R. Walton Moore

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R. Walton Moore
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th district
In office
April 27, 1919 – March 3, 1931
Preceded by Charles C. Carlin
Succeeded by Howard W. Smith
Member of the Virginia Senate
from the 14th district
In office
December 7, 1887 – December 2, 1891
Preceded by Elisha E. Meredith
Succeeded by George A. Mushbach
Personal details
Born Robert Walton Moore
(1859-02-06)February 6, 1859
Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.
Died February 8, 1941(1941-02-08) (aged 82)
Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Virginia
Profession lawyer

Robert Walton "Judge" Moore (February 6, 1859 – February 8, 1941) was a Virginia lawyer, U.S. Representative from Virginia, Assistant Secretary of State, and one of the few Virginia politicians to embrace the New Deal.


Born in Fairfax, Virginia, Moore attended the Episcopal High School near Alexandria, Virginia, and the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, where he was a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity.

More was admitted to the bar in 1880 and practiced in Virginia and Washington, D.C.. He served as a member of the Virginia State Senate for the years 1887-1890, and was a member of the State constitutional convention in 1901 and 1902. He served as president of the Virginia Bar Association in 1911. From 1907 until World War I he was special counsel for carriers of the South in cases before the Interstate Commerce Commission, the United States Commerce Court, and the United States Supreme Court. He served as assistant general counsel of the United States Railroad Administration in 1918 and 1919.

Moore served as member of the boards of visitors of both the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia. He was appointed a member of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution on December 7, 1922.

Moore was elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-sixth Congress, by special election, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Charles Creighton Carlin, and reelected to the five succeeding Congresses (April 27, 1919 – March 3, 1931). He was not a candidate in 1930.

He was appointed as Assistant Secretary of State by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on September 19, 1933, to work under his close friend and political ally, Secretary of State Cordell Hull.

In 1937, Hull needed to fill the most important position in the Department, Under Secretary of State. His two principal candidates were Moore and Sumner Welles, Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American Affairs, a close ally and favorite of the President. Hull promised Moore the post but never forced the issue with President Roosevelt. Eventually, Welles won the position, but it was announced along with the appointment of Moore to be the Department Counselor. Though both Moore and Welles gained new titles, Welles took the position they both wanted and in the years that followed Moore worked on a relatively narrow range of issues, such as legal questions, aviation, and arms control.[1] Moore served Department Counselor for the remainder of his life.

Moore remained hostile to Welles. In late 1940, when Welles made homosexual propositions to two railroad porters, the matter was initially hushed up. Moore learned of the incident from his friend Ernest Norris, president of the Southern Railway. Moore obtained from Norris affidavits made by the porters involved, and just before his death, passed them to former ambassador William C. Bullitt, who shared his view of Welles and who eventually forced Welles' resignation in 1943.[2]

Moore died in Fairfax, Virginia, on February 8, 1941, and was interred in Fairfax City Cemetery.[3]


  1. ^ Irwin F. Gellman, Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull, and Sumner Welles (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 120-135, 143
  2. ^ Benjamin Welles, Sumner Welles: FDR's Global Strategist: A Biography (NY: St. Martin's Press, 1997), 272
  3. ^ R. Walton Moore at Find a Grave


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Charles C. Carlin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Howard W. Smith

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.