This Week in Texas Methodist History June 19
We Celebrate the Birthday of Francis A. Mood, Born June 23, 1830
I suppose I first became aware of F. A. Mood when I moved into Mood Hall at Southwestern University for the fall semester, 1965. I heard from older family members that my grandfather, Wesley W. Hardt (B. A. 1919) had also lived in Mood Hall as an undergraduate.
The building is still there, although no longer used as a dormitory and the name has been changed to Mood-Bridwell Hall. It was built in 1908 and named to honor the founder of Southwestern University. (see http://www.southwestern.edu/live/galleries/46-mood-bridwell-hall/galleries)
Francis Asbury Mood was born in Charleston, S.C. on June 23, 1830. His father, John Mood, followed his father occupation, silversmith and jeweler, until his call to preach. John Mood joined the South Carolina Conference in 1824. He served several appointments, but in 1830 located and resumed his trade. Mood thus was raised in Charleston. This decision allowed for Mood to enjoy a boyhood of stability and the educational advantages that a city such as Charleston had to offer. He also received an intense religious education, including Sunday School, class meeting, preaching, and family hymns. The family also left the city to attend camp meetings in the surrounding country side.
It was at such a camp meeting in April 1842 that the young Mood received the gift of the peace that comes with conversion. In 1849 he was licensed to preach. He and his family were particularly close to Bishop Andrew who advised him that the South Carolina Conference was to small to accommodate all four Mood preacher brothers. F. A. Mood then volunteered for missionary service to China. Bishop Andrew advised him that such a move would devastate his mother, and he should wait and possibly consider Texas as a mission field too.
During the Civil War he was in the hospital chaplaincy and then preached at a Unitarian church.
Meanwhile Soule University in Chappell Hill was struggling to recover from its closure during the Civil War and yellow fever epidemic. It offered Mood a professorship which he refused. That offer brought him to the attention of the Soule Board of Governors, and when the presidency became vacant, they offered it to Mood.
This time he accepted. He moved to Chappell Hill, transferred to the Texas Conference and almost immediately realized that a successful educational institution depended upon a broader base of support.
His project to secure the sponsorship of the five MECS annual conferences in Texas for a new university outside the fever belt was a herculean effort, but Mood was able to accomplish it. The new university, Texas University, opened in Georgetown and was later renamed to Southwestern University.
He died in Waco in 1884 and was buried in Georgetown.