Frankie "Polk" Moore

Belle Moore's Brother, in Love and in Trouble

Unfortunately, some Clark County orphans ended up serving time in the the Indiana State Reformatory South, among them Belle Moore’s brother William Frank “Polk” Moore. Belle was a fiery, original individual who captured the interest of reporters with her willful character. According to the 1900 US Census, Belle’s mother, Sallie Ulrich, had given birth to five children in her lifetime. Three had already died by the time the Census taker recorded Sallie's name. Belle may have been among the dead.

The Moore children’s short, difficult lives underscore the tragic conditions of 19th century orphans. Their mother, Sallie, may not have wished to abandon them to the orphanage, but with few types of work or assistance available to families at the time, some widows had to choose between surrendering their children and watching their families starve.

The daughter of John and Naomi Crum of Clark County, Sallie married William Moore in 1866. Upon William’s death in 1874, she was left to care for their children alone. According to the 1880s US Census, no children lived with Sallie at that time. No complete list of Sallie’s children exists. Belle and Frank, however, did not pass through this world unnoticed.

Frank Moore never caught the media’s attention to the same extent as his convention-flouting, beautiful sister, Belle, but his fate is more easily discovered than hers. No news story indicates where he lived when he was a small child living away from his mother. However, he made news on occasion as a petty criminal with a suicidal streak.

In 1898, Frank married Fannie Leuthold. On March 30th of that year, the Jeffersonville Evening News reported that married life did not agree with Frank. Less than a month after his marriage, Frank consumed strychnine with the intention of killing himself. However, he survived.

Less than two months later, Frank entered the Indiana Reformatory at Jeffersonville, showing up there in the 1900 Census. The Indiana Archives and Records Administration Institutional Index lists his crime as grand larceny, with a sentence of one to fourteen years. During his time in prison, Fannie gave birth to their only child, a girl, and divorced Frank.

After his release in May of 1901, after a few minor brushes with the law he somehow made it to Cincinnati, where he died in 1911, only 37 years old. The cause of death is unknown. Although death records were common by 1880, the fates of Sallie’s other children are lost to time.



1168-1116 S Clark Blvd, Clarksville, IN 47129