Paris native made her mark

Alice Moore McComas was a force to be reckoned with from an early age

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Paris was a hustling and bustling place in 1850. 

People from all over the eastern part of the United States were migrating west. Many stopped in Paris and Edgar County and made it home for anywhere from a few months, to years or a lifetime. Those families bore children and some of them went on to claim fame in their own rights. The family of the Rev. Jesse Hale Moore and Rachel Hines present such a case.

Jesse Hale Moore and his wife, Rachel, moved to Paris sometime in the 1840s. He was descended from an old Virginia family noted for taking part in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. She was a native of Kentucky and the daughter of one of the most prominent families in the commonwealth. Members of her family included the well-known clergyman William H. Thompson and the famed Indiana jurist John W. Thompson.  

The couple moved to Paris when Jesse Moore accepted the job of President of the Paris Academy. The birth of their daughter Alice Moore June 18, 1850, eventually resulted in one of the biggest contributions made to women’s history.

She was a brilliant child and from the early age of eight years old she had her own strong mindset. Alice Moore constantly astonished the elders of the community with her profound questions. This behavior quickly earned her the nickname “Peculiar.” As she grew and got older, she became more aggressive in holding onto her opinions regarding social and religious behaviors. Although her opinions were sometimes unpopular, she stayed headstrong and relentless. 

She was 10 when the Civil War started in 1861, and she saw her dad off to war. Jesse Moore was mustered out of the Army at the end of the war with the rank of brigadier general. He went on to serve as a U.S. Representative from Illinois and was appointed by President Arthur to U.S. Consul at Callao, Peru, until his death in 1883.

Jesse Moore’s hard work showed through his daughter. At the young age of 15, she wanted to achieve something so much she threw caution to the wind and left her father’s home one Sunday evening. A feat rarely heard of by a minister’s daughter. 

She took a train to St. Louis to achieve the American dream of making it rich. Her dream only lasted a week and against her will, she returned home. After her return, she started secretly writing stories and poems and sending them off to magazines. She finished her education at St. Mary of the Woods College with special honors in music and literary composition and was a prizewinner in elocution.

Alice Moore married the love of her life Judge Charles C. McComas Nov. 14, 1870, and for the next five years devoted herself to being the loving wife and mother she thought she was suppose to be. In 1876, they suffered financial disaster and lost everything. The family was living in Kansas in 1877 and she started writing again under a pen name. 

An 1887 move put the McComas family in Los Angeles, Calif. She continued writing but dropped the pseudonym and used her own name. She wrote for the Los Angeles Evening Express and that connection helped her spread her wings. 

Alice Moore McComas filled in as Vice President of the National Woman Suffrage Association as well as the First Vice president of the Ladies’ Annex to the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the board of directors of the Woman’s Educational and Industrial Union.

During McComas’ term as President of the California Suffrage Society, the first county suffrage convention was held. In her work as president, she also secured a promise of donated land for the first public park in her neighborhood, but the catch was the city had to pay for improvements for the donation to go through. McComas secured an appropriation of $10,000 to make the park a reality.

Throughout her career, Alice Moore McComas contributed to more than 70 newspapers on the topic of suffrage. She also originated the precinct idea as well as wrote a brochure named “The Timely Question.”

One of her biggest jobs was serving as correspondent to three California papers and special contributor of travel sketches to the Los Angeles Times. She wrote a children’s book on the life of a child in California called “Under the Peppers.” 

Alice McComas occasionally addressed public audiences but found her solace in writing. She did a long and thorough investigation of the Panama Canal and from it wrote her book titled “The Women of the Canal Zone.”

For several years, McComas lived in New York but went abroad as an entertainer with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I, after which she returned to her ranch in San Dimas, Calif.

Unfortunately, she was taken sick in the summer of 1919. Her daughter had just returned from overseas and resided with her. In just a few short weeks, the end looked close so the eldest daughter was sent for. Sadly, Alice Moore McComas lost her battle Dec. 19, 1919, due to complications following an attack of acute indigestion. 

McComas is still remembered for the big part she played in women’s suffrage. Without her the outcome may have not been the same.

