William Moore was an early settler and surveyor in Los Angeles. He worked for the Los Angeles city surveyor's office as early as the 1850s and served as the Los Angeles county surveyor in 1857, 1858-59 and 1861. He also worked as the Los Angeles city surveyor in 1868 and 1873. Moore conducted surveys of many of the city's major streets, neighborhoods, and real estate tracts. From his diaries, it also appears that he invested in real estate in the downtown area. In the late 1860s and 1870s he began working for the Canal and Reservoir Company owned by Isaias Hellman and John G. Downey. Hellman was a prominent Los Angeles banker and Downey served as governor of California during the Civil War. They partnered in the creation of the Canal and Reservoir Company, which created a system of canals to divert water from the Los Angeles River and bring it to the neighborhood now known as Bunker Hill. They also collaborated to found the well-known Farmers and Merchants Bank in Los Angeles. Moore knew both men and worked for the Canal and Reservoir Company surveying and overseeing work on the canal system. After work on the canals, Moore worked with the Los Angeles city council on the city's sewer system. Moore also completed a number of other surveying projects around Southern California, including a survey of the San Gabriel Mission and its lands as well as the Los Nietos township (owned by John Downey and eventually incorporated as the city of Downey). According to his diaries, he also surveyed areas of the Arroyo Seco. Moore's work also included projects with Los Angeles mayor Prudent Beaudry and the prominent Boyle, Temple, and Workman families. Moore was a bilingual English and Spanish speaker and practiced his language skills by writing some of his diary entries in Spanish. His language skills may have helped him secure work surveying land for some of Southern California's wealthy Mexican-American families. In the 1890s, Moore also invested in agricultural land in Southern California and grew oranges during the region's citrus boom.
Scope and Content
This collection contains the following series: manuscripts, correspondence, legal documents, ephemera, and oversize. The manuscripts include Moore's daily diaries as well as his field books. The diaries contain short entries reflecting his business activities. The field books contain sketches and calculations of his various surveying projects. The small series of correspondence includes letters from friends written to Moore and his wife. The correspondence also includes one letter from Moore to his wife about his discovery of gold during a mining expedition in 1878. The legal documents include contracts, deeds, indentures, leases, and promissory notes. The two oversize ledgers include notes and drawings of Moore's various surveying projects.