Heritage, 2011, Volume 4 Page: 12
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ged mud town named Houston in 1852,
William's friend and classmate was
killed in an argument, and Moody
was advised to move on, or he too
might meet the same demise. After
purchasing a horse with the last of
his money, the young man traveled
to Centerville, then on to Fair-
field, Texas, where his mount died.
Moody checked into a hotel but
after staying a few days confessed
to the owners that he could not pay
for his room and asked for a job.
He told the proprietor that he was a
law school graduate. The innkeeper,
who could neither read nor write, in-
dicated to Moody that he had always
wanted to be a lawyer. The hotel owner,
thereafter, became the managing partner
of a law firm the two men created, with
Moody doing the legal work. Many years
later, the Colonel enjoyed telling that story and
noting that his senior partner was probably the first
in recent history who could neither read nor write.
For a while, William L. Moody practiced law, but in 1861
he left his practice and his bride of one year, Pherabe Brad-
ley, to fight in the Civil War. Commissioned as a Confed-
erate captain in the Seventh Texas Infantry Regiment, W.
L. Moody saw much action. He survived a prisoner-of-war
camp early on in the conflict, but after being exchanged, was
severely wounded in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1863. His war
experiences allowed Moody to observe many other places
throughout the South, and that knowledge prompted his
relocation from Fairfield to Galveston Island. As the lead-
ing port and largest city in Texas in 1866, this place offered
the best opportunity for the Moodys and their one-year-old
son, William Lewis, Jr. After their
move, Colonel Moody shifted from
a law career to one in the mercan-
tile business. He quickly became a
successful cotton merchant and
civic leader and was instrumental
in expanding the port city and
bringing rail service to Galves-
ton. In 1874, he was elected as
a Democratic member of the
Texas Legislature and was later
appointed the fiscal agent for
the State of Texas during Gover-
nor Richard Coke's administra-
tion. He successfully obtained a
market for Texas securities in New
York-the first such bonds issued
since the Civil War-and thereby
reestablished Texas' nonexistent credit
rating. Colonel Moody, a tall, distin-
guished man who died a millionaire at age
92 in 1920, was instrumental in the birth of
Galveston as a major financial center. He is also
remembered as the very able tutor of the individual who
would become one of the wealthiest men in United States his-
tory, his son W. L. Moody, Jr.
If the Colonel was considered wealthy at the beginning of
the 20th century, then no one at that time could have imag-
ined the fortune his son would one day amass. William Lewis
Moody, Jr. was not the same dashing figure as his father, but
he was equally brilliant. As a boy, he attended, among other
schools, Hollins Institute in Roanoke, Virginia, and Virginia
Military Institute in Lexington. Later he studied and traveled
extensively in Europe. Upon returning home, W.L., Jr. entered
the University of Texas to study law. At age 21, he became a
partner in his father's cotton firm, and within three years,
12 TEXASHERITAGE I Volume 4 2011
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 4, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254223/m1/12/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.