Biography of Robert Moran

ROBERT MORAN. – Among the many who have risen to prominence in the Pacific Northwest, the Empire state furnishes a considerable proportion, one of the number being the subject of this sketch. He was born in New York City January 26, 1857, and in that metropolis secured his education, and also mastered the trade of a machinist. In 1875 he concluded to come West, and following up the idea found himself in San Francisco in the fall of that year. Not seeing any opening then for a man possessed with no capital but integrity and push, he soon left that city for the Sound. He arrived in Seattle without a cent, and was among strangers, but this fact did not deter him from making an effort to build himself up, and upon soliciting was given employment as engineer on one of the vessels which ply the waters of the Sound as well as those of Alaska.

In 1882 his mother and brother Peter came to Seattle; and he quit steamboating, and together with his brother started a small machine shop, locating it on Yesler’s wharf. Their capital at the beginning was only about a thousand dollars; but, by efficient management and master workmanship, their business quickly grew to large proportions, they now employing a force of eighty men in their shops. In the great fire of June 6, 1889, their entire plant was destroyed, losing very heavily in consequence; but hardly had the smoking embers cooled before they had commenced to rebuild their establishment on a larger scale. Mr. Moran is also vice-president and general manager of the Seattle Dry Dock and Ship Building Company, which employs about a hundred and fifty men. In 1887 the citizens of the fourth ward induced him to accept the nomination for the city council, and upon his acceptance elected him by a very handsome majority. In that position he made such a commendable record, and gained so many friends, that he could not well decline to run for mayor in 1888, which he did, and was elected, and again re-elected to the same position in 1889.

In the material welfare of the “Queen City,” Mr. Moran has taken a deep and very active interest; and all enterprises tending towards its advancement have met with encouragement from him. At the time her business portion, including Mr. Moran’s interests, were in ashes, he gave no thought to self, but devoted his entire time to the affairs of his office, and in devising ways and means for the protection, assistance and rebuilding of the stricken city. During this great trial the executive ability displayed by him was remarked and favorably commented upon by all who knew or read of what the situation was, and what he had to contend with. In the rebuilding and remodeling of the streets, his ideas of what should be done were generally adopted; and through such Seattle enjoys much better thoroughfares than ever before, and which would be a credit to any city on the coast.

In politics Mr. Moran is a Republican, but as an office holder his thought is not for party, but rather for the best interests of the community at large, irrespective of party affiliation. He intends to eschew “public trust” on the expiration of his present term as mayor; but it is doubtful if his many friends will admit of his retirement, and may push him forward to higher honors. His part as a man of tact, and his ability in the management of his business affairs, well portend to what extent they will grown, and point out a coming millionaire.

Mr. Moran was married in his adopted home to Miss M. Paul in 1882. The fruits of the union are two children.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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