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Archive for the ‘Reed’ Category

A Significant Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend lies ahead, and I have everything ready at last. Although Congress set aside this day to honor our war dead, many of us now decorate the graves of all our loved ones on Memorial Day. This year I will lay flowers marking the day on my father’s grave for the first time.

My father did not fall in battle, but he did serve his country. Last autumn he passed away at the age of ninety.

When he was buried on a chilly day in November, the cold weather prevented the immediate engraving of his cemetery marker. The silent tombstone stood over him all winter. Recently, I learned that the stonecutter finally completed the task earlier this spring when the weather warmed up. He also affixed to the stone a bronze medallion commemorating Dad’s Navy service.

At my father’s graveside, I had received his veteran’s flag from the hands of the sailors who folded it. Over the winter, the flag, too, waited as I considered the best way to preserve it.

Just yesterday, the cherry flag case I finally ordered arrived at my door. I carefully inserted the flag. To the front I applied an enameled Navy insignia and an engraved plaque. It reads:

    Earl E. Reed

    Proud Veteran of WWII

    8/18/1927 – 10/25/2017

Just in time for Memorial Day, I can display the encased flag on a shelf in my home. This weekend I will visit my father and view his completed cemetery marker. As a good genealogist, I will take a photograph to post on his Find A Grave memorial.

All is ready for this solemn holiday of remembrance.

Away Too Long

After many years of diligently posting to this blog, suddenly last fall I became overwhelmed with life and just could not find the time. Why? My dear Dad and one of my brothers passed away within a month of each other. As guardian and executor for both of them, I really had a lot to do. Now, after quite an absence, here is a post in remembrance of them.


Earl E. Reed (1927-2017)

Dad was born in Wheatland, Wyoming, the fifth of six children. His father died in an accident when Dad was seven. Without a breadwinner, the family moved to Loveland, Colorado where an uncle made a house available to them. All the boys went to work, and Dad helped deliver milk. Dad graduated from Loveland High School in 1945. He immediately enlisted in the Navy and served aboard a minesweeper, the USS Seer, in the South China Sea. After his service, he returned to school, eventually graduating from the University of Wyoming with a degree in business in 1954.

Dad joined Marathon Oil Company (formerly the Ohio Oil Company) as a petroleum landman. He spent his career with them in Bismarck, North Dakota; Sidney, Nebraska; Casper, Wyoming; and Cody, Wyoming. In his free time, he participated in team sports like bowling and volleyball, served as treasurer of his son’s Scout pack, and ushered at the local Lutheran Church. He was an avid reader, and he liked to fish. He belonged to the Elks club and enjoyed taking meals at Elks lodges whenever he traveled on business.

Dad married Joyce Bentsen while he was still in college. Their marriage lasted 47 years until she passed away in 2000. After his retirement, they enjoyed traveling from Wyoming to the east coast to spend the winter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He referred to those years as “golden”.

Dad lived alone in Casper in the years following Joyce’s death. When he began to need more assistance from family members, he moved to the Denver area and remained there for the rest of his life.

People always described my Dad as a real gentleman. He was generous and provided well for his family. He valued education and was the first in his family to finish college. He was a great Dad despite having lost his own at such a young age.

Dad was buried next to Joyce in the Casper cemetery. On a cold November day, Navy service members from Cheyenne, WY traveled to Casper to stand guard during his burial service and to fold the flag that covered his casket. Dad had lived to the age of 90, longer than any of his siblings. It was time for him to rest.


James E. Reed (1959-2017)

My brother Jim enriched our lives by being different. He was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, the third child of four in our family. He had severe developmental disabilities and needed care all his life.

Jim lived at home until he was nine, and then my family placed him at the Wyoming Life Resource Center (formerly the Wyoming State Training School) in Lander, Wyoming.

