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Judge Alfred S. Moore

The selection of a judge for the Second Judicial Division of Alaska to succeed Arthur H. Noyes, was a matter that received more than ordinary attention from the Government at Washington, on account of the condition of affairs in this judicial district. The tangle of litigation had been pretty well unraveled by Judge Wickersham of the Third District, who had been directed by the Attorney General, upon the retirement of Judge Noyes, to proceed to Nome and hold a term of court. The condition in which Judge Noyes left the legal affairs of this community, however, made it necessary for the Government to exercise care in the selection of a successor. There was a demand for a judge of ability and absolute honesty, and Alfred S. Moore, of Beaver, Pennsylvania, was selected to till this position. He had been a lawyer in Pennsylvania since 1871, he had served three years as District Attorney of Beaver County, was president of the Law Association of the county for a period of three years; was a member of the examining board for four years; had been a trustee in Beaver College for twenty years, and was a director of the First National Bank of Beaver. His record and reputation met all the requirements, and he received the appointment of Judge of the Second Judicial Division of Alaska, in May, 1902, and entered upon his duties July 14, succeeding.

Judge Moore was born September 13, 1846; was educated in the public schools of Pensylvania, in the old Beaver Academy and in Washington and Jefferson Colleges, and was graduated from Jefferson College with the degree of A. B., subsequently receiving the degree of A. M.

He began work as a railroad man, and during a period of twenty-five months arose from the position of baggage man to the position of conductor of a passenger train. He was only twenty-two years old when he held the position of conductor.

His railroad experience was begun on account of ill health, and on a road from St. Louis into Illinois, of which his uncle. Col. Henry S. Moore, was superintendent. Having regained his health, he returned home and studied law under Sam. B. Wilson, the leader of the bar of Beaver County, and was admitted to practice law September 11, 1871. He first opened an office in Butler. After three years of practice he returned to Beaver, and in 1880 was elected district attorney of the county.

Judge Moore was one of the most successful lawyers of the Beaver bar. He never lost a single case in the Supreme Court. While practicing at Butler, oil was struck in that part of Pennsylvania, and a great deal of litigation resulted from the new industry. Judge Moore sat as arbitrater in many important cases, and it was here that he displayed the judicial trait of character which made him aspire to a seat on the bench.

As noted in the opening paragraph, Judge Moore has filled a number of important positions of trust in his native town. Upon his appointment as judge of the Second Judicial Division of Alaska, he hastened to Nome and formally entered upon the discharge of his duties July 14, 1902. Having lived all of his life in the East, Judge Moore at the inception of his work as Federal Judge of Alaska, was confronted with the difficulty resulting from a dissimilarity in both people and practice. Northern and western mining camps represent the extreme of difference existing between the people of the oldest community in the East and the people of the newest in the West. The laws of Alaska were new, and the issues involved in litigation were radically different from those that would come before a judge on the bench in a manufacturing or agricultural district of an old and well settled community. Judge Moore is an industrious man, and he applied himself diligently to acquiring a proper knowledge of his new environment so as to discharge his duties in a manner that would subserve the best interests of the people of Northwestern Alaska.

Judge Moore is of Scotch-Irish descent in which there is a strain of Spanish, English and German blood. His ancestors came to America in Colonial days. He is a member of a family of lawyers, being a nephew to Chief Justice Daniel Agnew Robert Moore, a celebrated lawyer, was his grandfather. A man of unquestioned probity and strong convictions, Judge Moore has endeavored to discharge the duties of his office fairly and faithfully, and has worked diligently for the consummation of this purpose.

Source: Nome and Seward Peninsula by R. S. Harrison. Seattle: The Metropolitan Press, 1905.



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