggests the origin of the following North Buckhead names:

Emma Lane
Lake Emma
Lakemoore Drive
Rickenbacker Drive

References in this article to these names and buildings in the Lakemoore area are highlighted in bold.  All of the buildings, homes and bridges shown in this article are believed to still exist.  The homes are 1, 2, and 3 Emma Lane.  The clubhouse is on Lakemoore Drive at the Lakemoore Condominiums.

Thanks to neighbor Kitsie Rigall, who resides on Emma Lane, for loaning us an original copy of the Pure Oil News, which is the source of this material.

From Pure Oil News, April 1945

Note: Click on small pictures to enlarge

The Wiley L. Moore residence rests on a hill in the pine trees at Lakemoore.


 The story of a man who worked hard and used his intelligence to attain success in business and public affairs.

WILEY LEMUEL MOORE was born on October 25, 1888, at Wrightsville, situated midway between Savannah and Atlanta. His father was a contractor engaged primarily in home construction. The family lived where the exigency of his business took him but always in the general neighborhood of Macon. When Wiley was three months' old the family moved, and as he grew into his: school days he acquired his "reading, writing and arithmetic" at Tennille, Dublin and Macon. There were two brothers and two sisters, all of whom are living except Ed, the oldest, who died in 1912. The two sisters live in Macon and the brother in nearby Dublin.

Wiley finished high school without attracting particular attention as a scholar. Like thousands of other youngsters of that period he had an ambition to become a locomotive engineer. As a stepping-stone in this direction he wanted to become a machinist, so he secured a job in the Macon Iron Works at Macon, where, after serving his apprenticeship, he became a full-fledged journeyman. Having learned a good trade, he secured a job in the shop of the Central of Georgia Railway at Macon. While working as a machinist he registered as an "extra" fireman for the railroad. Now and then, when a regular fireman failed to report, Wiley had the opportunity to fire a locomotive on its run. As a young man, these were the days he looked forward to: He was getting along very nicely when the "seniority rule" was adopted by the railroads. Wiley says this was a great disappointment to him, and he calculated that it was fatal to his ambition in the direction he had selected. After deliberation he decided to quit his job. He also gave serious thought to the business with which he would next identify himself.

With full confidence in his future economic security, in 1910 he had persuaded the attractive Emma Bell Coley of Cochran, Georgia, to become his bride. They made their first home in Cochran, forty miles south of Macon.

He concluded -- it was in 1912 -- that the oil business had something to offer. He had acquired some knowledge of oil as a lubricant while working as a machinist, and there seemed to be promise in the growing desire people had for the automobile. They were not numerous in 1912 but it began to look as if they were here to stay, even though they frequently broke down. So Wiley looked for a job with an oil company. He landed one with Morris Kline and his Southeastern Oil Company of Macon. Mr. Kline was doubtful about the young machinist's value, and Wiley was placed on a commission basis with no drawing account-a "root hog or die" arrangement. A sample case was prepared and Wiley started out in his own automobile. The fact that he owned his own car probably got him the job. During the first month his commissions amounted to $105 and they just about balanced the amount he had spent. During that first month, however, Wiley made the encouraging discovery that his experience as a machinist was of great help to him in selling. To take full advantage of his skill he provided a place in his automobile for the excellent set of tools he had accumulated. When he ran across a broken-down automobile he would stop and make repairs if they were not too serious, and at the many small cotton gins and sawmills where he called with his sample case he was able to give helpful assistance in connection with the operation of machinery that was not always too well maintained. These free, voluntary services won many friends.

Even as a young man the cornerstone of Wiley Moore's business and personal philosophy was his desire to make friends and it is not surprising that within six months his monthly commissions had climbed to four and five times his first month's earnings.

Wiley continued to make friends and his commissions grew. It is entirely possible that Mr. Kline thought Wiley was making too much money for a man of his years and that it would not be good for him to do so well, for there was trouble about commissions. After a brief but explosive scene, Wiley was paid the full amount earned and he quit.

