Biography - William Reid

WILLIAM L. REID, who has lived on his present farm on section 13, Burnside Township, Johnson County, for the past thirty-eight years, was born in Williamson County, Tenn., in 1826. His father, James Reid, was born in the same county in 1800, and was a son of James Reid, who was the only son of a Revolutionary soldier by his first wife. This participant in the Revolution was born in Ireland, but the Christian name of the hero and the maiden name of his wife cannot be ascertained. He was a farmer in Ireland, came over it is believed some time before that war commenced, and was killed in the battle of King's Mountain. James Reid, grandfather of William L., married Phoebe Calhoun, of North Carolina, who bore him nine sons and three daughters, of whom James, the father of William L., was the fifth child and fourth son in order of birth. The eldest son, Charles, was a soldier under Andrew Jackson, and while in the army was attacked with a contagious disease, from which he never recovered. The mother of William L, Reid was Hannah Legate, who was born in Kentucky and, when a child, was taken by her parents to Tennessee, where they reared a family of five sons and one daughter. The father died in Humphreys County, Tenn., in 1830, at the age of thirty, leaving his widow with six children, one of whom was very young. Mrs. Reid in 1834 removed to Kentucky, where she again married. She died in Johnson County, ILL., in 1878, in her eighty-first year. Charles Reid, the pioneer of the family, came to Illinois in an early day, followed by his brothers James and George in a short time. There was no death in the family from 1830 to 1878. The family was in humble circumstances in early life, and William L. and his two brothers received but a very limited education in the subscription school kept in the primitive log schoolhouse so frequently described in these pages, and in this way these sons of toil passed their youth.
William L. Reid was married in Kentucky in 1850, in his twenty-fifth year, to Sarah P. G. Robinson, daughter of J. M. Robinson, who came to Johnson County, ILL., about 1858, where they lived the rest of their lives, he dying at fifty-six and she at seventy years of age. Our subject came to Illinois by land, drawn by his two yoke of oxen, and bringing his wife and baby and all their household goods. They came early in the winter, and lived with a brother of Mr. Reid's till spring, when they bought and settled on eighty acres of partly improved land, which cost $375. With this tract our subject deeded sufficient Government land to make two hundred acres, on which he started in humble pioneer style. He was a blacksmith by occupation, beginning to learn that trade in Kentucky when but sixteen years of age. He followed his trade and also engaged some in farming in Kentucky and Illinois. His first wife died in 1876, at the age of forty-one years. She bore him ten children, seven of whom died in infancy; those living are James Y., a Methodist minister, who married Miss Mary Purdom, who bore him one son and three daughters; Nancy M., wife of William P. Cole, a farmer residing near Mr. Reid, and Sarah H. T., wife of Charles M. Parsons, a farmer of Pope County, and who has two sons. His second wife was Mary J. Wilson, of Kentucky, to which State he went for her in 1878.
Mr. Reid has deeded all his farm to his children except fifty acres, upon which he lives. He has been in poor health for some years, suffering with the rheumatism and gout, but was, however, when younger, one of the stalwart sons of Kentucky, and he takes pride in never having had a personal encounter in his life. In politics he is a Prohibitionist, the supporters of which party he considers the patriotic reformers of the day.

Extracted 15 Apr 2002 by Rick Girtman from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 308-311.

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