John Henninger Reagan

John Henninger Reagan

Postmaster General of the Confederacy
Country: USA

  1. Biography of John Henniger Reagan
  2. Political Career
  3. Chief Postmaster of the Confederacy
  4. Imprisonment and Return to Public Life

Biography of John Henniger Reagan

John Henniger Reagan, also known as John Reagan or John H. Reagan, was born in 1818 in Sevier County, Tennessee. At the age of 19, he moved to Texas, like many adventurous individuals from Tennessee. Over the next six years, Reagan worked as an inspector, farmer, and self-studied law. In 1846, he passed the bar exam and became a practicing attorney. Shortly after, he was elected as a judge in Henderson County, following in the footsteps of many of his lawyer colleagues who ventured into politics.

Political Career

In 1847, Reagan found himself in the state legislature, and in 1857, he was brought into the United States Congress by the American Party, also known as the "Know-Nothing Party." During his time in Congress, Reagan held a pro-Union position. However, when Texas secession became inevitable, he resigned and became a delegate from Texas in the Provisional Congress of the Confederacy.

Chief Postmaster of the Confederacy

President Davis offered Reagan the position of Chief Postmaster in his government. Reagan proved himself to be a capable administrator and became the second-longest-serving member of the Confederate government, after Secretary of the Navy Mallory. One of Reagan's first actions in this role was to send agents to Washington to obtain samples of necessary forms and account books from the U.S. Post Office Department. Despite the challenges of wartime, Reagan managed to achieve the almost impossible task of reducing the cost and delivery time of mail. For the first and only time in American history, the postal service became profitable.

Imprisonment and Return to Public Life

During the Confederate government's flight from Richmond, Reagan fled with President Davis, taking on the responsibilities of the government's exile as the Minister of Finance. In May 1865, he was arrested alongside Davis and imprisoned with Vice President Alexander Stephens. From prison, Reagan wrote an open letter to Texans, urging them to cooperate with the federal government, abolish slavery, and grant voting rights to African Americans. In late 1865, Reagan and Stephens were released.

In the early 1870s, Reagan returned to public life. In 1875, he participated in a convention that adopted a new constitution for Texas. That same year, he was elected to the U.S. Congress, where he served for 12 years. Reagan also founded the Texas Historical Society. In 1887, he was reelected to Congress but resigned to become the commissioner of the Texas Railroad Commission. He held this position until his retirement in 1903.

In 1905, John Reagan passed away, outliving all his colleagues from the Confederate States of America government. His legacy as a skilled politician and dedicated public servant continues to be remembered.