HOMER MONTGOMERY REED is one of the prominent business men and property owners of Larned, and has spent practically his entire life in that city. He was born there August 2, 1879, and is a son of Henry H. Reed, one of Larned's best known pioneer citizens.
The Reed family is an old one in America, and originated in Scotland. The founder of the family in this country was James Reed, who came from Scotland to America prior to the Revolution and settled in Southwestern Pennsylvania, in that historic section around the City of Little Washington. He developed a tract of new land and followed farming during his active career. James Reed married Sina Parker, a daughter of James Parker, and she lived to be past ninety-seven years of age. James and Sina Reed had four sons, James, John, Samuel and Parker, and three daughters, Mrs. Catherine Donaldson, Mrs. Nancy Donaldson and Martha, who married Payton Trussell.
Parker Reed was born in 1812 in Washington County, Pennsylvania, had a meager country schooling, and was an active farmer. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. He died in 1870, and his wife died at the age of seventy-six, being nine months older than her husband. Her maiden name was Ann Brice, daughter of John Brice, a Presbyterian minister. Parker Reed and wife had the following children: John Brice, who lives at Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and for fifty-four years was a Presbyterian minister; James P., still living at Larned; Rebecca J., wife of Samuel P. Wilson; Henry H.; and Luther C., living in Florida.
Henry H. Reed was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, June 21, 1851. He grew up in the country, and had only a country school education. His first commercial experience was as a wholesale grocer with his brothers at Cambridge, Ohio. From that point the brothers came West to Kansas, and the cash capital Henry H. brought with him was less than $1,000. In spite of all the vicissitudes of life in Western Kansas there was never a time when his cash assets was reduced below the point at which they stood when he came to the state.
Henry Reed arrived in Pawnee County in 1876. He was then a young man of twenty-five, was unmarried, and for several years his interests were closely identified with those of his brothers James P. and Luther C. All of these brothers lived at Larned, and James is still a resident of the county seat. The first work Henry H. Reed did in the county was to break the quarter section of land near Larned which the brothers had purchased. They farmed the tract for a couple of years. Henry Reed then began clerking in the store of W. M. Dumont at Larned, and a year later established a fuel yard for the handling of coal. He was in that business not quite two years when he married and joined a brother-in-law in the feed and fuel business under the firm name of Dumont & Reed. Not long afterwards the drought hit Western Kansas, the crops were burned up, and the people began leaving the country as rapidly as possible. About the only commodities which were salable beyond actual necessities of life were wagon bows and sheets. One could have bought almost any abandoned quarter section of land at that time for a single cow.
The blight of crops naturally affected all mercantile enterprise, and Mr. Reed and his partner had to take an entirely new course. He then joined his brother and some of the Dumonts, loading two wagons with goods and store fixtures, and went to Colorado. They stopped at Alpine, where Henry Reed spent three months freighting goods over the Gunnison country. With the coming of winter he sold out his interests and returned to Larned. Then and always he has had the most implicit faith in the substantial merits of this country and absolute confidence in the future. For six months he was in the meat business and in the spring of 1880 he and one of the Dumonts opened a grocery store and sold that class of goods for seven years. During that time Mr. Reed had the satisfaction of seeing the country return to its own and reach again a fairly normal condition. During the last year he and his partner were selling groceries they retailed $50,000 worth of goods. On selling the store the partners bought an interest in the Burnett Mills, and Mr. Reed was active in the milling business until 1891. He then resumed his business as a grocer, and continued in that until his retirement. He became connected with the First State Bank of Larned when it was organized, and is still a director and one of the vice presidents.
During his active career as a merchant and business man Mr. Reed was investing his surplus profits in land. His first purchase was a quarter section, at the time growing a generous wheat crop, and he paid $2,300 for the land and its crop. His share, one-third of the crop, was worth $600. Another tract he acquired by taking it for a grocery bill. This land adjoined Larned, and while he secured it at $12 an acre, it is now worth $125. He himself was active as a farmer for a dozen years, a period punctuated by frequent crop failures and following the big boom which brought the first volume of settlers out to Pawnee County. During that time the high hopes had flattened out into nothingness and Mr. Reed was one of the few who maintained an optimistic attitude when nothing but failure was in sight. He backed up his confidence with money, and while a merchant he credited almost every one in the county and took the greatest of pleasure and satisfaction when the farmers after raising a crop of wheat would come into his store and pay up their old accounts. He has the highest of praise for the class of people who settled and lived in Pawnee County in those days, and believes that they were as determined a lot of settlers as ever came to any new country.
