James Aaron Moore (Lauderdale County)

State House: 1870-1871

Born: c. 1826 in Georgia
Died: 1904 in Hinds County, MS

Blacksmith and minister. Most commonly referred to as J. Aaron Moore. Delegate to the 1868 constitutional convention. Served on the Meridian board of aldermen. Moore performed the much-publicized marriage ceremony between the white “carpetbagger” Albert T. Morgan and Carrie V. Highgate, an African American woman, in 1870. In March of 1871, he was accused of being involved with the Meridian fires and the shooting death of a Judge Bramlette, and he had to escape to Jackson.

Listed on the 1870 census in Lauderdale County with wife Mary and children, and in Hinds County in 1880. In 1900, he was in Hinds County with a second wife, Irena, and children. His will was in probate in January 1904.

“A native of Georgia, Moore organized churches in Mississippi as a Methodist Episcopal minister after the Civil War. He represented Lauderdale County in the constitutional convention of 1868 and the state House of Representatives, 1870-71, and he served on the Meridian City Council, 1869… Moore was hunted by armed whites during the Meridian riot of 1871, narrowly escaping death before fleeing to Jackson.”
(Eric Foner, Freedom’s Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders during Reconstruction, 1993)

“Moore, who led in the organization of Methodist churches in the east-central portion of the state, later was an influential state senator, and centered his power in the town of Meridian. After his elimination from politics, he set up a successful blacksmith shop in Jackson, and soon came to be known once more as ‘a good citizen.'”
(Vernon Lane Wharton, The Negro in Mississippi, 1865-1890, 1965)