Former District Attorney and Governor named the 2016 Cattleman’s Ball Honoree
Approximately 50 die-hard history buffs and museum fans gathered on the Old Courthouse lawn October 14 to take part in the unveiling of the Dan Moody statue on the east side of the historic building. The ceremony, scheduled for 10am, was well-attended despite the downpour that began around 9:55.
Judge Bill Gravell opened the event representing Governor Moody and explained that, “You have all prayed for rain and I have talked to God and he has delivered it to us.”
Director Mickie Ross thanked the City for matching funds raised totaling $50,000 for the project, as well as Council members who contributed time, talent and treasure. She also recognized Williamson County Commissioners who worked to make sure the statue could be placed on county property. “The statue belongs to all of you—the community—and we have plans for more.”
The crowd re-convened in the 26th District courtroom upstairs and was regaled with a short biography of Governor Moody by Judge Gravell. He followed up his story telling with a recitation of the closing arguments from then-District Attorney Dan Moody’s famous trial against members of the Ku Klux Klan in 1923.
Moody was the youngest District Attorney in Williamson and Travis counties, and he also later investigated the highly corrupt James E. Ferguson, whose wife “Ma” Ferguson was Governor of Texas. His investigation recovered $1 million for the taxpayers of Texas. In 1926 he ran against her for Governor and become the youngest ever in Texas. He served two terms before leaving public office.
Following the closing arguments, Ross announced the “Dan Moody” holiday ornament is now available for sale at the museum (inset right, $20). “The courthouse is an amazing place to be able to tell stories and we hope that all the groups who were involved in this day will continue to help us with what is to come.” (View the video clip on the fpgtx.com channel at YouTube.com.)
As a divine follow up to the unveiling, the Museum’s 5th Annual Cattleman’s Ball was a huge success, in part due to the extraordinary planning and management by the Museum staff, but also thanks to the special elegance and finishing touches provided by the new Georgetown Sheraton hotel. Many of the 300-plus guests were there for the first time and crowed about the perfection of the setting and the entire evening.
The guests observed a moment of silence for the late Commissioner Ron Morrison, and Director Ross thanked many local sponsors, including HEB, R Bank and the Sheraton among others. Ross reported that the Museum programs and exhibits served more than 12,000 students in the past year, via traveling trunks, Hands on History days, and a variety of new exhibits at the museum.
Coming soon “Uphill Both Ways: Schools in Williamson County”, a look at our schools over the past 150 years to the fast-growing systems we have today. Also see “Courage & Contradiction: Civil War Stories of Williamson County.” Visitors will explore unique and courageous stories surrounding our Union sympathies in the middle of a Confederacy.