Jonathan Payne, state representative, attorney, and merchant, was born in Corydon, Harrison County, Indiana, on February 19, 1829. He was the son of Jonathan Wright and Elizabeth (Rice) Payne. Payne was raised in Harrison County and married Mary Margaret Vance in this location. He studied at Corydon (Indiana) Seminary and later practiced law. He was listed in the 1860 census as an attorney living in Paoli Township, Orange County, Indiana. Payne immigrated to Texas sometime soon after this and lived first in Aransas County and later in Goliad, Goliad County. According to Lewis Daniell’s Personnel of the Texas State Government, during the Civil War Payne served in Col. P. C. Woods’s Thirty-second Regiment, Texas Cavalry. After this service, he was in charge of government supplies for the depots of Goliad, Karnes, and Wilson counties.
The 1870 census listed Payne as a grocer and merchant living with his wife and child in Indianola in Calhoun County. They had one daughter—Anna—born in Indiana and eighteen years of age. In 1872 Payne won election as House representative for District 24—comprised of Calhoun, DeWitt, Bee, Goliad, Jackson, Refugio, San Patricio, and Victoria counties—to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature, where he served on the Internal Improvements, Judiciary No. 1, Enrolled Bills, and Finance committees. His term ended in January 1874. Payne was elected to the House of the Twentieth Legislature and served from January 11, 1887, to January 8, 1889. He represented District 87 which included Aransas, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Refugio, and Victoria counties. During that time he chaired the Internal Improvements Committee and also was a member of several other committees. Payne had retired from law in the mid-1880s and afterwards considered himself a farmer and stockraiser. Payne, a Democrat and a Presbyterian, died in Goliad on August 1, 1894, and was buried there at Oak Hill Cemetery.