Dan Moody, Governor

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Daniel James "Dan" Moody, Jr.

Death: 1966 (73)
Immediate Family:

Son of Daniel James Moody and Nancy Elizabeth "Nannie" Robertson

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About Dan Moody, Governor


Daniel James Moody, Jr. (June 1, 1893 – May 22, 1966), was a Democratic political figure, originally from Taylor, Texas, USA. He served as the 30th Governor of Texas between 1927 and 1931. At the age of thirty-three, he was elected and took office as the youngest governor in Texas history.

Family background and early life

Moody Jr. was born on June 1, 1893 in Taylor, Texas. He was the son of Taylor's mayor-justice of the peace-school board chairman Daniel James Moody Sr. who was one of the town's first settlers in 1876. His mother Nannie Elizabeth Robertson was a local school teacher when Moody Sr. married her in 1890. Moody Jr. was an alumnus of the University of Texas Law School, and became a member of the State Bar of Texas at the age of 21, in 1914, and began practicing with Harris Melasky in Taylor. During World War I, Moody served in both the Texas National Guard as first a 2nd Lieutenant and then Captain, and also the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Public service

In 1920, Moody Jr. served as Williamson County Attorney, a position he held for two years before becoming District Attorney in 1922. In 1923, Moody obtained an assault conviction against four members of the Ku Klux Klan for beating and tarring a white traveling salesman. At this time, the Klan was very powerful in Texas, with an estimated 150,000 members in the state, including the national "imperial wizard". Texas Klansmen included a U.S. senator and the mayors of Dallas, Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. This case was widely reported and gave him political momentum, despite Klan opposition.

After election as Texas Attorney General in 1925, Moody Jr. conducted investigations of the highly corrupt James E. Ferguson, whose wife Miriam A. Ferguson was serving as the Governor of Texas. His investigation recovered $1 million for the taxpayers of Texas. In 1927, Moody defeated Ma Ferguson in a runoff election to become the youngest governor of Texas. A conservative Democrat, he served two terms as Governor before leaving public office. He supported a reform program of state prisons, roads and auditing system. In the 1930s he became a staunch critic of President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. He resumed private law practice in Austin, Texas after his last term as Governor. Moody was third in the 1942 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat behind former Governors W. Lee O'Daniel and James Allred, won by O'Daniel. Moody represented Coke R. Stevenson in his case against Lyndon B. Johnson over the hotly contested 1948 Democratic Senatorial Second Primary electoral dispute, Allred represented Johnson.

By the 1950s he was still a Democrat, but endorsed Republican Dwight Eisenhower for president in 1952 and 1956 and Republican Richard Nixon for President in 1960.

Personal life and final years

On April 20, 1926, he married Mildred Paxton of Abilene, Texas. The couple had two children.

Governor and Mrs. Moody spent their remaining years in Austin. Dan Moody died in 1966 and was buried at the Texas State Cemetery. Mildred outlived him by 17 years, dying in 1983. She is buried next to him.

Williamson County Courthouse

The courtroom where Moody tried his famous case against the K.K.K. was completely restored to it's 1920s appearance and was reopened in 2007. It is free and open to the public in Georgetown, Texas.

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Dan Moody, Governor's Timeline

Age 73