Daniel Killian Moore was born in Asheville, North Carolina, on April 2, 1906. He earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and went on to practice law in Sylva, North Carolina. In 1941, he served a term in the North Carolina House of Representatives before entering the U.S. Army in World War II. From 1948 to 1958, Moore served as a North Carolina Superior Court judge. He subsequently served as counsel for the Champoin Papers company in Canton, North Carolina, while also serving on the state Board of Water Resources. In 1964, he began a campaign for governor.
Moore served one term as governor from 1965 to 1969. His successor, Governor Robert W. Scott, appointed him to the North Carolina Supreme Court, the first governor of the state to be so honored. He served in this position from November 20, 1969 to December 31, 1978. He passed away on September 7, 1986.