Joseph Reed, p. 882

JOSEPH REED. In the front ranks of prosperous agriculturists and prominent citizens of Cecil township, we find the name of this gentleman. His great-great-grandparents were of Scotch-Irish parentage. His great-grandfather, David Reed, was born on the ocean when his parents and two brothers were coming to America in the early part of the eighteenth century, or about 1700 to 1715. One brother settled in Kentucky and one in Carolina. The father, mother and David settled in Lancaster county, Penn. David was married to Miss Caldwell, daughter of Capt. Caldwell, who commanded a company called "The Blue Hen's Chickens" during the Revolutionary war. Capt. Caldwell lived on an island in the Susquehanna river. The children of this union were, in the order of age: Mollie, married to Peter Clark; Nancy, married to James Clark (lived near Harrisburg, Penn., Peter and James Clark were not related); Jane, married to Matthew Atcheson, of Hickory, Penn.; Rebecca, married to Humphrey Atcheson, brother of Matthew; Lydia, married to Samuel McBride, of Mahoning county, Ohio; John, married to Anna Atcheson, sister of Matthew and Humphrey, and David, married to Margaret May.

(The grandparents of the subject of this sketch). Col. Crogan offered John and David very flattering inducements to come from Lancaster county and settle in what is now Mt. Pleasant township, Washington Co., Penn., which were accepted by the two young men, who came here in 1777, and settled on what afterward proved to be "The Washington Land," in Mt. Pleasant township. In the autumn of 1777 David returned to Lancaster county, and married Miss Margaret May, daughter of Alex May, in the spring of 1778. They soon came to their new farm, where they lived for several years. On September 20, 1784, Gen. George Washington, than traveling through this section, came and dined with Mr. David Reed. During the day Gen. Washington claimed that he owned the title to the land on which Mr. Reed lived, which he afterward proved, and that Col. Crogan did not have a title to the property, and had unlawfully placed the Messrs. Reed and others thereon. Gen. Washington would not allow the settlers any rights nor any compensation for the improvements. Finally he made the following offer, a transcript of which is taken from the journal of Gen. Washington, in Washington, D. C.:

September 20, 1784 dined at David Reed's, after which Mr. James Scott and Squire Reed began to enquire whether I would part with the land, and upon what terms; adding that, though they did not conceive they could be dispossessed, yet, to avoid contention, they would buy if my terms were moderate. I told them I had no inclination to sell; however, after hearing a great deal of their hardships, their religious principles which had brought them together as a society of Ceceders, and unwillingness to separate or remove, I told them I would make them a last offer and this was The whole tract at 25 shillings per acre. The money to be paid in three annual payments with interest or to become tenants upon leases of 999 years at the annual rental of 10 pounds per C per annum, etc.

The above goes on to say that the settlers decided to stand suit, and abide by the issue of the law. In the December term of court, 1784, ejectment suits were entered, and as the rights of Gen. Washington by the Virginia patents were well authenticated, the settlers did not make a claim of priority of title. The suit was decided against the settlers, who, of course, had to move elsewhere or become tenants of the land they had previously thought was their own. John Reed purchased another farm in Cecil township, now owned by Mrs. John Cubbage. He died there April 14, 1817, aged seventy-three years. David Reed, about the year 1788, also purchased 300 acres of land in Cecil township from Thomas Waller, which had been taken up by him previous to 1780, for which he gave one horse, one pair blankets and 13 pounds sterling. A warrant of acceptance was issued to David Reed by the board of Property, March 2, 1790, and patent granted April 21, 1813. He moved to this farm after the contest for the Washington lands was decided against him, and lived there until he died, September 30, 1824, aged seventy-seven years, leaving his wife, who died November 19, 1840, aged eighty-two years. David in his younger days underwent many hardships in clearing his property, and from the treachery of the Indians. He was a noted Indian fighter, and was at the Indian massacre at Yellow creek, Ohio. But brighter years were ahead of him, for financial prosperity finally crowned his efforts. He was one of the elders in Chartiers Associate Reformed (now U. P.) Church at Canonsburg, Penn. They had five sons and one daughter. The older son, Alexander, was married to Martha Anderson; the second son, David, married Euphemia Paxton; Mary ("Polly") became the wife of George Murray; John, the third son, married Jane May, and lived in Mt. Pleasant township; James, born April 10, 1793, married Jane Ann Allison (He was for many years a jeweler of Washington, Penn., but afterward moved to Pittsburgh, and founded the present jewelry house of J. R. Reed & Co. He died June 5, 1878); Joseph, the youngest son, was born April 30, 1796, and always lived on the homestead of his father.

