De Graffenried, Reese Calhoun (1859–1902)

By: Suzanne Perry

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: May 29, 2020

Reese Calhoun (De, the Black Eagle of the Piney Woods) De Graffenried, lawyer and congressman, son of Gen. Matthew Fontaine and Martha (McLemore) De Graffenried, was born at Franklin, Tennessee, on May 7, 1859. He attended school in Franklin until the age of thirteen, when he matriculated at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville; he graduated at the age of nineteen. A year later he graduated from Cumberland Law School at Lebanon, Tennessee, and was admitted to the bar. For several years he practiced law in Franklin and Chattanooga, Tennessee, before moving to Texas sometime in late 1882. In 1882 and early 1883, after settling in Longview, he was temporarily employed by the Texas and Pacific Railway in various capacities, including assistant brakeman and fuel agent.

De Graffenried was elected county attorney of Gregg County in November 1882 but resigned after only two months to resume private law practice. On November 1, 1883, he married Annie Berry of Franklin, Tennessee. In 1888 he served as a Democratic elector in the general election. In 1890 he ran for the office of congressman for the Third District against C. B. "Buck" Kilgore and former governor Richard B. Hubbard and was defeated. In 1896, however, he was elected congressman for the Fifty-fifth Congress from the Third Congressional District. Subsequently, he was reelected to the Fifty-sixth and Fifty-seventh congresses. A few months before his death he was defeated for the 1902 nomination for Congress by James Gordon Russell, who was subsequently elected his successor. De Graffenried died suddenly in Washington, D.C., on August 29, 1902. His funeral in Longview was attended by some 6,000 persons. He was buried with Masonic honors in Greenwood Cemetery.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress. Dallas Morning News, August 30, 1902. Thomas P. DeGraffenried, History of the DeGraffenried Family from 1191 A.D. to 1925 (Binghamton and New York: Vail-Ballou Press, 1925).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
  • General Law

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Suzanne Perry, “De Graffenried, Reese Calhoun,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 15, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 29, 2020