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Charles Reed

Pioneer - Patriot
Veteran - Father
Citizen: VA, OH, IN, IL

submitted by Wayne Reed


Our ancestors deserve more than a line in a musty book, or a yellowed letter, long forgotten. We have the resources to locate these tidbits and the ability to publish with an ease not known a generation ago, and so, I have put some of these bits together for the enlightenment of those who would not otherwise find them all. If this story prompts you to go a looking, I wish you well, I pray your success will far outshine my meager efforts.

-Wayne Reed, March, 2001


As a direct descendant of Charles Reed, I wanted to assemble enough facts about his life to get some sense of who he was and what he was like. This was a desire that I shared with a cousin, Josephine Nattkemper. She, older than I, completed her biography in 1986 (1.) . Her book was a great help to family researchers. Chief among her discoveries was the location of Charles' birth place, cited in the oral histories as "Virginia, West of the mountains". This was determined to be in Berkeley County, West Virginia.

I enjoy several advantages over her efforts:

1. She lived in California and so most of the research work was done by strangers.

2. The booklet was published before desktop publishing became common. Much of the data she presented can be presented more easily and more clearly, thanks to recient technical advances.

3. She completed her work before the internet brought us so much more information about our ancestors. While there is much questionable information on the internet, the ability to search the Federal Land Records (2) and some of the National Archives (3) were a great boost to me. Additionally, I have been encouraged and supported through e-mail by distant cousins and Will County residents who share some interest in Charles Reed.


Story of presentation of photo (4)


We still have much to learn about Charles' parents. Oral tradition tells us that they were Scotch-Irish. They settled into an area of Virginia [which became WVa in 1863] which is now Berkeley County, West Virginia (5) . The area is known as 'Back Creek'. It is as remote and rugged as the name implies! The area is best approached from Pennsylvania and there are no good roads into the area even today. Local historians have described the Back Creek area (6) . The 118 acres which Patrick Reed owned there (7) was not ground suitable for supporting much more than gardens and a milk cow.


Charles was born 16 Apr 1784. The Revolutionary War had just ended. We don't know how old his parents were at the time of his birth, but as we will see later, his mother must have been young.


William or Wallace (8)



Did Charles and family live here or simply pass through? If they lived here, they were here early enough to be considered among the pioneer families of Gallia County.


Charles moved to Butler County in 1807 when aged 22 or 23. This is just North of Cincinnati.

The first notable thing Charles did just before or just after arriving was to marry. His wife, Chloe Roby, had been previously married to Frank Ready. She came from a distinguished line (9)

Like most families of the frontier, the Reeds immediately started a family with William (b. 1807), Elias (b. 1809) and Mary Olive (b. 1811).

Charles was living in Butler County when it became clear that the country was going to have to fight a second Revolutionary War with Great Britain. The record is clear, Charles and his neighbors were ardently patriotic. They formed a fighting unit PRIOR to the outbreak of war, and, they signed up for a one year enlistment, a long time for militia and the entire unit was enrolled on the same day. The unit was known as: Captain John Robison's Company of volunteer riflemen. The unit history is best told by a surviving journal (10) .

These men went to Detroit and were there when General Hull turned the fort over to a smaller force in what the men called "Hull's Cowardly Surrender". The 'Regulars' were imprisoned and the British took the parole of the Militia and gave them a boat ride back to Ohio.

The unit mustered once a month for roll call until their enlistment was over. Charles described these events 38 years later in his application for bounty land (11) .

Charles had given his word to the British that he would not rejoin the fight against England. He was in a delema, as an honest man, he should stand by his word, however, there was the safety of the frontier families (his and his neighbors) and the future of the country to consider. Many men ignored their promise and served again. Charles first enlistment had been unproductive. What was he to do?

Charles changed his name to "Still" Reed and rejoined the war in the fall of that same year (September 1813). General William H. Harrison was planning to engage the British at Detroit and finally defeat them. Many Ohio troops were eager to go, Detroit being the source of guns and powder for the Indian raiding parties, but Harrison decided to take Kentucky troops and Kentucky cavalary.

