Moody, Robert (1838–1915)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

Robert Moody, rancher, banker, and businessman, one of twelve children of Thomas Cross and Arabella (Neu) Moody, was born on June 26, 1838, at Apsley Farm, near Hampshire, England. He was schooled at Manchester and in 1857 journeyed to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to join his older brother, Frank. Soon afterwards the rest of the family, whose fortune had been depleted, immigrated to America and settled near West Port Landing (later Kansas City). Over the next several years the Moody brothers operated a freighting business on the Santa Fe Trail. For a short time in 1859–60 Robert was in partnership with John Thatcher in a general store in Pueblo, Colorado. In 1868 the Moodys sold their freight wagons and settled on farms near Lenexa, Kansas. On April 2 of that year Robert married Mary Cathryn Allen, daughter of W. P. Allen of Kansas City; they became the parents of seven children. The Moodys lived at Kansas City until 1871, when Moody became manager of the Dipper Ranch for P. T. Barnum, whom he had first met in New York in 1857. Moody later bought an interest in this enterprise, located on the Huerfano River about forty miles from Pueblo, which he sold in 1876.

Moody's interest in the Panhandle began in 1879, when he joined the Pollard brothers, whom he had known in Pueblo, at their PO Ranch in Hemphill County. In 1881 he purchased Milton Pollard's half-interest in the ranch. Moody became a charter member of the Panhandle Stock Association, which first met at the Husselby House in Mobeetie. In 1882 he and J. B. Andrews, a Pueblo merchant, formed the Moody-Andrews Land and Cattle Company after the latter bought Hammond Pollard's share. The 1886 blizzards almost drove this partnership out of business and prompted Andrews to sell out to Moody, who thus became the PO's sole owner. In 1887, after establishing his headquarters on Red Deer Creek, Moody brought his family from Olathe, Kansas, to the new rail town of Canadian. With Henry Hamburg he established the Traders Bank, which later became the First National Bank of Canadian. In addition, Moody had real estate interests and stock in other town businesses. As an active member of the Baptist congregation, he gave the land for the church's Canadian Academy and became one of the school trustees. He also helped organize the public school and established the Moody Medal and Scholarship for outstanding students. Later, in 1906, he erected the sumptuous Moody Hotel, which was for years a Panhandle showplace.

In 1900 Moody moved to Kansas City, where his wife died in 1908. In the meantime he had become owner of a chain of banks in Texas and Oklahoma. After turning these and his ranching interests over to his children and in-laws, Moody moved to Long Beach, California, where in 1912–13 he erected the Moody Block on Ocean Avenue. Even then he considered Canadian his home and made frequent trips back to the Panhandle. On September 27, 1915, while visiting his son Thomas in Canadian, Moody died after suffering a paralytic stroke. He was buried in the family lot at Lenexa. Moody descendents still reside in Canadian and other parts of the Panhandle, as well as in Oklahoma. The Moody Hotel in Canadian, sold by the heirs in 1921, has been renovated and now houses the Pioneer Museum. Moody Street in Canadian is also named for him.

Margaret Moody Gerlach, "Robert Moody, 1838–1915," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 4 (1931). Sallie B. Harris, Cowmen and Ladies: A History of Hemphill County (Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1977). Glyndon M. Riley, The History of Hemphill County (M.A. thesis, West Texas State College, 1939). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876–1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981). F. Stanley [Stanley F. L. Crocchiola], The Canadian, Texas, Story (Nazareth, Texas, 1975). F. Stanley [Stanley F. L. Crocchiola], Rodeo Town (Canadian, Texas) (Denver: World, 1953).


  • Peoples
  • English
  • Business
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

H. Allen Anderson, “Moody, Robert,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 17, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995