John Wyatt Moody
The Founding of the Town of Montgomery
Texas in July, 1837
With an Emphasis on John Wyatt Moody's Crucial Role in the Naming of
Town of Montgomery and Montgomery County, Texas
(From: The Early History of Montgomery County, Texas)
by: Kameron Searle
This is an example of a draft signed by J. W. Moody as Auditor of the
Provisional Government of Texas on February 7, 1836. This image is from a private collection. James
P. Bevill, the author of The Paper Republic has kindly authorized the use of this and other images of
documents signed by J.W. Moody in this article.
John Wyatt Moody
Originally, J. W. Moody was a mystery. I had no idea who he
was. Surprisingly, he was not even a resident of the Lake Creek Settlement. In solving the
mystery of who J. W. Moody was, I finally solved the puzzle of where the name of the town of Montgomery and the
County of Montgomery, Texas came from.
This research has also resulted in the most complete monograph ever written about John
Wyatt Moody and his many activities during the early Republic of Texas.
On this page, I will begin to outline some of my research regarding Major John Wyatt
Moody, who was the business partner of W. W. Shepperd in the founding of the town of Montgomery, Texas in July
1837. I will begin this article with an outline of the life of J. W. Moody and begin filling it out over the
next few months with documents and other research that I have discovered over the last ten years while researching
the Lake Creek Settlement and the Founding of the
Town of Montgomery, Texas. Some information will be provided as to Moody's early life, but this biography
will focus primarily on Moody's life, career and influence in Texas.
Why is J. W. Moody so important to a study of the early history of Montgomery
County? Because, it would be the influence of J. W. Moody that decided the name of the town of Montgomery and
the County of Montgomery. As will be seen, John W. Moody, would be one of the two men who named the town
of Montgomery, Texas. It will also be shown that Moody played a key role in the creation of Montgomery
County. The biography of J. W. Moody is essential to an understanding of the source of the
name of both the town of Montgomery and the county of Montgomery. The key to understanding the
historical mystery surrounding the naming of the town and county of Montgomery is J. W. Moody.
Because Moody resided in Houston and died within a year and a half of the creation of the new
county, his role in the history of Montgomery County was quickly forgotten. W. W. Shepperd would sell
out his interest in the Town of Montgomery to James McCown in October of 1839 shortly after the death of
Moody. Shepperd would move on to other land speculation projects and die just ten years later in
1849. His role in the founding of the town would be all but forgotten quickly as well. The truth about
the founding and naming of the town and county of Montgomery would be replaced over time by the romantic
Montgomery Trading Post
The Montgomery Trading Post Myth filled the needs of later generations to understand where the name
of the town and county came from. It did not matter that there were as many different versions of the
Montgomery Trading Post story as there were historians or that there was no evidence to support the existence
of the so called Montgomery Trading Post. All that mattered was that it explained some important things
about the early history of Montgomery County that people wanted to know the answers to. And no one seems to
have cared that the Montgomery Trading Post myth did not match any of the primary historical records found in the
Montgomery County courthouse, the Washington County courthouse, the Austin County courthouse, the Grimes County
courthouse, the Texas State Library and Archive, the Texas General Land Office, etc. Click here for more
detailed information on the Evolution of the Montgomery
Trading Post Myth and the evidence which has been located in recent years that proves conclusively that the
Montgomery Trading Post Myth is not true.
If you would like to contribute information to this article, see the Help Wanted section
below. The article is a bit bare bones right now, but it will be fleshed out very shortly. At this
time, click here to see the most complete biography of John Wyatt Moody currently posted on the Internet.
As researchers will search for Moody in different ways on Internet search engines, his name is
spelled three different ways throughout the article: J. W. Moody, John W. Moody and John Wyatt Moody.
His military rank of Major is provided a number of times for the same reason.
Genealogy of John Wyatt Moody
There are a number of genealogies available on the Internet for the family of John Wyatt Moody
and it is not the purpose of this page, at this time, to explore his ancestors and many descendants. It would
be welcomed if a descendant of John Wyatt Moody were to prepare a well researched genealogy for the Texas
History Page to publish. A number of descendants have contacted me and have been very helpful
with historical details of the life of J. W. Moody, but none has provided a modern or in-depth family
According to a number of sources, John W. Moody was born in Lunenburg, Virginia in 1776.
Janice McAlpine, a genealogist who has researched the Moody family, advises that John Wyatt Moody probably wasn't
born in 1776. McAlpine writes, "For example, John Wyatt [Moody] wasn't born in 1776. His father Dr.
Thomas Moody was born 9 November 1759 (pension file, family bible and gravestone). Dr. Moody [John Wyatt Moody's
father] first appeared in his own father's household on the tax rolls in June 1776, at age 16. So I doubt he
was married at age 15 and a father at age 16."
John Wyatt Moody married Mary "Polly" Baldwin.
Major John Wyatt Moody
Where John Wyatt Moody received the military rank of Major has proved elusive,
but it is now known that John Moody served in the War of 1812 as a Captain. During the War of 1812, Moody
served as Captain of the Seventh Regiment of the Fifth Company detached from the Iredell [County, North Carolina]
Regiment. See "The Muster Rolls of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 Detached from the Militia of North Carolina, in
1812 and 1814"
See the Muster Rolls of Soldiers of the War of 1812: Detached from the Militia of
North Carolina in 1812 and 1814. Published in pursuance of the Resolutions of the General Assembly of
January 28, 1851 and Resoulution of the General Assembly of February 25, 1873 by North Carolina, Adjutant General,
pages 70 and 75.
It is also important to note that two of John Wyatt Moody's brothers, Benjamin
Epps Moody born December 17, 1786 and William Moody born March 10, 1794 were also in his unit. William Moody
was also an officer in the unit. He was Ensign of the unit. Benjamin Epps Moody was a private. I
would like to thank Cindy Moody Justice for locating this important information regarding the Moody family's
military activities during the War of 1812.
John W. Moody, Jailer of Montgomery County, Alabama
By the early 1820's, John Wyatt Moody had moved to Montgomery County,
Alabama. Prior to serving as the County Clerk of Montgomery County, Alabama, John W. Moody had served as the
Montgomery County Jailer. This is reflected in a number of documents. In the 1825 House Journal of the Alabama General Assembly, it provides the following information for
Thursday, November 24, 1825 on page 19:
Thursday, November 24, 1825
Mr. Benson, presented the account of John Moody, late Jailor of Montgomery County,
which was read, and referred to the Committee on Accounts.
Special thanks to Jon Moody, a descendant of John Wyatt Moody, for helping to locate
John W. Moody, County Clerk of Montgomery County, Alabama
We are very fortunate that John Wyatt Moody had such a distinctive and unusual signature. Typically,
though not always, Moody drew a loop through the body of his signature. This loop begins on the left and goes
to the right and finishes on the left. He also drew a loop under the length of his signature with three more
smaller loops under this "underlining" loop. The three smaller loops are drawn under the left side of
The State of Alabama
came before me John Moody Clerk of the County Court in and for said County Ahab Wilkenson Administrator of
the Estate of George Wilkenson decd. who after being duly Sworn deposeth and sayeth that the
forgoing account currant is just and true so far as he knows and believes
Sworn and subscribed this 27th
day of April,
See Montgomery County, Alabama, Records of Estates Vol. 2, p. 67.
His signature has allowed us to follow him from his office as the County Clerk of the
County Court of Montgomery County, Alabama to the office of Auditor of the Republic of Texas. Below is Moody's
signature from a document he signed as the Montgomery County Clerk in April of 1827.
Below is Moody's signature from a Republic of Texas document he signed as First
auditor of the Republic of Texas in June of 1838 eleven years later.
Image Courtesy of Private
This image is from a private collection. James P. Bevill, the author of The Paper Republic has kindly authorized the
use of this and other images of documents signed by J.W. Moody in this article.
