WILLCOX Cowboy Hall of Fame inductees


Gus Lee Moore was born January 10,1878 in Austin, Texas. His parents were William P. and Nancy Smith Moore. Gus was introduced to cattle, horses and ranch life at an early age, as his father worked and trained horses on several ranches in the San Angelo area.

By the time he was 14, he was a good hand, so good that he was asked by Ab Blocker, famous trail herd boss and friend of Gus' father to join a cattle drive from Texas to Abilene, Kansas. One of his biggest disappointments in his life was when his parents wouldn't let him go, as they thought he was too young.

Gus' first jobs in Texas included working in a livery stable, ranch work and working on the construction of the new courthouse in Sherwood in 1890.

In 1901, at 23, Gus left Texas headed for Arizona. He first saw Willcox from the window of a Southern Pacific train as he passed through this valley headed for Tucson. His first impression of Willcox was very doubtful. It seemed a small desolate town. Little did he know he would soon end up at the base of the Dos Cabezas Mountains breaking horses for Brannick Riggs, and that this area would be his home for better than a half century.

Gus' first job in Arizona was breaking horses at the Riggs' Home Ranch. When the horses were broken, they were driven to Bisbee and sold. In Bisbee, Gus obtained a job with the OK Livery Stable. His work involved driving a stagecoach from Cananea, Sonora to the end of the railroad 30 miles away.

In March 1902, Gus went back to work at the Riggs' Home Ranch. On August 6th, Gus Lee Moore and Lucy Elizabeth Riggs, the youngest daughter of Brannick and Mary Riggs, were married. During the early years of their marriage, while working for Brannick Riggs, Gus was present on many of the largest roundups in Cochise County. These included the Chiricahua Cattle Company, Erie Land and Cattle Company, JH Ranch and other ranches in the area. On these roundups he met many of his Texas cowboy friends who had come west to Arizona.

In 1903, Gus and Lucy and their infant son, William Riggs Moore, moved to a ranch east of Willcox in the foothills of the Dos Cabezas mountains. Here five more children were born, Frank, Elizabeth, Lila, Marjorie and GLL. Jr. The children were raised on the ranch and all attended Willcox schools. The family has many fond memories of ranch life.

Gus and Lucy continued to operate the Gus Moore Ranch until their death, Lucy in 1965 and Gus in 1973.

Gus Moore spent his entire life in the cattle business, from the early Texas years to over a half century in Arizona. Through years of hard work and dedication he made his mark in the ranching industry. He helped blaze the trail for others in the industry to follow.

Gus lived at a time when people traveled in covered wagons and they trail drove longhorn steers to Abilene, Kansas. He was still ranching when man walked on the moon. The ranch he established remains in the family after 92 years.