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Reynolds, William (1831–unknown)

Paul M. Lucko Biography

William Reynolds, one of five black delegates to the state Constitutional Convention of 1875, was born in January 1831, probably in Baltimore, Maryland. He was a free man when he came to Texas around 1854. He was teaching school at Hempstead by the early 1870s. In 1873 he served as the presiding officer for elections in a Waller County precinct; he represented the county at the 1875 constitutional convention. Described by one source as the "most active of the Negro delegates" at the convention, Reynolds sat on the Executive Department Committee and unsuccessfully attempted to win approval for a measure that would have guaranteed 30,000 acres of state-owned lands for an agricultural and mechanical college for blacks. Reynolds also fought occupation taxes and opposed real and personal property qualifications as requirements for voting in general elections. During 1878 he served on a committee to purchase a poor farm for Waller County. The 1880 and 1900 federal census reports described Reynolds as a mulatto, a schoolteacher, and the father of two daughters. He was married to a woman the census records refer to as "M. A." He probably died between 1900 and 1910.

J. Mason Brewer, Negro Legislators of Texas and Their Descendants (Dallas: Mathis, 1935; 2d ed., Austin: Jenkins, 1970). Merline Pitre, Through Many Dangers, Toils and Snares: The Black Leadership of Texas, 1868–1900 (Austin: Eakin, 1985). Waller County Historical Survey Committee, A History of Waller County, Texas (Waco: Texian, 1973).


  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Politics and Government

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

Paul M. Lucko, “Reynolds, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 28, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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