Charles states, in his second sworn statement of service (12) , that he was "ordered into service" by Colonel Whinn. In any case, he hauled supplies to Ft. Miegs using his own wagon and four horses. He Hauled [ammunition] from Ft. Miegs to Detroit. At Detroit he hauled a cannon into Canada [many militia had refused to leave the country, stating that their enlistment did not require them to fight on foreign soil] for the battle of Thames River 5 October, 1813. This engagement is where Tecumseh was killed. The British were routed and this was the last major land battle in the northwest. Charles lost his wagon and four horses during this campaign (13,14,15) .

Charles wife, Chloe, inherited a small plot of land when her father died. In March, 1814, Charles sold that land to Isaac Roby (15a) .

Charles and wife Chloe had more children after the war: Edward, our ancestor (b. 1817) and Rebecca (b. 1819).


The migration path taken by this family is not unusual but it is less common than the southern route through Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Charles was traveling with an extended family. We know this because the same surnames appear with him as were located in Butler County, Ohio.

Charles purchased several tracts of land in Parke, Fountain and Montgomery counties (16) . Some of his extended family undoubtedly stayed in Indiana, but so far, we have no trace of them. Note that Edward's future wife came from nearby Tippecanoe County, her parents being buried near the very southern edge of the county. When the Reed family left Indiana, Edward's future bride, Eliza Robison, was about 10 years old.


The trip to Illinois was not long. The total distance was about 160 miles, however, the trip had to be made in the Spring so the families would have time to plant crops and build more permanent shelter, necessary so they would be able to survive the next winter. We have an account of the trip (17) . The extended family, including Eli Shoemaker and Charles Koons made up a train of perhaps 6 wagons and teams of oxen. Oxen were the preferred power source as they could pull harder and last longer than horses. This was important as the routine for getting through the spring floods in the Kankakee River valley was: hitch all the oxen to one wagon and pull it by sheer brute force for a tortious mile, then, unhitch, return to the waiting wagons, hitch the entire team up again and pull another wagon that difficult mile. Charles daughter, Mary Olive, was 8 months pregnant by the time they arrived in Illinois. It is difficult to imagine what that trip was like for Mary with the hard ride of the wagon, the exposure to cold and rain and the nights out of doors. The 160 mile trip took 6 weeks.


Charles knew what he wanted in the way of land. By this time, he had owned several plots of ground, some much better suited to farming than others. Now, the extended family had entered the greatest open prarie in the world. The rich ground was productive. There were streams, rivers and springs that supplied clear, cool water. The biggest problem was that there were very few trees suitable for buiding cabins and barns. The settlers would prefer one of the rare groves of trees, a stand big enough to provide logs for now and for the families to come. Charles was all too aware that one of his daughters was with them and due to deliver a child very soon (18) . The spot they selected [we don't know if Charles and his sons and son-in-laws had made an earlier trip by horseback to scout the country, but we assume so as there were simply no people living in the area at the time to have supplied the needed information] was ideal for their needs, a grove of trees with a creek running through it. The grove was surrounded by level, rich grass lands just waiting for a farmer's plow (19) .


The last Indian war east of the Mississippi was fought when war parties lead by Sauk Chief Black Hawk crossed from Iowa into Wisconsin and then came south into Illinois. Federal troops drove them back into Iowa (20) .

The family had not been in Illinois long when friendly Indians came to their door and told the pioneers that there were bad Indians [Black Hawk's Sauk braves from Iowa, returning to hunt the ancestrial hunting grounds] who were on the war path and trouble was expected, the pioneers should find a safe place to move to. Most families moved South, away from the Indians and toward settlements with forts and federal troops. The Reed's decided that they would return to Indiana and stay with family and friends, far from the comming storm.

The major battle of the war was fought at the mouth of the Bad Axe River in southern Wisconsin. When the Army had driven the Indians back across the Mississippi River for the last time, the settlers returned. It was fall of the same year (1832) and the settlers were greatly concerned about the condition of their shelter and crops. When they arrived, they were surprised to discover the farm untouched with only "the milk cow gone dry!"

