The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

October 3, 2013

Events to mark historical figure John H. Reagan's birthday

PALESTINE — Two local events have been planned to celebrate the 195th birthday of historical figure John H. Reagan.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Davis/Reagan Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the John H. Reagan Camp No. 2156 Sons of Confederate Veterans will have a ceremony at the Reagan home site on West Reagan Street.

The program on Saturday will include posting of the colors, a speech about Reagan and military salute by Civil War reenactors. The program should last about 30 to 45 minutes, according to organizers.

Reagan, known historically as the “Old Roman,” was born Oct. 8, 1818 in Sevierville, Tenn. and moved to Texas in 1839. He was admitted to the bar in 1848 and practiced in both Buffalo and Palestine. Reagan was elected a district judge in Palestine, serving from 1852 to 1857.

Reagan’s efforts in defeating the American Party (Know-Nothings) led to his election to Congress in 1857. He was a leading 19th Century politician from Texas, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat. He resigned when Texas seceded from the Union and joined the Confederate States of America, becoming the Postmaster General.

Later in life he served as chairman of the Railroad Commission until his retirement in 1903, and was influential in bringing the railroad to Palestine.

Reagan died March 6, 1905 in Anderson County after an extensive political career that spanned from 1846 to 1903 — concluding when he was 85 years old.

The local UDC chapter initiated the plan and fund-raising to build a John H. Reagan statue in Palestine. In 1911, the City of Palestine established Reagan Park as its first official park immediately prior to the placement of the John H. Reagan Monument. In 1967, the Anderson County Historical Commission erected the county’s first historical marker at the John H. Reagan Monument.

In 1968, Palestine’s former Sadler Motel commissioned a portrait of Reagan that hung in the lobby for many years. It now hangs in the Reagan Room at the Museum for East Texas Culture.

Dogwood Trails Assisted Living & Memory Care, located at 1625 W. Spring St., will hold another celebration for Reagan at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

“We will serve pecan pie and sweet potato pie with coffee or tea,” Dogwood Trails Assisted Living activity director Debbie Wesson said. “Guest speakers will  honor us  with the history of this prominent Anderson County hero of the Confederacy.”

The public is invited to attend both events. Those attending the Saturday celebration are asked to bring lawn chairs.

For more information, contact Dan Dyer at 903-391-2224. For information about the Dogwood Trails Assisted Living event, call 903-373-8639.

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