When Mr. Henry H. Reed came to Larned it was a village of wooden structures and a number of tents. He has witnessed its growth to a city of brick buildings with nearly 4,000 people. When he married he himself built a home in the town and has now occupied it for nearly forty years. He has served as a member of the city council, and is still a member of the board of education, having been on the board for twenty years. He is also president of the Larned Commercial Club. He is a Presbyterian in faith, as were all his ancestors, and he assisted in building the pioneer church at Larned. It is said that his contributions have helped to build nearly all the churches of the city and also in other localities. Mr. Henry Reed is a democrat and had reached voting age when Horace Greeley was the democratic candidate in 1872.
Henry Reed was married at Larned September 12, 1878, to Miss Anna Dumont. Her father, W. M. Dumont, who was long prominent in business affairs in Western Kansas, was a native of New Jersey and came to Kansas from Illinois. Mrs. Reed and her two sisters, Mrs. H. M. Holloway and Mrs. E. E. Frizell, all reside in Larned. Henry Reed and wife have the following children: Homer Montgomery; Dr. A. E. Reed; Fred B., a farmer in Pawnee County; Harvey Leon, assistant cashier of the First State Bank of Larned; and Harry Dumont, a student in the Kansas Agricultural College at Manhattan.
Homer Montgomery Reed grew up in a home and in an atmosphere and environment which have already been suggested in the preceding paragraphs. He attended the local schools at Larned, graduated from high school at the age of eighteen, and for six months was a student in the Kansas State Normal School. Returning home he took up business with his father as a farmer, merchant and stock man. On reaching his majority be became a clerk in the First State Bank of Larned, six months later was promoted to assistant cashier, and also bought stock in the bank from time to time until he had a substantial interest in it. He sold out in 1912, and since then has devoted his energies to the management of his private affairs. He has some large interests in farm lands in Pawnee County, and also much business property in Larned. He built one of the substantial business houses of the town and also remodeled the old Getty Building at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street. His own home is one of the most attractive in the town, at the corner of Fourth and State streets.
H. M. Reed, like many younger men, exercises his political franchise according to the dictates of his independent judgment. For seven years he has been a member of the city council and much constructive work was done in that time. Mention might be made of the municipal electric plant which has been built, the city water plant which has been reconstructed, and the construction of storm sewers and a large amount of street paving and the extension of the sanitary sewer system over the eastern section of the town. Another achievement of that time was the building of the Cummins Memorial Building, containing the library and city hall. Mr. Reed also lent his influence to the establishment of the Larned Hospital and did what he could to secure the construction of the Northern Railway.
Mr. Reed is a member of the Masonic order and a life member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks at Hutchinson. He was married at Des Moines, Iowa, September 15, 1907, to Miss Edith M. Getty, daughter of Wesley and Abbie M. (Ackert) Getty. The Getty family were early settlers in Larned, and her father was a business man of the town and also a farmer. Mr. Getty came from Pennsylvania. Mr. and Mrs. Reed have two children: Frances, aged seven; and Joseph Getty, aged three.
Dr. Albert Earl Reed, a brother of Homer M., was born in Pawnee County July 20, 1881, attended public schools, graduating from high school at seventeen, took the liberal arts course in the University of Kansas for two years and began the study of medicine in the University of Chicago. After two years of preliminary work in the university he took his final courses in the affiliated Rush Medical College, where he was graduated in 1905. Doctor Reed spent the first two years in practice at Rozel, Kansas, and after a post-graduate course in Chicago became house physician and surgeon to the Akron City Hospital in Ohio for eighteen months. Since then he has been in active practice at Larned and is one of the leaders in his profession in his section of the state. He belongs to the various local and national medical societies, and is a Mason and Odd Fellow. Doctor Reed was married in Pawnee County November 12, 1913, to Miss Nina Blount, a daughter of the late Joseph D. Blount, who was one of the first settlers in Pawnee County, coming from Kansas. Mrs. Reed was one of two children, her brother being Clyde D. Blount. Doctor and Mrs. Heed have one son, Joseph W. Reed.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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