Rainey, Anson (1848–1922)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 3, 2020

Anson Rainey, lawyer and state Supreme Court justice, the son of Columbus and Nancy (Baker) Rainey, was born on March 1, 1848, in El Dorado, Arkansas. After Columbus Rainey died, his wife returned to her native city, Mount Hebron, Alabama, where Anson attended public school until August 1863, when he enlisted in the Confederate Army. He served in Company A, Sixteenth Arkansas Cavalry, for just under two years and participated in campaigns in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. On April 2, 1865, he was wounded at the battle of Fort Blakely. He returned to Mount Hebron to recover. In 1867 he moved to Crockett, Texas, to be a clerk in his uncle's dairy business. Two years later he moved to Bryan and worked as a clerk for a business called Taylor and Cruce. In 1870 he left Texas and moved to Delhi, Louisiana, where he worked in a mercantile business and studied law. Rainey was admitted to the bar in July 1871 and established a law partnership with H. P. Wells of Delhi. Two years later he returned to Texas and settled in Waxahachie. There he opened a law practice with N. J. Nash. In 1874 he became a partner of Justus Wesley Ferris. That same year he married Fannie Irene Merriweather. The couple had two children.

Rainey entered the political arena as a Democrat in 1880, when he ran successfully for the state Senate. He represented Dallas and Ellis counties for one term and declined to run for reelection. He returned to his growing law practice and in 1883 became partners with G. C. Grose. In 1885 Rainey was appointed judge of the Fortieth Judicial District (Ellis, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties) by Governor John Ireland. Twice he was elected to this position. In 1893 his experience as a lawyer and judge resulted in his appointment as associate justice of the Court of Civil Appeals for the Fifth Supreme Judicial District of Texas by Governor James S. Hogg. In 1900 Rainey became the chief justice of the Civil Appeals Court. After his appointment as chief justice, Rainey and his family moved to Dallas. There he continued to be active in the Christian Church and the Masons. He served as president of the State Missionary Convention of the Christian Church and was one of the founding members of the Masonic Home and School located in Fort Worth. In 1888 he served as grand master of the Grand Lodge of Texas. He remained chief justice of the civil appeals court until his death, on August 6, 1922, when he suffered a stroke while visiting his daughter in Chicago. He was buried in Waxahachie.

John Henry Brown, Indian Wars and Pioneers of Texas (Austin: Daniell, 1880; reprod., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Dallas Morning News, August 7, 1922. Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]).

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Politics and Government
  • Judges
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region

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

David Minor, “Rainey, Anson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/rainey-anson.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 3, 2020

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