William Robert Moore

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William Robert Moore
Grave of William Robert Moore Forest Hill Cemetery Memphis TN.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 10th district
In office
March 4, 1881 – March 3, 1883
Preceded byH. Casey Young
Succeeded byH. Casey Young
Personal details
Born(1830-03-28)March 28, 1830
Huntsville, Alabama
DiedJune 12, 1909(1909-06-12) (aged 79)
Memphis, Tennessee
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Charlotte Heywood Blood Moore
Professionmerchant politician

William Robert Moore (March 28, 1830 – June 12, 1909) was a U.S. Representative from Tennessee, and founder of the William R. Moore College of Technology.[1]


Moore was born in the hills near Huntsville, Alabama on March 28, 1830, son of Robert Cleveland and Mary F. (Lingow) Moore. Both families were considered aristocratic. Moore's father traced his ancestry back to Oliver Cromwell, but when that father died just six months after Moore's birth, the family was left destitute, and had to take up farming. They moved around a lot, eventually landing in the little community of Beech Grove, Tennessee. When he was six years old the family settled in Fosterville, Rutherford County. He attended the district schools.[2]


Forced to leave school at age 12, Moore went to work as a farm hand. He worked barefoot in the fields for $24 a year with room and board. When the year was over he had saved $12. At the age of fifteen, Moore became a clerk in a dry-goods store in Beech Grove. He was also a clerk in Nashville, Tennessee. He engaged in the wholesale dry-goods business in New York City as a salesman 1856-1859. He married Charlotte Blood, on February 14, 1878.[3] He moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1859, when he was less than 30 years old, and organized a wholesale dry-goods store, Wm. R. Moore, Inc. Today, this building is listed on the "National Register of Historic Places".

Moore was elected as a Republican to represent Tennessee's 10th District in the Forty-seventh Congress, serving from March 4, 1881 to March 3, 1883.[4] He declined to accept a renomination in 1882, and resumed his business activities. He served as member of the State House of Representatives from 1889 to 1891.

Death and legacy[edit]

Moore died in Memphis, Tennessee on June 12, 1909, and is interred at Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis.[5] His epitaph reads "He did the best he could". He left approximately $500,000.00 to establish a college. A group of trustees invested the money until there was over a million dollars and on April 11, 1939, the brand-new William R. Moore School of Technology opened. Perhaps because of his own lack of "book learning" he didn't want an emphasis on liberal arts. The school's first president put it, "He didn't say anything about wanting academic subjects taught. He wanted boys to get training that would enable them to make a good living."[6]


  1. ^ "William Robert Moore". The Mall of Memphis. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  2. ^ "William Robert Moore". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  3. ^ "William Robert Moore". Goodspeed's History of Tennessee. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  4. ^ "William Robert Moore". Govtrack US Congress. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
  5. ^ "William Robert Moore". Find A Grave. Retrieved September 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "William Robert Moore". Memphis Magazine. Retrieved 18 April 2013.

External links[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
H. Casey Young
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 10th congressional district

Succeeded by
H. Casey Young