John W. Moody Arrives in Texas in 1835
In the records of the Harrisburg County (now Harris County) Land Commissioners we
find that J. W. Moody applied for a league and labor of land in January 1838. His son, William C. Moody,
applied for a labor of land at the same time. His application is also informative.
228. J. W. Moody personally appears
claming one league & labor of land, has taken the oath prescribed by law. G. W. Poe being duly
sworn deposeth and says that he
has known said J. W. Moody since 35 as a good and faithful citizen. J. Neil deposeth
that he has known said applicant since May 35 at the Colorado
also his family. Issued.
J. W. Moody's land claim was approved by the Office of Land Commissioners for the
County of Harrisburg, Republic of Texas, on January 25, 1838. It is obvious that Moody was in Texas by May
of 1835. As we will see below, in his son's claim, J. W. Moody was in Texas by April 11,
Note: The witnesses who swore to J. W. Moody's presence and citzenship in Texas
before Texas independence, were George Washington Poe and James Clinton Neill. Both of these gentlemen had had extremely important roles in
the Texas Revolution. J. C. Neill had distinguished himself in the Siege of Bexar. Neill was the
commander of the Alamo. Not expecting Santa Anna to arrive as soon as he did, Neill was the officer
who left William Barrett Travis in temporary command of the Alamo so that he could go care for his family which
had been stricken with a serious illness. Neill was riding back to the Alamo when the Alamo fell.
Neill was commander of the Twin Sisters (the two Texas 6 pound cannons) at San Jacinto on April 20, 1836 and
received a severe wound to his hip. J. C. Neill's own land claim was approved by Land Commissioners of the
County of Harrisburg the the same day (January 25, 1838) as J. W. Moody's. According to a number of
sources, J. C. Neill had moved to Mina (later Bastrop, Texas) on the Colorado River in 1834.
J. W. Moody in Texas by April 11, 1835
J. W. Moody was in Texas by April 11, 1835. William C. Moody was a son of J. W.
Moody. William C. Moody made his claim for land on the same day immediately after his father (January 25,
1838) in Harrisburg County. J. W. Moody's claim was number 228, and W. C. Moody's claim was number
229. In the record of his son's claim, J. W. Moody swore that he saw his son arrive in Texas on
April 11, 1835. He also makes note of his son's service in the Texas Army during the Texas Revolution.
J. C. Neill also swore that he knew William C. Moody in the Texas army in 1835.
228. William C. Moody personally
appears claming one third of a league of land, has taken the oath prescribed by law. J. W. Moody
being duly sworn deposeth and says that he saw applicant arrive Apr.
11th 35 served as a volunteer in the cause of the country. J. Neil deposeth that he
knew said applicant in the army in 35 and as a
See Early Land Records of Harrisburg, The Republic of Texas Vol. I., p.
74. This book is a transcription of the land records of Harrisburg County. It does not indicate an
author or transcriber. This transcription is located in the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
in Houston, Texas, Call No. H317 HARRI TEX v. 1. [I will make an effort to locate the original primary
documents at the Harris County Clerk's Office]
Note: We would like to thank Elizabeth B. "Liz" Harvey who has provided us with a
photograph of her great great grandfather, William Cresfield Moody, taken many years after his land claim was
issued in Harrisburg County (now Harris County), Texas. William C. Moody's middle name is sometimes
spelled "Crestfield" on various genealogy sites on the Internet.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth B. Harvey
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth B. Harvey
William C. Moody and his wife Louisa Gillard Moody
Liz Harvey advises us that the caption written by William C. Moody's grand daughter
reads, "William Cresfield Moody and his wife Louisa Gillard in front of the brick house he built in Solomonville,
[Arizona Territory] when they first arrived there. Since he was a brick maker by trade he probably made the
bricks for this house." See grave of William C. Moody. William C. Moody was born in 1819 in Coosa County,
Alabama. As we will see later in this article, William C. Moody will work for his father as a clerk in the
Auditor's Office of the Republic of Texas.
General Meeting of the Citizens of the Municipality of Mina - July 4, 1835
Moody wasted no time getting involved in Texas politics. Less than three months
after his arrival in April of 1835, we find him serving as Secretary of the General Meeting of Citizens in the
Municipality of Mina on July 4, 1835. Dr. Thomas J. Gazley was the Chairman and John Moody was the
See July 18, 1835 edition of The Texas Republican newspaper published at
Brazoria, Texas, Vol. 1, No. 46, p. 2.
Note: Dr. Thomas J. Gazley will have several connections to John W. Moody. From
September 28, 1835 to November 9, 1835, Dr. Thomas J. Gazley was the Surgeon of Michael R. Goheen's Company in
the Texas army. Michael R. Goheen would marry John W. Moody's daughter. When Montgomery County is
created by an act of the Republic of Texas' Second Congress in December of 1837, Dr. Thomas J. Gazley will be one
of the members in the House of Representatives voting on the matter.
Note: Gazley also had a connection with W.W. Shepperd. Gazley served in the
Convention at Washington (later known Washington-on-the-Brazos) with Charles Bellinger Stewart. Both
men (Gazley and Stewart) signed the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. Stewart left
the Convention at Washington for a few days to go to the Lake Creek Settlement to the site of the future town
of Montgomery to marry Julia Shepperd the daughter of W. W. Shepperd, J. W. Moody's future associate in the
founding of the town of Montgomery and the creation of Montgomery County.
Clerk of General Council Committees of the Provisional Government of Texas
W. W. Shepperd's business partner in the founding of the town of Montgomery,Texas, J.
W. Moody, also served extensively in the Provisional Government of Texas during the Texas Revolution.
In early November of 1835, a Consultation was held at San Felipe. Though
declaring independence from Mexico was discussed, the delegates to the Consultation stopped short of declaring
Texas independent of Mexico. Though the Consultation fell short of declaring the independence of Texas from
the country of Mexico, the delegates did take an action which is often missed by many Texas historians. The
delegates to the Consultation of 1835 at San Felipe, though remaining loyal to the Mexican Constitution of
1824, declared the Texas portion of the State of Coahuila y Texas independent of the State of Coahuila y
The delegates then proceeded to set up a State government, which became known as the
Provisional Government of Texas, by electing a Governor (Henry Smith) and a Lt. Governor (James W. Robinson).
The delegates to the Consultation also created a legislative body for the State of Texas. This legislative
body was called the General Council. One delegate from each of the Municipalities in Texas was selected to
serve on the General Council. The Provisional Government of Texas operated under a document written by the
Consultation called the Organic Law.
This was an extraordinary move on the part of the Texians. Imagine a part of one
of the states in the United States of America suddenly declaring itself a state independent from the original state
and setting up its own state government. The Mexican Government, under the rule of Dictator Antonio
Lopez de Santa Anna, viewed all of these acts by the Consultation as acts of treason.
The Provisional Government of Texas would serve as the government of Texas between the
adjournment of the Consultation on November 14, 1835 and the beginning of the Convention at Washington (later
known as Washington-on-the-Brazos) on March 1, 1836.
John W. Moody's many years of service as the County Clerk of Montgomery County,
Alabama would be put to good use by the Provisional Government of Texas. Even though he had not served
as a delegate to the Consultation at San Felipe in 1835, John W. Moody would be actively involved in the
Provisional Government of Texas. Just nine days after the Consultation adjourned on November 14, 1835, the
General Council of the Provisional Government of Texas would elect John Wyatt Moody the Clerk of the Committee on
Affairs of State, and Judiciary, and Finance on November 23, 1835.
Council Hall, San Felipe de Austin,
NINE O'CLOCK, A. M.
The council met pursuant to adjournment...
On motion of Mr. Barrett, Mr. John W. Moody of the Municipality of Mina, was elected Clerk of the
Committee on Affairs of State, and Judiciary, and Finance.
See pages 34-35 of Proceedings of the General Council a copy of which is
located on pages 582-583 of Gammel's The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, Volume 1, Austin, 1898.
On December 5, 1835, Moody was sworn in as Clerk of "several standing Committees."
