Mother Neff State Park was the first official state park in Texas. It is named for Isabella Eleanor (Mother) Neff, who donated six acres of land along the Leon River in 1916, which became the first park site. Her son was Texas Governor Pat M. Neff, who served as governor from 1921 to 1925. After the death of his mother in 1921, Governor Neff created the Mother Neff Memorial Park, which later became the nucleus of the Texas State Park System. The park, located west of Moody, now contains 259 acres in Coryell County. The additional land was deeded to the state in 1934 by private owners: Governor Neff deeded 250 acres and Frank Smith deeded three acres. The park opened to the public in 1937.
In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps restored the park to its historical setting. An excavation in 1935 unearthed three Indian graves and many artifacts. During prehistoric times this area was occupied by several groups of Indians, including some groups probably related to the Tonkawas. Heavily wooded, the park is ideal for camping, hiking, picnicking and fishing.