A PIONEER BUSINESSMAN
The earliest commercial building in Webster Groves was built in 1864 by Augustus Moody at the Pacific Railroad tracks and North Gore Avenue. He was the brother-in-law of Charles Connon, a native of Scotland, who had purchased 4 lots on the East side of the intersection for his green house business in 1861.
It was a large frame building attached to his residence. Besides being a meat market, dry goods store, grocery store and general merchandise store, it was the local post office and doctor's office. It was the center of a growing settlement. His son S.A. Moody also ran the operation with Augustus.
One of the many duties of a postmaster was to usher the mail on and off the trains. Since the Pacific Railroad had placed a depot across the tracks from the store, each day Augustus would cross the tracks and exchange the mail bags with the conductor.
On Christmas Eve 1872, Augustus heard the steam engine as a train approached from the West. Every night at 8:40 PM this was the mail train's greeting ... but not this fateful night as it was running late. In the dark, after hearing the engine, he grabbed the mail bag and with his head down proceeded to cross the tracks to greet the conductor. Just as he had done hundreds of times before. But this train was the freight train headed into St. Louis and it did not stop .... striking him and throwing him back 100 feet and to an instant death.
A long time local myth has it that he was killed by the mail bag as it was thrown from the train. The truth was discovered in the transcripts of the wrongful death lawsuit Moody v. The Pacific Railroad Company filed by his widow in 1878 that went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court. She lost her case by the way as the court found the Railroad had fullfilled its obligation by sounding its horn.
In his honor a restaurant was named after him in 1984 and opened at the corner of Gore and Lockwood and operated for 5 years. One of their most popular dishes was called the "Mail Pouch".
Missouri Supreme Courts Cases 1878: https://www.google.com/books/edition/Reports_of_Cases_Determined_by_the_Supre/7lQtAQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=%22moody+v.+The+Pacific+Railroad+Company%22&pg=PA470&printsec=frontcover