Council Hall, San Felipe de Austin,
December 5, 1835
Mr. Moody, who had been elected Clerk to
several standing Committees of the House was sworn.
See page 78 of Proceedings of the General Council, a copy of which is
located on page 626 of Gammel's The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, Volume 1, Austin, 1898.
Secretary Pro Tem of the General Council
In addition to serving as the Clerk of several standing Committees of the General
Council of the Provisional Government of Texas, we find that John W. Moody also served as Secretary pro
tem of the General Council. See Telegraph and Texas Register for one such example below. (Add
citation for TT&R)
John W. Moody (W. W. Shepperd's future business partner in the founding of
the Town of Montgomery in 1837) and C. B. Stewart (W. W. Shepperd's future son-in-law) served together closely in
the Provisional Government of Texas in 1835
See the [site edition here] edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register
Chief Clerk of State and Finance Committees
Council Hall, San Felipe de Austin,
NINE O'CLOCK, A. M.
The Council met pursuant to adjournment...
Be it resolved by the General Council of the Provisional Government of
Texas, that the chairman of the committee of finance, be required to give to E. M. Pease, Esq., secretary of
the General Council, an order upon the treasurer for fifty dollars, to apply on his per diem wages, also a
like order, for the same sum, in favor of J. W. Moody, chief clerk of the state and finance committees, to apply on his per
See page 149 of Proceedings of the General Council, a copy of which is
located on page 697 of Gammel's The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, Volume 1, Austin, 1898.
Auditor of the Provisional Government of Texas
Less than a month after being sworn in as Clerk of several Committees of the General Council, John
W. Moody was elected the Auditor of the Provisional Government of Texas on December 30, 1835.
Council Hall, San Felipe de Austin,
December 30, 1835
The Council met pursuat to adjournment...
On motion, the House proceeded to the election of auditor and comptroller
of public accounts, and collector of public dues on lands, and first Judge of Austin.
When John W. Moody, was
duly elected auditor.
See pages 167 & 169 of Proceedings of the General Council, a copy
of which is located on pages 715 & 717 of Gammel's The Laws of Texas 1822-1897, Volume 1, Austin
"John W. Moody, auditor of public accounts"
See the Saturday, January 9, 1836 edition of the Telegraph and Texas
Register newspaper, Vol. 1, No. 12, second page (82).
J. W. Moody served as the Auditor of the Provisional Government of Texas at the same
time Charles Bellinger Stewart was serving as Secretary to Governor Henry Smith. During this
time, Moody and Stewart worked very closely together on a daily bases, as evidenced by the newspaper article
above and the document below.
See Republic Claims, Name: Charles B. Stewart, Claim # 117, Type AU, Reel #100,
Moody, as Auditor, and Stewart, as a Delegate, served together at the Convention at
Washington-on-the-Brazos as well. This relationship will become important in regard to the founding of
the town of Montgomery and the creation of Montgomery County, Texas in 1837. Moody would serve as the Auditor
of the Provisional Government into March of 1836.
[Telegraph and Texas Register, Saturday, January 30, 1836, Transcribe Moody as Auditor reporting
to Acting Governor James Robinson.]
Below is a draft signed by Moody after the convention at Washington began on March 1, 1836.
The draft was signed by Moody three days after the delegates to the Convention at Washington declared Texas'
independence from Mexico. The Alamo would fall two days after the draft was signed.
The Treasurer of the Provisional Government of Texas
you will pay to James W Robinson or order twenty
five dollars out of any monies in the Treasury
not otherwise appropriated
March 4th 1836
H. C. Hudson
Controller J. W.
This $25.00 draft was made payable to James W. Robinson the Lt.
Governor of the Provisional Government of Texas. It is signed by J. W. Moody, the Auditor of the
Provisional Government of Texas. This draft is from a private collection. Special thanks to James P.
Bevill for authorizing the use of this image in this article.
John Wyatt Moody at the Convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos
John Wyatt Moody was present at the Texian Convention at Washington (later known as
Washington-on-the-Brazos) in March of 1836. The convention commenced on March 1, 1836. On March 2, 1836,
the delegates to the Convention at Washington declared Texas independent from Mexico, began writing the
Constitution of the Republic of Texas and forming a government for the new Republic. Though he was not a
delegate to the Convention, J. W. Moody was present and functioning in his office as the Auditor of the Provisional
Government of Texas. As you read the quotations from the Convention below, keep in mind that the Alamo fell
on March 6, 1836.
SUNDAY, 9 o'clock, A.M.
[March 13, 1836]
The communication of Mr. Moody auditor of public accounts of
the late provisional government was received and laid upon the table.
See the Journals of the Convention [at Washington] on page 356 of Volume 9 of The
Papers of the Texas Revolution - 1835-1836, John H. Jenkins, General Editor, Presidal Press, Austin,
1973. As will be seen, J. W. Moody had prepared two reports regarding the amount of the government debts
for the Convention.
MONDAY, March 14, 1836.
Two o'clock, P.M.
The President laid before the Convention the report of the
or of public accounts, which are as follows, towit:
"Washington, March 7, 1836.
The Honb. Prest. & members of the Convention. In
with the existing laws, I beg leave to report the amount of the
government debts from 1st Jany. 1836 to 7th March inclusive, ad
mitted to audit and drafted for, upon ballancing the books & cor-
recting the errors in addition, on account of
Expenses................................................... 604 78
Military Expenses....................................................... 39,329
Amount of government debts 7th March 1836............ 45,957
J. W. Moody, Auditor.
To the Honb. Prest & members of the Convention.
In accordance with the existing laws, I beg leave to report,
since the 8th March, to the 10th inst. inclusive I have admitted to
audit & drafted for account of
Expenses................................................. 00,000 00
Amt. of Govt. debts on 7th March...............................
" 10th "
............................... $46,531 45
Add for Contingent Expenses as per account 27th Jan-
Total am't audited and drawn for..................................
Deduct amt. of draft paid in per S. Leeper's
note............ 38 00
Amt. Govt. debts 10th March.....................................
Having ceased operations since the morning of the 11th inst. and
balanced the books of the office, they stand thus -
Amt. Govt. debts 10th March
1836................................ $46,530 95
Having received information of four families being in a house on
this side of the Colorado, of which my own is among the number, I
must go to their relief. My office and papers being ready for ex-
amination, an immediate action is earnestly requested.
I remain Sir, Your obedient servant,
J. W. MOODY, Auditor."
On motion of Mr. Rusk, the same was referred to the commitee
See the Journals of the Convention [at Washington] on page 358-359 of Volume 9 of The
Papers of the Texas Revolution - 1835-1836, John H. Jenkins, General Editor, Presidal Press, Austin,
1973. As indicated here, John Wyatta Moody "ceased operations" on the morning of March 11, 1836.
Following the fall of the Alamo, the Runaway Scrape began as thousands of Texas settlers
fled from the advancing Mexican army towards safety across the Sabine River and into the United States. Moody
specifically requested permission to remove his and other families from the path of the advancing Mexican army.
On March 16, 1836, J.W. Moody was authorized to raise a guard of at least four men and
move in "poor families who are on the Colorado exposed to the ravages of the enemy." Asa Brigham was chosen
to be the auditor of the short lived ad interim government of the Republic of Texas. J. W. Moody who
had been the original auditor of the Provisional Government of Texas would be appointed Auditor of the Republic of
Texas a few months later on December 20, 1836. He would hold this position continuously until the time of his death
March 16, 1836.
Three o'clock, P.M.
Mr. Rusk introduced the following resolution. - Resolved: That J. W. Moody be
authorized to raise a guard of at least four men, and press Horses, waggons, provisions, to move in poor
families who are on the Colorado exposed to the ravages of the enemy. Which was adopted.
See the Journals of the Convention [at Washington] on page 367 of Volume 9 of The Papers of the
Texas Revolution - 1835-1836, John H. Jenkins, General Editor, Presidal Press, Austin, 1973. J. W. Moody
was specifically authorized by the Convention at Washington to assist families along the Colorado in what later
became known as the "Runaway Scrape."