On October 18, 1821, Joseph Reed (just mentioned) was married to Elizabeth Alexander, who died May 1, 1822, without issue. For his second wife Mr. Reed married Anna, daughter of Rev. Daniel McLean, of Jamestown, Penn. Of this union there were four children: (1) Margaret, born February 20, 1825, died August 29, 1882, was married to Robert Henderson (They had four children: Anna, deceased; Mary Martha, who is the wife of William Grounds; Joseph Reed Henderson, who married Elizabeth Martin, and Mina, who became the wife of Linus Welsh). (2) Mary, born November 13, 1826, died August 20, 1881, was the wife of John Nesbit, of Chartiers township. (3) David, born January 1, 1829, was twice married; his first wife was Vashti Elder (deceased), of West Virginia; to his second wife, Amelia Forbes, he had two children: Ernest and Ellis Anderson; David was a leading physician of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and died there March 21, 1869. (4) Jane Ann, born December 28, 1830, is the wife of John B. May, of Venice, Penn.; their two children died in infancy. Anna, the mother of these children, having died August 3, 1831, Mr. Reed was afterward married to Martha Anderson, who was born October 2, 1816, a daughter of Matthew Anderson, of Chartiers township; she died October 2, 1882, about three years before Mr. Reed's decease. Eight children were born to them, as follows: (1) Elizabeth, born August 1, 1833, is the wife of David White, of Canonsburg, Penn.; they had two children: Joseph Reed, and Elva (deceased). (2) John, born November 10, 1835; he was a minister in the U. P. Church, and died in Indiana, September 21, 1863. (3) Matthew Anderson, born January 26, 1838, resides in Allegheny, Penn.; he was married in 1862 to Anna Mary, daughter of Henry Donnell, of Cecil township; their three children are Harry French, Clara Mary and Anna Martha. (4) Thomas Alexander, born March 20, 1840, married Martha Gladden; they now live in Pasadena Cal. (5) Joseph, born April 30, 1843, married Ella C. Cubbage, daughter of John and Mary (Hutchison) Cubbage, who were natives of Allegheny county, Penn., and Guernsey county, Ohio, respectively; three children brighten this home, Lettie Myrtle, Joseph Houston and Ethel. (6) George Murray, born July 22, 1848, is a minister in the U. P. Church of Newville, Cumberland Co., Penn.; he married Lizzie Kinner, of New Wilmington, Penn., and four children have blessed their union; George Kinner, Gertrude, Chloe and Paul Mehard. (7) Julia A., born June 9, 1850, wife of Alonzo Hemphill, of Houstonville, Penn.; they have two children: Helen and John. (8) Campbell Leslie, born June 29, 1853, was married to Annie D. Cowden, deceased; they had two daughters, Margaret Alberta and Martha Maud, also one son, Ralph Rockwood, deceased. Mr. Reed afterward married Jennie M. Patterson. They have one daughter, Katharine Pauline. He resides in Cecil township.

Joseph Reed, the father of the above, was a gentleman of the old school. His fine personal appearance alone commanded respect everywhere. For honesty of principle, goodness and charity, Mr. Reed had no superiors, and his home was always characterized by generous hospitality. He always lived on the homestead of his father. He was for many years justice of the peace; and it can be said of him that during all these years he had only two hearings before him, as he always used his influence to get an amicable settlement between the parties, rather then have a trial. Many other important positions of local trust were held by him. In his younger days he was a noted violinist, which art he kept in practice until a short time before his death. Those who knew him placed a high estimate upon his judgment, and esteemed him for his uprightness, and the impress of his character was left upon all who met him. He was ordained an elder in Chartiers U. P. Church, February 15, 1854, but a few years later severed his connections with this church, and afterward attended the U. P. Church at Venice, which was much nearer his home. He retired from active business many years before his death. His memory never became impaired, and his faculties for conversing even during the latter years of his life were remarkably clear. He died October 4, 1885, in his ninetieth year.

Joseph Reed, the subject proper of this sketch, was born April 30, 1843, on the farm in Cecil township where he is still living. His education was received in the public schools of the neighborhood, and July 11, 1883, he was united in marriage with Ella C. Cubbage. Since their marriage our subject and wife have resided on the old homestead, which contains 206 acres of well- cultivated land. Three children have blessed this home. Mr. Reed makes a specialty of raising a high grade of sheep. In politics he votes the Republican ticket, and he is serving his second term as justice of the peace.

Text taken from page 882 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).

Transcribed March 1997 by Neil and Marilyn Morton of Oswego, IL as part of the Beers Project.
Published April 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at

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