Pages 685-687, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




The late Michael Reedy, whom, as a citizen and gentleman, all Woodson county was pleased to honor, was one of the historic characters of the county which he helped to settle and where he spent nearly thirty-five years of his useful and honorable life. Although of humble origin and with discouragements and adversities surrounding him in early life he was born to surmount them and to lead in the march of progress and not only "to be but to do" in the acts of men.


It has been said that Michael Reedy came to Woodson county shod with one boot and one shoe. If this is true he was even fortunate then, for he walked from Kansas City to Woodson county in consequence of his great poverty. It is indicative of his character to state that what he was seeking was the opportunity to build a home and win an honorable existence for his family by the sweat of his face. It was in June, 1857, that he reached his destination, filed on his homestead in section seventeen and thereby began his civil connection with the affairs of Woodson county. He was directed by a countryman of his native land to the Owl Creek settlements, upon reaching Wyandotte with his family, and he left the latter at the mouth of the Kaw river while he should be absent on his long lonely and important journey.

Michael Reedy was born in County Clare, Ireland, in 1834. In 1847 his father Michael Reedy, brought his family to America and stopped for a time in Steuben County, New York. He worked at common labor about Campbelltown for many years and late in life went with his children into Bureau county, Illinois, and there died. His five sons and two daughters were: John, of Tiskilwa, Ill.; Mary, deceased, who married Michael O'Brien, an old citizen of Woodson county; Michael, our subject; Thomas, who died in Ottawa, Ill.; Ellen, who became the wife of John Elmendorf and resides in Humboldt, Kansas; James, died in Tiskilwa, Ill., and William, died in same place.

The marriage of Mr. Reedy occurred, first, at Campbelltown, New York. His wife was Mary Whalen, born in County Limerick, Ireland. She shared her husband's hardships and was an invaluable aid and support in his pioneer years in Woodson county. She bore him ten children and died in February, 1876. The children surviving are: Ella, widow of Michael Crahan; Elizabeth; William; James; Mary, wife of Thomas Landers; Kate, wife of John Smith and Michael. In April 1877 Mr. Reedy married Ella, a daughter of Thomas and Johanna (Kissane) Collins. The parents were both born in Ireland and their chldren[sic] were: Mike, Dan, Tim, Thomas, William, Mary, Kate, Margaret, Johanna and Ella. By his second marriage Mr. Reedy was the father of three children, surviving: Thomas, John and Myrtle.

When Michael Reedy undertook to establish himself as a settler in Woodson county none, perhaps, did so with greater financial embarrassments that he. He possessed the proverbial poor man's "ox team" and with it and the most primitive accompaniments, he began the work of improving and developing a Kansas farm. His success was at first somewhat varied but as nature became subdued the soil yielded abundantly to his industrious touch and he made rapid strides toward financial independence. Periodically he annexed, by purchase, tract after tract of land until his domain was nearer the area of an old English estate than a Kansas farm. He was ever and always a man of business. His industry was as marked when in the enjoyment of affluence as when he was pushed


along by the demands of necessity. His success never "turned his head." He was the same common, approachable and sympathizing farmer in the height of his achievements as when a modest tiller of the soil in the early days of Kansas. He tools an interest in things political as well as material, and was one of the chiefs of Democracy in Woodson county for many years. He was named for county commissioner and was elected, as a Democrat, in 1865. He served one term and acquitted himself with honor to the county and with credit to himself. In 1871 he was one of three candidates for the legislature and was defeated by a small plurality.

Mike Reedy because a permanent settler in Woodson county in 1858 and from that date until his death, January 13, 1892, he was a loyal, devoted and God-fearing American. He loved Kansas, her institutions and her people. He reared his family well and taught them to practice industry and to love virtue and honor. His life was not full of years but was filled with good deeds, when it was ended, and none that knew him but regretted his taking away.

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