Maxey, S. B. (Samuel Bell), 1825-1895

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1825-03-30
Death 1895-08-16
English

Biographical notes:

U.S. Senator from Texas.

From the description of Letter, 1878. (Duke University Library). WorldCat record id: 39522014

Samuel Bell Maxey spent his early years in Tompkinsville, Monroe County, Kentucky. His family lived in nearby Clinton County when Maxey was appointed to United States Military Academy at West Point. Upon graduation in 1846, he was breveted a Second Lieutenant in the regular army and served in the Mexican War until its close in 1848. In 1849 he resigned from the United States Army and returned to his home in Clinton County, Kentucky, where he studied law under his father, Rice Maxey. In 1850 he entered law practice with his father and in 1857 they moved their families and business to Paris, Texas.

In 1862 Maxey was made a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army and served briefly in the Trans-Mississippi Department. In December, 1863, he was made Commander of the Indian Territory where he served until February, 1865.

As an attorney, Maxey became acquainted with many of the prominent lawyers and politicians of Texas. He traveled to Austin and other places over the state in order to conduct his legal business. He was acquainted with Richard Coke, James W. Throckmorton, Oran M. Roberts, Guy M. Bryan, John H. Reagan and others of political note in Texas. He maintained his acquaintance with his political friends in Kentucky, namely, Governor Preston J. Leslie and U. S. Attorney-General James Speed. The culmination of this period of Maxey's life came in 1874 when he was elected to the United States Senate.

Maxey was defeated for reelection in 1887. In 1888 he returned to his law practice in Paris, Texas, and spent his last years there. He had five law partners during his lifetime. They were Rice Maxey, William H. H. Long, Henry William Lightfoot, Ben H. Denton, and W. F. Gill. Samuel Bell Maxey's wife, Marilda, was the daughter of George N. Denton, a Baptist preacher and farmer of Overton County, Tennessee.

Dora Rowell Maxey was the daughter of Thomas Rowell of Florida. Her father was a Confederate soldier who died in the Civil War. She was left an orphan and was legally adopted in 1863 by Samuel Bell Maxey and his wife. She attended a girl's school in Danville, Kentucky, from 1872 to 1874. She married Henry William Lightfoot and had two children, Sallie Lee Lightfoot and Thomas Chenoweth Lightfoot.

Sam Bell Maxey Long, grandnephew and foster son of Samuel Bell Maxey, attended Schools in Washington, D. C., and was a page in the United States Senate, and later obtained a degree from the University of Texas in 1892. He accompanied Maxey to Washington in 1876 when he was a small boy and continued to do so for a number of years. He married Lala Williams, daughter of J. S. Sheb Williams.

From the guide to the Photograph Collection, 1870-1960, (bulk 1870-1920), (Repository Unknown)

Samuel Bell Maxey spent his early years in Tompkinsville, Monroe County, Kentucky. His family lived in nearby Clinton County when Maxey was appointed to United States Military Academy at West Point. Upon graduation in 1846, he was breveted a Second Lieutenant in the regular army and served in the Mexican War until its close in 1848. In 1849 he resigned from the United States Army and returned to his home in Clinton County, Kentucky, where he studied law under his father, Rice Maxey. In 1850 he entered law practice with his father and in 1857 they moved their families and business to Paris, Texas.

In 1862 Maxey was made a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army and served briefly in the Trans-Mississippi Department. In December, 1863, he was made Commander of the Indian Territory where he served until February, 1865.

As an attorney, Maxey became acquainted with many of the prominent lawyers and politicians of Texas. He traveled to Austin and other places over the state in order to conduct his legal business. He was acquainted with Richard Coke, James W. Throckmorton, Oran M. Roberts, Guy M. Bryan, John H. Reagan and others of political note in Texas. He maintained his acquaintance with his political friends in Kentucky, namely, Governor Preston J. Leslie and U. S. Attorney-General James Speed. The culmination of this period of Maxey's life came in 1874 when he was elected to the United States Senate.

Among Maxey's contributions during his Congressional career were his support of the establishment of new mail routes in the frontier West in his capacity as chairman of the Senatorial Committee on Post Office and Post Roads, the introduction of bills for river and harbor improvements across the nation, and his speeches for the improvement of Indian relations.

Maxey was defeated for reelection in 1887. In 1888 he returned to his law practice in Paris, Texas, and spent his last years there. He had five law partners during his lifetime. They were Rice Maxey, William H. H. Long, Henry William Lightfoot, Ben H. Denton, and W. F. Gill.

