COL. SIMPSON SEATON REYNOLDS. One of the most interesting men in Western Kansas is Col. S. S. Reynolds of Grainfield, a retired business man. It has been his privilege and opportunity to live close to the life and times of the last half century. He has lived a long and useful life and some notable achievements are associated with his name. He was a captain in the Confederate army, was a pioneer in Nebraska, and was active in politics in that state in the early days.
One of the current phrases in recent years has been "undiluted Americanism." Colonel Reynolds is an undiluted American not only on the record of his personal experiences and achievements but through his ancestry. He was born near the city of Louisville in Jefferson County, Kentucky, August 29, 1842, son of Thomas Mercer Swann Reynolds and Elizabeth Hughes Seaton Reynolds. The names of his parents give a hint as to his distinguished relationship. The first ancestors of the Reynolds family to come to America were from Scotland and arrived here in colonial times. It was this family which produced the famous Sir Joshua Reynolds. Colonel Reynolds had four great-grandfathers who were in the Revolutionary war. His paternal great-grandfather was Joseph Reynolds, a colonel in the Revolution. Another great-grandfather was Philip Swann, also a Revolutionary officer. In the maternal line his great-grandfather, James Seaton, was an officer in the same struggle. An uncle of his grandfather was General Mercer, one of the most distinguished figures of the struggle for American independence. An uncle of Colonel Reynolds' father was Governor Barbour of Virginia. The mother of Colonel Reynolds was an own cousin to Ex-Gov. Charles E. Hughes' father, Governor Hughes being the republican candidate for president in 1916. Elizabeth Hughes Seaton was a daughter of Sarah Drake, who was directly descended from Sir Francis Drake.
Colonel Reynolds' paternal grandfather was Washington Reynolds, who was born in Orange County, Virginia, in 1783 and spent his life there as a planter and slave owner. He died in 1826. He married Katie Swann of Baltimore, Maryland, and she was an aunt of Thomas Swann, who at one time was mayor of Baltimore and later became governor of Maryland and finally served a term in the United States Senate.
Thomas Mercer Swann Reynolds, father of Colonel Reynolds, was born in Orange County, Virginia, February 21, 1818. He grew up in his native community and in early days went on horseback across the mountains through the wilderness to Louisville, Kentucky. He developed a leather manufacturing establishment at Middletown, just east of Louisville, and continued it for a number of years. Later he took over the farm which his wife had inherited from her grandfather, who had secured the homestead right by virtue of what was familiarly called in those days a "Tomahawk claim" ratified later by legal procedure. That was, of course, long before the homestead laws were enacted. He took up this claim very soon after the Revolutionary war. Thomas Reynolds farmed there until he sold his interest in 1860 and then removed to Saline County, Missouri, where he owned another farm. In 1874 he moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where two years previously he had bought a farm six miles south of the state capitol. He died near Lincoln in 1902, at the advanced age of eighty-four. He was a whig in early days, later became a republican, but never sought any political honors. He was a very devout Baptist.
Elizabeth Hughes Seaton, wife of Thomas Reynolds, was born July 13, 1823, near Louisville, Kentucky, and died at the home near Lincoln, Nebraska, in April, 1880. Colonel Reynolds was the oldest of their children. Theodore F., born in 1844, was a rancher and finally died at Kearney, Nebraska. Louisa Ann, who died at Kearney, was the wife of Allen Price, owner of a large ranch at Kearney and who died at Miami, Florida, in 1917. Mary Ellen is the wife of Jerome Hardeman Cameron, a retired resident of Kansas City, Missouri. Sarah Virginia is now living in Kansas City and is the widow of John Howard Cameron, a farmer of Saline County, Missouri. George Philip Reynolds is county treasurer of Island County, Washington. William Wallace died at the age of sixteen. Charles Benjamin is one of the big sheep men of Utah and lives at Salt Lake City. Emma Charlotte married Charles Cadwallader, a nephew of General Cadwallader of Mexican war fame, and they live on a large farm near Oxford, Nebraska. Martha Frances married Henry Herrendon, a planter and rice grower at Jennings, Louisiana. Effie Ward is unmarried and lives at Kearney, Nebraska. John Edward is a rancher in Idaho, while Ida May, the thirteenth and youngest of the large family, is the wife of Henry Hawley, an Idaho ranchman.
