William Reagan, lawyer and settler in the townsite of Reagan, the fifth of six children of Timothy and Elizabeth (Lusk) Reagan, was born in Sevier County, Tennessee, on March 17, 1830. He lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, until 1845, then set out for Texas with his father to join John H. Reagan, William's brother. The elder Reagan died in Arkansas in 1847. In 1849 William Reagan became a citizen of Texas. By 1850 he resided in Henderson County with John, a younger brother, and a sister. He attended McKinney College in Red River County. In 1854 he received a land patent of 640 acres in Falls County. He taught school in the old Union Church in Marlin for two years, read law in his spare time, and was admitted to the bar in 1857. In 1858, while running for district attorney in Falls County, he argued with his opponent, Charles Stewart, at a picnic. Stewart drew a gun, fired at Reagan, and hit a bystander. Reagan resided in Falls County in 1860, owned no land, and had only $800 in personal property. In the Civil War he volunteered for the Thirtieth Texas Cavalry. Later he served as enrolling officer of Falls County and once took the mail to Richmond. In 1865 he was appointed county judge for Falls County. By 1871 he owned 2,846 acres and a town lot in Falls County. He donated land on July 1, 1873, to the Houston and Texas Central Railway. In 1874 he moved to Reagan. In 1879 he moved to Georgetown, apparently to improve opportunities for his children's education. He continued to practice law.
Reagan was a Methodist and a Democrat. He married Elizabeth Stanley of Fairfield, Texas, in 1856, and they had three sons and a daughter. Elizabeth died in 1868. Reagan married Sarah M. Harper of Robertson County in 1873; they had four children. Reagan wrote a letter from Falls County in 1885 in defense of his sons who were charged with horse stealing. In 1889 he resided in Williamson County and owned 271 acres of land. In the 1890s he and his family moved to Oklahoma City where he served as a United States commissioner in the Chickasaw Indian Territory from 1893 to 1896, when he was removed due to infirmities. Reagan continued to live in Oklahoma until at least 1900, but he died in Georgetown, Texas, in 1910.
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Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas (New York: Southern, 1880). Dallas Herald, July 24, 1858. Roy Eddins, ed., and Old Settlers and Veterans Association of Falls County, comp., History of Falls County, Texas (Marlin, Texas?, 1947). Ben H. Procter, Not Without Honor: The Life of John H. Reagan (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1962).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Lisa C. Maxwell
Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell,
“Reagan, William Reason,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 16, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
January 11, 2022