The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 9, July 1905 - April, 1906 Page: 42
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
who live nearest to mother-earth, and no nearer can civilized man
than lived the pioneers who first broke through the Alleghanies.
Among them axe and rifle were inseparably associated; and he
that laid the wilderness with the one, was ready with the other to
conquer the enemies of his country.
A pioneer was Judge Reagan's father, fresh from the ranks of
the Revolutionary army. He settled in the mountains of East
Tennessee, acquiring a small landed estate; and here his son was
born into the world-a world that was all too hard and poverty-
stricken. There was no refuge from the unrelenting environment,
while over all brooded the spirit of the wilderness as yet uncon-
quered, as if inviting conquest. It was truly a time when famil-
iarity with the axe and rifle was of infinitely more consequence
than knowledge of books. And into this regime young Reagan
was thrust. In early life he busied himself on the farm and in the
tanyard of his father, and while still a youth took part in some
minor skirmishes with the Indians. But thirst for knowledge soon
made him a captive, and the log schoolhouse with its puncheon
benches proved a prison of the most delightful character, and to the
close of his life he remained a student. During his residence in
Washington he worked hard at whatever subject he had in hand.
Senator R. Q. Mills has said of him that often returning late at
night from some social function he could see the lights gleaming
in the judge's rooms. He almost eschewed society in that quest
which never ended.
Endowed with this longing after knowledge, nothing short of its
gratification could satisfy the eager youth; so at a tender age he
set out in pursuit of an education. This pursuit led him far from
home, and over a very harsh and jagged way. Yet he went bravely,
conquering as he went. For he managed to accumulate money
and, perhaps better, to make friends. With the money he returned
to school, and what with outside labors, mornings, evenings and
Saturdays, he managed to secure several sessions at an academy and
a so-called college. Then he entered the school of schools-life--
hewing wood and drawing water in order to be able to continue his
exploration of the realms of wisdom. But, in all charity, the byways
of the Tennessee of that day were not lined with educational in-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 9, July 1905 - April, 1906, periodical, 1906; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101036/m1/46/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.