With an established clientele there was no difficulty in securing a new source of supply. The Globe Refining Company, a marketing subsidiary of the National Refining Company, took Wiley on as a local selling representative. Both prospered under the arrangement. " After a time important men in the home office at Cleveland, Ohio, noticed Wiley's performance and he was invited there to confer with the general sales manager. Wiley made the trip and came back to Macon as Southeastern Sales Manager for Globe and six southern states as his territory. His job was to employ salesmen, train them and turn them loose in a section of his territory where they were most likely to do well. Wiley worked at this job for five years and made a fine record.

Young Mr. Moore realized he was seldom at home, that he was working day and night, and that he was not doing much better financially than he did on his commission selling. He had saved some money and he began to want to get into the oil business for himself. The sales manager of Globe was disappointed a short time later when he could not dissuade Wiley from that course.

It was on January 1,1917, when the Dixie Oil & Grease Company came to life. The home office was in Macon and Wiley Moore was head man. His first two employees are still with him. With his experience, his wide acquaintance and his ambition, the new company could not fail to prosper. A source of supply was necessary, so after going over the field with some care he made his first supply contract with The Texas Company. Their representative and the man with whom Wiley did business was the late Major D. A. Vann, for many years Vice-President of the Sherrill Oil Company of Pensacola. B. E. Robinson, Pure's head marketing man in Tennessee, was then manager of The Texas Company's Macon plant.

Time passed and the Dixie Oil & Grease Company was going along very nicely with an office opened in Atlanta. There was growing demand for gasoline and oil. As an independent oil marketing business grows, the problem of a certain and adequate supply becomes increasingly important. A fellow in Birmingham, Alabama, 160 miles to the west, had been attracting attention with a motor fuel called "Woco Pep." It was a blend of gasoline and benzol. G. T. Wofford, the man, had contracted for all of the benzol the Birmingham steel mills produced for a long period in advance. He was a painful thorn in the flesh of his competitors in Birmingham and vicinity. With growing sales in Alabama, Wofford Oil had entered the Atlanta field, but in Atlanta marked success had not come to them. As a result, Mr. Wofford was looking for an ambitious and capable young man to put more life into their Georgia activities. It was natural that he found Wiley Moore to his liking and that Wiley Moore found increased strength in the association.

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Wiley L. Moore

So in 1922 Dixie Oil & Grease was merged with Wofford Oil. The Georgia activities were under the corporate name of Wofford Oil Company of Georgia and Wiley Moore was head man in this Georgia endeavor. At the time of the merger, total monthly gasoline sales were around 60,000 gallons. During the next few years the business grew by leaps and bounds and average gasoline sales per month during 1934 were over 4,000,000 gallons.

It is possible that Mr. Wofford wanted to partially cash in, as he had seen phenomenal growth both in the industry and in his own business. He wondered if Wiley Moore would be interested in buying out his Georgia interest and he asked him. This opened a new field of thought to Mr. Moore, and he immediately wrote a letter to Beman G. Dawes in which he told Mr. Dawes, who was President 0f The Pure Oil Company at that time, that he wished to discuss a matter with him and that he believed the subject would be of interest. Mr. .Moore went to the general offices at Columbus for the discussion. C. B. Watson was handling matters of this character and an arrangement was concluded whereby Pure Oil acquired control of the property but Mr. Moore became the president of the corporation with a substantial private interest in it. This became effective in October 1924. A year later Mr. Wofford and the Birmingham company entered into an agreement similar to the one Mr. Moore had made with Pure Oil, except that Mr. Wofford did not wish to remain for long as the operating head of the business.

An incident in connection with one of the early meetings between Beman G. Dawes, C. B. Watson and Wiley L. Moore had to do with the discussion of a poker game. Beman Dawes was talking with Wiley about some of his friends in Georgia. Both enjoyed playing poker. Mr. Dawes asked him if he had ever won any money from a mutual friend, and Mr. Moore said: "No, I don't believe I ever won a nickel from him." After Mr. Moore left the room, Mr. Dawes said to Mr. Watson: '"I believe you can trust that fellow and do business with him. " I never knew anyone who ever won money from 'Mr. Blank' while playing poker."