One of the really wonderful things about Reed's Grove today is that it is still a grove of trees, thick and dense. One can walk through the woods and get some sense of what it was like to be there 170 years ago! For many years, the site was relatively isolated as it was inside the Army Ordinance Plant at Elwood from 1941-2000. Today, the small cemetery is ajacent to the nation's largest National Cemetery, the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. You reach the Reed cemetery, or did in 2000, by driving through the National Cemetery and then parking at the perimiter fence and walking along a tree shrouded two track dirt road for about 1/2 mile to the cemetery, which is all that remains of the settlement of Reed's Grove.

The future protection of this small family cemetery is assured by the National Cemetery (21)

It is easy to locate Reed's Grove on a plat map as it is at the intersection of the townships of: Channahon, Jackson, Wilmington and Florence, about 2 miles SW of Elwood. The cemetery was apparently neglected by the Army for much of the time it was in their custody (22) . This unusual situation is understandable, as the cemetery was well hidden in the grove and the town had been abandoned since just prior to the turn of the 20th century.


We don't really know why Charles left the little settlement named after him at Reed's Grove, but, perhaps he was still driven by the same force that had brought him West from his birth place in Virginia. In any case, in 1833 he moved North a few miles to new ground along west side of the Des Plaines River (23) . He selected the spot for his cabin and claimed the land [40 acres] on the West side of the river (24) . After building a log cabin and planting basic crops, Charles and his new neighbors had to drive a horse team and grain wagon all the way to Peoria to have the grain ground, reportedly a trip of 2 weeks duration! Charles returned to Indiana, where he was familiar with the work of millers, and purchased a set of stones suitable for grinding grain. One of these stones survives, having been abandoned for years near the mill site and later set in the sidewalk in front of the Joliet Public Library and now [2000] residing behind the Will County Historical Society Office in Lockport.

A sharp fellow, James McKee (25) , came along and wanted to secure rights to enough land to plat a town on the banks of the Des Plaines River. It appears he was honest in his dealings with Charles as he is reported to have given Charles $1960 in 1834 for his squatters claim to 40 acres and his improvements (a home and a small dam with an undershot water wheel for grinding grain) (26) .

The record is very clear: Charles Reed is credited as being the founder of Joliet Illinois. Charles was not the first white man in Will County and he didn't plat the town, but he had the pioneer's eye for good ground and he was the man who selected the spot where Joliet now stands.

The oral record (27) states Charles took his windfall of cash and returned East to visit his mother. Now, Charles would have been 50 and his mother would have been at least 65 and more likely 70, so it seems unlikely that he went hundreds of miles on horseback for a visit. He was in good health, active and his children were all grown, so such a trip is entirely possible. We don't know where his mother would have been living at that time. My personal choice is Coshocton County, Ohio?

The last documented activity in Will County was Charles' wife of 31 years and mother of all his children, Chloe, dying and being buried in Reed's Cemetery, Reed's Grove, Will County, Illinois. Charles soon married again to Dardana Gapron, 10 years his junior, this in Will County (28) .

The county was described not long after that, in 1854 (29)


Charles and his young bride next went further North. He settled near what is now Rockford [his good eye has lead him to the place which would become the second largest city in Illinois]. Our readers must realize that there was very little population in Northern Illinois in 1834. Chicago was a village of 300 people! (30) Charles was becoming interested in politics.

COMMISSIONER (1836-1839)

Charles worked as an agent/commissioner for the Illinois State Legislature (1836-40). He helped select locations for county seats of the Northern most counties of Illinois. He also marked out roads (31) , most notably the road from Joliet, Illinois to Mineral Point, Wisconson (32) . During this time, he became aquainted with a promising young lawyer/represenatave (1834-41) named Abraham Lincoln.

Recall that Lincoln came to Illinois only one year before Charles Reed did. They both came from Indiana. Charles had migrated from the North so he was in the minority in Illinois, which very nearly became a slave holding state on several occasions. Charles was a veteran of the war of 1812 and perhaps viewed as a hero as he was not only part of the onerous loss of the fort at Detroit, but had the courage to reenlist and be a part of the battle of Thames River, which was the turning point in the Western land war. More of this later.

