Joseph Moore

<<Back to Bios

Served from 1896 through 1921
Chief Justice: 1904, 1905, 1912, 1920


Joseph B. Moore was born on November 3, 1845, in Commerce, Michigan. He was educated through the local school systems and graduated from Hillsdale College. Moore had one year of law school at the University of Michigan.

Upon the outbreak of the Civil War, Moore and his two brothers wanted to enlist with the Union forces. Unfortunately, upon his arrival in the barracks, the surgeon refused to accept him and his brother took his place in the ranks.

In 1868, he began the practice of law. Moore soon entered public service when he was elected Prosecuting Attorney in 1872, a position he held until 1878.

Moore married Etta L. Bently in December of 1872, but they never had children of their own. The coupled traveled extensively around Europe and the United States. They also “assisted a number of young people in their studies and college careers.” (Reed, George I. The Bench and Bar of Michigan: A History and Biography. Chicago: The Century Publishing and Engraving Co., 1897.)

Moore was elected Mayor of the city of Lapeer by the largest majority ever achieved for the office. Following this introduction to public service, he returned to legal practice. Moore returned to public service in 1887, when he was elected the Judge for the Sixth Circuit.

In 1895, Moore was elected to the Michigan Supreme Court, again by the “largest majority ever given a candidate for that office.” (Reed.) His service extended for a considerable amount of time, and he became more respected with each opinion that he authored. “In 1905, 1913, and 1921, he was re-elected to the Bench. However, he did not complete his last term. In December of 1925 he resigned his office at the age of 80 years old.”

Joseph B. Moore died on March 23, 1930, following a distinguished career. (Biography compiled by Ann Lucas, Serials Librarian of Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Michigan, 1998.)

Portrait presented on: (Click link to read transcript)
January 5, 1926

Portrait Artist:
McKay, Edwin Murray

Oil on canvas

81.28cm X 63.5cm (32″ X 25″)

Owned by:
State of Michigan

Current location:
Hall of Justice – 5th Floor: Rotunda

Portrait photo by:
Doug Elbinger, Lansing – June 1996