Founders- James O. Moore
Founders- James O. Moore
While Bob Lassiter was “Old Charlotte”, Jim Moore and his family were “Old North Carolina.” Though Jim Moore was reared in Wellston, Ohio (his father was a railroad man), he was a direct descendent of James Moore, the first colonial governor of the Carolinas, and of General James Moore, the hero of the Revolutionary War Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge in the southeastern tip of the State. He was also a descendant of Roger Moore, builder and owner of the famous Orton Plantation near Wilmington. Jim’s wife, Jane Morrison Moore, was the great granddaughter of the Reverend Robert Hall Morrison, the first president of Davidson College. Four of Morrison’s daughters were married to Confederate generals, one of whom was Stonewall Jackson. The “Morrison House” in Charlotte’s Fourth Ward belonged to members of this family.
At the time of Jim Moore’s graduation from high school in Ohio, his father suffered a severe stroke. After caring for his father for a time in Ohio, Moore brought him to Charlotte where they shared a house with Moore’s aunt, Mrs. Frank Shannonhouse (grandmother of Charlotte lawyer Jim Shannonhouse). Moore went to work here for the Merchants & Farmers Bank until his father’s death two years later. He enrolled at the University in Chapel Hill as an undergraduate in 1928. Five years later, he had worked his way through college and the University’s law school. He had served as an Associate Editor of the Law Review and worked almost full-time in the law library.
Moore opened his own law office in Charlotte in the depths of the Depression. He roomed with attorney Ed Stukes, who later became Clerk of Mecklenburg County Superior Court and boarded with his cousin, Francis Clarkson, who later became a Superior Court Judge.
Moore and Jane Morrison married in 1936. They built their first house on Tranquil Avenue with an FHA loan. Moore took on any legal work that came his way – principally “nickel titles” referred to him by two local law firms who charged their clients $10, the minimum fee, and paid $5 to Moore. After two years of this, Mrs. Moore had finally scraped up $100 to open a bank account; this meant she no longer had to go around paying bills in cash.
In the late 1930s, Plummer Stewart, one of Charlotte’s most prominent lawyers invited Moore to join his practice which became Stewart & Moore. Stewart had previously practiced with two of Charlotte’s most illustrious judges, William Bobbitt and John J. Parker.
During World War II, Moore received a commission in the Navy as a Lieutenant (jg) and served in the Pacific as Signal Officer on the aircraft carrier Bennington in Admiral Bull Halsey’s fast carrier task force. Moore was in combat on the Bennington from the earliest air strikes on Tokyo until his ship participated in the surrender ceremony in Tokyo Bay.
After the War, Moore became a partner in the firm of Whitlock, Dockery & Moore, where he concentrated in real estate law. Having become weary with the routine of title work, Moore eagerly joined forces with Bob Lassiter with the objective of becoming a business lawyer. In this he succeeded. One of his early and staunch clients was Jack’s Cookie Company owned by Louisiana interests with business all over the Southeast and a large baking and sales operation in Charlotte. It would be hard to imagine a client any more reliant on their attorney than Jack’s was on Jim Moore. And as the firm grew, Moore involved an increasing number of his associates in that work. After years of this mutually happy relationship, Jack’s presented Moore with a Mercedes station wagon as a thank-you gift. Moore also represented several successful Charlotte developers, principally Marshall Moore and Dwight Phillips. Other clients included Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Bell.
In his spare time, Moore unselfishly served various children’s causes. He was president of the Family and Children’s Service Bureau and for years was Chairman of the Board of Managers of the Thompson Orphanage. The Orphanage owned the property on King’s Drive where the Charlottetown Mall was later built as well as the property between Third and Fourth Streets where St. Mary’s wedding chapel and the Vietnam War Memorial are currently located. Moore was a primary negotiator of the transaction with the Rouse organization which bought the property and developed the Mall. The financial terms were very favorable to the orphanage as it phased out its orphanage operations and moved into its Thompson Children’s Center on the eastern edge of the City. In 1986, Thompson celebrated its Centennial year. Commemorating this special occasion, a history of Thompson entitled “A Century’s Child,” was dedicated to Jim Moore for his years of “faith, leadership and vision.”
In 1978 the North Carolina Child Care Association chose Moore as the first recipient of its Trustee of the Year award. Those eligible for this honor were the more than 500 board members of 31 child care agencies throughout the state.
Over the years, Moore held a number of Diocesan offices in the Episcopal Church and served many times as a vestryman at St. Peters and at Christ Church here in Charlotte. In 1969, he was presented with the Bishop’s Award by the Diocese of North Carolina.
Moore was a member of the North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati and a permanent member of the Judicial Conference of the Fourth Judicial Circuit.
Jim Moore died on September 1, 1988 and was survived by Jane, his wife of 52 years, and by three daughters, a son, and twelve grandchildren.