929 Holyoake Road

The two-story Queen Anne Victorian house on the northeast corner of Troy and Holyoake Roads was built for George Loren Moorman in late 1902. A machinist at the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company at the time, Moorman would enjoy a successful career with the company, and become an extraordinary leader in the community. 

Moorman was unmarried when he contracted with A. J. Hoffman to build the house, but needed a large home to accommodate his mother and brothers. The house on Holyoake, which cost $2,045 to build, would become the home base for the extended Moorman family as they scattered across the country.

The Moorman family’s first acquaintance with Edwardsville came when Frank Moorman, the oldest of five surviving sons of Mrs. May Moorman, came to work for N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company of Leclaire. A few years later, in 1896, his mother and brothers followed, sharing a rented home with Frank on Schwarz Street. 

Following in Frank’s footsteps, George Moorman went to work for N. O. Nelson Mfg in 1899 at the age of 17. But unlike his brother who joined the military after fulfilling financial obligations to the family, George would remain with the company his entire career, retiring in 1955 as manager of Bignall And Keeler, a division of the N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Company. He was employed by Nelson for 47 years, commuting to St. Louis in the latter years when the factories at Leclaire closed.

George married May McCune in June of 1908 and they raised three children in the home, George, Jr., Elizabeth and Margaret. Mrs. Moorman was known as a fine ceramist and had one of the first china kilns in the Edwardsville area. According to early newspaper articles her work was highly regarded. One of her commissions was from the power company who hired her to place names of businesses on gas-light globes in Edwardsville and surrounding communities. Pieces of her china are on display at the Madison County Historical Museum.

May McCune Moorman was out cutting flowers in her yard the morning of July 4, 1941 when she had a stroke. A few hours later, she died at the hospital in Alton at the age of 56. A former teacher, active in the community and from a prominent family, her loss was felt by many in Edwardsville and Leclaire.

Four years later, George Moorman married for the second time. His second wife, Mabel Allen, lived across the street at 926 Holyoake Road and was his secretary at N. O. Nelson Manufacturing Co. A spinster, Mabel was 55 years old when she married George Moorman. The couple was quietly married at St. John’s Methodist Church the evening of December 18, 1941. The next day, without previously revealing their secret, they attended a Rotary luncheon where they arranged for Santa to distribute packages containing Christmas carol booklets inscribed with the names of “Mr. and Mrs. George L. Moorman.” After the wedding Mr. Moorman moved across the street and the house at 929 Holyoake was sold.