Joel E. Moss
Founder of J. E. Moss Iron Works
-- from History of West Virginia, Old and New -- Chicago: American Historical Society, 1923. v. 2., p. 21
JOEL E. MOSS has become one of the most influential industrial leaders in Wheeling within a comparatively few years. He has developed one of the principal industries of the city, the J. E. Moss Iron Works, of which he is president. While this is his main business, he is interested in a number of financial and industrial organizations, and at all times has kept in close touch with the civic welfare.
Mr. Moss was born in New York City January 19, 1887. His father, Julius Moss, was born in Bavaria, Germany, in 1852, and was reared in his native country, where he learned the trade of ornamental iron worker. About 1875 he came to the United States, and for a number of years followed his trade in New York City, where eventually he became superintendent of the Prince & Kinkel Iron Works. In 1895 he removed to Wheeling, and organized and started the Architectural Iron & Wire Works, a business he conducted by himself until 1900, after which for two years his brother-in-law, E. A. Reich, was his partner. Two years later Julius Moss retired, and he died at St. Louis in 1904. He was a democrat in his political affiliations, was member of the Eoff Street Temple and was affiliated with the Knights of Pythias and Ancient Order of United Workmen. He married Celia Reich, who was born in Austria in 1860, and died at Wheeling in 1912, she having come to the United States with her mother when a girl. Julius and Celia Moss had seven children. The oldest, Julius, is an advertising manager in the theatrical business at Chicago; Jerome A. is a general contractor at Chicago; Joel E. is the third; Edward A. is a steel contractor at Cleveland; Miss Rosa is engaged in social service work at Cleveland; Jeannette is the wife of Samuel Orenstein, in the bakery business at Steubenville, Ohio; Miss Sarah Leah is a teacher in the kindergarten department of the Cleveland public schools.
Joel E. Moss was eight years of age when the family moved to Wheeling. He first attended school in New York City, and was pupil in the Wheeling High School until 1901. By home study through the International Correspondence School of Scranton he perfected his technical knowledge of structural engineering. While thus studying he was doing practical work as an employee of the Architectural Iron and Wire Works until July, 1910, and he then engaged in business for himself as a contractor and quickly had an extensive business involving contracts all over the state. After a year he started a small shop on Eighteenth Street as an auxiliary to his contracting business, this shop employing only ten men at the beginning. Within a year the quarters were outgrown, and in 1913 he secured a piece of ground on Twenty-eighth Street and built a modern plant, while the following year he bought the plant of the Architectural Iron & Wire Works, and by subsequent extensions the plant now covers six acres of ground and employs 500 men. The annual business is in excess of $2,500,000. This plant is equipped for the manufacture of structural and ornamental steel products of all kinds and these products are shipped all over the country. The plant and officers are at Twenty-eighth and Chapline streets.
While this is a business constituting heavy cares and responsibilities for Mr. Moss, he is also a director in the Quarter Savings & Trust Company of Wheeling, the Wheeling Axle Company, the North Wheeling Glass Bottle Company, and is president of the Compo Tile Fire Proofing Company. He is a director of the Industrial Relations Association of Wheeling, is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and his counsel is sought in all matters affecting the industrial welfare. He is a republican, a member of the Eoff Street Temple, is a past president of the Independent Order of B'Nai B'Rith, and is affiliated with Nelson Lodge No. 30, A. F. and A. M., West Virginia Consistory No. 1 of the Scottish Rite, Osiris Temple of the Mystic Shrine and Wheeling Lodge No. 28, B. P. O. E. During the war he had a place on many of the committees for the sale of Liberty Loan Bonds, raising the funds for Red Cross and other purposes. Mr. Moss owns considerable improved real estate in Wheeling, including his modern home on Hilltop, overlooking the Pike District, where he has a modern country home. On September 14, 1914, at Astabula, Ohio, he married Miss Sarah Thomas, daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Thomas, residents of Wheeling, where her father is foreman of the La Belle Mill of the American Sheet & Tin Plate Company. Mr. and Mrs. Moss have four children: Joel Kenneth, born October 13, 1915; Jerome Leo, born February 15, 1918; Cecil Reich, born August 23, 1919; and Jay Eea, born on Mr. Moss' birthday, January 19, 1922.