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B. B. Moeur

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Governor Benjamin Baker Moeur

B. B. Moeur

Born: December 22, 1869, in Dechard, Tennessee
Died: March 16, 1937, in Tempe

Dr. B. B. Moeur (pronounced like "Moore") was a physician and businessman in Tempe, and served two terms as Governor of Arizona. As a young man, he worked as a cowboy on the Texas plains. He attended medical school in Little Rock, Arkansas, and after graduating in 1896, he moved to Tempe and started a medical practice. He quickly gained a reputation as a true "country doctor" because of his willingness to make long distance house calls to homesteads throughout the Tempe district.

In the early 1900s, Moeur was also involved in several business ventures in Tempe. He became president of the Southside Electric Light and Gas Co., and president of the Moeur-Pafford Co., a large ranching corporation in partnership with his brother-in-law, J. K. Pafford. In 1906 he joined with with M. E. Curry and George L. Compton to form the Tempe Hardware Company at 520 S. Mill Avenue (See Tempe Hardware Building). He also built two rental cottages, at 29 and 31 E. 6th Street, in 1916. When the Tempe Normal School became Arizona State Teachers College in 1925, he offered his services as college physician, and during that time began a scholarship program at the college.

B. B. Moeur was always involved in politics. He was a representative for Maricopa County at the Arizona Constitution Convention in 1910. He also served 8 years on the Tempe School Board and 12 years as a member of the Board of Education of the Tempe Normal School (predecessor of Arizona State University). Dr. Moeur was elected Governor of Arizona in 1932, during height of the Great Depression, and took office on January 3, 1933. He immediately set out to accomplish the things he had promised to do, including submitting a budget to the Legislature with a $4.5 million cut in expenditures. He started the state personal income tax, but reduced property taxes by 40%, while providing relief programs for the growing number of unemployed residents in the state. Governor Moeur served two terms, 1933-1937 (at that time the Governor was elected for a two-year term). He died at his home in Tempe, just two months after leaving the Governor's office.

B. B. Moeur married Honor G. Anderson on June 15, 1896. They had four children: John K., Vyvyan, Jessie B., and Benjamin B. Jr. His home at 34 E. 7th Street in downtown Tempe has been restored to its 1930s appearance.