Major John W. Moody and the Fort Parker Massacre
After Moody was authorized by the Convention at Washington on the Brazos to remove settlers on
the Colorado during the Runaway Scrape, we find him again in May 1836, just over a month after the Texans won
their independence at the Battle of San Jacinto.
On May 19, 1836, one of the most famous Indian raids in Texas history occurred at Fort
Parker. Just about every Texan has heard the story of the capture of 8 year old Cynthia Ann Parker during the
Comanche raid on Parker's Fort, how she spent most of her life with the Comanches and was the mother of the
Comanche Chief Quanah Parker. James W. Parker and some of the other survivors escaped the massacre on May 19,
1836 and made it to the home of Captain Carter by May 25, 1836. In the Rachel Plummer Narrative
published in 1926 by Rachel Lofton, Susie Hendrix and Jane Kennedy, we find a reprint of a narrative by James W.
Parker. In his narrative, James W. Parker wrote,
"On the 27th [of May, 1836], I started an express to the officers of the
Government for assistance. Maj. John W. Moody
bore the express, and five hundred troops were promptly ordered to our relief. These troops had
proceeded as far as Washington, when they received the intelligence that the defeated army of Santa Anna
was returning upon the western frontier, and they were ordered to meet them. Thus was my design of
returning immediately to the fort, and of pursuing the Indians and releasing the prisoners,
frustrated. To go alone was useless, and to raise a company was impossible, as every person
capable of serving was already in the Texas army."
According to James W Parker, Major John W. Moody carried the express regarding the Fort
Parker massacre to the Government.
Moody at First Session of Congress of Republic of Texas
It would appear that John W. Moody was present at the first session of the First
Congress of the Republic of Texas as early as the first day that body convened at Coumbia, Texas on October 3,
1836. On Monday, October 3, 1836, just after the the Speaker of the House of Representatives was elected and
seated, John W. Moody's name was placed in nomination for Engrossing Clerk of the House of Representatives.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Monday, Oct. 3, 1836.
In obedience to the proclamation of his Excellency, David G. Burnet, President of the Republic,
dated Velasco July 23rd 1836, that elections should be held in all the counties of the republic, at all the
usual places for holding elections, on the first Monday in September, for President, Vice President,
Senators and Representatives; the Senators and Representatives elect should convene in the town of Columbia
on the first Monday in October, as co-ordinate branches of the first congress of the republic of Texas.
Whereupon the delegates elect met in the town of Columbia, on Monday the third day of October,
and there being a quorum of the house of Representatives,...
Whereupon, Messrs. Green and Chenowerth conducted Mr. Ingram to the chair.
Mr. West nominated Mr. John W.
Mr. Boyd nominated Mr. M. C. Patton;
Whereupon, the speaker appointed Messrs. Boyd and Baker tellers, and after the vote
being taken, Mr. Baker reported that Mr. Barton received four votes, Mr. Patton one vote, Mr. Moody eight votes, Mr. Thompson nine
votes. Whereupon the speaker announced that neither of the nominations having received a
constitutional majority, the house would proceed to vote a second time; the vote of the house being taken the
second time, Mr. Baker reported that Mr. Moody received
nine votes, and Mr. Thompson thirteen votes, whereupon the speaker announced that Mr. Thompson was duly and
constitutionally elected engrossing clerk of the house of representatives.
See Teusday, October 4, 1836 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register
newspaper published at Columbia, Texas, Vol. 1, No. 32, p. 3. Moody would lose this vote to Mr.
Thompson. Shortly thereafter, Moody would be elected Assistant Clerk of the House of
Representatives; and after that, he would be elected Auditor of the Republic of Texas. That office would make him
one of the most powerful men in the Republic of Texas as he would decide who would and who would not get paid by
the Republic of Texas out of of its very limited financial resources. Special thanks to Jon Moody, a descendant of
John W. Moody, for bringing the October 4, 1836 Telegraph and Texas Register article to our attention.
J. W. Moody Assistant Clerk of the House of Representatives
Two days after the vote for Engrossing Clerk, J. W. Moody became the Assistant Clerk
of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas on Wednesday, October 5, 1836.
Wednesday, Oct. 5, 1836.
At the usual hour the members of took their seats, and proceeded to business, the clerk
having claimed and obtained the privilege of dispensing with the prescribed practice of reading the journal of
the previous day's proceedings, resulting from the numerous labors devolving on him without an
Mr. West moved the appointment of an assistant clerk; and
Mr. J. W. Moody, after having taken the oath of
office, was nominated assistant clerk.
See the October 11, 1836 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register
newspaper published at Columbia, Texas, Vol. 1, No. 33, p. 3. Moody would be Assistant Clerk of the House of
Represntatives until his appointment to Auditor of the Republic of Texas on December 20, 1836.
Auditor of the Republic of Texas from 1836-1839
Two months after J. W. Moody was elected Assistant Secretary of the House of
Representatives of the Republic of Texas, he was nominated and elected Auditor of the Republic of Texas.
Below is President Sam Houston's letter to the Senate nominating John W. Moody for Auditor of the Public
Sam Houston Nominates John W. Moody
Columbia, 20th Dec. 1836
To the Hon.
It gives me great pleasure to nominate to you John W. Moody as a suitable person to be
appointed Auditor of Public Accounts for this Republic.
Mr. Moody is highly recommended and I trust your honorable body will
concur with me in his appointment.
See Texas State Library and Archives, Inventory #13734, Box/Folder 100-1359.4.
Unanimous Consent of Senate to Moody as Auditor
20th Dec. 1836
Saml. Houston, President of the Republic of Texas
The Senate unanimously advice and consent to
the nomination of John W. Moody as Auditor of
Public Accounts contained in your message of the
Secy of the
With the Senate's consent John Wyatt Moody became the Auditor of the Republic
of Texas on December 20, 1836. J. W. Moody would hold this office continuously under both President
Houston's administration and President Lamar's administration until the time of Moody's death in August of
Auditor's Notice - January 20, 1837
See January 21, 1837 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper
published at Columbia, Texas, Vol. 2, No. 54, p. 3.
Auditor's Notice - January 23, 1837
The following notice dated January 23, 1837 at Columbia, Texas from Auditor
J. W. Moody appeared in the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper published in Columbia, Texas on February 3,
1837. This notice makes some clarification following the January 20, 1837 notice above. There
must have been a lot of claims for reimbursement for alcohol.
Claims presented for articles of any description hereafter to be purchased must contain
the signatures of proper officers, legally authorized by the heads of departments or by law. Articles of
dress will not be admitted; spiritous liquors will not be allowed, (except in cases of sickness,) unless
purchased by orders of the government; certificates from those acting commissaries, quarter masters,
paymasters, contractors, acting commandants, &c., will not be officially known. Monthly returns
expected to be punctually made to this office, as required by the laws of the United States of America, to be
made to the second auditor. Tavern bills will not be allowed to a greater amount than seventy-five cents
per day, each; bar bills in all cases will be rejected.
J. W. Moody, Auditor
Columbia, Jan. 23, 1837.
See Telegraph and Texas Register, Friday, February 3, 1837 edition, Vol. 2, No. 4,
Page 4, Column 3. Note that the claims made to the Auditor of the Republic of Texas were to be made "as required by
the laws of the United States of America." It is clear that Moody wanted help from a second auditor as early
as this January 23, 1837 notice.
Just How Powerful Was John W. Moody?
J. W. Moody was one of the most powerful men in the Government of the Republic of
Texas. As Auditor, he held the purse strings of the Republic of Texas and no one got paid unless J. W.