Charles, the oral history tells us, built a 'tavern', most likely an Inn where he met most of the promenent men of his day. He also had a very comfortable home. He had settled in the still small town of Rockton, Illinois. A few miles north of Rockford. The area was origionally known as "Rock Bottom" because the Rock River rapids eliminated boat travel above this point. Rockton is very near the Wisconsin state line.

In 1859 Charles' second wife, Dardana died. Charles was now 75 years of age, old enough to require help, and so he married a young widow (38 years of age) with two children (33) . He now had a house keeper and she had a roof over her head and security for her children. We know Charles was active and interested in politics because in 1861 at the age of 77, he wrote his old acquaintance, now President Lincoln, concerning the treatment of negros and their property by Union Troops (34) .

Just 2 years later, Charles died and was buried beside his second wife, Dardana (35) . The spot is amongst huge pine trees on a bluff overlooking the rapids of the Rock River. It is a beautiful spot and worth a visit.

Charles' grave [Rockton Cemetery, R#2, L#2] is located by a simple, natural stone. The only markings are a small bronze plaque placed there by the American Legion. That plaque laid there loose for several years, but has finally been secured in concrete.



DEEDS FROM GOVERNMENT LAND OFFICE [Bureau of Land Management, scanned origional records available on www] for Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.


1. THE BIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES REED Early Settler of Butler County, Ohio, Western Indiana, Will and Winnebago Counties, Illinois - by Josephine G. Nattkemper, printed by J. A. Cliff, Fulton, CA 1986




Framed Portrait Is Presented to Joliet Historical Society

A framed portrait of Charles Reed, first settler of Joliet, was presented to the Joliet Historical society by a committee from the Chapter BA, P. E. O.

Mrs. Edna Keith, Mrs. A. J. Gurney and Mrs. Hattie Adams Keith represented the P. E. O.

Accompanying the portrait, which was reproduced from the origional daguerrotype in possession of the family, is a biographical sketch of the founder of Joliet.

"Charles Reed, founder of Joliet, was born in Virginia in 1784, and died in Stockton [Rockton], Ill., in 1865 [1863]. He was the first permanent settler in the origional town of Joliet or "Juliet."

He had made a claim on the southeast quarter of section 9, upon which, in 1833, he built a log house west of the river, near the spot upon which now stands the old National hotel.

He commenced, also, the building of a mill, but later sold out to McKee." The portrait is an interesting addition to the valuable collection of the Historical society.

[Joliet newspaper, date unknown]

5. History of Berkeley County, West Virginia

Berkeley County, WV, one of the first settled areas of the State of West Virginia. Many Quakers and Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, along with the English and Dutch, became residents here in the early 1700s. They were followed by the Germans who built many present farm complexes. The County has a wealth of historic, architecturally important buildings dating from the 1740s into the 20th century. Many of these buildings, including several districts and villages, have been researched and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Berkeley County was formed from Frederick County, Virginia, in 1772 and named for Lord Norborne Berkeley. The County seat was established in the colonial village of Martinsburg, named for Thomas Bryan Martin, Lord Fairfax's nephew, and was incorporated in 1778.


6. History of Back Creek, Berkeley County, West Virginia

The 'Back Creek' area extends from the top of North Mountain west to the top of Third Hill Mountain which extends to the present division line between present Berkeley County and Morgan County which was taken from Berkeley County in 1820. On the north Back Creek Valley extends to the Potomac River and on the south to Frederick County, Virginia. This area does not cover any of the King's patents which were granted in 1734 and 1735 in the present Berkeley, Jefferson County area. Much of the Back Creek Valley area was granted by Lord Fairfax, Proprietor of the Northern Neck, starting with surveys in 1748 when he opened his land office. Part of the Third Hill Mountain area was not granted until after the Revolutionary War and then by the State of Virginia.

The earliest settlers were quick to build homes, then churches and also schools. Chestnut was one of the prime building trees.