Paris was a hustling and bustling place in 1850. 

People from all over the eastern part of the United States were migrating west. Many stopped in Paris and Edgar County and made it home for anywhere from a few months, to years or a lifetime. Those families bore children and some of them went on to claim fame in their own rights. The family of the Rev. Jesse Hale Moore and Rachel Hines present such a case.

Jesse Hale Moore and his wife, Rachel, moved to Paris sometime in the 1840s. He was descended from an old Virginia family noted for taking part in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. She was a native of Kentucky and the daughter of one of the most prominent families in the commonwealth. Members of her family included the well-known clergyman William H. Thompson and the famed Indiana jurist John W. Thompson.  

The couple moved to Paris when Jesse Moore accepted the job of President of the Paris Academy. The birth of their daughter Alice Moore June 18, 1850, eventually resulted in one of the biggest contributions made to women’s history.

She was a brilliant child and from the early age of eight years old she had her own strong mindset. Alice Moore constantly astonished the elders of the community with her profound questions. This behavior quickly earned her the nickname “Peculiar.” As she grew and got older, she became more aggressive in holding onto her opinions regarding social and religious behaviors. Although her opinions were sometimes unpopular, she stayed headstrong and relentless. 

She was 10 when the Civil War started in 1861, and she saw her dad off to war. Jesse Moore was mustered out of the Army at the end of the war with the rank of brigadier general. He went on to serve as a U.S. Representative from Illinois and was appointed by President Arthur to U.S. Consul at Callao, Peru, until his death in 1883.

Jesse Moore’s hard work showed through his daughter. At the young age of 15, she wanted to achieve something so much she threw caution to the wind and left her father’s home one Sunday evening. A feat rarely heard of by a minister’s daughter. 

She took a train to St. Louis to achieve the American dream of making it rich. Her dream only lasted a week and against her will, she returned home. After her return, she started secretly writing stories and poems and sending them off to magazines. She finished her education at St. Mary of the Woods College with special honors in music and literary composition and was a prizewinner in elocution.

Alice Moore married the love of her life Judge Charles C. McComas Nov. 14, 1870, and for the next five years devoted herself to being the loving wife and mother she thought she was suppose to be. In 1876, they suffered financial disaster and lost everything. The family was living in Kansas in 1877 and she started writing again under a pen name. 

An 1887 move put the McComas family in Los Angeles, Calif. She continued writing but dropped the pseudonym and used her own name. She wrote for the Los Angeles Evening Express and that connection helped her spread her wings. 

Alice Moore McComas filled in as Vice President of the National Woman Suffrage Association as well as the First Vice president of the Ladies’ Annex to the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the board of directors of the Woman’s Educational and Industrial Union.

During McComas’ term as President of the California Suffrage Society, the first county suffrage convention was held. In her work as president, she also secured a promise of donated land for the first public park in her neighborhood, but the catch was the city had to pay for improvements for the donation to go through. McComas secured an appropriation of $10,000 to make the park a reality.

Throughout her career, Alice Moore McComas contributed to more than 70 newspapers on the topic of suffrage. She also originated the precinct idea as well as wrote a brochure named “The Timely Question.”

One of her biggest jobs was serving as correspondent to three California papers and special contributor of travel sketches to the Los Angeles Times. She wrote a children’s book on the life of a child in California called “Under the Peppers.” 

Alice McComas occasionally addressed public audiences but found her solace in writing. She did a long and thorough investigation of the Panama Canal and from it wrote her book titled “The Women of the Canal Zone.”

For several years, McComas lived in New York but went abroad as an entertainer with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I, after which she returned to her ranch in San Dimas, Calif.

Unfortunately, she was taken sick in the summer of 1919. Her daughter had just returned from overseas and resided with her. In just a few short weeks, the end looked close so the eldest daughter was sent for. Sadly, Alice Moore McComas lost her battle Dec. 19, 1919, due to complications following an attack of acute indigestion. 

McComas is still remembered for the big part she played in women’s suffrage. Without her the outcome may have not been the same.