John Trotwood Moore was born and raised in Marion, Ala. His father was a lawyer and judge, and Moore himself studied law although he never practiced it. Moore attended Howard College (now Samford University), which was then located in Marion. After his graduation in 1878, he edited the Marion Commonwealth for a year. He left Marion to teach school, spending four years in Monterey, Ala., and two years in Pine Apple, Ala. In the spring of 1885, Moore and his new bride moved to her hometown of Columbia, Tenn., where they farmed and raised purebred horses and cattle. In 1892, Moore began writing a weekly column on livestock and literature for the Columbia Herald. He wrote under the pen name of “Trotwood,” later adopting it as his middle name. The following year, Moore began writing a column for Clark’s Horse Review, a national publication based in Chicago. Initially, the subject of his columns was the Tennessee pacer, a harness racing horse, but he later included stories and poems he had written. A collection of Moore’s stories was published in 1897 as Songs and Stories from Tennessee. His first novel, A Summer Hymnal, was published in 1901. He continued to write for Clark’s Horse Review until December 1904.
In 1905, Moore began his own magazine, Trotwood’s Monthly. Moore wrote most of the material himself, although he did publish other authors, including some early stories by T. S. Stribling. In 1906, Moore published The Bishop of Cottontown, a “social problem” novel about child labor in Southern cotton mills. That same year, he and his family moved to Nashville. A collection of his “darkie stories,” Uncle Wash: His Stories, was published in 1910. That same year, the magazine’s shareholders sold it to another publication, and Moore began selling real estate and insurance to support his family. He continued to write, however, and published two novels in 1911. A riding accident in 1916 damaged Moore’s right hand, and he was unable to write for several years. In 1919, Moore was appointed State Librarian for Tennessee, a position he held until his death. Concerned about the preservation of Tennessee history, he lobbied the state legislature for funding and spoke publicly to raise awareness. Hearts of Hickory, his historical novel based on Andrew Jackson’s life in Tennessee, was published in 1926. Moore died at his home in Nashville from a heart attack in 1929.
John Trotwood Moore was interested in local color and wrote on Southern subjects. His work includes poetry, humorous stories, "social problem" novels, and historical novels.
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Photo courtesy of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
Last updated on May 30, 2008.