Williamson County
Historical Commission

 

Governor Dan Moody

 DANIEL JAMES MOODY, JR. (1893-1966)

 

 
Dan Moody
County Attny. 1920-21
Criminal Attny.1922-23
State Attny. Gen. 1925-26
Governor of TX 1927-1931

 

 

The Governor Dan Moody Museum, 114W. Ninth Street built in 1 887 by James Robertson, the house was bought by the first mayor of Taylor, Dan'l Moody and his wife Nannie Robertson Moody in 1889. Dan Moody and his sister Mary were born in the downstairs bedroom where an 1810 quilt and 1860 bed brought with the family from Tennessee are featured. The museum is one of only two governor's birthplaces in Texas open to the public and is the only one that is still furnished almost completely with the family's original belongings. A beautiful garden now flourishes where the Moody family once ran a dairy.

 

114 W. Ninth St.

Taylor, Texas

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http://www.moodymuseum.com/History.html


Click on image for enlarged view

 

Marker Text: A crusader for integrity in public office. Born in Taylor, Williamson County; son of Daniel and Nancy Elizabeth Robertson Moody. At 16 entered University of Texas, where he completed law school. After World War I service, won election to the office of county attorney, then an appointment by Governor Pat Neff to District Attorney, Travis and Williamson counties. Won statewide notice for prosecutions of Ku Klux Klansmen in notorious flogging cases, and was urged by friends to run for Attorney General of Texas. He won this office, and served 1925-1927 in an era of alleged corruption. Moving to halt kickbacks on highway contracts, he recovered for Texas hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 1926 ran for governor on his record as Attorney General, and was elected. Inaugurated when he was 33, he was youngest man ever to take oath for that office. During his terms, 1927-1931, Texans' faith in their state government was restored. Great reforms were made in the State Highway Department and state penitentiary system. After retirement from the governor's office, he practiced law, and was appointed by the President of the United States to prosecute tax evader. He married Mildred Paxton; they had two children.

 

 

 

 

Dan Moody article by Ken Anderson
a special thanks to Impact News and Ken Anderson for for this slice of History
(be sure to view all 4 pages)

 

a special thanks to The Williamson County Sun and Mandy Shelton
 for for this slice of History
Dan Moody the Crusader

 


view links

 

        MOODY, DANIEL JAMES, JR. (1893-1966)
view web page   How Dan Moody Destroyed the Klan in Texas

view web page   The Politics of Personality - Dan Moody

view web page  Biography of Dan Moody

view web page   Mildred Paxton Moody  (wife of Governor Moody)

Biography of     Mildred Paxton Moody

 
 

 
  Narratives from the Georgetown's Yesteryears Book
A
special thanks to The Georgetown Heritage Society and Martha Mitten Allen for letting  WCHC post these wonderful first person stories.
see Foreword and Preface

 
 

The Ku Klux Klan
"The Klan Trial in the 1920's"
Emily Gervis Enochs Davis -
Interviewer: Charles Wright
 

 


Dan Moody was the lawyer, later Governor. My mother and her friends did not want to miss a single session, so they would go and pack lunches, so that when you got into the courtroom and got a good seat, you wouldn't have to get up and go out to eat or anything. If you did, there were people standing outside trying to get your seat. You'd send somebody out to bring you back a drink, and you would eat your lunch and stay right on that bench.

I was there at the courthouse nearly every day with my mother. There were officers in the hallway to be sure the people got in and out. And there was a great deal of feeling, and a tenseness and you knew that you were to go in and sit down and not cause any trouble. Everybody felt that way about it. And Dan Moody was just a brilliant young man, he was really outstanding. He was worth going to hear in any trial.

Feelings were very tense and high, people often didn't know to whom they were talking, if they were members of the local Ku Klux Klan or not. Quite a few students were. And I remember, just about this time, my sister, who was older than I, was having dates and her date came down and asked us if we wanted to drive out where that sign of Southwestern is on 29. We went out there and they were having a big Klan meeting. That is one of the eeriest, spookiest things. They had the cross out there, the burning cross, and marching around with torches. People told us that we would be amazed if we knew who some of them were, and that there were a good many students at that time.