The first land grant in Back Creek Valley was to Francis Baldwin on 6 Jun 1750 for 262 acres located on Back Creek.

An 1809 map of the area shows six mills on the creek. The earliest of these opened around 1784, operated by Jacob and Abraham Snyder. Saw mills and a couple fulling mills were also in the area at this time.

It is told that George Washington stopped at the Snodgrass Tavern in Back Creek on his way to the healing waters of Berkeley Springs.


7. SIM'S INDEX OF WEST VIRGINIA LAND GRANTS - 118 acres at Back Creek, in 1780.

5a. Likely accessed from Pennsylvania. Brother William married Katherine SNODGRASS on 12 Feb 1782. He is assumed to have been a member of the Presbyterian church, first in Tuscarora then Back Creek. Grey Blue eyes, Dark hair, six feet or over [probably quoted from Nattkemper]

8. One of the disapointments of this work of the last 30 years is that I have yet to discover information about many of the other branches of descendants. Patience may yet win out as I have placed family history booklets in libraries where family researchers would likely find them. Perhaps I will live long enough to receive a call or a note from a long lost cousin and then we may double the number of cousins we are aware of all in one fell swoop.

9. Chloe Roby's ancestors - Her parents were Elias Roby b. abt 1765 and Mary Carter, both probably born in Virginia. Her Grandfather: George Carter.

10. MUSTER ROLL AND DIARY OF CAPTAIN JOHN ROBISON WAR OF 1812 [Available from the Ohio Historical Society]

Muster roll of Captain John Robison's Company of volunteer riflemen commanded by Col. James Findley of Ohio Militia and volunteers, with remarks and alterations since last return 31st August to the 30th September 1812. Also

A short sketch of the journal of the movement of the first army of the state of Ohio 1812

Property of Mrs. Minnie F. Hall, Dayton, Ohio, a great grandaughter of Captain John Robison. Loaned to Mrs. Edwin Blair Tizzard, President of the general William Henry Chapter, United States Daughters of 1812, through whose efforts this copy was made.

Muster roll of Capt. John Robisons company of volunteer riflemen commanded by Col. James Findley of Ohio Militia and volunteers with remarks and alterations. Time last return 31st August to the 30th September

11. Afidavit sworn by Charles Reed, RE: His service in the war of 1812

State of Illinois
County of Winnebago

On this 24th day of October AD Eighteen hundred Fifty personally appeared before me a justice of the peace for the county and State aforesaid Charles Reed aged sixty six years a resident of the town of Rockford in said county of Winnebago and state of Illinois who being duly sworn according to law declares that he is the identical Charles Reed who [was - crossed out] acted as a sergent at the commencement of his services in the organization of the company and after this election as a private in Captain John Robisons Company of Volunteer riflemen raised in 1812 in [27] April or the early part of May in said year 1812. in Butler County & State of Ohio - That he volunteered for one years service in or before the war with Great Britain declared by the United States on the 18th day of June 1812 that in April or May 1812, he entered into actual service under said Captain John Robison in the Regiment Commanded by Colonel James Findley which rendvoused at Dayton in the state of Ohio and marched to Detroit in July 1812. and was there surrendered as a prisoner of war to the British by General Hull in August of 1812. Where he returned home on parole of honor & was mustered into service every month after Hull's surrender under said [Inf] Captain John Robison until April 1813. And paid for one years service in said war and was there mustered out of service the whole of said company dismissed without any dishonor [discharges] being given to any member of the company to the knowledge of this applicant. And this applicant makes this declaration for the purpose of obtaining the bounty terms [land] to which he may be entitled under the "Act granting bounty land to certain officers and soldiers who have been engaged in the military service of the United States" passed September 28th, 1850.

Charles Reed

Sworn to and subscribed before me this day and year above written. And I hereby certify that I believe the said Charles Reed to be the identical man who served as aforementioned and that he is of the age above stated.

