Saturday, June 24, 2017

Thomas Overton Moore

This gentleman was a North Carolinian. The esteem in which his family were held in their native State is evidenced by the naming of Moore County for them. Governor Moore's grandfather on the distaff side was General Thomas Overton, who held the position of major during the Revolutionary War under General Lee's father. He acted as Second for General Jackson in a duel, and his son, General Walter H. Overton, was aid to Jackson at New Orleans.

When Governor Moore came to Louisiana he settled in Rapides Parish as a cotton planter, and was sent from there to the State Senate in 1856, where his political course was so creditable he was elected Governor on the Democratic ticket of 1860. Early in his administration “he convened the Legislature in extra session to determine the course Louisiana should pursue in view of the evident determination of the General Government to destroy the institution of slavery.”

Through Governor Moore's advice a convention was called by the Legislature, at Baton Rouge, on the 23d of January, 1861. The 26th of the same month the Convention passed the Ordinance of Secession and Louisiana bid farewell to the Union. Thus were fulfilled the prophetic warnings of every Governor who had controlled the State for during more than forty years, beginning with Governor Robertson, in 1820. No sooner had the decree of Secession been declared than Governor Moore ordered Adjutant General Grivot to organize the militia force of the State, consisting of 24,000 men, ready for active service. With these troops the military posts and garrisons within the State were taken possession of, with many thousands of stands of arms and immense quantities of ammunition. A Soldiers' Relief Association was formed, and free markets opened in New Orleans. Governor Moore compelled the banks to suspend specie payments, even though by this move they forfeited their charters, as he considered this necessary for their protection. Being petitioned by many cotton factors of New Orleans to issue an order forbidding the introduction of cotton within its limits, he did so, although such a course was not guaranteed by law of any kind but that of practical sense and emergency of circumstance. When, by the disastrous fate of war, New Orleans passed under Federal control, in 1862, Governor Moore called together the Legislature at Opelousas; the quorum of members being small they were reassembled at Shreveport. Here his official term drew to a close, and he passed the scepter of State Government on to his successor, the brave and gallant Allen.

Governor Moore cannot be described better than in the words of Meynier: “He was remarkable for his truthfulness and strict integrity as well as for the purity of his private life. His disposition was fiery, and, politically a democrat, he believed in the precepts of Jefferson and Jackson, being a great admirer of the General's determination whose example he followed in his gubernatorial career.”

Governor Moore's life ended at his home in Rapides Parish, June, 1876, aged seventy-one.

SOURCE: Mrs. Eugene Soniat du Fossat, Biographical Sketches of Louisiana's Governors, p. 37-8

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