Some people think institutional life is a terrible thing, but it was not so for Jim and the other clients in Lander. They lived on a beautiful, tree-filled campus with easy access to everything they needed—cozy houses, a recreation center with swimming pool, a canteen, medical and dental offices, and a chapel. They had the opportunity to attend school and other therapy. Staff provided wonderful leisure activities like parties, dances, holiday celebrations, and picnics. For all of this, they had the freedom and safety of the large campus. Jim never had to be confined to a small group home in a busy city where he would have been locked in for fear that he would wander into traffic.

He and the other residents who were able enough had meaningful work to do in the gardens, in the craft center making items to sell, or helping with janitorial services. Jim worked as a janitor for many years. Towards the end of his life, when he grew more frail, he helped with paper shredding and mail delivery. These jobs gave structure to his life and provided interaction with others.

Jim lived on the Lander campus for 48 years until his health failed. After a funeral in Lander (I never knew he had so many friends!), he was buried in the Casper cemetery next to our mother.

A CCC Record Sheds Some Light on the Family

As a youngster, I heard that my Dad’s older brother, Owen Howell Reed, had served in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during the Great Depression. No one ever offered any details, and I did not think to ask. I was vaguely aware that the CCC was a
public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men from relief families as part of the New Deal. I knew nothing about where or how long my uncle served.

Some time ago, one of the genealogy newsletters that I read regularly contained an article about how to obtain CCC records from the National Archives. I recalled my uncle’s service and decided to learn more.

I submitted a search request on Form NA 14136 (02-14) to the National Archives at Saint Louis asking whether they had a personnel record for my uncle. I provided his birthdate, birthplace, parents’ names, and hometown at time of CCC employment. They soon replied to tell me they had the record I sought.

I sent in an Order for Archival Reproduction Services with my $70 payment (pretty steep!). Of course they processed my credit card payment right away, but the record never arrived. That was in March of this year.

After nearly three months had passed, I finally sent an e-mail message asking about it to the Archivist who had handled my request. She sent the record again, and this time I received it.

As I read the 12-page file, I enjoyed learning a bit more about my uncle’s life. The file also contained some new family information for me:

  1. It provided a physical description of my 17-year-old uncle in 1940—5’10” and only 125 pounds.
  2. It included the education levels achieved by his parents, my grandfather and grandmother. They had completed the 7th and 8th grades, respectively.
  3. It told me that my uncle had done Very Satisfactory work as an Assistant Education Advisor in Wellington, Colorado for 5 months after his high school graduation in 1940. He left on his 18th birthday to join the United States Army.
  4. I learned that my widowed grandmother had received a $22 per month allotment during the time of his service.

I know that times were hard for my Dad’s family during the Depression years. His father, the breadwinner, had died in 1935, and all the young boys had to work after that. A place in the CCC must have been a real blessing for the family. My Dad surely benefited from that monthly payment earned by his older brother. I am glad I ordered the record to find out more about this chapter of the Reed history.


Centenarians in the Family

We have some longevity in our family. My own father will reach the age of ninety this year, and several of his cousins lived into their nineties, too. One claimed she would be the first Reed to live to the age of 100, but she did not make it. Maybe my father will claim that accomplishment.

Some of his more distant relatives have lived even longer than that. I know of two well-documented cases of women in our family who passed the century mark:

  1. Maggie Sherman Hendricks (1872-1976). Maggie was my dad’s first cousin, twice removed, on his father’s side. The daughter of Anderson Sherman and Sarah Jane Prewitt, she was born in Indiana. She died at age 104 and is buried in the Greenlawn Cemetery in Franklin, Indiana. The family story says that Anderson Sherman’s maternal grandmother, who was my dad’s third great-grandmother, lived to be 111 years old. Perhaps Maggie (and my dad!) received some good genes from her.
  2. Lula Mae Riddle Ferris (1893-1999). Lula Mae was a Michigan farm wife and my dad’s first cousin, once removed, on his mother’s side. Her parents were Ethan Henry Riddle and Sophronia McClish. The maternal line for both Ethan Riddle and my dad comes from New England stock which is known for longevity. When Ethan’s daughter Lula Mae passed away at the age of 105, she had come close to living in three different centuries. She is buried in Leonidas Cemetery in St. Joseph County, Michigan.

