Dan Moody

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Dan Moody
30th Governor of Texas
In office
January 18, 1927 – January 20, 1931
LieutenantBarry Miller
Preceded byMiriam A. Ferguson
Succeeded byRoss S. Sterling
Texas Attorney General
In office
January 1925 – January 1927
GovernorMiriam A. Ferguson
Preceded byWalter Angus Keeling
Succeeded byClaude Pollard
Williamson County District Attorney
In office
Personal details
Daniel James Moody Jr.

(1893-06-01)June 1, 1893
Taylor, Texas, U.S.
DiedMay 22, 1966(1966-05-22) (aged 72)
Austin, Texas
Resting placeTexas State Cemetery
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Mildred Paxton Moody
Alma materUniversity of Texas Law School
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Texas National Guard
Rank2nd Lieutenant and Captain (Guard)
2nd Lieutenant (Army)
Battles/warsWorld War I
Texas historical marker for the Ku Klux Klan trials. The marker is on the Williamson County Courthouse grounds.

Daniel James Moody Jr. (June 1, 1893 – May 22, 1966), was a Democratic politician. Originally from Taylor, Texas, he served as the 30th Governor of Texas between 1927 and 1931. At the age of 33, he was elected and took office as the youngest governor in Texas history.[1] After his two terms as Governor, he returned to private law practice and continued to prosecute and represent various functions of the United States government through his later life.

Early life[edit]

Moody was born on June 1, 1893 in Taylor, Texas. He was the son of Taylor's mayor, justice of the peace, and 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 21, in 1914. He 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.[2]

Public service[edit]

In 1920, Moody 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. Then, 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 US senator and the mayors of Dallas, Fort Worth and Wichita Falls. The case was widely reported and gave him political momentum, despite Klan opposition.[3]

After his election as Texas Attorney General in 1925, Moody 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 her in a runoff election and became the youngest governor of Texas.[1] Suffragist activism provided a major contribution to her defeat as they rallied behind Moody and campaigned for him.[4] Activist Jane Y. McCallum, who Moody would later appoint as his Secretary of State, hosted the campaign headquarters in her own home. She and her colleagues hired a secretary, and they sent "letters, editorials, and pamphlets" to Texas women asking them to vote for Moody.[5]

A conservative Democrat, he served two terms as governor before leaving public office. He opposed the nomination of "wet," Catholic Al Smith in the 1928 presidential primaries, but unlike the Fergusons, he supported Smith against Herbert Hoover in the general election,[6] which saw Texas vote Republican for the first time in its history. He supported a reform program of state prisons, roads, and auditing system.[1] In the 1930s, he became a staunch critic of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Later life[edit]

In 1931, Moody resumed private law practice in Austin, Texas after his last term as governor. Due to a request from President Roosevelt, he helped prosecute income tax evasion schemes in Louisiana as a special assistant to the United States Attorney General, and he continued to represent Texas and its executives throughout the 1930s. He entered politics for the last time in 1942, for a Texas seat in the United States Senate. Moody came in third in the 1942 Democratic primary for the seat, his only political defeat,[1] behind former Governors W. Lee O'Daniel and James Allred; the election was won by O'Daniel. Moody represented Coke R. Stevenson in his case against Lyndon B. Johnson over the hotly-contested 1948 Democratic senatorial primary electoral dispute, and Allred represented Johnson.

By the 1950s, despite remaining a Democrat, he endorsed Republican Dwight Eisenhower for president in 1952 and 1956 and Republican Richard Nixon for President in 1960.[7]

He and his wife spent their remaining years in Austin. He died in 1966 and was buried at the Texas State Cemetery.[8]

Personal life[edit]

On April 20, 1926, he married Mildred Paxton of Abilene, Texas. The couple had two children, Daniel III and Nancy.[9][10]

He and his wife spent their remaining years in Austin. He died in 1966 and was buried at the Texas State Cemetery.[8]


The Williamson County Courthouse had the courtroom in which Moody tried his famous case against the Klan completely restored to its 1920s appearance and reopened in 2007. It is free and open to the public in Georgetown, Texas. There is also a statue of Moody installed outside the courthouse.


  1. ^ a b c d "Moody, Daniel James Jr". Texas State Historical Association. June 15, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  2. ^ Michna, Irene K (2011). Taylor. Arcadia Publishing;. pp. 39, 40. ISBN 978-0-7385-8502-4.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  3. ^ Paulsen, James W. (March 2012). Hunter, Michelle (ed.). "Breaking the Back of the Texas Klan". Texas Bar Journal. Austin, TX: State Bar of Texas. 75 (9): 209.
  4. ^ "Votes for Women! - Aftermath - Page 2 - Texas State Library | TSLAC". www.tsl.texas.gov. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Bishop, Curtis (August 31, 1953). "Mrs. Jane McCallum Still Fights for Old Ideals--Recognition of Women" (PDF). The Austin Statesman. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  6. ^ Campbell, Randolph B.; Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State, p. 376 ISBN 0195138422
  7. ^ Texas Biographical Dictionary. Native Amer Books Distributor. 1996. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-403-09951-1.
  8. ^ a b Texas Politics Project
  9. ^ Fleming, Richard T (June 15, 2010). "Daniel Moody Jr". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  10. ^ "Dan Moody". Prints and Photographs Collection. Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved October 1, 2016.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Walter Angus Keeling
Attorney General of Texas
Succeeded by
Claude Pollard
Political offices
Preceded by
Miriam A. Ferguson
Governor of Texas
January 17, 1927 – January 20, 1931
Succeeded by
Ross S. Sterling