History

The Road to the Governorship

Dan Moody’s passion for justice led him to be the first to successfully prosecute a case against the notorious Ku Klux Klan when he was District Attorney for Travis and Williamson counties. He is credited with having “broken the back” of the Klan in Texas by sending four Klansmen to prison in 1924. According to author Ken Anderson in his book Dan Moody, Crusader for Justice “Moody took Texas from being the number-one Klan state at the beginning of 1924 to the most anti-Klan state in the country by the end of 1924.”

At the time of the Ku Klux Klan trial, Dan Moody was the youngest District Attorney to have served in Travis and Williamson counties. He went on to win election as Texas Attorney General (an original campaign banner hangs in the museum) where he continued to fight for justice.

The year was 1926 when young Dan Moody, then 33 years old, declared his candidacy for governor of Texas on March 6. One month later on April 20,1926 he married Mildred Paxton of Abilene.

After formally opening his campaign for governor on May 8 in his hometown of Taylor, he and his bride set out to campaign across Texas. The sign on the back of his car read “Vote for Dan Moody He is your friend.” In the first 30 days of the campaign he made more than 200 speeches. Wearing his straw boater (now on display in the museum) he set out to beat five opponents including incumbent Governor Miriam “Ma” Ferguson. The campaign attracted nationwide media coverage.

Moody’s campaign slogan “Dan’s the Man” led him to a huge victory with Ferguson coming in a distant second some 126,000 votes behind the popular young politician who had built a reputation as a crusader for justice.

gov in boater