There followed years of successful marketing operations for the Wofford Oil Company of Georgia. Mr. Moore is recognized as a leading oil marketer in the southeastern part of the country. The Pure Seal is in evidence all over Georgia, and Woco Pep and Tiolene are among the leading petroleum products in the State.

Fortified by an excellent organization in Atlanta. Wiley Moore took on the job of organizing marketing facilities for products of The Pure Oil Company in North and South Carolina during the early 1930's. This was a herculean task.

R. H. McElroy of the Chicago office participated with Mr. Moore in the beginning of the development in the Carolinas and they spent two hectic weeks together. Their accomplishment was substantial, but Mr. McElroy says the thing that impressed itself most deeply in his memory was the fact that Wiley insisted that he, McElroy, pay all expenses and put them on his, McElroy's, expense account. After the habit was established, Mr. McElroy says Wiley invited everyone they met to have the next meal with them. Being a Scotsman himself, McElroy admired this trait greatly and in such a manner, began one of those beautiful friendships.

Mr. Moore and his Carolinas' organization blended a large group of successful independent oil marketers throughout the two States into a single marketing unit during a comparatively short time. At the same time there was an extensive service station and bulk plant construction program. Before the Carolinas' job was entirely finished, he took on a similar development in central and eastern Tennessee. In the past the operation of one company covering a single state has not been a sufficient job to occupy Mr. Moore's seemingly limitless energy.

At the present time Mr. Moore may be found at his desk at the headquarters' office of the Wofford Oil Company of Georgia, 140 Spring Street, S. W., in Atlanta, where he regularly attends to his duties as Chairman of the Board of Directors. The heavy end of the work these days falls on George A. Beattie, President of Wofford Oil Company of Georgia. Mr. Beattie came with Mr. Moore from Birmingham in 1922 when the agreement with Mr. Wofford was made.

Mr. Moore's chief business interest has always been and continues to be the oil company, but he has participated in many other activities during recent years. They are too numerous to be dealt with here in detail, but the following list will give some idea of his other business interests:

He is a director in the Fulton National Bank of Atlanta; this is one of the leading Atlanta banks. He is a director in Eastern Air Lines, Inc., of New York City; this is one of the large air lines and has as its executive head Wiley's friend, Captain E. V. Rickenbacker. He is a director in Associated Transportation Company, Inc., of New York City; this is one of the large trucking companies of the country. And there are six or eight other organizations in which he has an official interest.

Mr. Moore has another side to his life which at times requires even more of his attention than private business matters. He is a citizen of Georgia and of Atlanta who assumes public responsibilities. Since his early days in Macon he has been interested in and fascinated by public affairs. However, he is in no sense a factional politician. He has always kept in mind the desirability of making friends, so he does not indulge in political quarrels.

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The residence of Mr. and Mrs. J. V. Booth at Lakemoore.

Politically, he first held office in Atlanta when he was elected to the Board of Education in 1924 to serve the unexpired term of a departed member. He was elected to the Council in 1925 and served during the six years 1925-1930. During the years 1928, 1929 and 1930 he was chairman of the Finance Committee of the Atlanta Council. In 1930 he ran for Mayor. It was a three-corner race and the winner beat him by something less than 300 votes. Mr. Moore entered the race late and it is quite probable that he would have won had he made a serious fight for the position over the same period that his competitors contested for it. Probably the most interesting thing about that campaign and its aftermath was the fact that the winner, a personal friend, invited him to become Chairman of the Bond Sinking Fund Commission. The Mayor had talked with local bankers about Atlanta's financial condition and whom they could get to look after the City's obligations the bankers suggested to the Mayor that he invite Wiley Moore to take over the job. Mr. Moore's friends are proud of the fact that he accepted the responsibility and that he has continued to serve as chairman of this Commission ever since.

Mr. Moore is usually active around election time. He was Senator George's campaign manager in 1938 and 1944. He is frequently urged to run for public office but, aside from the School Board, the Council and the Mayor's office, he has never been a candidate.

