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Biography: Joshua Burns Moore born March 11, 1826




Franklin and Colbert Counties, Alabama

Joshua Burns Moore was a lawyer and Alabama State senator. he was born on March 11, 1826, in Russellville, Franklin County, Alabama the son of William Moore, a soldier in the War of 1812, who died in 1849. He was the grandson of Moses Moore, and William Burgess, from South Carolina who emigrated to Alabama, locating in Franklin County, in the early history of the state. Moses Moore died at the age of eighty-six and William Burgess at the age of ninety-six.

His father being a poor man, Joshua B. Moore received only such education as the old-field schools afforded, which he attended in the interim of working in the fields during the crop season until he was fourteen years old. He then quit school and undertook a course of study without a teacher, and a year afterward, at the age of fifteen, borrowed a copy of Blackstone’s Commentaries, commenced the study of law, and was admitted to the bar at the age of seventeen.

From the beginning of his professional career he was unusually successful, and in later years his abilities as a criminal lawyer have been abundantly demonstrated. His reputation n this respect is second to that of no other lawyer in northern Alabama. His appeals to the jury are generally effective, and his adversary in the trial of causes is nearly always taken by surprise in the course of the argument or in the appeal that Mr. Moore takes or makes. Mr. Moore was a state senator during the important sessions of the legislature of 1874-75, taking an active part in all the important reforms then instituted. Previous to the war Mr. Moore took no active part in politics, preferring to confine himself exclusively to his profession.

When the great question of the secession of Alabama came up for discussion he, together with the great proportion of the people of the northern portion of the state opposed it; but when the war was actually begun his sympathies were then with the people of the south. On account of ill health, however, he took no active part in the war but contributed in every other way to the success of the southern cause. After the war he advised the people to acquiesce in the policy of the government of the United States, an in September 1865, he was a member of the constitutional convention that met in Montgomery to revise the constitution of the state of Alabama, to make it conform to the new condition of the slave population, in their emancipation.

The work of the convention was not acceptable to congress, and it together with the whole of President Johnson’s policy was overthrown. Then came reconstruction measures which to a great extent disfranchised the intelligent portion of the southern people and place local government in the hands of a foreign element and former slaves, wholly incompetent to rule, and in 1874, a great revolt occurred against the ignorant and irresponsible element, and an effort was made which resulted in success to rescue the government of the state and place it in competent and experienced hands. During this crisis Mr. Moore abandoned his profession—took the stump and bent all his energies to the work, the result being the election of Governor George S. Houston and the majority of each branch of the legislature.

In 1858, Mr. Moore married Miss Thomas Ella Pearsall, daughter of Edward and Parthenia Pearsall, by which marriage he had four daughters.

Known children are:

  1. Ella Burns Moore (July 10, 1872 – November 22, 1874)
  2. Nina Moore ( Feb. 13, 1867 – November 22, 1874)

In 1874, while Mr. Moore was at Montgomery in attendance upon a session of the legislature, a tornado swept over Tuscumbia, leveling his fine brick residence to the ground and killing his wife and his two youngest daughters. He died in 1897 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Tuscumbia, Colbert County, Alabama.


  1. Memorial Record of Alabama A concise account of the state’s political, military professional and Industrial progress, together with the personal memoirs of many of its people. In Two Volumes. Illustrated. Brant & Fuller, Madison Wis., 1893. Volume I. pp. 696-697.]
  2. Northern Alabama Historical and Biographical. Illustrated. Smith and De Land, Birmingham, Ala. 1888., p. 431-2]
  3. History of Alabama and Dictionary of Alabama Biography, Volume 4 By Thomas McAdory Owen, Marie Bankhead Owen
  4. Find A Grave Memorial #18666216 # 18666405, # 18666377 # 18666391

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