I thought it was going to be something funny to watch, but it wasn't. It was weird and you felt creepy about the whole thing, and it was just not right. It was really eerie.
 

  

 

 


 

 

DANIEL JAMES MOODY, JR. (1893-1966)

Historical Narrative by J.W Cornforth

 

Dan Moody was born in Taylor, Texas, on June 1, 1893. His parents were Nancy Elizabeth Robertson Moody and Daniel Moody. After his father, who had been one of the early mayors of Taylor, lost his modest fortune when friends to whom he had loaned money went bankrupt, young Dan helped to meet the family bills by clerking in a dry goods store after school and on weekends and by assisting in running a dairy at the family home. He finished Taylor High School in 1909, and entered the University of Texas shortly afterward, still in "knee pants", staying with an uncle and aunt in Austin.

 

Four of his mother's brothers were lawyers, one of them the noted jurist, Judge James H. Robertson, who was at one time a partner of Governor Hogg and who was the author of what became known as The Robertson Insurance Law. All his life Dan had said that he was going to be a lawyer, and as soon as he could persuade the University authorities to let him, he entered the law school.

 

He finished the law school work as quickly as possible, attending summers, but because of his youth and the short time spent in the school, he was not granted a degree in law. However, after he became Governor, the law school was fond of claiming him as one of their graduates, and he has always had a deep affection for it, serving as trustee of the Law School Foundation and, in recent years, donating a part of his library to the law school.

 

After finishing law school and obtaining his license to practice law, he opened an office in his home town of Taylor. After time out for War , Moody was elected County Attorney. After a short time n that office, he was appointed District Attorney of Travis and Williamson Counties Governor Pat Neff.

 

While serving as District Attorney, he prosecuted vigorously members of the Klu Klux Klan, which was a power in the State in those days, for various offenses committed by that organization, and the convictions he obtained in several notorious flogging cases won him statewide fame. On the record of this work he was urged by friends to run for Attorney General of Texas, and in 1924 he made a "poor boy's" race across the State in a Model T Ford, winning by a sub­stantial majority.

 

His term of office as Attorney General began at the same time that "Ma" Ferguson became Governor. Her husband, Jim Ferguson, who had been Governor some years before, had been impeached and convicted, and was thus barred from holding any office of public trust in the State. So, he simply ran his wife instead, promising "two Governors for the price of one." And when she was elected, Jim sat at her elbow and was Governor in fact if not in name. The administration was rocked with scandal; it was alleged that the Fergusons took money for pardons granted by the Governor and also took "kick  backs" from lucky friends to whom lucrative highway contras s were given.

 

The scandals became so great and notorious that it was not long before the Attorney General was prosecuting some of the persons involved, seeking to recover for the State large sums c: ;he State's money which had been supposed to go for highways Sat had ended up in private pockets. At one time during these highway suits, Attorney General Moody called a banker in Kansas City to tell him that, as Attorney General, he was coming to Kansas City to get $400,000.00 that had been placed in private accounts there but which Moody contended

 

belonged to the State of Texas. The banker told Moody that he could not have the money, but Moody went to Kansas City anyway and eventually returned with the $400,000.00 in cash. He also recovered other substantial sums for the State and succeeded in voiding many unconscionable highway contracts, which would have wasted the State's money.

 

Naturally, when "Ma" started to run for second term, there were many who urged the young Attorney General, who had called the turn on the Fergusons so successfully, to finish the task by running against "Ma" for Governor, and he quite willingly undertook the task.

