Seventy-six years have come and gone since the well-known subject of this sketch first saw the light of day, seventy-six years covering the most momentous period of the worlds history and fraught with the greatest responsibilities which humanity has ever experienced. During that time he has lived at various places and as a true American citizen has discharged his every duty in a manner fitting a loyal son of the great republic and as a citizen whose highest aim has been to better his community along the lines of material prosperity and bless the world by his moral influence. Henry Reynolds, the subjects grandfather, was a native of New York and an early pioneer of Brown county, Ohio. He came to that state in an early day and after living in Brown county until 1834 or 1835 changed his abode to the county of Scott, Indiana, where he spent the remainder of his life, dying in 1839. In early life he was a teacher, but later became a farmer and so continued until the end of his earthly pilgrimage.
Clark Reynolds, son of Henry and father of James A., was born in New York in 1801, and when but a mere child accompanied his parents to Brown county, Ohio, where the family lived until their removal in the thirties to Scott county, Indiana. He married in Ohio Miss Jane Smith, a native of Kentucky and in 1834 changed his residence to Scott county, Indiana, which was his home until his death in the year 1863. Clark Reynolds was always a tiller of the soil and as such became the possessor of an ample competence to make his latter years free from worry or care. He also achieved considerable local repute as a public-spirited man, having always taken an active interest in local politics, originally as a Whig and later as a Republican. Being a zealous Methodist, he was largely instrumental in introducing his religious faith among the early settlements of the county in which he lived. His wife died the same year in which he was called away after bearing eleven children whose names are as follows: Lorenzo, of Morgan county, Indiana; James A., the subject of this sketch; Mary Jane, who lives in the county of Scott; William R. died when quite young; Henry died at seventeen; Francis M., a member of the Sixty-sixth Indiana Regiment, died in hospital in 1864; Alfred, a resident of Jackson county, Indiana; Talitha, died at seven years of age; John, a soldier in the Civil war, and who died during its progress at the age of twenty-one; Smith, who was also a soldier, and who died in 1869 of consumption at the age of twenty-four, and Matilda Ann died a young married woman in 1866.
James A. Reynolds was born on the 27th day of September, 1826, while his parents were living in Brown county, Ohio. In his boyhood he manifested decided taste in the use of tools and as soon as old enough he utilized his mechanical skill by learning to make chairs and other articles of household furniture. He also became quite proficient as a house painter and for about fifteen years worked at both vocations, earning quite a reputation and making considerable money which he saved with the most scrupulous care. January 25, 1849, he chose a life partner in the person of Miss Elizabeth A. Close, a native of Madison, Indiana, and they began housekeeping in Scott county, where he continued to reside until 1871. Meanwhile he followed his trade in connection with agricultural pursuits and met with encouraging success in his undertakings.
Mr. Reynolds disposed of his interests in Scott county in 1871 and moved to Greenfield, purchasing an eighty-acre farm not far from the city in Center township, which he cultivated with fair returns for a period of about fourteen years. He sold his place in 1885 and moved to the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, where he purchased property. During the succeeding nine years he devoted himself to general carpentry, assisting in build a number of dwellings, barns and other edifices in Lincoln.
In the spring of 1894 Mr. Reynolds returned to Greenfield and at once proceeded to erect a fine house, which he carefully planned and which in due time was finished according to his specifications and is numbered 422 Broadway. By successful management he was acquired a liberal amount of worldly wealth, owning in addition to his Lincoln property in the county seat, and a fine farm of one hundred and fifty-seven acres in Madison county, the rental of which yields more than is required for the current expenses of his family.
Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds marriage has been blessed with ten children, namely: John Henry died at sixteen months; Lafayette, a graduate of Butler University, Indianapolis, read law in the firm of Baker, Hoard & Hendricks, of Indianapolis. He served efficiently as prosecuting attorney and made one of the best his county has had. He practiced his profession for eleven years in Greenfield, until his death, October 1, 1891. He was a young man of splendid mental and legal attainments and had he lived longer would no doubt have achieved distinction as an able and brilliant attorney. In 1884 he made the race for state senator, and was a strong and brilliant campaigner. Alpheus, the next in order of birth, received a liberal education and for a number of years was widely and favorably known as an able educator. After spending considerable time in the school room, he was chosen to the responsible position of superintendent of the Greenfield public schools, in which capacity he won much more than local repute as a successful manager of the citys educational system. Not caring to devote his life to educational work, he finally severed his connections with the schools and turned his attention to the equally honorable but more satisfactory vacation of farming, which he now carries on, though living in Greenfield. His wife was formerly Miss Belle Potts, of this county. Eliza Jane, the next after Alpheus, lives at Pendleton, Indiana, and is now the wife of D. G. Barrett. Alice, a bright and promising girl, died when a miss of eleven years. Ella married W J. Thomas, who holds an important position in Hughes Bank. Mary Edith received a good education and is now one of the most accomplished stenographers in the city of Greenfield. Lydia lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is the wife of W. H. Gadd, who holds an important clerical position with one of the leading business firms of that city. Ida, the youngest daughter of the family, became the wife of Rev. J. H. McSparron, a minister of the Christian church, who now has charge of the congregation at Altantic, Iowa. George Edgar is a telegraph operator at the Lincoln, Nebraska, union depot.
Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds took much pains in educating their children, nor have they been remiss in the more important matter of training the religious nature, which they deem paramount to mere intellectual culture. They early impressed upon the tender minds of their offspring the important lessons of humanitys dependence upon a heavenly Fathers care and the proper relations which they should sustain to Him as their creator, preserver and the best of all friends. The seed thus sown appears to have fallen into good soil, as the living children have grown to be useful men and women, ornaments to society and valued factors in promoting a higher order of living in their respective communities. Mr. Reynolds has long been active in religious work, making every other consideration subordinate to the claims of Christianity, He is active in the Christian church in Greenfield and has been instrumental in strengthening the congregation numerically and otherwise, while his influence upon those outside the pale of Christs visible kingdom has always been salutary and productive of great good. Mrs. Reynolds is also a zealous worker in the church and its various societies and by a life singularly free from faults has always demeaned herself as a humble and sincere follower of the meek and lowly Nazarene.
Mr. Reynolds is not a politician in the sense the term is generally understood, yet he manifests a deep interest in political affairs and entertains well-founded opinions relative to the great issues which divide the parties of the day. He supports the Republican principles in national, state and district matters, but in local affairs never permits partisan prejudice to blind him to the defects of his own partys candidate when the opposition puts up men better qualified for the offices sought. As a neighbor he is all that the most exacting can desire and as a citizen he discharges his duties as he understands them, regardless alike of fear or favor. His had been a full life and his influence has always been for good. Those who know him have the most implicit confidence in his personal honor and unassailable integrity and as a factor of the body politic he has endeavored to live so as to benefit his fellow men and make his example worthy of imitation to the young, whose destiny is largely shaped by the older people with whom they associate. He has passed the allotted three score years and ten and by temperate living bids fair to consume much more time in going down the shady side of lifes mountain to the twilight and the journeys end. He has already erected his monument in the hearts and affections of his friends and associates where epitaphs will be more permanent than when carved in marble or chiseled in granite.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 293-296.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI July 19, 2002.
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