John Trotwood Moore

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John Trotwood Moore
John Trotwood Moore (circa 1920).jpg
Born John Moore, Jr.
August 26, 1858
Marion, Alabama, U.S.
Died May 10, 1929
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Resting place Mount Olivet Cemetery
Residence Columbia, Tennessee, U.S.
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Alma mater Howard College
Occupation Journalist, historian, novelist
Religion Presbyterian
Spouse(s) Florence W. Allen
Mary Brown Daniel
Children 1 son (Merrill Moore), 2 daughters
Parent(s) John Moore
Emily Moore

John Trotwood Moore (1858-1929) was an American journalist, writer and local historian. He was the author of many poems, short stories and novels. He served as the State Librarian and Archivist of Tennessee from 1919 to 1929. He was "an apologist for the Old South",[1] and a proponent of lynching.

Early life[edit]

John Moore, Jr., was born on August 26, 1858 in Marion, Alabama.[2][3] He was of Scotch-Irish descent.[1] His father, John Moore, was a lawyer and Confederate veteran.[1] His mother was named Emily.[2] He had a sister, who later married a professor at Vanderbilt University.[1]

Moore graduated from Howard College, now known as Samford University, where he studied the classics.[1][2] While in college, he wrote for the The Howard College Magazine.[2] Later, he studied the law with Hilary A. Herbert.[1]


Moore started his career as a journalist for The Marion Commonwealth, a newspaper in Marion, Alabama.[2] He was a schoolteacher in Monterey, Butler County, Alabama and a school principal in Pine Apple, Alabama in the early 1880s.[1][2]

Moore became a columnist for Clark's Horse Review in 1885.[2] He took the penname of "Trotwood" after Betsey Trotwood, a character in Charles Dickens's David Copperfield.[4] His column, called "Pacing Department", included short stories, poems and local histories.[2] In 1897, Moore decided to publish a collection of his columns, entitled Songs and Stories from Tennessee.[2] Four years later, in 1901, he published his first novel A Summer Hymnal.[2] Over the years, Moore published several other novels.

Moore founded Trotwood's Monthly, an agrarian magazine, in 1905.[2] A year later, as it merged with Robert Love Taylor's magazine, it became known as the Taylor-Trotwood Magazine.[2] Moore was the chief writer and editor.[2] The magazine was discontinued in 1910.[2] Meanwhile, he was the author of historical sketches on Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, James K. Polk and Sam Houston.[5] He was also a contributor to The Saturday Evening Post.[5]

Moore was appointed as the State Librarian and Archivist for Tennessee by Governor Albert H. Roberts in March 1919.[3][6] He was recommended by businessman James Erwin Caldwell.[1] He served in this capacity until 1929.[2]

Moore was "an apologist for the Old South."[1] He was invited to give a speech at the dedication of a bronze plaque in honor of President Jefferson Davis at St. John's Episcopal Church in Montgomery, Alabama in May 1925.[1]

Moore was a "racist."[1][2] His racist ideas were reinforced by his reading Joseph Widney's 1907 Race Life of the Aryan Peoples, a book recommended to him by Theodore Roosevelt, which Moore proceeded to review favorably.[1] He was adefender of the Ku Klux Klan and a proponent of lynching.[1] Additionally, Moore was francophobic for racist reasons, lambasting the French for "intermarrying with the Indians and treating them as equals" during the French colonization of the Americas.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Moore married Florence W. Allen in February 1885.[2] They resided in Columbia, Tennessee, where they raised Tennessee Pacers on their farm.[2] After his first wife died in 1896, Moore married Mary Brown Daniel on June 13, 1900.[2] They had a son, and two daughters.[2] They resided in South Nashville, Tennessee, where they organized possum hunts and literary gatherings.[1]

Moore was Presbyterian.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

Moore died on May 10, 1929 in Nashville.[2][5] At his funeral, the pallbearers were blacks clad in Confederate uniforms.[1] He was buried at the Mount Olivet Cemetery.[2]

After his death, his widow was appointed State Librarian and Archivist for Tennessee.[3][6] She served in this capacity until 1949.[3][6] Meanwhile, their son, Merrill Moore, became a poet.[1]


  • Songs and Stories from Tennessee (Chicago: J.C. Bauer, 1897).[7]
  • A Summer Hymnal: A Romance of Tennessee (Philadelphia: H.T. Coates & Co., 1901).[8]
  • The Bishop of Cottontown: A Story of the Southern Cotton Mills (Philadelphia: J.C. Winston Co., 1906).[9]
  • Uncle Wash: His Story (Philadelphia: The John C. Winston Co., 1910).[10]
  • The Gift of the Grass: Being the Autobiography of a Famous Racing Horse (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1911).[11]
  • Ole Mistis, and Other Songs and Stories from Tennessee (Nashville, Tennessee: Cokesbury Press, 1925).[12]
  • Jack Ballington: Forester (Nashville, Tennessee: Cokesbury Press, 1925).[13]
  • Hearts of Hickory: A Story of Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812 (Nashville, Tennessee: Cokesbury Press, 1926).[14]
  • Tom's Last Forage (Nashville, Tennessee: Cokesbury Press, 1926).[15]

Further reading[edit]

  • Green, Claud Bethune. John Trotwood Moore: Tennessee Man of Letters. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. 1957.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Bailey, Fred Arthur (Spring 1999). "JOHN TROTWOOD MOORE AND THE PATRICIAN CULT OF THE NEW SOUTH". Tennessee Historical Quarterly. 58 (1): 16–33. Retrieved December 23, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (help)). 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Hancock, Sandra G. (September 1, 2009). "John Trotwood Moore (aka Betsy Trotwood, Trotwood)". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Alabama Humanities Foundation. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Thweatt, John H. (December 25, 2009). "John Trotwood (1858-1929) and Mary Daniel Moore (1875-1957)". The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. University of Tennessee Press and Tennessee Historical Society. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Pen Sketch of John Trotwood Moore". The Tennessean. Nashville, Tennessee. June 23, 1907. p. 17. Retrieved December 23, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  5. ^ a b c "Noted Tennessee Historian is Dead". The Anniston Star. Anniston, Alabama. May 10, 1929. p. 1. Retrieved December 23, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ a b c Thweatt, John H. (Fall 1991). "The Archival Tradition in Tennessee—the Moore Years". Tennessee Historical Quarterly. 50 (3): 152–156. Retrieved December 23, 2015 – via JSTOR. (registration required (help)). 
  7. ^ "Songs and stories from Tennessee.". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ "A summer hymnal; a romance of Tennessee". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  9. ^ "The bishop of Cottontown; a story of the southern cotton mills". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Uncle Wash : his stories". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  11. ^ "The gift of the grass; being the autobiography of a famous racing horse,". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Ole Mistis, and other songs and stories from Tennessee,". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Jack Ballington, forester". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Hearts of hickory : a story of Andrew Jackson and the war of 1812". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Tom's last forage,". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  16. ^ "John Trotwood Moore; Tennessee man of letters.". WorldCat. Retrieved December 23, 2015.