I wonder whether these people were glad to live that long. My dad does not seem to get much enjoyment out of life any more, and he is still many years younger than these cousins lived to be. With the infirmities of extreme old age, one must give up many of the things one once enjoyed. That is why the adage says we all want to live longer, but we do not want to grow old. I would agree with that.

Ancestors, Community, and the Vote

After this week’s tumultuous election, I began to reflect on why I may have voted the way I did. I hope I objectively examined the issues and voted for those candidates who would best represent my views. Yet I cannot help but think that my upbringing and surroundings played a part in influencing my opinions.

How did my ancestors think, and what did I hear discussed at home as I grew up? Over years of genealogical research, I have assembled some information about the political leanings of my forbears:

  1. Caleb Reed (1818-1903), an Illinois farmer. According to the history of Coles County, he was a strong Whig although he never sought political office. The conservative Whig party (1833-1854) was organized by the politician Henry Clay in opposition to the Jacksonian Democrats, and they derided Jackson as “King Andrew”. Appealing to large landowners, the Whigs supported the supremacy of Congress over the President and favored economic protectionism. They opposed Jackson’s Indian removal policies. Many Whigs gravitated to the Republican Party after the demise of the Whig Party. I wonder whether Caleb voted for Republican Abraham Lincoln, a fellow resident of Illinois, in 1860 and 1864. Lincoln’s parents lived near Caleb in Coles County.
  2. John Carter (1790-1841), another Illinois farmer and neighbor of Caleb Reed. Originally from Tennessee, John had served in the War of 1812 under Andrew Jackson. I do not know how he felt about Jackson and his policies. Was John a Jackson Democrat?
  3. Bjarne Bentsen (1906-1986), a policeman, later an electrician, who grew up in Montana and lived in several western and Midwestern states. He professed strong support of the Democratic Party.
  4. Grace Riddle (1896-1976) and Martha Mattila (1906-1977). I find it amazing that when these women, my grandmothers, were born, women did not have the right to vote. That did not come until 1920. Even so, neither of them talked about politics, and I do not know if or how they voted.
  5. Joyce Bentsen (1929-2000), a schoolteacher from Minnesota. She never disclosed how she voted, but over the years she expressed admiration for Minnesota Democratic native sons Walter Mondale and Hubert “The Happy Warrior” Humphrey.
  6. My Dad, a petroleum landman. During my lifetime, he usually has expressed conservative views and leaned Republican, not surprising for an oilman. Yet he proudly cast his first vote in a Presidential election for Harry Truman in 1948. He told me that his mother kept a photograph of Democrat Franklin Roosevelt in their home.

These family members obviously did not agree about politics, so I received mixed messages at home. What about the influence of my community?

  1. I grew up in Wyoming, a politically conservative state. This week nearly 70% of their electorate voted for Donald Trump. Although Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote, they did not do so for progressive reasons. Without women counted as citizens, Wyoming could not reach the requisite number of voters to qualify for statehood in 1890.
  2. Today I live in the purple state of Colorado where I have been for over 30 years. I reside between very-conservative Colorado Springs, and very-liberal Boulder (referred to by the locals as “The People’s Republic of Boulder”). Ironically, the Libertarian Party was founded in Boulder, so we have that influence as well.

These conflicting views around me all contribute to my political views. I hope I did a good job synthesizing them before I cast my vote this year.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, no. 32—Ann Kirkham (1782?-1869)

Ann Kirkham, my 3rd great-grandmother, pursued the hard life of a pioneer but lived to a ripe, old age nevertheless. She must have been made of tough stuff.

Her actual birth place, date, and year have not been proven as far as I know. Records agree that she was born during the month of August, but the date varies as 1782 or 1783. Some sources say she was born in Kentucky; others report her birthplace as Pennsylvania.

