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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Mark A. Reeve

MARK A. REEVE. Although Mark A. Reeve cannot properly be classed as a pioneer in Stevens County, he preceded many others here, owns desirable property and is one of the leading business men of Hugoton. He identified himself with this county in 1906, entered and proved up a homestead six miles south of Moscow, the northeast quarter of section 34, township 32, range 36, after which he came to Hugoton, where he has been most active and successful in the building line.

Mark A. Reeve was born southeast of Knoxville, Tennessee, January 21, 1857. His parents were J. Whitall and Hannah (Garvin) Reeve. His paternal grandfather was Mark Reeve, who married Hannah Whitall, the Reeves and Whitalls, with the Claytons, Wistars and Coopers, being prominent families of English Quakers who settled in Pennsylvania in 1702. A number of children were born to Mark and Hannah Reeve, but no complete family record is at hand. J. Whitall, father of Mark A. Reeve, appears to have been the only member of that family to leave descendants. Two of his brothers and a sister, Robert, Clayton and Rebecca, joined a party bound for California in 1849, at Fort Scott, Kansas, and started on their way across Kansas. At some point west of Wichita Clayton Reeve was killed by the Indians and was buried on the bank of either the Arkansas or the Ninescah rivers. The survivors went on their way and reached California, in which state Robert met an accidental death in a mining blast. Rebecca subsequently married Dr. John Scott, and they settled on the present site of St. Clair, California.

Mark Reeve was a foundryman at Moorestown, New Jersey, at the time of his son J. Whitall's birth. He moved with his family to Tennessee during the days of General Jackson's popularity and lived there during Jackson's presidential term.

J. Whitall Reeve attended school in Pennsylvania, just across the state line from Moorestown, New Jersey. In 1832 he accompanied his parents to Eastern Tennessee. He was a pattern maker and foundryman, and for some years, with his brother, conducted a foundry in the hamlet of Unitia, and from that neighborhood, after selling their iron works, the brothers in 1849 migrated to Kansas. But J. Whitall went into the business of marble cutting for tombstones and continued as long as he remained in Tennessee. In the meanwhile he began to foresee the war cloud then gathering, and being a Quaker and a man of peace determined to seek a home for himself and family farther from probable war territory. In 1859, with an ox team, Mr. Reeve and his family began their journey to Kansas, and although they passed through what later was considered dangerous territory in Missouri, on account of the bushwackers, they were not molested and spent the first winter in that state at Springfield. They reached Toledo, Chase County, Kansas, in 1860. There Mr. Reeve made an effort to prove up a pre-emption, but met with dishonesty and lost his money. He went on into Lyon County and took up a claim near Americus, but did not survive long, his death occurring in 1862, at the age of sixty-seven years.

J. Whitall Reeve was married in Tennessee to Hannah Garvin, who was born in Tennessee and died near Americus, Kansas, in 1899, at the age of seventy-four years. Her father was William Garvin, a Tennessee farmer, whose family did not favor slavery, but nevertheless when the Civil war broke out allied themselves with the secessionists and some of Mrs. Reeve's brothers entered the Confederate army from Georgia. To the above marriage the following children were born: Catherine, who married Samuel Worthington, died at McLouth, Kansas, leaving eight children; Roxy, who died unmarried; Susie, who married Edwin Swartz, died at Americus, leaving six children; Mark A.; and Eliza A. E., who married Jesse Miles and died at Americus, survived by two children.

Mark A. Reeve attended school in boyhood and very early discovered a natural aptness in mechanics, which led to his choice of the carpenter trade for his vocation. Even as a youth he was noted for thoroughness, and, therefore, in order to properly prepare himself for work at this trade he entered the shops of the Kansas Agricultural College and subsequently became assistant superintendent of the manual training department, where he remained for three years, during this time carrying on his own mechanical work with his other studies and duties. He was within a few months of graduation when he was made superintendent of the mechanical department. He had learned practical farming on the homestead near Americus, but later he found that he could realize almost as much from work at his trade, which he enjoyed, as he could in raising corn and stock and marketing it, so he hired a farmer and continued his building work.

When his children had reached the age when college training became desirable, Mr. Reeve removed to Emporia, where he resided for six years, engaged in trade work exclusively, either as a contractor or as a superintendent of construction. After leaving Emporia he spent one year at Hartford and then came to Western Kansas. He was attracted hither through inducements and representations of the great opportunities afforded homeseekers in Stevens County. He reached here in July, 1906, filed on his claim and moved on it in the following November. He brought with him a strong team and started operations with five horses. His "shack," in which the family found shelter as long as they lived on the farm, was 14 by 20 feet in dimensions, with a half room above. Mr. Reeve and family managed to stay until he received title to his land and when that was accomplished they moved to Hugoton.

Notwithstanding many necessary hardships and misfortunes through the loss of stock Mr. Reeve found himself better off financially when he left the farm than when he settled there. He found farming in this part of the state a very different proposition from that in Eastern Kansas. Here his land was of the red sandy character of soil, especially adapted to the growing of Kaffir, maize and broom corn, and, regardless of its cheapness, the yield was abundant and, together with his work at his trade, enabled him to provide comfortably for his family. This work included the building of many churches and schoolhouses in the county and also at Liberal in Seward County. Since coming to Hugoton Mr. Reeve has found his time fully occupied, and perhaps there is not another man in the county who is better equipped for his line of work or who has had more thorough experience.

Mr. Reeve was married at Manhattan, Kansas, August 28, 1882, to Miss Cora Hunting, who was born at Manhattan May 7, 1865, and was educated in the agricultural college there. Her father was Edmond Hunting and her grandfather was Dr. Amory Hunting, who was a member of the first territorial Legislature of Kansas. Doctor Hunting came out from Providence, Rhode Island, in 1857, settled at Manhattan in the practice of his profession, and died there. He married Mary Eames, whose brother, Asa Eames, helped to build the community of Riley County and died at Manhattan. Doctor Hunting's children were William, Edmond, Elba and Juliet. Mrs. Reeve was one of two children born to her parents and is the only survivor.

To Mr. and Mrs. Reeve were born the following children: Mark Clayton, who is a carpenter and builder at Emporia, Kansas, married Viola Wegley, and they have four children, Mark Frederick, Lloyd Austin, David Arthur and Clayton Wistar; Roxy, who is a missionary in Africa; Edmond Amory, who is a merchant in South Carolina, married Mabel Connolly; Juliet, who was educated in the Liberal High School and the Kansas State Normal School, is an efficient teacher in the public schools of Hugoton; and Jessie Wistar, who is one of the editors of the "Hugoton Hermes." The eldest daughter, Roxy, who many years ago chose a self-sacrificing life, was educated at the Friends University at Wichita, Kansas, and for several years taught school before entering upon her religious work. The Friends mission to which she is attached is located at Kisumu, British East Africa, on the shore of Lake Victoria Nyanza, and is supported by the Fowler, Kansas, district for Africa. She has devoted six years to this philanthropic work. The Reeve family are members of the Society of Friends and attend meetings at Lone Star, on the east line of Stevens County.

Mr. Reeve, in speaking of his political activities, humorously comments that he "has probably voted oftener than any other voter of the state without helping to elect anybody." His first vote was cast for Hon. James G. Blaine, for president of the United States. For governor he cast his vote for St. John, the prohibition candidate, and ever since has continued to vote with the prohibition party. The only public office he ever consented to fill was membership on the school board. He is a man of such high principles and sterling character that Stevens County may well be proud to number him with her representative citizens.


Pages 2193-2194.


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., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 5 - Table of Contents

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