Lyman T Warner
Justice of the Peace

12. Afidavit sworn by Charles Reed RE: continued service in the war of 1812

State of Illinois
County of Winnebago

On this 26th day of October A.D. 1850. personally appeared before me the clerk of the county County court of said County Charles Reed aged sixty six years a resident of the town of Rockford in said county of Winnebago and State of Illinois who being by me duly sworn according to law declares that he is the identical Charles Reed who about the middle of September 1813 was ordered into the service of these United States in the war with Great Britain declared by the United States on the 18th day of June 1812 at Fort Defiance in the State of Ohio by Colonel R. M. Whinn(?) to haul government stores & provisions with his team. That this applicant entered said service with his team of 4 horses & wagon & transported said stores & provisions from Fort Defiance to Fort Meigs and was there attached to the artillery and hauled government louding from Fort Meigs to Detroit & was at Detroit selected by Major N Wood Commander of Artillery to haul cannon from Detroit to the Thames where thus appears near at the time of the battle - that after the battle this officer returned under direction of Inf Major N Wood to Detroit & then under the command of Captain Anders [Andrew?] D Brien - wagon master was lead to Dayton in the State of Ohio & dismissed & paid for two months service about the last of November A D 1813. And no discharge was given to any of the troops then

Charles Reed

Sworn to and subscribed befor me the day and year above written. And thereby certify that I believe the said Charles Reed to be the identical man who served as aforesaid and that he is of the age above stated

William Hulin,
Clerk of County Court
Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois

Notes: GSA Military Service Records:
Land File No. 2174-160-55
Service Pension No. 30,905

13. H. R. Journal-Wednesday, December 21, 1814

Mr. M'Lean presented a petition of Charles Reed, of the State of Ohio, praying compensation for a wagon and four horses which he lost, while they they were in the service of the army lately commanded by General Harrison. Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Committee of Claims.

14. H.R. Journal--FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30, 1814.

Ordered, That the Committee of Claims be discharged from the petitions of Charles Reed and John Kemper; and that they be referred to the Committee of the Whole House on the bill authorizing the payment for property captured or destroyed whilst in the public service of the United States.

15. H.R. Journal--THURSDAY, December 21, 1815

On motion of Mr. M'Lean, of Ohio, Ordered, That the petition of Charles Reed, presented on the 21st of December, 1814, be referred to the committee of the whole House on the bill making compensation for property lost, captured, or destroyed, while in the military service of the United States.

15a. Indenture papers 23 March 1814

This indenture made this 23rd day of March in the year of our Lord 1814, between Charles Reed of Butler county and State of Ohio of the first part and Isaac Roby of the second part Witnesseth that the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and seventy five dollars to him in hand paid by the said party of the second part the receipt whereof is hearby acknowledged hath bargained, sold, remised and quit claimed and by these presents thus bargain sell, remise and quit claim unto the said party of the second part and to his heirs and ofspring forever all my right, title, claim, interest to the real estate of Elias Roby now deceased that is [to say] my wifes. part of the tract of a parcel of land whereon the widow of said Roby now lives and no other containing eighteen acres lying in the county and State aforesaid situated in the South East corner of section number seventeen, Third township and or military range together with about and singular the [hinderances and attuberances] there unto belonging or in any wise appertaining and the reversions remainders and remainders rents, sales and profits thereof and also all the estate, right title interest or demand whatsoever of him the said party of the first part either in law or equity on to the above. bargained premises and every part and parcel there of to the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns to the sole and only proper use benefit and behoof of the said party of the said Charles Reed together with Cloey his wife heir at law of the said Elias Roby deceased have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year above written. Witness present.

James Clark Charles Reed
Catherine King   Cloey x Reed

The State of Ohio Butler county JC personally appeared before me the subscriber one of the acting justices of the peace for said county the within named Charles Reed who acknowledged that he did voluntary sign seal and deliver the within deed of conveyance for the purpose therein expressed - also personally appeared before me the said Cloey wife of the said Charles Reed and being examined separate and apart from her said husband acknowledged the written deed of conveyance to be her voluntary act and deed, and that she executed the same without the threats, coercion or persuasion of her husband and fully relinquished - her right of doues to the premises within mentioned and desires that the same may be admitted to record. Given under my hand and seal this 23rd of March 1814.