Moody signed off on it. Note: The Republic of Texas was virtually broke from its birth until it became a
State. Moody decided who got paid and in what order they got paid with the very limited funds the
Republic of Texas had from the time of his appointment in December of 1836 until the time of his death in August of
In his 2009 book, The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money, Credit and Independence in the
Republic of Texas, Bright Sky Press, Houston, pp. 9 &10, James P. Bevill asserts the following in his
"Yet the early auditors, treasurers and controllers were no less essential than any officer or
soldier, for without the money and credit to keep the government functioning, the Republic of Texas would have
ceased to exist."
On pages 159 and 160 of James Bevill's book The Paper Republic: The Struggle for Money,
Credit and Independence in the Republic of Texas, Bevill wrote the following regarding John W. Moody:
Shortly after the capital moved to Houston, it became apparent that the auditor John W. Moody was
increasingly overwhelmed with work. Sam Houston once refererred to Moody as "one of the most capable,
industrious and untiring men that I have ever known in any department of business." An avalanche of
military and civil claims deluged Moody, and there were not enough hours in the day for him to physically
review and audit each of them. Although Moody twice tendered his resignation, Sam Houston refused to
accept it. Moody, frustrated with the President wrote, "[it is] absolutely necessary that there should
be another Auditor, one of whom should audit the military claims, the other the naval, Civil and
Contingent; there should also be a comptroller who should examine the proceedings of both auditors in order
that clerical errors should be detected." On May 26, 1837, the same day Moody's recommendation
was written, President Houston forwarded the request to the Texas Congress. Houston also gave
his personal endorsement to Moody's recommendation. The Texas Congress quickly granted approval of an
additional auditor and a comptroller of the Treasury.
J. W. Moody to Sam Houston
Sam Houston to Congress
May 26, 1837
In the quote above, Bevill quoted two important documents that demonstrate
the importance of J. W. Moody to Sam Houston and the Republic of Texas.
Auditor's Office, Houston, May 26, 1836
To his Excellency The President: In consequence of the rapid
increase of the labors of this Department, it is absolutely
necessary that there should be another Auditor; one of whom should audit the military claims, the
other the Naval, Civil and Contingent; there should also be a comptroller who should examine the
proceedings of both auditors in order that clerical
errors should be detected, if any, and to see that none other should be drawn from than for proper
objects as contemplated by law; he should countersign the corresponding drafts of each auditor if approved
by him, and enter name of claimant in a book the date of the draft, number and check letter, and should be
obliged by law to furnish the treasurer on every morning at nine o'clock with a list of said entry in order
to prevent forgery and fraud; owing to the state of the times no certain calculation can be made to
the number of clerks that would be necessary to perform the different duties of these departments,
therefore some discretion should be left with the Executive on that subject...
J. W. Moody Auditor
See The Writings of Sam Houston, edited by Amelia W. Williams and Eugene
C. Barker, Volume II, Jenkins Publishing Company, Austin, 1970, page 106-107.
Sam Houston enclosed J. W. Moody's letter above with his own letter to Congress dated
the same date, May 26, 1837.
To the Texas Congress
Executive Department, Houston, 26 May, 1837
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
I have the honor of presenting to your consideration and your particular attention
the subject of the accounting Department of the Government.
The Officer who has been employed as
is one of the most capable, industrious and untiring men
that I have ever known in any department of business, and it is totally out of his power to
audit the accounts when presented. The consequence is that great dissatisfaction arises to
claimants who are detained at great expense and loss of time; therefore, I would suggest the absolute
indisputable necessity of providing for a second auditor and a comptroller of the
I have no doubt but what will be a saving of many thousands of dollars per annum to
the Republic, whilst it will diffuse much satisfaction throughout the community and inspire general
confidence in the Government and the Country. The
Auditor has twice tendered his resignation, which I was compelled to decline accepting, because it was
impossible to supply his place in the present emergency.
I earnestly solicit your attention to this subject, or tit will be impossible to
tender satisfaction or afford justice to those who hold demands against the Government.
Many claims remain to be audited which have been outstanding since the commencement
of the Revolution.
Sam Houston [Rubric]
P.S. I have the honor herewith to enclose to you a communication from the
See The Writings of Sam Houston, edited by Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker,
Volume II, Jenkins Publishing Company, Austin, 1970, page 105-106.
President Sam Houston describes Moody as "one of the most capable, industrious
and untiring men that I have ever known in any department of business." With regard to Moody's
attempts to resign as Auditor, Houston wrote, "The auditor has twice tendered his resignation, which I was
compelled to decline accepting, because it was impossible to supply his place in the present
As a flood of civil and military claims began to pour into Moody's office. Moody would tender
his resignation to Sam Houston twice because of the extraordinary work load. Sam Houston was so impressed
with Moody that he refused Moody's resignations! Frustrated, Moody wrote Houston, "[it is]
absolutely necessary that there should be another Auditor; one of whom should audit the military claims, the other
the naval, Civil and Contingent; their should also be a comptroller who should examine the proceedings of both
auditors in order that clerical errors should be detected." Houston forwarded Moody's letter
requesting another auditor and a comptroller to Congress the same day and "Congress quickly granted the
approval for an additional auditor and a comptroller of the Treasury." The Paper Republic, James
Bevill, Bright Sky Press, 2009, Houston, pp. 159-160.
Moody demanded the creation of two new government officers on the threat of resignation and was so
important that the President and the Congress both kowtowed to his request immediately. The Treasury
department was also set up exactly as Moody had outlined in his letter to Houston.
Thursday, June 1st
The house met pursuant to adjournment.
A message was received from the senate by their secretary, informing the house that the
senate had passed a joint resolution, instituting the department of 2nd auditor and comptroller.
See the Thursday, June 8, 1837 edition of the Telegraph and Texas
Register (Houston, Texas), Vol. 2, No. 21, p. 2, cc. 2 & 3.
Thursday, June 8th, 1837
...On motion of Mr. Gant the bill establishing the office of 2nd auditor and
comptroller was taken up, and after some slight alteration in the phraseology of the bill, it was passed 21 to
See the Saturday, July 8, 1837 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register
(Houston, Texas), Vol. 2, No. 25, p. 2, c. 2.
Friday, June 9th, 1837.
"A message was received from the senate, concurring in the amendments of the house to
the bill establishing the office of 2nd auditor and comptroller,..."
See the Saturday, July 8, 1837 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston,
Texas), Vol. 2, No. 25, p. 2, c. 2. As seen in the legislative history reported in this newspaper article,
John W. Moody's wishes were acted upon rapidly by both the House and Senate.
It appears the Congress failed to put the bill in front of President Houston in 1837 and Houston
did not sign it till 1838.
See The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, Volume 2, H. P. N. Gammel, 1898, The Gammel
Book Company, Austin, p. 7. Even though the bill was not signed until December 5, 1838, the offices of Second
Auditor and Comptroller had already been filled following the June 1837 Congressional action. [appointment
dates of 2nd auditor and comptroller]
Later, Sam Houston again recognized Moody's extensive powers as Auditor in a May 26, 1838
letter. From the context of the letter, Moody had evidently sought some clarification on some
Instructions to John W. Moody, Auditor
City of Houston, May 26, 1838
Major J. W. Moody
Sir. When "let it be audited" is written on any claim, it merely means,
that you are to consider and act upon, as you may deem
proper, agreeably to law.
You are not bound to admit any but
upon your own full discretion.
Audit means hear & decide upon, and no approval by any power, can deprive the Auditor of his own right to
judge, of the discharge of his duties. All claims not provided for by law, and that have not
manifest equity in them, will be marked.
"The law does not provide for this case." Congress alone, can give
relief. Great care must be taken with accounts, and when an act of Congress has passed, to audit
accounts, they must be sustained by vouchers, or they cannot be paid without reference to the Attorney
General or the Executive.
[Addressed]: J. W. Moody Esq. 1st Auditor
[Endorsed]: President Houston on "let his be audited."
That Moody's powers were extensive is evident in phrases such as
"...you are to consider and act upon, as you may deem proper, agreeably to law," "You are not bound
to admit any but upon your own full discretion," and "...no approval by any power, can
deprive the Auditor of his own right to judge, of the discharge of his duties."
