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Verifying a Family Story

Caleb Robertson Reed (1841-1903) was my great-grandfather’s cousin. R, as he was known, never married. He had no descendants to remember him. That task fell to other Reeds.

My Reed branch has a family story about his death. Our version differs from that told by other cousins.

According to our tale, R fell ill while living in his lifelong hometown of Ashmore, Illinois. He sought treatment in St. Louis, MO but passed away there. His body was sent to Terre Haute, IN, a larger city not too far from Ashmore. His cousin Thomas Logan Reed (1860-1925) met the train and escorted his body back to Ashmore for burial. Thomas served as Executor of R’s estate.

While doing some family research, I looked at R’s Find A Grave memorial. The site claims he died at Terre Haute, not St. Louis. The relative who created the memorial had heard the other version of the family story.

Who had the correct information about where R had died? I decided to find out.

It proved simple enough. The Family Search website has the death register for St. Louis County available online. There I found a listing for C. R. Reed who died at the Mullanphy Hospital in St. Louis on December 30, 1903. There was a notation that the body was returned to Ashmore, Illinois for burial.

I will need to ask the person who manages R’s FindAGrave memorial to update his biography with the correct death information.

After that, the next step in R’s story is to resolve conflicting claims about whether he served in the Civil War. Some cousins say so….

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