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William J. Reed

From the Portrait and biographical record of Hancock, McDonough and Henderson counties, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county (1894)
May, 1894. Lake City Publishing Co.

WlLLIAM J. REED, a retired farmer, now living on section 26, Rozetta Township, Henderson County, claims Kentucky as the State of his nativity. He was born in Elizabethtown, Hardin County, on the 17th of March,1829, and is a son of John and Julia (Merrifield) Reed. The father was a native of Massachusetts, and in an early day went South. He was twice married, and by the first union had the following children: Rachel, Elizabeth, Amanda, William J., and James, Milton, George and Jane, who are deceased. By his second marriage seven children were born, namely: Emily, John, Anthony, Asel, Calista, Annie and Joseph. The subject of this sketch spent his early boyhood days on his father's farm in Kentucky, and attended the subscription schools, which were held in a log schoolhouse, to which he had to walk a distance of two miles. His privileges in that direction were quite limited, and he is practically self-educated. When a youth of twelve summers, he came to Illinois with his parents, the journey being made by team. From the Government his father secured the farm on which William is now living. Here he grew to manhood, his time being largely passed in farm work. On attaining his majority, he started out in life for himself, and for a short time worked as a farm hand by the month. He then began improving an eighty-acre plot of wild prairie land, and for twenty years lived upon that farm, making it one of the valuable and desirable places in the neighborhood. At length, however, he returned to the old homestead, where he has one hundred and forty-four acres. This is under a high state of cultivation, and well improved with all modern accessories and conveniences. All of the buildings upon the place stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise, for they were placed there through his own efforts. Of late years he has lived a retired life, enjoying the rest which he has so truly earned and richly deserves. Mrs. Reed bore the maiden name of Sarah E. Davis, and was a daughter of William and Elizabeth (Sykes) Davis. Their marriage was celebrated on the nth of August, 1854, and by their union were born six children, but three are now deceased. Henry died in infancy; Mary died February 28, 1887; Francis died in infancy; Alice is the wife of Edward Salter, of Stronghurst; Delia is the wife of Samuel Elwell, a Methodist preacher, now living in Washington, Kan.; and Eliza is the wife of James Hays, and resides on the old homestead. In his political views, Mr. Reed was formerly a Republican, but on account of the strong temperance principles which he entertains, he has of late years supported the Prohibition party. He has served as Road Commissioner and School Director, but has preferred to give his time and attention to business dealings rather than to politics. He and his wife both hold membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, and take an active part in its work and upbuilding. During their long residence in the county they have always been numbered among its best citizens, and their true worth has won them many warm friends.