J. W. Moody Tenders Resignation to Senate
City of Houston June 6, 1837
To the Honorable the senate and House Represetntaives
I return you my sincere thanks for the Honor conferred on me for the appointment conferred on me as the
Auditor and tender you my resignation
J. W. Moody Auditor
[KKS - Cite this source] J. W. Moody had been operating the Auditor's office for
the Republic of Texas at great financial expense to himself. The Auditor's Office was so over-burdened
with claims and Moody was actually paying clerks to assist him out of his own pocket. As we will see
below, Moody had made a request to be reimbursed for these expenses and Congress had not been forthcoming with
the money. So, Moody tendered his resignation on June 6, 1837.
The threat of resignation in May of 1837, had quickly gotten Moody the Second auditor
and Comptroller he had asked for. Now Moody wanted to be paid back for the money he had spent to keep the
Auditor's office going. Congress has not been forthcoming with the funds, so Moody tenders his resignation
Moody's resignation was tabled the same day, June 6, 1837, and the Congress
immediately set about getting J. W. Moody paid.
Resignation of the Auditor of Public accounts June 6,1837 - laid
[KKS - Cite this source]
[KKS - Cite this source] Moody tendered his resignation to the Senate on June 6,
1837. The Moody's resignation was tbled on June 6, 1837. On June 7, 1837, the Congress of the Republic
of Texas yielded to Moody's request to be reimbursed for clerks in the Auditor's office that Moody had been paying
out of his own pocket.
Congress Yields Moody
A resoultion passed in the Senate for the relief of J. W. Moody on the same day he
tendered his resignation, June 7, 1837.
Wednesday, June 7th, 1837.
The senate met pursuant to adjournment...The senate then went into secret
session, and after some time spent therein, the doors were opened. The resolution for the benefit of
J. W. Moody was taken up and passed by the senate..."
See the July 8, 1837 edition of the Telegraph and Texas
Register newspaper, Vol. II, No. 25, p. 1, c. 2. This is the same edition of the Telegraph and
Texas Register in which the first advertisement for the new town of Montgomery appeared (see page
3). Not only did the resolution pass the senate, but it went on to be passed as a joint resolution of both
houses on June 9, 1837. See below.
See Telegraph and Texas Register, Saturday, July 22, 1837, Vol. 2, No. 27, p. 2, col.
Moody used the tendering of his resignation as Auditor as a political tool
very effectively. As we have seen Moody's three attempts to resign were all rejected. On each occasion,
the President and/or the Congress of the Republic of Texas went to great lengths to accomodate Moody quickly with
regard to each and every request or demand. When Moody demanded the creation of two new offices: Second
Auditor and Comptroller, it was done. When he demanded to be reimbursed for paying clerks out of his own
pocket, it was done.
Stop the Thief!
As the joint resolution to reimburse Moody was public knowledge, a thief decided to
relieve Moody of his Congressional reimbursement.
See July 8, 1837 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper, page
3, c. 3. As J. W. Moody was the Auditor of the Republic of Texas and worked closely with the Treasurer of the
Republic of Texas, it was a simple matter for Moody to notify the treasurer not pay any of the
Moody flexed his political muscles in May and June of 1837 and accomplished his goals
instantly on each occasion. And, he did this four weeks before the advertisement for the new town of
Montgomery ran in the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper on July 8, 1837. The
"Montgomery advertisement" was published weekly for months in the capitol at Houston, Texas, with J.
W. Moody's name prominently displayed in the advertisement for all to see.
See the July 8, 1837 edition of the Telegraph and Texas
Register, Vol. 2, No. 25, p.3. J. W. Moody's had just made the extent of his political power clear
to everyone and now, Moody would also make it very clear in the Montgomery advertisement what his goals for
the new town of Montgomery were going to be: (1) The creation of the new county; and (2) That the new
town of Montgomery was be the county seat of the new county. As we will see, Moody got his way with the
Congress and President Sam Houston yet again with reagrd to both of these goals.
Your Friend, Sam Houston
To J. W. Moody Esq.
The accounts of Genl. Chambers this
day ordered to be audited, are to be considered entirely
with reference to the amounts disbursed and respons
ibilites assumed by that Gentleman.
The question of his rank as an officer is not
to be affected or decided upon by the proceeding.
[KKS - Cite this source] As further evidence of Moody's influence, on June 20, 1837,
just days before the Montgomery advertisement was published in the Telegraph and Texas Register on July 8, 1837,
Sam Houston makes it clear in this letter that he considers himself Moody's friend. Many of Moody's
friends were in the highest places in the government.
Mary Austin Holley and W. W. Shepperd's Plan
In her book, Texas, Stephen F. Austin’s cousin, Mary Austin Holley,
“In a country so recently settled as Texas one must not look for large and populous towns and
cities. There is indeed a town-making mania; but the energies and resources of the settlers are not equal
to their wishes. Every man who purchases a large plantation, possessing a good site for the location of a town,
immediately lays out one. Hence, a vast number of nominal towns are, in reality, not even villages;
sometimes containing not more than a dwelling or two, with a blacksmith shop and a mill, and their greatness
being altogether prospective."
See Mary Austin Holley, Texas, “Towns – Villages and Settlements,”
(Lexington, KY, J. Clarke & Co., 1836), page 10.
Mrs. Holley could not have described W. W. Shepperd’s new town any more accurately had she lived
there. When Shepperd founded the town of Montgomery in July of 1837, it was
almost exactly as Mary Austin Holley described in her book. There was a trading post/store and
several houses. There was a gin, a blacksmith shop and a stockyard.
The evidence proves that Shepperd’s plan was to make his brand new town the county seat of a
brand new county.
Role of John Wyatt Moody in the Founding of the Town of Montgomery
On July 8, 1837, the advertisement below appeared in the Telegraph and Texas Register
newspaper published by Cruger and Moore in Houston, Texas. As evidenced in the advertisement itself, the
advertisement was placed with the newspaper on July 4, 1837. This advertisement would run continuously for
[Transcribe ad. here.]
Montgomery County courthouse records make it clear that W. W. Shepperd did not need J. W.
Moody in order to found the town of Montgomery. W. W. Shepperd already owned the land, the store,
the gin, the stock yards and hundreds of acres of land surrounding the town. If the new county was not
created or the town of Montgomery did not become the county seat of the new county, Shepperd's position would have
been the same as before. He would still own a country store in the middle of the Lake Creek Settlement. But Shepperd was a land
speculator and he wanted his land to become much more valuable. And what better way could he make his land
more valuable than to make his town the county seat of a new county. Suddenly, his town would be the center
of government and commerce of the new county and the value of his land would appreciate dramatically.
What J. W. Moody brought to the partnership was his political influence. Like Shepperd's
son-in-law C. B. Stewart, Moody personally knew or had served in the revolutionary government of Texas with just
about every member of the House and the Senate of the Republic of Texas. Moody also held the very purse
strings of the Republic of Texas which added considerably to his influence. This is what W. W.
Shepperd needed and got from J. W. Moody - tremendous political influence. J. W. Moody would
be Shepperd's lobbyist for the creation of the new county of Montgomery just as C. B. Stewart would later be
Shepperd's lobbyist for the selection of town site of Montgomery as the county seat.
A close look at the advertisement above proves that W. W. Shepperd and J. W. Moody were extremely
confident of the outcome when they advertised, "It is expected that a new county will be organized, at the next session of
congress, embracing this section of country, in which event the town of Montgomery from its central position
must be selected as the seat of justice." Five
months before the creation of Montgomery County and seven months before the selection of the town of
Montgomery as the county seat, Shepperd and Moody weren't just confident, they were sure. It would
seem "the fix" was already in.
