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Mayes, Elias (1831–unknown)

Paul M. Lucko Biography Entry

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.

Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985). Lawrence D. Rice, The Negro in Texas, 1874–1900 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1971).


  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Politics and Government
  • Sixteenth Legislature (1879)
  • Twenty-first Legislature (1889)
  • House

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

Paul M. Lucko, “Mayes, Elias,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 13, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 1, 1995
November 20, 2014

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: