Col. Risdon Moore

Colonel Risdon M. MooreColonel Risdon Marshall Moore was born on Feb. 16, 1827 near Cahokia, Illinois. His father, who also was a soldier in the Civil War, as well as the Blackhawk War of 1832, was Captain Jonathan Moore. Risdon Moore began studying at McKendree College in 1845 and graduated in 1850 with a Master of Art’s Degree. In 1895, he received a Doctorate of Philosophy. As a student, Moore was a member of the Philosophian Literary Society (also referred to as Philo), the college’s first literary society for men, established in 1837. Moore tutored Latin and Greek at McKendree before being elected Professor of Mathematics. In 1855, Moore, along with McKendree President Dr. Cobleigh, purchased the bell which now hangs in the Bothwell Chapel and is rumored to be the oldest bell in the United States.

Moore remained a professor until his date of muster in the 117th Infantry on Sept. 19, 1862. Colonel Risdon Moore served in the battles of Vicksburg, Pleasant Hill, Nashville, Fort Blakely, the Red River Campaign, and Meridian. He was well known as a staunch Republican and a devout Methodist. He was a member of the Masonic Order and was highly respected by his infantry comrades, colleagues, as well as his students during the years he taught, many of whom were in the ranks below him during the war. Moore enjoyed writing poetry and in addition to his poem “117th Illinois Infantry,” he also composed a poem of more than 180 pages and wrote much about Illinois history throughout his life.

Moore was released from his service in the Civil War in 1865 and left McKendree College in 1866 for Selma, Alabama to pursue the coal mining business. In 1875, he was appointed special agent of the U.S. Treasury Department and in 1878 was transferred to San Antonio, Texas until his death Jan. 26, 1909.


"117th Illinois Infantry Regiment ." The Illinois USGenWeb Project. 1997. (accessed June 1, 2012).

Gerling, Edwin. The One Hundred Seventeenth Illinois Infantry Volunteers. Highland, Illinois, 1992.

Guandolo, Joseph, ed. Centennial McKendree College with St. Clair County History. 1928.