Having friends in high political places carries obligations at times. Before Ellis Arnall became Governor of Georgia he had been critical of prison conditions in the State and he pledged to improve them. When he became Governor, the necessity of fulfilling his pledge imposed a problem. He asked Wiley Moore to accept appointment to the office of State Director of Corrections. The appointment was accepted on a temporary basis with the understanding that there would be no salary or expense money from the State. Mr. Moore was sworn in as Director of Corrections in early October 1943. He devoted considerable time to the job during succeeding months. First, he inspected the camps and institutions, second, he prevailed upon specialists of national reputation to help him. In early November 1943, Lewis E. Lawes, formerly Warden of Sing Sing and competent matters consulted with Mr. Moore along with other experts. Changes began immediately. In February 1944 Mr. Moore told Georgia citizens of expenditures he wanted them to approve in order that adequate provision might be made for the people in Georgia penal institutions. A few days later, the difficult part of the job completed, Mr. Moore sent his resignation to Governor Arnall. Newspapers over the State thanked Wiley Moore in their editorial columns and many thoughtful citizens wrote grateful letters.

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The residence of Mr. and Mrs. James C. Moore at Lakemoore.

The Governor appreciated Mr. Moore's efforts. In reply to a question asked him a few weeks ago, Governor Arnall said: "Wiley Moore is a public spirited citizen who works at the job of citizenship instead of talking about it. Although he is one of the busiest men in Georgia, he has always found it possible to put in another hour's work to accomplish something for his State and his community. His work in reorganizing Georgia's Penal System, serving without compensation as the first director of the Department of Corrections and initiating a program that will be of the utmost value for many years to come, is illustrative of his public service. The best words that I can find to describe Wiley Moore are very simple ones: He is a good citizen."

A newspaper clipping of May 1935 shows Mr. Moore removing the first shovel of dirt for the new Georgia Baptist Hospital Annex. Mr. Moore was chairman of the group which raised $150,000 for construction purposes.

During the NRA days, Wiley Moore was Regional Director of the Petroleum Authority for ten southeastern states. In 1944 he was chairman of a group raising a million dollars for the Georgia Baptist Hospital.

Among his activities, current and past, of a public nature are the following:

He is a member of the Georgia Baptist Hospital Commission. He is chairman of the Advisory Commission of Georgia's State prisons. He is on the Georgia Agricultural and Industrial Board. As previously mentioned, he is chairman of the Sinking Fund Commission of Atlanta. He is president of the United Hospitals Service Association of Atlanta. He was president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce during 1934 and 1935. In that office he was the first to succeed himself. He was chairman of the Finance Committee of the Atlanta City Council during 1928, 1929 and 1930.

In going over hundreds of newspaper clippings about Wiley Moore and his activities one gets the impression that, whenever there is a difficult or unpopular public job to do in Atlanta, Wiley Moore gets it. The newspapers recognize him as "one of Atlanta's more beloved citizens." It is difficult for one to think of a more unpleasant job than becoming chairman of a Sinking Fund Commission in 1932. Certainly to his great successes as a businessman he can claim noteworthy successes as a citizen.

The Moore family consists of Mr. and Mrs. Moore and five children, Wiley L, Moore. Jr. unmarried, is a Lieutenant Commander in the U. S. Navy, currently on the Carrier Ticonderoga.

Walter P. Moore is a Lieutenant, senior grade, in the United States Navy, on an LST transporting troops from England to the Continent and wounded men from the Continent to England. He and Mrs. Moore have one son.

Helen Moore is now Mrs. J. Virylin Booth. She and Mr. Booth reside at their home on Emma Lane, Lakemoore. Mr. Booth is Vice President of Moore, Inc.

James C. Moore is with Bell Aircraft Corporation at Marietta, Ga. He and Mrs. Moore have two children and reside at Lakemoore.

Grace Moore is Mrs. Spencer Howell. She and her young son are making their home with her parents, as her husband, a medical officer in the Army, is now serving at Ft. McPherson. He received a back injury in Italy but is now physically able to render some professional work.