Notes; Name of the town - named after Montgomery, Alabama where J. W. Moody had been the County Clerk of
Montgomery County for many years. The Montgomery Trading Post was a myth which evolved over time to fill a
void. Only three had any role in the founding of the town: W. W. Shepperd, J. W. Moody and Charles Bellinger
Stewart. No one named Montgomery or Shannon had anything to do with the founding of the town of Montgomery or
the selection of the name of the town. Shepperd, Moody and Stewart only called the place Lake Creek
Settlement or Lake Creek before the town was founded before the town was founded in July 1837. The
Montgomerys lived over in the Grimes Settlement or Grimes Prairie what is today Grimes County. They had only
recently returned from several years of surveying in Sarahville de Viesca in what is today Falls County and had
only returned from Sarahville de Viesca because Indian attacks had gotten more frequent and the Republic of
Texas did not have the resources to defend them. The Shannons called the place they lived the Lake Creek
It is important to note that Iredell County and Surry County, North Carolina used to share a common
boundary. The northern boundary of Iredell County, North Carolina used to be the southern boundry of
Surry County, North Carolina. And the two partners in the founding of the town of Montgomery, Texas, John
Wyatt Moody and William W. Shepperd had both lived in these neighboring counties during the same period of
time. Moody lived in Iredell County at the same time Shepperd was living in Surry County. It is quite
possible the two men knew each other decades before coming to Texas and founding the town of Montgomery
[Scan map showing the proximity Iredell and Surry counties in the 1810's]
Travis County bill
March 1837 petition.
J. W. Moody Visits Montgomery
We know that John Wyatt Moody was not a resident of Montgomery or the Lake Creek
Settlement. He resided in the capital at Houston where he served as the Auditor and later as the 1st
Auditor of the Republic of Texas. We do know that he visited Montgomery on at least one occasion after
the town was founded (in July 1837) and before the new county of Montgomery was created (in December 1837).
Below is the claim of James Wilson approved by J. W. Moody in the town of Montgomery on September 4, 1837.
4th Sept. 1837
This day came James Wilson and says the [sic] Instrument is
Just true and original and the only one he has offered for Liquidation that He owes the Government
nothing on his own account or on account of any other person Except for 50/100 dollars,
[sic] at San Jacinto.
Sworn to before
Source: Republic Claims, Texas State Library and Archives; Name: Wilson, James, Claim #: 5335, Type
AU, Reel#: 116, Frame 577. Even though Moody was not a resident of the Lake Creek Settlement, he was present
in Montgomery on September 4, 1837 between the First and Second Congresses of the Republic of Texas and about
2 months after the advertisement for the town of Montgomery first appeared in the Telegraph and Texas
Register on July 8, 1837. One of the busiest government officials in the Republic of Texas found the
time to visit the town of Montgomery. It would appear Moody was in town to check on the project or for a
strategy session with W. W. Shepperd. In September of 1837, the only family Moody could have stayed with
in the Town of Montgomery would have been W. W. Shepperd's. Just over a month after Moody's visit to
Montgomery, the petition for a new county would be circulated in Washington County on the east side of
the Brazos River (October 13, 1837). On November 20, 1837, the petition would be referred to the
Committee on County Boundaries. And on December 14, 1837, the new county of Montgomery would be created.
[October 1837 petition for county with "no name."]
[Montgomery County created and signed into law on December 14, 1837. Notice the similarity of language
about donation of land in Montgomery County Bill and how it is almost exactly the same as Shepperd's proposition to
the County. Also not the similarites between the creation of Surry County, North Carolina and the roles of
Commissioners to the December 14, 1837 bill.]
Daniel McKay Letter to John Moody
In January of 1838, Daniel Mckay wrote a letter to John Moody. The letter is included here
because McKay mentions having been acquainted with Moody in Montgomery Alabama and he openly discusses Moody's
influence with the President (Sam Houston).
January [?] 1838
Mr. John Moody Esqr
After my respects to you and your family I'll inform you of my sittuation [sic] I came
in the army last winter hear [sic] detained on the Iland [sic] we [deleted for the orignal] I know you as
an aquntence [sic] and a gantelman [sic] and has considerbel [sic] Enflewence [sic] with the presedent
[sic] And Secry. [sic] of war I wish you to asist [sic] me in being Deliverated [sic] since I
have seen you I quit my traed [sic] as a Tanner and larnt [sic] the painting I first had pleshur [sic] of your acqentence [sic] in the town of Montgomery
See Texas Treasury Papers: Letters Recieved in the Treasury
Department of the Republic of Texas 1836-1846, edited from the originals in the Texas State Library by Seymour
V. Connor, Austin, Texas State Library, 1955, Volume 1, page 78.
J. W. Moody Given Leave of Absence
On February 21, 1838, just days before the first Montgomery County Commissioners
Court meeting on March 1, 1838, President Sam Houston granted Major J. W. Moody, the 1st Auditor of the Republic of
Texas, leave of absence from his duties as 1st Auditor for twenty days.
City of Houston
21st Feby 1838
To Major J. W. Moody
Sir, You have leave of absence from the duties of your office,
for the space of twenty days, from this date.
I have the honor
to be y[ou]r obt. servant
See Texas State Library and Archives, Inventory #11194, Box/Folder 2-10/871.5. Also
see The Writings of Sam Houston, edited by Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, Jenkins Publishing
Company, Austin, 1978, p. 196. This was just days before the first Montgomery County Commissioners' Court
meeting held in Montgomery, Texas on March 1, 1838. There is some evidence that J. W. Moody may have
been present for the first Montgomery Commissioners Court meeting. A few days before the Commissioners
Court meeting, Moody had sought and received permission to be absent from his duties as 1st
William C. Moody Principal Clerk in Auditors Office
[Scan documents showng that J. W. Moody's son William C. Moody was the Principal Clerk
in Auditors office]
Town of Montgomery Becomes the County Seat of Montgomery County
On March 1, 1838, the Commissioners of Montgomery County, Texas met for the first time. it
was time for W. W. Shepperd's son-in-law, C. B. Stewart, to deliver his political influence. Stewart
had already been the first Secretary of State, signed the Declaration of Independence from Mexico and signed
the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. He was also very active in Land speculation in the Lake Creek
Settlement by this time.
At this meeting, the town of Montgomery was officially selected to be the
county seat of Montgomery County.
Republic of Texas
County of Montgomery
At a Commissioners Court held for the County of Montgomery
at the place appointed by law for holding the same, Being present Jesse Grimes president of the board of
Commissioners, Martin P. Clark, George Galbraith, William Robert, and Hilloy M. Crabb commissioners of the
Said County, on the first day of March 1838 - when they proceeded to ballot for two associate Justices of
the County Court on the first there being a tie and no election it was agreed to defer the election until
the last Wednesday of April next - - - -
president placed before the board the written act of donation of W. W. Shepperd to the County of Montgomery
of an equal half undivided interest in the Town of Montgomery and Sixty acres of pine land adjoining -
donated for County purposes and being put to question whether said donation should be accepted it was
unanimously received - and the question being also whether the place of the Town presented by C. B. Stewart
as agent for W. W. Shepperd should be received the same was also unanimously received and
adopted Zoraster Robinson a duly elected - Justice of the peace for the precinct of Viesca
appeared and having taken and the signed the oath required by law, took his seat among the
that a sale of town lots of the town of Montgomery be made on the 4th Monday of April for the
purpose of raising funds to defray in part County expenses it was ordered unanimously that a sale should be
made on that date three previous advertisements being made in the Telegraph and written advertisements put
up in three several public places in the County
made upon what terms and the time of credit given purchasers of town lots it was ordered that sale be made
for one fourth cash - one fourth payable within three months - one fourth within six months and the
remainder fourth on twelve months credit purchaser given lien upon lots until final
payment receiving certificate at time of purchase and giving their notes for respective amounts and on
W. W. Shepperd having made certain improvements in the town
of Montgomery, by his agent C. B. Stewart, claimed the selection of thirteen lots giving an equal selection
of thirteen lots to the County Commissioners and requested the action of the Court in relation to the
intention of the donation. To wit, on an equal undivided interest in the town
proposing that when County or its agent should
have sold thirteen lots to counterbalance the thirteen selected by W. W. Shepperd all sales of other lots,
the proceeds thereof, should be equally divided between the County and the said W. W. Shepperd after each
and every sale, the same was put to the Court and unanimously adopted
Example of Scrip - 1838
Image Courtesy of Jon Moody
Here is an example of Republic of Texas scrip provided to the Texas History Page by
Jon Moody, a descendant of John Wayatt Moody. This scrip, dated May 9, 1838, is typical of this period
and bears the signatures of John Wyatt Moody [Auditor], Francis R. Lubbock [Comptroller], and George W. Poe
[Paymaster General] verso.
