JOHN WILEY RAINES. In the matter of service as a public official, John W. Raines’ tenure of office made him almost a veteran. The distinction of an early settler also attaches to him and this fact, coupled with his long career in public life, renders him probably the most widely known citizen in Montague county.
While Mr. Raines came to Texas in 1875, he passed the first year in Ellis county and succeeding three years on Cowhouse river, in Coryell county, in each of which communities he was occupied with the duties of the farm. He emigrated to the Lone Star state from Maury county, Tennessee, where his birth occurred June 11, 1843. He was a son of William Raines and his childhood was passed as a farmer boy and the country schools provided him with a meager knowledge of books.
William Raines was born in Maury county, Tennessee, in 1809, and grew up in that then new country, devoting his life to farming, and died January 30, 1852. He was a son of James Raines, who went into Maury county from North Carolina and died about 1846. He married Sarah M. Wiley, who died the same month and year of his own demise, and their children were: Mary and Sarah T., both died in Tennessee, the former as Mrs. C. M. Edwards and the latter as the wife of R. W. Kirkpatrick, and both left families; John W., our subject; Harriet J., wife of William Lunn, died in Bowie; and Laura V., wife of Ed. M. Lunn, of Young county, Texas.
John W. Raines knew nothing of the world at the age of nineteen beyond the limits of his uncle’s farms. Early in 1862 he enlisted in Company E, Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, under Colonel George Bantz and saw service in many of the Confederate states. General Joe Wheeler was his commander-in-chief and he participated in the battles of Forts Henry and Donelson. At the latter place his regiment was captured but he made his escape and rejoined his regiment, after its exchange, at Port Hudson. The succeeding two years he was on guard and picket duty in Louisiana under Major Aiken, but was transferred with his regiment to Dalton, Georgia, where his division covered [t]he Confederate retreat from Atlanta, being on the skirmish line all the way. From Atlanta the regiment returned to Tennessee on the scout and was at Columbia, that state, when surrendered at the close of the war.
On his return home and resumption of civil life Mr. Raines dropped into his favorite vocation, farming. In the ten years that he remained in Tennessee he acquired, by hard work, some property, and, as results came slowly, he decided to try his fortune in the new west. He drove his team with his family and effects to Memphis, shipped from there to Little Rock and completed the journey at the end of six weeks, when he drew up in Ellis county, Texas, in 1875.
Coming into Montague county in 1879, he located on a tract of raw land near where Bowie was afterward built and proceeded with its fencing, improvement and cultivation until he established himself in the grocery business in Bowie. He had taken little active interest in politics prior to his appointment as deputy sheriff, in 1888, and he served his first two years under L. L. McLain. He was retained by Sheriff T. L. Garrison during his six-year term and was then, in 1896, himself elected to the office. He was re-elected in 1898, 1900 and 1902, completing sixteen years of faithful service in the one office, with his retirement in November, 1904.
Resuming private life again, Mr. Raines brought his family to Bowie, where he owns both residence and business property. He also owns a farm of two hundred and sixty-two acres near Montague and is in other ways substantially identified with the county.
In August, 1862, Mr. Raines married Mary J. Cavender, a daughter of Stephen Cavender, a North Carolinian and a farmer. Of the children of the union William died in 1901; Luther A. married Lillian Wilson and is a resident of Bowie, Texas; Edward C., of Bowie, married Mollie Stillwelll; Sarah V., is the wife of J. D. Jamison, of Montague; John E., of Albany, Texas, is married to Sallie Bishop; Haughty, is the wife of William Turner of Gainesville, and Dallas Raines resides in Montague and is married to Ella Nix.
Mr. Raines is an Odd Fellow, a Baptist and belongs to the Bowie Pelham Camp, U. C. V.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, p. 357.