Elias Mayes, who represented Brazos County in the Texas House of Representatives during the Sixteenth and Twenty-first legislatures, was born as a slave in Conecuh County, Alabama, on February 15, 1831, the son of Louis and Gillette Mayes. He moved to Montgomery County, Texas, in 1863 and was living in Grimes County by 1866. He was a farmer and Methodist Episcopal Church minister. Around 1877 he moved to Brazos County, where he was elected to the legislatures that met in 1879 and 1889. While in the legislature, Mayes, who lived in Bryan, opposed racial segregation legislation and served on the Penitentiaries and Representation and Apportionment committees. Though he was a member of the Republican Party, Mayes also received support from the Greenback Party in 1878. He reportedly organized a "Colored Farmers' Union" in Brazos County in 1907.