Samuel Bell Maxey Chronology

  • 1825: Born in Tompkinsville, Monroe County, Kentucky.
  • 1846: Graduated from United States Military Academy, West Point
  • 1846 - 1848 : Served as a commissioned officer (Second Lieutenant), 7th Infantry, in the Mexican War.
  • 1848 - 1849 : Officer in the United States Army, stationed at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri.
  • 1849: Resigned his commission from the Army.
  • 1850: Studied law under his father, Rice Maxey. Received licence to practice law in Kentucky (Clinton County).
  • 1853: Married Marilda Cassa Denton.
  • 1857: Moved to Paris (Lamar County), Texas with his wife and his mother and father.
  • 1857 - 1861 : Formed law partnership with his father and opened office in Paris, Texas.
  • 1861: Elected to the Texas Legislature but declined to serve in order to join the forces of the South.
  • 1862 - 1863 : Engaged in campaigns in Tennessee and Mississippi.
  • 1863 - 1864 : Assigned as commander in the Indian Territory.
  • 1865 - 1867 : Sought Special Pardon from the President of the United States in order to regain his license to practice law in Texas.
  • 1867: Received Special Pardon from the President of the United States.
  • 1873: Appointed state district judge of the 8th Judicial District of Texas.
  • 1875 - 1887 : Elected United States Senator from Texas. Served two terms.
  • 1887 - 1895 : Practiced law in Paris, Lamar County, Texas. Died at Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Samuel Bell Maxey's wife, Marilda, was the daughter of George N. Denton, a Baptist preacher and farmer of Overton County, Tennessee. The letters she received from Maxey during the years 1875 to 1887 were almost a daily journal of the events taking place in Washington at that time.

Dora Rowell Maxey was the daughter of Thomas Rowell of Florida. Her father was a Confederate soldier who died in the Civil War. She was left an orphan and was legally adopted in 1863 by Samuel Bell Maxey and his wife. She attended a girl's school in Danville, Kentucky, from 1872 to 1874. The bulk of her letters is contained in the correspondence of Mrs. Samuel Bell Maxey.

Sam Bell Maxey Long, grandnephew and foster son of Samuel Bell Maxey, attended Schools in Washington, D. C., and was a page in the United States Senate, and later obtained a degree from the University of Texas in 1892. He accompanied Maxey to Washington in 1876 when he was a small boy and continued to do so for a number of years. He accompanied Maxey everywhere, even when Maxey called on government officials. Sam Bell Maxey Long's letters to Mrs. Maxey and to his mother, Mary Gatewood Long, reveal details of events in Washington.

From the guide to the Papers, 1847-1948, (Repository Unknown)

Born in Tompkinsville, Kentucky, Samuel Bell Maxey (1825-1895) received an appointment to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point at the age of 17.

After graduation Maxey joined the 7th Infantry in Monterrey, Mexico, during the Mexican War where he participated in the battles of Contreras, Churubusco, and Molina del Rey. After the war he resigned from the army and returned to Kentucky to study law under his father. Maxey married Marilda Cass Denton, though an increasingly unprofitable practice forced the families to move to Texas in 1857, where they settled in Paris. Shortly after arriving in Texas, Maxey was appointed district attorney for Lamar County, a position he held until joining the Confederate Army in 1861. Maxey organized the 9th Texas Infantry Regiment that joined a Confederate Army in Memphis and fought at Shiloh, though Maxey saw little action and typically commanded support functions, such as guarding roads and bridges. In 1863, Maxey was given command of the Indian Territory, though he saw no major engagements.

After the war, Maxey struggled to gain the presidential pardon necessary for high-ranking ex-Confederate offices until his former West Point classmate, Ulysses S. Grant, recommended Maxey for one.

He was thus able to reopen his law practice and run for political office. In 1875, Maxey was elected to the U. S. Senate, where he argued for free silver, internal improvements for Texas, and was instrumental in improving the postal system in Texas. After being replaced by the Texas Legislature for not taking interest in national or party affairs in 1887, Maxey returned to Paris and his law practice until his death in 1895.

From the description of Maxey, Samuel Bell, Papers, 1862-1864 (University of Texas Libraries). WorldCat record id: 760896722

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Subjects:

  • Maxey family
  • Legislators--Correspondence
  • Photograph albums--Texas
  • Williams family
  • Legislators--United States
  • Long family
  • Photograph collections--Texas
  • Lightfoot family

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Alaska (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Paris (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Sam Bell Maxey House State Historic Structure (Paris, Tex.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Lamar County (Tex.) (as recorded)
  • West (U. S.) (as recorded)
  • Oklahoma (as recorded)
  • Texas (as recorded)