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William Henry Moody Passes Away

Today in Masonic History William Henry Moody passes away in 1917.

William Henry Moody was an American politician and jurist.

Moody was born on December 23rd, 1853 in Newbury, Massachusetts. He graduated from Phillips Academy, a college preparatory school, in 1872. He graduated from Harvard in 1876 where he was friends with and a classmate of future President Theodore Roosevelt. He went to Harvard Law School for 4 months before reading law to pass the bar.

Early in his career Moody was elected solicitor for Haverhill, Massachusetts. He later became the United States Attorney for Eastern Massachusetts in 1890. In 1893 he gained widespread notoriety as the junior prosecutor in the Lizzie Borden case. Although he was on the losing side, it was the general opinion he was the best attorney on either side.

In 1894, Moody was elected to the United States House of Representatives serving until 1902. During Teddy Roosevelt's Presidency Moody was appointed the Secretary of the Navy serving from 1902 to 1904. In 1904, Roosevelt appointed Moody as the Attorney General where he continued Roosevelt's trust-busting policies. Moody was friendly to the "good" trusts like U.S. Steel and went after the " bad" trusts like Standard Oil. In 1906 after William Howard Taft refused an appointment to the Supreme Court, Roosevelt appointed Moody as an Associate Justice.

Moody only served four years on the Supreme Court when ill health forced him to retire at the insistence of then President Taft. Taft appointed 5 Supreme Court justices, including the one to replace Moody. To convince Moody to resign, Taft went to Congress and arranged to get him retirement benefits from the Supreme Court even though he was not eligible.

Moody is notable as having served in all three branches of Government.

Moody passed away on July 2nd, 1917.

Moody was a member of Saggahew Lodge in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was also a member of Pentucket Chapter Royal Arch Masons and Haverhill Commandery, Knights Templar.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.