Congressman, diplomat, and postmaster general, Horace Maynard was born on August 30, 1814, in Westboro, Massachusetts. After graduating from Amherst College in 1838, Maynard moved to Knoxville, where he worked as a tutor in the preparatory department of East Tennessee College (later the University of Tennessee). The college appointed Maynard principal of the preparatory department in 1840; the next year he became teacher of mathematics and ancient languages at the college.
While teaching, Maynard studied law and in 1844 was admitted to the bar. One of his most famous cases involved the defense of Union County against a suit filed by disgruntled citizens of Knox County, who protested the establishment of Union County from a portion of Knox County. In gratitude for his successful defense of their county, Union County residents named the county seat Maynardville.
Maynard was initially elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1857 on the American, or Know-Nothing, Party ticket. His constituents reelected him twice: in 1859 as a member of the Opposition Party and in 1861 as a candidate on the Unionist ticket. Along with other East Tennessee politicians, Maynard canvassed the region in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency in an effort to persuade Tennesseans to vote against secession. Even after secession, Maynard continued to serve in the U.S. Congress.
In 1863 Andrew Johnson, military governor of Tennessee, appointed Maynard attorney general of the state. Two years later Maynard returned to Congress to represent Tennessee’s Second District until 1875, when President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him minister to Turkey. In the summer of 1880 President Rutherford B. Hayes recalled Maynard and appointed him to the cabinet position of postmaster general, a post he held until March 5, 1881. Maynard returned to Knoxville and died on May 3, 1882.