By 1806 she lived in Nelson County, Kentucky when she married Thomas Reed. They wed on November 24 and then relocated to live near Thomas’ family in Spencer County. There the couple had five children: Robertson Mitchell (1808), Eliza (1810), Jane (1817), Caleb (1818), and William (1822). Given the long spaces between Eliza and Jane, and again between Caleb and William, perhaps there were other children who died young.

In 1829, Thomas Reed sold his Kentucky holdings. He and other family members struck out for newly opened lands in Indiana and Illinois. Thomas and Ann chose the latter, settling in Coles County, Illinois after the new year in 1830. They took along as much of their household goods as they could, including Ann’s spinning wheel.

Early Coles County families faced a primitive life. They built cabins of unhewn logs with puncheon floors. Chimneys were made of sticks and clay. Perhaps Ann could enjoy some time quilting or sewing with nearby women-folk while Thomas and the other men constructed the first homes.

The couple built a financially successful life in Illinois, but personal tragedy struck periodically. Ann made the trip to the fresh graves of family members many times over the years:

  1. In 1836, her son-in-law John Mitchell McAlister (Eliza’s husband), died,
  2. In 1845 her son William passed away,
  3. In 1852 her husband Thomas died, leaving her a widow,
  4. In 1853 her daughter-in-law Nancy McAlister Reed, who was Robertson’s wife, died,
  5. In 1854, her grandson and Caleb’s third son, Thomas B. Reed, died in infancy,
  6. In 1855, her granddaughter and Caleb’s oldest daughter, Mary C. Reed, died at the age of eight,
  7. In 1856, her granddaughter Susan McAlister Galbreath (Eliza’s daughter) died from complications of childbirth,
  8. In 1864, another grandson, Caleb’s son James N. Reed, died in infancy.

During her latter years, after Thomas’ death, Ann made her home with her son Caleb and his family. When she reached her mid-80’s her life was drawing to a close. Ann passed away on 3 February 1869. She was buried beside Thomas in the Reed-McAlister Cemetery in Coles County, Illinois.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, no. 31—Thomas Reed (1783-1852)

Thomas Reed was my paternal 3rd great-grandfather. He was born in one place, raised in another, and lived his adult life in yet a third locality.

According to family records, Thomas arrived perhaps on the 18th of December, 1783 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. His father was Caleb Reed, and his mother may have been Rebecca Carr. Thomas’ actual birthdate remains uncertain because his cemetery marker in the Reed family cemetery provides the calculation for a different date. It states that he died on 21 December 1852 at the age of 70 years, 11 months, and 23 days. This information means he would have been born 29 Jan 1781. So far I have no explanation for the difference in proposed birth years, nor do I know which, 1783 or 1781, is more likely correct.

In either case, Thomas came into the world during the close of the Revolutionary War era. The family lived on the fluid border between Pennsylvania and then-Virginia, now West Virginia. His uncle Joshua Reed served in the Virginia militia during that conflict. As with all American families at the time, the Reeds were affected by the war.

At some point, the Reeds relocated to Kentucky, near Louisville. Thomas married Ann Kirkham in Nelson County, Kentucky on 24 November 1806. The couple settled onto a place in Spencer County and had a family of five children:

  1. Robertson Mitchell Reed (1808-1871)
  2. Eliza Reed (1810-1886)
  3. Jane Reed (1817-1899)
  4. Joseph Caleb Reed (1818-1903), my great-great grandfather
  5. William Reed (1822-1845)

In 1829, Thomas and Ann made the decision to move on to new lands opening up for settlement in Illinois. They left Kentucky on December 1, their son Caleb’s 11th birthday, and headed for southeastern Illinois, near the Indiana border. With a 6-horse team, the journey took nearly a month. They stopped in Edgar County, Illinois for a few days, and they liked the Grandview area very much. However, the “milk sickness” malady was rumored to be common there, so they went further west into Coles County. They settled about a mile and a half northeast of the village of Ashmore where Thomas entered a tract of land. Among his Coles County neighbors was Thomas Lincoln, father of the future President.

