Pages 627-629, 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.


Thomas L. Reid


For twenty-five years connected with the business interests of Woodson county and with its public affairs, Mr. Reid is regarded as one of the valued and representative citizens of Yates Center and this entire section of the state. He is classed among the men whose energy, determination and business ability are leaving an impress upon the rapidly-developing civilization of the west. To-day he is at head of the leading livery and transfer business of Woodson county, and for many years he was widely known as the popular host of some of the best hotels of this portion of the state.


A native of the province of Nova Scotia, Mr. Reid was born on the 2d of November, 1850, a son of Ezra and Tabitha (Ells) Reid, whose family numbered five children. Theodore H., of South Farmington, Massachusetts; Albert B., of Maine; Thomas L., and a son Wm. D., and daughter Mary S. Eaton, living in Nova Scotia, are the survivors of the family, the parents having passed away.

Mr. Reid of this review received very meager educational privileges in his youth, but reading, experience and observation in later years have made him a well informed man. In 1868 he went to Massachusetts and secured employment in a shoe shop and later in a grain store. Afterward he entered upon a clerkship in a hotel, where he gradually worked his way upward, enjoying the unqualified confidence and regard of his employer. On the 3d of November, 1873, he returned to Nova Scotia and was married at Bridgetown, Annapolis county, on that day to Bessie Willett, daughter of Captain John R. Willett.

At the time of the financial panic of 1873 Mr. Reid was chief clerk in the Marlborough Hotel. With the sudden and extensive reductions in working forces along all lines came his own forced retirement in the early part of 1875 and he left New England in search of work in other parts of the country. Believing that the west would afford him better opportunities he came to Kansas, March, 1875, arriving in Neosho Falls with only thirty-five cents in his pocket, but he possessed a determined spirit and unfaltering energy and these stood him instead of capital. He found a friend in the proprietor of the Falls House, a New England man who aided him until he could get work. Here for the first time he engaged in farm work, entering the service of W. P. Sharp. an agriculturist, who gave him fifteen dollars a month in compensation for his services. Within six months he had arranged to take charge of the hotel at Neosho Falls and then sent for his wife. From the fall of 1875 until 1882 he conducted that hostelry and thus gained some capital. He afterward spent a few months in the Leland Hotel, in Iola, but returned to the Falls House, which he conducted until 1887 when he transferred all his interests to Yates Center and became the proprietor of the Hotel Woodson, with which he was connected as proprietor at different times for twelve years, retiring from its management in September, 1899. For nearly twenty years he has been engaged in the livery and transfer business and is the leader in his line in Woodson county.

Mr. Reid has been called to a number of positions of public trust by his fellow townsmen who recognize his worth and ability. He was appointed by Abe Smith to the position of deputy sheriff for Woodson county and was marshal of Neosho Falls from 1876 until 1880. In 1891 he was nominated and elected sheriff of Woodson county, and re-elected in 1893, thereby holding the office the limit, a fact which indicates his


popularity in the ranks of his party. In 1888 he was a strong competitor for the office of United States marshal, and in 1896 he was a leading candidate for the nomination for representative to the general assembly. In 1901 he was elected mayor of Yates Center by a large majority. In politics he has ever been a Republican, unswerving in support of the principles of the party. He cast his first presidential vote for Governor Tilden, but since 1876 has been a firm advocate of the Grand Old Party. His record as an officer of the law cannot be successfully attacked and his reputation as a citizen grows brighter with the lapse of years.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Reid have been born the following named: Edith, wife of L. F. Samuels, of Coffeyville, Kansas; Maude, wife of C. W. Lockard, of Will Springs, Missouri; Walter L.; Harry H.; Edwin C., and Mary E. The family occupies a leading position in social circles. Mr. Reid today stands among the most prominent men of his adopted county. He is public-spirited in an eminent degree, local advancement and national progress both being subjects dear to his heart. He commands the unqualified confidence and respect of his fellow men by reason of his sterling worth, his fidelity to duty and his unquestioned probity, and such a record is well worthy of emulation.

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