The Jenny Wiley Festival gets going this week and this year will honor former County Clerk DuRan Moore as “the man who saved history.”
In 1950, DuRan Moore was only 25 years old and was taking office as the state’s youngest county clerk ever. Seven years later, Moore would put the records of Floyd County above his own possessions, as he paddled a canoe into the Old Floyd County Court House.
In 1949, while working at the First Guaranty Bank in Martin, DuRan Moore decided to make a bid for public office. When DuRan ran for office he was told that securing victory meant having to beat one candidate in particular, to which Moore responded, “I have to beat them all to win. If he comes in third, I don’t want to come in second.”
Moore says that he won his first and subsequent elections because of his work ethic. He had opposition every time he ran, but won each election, often with the most votes of any candidate in any race. Moore’s campaign strategy would send him to every door in Floyd County, often into the night, to ask people to vote for him. His creed for public office was simply to make the County Court Clerk’s office a friendly place, a “user-friendly” government office.
In 1957 as the waters of the Levis Fork of the Big Sandy River rolled down the streets of Prestonsburg, DuRan’s first thoughts weren’t of saving his own business, but of protecting the records lodged in the clerk’s office, many of them dating to the county’s establishment. While his own merchandise was floating out of his store and down the river, DuRan was busy moving the public records from the first floor to the top floor. Without his efforts, most if not all of the county’s records would have been lost to disaster.
During the flood, DuRan also opened his doors to over 40 families with homes near Prestonsburg who were displaced by the storm.
While in Prestonsburg, he was a member of Kiwanis and other civic organizations, and a strong advocate of education.He went on to serve 3 terms in office until January 2, 1962 when he and his family moved to Lexington where he has had a successful career in business.
Moore continues to live in Lexington today. A wonderful raconteur with hundreds of stories, his first love remains Floyd County and her people, followed a close second by his love of mountain politics. At the age of 87, he continues to work in the insurance business and remains active with Kiwanis and the Democrat Party of Kentucky.
There will be a reception for DuRan, Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., sponsored by Deskins Motor Co. Inc.