Once settled in, Thomas Reed went walking one day with his neighbor, Daniel McAlister. They stopped at a particularly beautiful spot and decided it would make a lovely place for a burial ground. They set it aside as the Reed-McAlister Cemetery. Both would be buried there someday.

In 1832, Thomas’ father Caleb, who had also left Kentucky and moved on to Indiana, passed away. Thomas received his timepiece.

Thomas and Ann worked to build up their farm and raise their family in Illinois. Thomas was known as a quiet and industrious man, and at one time he farmed nearly a thousand acres. It was about half prairie and half woodland with streams of water flowing through most of it.

Politically, Thomas was a strong Whig, but he never sought public office. Farming took all his time.

Thomas passed away on 21 Dec 1852 and was buried in the family cemetery in Coles, County, Illinois. He died intestate, and his farm was divided into four parts. Each surviving child received a share, but the daughters sold theirs to the sons, with Robertson, the eldest, receiving a larger share. Thomas’ daughter Eliza’s husband James Walton served as Personal Representative.

Thomas Reed became the patriarch of a large Reed clan in Coles County, Illinois. Descendants live and farm there to the present day. Thomas chose a good place to settle down.


A Different Sort of Summer Research Trip

Have you ever visited the Pawnee National Grassland in Colorado? The web link to their page on the National Forest Service site is too long to display here, but you can find information easily by doing a web search.

We visited the Grassland with some of our young grandchildren for a camping trip over the weekend. There we found a nice, shady campsite along Crow Creek, short hiking trails suitable for kids, and even a display of old farm implements used by homesteaders.

The grassland lies in northeastern Colorado, near the Nebraska and Wyoming borders. Thus, my Riddle and Reed ancestors had homesteads just across the state lines of those two states. Visiting the Pawnee National Grassland gave me an idea of what those homesteading experiences might have been like. The Forest Service has put up several interpretive signs that helped me understand the history and geography of the area:

  • We learned that fur trappers worked along Crow Creek, cowboys drove cattle along a trail running between Montana and Texas, and settlers followed the Overland Trail along the South Platte River. My own later-arriving ancestors homesteaded in Nebraska in the 1880’s and Wyoming during World War I, so I assume they came west by train.
  • The prairie sees extreme temperatures. We endured a hot summer weekend with the thermometer reaching into the upper 90’s, just as my ancestors did.
  • We saw birds. Boy, did we see birds. The Pawnee National Grassland is a well-known bird-watching area, and we saw our first lark bunting—the Colorado state bird. Okay, perhaps we have seen them before but did not know what they were.

The grandchildren particularly liked the short prairie grass. They loved tramping about in the knee-high greenery. I tried to view it more as my homesteading ancestors must have, seeing what would have been quite a challenge to replace using the primitive farming equipment we saw at the campground.

The Grassland provided a spot for a great camping trip. We loved the opportunity to spend some time with the next generation. I got a renewed appreciation for the hardships my ancestors (both single women!) faced in coming to this part of the country. Although this was not the research trip to a repository or cemetery that I usually take, it had value of its own. It gave me a much better sense of my family’s journey.


A DNA Test Pays Off

Some time ago I asked my dad to take a DNA test. All my brick wall ancestors lurk in his side of the family, so I keep hoping a DNA match will turn up to help resolve questions on these family lines. Dad does not use a computer, so I manage his DNA accounts for him.

Over time, we have worked with a few of our identified matches trying to figure out how we are related. Generally we have identified a common ancestor and then gone our separate ways. Most of these people seem to have done DNA testing mostly to learn about their ethnic heritage, not because they have a deep interest in genealogy.

That changed a few weeks ago. A third cousin contacted us because her DNA test identified a match to us. We exchanged some information via e-mail. Then we agreed to a phone call to talk over our mutual family history. We learned that we live within driving distance of each other, and we both know a local professional genealogist. We decided to meet for lunch.

