A descendant of Moody County’s namesake visited the community last week.
Brett C. Moody stopped in Flandreau for an overnight stay at the park and toured the courthouse and museum while in the area. Moody County was named after his great-great grandfather Gideon C. Moody, a Dakota Territory lawyer and judge who became the first U.S. Senator for South Dakota.
“It was quite exciting to see what was named after my great-great grandfather,” he said.
Moody, 58, has lived all over the country and has visited all 50 states, saving South Dakota for last. He was on his way to move from Connecticut to Seattle, where his mother lives and where he was born, in order to help her out.
Sen. Moody, who was born in New York in 1832, never lived in Moody County but moved to Yankton from Indiana around 1865. He became a member of the Territorial House of Representatives and later was named judge of the Dakota Territory Supreme Court, where he was thought of as a stern judge, his great-great grandson said.
When South Dakota became a state, Gideon Moody served as the state’s first U.S. Senator as a Republican from 1889 to 1891.
Brett Moody didn’t grow up hearing too many stories about his ancestor but was told some basics. The senator died in 1904, at age 71, in Los Angeles.
The Moody name will live on for more generations, he said. He has a son, named Brandon, and his brother and male cousins have sons.
Moody spent three hours at the county courthouse, visiting offices and the courtroom, taking pictures. He also did some research at the museum and shared information he had.
“It was interesting. I enjoyed it. I got to throw it out that my great-great grandfather was the first senator of South Dakota,” he said. “It’s nice to have a connection like that that lets you know more about a place.”
While in South Dakota for four days, he also visited Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills. And, he stopped to play a round of golf in Brandon. The town bears his son’s name, after all.