About six years ago Mr. Moore acquired 200 acres of hilly, wooded land approximately ten miles northeast of the Atlanta business district. A small stream flows through his property and he has been able to form a series of small lakes on the place by construction of several dams. There has been considerable road building, landscaping and engineering work. Besides his own residence, there are two other residences in his family group. They are occupied by Mr. and Mrs. James C. Moore and Mr. and Mrs. J. V. Booth. There is also a servants' quarters and ample food storage facilities. Other residences are planned when building restrictions ease. Something like three miles of macadam highways wind through the property. Lakemoore is a beautiful location for homes. There is also a Club House. This building is not far from the main highway, back 200 or 300 yards, and it is approximately 150 feet long and 50 feet wide, extending out into one of the small lakes. There are two floors. On the first floor there is a huge kitchen with all modern facilities. There are two large assembly rooms on the lower floor which may be used for social gatherings or meetings. The C. B. Watson room is about 60 feet long by 50 feet wide, and the George A. Beattie room is approximately 50 feet by 30 feet. On the second floor there are four rooms of varied size.

One of the lakes.  The Wiley Moore residence is behind the trees in the upper left.

The Club House is used for gatherings of business men, church groups and clubs. As one might suspect, there have been many Wofford Oil Company parties there and The Pure Oil Company Board of Directors once held a meeting within its walls. Just across the walk from the Club House is a smaller structure of brick and concrete. It consists of one good sized room with a central table and chairs and seats, and a small service pantry. Here Mr. Moore frequently entertains guests as they can be completely isolated.

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Entrance to the Club House.

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The Club House from one of the lakes.

Across from the entrance to the Club House grounds is Rickenbacker Drive- named in honor of the fine American citizen, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker. Several years ago Captain Rickenbacker invited Mr. Moore to become a director of Eastern Air Lines because of his great knowledge of the Southeast and its people. Captain Rickenbacker said he has found Mr. Moore to be Georgia's number one unofficial citizen and a man that those of Eastern Air Lines consider one of their family.

There is one more thing in which Mr. Moore has a deep interest. It is the farm located near Sparta about 100 highway miles southeast of Atlanta. It consists of approximately 500 acres and here Mr. Moore's farm manager, Jimmy Williams, grows grain, vegetables and live stock. On the property is an old water powered grist and flour mill which continues to grind corn and wheat. It is Mr. Moore's belief that this farm will satisfactorily provide meat, vegetables. flour and cornmeal for the Moore family group at Lakemoore for years to come.

Mr. Moore, at 56 years of age has fulfilled most of his early ambitions in connection with business success, winning friends, earning public approbation and doing the things a successful man likes to do for the members of his family. In speaking with him about his business successes, he remarked that there is always a number of loyal "old- timers" who help meet the problems when they come; people like George A. Beattie, now president of Wofford Oil Company; Wilbur Brown, who is in charge of Atlanta sales; W. D. Tumlin, who is in charge of sales outside of Atlanta; A. M. Ingram, Mr. Moore's assistant; Miss Olive Shepard, who joined Mr. Moore in late 1916 when he was working with Globe Oil and who has been his secretary since that time; and G. C. Lowery who also joined him in early days.

Mr. Moore belongs to the usual number of clubs and lodges, and in sports he enjoys an occasional game of golf and fishing.

Yes, Wiley Moore is a successful business man. He has made a wholesome and adequate provision for his family and he is a good citizen. With great success behind him, he continues to make friends and to remain humble. It would be misleading to insinuate that Wiley Moore has reached his zenith in business or public work for he is a relatively young man in good health. Such a modest man who continues make good friends has no limitation.

One of Wiley's old-time associates said of him, "Wiley is a hard fighter, a good trader and naturally shrewd, but I don't believe he ever did a mean thing in his life."

There are times when Mr. Moore has chance to go on a fishing or hunting trip. His companion on such a holiday is most likely to be Judge Virlyn B. Moore (no relative) of Atlanta. Invited to contribute a few sentences about Wiley Moore as a friend, the Judge composed a page of thoughtful manuscript which concluded with a quotation of verse. To the transmitting letter he added as a post script the following handwritten words: "You cannot put these things down on paper in a way that is satisfactory. Wiley is a great fellow and a true friend. Nothing I have said does him justice." Judge Moore's post script has in it the epitome of the expressed thoughts of so many others - words are inadequate when it comes to expressing one's feelings about a true friend.