James Clark J.P.


Butler County Land Records: Book E

Deed dated 1815. Heirs of ELIAS ROBY to PRYOR ROBY. S 17, T 3, R 3. Signed POLLY (X) ROBY; CHARLES (X) REED (& his wife) Cloy (X) REED; ISAAC ROBY (& his wife) SALLY ROBY (no signature); HENRY (X) BARBER (& wife) CATY (X) BARBER. Witn: JAMES CLARK, GEORGE ROBY. rec 1815. JP's note: HENRY & CATY BARBER signed from Champaign Co. pp 126, 127

from: Butler County, Ohio Land Records Volume 1:1803-1816 by Shirley Keller Mikesell pp. 218
pub. Heritage Books, Inc.

16. Charles Reed's land holdings in Indiana

17. The oral history of the trip from Indiana to Illinois [Will Co. Historical Society]

18. The first white child born in Will County, Illinois



HISTORY OF WILL COUNTY ILLINOIS - 1878 - Wm. L. E. Baron, Jr., & Co.

p. 346 Sovenior of Settlement & Progress of Will Co. IL. 1884

20. The Indians

The Sauk leader, Black Hawk (1767-1838), opposed the treaty and rose to prominence when he fought for the British during the War of 1812.

When the Indians were finally ordered into Iowa in 1828, Black Hawk sought in vain to create an anti-American alliance with the Winnebago, Potawatomi, and Kickapoo. In 1829, 1830, and 1831, Black Hawk's band returned across the Mississippi for spring planting, frightening the whites. When the Indians returned in 1832, a military force was organized to repulse them.
(Grolier Encyclopedia)

21. The letter from the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery.

22. The 'discovery' of the Reed's Grove Cemetery happened like this: I was having a discussion with my Aunts, Helen and Evelyn Corbin (of Elwood). They were getting on in years and confided that, while they lived only a couple miles from Reed's Grove, they had never seen the cemetery! They had visited the site of the village as children for Sunday picnics, but, being young, had never bothered to go with the adults to the grave sites. Now, they were interested. I explained that since the property was under the control of the Army, they could visit any time by simply informing the guards that they were family. They were intimidated by the buracracy and asked me to make arrangements. . . . . . .

It was clear to me what had happened. The village had been abandoned perhaps 50 years prior to the Army taking over the land. The Army had not discovered the overgrown cemetery in the thick grove of trees until my letter arrived. At least they had lived up to their obligation!

- Wayne Reed, June 23, 1973

23. Joliet's First Thanksgiving

- - Was It in 1833? - by Lester F. Filson Librarian, Joliet Public Library [Joliet Herald Vol 47, No. 349, Thursday, November 22, 1951]


In 1833, Charles Reed, whose name we have given as one of the first settlers at Reed's Grove, and which frequently occurs on our earliest records, both as grantor and grantee, made a claim on the southeast quarter of Section 9, T. 35, R. 10 E., and built a log house on the same, and commenced to make a dam and other preparations for a mill. . . . . . Pp. 272-273.

As common in townships containing county seats, most of the important history of Joliet centers in the city of the same name. Here many of the more stirring events of the times transpired, and here, as just stated, much of the important history has occurred. Charles Reed is generally reguarded as the first settler in the city of Joliet, or was, at least, the first to lay claim to any portion of the land in the origional city. He had made a claim on the southeast quarter of Section 9, upon which in 1833, he built a small log house, west of the river, and very near where the National Hotel now stands. Reed was from Indiana, and had settled in Reed's Grove about 1831, but, attracted by the water power, came to this place, as already noted, and commenced preparations for building a mill. . . . . . . .

Charles Reed, the pioneer of Joliet, finally went to Winnebago County, where he died a few years ago.

Pp. 380 HISTORY OF WILL COUNTY ILLINOIS - 1878 - Wm. L. E. Baron, Jr., & Co.

25. [The story of James McKee and the Float Claims] HISTORY OF WILL COUNTY ILLINOIS - 1878 - Wm. L. E. Baron, Jr., & Co.

