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Colonel Oscar F. Moore of Portsmouth, Ohio


Col. Oscar F. Moore, who represented Adams County as a part of the seventh Ohio senatorial district in the fiftieth general assembly, and its first senator under the constitution of 1851, was born January 27, 1817, near Steubenville, the son of James H. Moore and his wife, Sarah Stull. His maternal grandfather, Daniel Stull, was a captain in the Revolutionary War. He graduated at Washington College, Pennsylvania, in the class of 1836. He began the study of law immediately, under D. L. Collier, then mayor of Steubenville. He attended one session of the Cincinnati Law School, and was admitted to practice by the Supreme Court at Steubenville, October, 1838.

In April, 1839, he located at Portsmouth, in the practice of the law, and continued to reside there the remainder of his life. In 1850 he was elected as a Whig to represent Lawrence and Scioto counties in the house of representatives in the last session under the constitution of 1802. He participated in the senatorial election in which Benjamin F. Wade was elected to the United States senate. In 1851 he was elected to the state senate, as stated at the opening of this sketch. He had as associates in the house, Col. J. R. Cockerill, of Adams County, and Hon. Wells A. Hutchins, of Scioto. In 1854 he was elected to the thirty-fourth congress as a Whig, representing the tenth district, composed of Scioto, Pike, Ross, Jackson, and Lawrence. On July 23, 1861, he entered the 33d O. V. I., as its lieutenant colonel. He was promoted colonel of the regiment July 16, 1862. At the battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862, he was wounded, captured, and paroled. He remained at home until February, 1863, when he was exchanged. He commanded his regiment in the two days’ fight at Chickamauga, where the regiment met with heavy loss in killed and wounded. He served on court martials at Nashville, Tenn., in 1863 and in 1864, until July 20, 1864, when he resigned.

In politics he was a Whig until the dissolution of that party, when he was a member of the American party during its existence. After its dissolution, he went to the Democratic party, in which he remained during his life.

On September 19, 1843, he was married to Martha B., daughter of Hon. Thomas B. Scott, of Chillicothe. He had two daughters, the eldest of whom he named Clay for the idol of his party, Henry Clay. She married Mr. George O. Newman in 1866. His second daughter, Kate, is the wife of Hon. James W. Newman.

As was said of him by the leading member of the bar in his county, and who practiced with him for over forty years:

“He was a man who had many warm friends, of liberal views, of a kind, charitable nature, and who scarcely ever expressed a harsh remark or used an unkind word to others. His life in this respect was a lesson of the broadest charity. As a lawyer, he had a wide reputation, and will long be remembered in southern Ohio. He was in active practice at the Portsmouth bar for over forty years, a period longer than any other member has served; his ability was of the very highest order, and as adapted to the varied practice in the different courts, both state and federal, whether before court or jury, and whether relating to cases at law or in equity or to criminal practice, he had but few equals. He seldom made mistakes in the management of a case. Perhaps the most striking feature of his mind was the faculty of clear discrimination, which enabled him, with care and facility, to sift authorities quoted against him and explain the facts of a case so as to avoid legal principles, supposed by an opponent to be conclusive against him. He had a keen relish for a “close case,” full of surprises by the disclosure of unexpected evidence which took the case out of the line of preparation marked out by opposing counsel.

“No one could have passed through so many years with so large a practice and sustained more friendly relations to other members of the bar. He was never known to have a serious difficulty or misunderstanding with any member of the bar. Being actuated by a high sense of honor and courtesy toward his brethren of the profession, he was always able to reconcile matters of mistake or misunderstanding so as to leave no ground of complaint. Through the kindness and generosity of his nature, he was disposed to make large allowance for the errors and infirmities of his fellow men, and always strongly—perhaps too strongly-—leaned to the side of mercy.”

He died at Waverly, Ohio, June 24, 1885, in active practice, and while attending the circuit court at that place. He was seized with a severe chill while in the court room, went to sleep the next night, feeling better, but never awoke.

“A History of Adams County, Ohio”,  Nelson Wiley Evans, Emmons B. Stivers, 1900, West union Ohio pgs 266-268

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