Yesterday we shared a meal and spent two hours exchanging more family information. We agreed to work together in our research on our Reed and Carter family lines.

I am thrilled to have a new research partner for this branch. For years I had worked with a couple of my dad’s cousins on these same lines, but both of them have passed away now.

Advice I received years ago has paid off again. Vern Tomkins, a former President of the Colorado Genealogical Society always said, “Keep contacting your cousins. You never know what they may have.” And then there is the corollary stated by Terry Quirk, a former Vice President of the Society, “Contact the oldest and sickest ones first.”

My newly-identified cousin and I are not particularly old or sick, but I am sure glad she contacted me.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks no. 15—Caleb Reed (1818-1903)

A large extended family of Reeds began with the birth of a baby boy near a small Kentucky stream on 1 December 1818. At a farm along a waterway called Elk Creek southeast of Louisville, Kentucky, Caleb Reed came into the world that day.

The Elk Creek area was part of Shelby County at the time, but the state later split off lands from Shelby, Nelson, and Bullitt Counties to form the new Spencer County a few years later in 1824. Thus, we find Reed records in two Kentucky jurisdictions even though the family did not move.

At the time of their son’s birth, parents Thomas Reed and Ann Kirkham Reed already had three other children, Robertson (b. 1808), Eliza (b. 1810), and Jane (b. 1817). The family later added another brother, William (b. 1822).

Baby Caleb became one of many family members to share the same name. His paternal grandfather was also named Caleb Reed. That Caleb had a son Caleb C. Reed (our Caleb’s uncle). Our Caleb later had a nephew, Caleb R., son of his brother Robertson. Subsequent generations would continue to use the name. Our Caleb would have two grandsons who shared his name: Caleb Logan Reed and Caleb Reed Wright.

Some uncertainty surrounds Caleb’s full name. The family Bible simply gives his name as Caleb with no middle name. His marriage record lists his name as Caleb Samuel Reed. A different name appeared in his obituary where the informant reported his name as Joseph Caleb. Neither of these full names is corroborated by any other source.

Caleb lived his first decade in Kentucky until his parents decided in 1829 to move to lands newly-opened for settlement in Illinois. On his eleventh birthday the family left the state of Kentucky to find a new home in the wilderness. The journey consumed nearly a month.

Arriving in Edgar County, Illinois, they spent a few days. About New Year 1830, they went westward on to Coles County. They settled about one and a half miles from of the village of Ashmore. Caleb Reed later owned that farm.

At some time during his life, Caleb learned to read and write. If he attended school in Illinois, perhaps he went to the first school in Ashmore, located at the southwest edge of town. It was a fair weather school made of logs and had an earthen floor. The three sided structure opened to the south with a split log shelf along the two sides. The seats were crude split logs with pegged legs. The building also served as a church.

When Caleb was 25 years old, he married a neighbor girl, Jane Carter, daughter of John Carter and Mary (Polly) Templeton Carter. Caleb and Jane wed on 22 February 1844 at Coles County, Illinois where they were united by a Justice of the Peace. They eventually had eleven children: Samuel (1845-1928), Mary (1847-1855), Martha (1849-1918), George (1851-1886), Thomas B. (1853-1854), Emma Jane (1855-1888), John (1857-1921), Thomas L. (1860-1925), James (1862-1864), Ida May (1864-1954), and Albert (1866-1890).

Even before Caleb married Jane, he began accumulating land holdings. At the age of twenty-two he went to the federal land office at Palestine, Illinois on 20 May 1841 and bought the SESE/4 of Section 6, T12 N, R14W, Coles County, Illinois. He received an adjacent 177 acres of land in Section 6 from his father in 1847. On 1 February 1850 he bought the NESE/4 of the same section. At the time of the 1850 United States census, their nearest post office was in Hitesville, a town about 2 miles southeast of Ashmore. It no longer exists.

