Thomas F. Moran was born in Crew County, Ireland in 1868 and came to the United States when he was 18 years old. He worked in a machine shop in Cleveland, Ohio as an apprentice. While working there he learned the Morse Code and it was there he adopted the name "Barney" as there were four "Toms", this name stuck to him through the rest of his life. He attended night school in Cleveland and went to Chicago to attend Chicago College of Law. He came west as a train dispatched to Winslow, Arizona, and there worked for the Santa Fe Railroad and practiced law on the side. His practice became so that he gave up other work. He moved to Reno and in 1911 became District Judge, a position he filled until his death in 1938. "Barney" Moran was known as a "self-made man."