John H. Reagan was a capable Texas statesman who was compared to Cincinnatus, a legendary Roman hero. He was born into a family of farmers and small traders in Tennessee and ascended through the ranks of the Democratic Party to become a U.S. Congressman. Undaunted by the financial difficulties and family responsibilities that he faced, he pursued his study while working at a variety of honest occupations to supplement his income. In quest of new prospects, he moved to Texas, a newly constituted state. He was an active participant in the fight for Texas independence as well as the war against the Cherokee Indians, which earned him public acclaim. He went to law school and worked as a surveyor for a while. He went on to practice law and was elected as a Texas District Judge. He became a member of the Democratic Party and was elected to the United States House of Representatives on behalf of Texas. He was a close associate of President Jefferson Davis, who appointed him as the Confederacy’s Postmaster General, a position that allowed him to bring about a revival in the postal delivery system. The efficient mail delivery system he built gave Texas’ economy a new lease on life. He was also a co-author of a bill introduced by the United States Interstate Commerce Commission.
Childhood and Adolescence
Timothy Richard and Elizabeth Reagan, who traded and farmed, had a son named John Henninger Reagan, who was born on October 8, 1818 in Sevier County, Tennessee. He was the youngest of five siblings, with four brothers and one sister.
His mother died when he was 13 years old. He was tasked with looking after his siblings and sister.
He worked as a planter, tanner, supervisor, and salesman to support his family and pay for his education. He continued his law studies at the same time.
He came to Texas when he was 20 with the hopes of obtaining better job possibilities. His pursuit was not in vain, since his legal studies earned him admission to the bar.
Career of John Henninger Reagan
He traveled to Texas in 1839 and joined the Republic’s army. He fought in the Cherokee War, in which Chief Bowl, the Indians’ leader, was murdered and the Indians were defeated.
He worked as a deputy surveyor of public lands near Nacogdoches after the war until 1843. In Nacogdoches, he later became a justice of the peace and captain of a militia company.
He continued to study law and opened his office in Buffalo in 1846 after getting a temporary license. He was admitted to the bar two years later and practiced law in both Palestine and Buffalo.
He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1847. He became the first judge of Henderson County five years later, and his term was extended for another five years.
He was elected to the United States Congress in 1857 as a member of the Democratic Party of Eastern Texas. He then became a separatist and was elected to the Texas Secession Convention.
President Jefferson Davis appointed him Postmaster General of the Confederacy in 1861. Reagan used his power and inventive and dedicated postal service to bring about significant improvements in the US economy.
He was imprisoned in Boston’s Fort Warren after the Civil War ended. For 22 weeks, he was held in solitary confinement. In December 1865, he returned to Palestine.
He restarted his career as a lawyer and became involved in the reorganization of Texas politics. He was elected to the Constitutional Convention of the State in 1875.
He ran for re-election to his previous position in the United States House of Representatives. He was elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat and served for 13 years.
He ran for the United States Senate in 1887 and won. He also served as Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, where he held the position for four years.
He resigned his position in 1891 and went to his hometown. He accepted the Governor of Texas’ offer and was appointed Director of the Texas Railroad Commission.
He was elected Chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission in 1897 and served for six years. He also assisted in the creation of the Texas State Historical Association during this time.
He stepped out from politics in 1903 after serving his term. He used his free time to finish his memoirs, which were published two years later.
At the age of 85, he died of a pneumonia attack. In his homeland of Palestine, Texas, he was laid to rest in the East Hill Cemetery.
Achievements & Awards
He was named Postmaster General of the Confederacy in 1861. Reagan made significant contributions to the American economy by revising the postal rate and improving the mail delivery infrastructure.
In 1875, he was elected to the Texas State Constitutional Assembly. In the same year, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, a position he held for 13 years.
Personal History and Legacy
In his life, he married three times. In 1844, he married Martha Music, who died the following year. He married Edwina Moss Nelms, with whom he had six children, seven years later.
In 1866, three years after his second wife died, he married Molly Ford Taylor. He had five children from this marriage, two of them died before he died.
Reagan County is named after him in Texas. John H. Reagan Elementary School in Dallas, as well as Reagan High Schools in Austin and Houston, are named after him in Texas.
The University of Texas at Austin has a statue of Ronald Reagan. The Texas State Capitol is home to the John H. Reagan State Office Building.
Estimated Net Worth of John Henninger Reagan
The estimated net worth of John Henninger Reagan is unknown.
This well-known nineteenth-century American politician began his career as a surveyor. Colonel Robert Porter tasked him with surveying and mapping out the city of Porter’s Bluff during his career.
President Jefferson Davis was a long-time buddy of this American Congressman. His funeral was attended by the entire Texas State Legislature.