 

Moody always prided himself on being a gentleman in the best tradition of the Old South, and he therefore refrained from saying anything in the campaign about "Ma" herself save that she was a dutiful wife - but he routed "Pa" out from behind his wife's skirts and exposed the skullduggery that had gone on. His campaign was so successful that he almost won a majority in the first primary. One of the highlights of this campaign, which drew national attention, was Jim's offer through "Ma" to resign as Governor immediately if Moody led by one vote in the first primary, provided Moody would agree that he would resign immediately as Attorney General if "Ma" led him in the first primary. Friends of the youthful Moody begged him not to accept the dare, saying that people would accuse him of gambling for public office, but Moody said that he felt obligated to accept the challenge, as it would give Texas a way to get rid of the Fergusons sooner and thus save the State money. As it happened, rather than condemning him for his action, the people loved it and rallied to his banner with whoops and approval. Then, when Moody rolled up a huge lead in the first primary, the Fergusons welched on what had proved for them a bad bargain, and, even though Moody won in the second primary, "Ma" served out the remainder of her term.

 

At the beginning of his campaign for Governor, in April of 1926, Moody had married Mildred Paxton, the girl from Abilene, Texas he had been courting for several years. She accompanied him on his travels around the State, and the "honeymoon campaign" did not hurt Moody's cause.

 

Moody was inaugurated as Governor on January 18, 1927, when he was not yet thirty-four years old, the youngest man ever to hold that office. He was re-elected to a second term in 1928 with very little opposition, and thus served as Governor from January 1927 to January 1931.

 

One of his main objectives as Governor was to continue the work he had started as Attorney General, by clearing up the deplorable situation in the highway department. During his administration Texas its start toward the wonderful system of fine highways which we now enjoy. Another thing to which he devoted much hard work was the reorganization of the penitentiary system of the State, which had fallen into a sad condition. perhaps the thing for which Dan Moody's administration will be best remembered is the fact that unquestioned integrity and  honesty returned to the Governor's office. Much of his first term was spent in just cleaning out departments of the State government which had been filled by the Fergusons with persons who seemed to feel that the holding of public office afforded a fine opportunity to fill their own purses. Whenever he had appointments to make, Moody did his best to see that the places were filled by men of the highest character. While running for public office Moody's theme had been "public office is a public trust - and not a private cinch." This he exemplified in his own conduct of the office to such a high degree that there has never been the slightest suggestion of scandal or dishonor touching the Moody administration. His administration thus stands as a fine example to ambitious young men who would like to win the confidence and respect of the people and serve in high political office.

 

After finishing his second term as Governor, Moody retired from politics and entered the private practice of law in Austin. He made for himself a name of national note as lawyer, and was called upon by the President Franklin D. Roosevelt to prosecute various members of Louisiana's Huey Long's  Gong for income tax evasion in New Orleans, where he secured a number of notable convictions. He continued to take a keen interest in politics. In 1942 he made his last - and only unsuccessful - political campaign, running for the United States Senate in a race eventually won by W. Lee O'Daniel. Throughout his life, Moody has been an uncompromising foe of dishonesty in public office. Consequently, he has always been vigorous in his opposition to men like Lyndon Johnson, who seem to regard the holding of public office as a fine opportunity to use their position and power to accumulate private wealth. In 1948, when Lyndon Johnson "won" the Democratic nomination for the office of United States Senator by virtue of a late "correction" in the returns from a South Texas county, Dan Moody led the fight to prevent Lyndon Johnson's name from being placed on the ballot. There was convincing evidence that the election had been deliberately stolen, and Moody secured Court orders prohibiting the certification of Lyndon Johnson as the Democratic nominee. However, Johnson had powerful friends in Washington, and a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States set aside the lower Court orders, thus allowing Johnson to take a seat in the United States Senate on the basis of votes, some of which were shown to have been "cast" by dead men.

 

Throughout his life, Moody had been a member of the Democratic party and had supported its candidates. In 1928, when prohibition was a big political issue and Al Smith was running for President as the Democratic nominee on an anti-prohibition platform, Moody, who had always been a prohibi­tionist, nevertheless supported the party and its nominee. However, in 1952 Moody could no longer accept the principles (or lack of principles) for which the National Democratic party had come to stand. In that year Moody and several other Texans who had been elected to high political office as Democrats actively supported the candidacy of the Republican nominee, General Eisenhower.

 

A few years ago Moody's health began to fail, and in about May of 1961 he was forced to give up completely the practice of law. He is now completely retired, and living at his home in Austin.