26. James McKee selected as his purchase a tract on the west side of the river on the southeast quarter of section. Here Charles Reed, the first permanent settler of Joliet, had erected his cabin in 1833, and entered upon the work of building a mill and constructing a dam. Beyond his squatter's title there was no opposition to McKee, and the latter having entered his lands, offered Reed a small consideration [reportedly $1960, hardly 'small'!] and took possession. In January, 1834, this tract was laid out in acre lots, and in April these lots were offered for sale - Charles Clement making the first purchase.

Souvenir of Settlement and Progress of Will County, Ill. Pub. Historical Directory Publishing Co., Chicago. 1884

27. [oral history - 17.]

28. REED, CHARLES m. GAPRON, DARDANE in WILL Co. 08/19/1838 License No. 0000117

29. From the 1854 US Gazetteer

WILL, a county in the E. N. E. part of Illinois, bordering on Indiana, has an area of 1236 square miles. . . . . . .

Named in honor of Conrad Will, for many years a member of the Illinois legislature. Capital, Joliet. Population, 16,703.

30. He [Charles Reed] was also sagacious and a good judge of land and locations. It is said that the principal thing which made him select this locality, aside from its water-power, was the fact that it was on the old Sac trail, which showed it to be on the shortest and best route from Detroit to the Mississippi. It is an unfortunate thing for Chicago that it is so far one side of this great thoroughfare. This is probably what has retarded its growth. We are sorry for it, but we can't help it. [HISTORY OF WILL COUNTY ILLINOIS - 1878 - Wm. L. E. Baron, Jr., & Co.]

31. Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, WEDNESDAY, February 28, 1838.

Mr. Young presented a petition of Ambrose Tower and others, citizens of Illinois; a petition of George W. Owens and others; a petition of Charles Reed and others; a petition of Julius I. Trusk and others; a petition of S. C. Carr and others; and a petition of J. L. Sharp and others, all citizens of Illinois, praying the establishment of post routes; which were severally referred to the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads.

32. Mineral Point, Wisconsin was a thriving community at this time.

33. Charles Reed married Mrs. Margaret Phelps 20 Mar 1860, Winnebago Co., ILL.

The children of the union of Margaret and James M. Phelps d. 20 Sep 1857 were:
Ela R. Phelps (F) b. abt 1851 OH
James W. Phelps (M) b. abt 1854 IL

34. Letter from Charles Reed to President Abraham Lincoln (supporting Freemont)

Rockton Ill, Sept 24, 1861
Hon. Abraham Lincoln

Dear Sir

Feeling a deep interest in the safety of our government as also in yourself especially from an acquaintence I formed with you at the Ill. legislature at a time when you were formerly known as "Four Nine" I take the liberty to make a few statements which I hoped might be of some possible sevice.

Your recent order to Freemont restricting the confiscation of slave property of rebels has produced the deepest sadness and constarnation among all parties and classes in this region and throughout the North so far as I can learn. It has put a decided check upon men's volunteering for the war

It seems strange and _____ that slaves expecially of rebels are not confiscated as well as their others property and yet more that it is only those who are fighting against the government that are set free. If any are to be retained in bondage or hung let it be those who fight against us but let all the slaves of rebels be emancipated.

The people in this region with one voice ask for the carrying out of Fremonts proclimation and his continuance in his present position

With great deference to your judgement
And high esteem I am
Yours Truly
Charles Reed

Charles Reed
Rockton ILL
Sustaining _______

[Abraham Lincoln collection, National Archives]

35. Dardane Reed, "Wife of Charles Reed", Died July 30, 1859, Aged 65 yrs., 6 mos., 21 days.

About the author:

Wayne Reed is the product of two Reed families. These families are otherwise not related. Dad was Scots-Irish and grew up in Channahon and Mom, Pennsylvania Dutch, grew up on a farm perhaps a mile from the village of Reed's Grove. They grew up only a few miles apart and met at youth activities in the rural United Bretheren Churchs of Will County, Illinois.

Last Update: Sunday, 05-Aug-2012 22:15:46 EDT

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Will County Coordinator: Dennis Partridge
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