Mood, Francis Asbury (1830–1884)

By: Walter N. Vernon

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

Francis Asbury Mood, American Methodist preacher and founder of Southwestern University, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on June 23, 1830, one of six children of John and Catherine (McFarlane) Mood. The elder Mood was a Methodist minister. Francis Mood was licensed to preach in 1849 and the next year graduated from Charleston College and joined the South Carolina Methodist Conference. After serving two years as a junior preacher on a circuit, he was stationed in 1853–54 at Sumpter, South Carolina. In 1854 he received his master's degree from Charleston College and organized a conference historical society. He was elected secretary of the conference. During the Civil War he was a chaplain in the Confederate hospital service. After the war he served briefly as a Unitarian pastor, and in 1868 he became president of Soule University at Chappell Hill, Texas, though in 1867 he had refused a professorship there. By 1870 he had earned the doctor of divinity degree from Charleston College. He convinced the Texas Methodists that the school needed a more central location out of the yellow fever belt, and in 1873 Texas University opened at Georgetown with thirty-three students. In 1876 the state legislature insisted that the name Texas University be used only by a state institution, and the Methodist school's name became Southwestern University. The school claims to be the oldest university in the state, though its claim depends upon its being the successor of several earlier schools. During the first part of his twelve-year regency, Mood taught philosophy, history, and English literature, and also preached regularly. In 1881 he was appointed a delegate to the First Ecumenical Methodist Conference in London, where he gave an address on "The Higher Education Demanded by the Necessities of the Church in Our Time." He died at Waco on November 12, 1884, and was buried at Georgetown.

Claude Carr Cody, The Life and Labors of Francis Asbury Mood (Chicago: Revell, 1886). Macum Phelan, History of Early Methodism in Texas, 1817–1866 (Nashville: Cokesbury, 1924); A History of the Expansion of Methodism in Texas, 1867–1902 (Dallas: Mathis, Van Nort, 1937).
  • Education
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • School Founders
  • Religion
  • Methodist

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Walter N. Vernon, “Mood, Francis Asbury,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 16, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995