 

After a long illness, Governor Moody passed away at his home on the morning of May 22nd, 1966, at the age of 72 years. He is buried in the State Cemetery at Austin.

 


 

Dan (Daniel) Moody (home)

History  by Mrs. John W. Cornforth

Taylor chamber of commerce
historical survey committee

 

The lot where the Moody home is built was sold to W. F. Robertson and his sister, Miss Nannie E. Robertson, on August 9, 1887, by Herbert Austin. Later in the same year, the present Moody home was built. It is located at 114 west Ninth Street, Taylor, Texas.

The architectural plan of the home was a two-story, six-room house, one bath, with large front porch across the front, extending around to the east side. The home was built with four fireplaces, two upstairs in the bedrooms, two downstairs--one in the living room and one in the dining room. The mantles all are still intact and useable, built of oak. All the doors in the home are original with the original white porcelain knobs. The original front door was built with side light inserts. All the inside doors opening into the main hall have transoms above the doors. The beautiful stairway has been retained and preserved, as when built, with its natural mahogany hand rail. All door and window casings with hand grooving have been retained.

 

On March 27, 1890, Daniel Moody married Miss Nannie E. Robertson. After their marriage, Mr. Moody bought the W. F. Robertson interest in the home on April 30, 1890.

A pioneer of Taylor, Texas, Daniel Moody, or Dan'l Moody as he signed his name, son of the Rev. James Moody, a Baptist. minister, and Mrs. Jane Moody, was born in Wayne County, Kentucky, on January 26, 1834. At the age of ten, he moved with his parents to Macon County, Missouri, where he was reared and lived until he was forty-two years old. With honor to himself and satisfaction to his friends, he was sought for and elected to important county offices.

 

Dan'l Moody came to Texas, living in various places while working as claim agent for the International and Great Northern Railroad, and settled permanently in Taylor in 1876. He was Justice of the Peace for four years after coming to Taylor, and was Taylor's first mayor, serving in that capacity for many years, declining re-election in 1900, and then entering the insurance business.

 

To this union, two children were born, Mary Robertson and Daniel J. Moody. This addition to the family required the installation of a "gate" at the top of the stairs to keep the children from falling down the stairs. The "gate" is still there. On Sunday, October 30, 1910, Judge Moody became suddenly ill and died on November 1, 1910, survived by his widow and two children, ending a long and useful life and leaving behind him seventy-six years of unwritten history.

Mrs. Moody took over his insurance business and continued until her health failed some years later, after which time her daughter, Miss Mary Moody, carried on the business.

 

Mrs. Moody was born in Roane County, East Tennessee, on November 2, 1856, and died at her home, 114 West Ninth Street, Taylor, Texas, on December 12, 1924. Mrs. Moody was an educated woman, teaching mathematics in the Taylor High School for four years before her marriage. Judge and Mrs. Moody are buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas.

 

One of the most prominent statesmen of Texas was the son of Judge and Mrs. Dan'l Moody, former Governor Dan Moody. Dan Moody was born June 1, 1893, and educated in the Taylor Public Schools. He attended the University of Texas and was admitted to the Bar in 1914. He began his law practice in Taylor. He was the youngest county attorney of Williamson County, 1920-22; youngest district attorney of Williamson and Travis Counties, 1922-25; youngest attorney general of Texas, 1925-26; and youngest governor of Texas, having been elected in 1926 for the 1927-29 term and re-elected in 1928 for the 1929-31 term.

 

After two terms as Governor, he retired from public life and entered private practice in Austin in 1931. Former Governor Dan Moody died on May 22, 1966 in Austin and was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.

 

The Moody home at the present time has the original furnishings, most of which are antiques. Many were wedding presents to Judge and Mrs. Dan'l Moody. The mahogany highboy in the living room is about one hundred fifty years old, having been a wedding gift to Mrs. Moody's mother, Mrs. Mary Ann Robertson.

 

Miss Mary Moody was born and reared in the family home, and has been in the insurance business for forty-one years. She owns and occupies the home at the present time with happy memories of the past and pioneer days of her family history.

 


 

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