PARIS – Hollis Moore was born in Oxford Hills in 1814, the sixth and final child of Elisha Moore and Elizabeth Morse Moore.

Elizabeth was a resident of Paris and a member of a seafaring family. When she married Elisha, a native of Southboro, Massachusetts it was he who moved to her hometown to establish their shared household.

The town of Paris hosts events throughout the year at Moore Park, which was established with a gift from Hollis Moore, who was born in Oxford Hills in 1810 and died in 1884. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Hollis Moore was beckoned in the opposite direction when he reached adulthood, marrying Mary F. Sanger of South Boston and adopting Massachusetts as his home state from then on.

A man of means, Moore did not forget where he came from, bequeathing much of his estate to western Maine individuals and institutions upon his death. His wife Mary was to be well cared for after his passing but, with no offspring of their own, Moore’s will became a who’s who of family and friends in Maine, in Massachusetts, and across the country as far as California.

Generosity aside, Moore was preoccupied with the details of his estate. Every asset listed – mostly cash to be distributed one year after his passing – came with stipulations of how it would be distributed in the event the situation of the recipient was different than at the time of his will.

Moore Park, a gift from Hollis Moore to the town of Paris, has been a landmark in town for almost 140 years. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

Notable among the beneficiaries around Oxford Hills is Moore Park in South Paris, which bears his name. Shortly before his death in 1884, Moore had a codicil added to his will, dictating that $1,000 be used to purchase “a lot of land now owned by Mrs. Mary Dennet in the Village of So. Paris Me for a Park. Said land I give to the Village of So. Paris Me. To be kept for a park forever.”


In the case of establishing a park in South Paris, Moore directed if the Dennet plot could not be acquired than the $1,000 would instead go to care for “the Poor said town Paris, Me.”

In another example of Moore’s evolving will, to Nancy E. Deering, daughter of James Deering of South Paris, he left $5,000 in cash. But in case her death preceded his, he wished that her share of his estate instead be gifted to the “South Paris Village for the purpose of the Public Library building and books.”

Later, Moore decided that in the event that Nancy Deering passed he would instead leave $2,500 to General Hospital in Portland for free beds and the remaining $2,500 go to the Maine Congregational Mission Society.

Moore’s extended family was scattered around western Maine and he made sure all were provided something to remember him by.

To his namesake and son of his older brother Dexter, Moore left his gold watch and chain, a gift that demonstrated his connection to his nephew.

The younger Hollis was also to receive $800 in cash, as would his brothers Freeman, William, Jairus and Lewis. Dexter Moore would receive $700, less than his five sons.


Either the total of Moore’s estate continued to grow, or beneficiaries mentioned elsewhere fell out of favor, for it was not long before he amended the amounts to $1,000 per nephew.

Moore was generous, although not in equal parts, to houses of worship in Oxford Hills. He left $500 to the Congregational Church in Lovell, where it is assumed his brother with his extended family were members. The Congregational Church in South Paris would receive $1,000. The Methodist Episcopal Church, also in South Paris, was to be given $1,300, with the condition that “from that amount there shall be placed in the steeple of the church a town clock and whatever surplus after than shall remain shall go the Society.”

Two churches in the Craigs Mills village were to be remembered too: the Congregational Church received $500 and the Methodist Episcopal $500. The counterparts of those churches residing in Norway received $200 each.

No fewer than 10 churches and their affiliated missions around the South Boston neighborhood where Moore resided received amounts ranging from $200 to $2,000.

Moore was also generous to a number of public institutions. His will directed that orphanages, homes for the elderly and the poor, the YMCA receive bequests.

Later iterations of his will included the Old Ladies Home in Portland and the Home for Aged Colored Women Boston, each to receive $500.

And the list of individuals with bequests became ever longer as his relatives’ and friends’ families grew larger over time.

By Oct. 2, 1884, the day before his 80th birthday, Moore made the final changes to his will. It was in this writing that he included provisions to establish Moore Park in his childhood hometown. He passed away one month later on Nov. 1, ensuring that Moore Park would become a mainstay of Paris as it remains today.

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