The Heroines

Elsie Brack Moore

is honored with a Medium Paver from Robert Moore.

Elsie Brack Moore was the measuring stick for her father's wheat crop in the beginning of the 20th century. Every spring John Brack would lead his small daughter into the golden field to help determine the progress of his endeavor. Elsie remained a person who was always helpful to others. With her high ethical standards, positive attitude, strength and courageousness in the face of adversity, Elsie was a guide for all who knew her.

Elsie began life in 1900 as the daughter of Volga German immigrants on the plains of Rush County, Kansas. She rode a pony to a one-room schoolhouse that only provided education through the eighth grade. Elsie excelled in school and was rewarded for her love of learning when her teacher made the unprecedented offer to instruct Elsie in ninth-grade curriculum. Elsie's clear vision of the importance of education continued throughout her life, not only by self-educating herself, but also by instilling a passion for learning in her children and grandchildren. She encouraged each of them to read and be creative, visit libraries and museums, and do well in school. She succeeded in her endeavor. All of her four children and fifteen grandchildren are college educated, as well as some of her growing great-grandchildren.

In 1918 Elsie married Henry Jacob Moore. Henry bought Elsie's homecooking at a local charity box-lunch auction and they soon formed a partnership that lasted more than 60 years. They worked their farm and, for a short time, these early life-long entrepreneurs owned and managed a restaurant together. With a family of four young children to feed and clothe, the Great Depression of the 1930's struck, along with the Kansas Dust Bowl days, and hard times became a reality for Elsie. However, her strength and courageousness coupled with her lively sense of humor and sharing personality would become a significant factor in the survival of her family and other community members.

Elsie lived and put into practice the Christian faith her immigrant parents had taught her as a young child with her own unique talents. During the 1930's, countless families went hungry and feeding her own family was difficult. However, hungry neighborhood children would confidently line-up on Elsie's doorstep for thick, warm slices of homemade bread that were freely handed out with regularity. Even the neighborhood adults benefited as Elsie's oldest son delivered her tasty, freshly-baked bread. He recalls, "I regularly delivered hot product to these neighbors, probably at about ten cents a loaf. The Oldhams always took two loaves, and while these were crusty and aromatic from Elsie's own starter, tore them into pieces for sugaring or dunking as a main course. This to me was an awesome sight. Dad Oldham, as fat as King Cole, and his two little guys about my size, ate as if famished. Poor Mamma Oldham! She could only flutter and offer the sweet condiments as the bread went down. When I reported to Elsie about those orgies, she laughed until the tears came."

Over the years her children and grandchildren were the center of her life and her primary concern. She attended the birth of most of her grandchildren, even though it meant going from coast to coast across the country. Throughout her life, Elsie supported her family physically and emotionally with the help of her partner, Henry. She was quick thinking and grasped situations readily, laughed and was happy in the present. She never complained about the past, seldom worried about the future, and made the most out of the present. She loved life.

September 14, 1998