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Home North Carolina Stokes County City of Danbury Historical Markers Gabriel Moore

Gabriel Moore

Main Street, Danbury, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 36° 24' 37.94904", -80° 12' 45.86976"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Governor of Alabama, 1829-1831. Served in U.S. House and Senate. Official of Mississippi and Alabama Territories. Born near here, 1785."
      Gabriel Moore, the fifth governor of Alabama, was born in Surry County in 1785 to Matthew and Letitia Dalton Moore. Matthew Moore’s family lived at the foot of Sauratown Mountain, where their brick dwelling became known as Moore’s Castle. The home, reportedly built by Moravian artisans, was one of the earliest in the Dan River valley.

      Moore received an education as a young man, perhaps from Edward Hickman who operated a school in the area. Other traditions maintain that he studied under David Caldwell at the Log College. Afterwards, he moved to Tennessee at the behest of several siblings and eventually settled in that part of the Mississippi Territory that became Alabama. Along the way, Gabriel read law, and in 1808 was commissioned an attorney by Governor Nathaniel Williams of Mississippi. Shortly thereafter, he opened a law office in the town of Twickenham, which in 1811 became Huntsville.

      Moore married once, to Mary Parham Caller, although the marriage dissolved after only a year. After the divorce, Moore fought a duel with his ex-wife’s brother, wounding the man severely.

      In 1811, Moore entered politics as a member of the legislature for the Mississippi Territory, rising to the position of speaker of the house. In 1817, he entered the Alabama state legislature upon the state’s formation helping write the state constitution. In 1821, he was elected a representative to the Thirteenth United States Congress, and held his position through the Twentieth Congress in 1829. That year he was elected governor of Alabama.

      Moore’s administration as governor focused on the development and improvement of Alabama’s navigable rivers. A staunch Jacksonian, Moore held states rights in high regard, and spoke against the National Bank. In 1831, two years into his governorship, Moore won election the United States Senate, defeating Col. John McKinley. He left his post, and was replaced by Samuel Moore (no relation).

      In the early 1830s, Moore began opposing Andrew Jackson’s administration over the nomination of Martin Van Buren as ambassador to England. Such opposition to Jackson angered Moore’s constituents in Alabama, and in 1835 he was asked to resign. He refused to do so, but in 1836 did not run for reelection to the Senate. However, he did run unsuccessfully for the House of Representatives. After his failure, Moore attempted to gain a number of political posts ranging from customs collector at Mobile to a position as a United States Marshall for northern Alabama.

      In 1844, in a dire financial situation, Moore left Huntsville for Texas determined to start again. He died along the way, at a stage station near Caddo, Texas. His will freed several of his last remaining slaves, one of whom was Mary Minerva, noted in court records as his daughter.

William S. Powell, Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, IV, 296-297—sketch by Charles D. Rodenbough
Margaret E. Armbrester and Samuel L. Webb, eds., Alabama Governors (2001)
John Raimo and Robert Sobel, eds., Biographical Dictionary of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, I, 8-9
Dumas Malone, ed., Dictionary of American Biography, XIII, 122-123—sketch by Thomas P. Abernethy
Gabriel Moore Historical Marker Location Map, Danbury, North Carolina