Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago Page: 48 of 58
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48 TEXAS AND TEXANS FIFTY YEARS AGO.
writer first met him at Palestine in 1852. At that time he was a
splendid specimen of manhood, of gallant appearance, and a living
walking Adonis. When the writer last saw him, in 1878, he was
shrunken and withered, and could scarcely hobble along with the
aid of crutch and stick. He was shot all to pieces in the ranks of
the Confederate army, battling for his loved Southland, and for a
cause he thought noble and right. A most gallant gentleman and
soldier was he. In 1857 the writer had the honor of serving in the
Texas House of Representatives with him, also George Chilton, the
father of the present ex-Senator Chilton, Wigfall, W. B. Ochiltree,
Pendleton Murrah and Dr. Ashbel Smith. Rainey and Chilton
were Damon and Pythias to each other, and the writer thought that
they were two of the finest looking men he ever saw, and so he still
thinks. Both Rainey and Chilton are dead, but they in East Texas
are not forgotten.
* * *
JOHN H. REAGAN was a resident of Palestine in 1851, a member
of the Anderson county bar. He occasionally crossed the Trinity
and came over into the Thirteenth District on professional business.
The first time the writer saw Judge Reagan was in the town
of Centreville, in 1852 or 1853. He was then district judge. He
came to town to hold court in exchange with Judge Jewett. The
first sight of Judge Reagan made an impression on the mind of the
writer that has never been effaced. His was then a body well knit,
indicating sound health and great strength, with no surplus flesh,
of the weight of 150 or 160 pounds. His hair and beard were coal
black; his eyes black, piercing and sparkling; his dress neat, not
gaudy, after the fashion of the day. His coat was of blue broadcloth,
with brass buttons, and it was cut in the scissor tail or clawhammer
style, with a stiff rolled collar that seemed constantly to be
making frantic efforts to climb on to the top of his head. Such was
Judge Reagan as the writer remembers him, near fifty years ago.
Did the good genius that presided over the destiny/of his life. at
that time, reveal to him in the remotest degree the wonderful,
eventful, and checkered career awaiting him in the future? Did
it whisper to him that he was to be Congressman, Confederate
States Postmaster-General, captured in the company of the Presi-
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Wood, William D. Reminiscences of reconstruction in Texas ; and, Reminiscences of Texas and Texans fifty years ago, book, 1902; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth14387/m1/48/: accessed September 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .