James Moir was a son of
James Moir, M.D., a surgeon in the British Navy, and Margaret Stenhouse.
He was born on the 15th March, 1817, in Edinburgh, Scotland, and died on
the 7th December, 1899, at his residence, No. 26 West 10th Street, New
York City, in the eighty-third year of his age.
He first attended the
High School and later entered the University of Edinburgh, sailing for
the United States in 1836, when but nineteen years old. On his arrival
in this country he was for some years with the old dry-goods commercial
house of Andrew Mitchell & Co., which was founded by a Scotchman and had
many affiliations with the Glasgow merchants. Mr. Moir subsequently
became a partner in the firm of William Wilmerding & Co., and later was
senior partner of the house of Havert, Zigomala & Co., of Manchester,
England. A few years later he became head of Aborn, Moir & Co. of New
York, doing a large and prosperous dry goods commission business.
In 1876 Mr. Moir retired
from active participation in commercial affairs, although he continued
to keep in touch with his business associates for some years. He was a
member of the Union Club and many other social organizations, and at the
time of his death a director in the Bank of New York.
Mr. Moir was the last
living member of his branch of the family, all his brothers and sisters
having pre-deceased him. He was a man of catholic tastes in literature,
and took a deep interest in the New York Society Library, where he was a
constant and voracious reader during the latter years of his life. It is
said that he could read and digest, upon the average, a new book each
day. An ardent admirer of the classics, even during the Winter of his
death he planned out for himself a course of reading in Latin.
He was first elected a
member of Saint Andrew’s Society on the 30th November, 1850, but
resigned some years later. Thereafter he was again elected a member on
the 30th November, 1859, and qualified as a life member in 1866. He
served as a Manager of the Society, 1864-1867; as Second Vice-President,
1867-1870; as First Vice-President. 1870-1872, and as President in
1872-1873. Thereafter he served as a member of the Standing Committee in
1875, 1880-1888, and the Committee of Accounts in 1877. Upon his
election to the Presidency he donated the generous sum of one thousand
dollars to the Permanent Fund.
Mr. Moir married on the
3d June, 1845, in New York City, Mary McElroy, daughter of the Rev.
Joseph McElroy, D.D., and Marianne Fox Walker, and had issue: (1) Joseph
McElroy, born 16th March, 1846; (2) Margaret Stenhouse, born 25th
October, 1848; (3) Marianne Walker, born 25th October, 1848; (4)
Josephine Mason, born 26th June, 1853; (5) James Moir, born 1855; (6)
William Wilmerding, born 30th March, 1857; (7) Ann Poyntelle, born i860;
(8) Arthur Duncan, born 4th April, 1864.
The portrait of Mr. Moir
is copied from an excellent photograph now in the possession of his son,
Mr. Arthur Duncan Moir.