Mason John Wyatt Moody
Like Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar, Anson Jones and so many of the
other early leaders in the young Republic of Texas, John Wyatt Moody was also a member of the Masonic
fraternity. Moody was the Junior Warden of Temple Lodge #4 in Houston, Texas on July 22, 1838. At a
special meting of Temple Lodge #4 on July 22, 1838, the officers of Temple Lodge #4 in Houston, Texas were George
Fisher, Worshipful Master; J. W. Moody, Senior Warden; A. S. Thruston, Junior Warden; R. Bache, Secretary; Asa
Brigham, Treasurer; C. Mason, Senior Deacon; Francis R. Lubbock, Junior Deacon; and Charles Chamberlain,
Tyler. Temple Lodge #4 had been chartered by the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas on May 10,
Since John Wyatt Moody was the Junior Warden of this new lodge, it strongly
suggests that he was probably a Mason in Alabama before coming to Texas in 1835. It is very unlikely that
Moody would have had time to go through the three Masonic degrees and memorize the esoteric work between 1835 and
1838 given the Texas Revolution and his extensive duties as Auditor of the Provisional Government of Texas and as
the Auditor of the Republic of Texas.
It is interesting to note that the Junior Deacon of Temple Lodge #4, Francis R. Lubbock, would later be Governor of the State of Texas and aide-de-camp to Confederate
President Jefferson Davis. The Treasurer of Temple Lodge #4, Asa Brigham, had signed the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington and served as the
Auditor of the Republic of Texas following the Convention at Washington in March of 1836 until Moody was
appointed the Auditor of the Republic of Texas in December of 1836. Moody was the Auditor of the
Provisional Government of Texas, then Asa Brigham was the Auditor of the Ad Interim government of Texas, and
then Moody became Auditor of the Republic of Texas.
I would like to thank Jon Moody, a descendant of John Wyatt Moody
for bringing this important information regarding J. W. Moody's Masonic affiliation to our
attention. Also see, Footprints, Fort Worth Genealogical Society, February 1981, Vols. 24, No.
1, p. 13.
See Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas, from Its
Organization in City of Houston, Dec. A.D. 1837, A.L. 5837, to the Close of the Grand Annual communication Held
at Palestine, January 19, A.D. 1857, A. S. Ruthven, Vol. 1, 1857, page 37. [Also see page 38]
The first Masonic funeral in Texas was conducted by Temple Lodge #4 for Republic of Texas Chief Justice, James
Collinsworth. Moody was the Senior Warden pro tem of Temple Lodge#4 when it was opened to pay
Masonic funeral honors over the remains of Brother Collinsworth on July 22, 1838.
See Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Texas, from Its
Organization in City of Houston, Dec. A.D. 1837, A.L. 5837, to the Close of the Grand Annual communication Held
at Palestine, January 19, A.D. 1857, A. S. Ruthven, Vol. 1, 1857, page 45. Here we find J. W, Moody
serving in the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas as the Grand Junior Warden pro tem on January 22,
The original plot of the town of Montgomery shows that J. W. Moody received a lot
from Shepperd in the town. Scan Moody lot on town plot.
[Scan Original Plot of Town Showing Moody Lot - Blow it up]
W. W. Shepperd's town of Montgomery had been created in partnership with J. W. Moody
in July of 1837. The new county had been created on December 14, 1837, just as the July 8,
1837 advertisement had predicted it would be. The county was created with the same name as the town
founded by Shepperd and Moody. Now it was time for the county seat to be chosen. Moody received leave
from his office from President Sam Houston for twenty days to do something. Twenty days would have given
Moody plenty of time to ride to Montgomery, attend the March 1, 1838 Commissioners Court meeting and return to
As predicted in the July 8, 1837 advertisement in the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper (see
above), Montgomery County was created and the town of Montgomery did in fact become the first county seat of
J. W. Moody Alderman City of Houston City Council
See Wednesday, March 13, 1839 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper, Vol.
4, No. 39, page 3, columns 3 and 4. It is interesting to note that at least one of the other
Aldermen serving on the Houston City Council was J. W. Moody's lodge brother, Asa Brigham, from
Temple Lodge #4 in Houston, Texas. See above. Alderman, J. G. Welchmyer (Welschmeyer), mentioned here was the
Second Auditor of the Republic of Texas. Mayor Francis Moore, Jr. was one of the publishers of the
Telegraph and Texas Register newspaper.
Obituary of John Wyatt Moody
Ausgust 21, 1839 Te;egraph and Texas Register
Died in this City after a short illness, Maj. J. W. Moody, of congestive fever, aged
48. Maj. Moody has been for many years a citizen of Texas, and since the organization, an officer of the
Government. In the discharge of the duties of perhaps one of the most perplexing and arduous offices of
the governement, that of 1st Auditor, he has been characterised by an assiduity and attention to business and
the well regulated manner in which he conducted it, seldom exceeded by any other officer of the
government. His loss is sincerely lamented by all who knew him.
See the August 21, 1839 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston, Texas), Vol.
5, No. 10, p. 2, c. 4. A number of genealogical sites indicate that the Telegraph and Texas Register
got Moody's age wrong and that he was older. This newspaper article does not tell us when Moody died. Some
historians have used the date of the newspaper article, august 21, 1839, as Moody's death date. As shown
below, other primary sources specifically say that Moody died on August 20, 1839.
One source for information about the death of John Wyatt Moody and the administration of his estate
is found on page 621 in W. C. Moody, et. al. vs. M. Looscan, et. al., Court of Civil Appeals, Jan. 6, 1898,
Southwestern Reporter, Vol. 44, pp. 621-624:
...void, and that the sale passed not title. The prodeedings in the
adminsitration of, as exhibited in the record, are stated in a condensed form as follows:
"John W. Moody died on the
20th day of August, 1839, and on the 5th day of September, 1839, his son-in-law M. R. Goheen filed
petition for letters of administration, and he was thereafter appointed and qualified on the 27th day of
December, 1839. On November 30, 1840, on mo-..."
Special thanks to Jon Moody, a descendant of John Wyatt Moody, who brought
this Texas Court of Appeals case to my attention.
Michael Roup Goheen was John Wyatt Moody's son in law. Goheen had married John
W. Moody's daughter, Dorinda Melissa Moody. Michael R. Goheen fought inthe Texas army at the Battle of San
Jacinto in the Second Regiment, 6th Infantry Company.
M. R. Goheen, Administrator - Estate of John W. Moody
See the August 18, 1843 edition of the Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston,
Texas), Vol. 8, No. 35, p. 3, c. 2. At the time of his death, J. W. Moody owned a substantial amount of
real estate in the area around Spring Creek in what had been northern Harrisburg County and was now southern
John Wyatt Moody Biographical Papers (MS 181): Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice
University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77005.
Dorinda Melissa Moody - Information posted regarding John Wyatt Moody's daughter,
Dorinda Melissa Moody, who was born in Iredell County, North Carolina.
As we have done on other pages of this web site, we are asking for your help. No one has
ever really done an extensive monograph regarding the life of John Wyatt Moody. I would very much like this
page to become the foundation for just such a biography. If you know of any information about John Wyatt
Moody and would like to share it, let us know at the Texas History Page. We will be happy to give you credit as the source of the information on
this web page.