Rev William Luther Moore

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William Luther Moore

Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: Columbus, North Carolina, United States
Death: December 22, 1930 (73)
Maxton, Robeson, North Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Prospect, Robeson, North Carolina, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Moore and Caroline Moore
Husband of Mary Catherine "Tudy" Oxendine
Father of Eliza Caroline "Carrie" Moore; Emma Jane Bullard; Luther W. Moore; Charlie Hadden Moore and Mary Ellen "Sugar" Moore

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About Rev William Luther Moore

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Birth: Oct. 12, 1857 Columbus County North Carolina, USA

Death: Dec. 22, 1930 Maxton Robeson County North Carolina, USA

Rev. Moore was a Waccamaw Siouan Indian. He was the son of James and Carolina Spaulding Moore. He married Mary Catherine Oxendine on May 24, 1880 in Robeson county, North Carolina. He is recognized as the founder of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

He first taught in Columbus county and later taught in Robeson county, North Carolina. He also served as the pastor for Prospect Methodist church for 44 years.

In 1885, Rev. Moore was instrumental in enacting a North Carolina bill to establish the Croatan Indian Normal School in Robeson County. His enthusiasm inspired the community to unite and build and support the one-room school.

In 1887, he along with Preston Locklear, "Big Jim" Oxendine, and James E. Dial, Sr. were appointed by the North Carolina General Assembly as the original trustees of the Croatan Normal School, known today as the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.Fifteen students enrolled when classes began later in the fall of 1887. Rev. Moore was the first principal and the only teacher for the first three years.

In November 1964, the William Luther Moore Arts Building was dedicated at Pembroke State College (now UNC-Pembroke) in recognition for his contributions to his community and to his school. Rev. Doctor Fuller Lowry, the first graduate of the Indian Normal School, delivered the dedication address.

  • **NOTE: His wife, Mary Catherine Oxendine Moore, was the first female Native American teacher in Robeson County.
    • *NOTE: Moore Hall at UNC-Pembroke currently houses the Music Department.

Family links:

  • Mary Catherine Oxendine Moore (1854 - 1928)*
  • Eliza Caroline Moore (1885 - 1904)*
  • Emma Jane Moore Bullard (1887 - 1965)*
  • Luther W. Moore (1889 - 1957)*
  • Charlie H. Moore (1891 - 1943)*
  • Mary Ellen Moore Dial (1896 - 1973)*


A life devoted to the task of making the world a little better place to live in.

Founder - Erector - Teacher - I.N.S. 1885 - 1890 Elder in Methodist Church for 49 Years

Burial: Moore Family Cemetery Prospect (Robeson County) Robeson County North Carolina, USA

Created by: melanie

Rev. W.L. (William Luther) Moore (October 12, 1857 – December 22, 1930), a Waccamaw Siouan Indian and son of James and Caroline Spaulding Moore, was born in Columbus County, N.C. near Elkton. He began teaching school in Columbus County in 1874 and taught there for five years. According to a family oral history, Moore came to Robeson County as a traveling Bible salesman. During a visit to the county in 1879, Moore was introduced to James “Big Jim” Oxendine, a future UNCP trustee. “The true friendship never ceased from this time until” James’ death in 1896 (“Life of Rev. W.L. Moore” 3). That same year, Moore married Mary Catherine Oxendine (March 25, 1854 – January 7, 1928), daughter of Hugh and Eliza Chavis Oxendine and first cousin of trustees James “Big Jim” Oxendine and JJ Oxendine, and settled in the Prospect community north of Pembroke. She was the first American Indian female teacher in Robeson County. In 1881, Moore began four years of study, finishing the normal course (“Life of Rev. W.L. Moore” 3).

At 6’4” tall, Moore, literally and figuratively, cast a shadow of influence over the American Indian community and the institution that still resonates today. He was an ordained Methodist minister, teacher, administrator and farmer. He “presided over several annual conferences” and “served throughout Marlboro and Chesterfield Counties in S.C. and Richmond, Scotland and Robeson in N.C." (“Life of Rev. W.L. Moore” 3).

Moore and other American Indian leaders urged McMillan to introduce the bill to establish Croatan Normal School. Moore was also a co-signer of the petition submitted to McMillan in 1887. Moore was the first teacher and principal of Croatan Normal School (1887 – 1890) and served on the Board of Trustees. He donated $200 of his own money toward the construction of the only building on the original site of the institution in the Pates community, one and half miles west of Pembroke (1887 – 1909). Moore’s students included Dr. Governor Worth Locklear (the first Lumbee doctor), Rev. O.R. Sampson and Anderson N. Locklear (“Life of Rev. W.L. Moore” 3). According to the University’s centennial history, “W.L. Moore is … known in the history of this institution as ‘Founder, Erector, Teacher’” (Oxendine and Eliades 19).

At the time of his death in 1931, Moore was described as “a man who everyone concedes has been without an equal for the uplift of humanity, the education of a devastated people and the pioneer church worker of the Indian race of the state.” In addition, “It was conceded by all that knew him that his magnanimity was unexcelled…. He was wide awake to the people’s needs, often giving both small and large gifts, as he thought it best for the advancement of humanity, irrespective of their financial status” (“Life of Rev. W.L. Moore” 3).

Moore is buried at his residence in the Prospect community, northwest of Pembroke, on W.L. Moore Road. His wife Mary Catherine is buried at Oxendine Cemetery across from Oak Grove Baptist Church in the Union Chapel Community, northeast of Pembroke, on Oak Grove Church Road.

Moore Hall, located adjacent to historic Old Main, is named in honor of Moore. Built in 1951, the building is home to the Department of Music.

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Rev William Luther Moore's Timeline

October 12, 1857
Columbus, North Carolina, United States
August 12, 1885
Age 27
Robeson, North Carolina, United States
June 9, 1887
Age 29
Smiths, Robeson, North Carolina, United States
July 21, 1889
Age 31
Robeson, North Carolina, United States
November 3, 1891
Age 34
Robeson, North Carolina, United States
March 7, 1896
Age 38
Robeson, North Carolina, United States
December 22, 1930
Age 73
Maxton, Robeson, North Carolina, United States
Prospect, Robeson, North Carolina, United States