north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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Essay:
     An 1820 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Bartholomew Figures Moore (1801-1878) had one of the greatest legal careers in nineteenth century North Carolina. Born at “Sycamore Alley,” the family estate outside Enfield, Moore began practice in Nash County but returned to his native Halifax. Soon he launched a relatively brief political career, serving four terms in the House of Commons and in the 1835 constitutional convention.

     In 1848 Moore began a term as attorney general, resigning in 1851 to accept an appointment to a commission to revise the statute laws of North Carolina. Serving with him on that commission were Romulus Saunders and Asa Biggs. Moore was principally responsible for arranging and superintending the publication in 1854 of the Revised Code of North Carolina. “It is not unjust to the other commissioners,” wrote J. G. deRoulhac Hamilton, “to give him (Moore) the greatest amount of credit for a most valuable piece of work.”

     In 1834 Moore argued for the defendant in the case of State vs. Will that established a slave’s rights to protection from unlawful violence by an overseer. Moore opposed secession and refused to practice in Confederate courts although he continued during the war years to practice in state courts. In May 1865 he traveled with former governor David L. Swain and William Eaton to meet with Pres. Andrew Johnson to discuss the terms of reconstruction. Their delegation was upstaged by one led by W. W. Holden that accepted terms found unacceptable by Moore.

     In his will Moore left $100 to each of his former slaves living in the state. In eulogizing the man termed the “Father of the Bar in North Carolina,” a Raleigh newspaper stated, “There was never a man perhaps in North Carolina since the days of the great Willie Jones of Revolutionary fame whose mere opinions carried more weight than did those of Mr. Moore . . . the state may well place him high on the roll of her most illustrious dead.”


References:
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, IV, 294-295 – sketch by Memory F. Mitchell
Samuel A. Ashe and others, eds., Biographical History of North Carolina, V, 273-276
Raleigh Observer, November 2 and 30, 1878
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north carolina highway historical marker program


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