Caleb’s younger brother William died in 1845, and his death left four surviving Reed siblings. When their father Thomas passed away a few years later in 1852, Caleb inherited a 1/4 share of the family farm. He and his brother Rob then purchased their sisters’ shares. Caleb settled in to life as a farmer and stock raiser. He never sought official positions because he felt his farm of 430 acres required his entire attention. He and Jane lived on the site of his father’s original settlement.

By 1860, Caleb owned $1200 worth of livestock. He was a farmer with $6000 in real estate and $1000 in personal property. Today the farmland alone is worth over $3 million, and Caleb’s descendants still own it. In May and October 1864, when an income tax was briefly enacted to fund the Civil War, Caleb paid tax of $9 and $15 to the assessor.

The Masons organized in Coles County during the Civil War in 1863. Caleb Reed together with Jane’s brother-in-law Robert Boyd (her sister Nancy’s husband) became charter members of Ashmore Lodge, No. 390. Caleb was elected Junior Warden, and Boyd served as tiler or guardian to the entrance of the Lodge.

Coles County furnished more than its quota of soldiers for the Union Army during the war years, but most volunteers were from the western part of the county. On the eastern side, where the Reeds and Carters lived, there were many rebel sympathizers who had come from Kentucky. These people hated abolitionists and the draft. Although Caleb Reed did register for the draft as required in June 1863, there is no record of his eligible son Samuel registering or serving from Coles County.

As the war progressed, troops constantly moved through the Ashmore area. Local farmers supplied corn at the high war price of $.60 per bushel. Perhaps Caleb was able to add to his wealth by selling farm products to the Army.

In March 1864, Caleb and Jane must have watched with interest as tensions between Union soldiers and local insurgents known as Copperheads heightened in Coles County. On March 28, 1864, violence erupted when the former sheriff of Coles County and the Copperheads attacked a group of soldiers in Charleston, the county seat 10 miles from the Reed farm. In the end, 9 people died, 12 were wounded, and 29 men were arrested in what became known as the Charleston Riot. Among those apprehended was John Galbreath, a relative of Caleb’s sister Jane Reed Galbreath.

After the war, Caleb and Jane continued living on their farm. In 1878, Caleb was appointed by the Coles County Board of Supervisors to serve as a Grand juryman from Ashmore Township for the November term.

At some point, the Reeds decided to retire from the farm and move into Ashmore. They lived in one house for a while and then traded houses with their friend Newt Austin for a home located mid-block west of the Presbyterian Church. Newt was related to Jane’s sister Susan Carter Austin.

The Reed’s grandchildren visited often, and Jane would send them to the butcher shop to buy for the noon dinner. Some of the grandchildren complained about having to visit because they found nothing to do there. The only entertainment was to watch the trains come into town. The only reading material was the Sunday School newsletter.

By 1902, Caleb’s health was beginning to fail. He sold some of his land to his sons T. L. Reed and John C. Reed. The following year, he sold land in Section 7, Twp. 12 North, Range 14 West to his daughter Ida May Thompson for $1.00.

In the spring of 1903, the Mattoon, Illinois newspaper reported that Caleb Reed had taken quite sick on the previous Saturday, May 16, and remained in feeble condition. The following week he was no better. Ida Thompson visited her parents and then returned home to Indiana. Later that summer, she was again at the bedside of her aged father who was in very poor health.

On 10 November 1903 at his home in Ashmore, Caleb ate a hearty breakfast. He felt as well as usual but continued to be ill with kidney trouble. After his meal he went to take his customary rest while Jane was in another room attending to her household duties. Thinking that he had slept long enough she went to rouse him and found that he had passed away at the age of eighty-four.

Two days later on the day of Caleb’s funeral, the family sat at the house in an uncomfortable hush until it was time to go to Ashmore Cemetery. A few, including his widow, went by carriage, but the others walked behind the men carrying the casket. As one bearer tired, another stepped up to take his place. There was a graveside prayer.

Caleb left behind a large family clan that became known to later generations as the Reeds of Ashmore. Although he had outlived six of his eleven children, he had numerous descendants in Ashmore and beyond.