Simpson Seaton Reynolds, who has passed the age of seventy-six, spent his boyhood and early youth in Jefferson County, Kentucky. He attended the rural schools there and was on his father's farm to the age of twenty-one. In 1863 he entered the Confederate service as captain of one of the companies of cavalry which acted as escort to General Marmaduke during the invasion of Missouri. He was in the service of the Trans-Mississippi Department until the close of 1864. During the raid through Missouri his horse was shot down and he was captured, and was confined in the Federal prison at Rock Island, Illinois, until the close of the war.
After the war Colonel Reynolds took charge of the estate of his wife's grandfather in Saline County, Missouri, and in 1872 he moved out to Seward County, Nebraska, farmed there a year and then entered the grain, lumber and livestock business at Seward. In 1877 he continued in the grain and livestock business at David City, Nebraska, and from there transferred his interests to the pioneer country of Western Kansas in the year 1885, establishing his home at Grainfield, where he has lived for over thirty years, and where he is one of the notable pioneers of that section. In 1886 he took charge of the Chicago Lumber and Coal Company's yard at Grainfield, and was succeded in that business in 1902 upon his retirement by his son, Thomas H. B. Reynolds. Even in his retirement he has continued to look after his real estate and farming interests, at one time being an extensive land owner here.
One of the greatest acts of economic legislation in the history of this nation may be properly considered a fruit of Colonel Reynolds' study and activity while a member of the state senate of Nebraska. He was elected to the Nebraska Senate from the Fourteenth District in 1882. That district comprised Butler and Polk counties and was normally republican by 1,100, and his election was in the nature of a personal triumph, since he had 884 majority. While in the senate, in the session of 1883, he wrote and introduced a joint memorial and resolution to Congress. Congress accepted the substance of this resolution and it passed both Houses, and that pioneer memorial was the forerunner of the Interstate Commerce Law. Colonel Reynolds introduced his senate resolution January 9, 1883, and the Interstate Commerce Law was passed February 7, 1887. In the meantime a committee composed of Senator Platt of Connecticut, Senator Cullom of Illinois, and Senator Harris of Tennessee, visited every important trade center in the country to make investigations and hold hearings upon the proposed measure and Colonel Reynolds was one of the important witnesses before this committee.
In politics Colonel Reynolds gives his support to the democratic party. However, he voted for General Grant, for William McKinley, and in 1908 voted for William H. Taft. Colonel Reynolds served on the school board in Nebraska and, while in Buffalo Park was nominated in 1883, for county treasurer of Butler County. He was nominated by the anti-monopolists and was defeated in a three-cornered campaign. He is a Baptist, is affiliated with Fidelity Lodge No. 51, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at David City, Nebraska, with the Knights of Honor, with Gove City Lodge of Odd Fellows, and has always been active in community affairs.
October 16, 1864, in Saline County, Missouri, Colonel Reynolds married Miss Addie T. Guthrey. Their marriage was a war romance. He was at that time a captain of Confederate Cavalry, was in the midst of a strenuous campaign, and with only a few hours leave of absence he married, and almost immediately mounted his horse and returned to his command. His wife was a daughter of Daniel Travis and Maria (Brown) Guthrey, Missouri planters. Mrs. Reynolds died December 28, 1878. She was the mother of four children: Harriet Elizabeth died August 14, 1869, at the age of nineteen months; Florence Swann, a graduate of Hardin College at Mexico, Missouri, resides at McPherson, Kansas, the widow of S. M. Law. George Guthrey, born in 1872, lived only two days. Thomas H. has been mentioned above as manager and successor to his father with the Chicago Lumber and Coal Company at Grainfield.
September 21, 1881, in Clay County, Missouri, Colonel Reynolds married Miss Lida Major, who was member of a very prominent family. Her parents were Stephen S. and Mary Elizabeth Bell (Cook) Major, both now deceased. Her father at one time had the largest and finest farm and stock ranch in Clay County, Missouri. Mrs. Reynolds died March 14, 1909, at Grainfield, Kansas. She also was the mother of four children, the oldest, Mary Elizabeth, dying at the age of one year. Lutie Susie Virginia, the second in age, is a graduate in the literary and musical courses of Hardin College at Mexico, Missouri, and is now a department head in a large store at Pratt, Kansas. Maj. Morris Jones Reynolds is now in the army at Camp Funston, and with all the other qualities that make a good soldier is distinguished by his height, six feet, six inches. Samuel Fullerton Seaton Reynolds, the youngest son of Colonel Reynolds, is also at Camp Funston and took first honors among the 500 trainers in that camp.
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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