Moore was born August 13, 1800, in Rome, Smith County, Tennessee. It is said that John Henry Moore ran away from college to avoid studying Latin. He went to Spanish Texas in 1818. (His father took him back to Tennessee, and he returned to Texas in 1821.)
He built Moore's Fort at present-day La Grange, Texas, in 1828; but he is best known for commanding the Battle of Gonzales on October 2, 1835. In 1839 he led a force of 60 Texans, from Austin, along with their Lipan Apache allies, under chief Castro, to the San Saba river and attacked an emcampment of Commanche, killing and wounding many and recovering a considerable number of horses and equipment from them. He was elected a colonel of the Texan army and served as a member of the council of war. Commander Stephen F. Austin ordered Moore to organize a cavalry company, who brought their own pistols and double-barreled shotguns.
Moore died December 2, 1880.