The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 9, July 1905 - April, 1906 Page: 44
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44 Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
mit his name to go before the nominating convention because some
of the planks in the platform ill-accorded with his views. Nor can
it be charged that it was fear of defeat that prompted the act,
for no man ever faced issues more fearlessly.
Judge Reagan was twenty-one years of age when he crossed the
Sabine into the Republic of Texas. There still rang the echoes
of the Texas Revolution, which in itself had been but a protest
against governmental machinery-a conflict between Anglo-Saxon
and Spanish institutions. The wars with the Indians which fol-
lowed were also in the nature of simplifying the problems of gov-
ernment, and here, as a young man, he launched forth boldly, tak-
ing part in the Cherokee War. In the decisive battle he tried to
save the life of Chief Bowels, the last great figure of this famous
tribe, whom he had seen under unforgettable circumstances-in a
conference with Sam Houston. The young man's gallantry on this
occasion brought him an invitation to join the regular army, then
under the command of Albert Sidney Johnston. But this was
declined because it did not seem to open up a career. All his life,
however, he had a strong desire for the military.
Not long after the close of the war he became deputy public
surveyor, and striking out westward from Nacogdoches, he first
marked out the lands in what is now Kaufman, Van Zandt, and
other counties. Then, in regular course, he was elected justice of
the peace; read law and was sent to the legislature; was chosen
district judge, obtaining the title which clung to him to the end.
In 1856 he was nominated for Congress by the Democrats, the
representative of the district then being an American or Know-
nothing-Judge Evans, a man of force and ability. While it was
wholly against his wish, he was practically forced to accept the
nomination. Taking the field, in one of the most sensational con-
tests in the annals of the State, he triumphed completely. Two
years later he was again nominated and again elected, although he
opposed some of the slogans of his party, namely, filibustering, and
the opening of the African slave trade. In the halls of Congress
he was one of those who stood most stoutly for the preservation of
the Union, his great speech on that subject being one of impelling
force. It breathes an air of heroism, when,-the Crittenden Com-
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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/m1/48/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.