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Thomas Overton Moore

Gov. Thomas Overton Moore

  • January 23, 1860 - January 25, 1864
  • Democratic
  • April 10, 1804
  • June 25, 1876
  • North Carolina
  • Married Bethiah Jane Leonard; five children


THOMAS O. MOORE was born in Sampson County, North Carolina on April 10, 1804. His education was limited and attained in the common schools of his native state. In 1829, he moved to Louisiana and settled in Rapides Parish, where he eventually became a successful planter. Moore entered politics in 1848, serving as a one-term member of the Louisiana House of Representatives. He also was elected to the Louisiana State Senate in 1856. Moore won the 1859 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by popular vote on November 7, 1859. He was sworn into office on January 23, 1860. During his tenure, a secession convention was assembled, which resulted in the authorization of secession on January 26, 1861. Also, troops and supplies were organized, banks were instructed to discontinue specie payments, Confederate treasury notes were used for expenditures, and the capital was moved to Opelousas. On June 2, 1862, the federal government appointed George F. Shepley as military governor of Louisiana. Moore continued to govern all but the southernmost part of the state, which was controlled by the Union troops and the Shepley administration. By the end of the war, a warrant for Moore’s arrest was issued, but Moore fled the state, traveling first to Mexico and later settling in Havana, Cuba. After obtaining a full pardon by President Andrew Johnson, Moore returned home and worked in restoring his plantation, which had been ruined in the war. Governor Thomas O. Moore passed away on June 25, 1876, and was buried at the Episcopal Cemetery in Pineville, Louisiana.


Dawson III, Joseph G. The Louisiana Governors: From Iberville to Edwards. Baton Rouge: Lousiana State University Press, 1990.

Encyclopedia Louisiana

The Politcal Graveyard

Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols

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