GEORGE L. REID. The history of the bar of Greeley County might well be told chiefly as incidental to the personal career of George L. Reid, who has been an enrolled member of the bar at Tribune for thirty years. He arrived in the county in March, 1887. In the lean years when there was as little opportunity in the law as there was in farming, Mr. Reid turned his attention to various lines of work and is himself a homesteader in this section. He has also developed business interests and is an abstractor, a work he has followed so long as to constitute him the one reliable authority on land titles in the county.
He has lived in Kansas since he was sixteen years of age. Mr. Reid was born on Long Island, near Babylon, New York, February 14, 1864. His father is the venerable Samuel Reid of Jackson County, Kansas. Samuel Reid was born in County Antrim, Ireland, and as a young man came to the United States in 1851, joining an older brother then living in New York City. In the American metropolis he learned the cabinet maker's trade, and followed it as a vocation and means of livelihood for about twenty years in Brooklyn and at other points on Long Island. Near Babylon he took up farming, and thus had considerable practical experience as an agriculturist when he came west to Kansas in 1880. Locating in Brown County he resumed farming there, but in 1885 removed to Jackson County. He is now eighty-five years of age and is living retired near Denison. He is remarkable not only for his years but for some sturdy, solid characteristics which have been part of his life from youth to the present time. He has never figured in politics or in public affairs, had only a common school education, but wherever he has lived he has proved himself a man of strong convictions and absolutely devoted to the square deal and honesty. He is a member of the United Presbyterian Church and after becoming a naturalized American citizen voted the republican ticket. Samuel Reid was married at Brooklyn, New York, to Miss Mary Robb. Her parents, John and Jennie (Gray) Robb, came from Scotland, and the former was a merchant at Brooklyn. Mrs. Samuel Reid died in Jackson County, Kansas, in 1903. Her children were: Robert G., of Denison, Kansas; George L.; Mary, wife of A. M. Shaw, of Denison; Samuel L., of Carbondale, Kansas; and James H., of Zendale, Kansas.
Before he came west George L. Reid profited by the advantages of the public schools on Long Island. In Kansas he attended the Hiawatha High School and subsequently became a student in Campbell College at Holton, where he finished the scientific course. Like many successful lawyers he had a preparatory experience as a teacher. For several years he taught in the country district of Brown County. He subsequently did similar work in Jackson County. Teaching furnished him a means of support and also afforded him long vacations in which he could pursue the study of law. He read law at Holton with the firm Keller & Noble. After completing his studies he went through the ordeal of examination before a committee consisting of Judge Lowell, C. B. Hamble and C. F. Hurrell. He was examined in Judge Lowell's office and was admitted to the bar before Judge Crozier.
With his license as a lawyer Mr. Reid hunted up a field where he might win fame and fortune. Thus, a youth of twenty-three, he arrived in Greeley County in the spring of 1887. His first law case in the county involved the charge of libel. He was associated with W. M. Glenn in prosecuting this case and they won the suit. For nearly thirty years Mr. Reid has continued to handle such cases, and on the whole with a high average of success, and has performed all the work which a general practitioner usually takes. However, his recognized specialty is land title and probate work. He has always practiced alone and has shown an able championship of every interest committed to his charge. He prepared a set of abstracts of title of the county, the only complete set of books, and for a number of years has furnished abstracts to settlers and investors. As a lawyer his most notable case was the defense of Hornung, charged with the murder of John Eckhart. In this case he was associated with other lawyers on the defense. The circumstances of the crime tended to show that the defendant had little ground for sympathy from the public. Strong talk was indulged in of lynching. He was charged with murder in the first degree, but at the end of the trial he was given a verdict of manslaughter in the third degree. After serving his sentence he returned to the county, and is today one of the most substantial farmers.
In matters of politics Mr. Reid has always been a loyal republican. He cast his first vote in Jackson County. He was old enough to vote for Benjamin Harrison as president. In Greeley County he has served as a member of the congressional committee, has attended congressional conventions frequently, and as a member of the state convention helped to nominate Governor Morrill and Governor Stanley. In 1892 Mr. Reid was elected county attorney of Greeley County, and served in that office six years consecutively. In 1912 he was again recalled to the same duty and served three years. As county attorney he handled no business except the ordinary routine and nothing to call for extended mention.
In 1898 Mr. Reid was elected a member of the Lower House of the State Legislature. He served during the terms of Speaker Osborne and Speaker Barker. During the first session he was assigned to the judiciary committee. He also rendered important service in securing the compromise on the interests of some county bonds. In the following legislature he was chairman of the committee on enrolled bills and the committee on judicial apportionment. In that time he lent all his influence to the passage of the legislation providing for the biennial election law.
As a local citizen Mr. Reid has been a director of the Tribune Bank since its organization, and has contributed to that town's development by the building of his own home and offices. He also gave the land for the location of the State Demonstration Farm, a half mile west of Tribune.
Something should be said of his early experiences aside from the practice of law. When he came to Greeley County he walked from Wallace into Colony Township and homesteaded the northwest quarter of section 1, township 20, range 43. With a pair of oxen he broke up some of the sod, lived in a sod house and proved up the claim. Thus he knows from first hand experiences what the lot of the early settler was. A considerable part of his business has been dealing in Greeley County lands and he has developed ranch property of his own and as a broker has induced the investment of a large amount of capital and has also brought in many desirable settlers. It was part of his experience to see the county fill up with settlers in the pioneer days, he also witnessed the practical depopulation which followed the hard years, and now for several years he has been witnessing a general return of the agricultural settlers, though the present land seeker is much more liberally provided with means than the homesteader of thirty years ago. Mr. Reid is a charter member of the Presbyterian Church of Tribune, and has served both as elder and as trustee. For twelve years he was secretary of the County Sunday School Association, and has been a teacher in the Presbyterian Sunday School of the Young People's class for twenty years.
In Jackson County, Kansas, December 2, 1891, Mr. Reid married Miss Elizabeth Jones. Her parents were Charles H. and Elizabeth (Tanner) Jones. Mrs. Reid was born in Cook County, Illinois, near Chicago, April 14, 1865. Her father was a farmer by occupation and came from Cook County, Illinois, to Kansas. He and his wife died in Jackson County. Their children included: Charles E., Mrs. C. L. Tucker, Mrs. S. G. Elliott, Elmer E. and Benjamin F.
Mr. and Mrs. Reid have four children: Charles J., Beth, George L., Jr., and Alberta. The son Charles, a graduate of the Great Bend High School, is a resident of Tribune and married Josephine Kerr. The daughter Beth is a student in the high school of Tribune.
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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