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Richmond's Accidental Almost-Mayor
Civic engagement seems to run in Richmond’s Moore family, perhaps even when certain individuals weren’t so keen on it. John Moore, Sr., whose 1883 mansion still stands on the grounds of the Fort Bend Museum, served in both the Texas Legislature (1896-1898) and as a representative for the state's 8th Congressional District (1905-1913). The elder Moore’s youngest son, John Moore, Jr., followed in his namesake’s footsteps, first assuming the role of county judge between 1933 and 1936 and subsequently becoming mayor of Richmond.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle was the could-have-been mayoral tenure of John Foster Dyer Moore, commonly known around town as “J.F.D.” or simply “Dyer."
On Friday, October 8, 1926, the Texas Coaster reported that J.F.D. Moore had been chosen as Richmond’s next mayor. “This was a special election,” noted the article, “Mayor Wessendorff having resigned…plead(ing) that his private affairs demanded his time.”
J.F.D. and newly-appointed city commissioner Ernest Farmer were both optimistically described as “popular young men who have an abundance of time and ability to fill the positions.” However, neither rising politico had yet offered a public statement—the Coaster somewhat sheepishly admitted that the pair were still away after departing on Thursday morning to visit San Antonio: “Some say they went to look into the latest wrinkles in city government, while others contend they just left town in order to avoid making a speech of acceptance or giving a barbecue or something. Still, that can be looked into when they come back.”
One week later, the Coaster glumly announced that the anticipated Moore mayor-dom (and possible celebratory barbecue) was not to be. Echoing the words of Mr. Wessendorff, J.F.D. told the paper that, “on account of his private affairs demanding his entire time and attention, he would not be able to qualify,” although he stressed his deep appreciation for the “honor and confidence reposed in him by the citizens of Richmond.” Happily, Ernest Farmer accepted his commissionership without incident, and, given that Richmond went on to elect three more Mayor Moores, the city doesn’t appear to have held a grudge.
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Funding has been provided to the Fort Bend History Association from Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
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