JOHN B. REA                                

South Kansas Tribune, February 24, 1904, Pg. 5:


            The old-timers will regret to learn of the death of J. B. Rea, one of the old settlers of Rutland township, at the age of 78 years.  Of late years he has been very feeble, but retained a great interest in all public affairs.  His funeral occurred at 11 a.m. today, at which Elder C. H. Jones officiated.


From History of Montgomery County, Kansas, By Its Own People, Published by L. Wallace Duncan, Iola, Kansas, 1903, Pg. 340-342:


            The interesting character whose name introduces this biography hs been numbered among the citizens of Montgomery county since November 28th, 1875, the year he established himself on section 3, township 33, range 14, and began the first work in the development of his Kansas home.  As a character he is unique, in that the story of his life embraces the experience of wide travel, beginning with the middle of the nineteenth century and continuing trough many years of the next quarter century, during which time the sun shone on him from many distant points of our American continent.

            Born in Logan county, Ohio, November 28th, 1825, and reared and educated there, at twenty-four years of age he went to Mahaska county, Iowa, where he passed one year as a hand on a farm.  The following spring, 1850, with a small company, he made the trip with an ox team to Placerville, California, being from May 1st to September 15th, on the journey.  He engaged in mining, but at the end of a year had saved but little ($400.00) from his wages, and decided to return home. He took the brig “Imaum” for San Juan, crossed Nicaragua lake and thence down the San Juan river to Greytown.  There he took a steamer to Havana, Cuba, and, a week later, sailed to New Orleans and up the Mississippi river to St. Louis.  By stage he went to Carthage, Illinois, and thence to his starting point in Iowa, where he soon began his journey, by horse, to his home in Ohio.

            In December, 1852, he married and returned at once to Mahaska county, Iowa, where he purchased a farm, cultivated it a year and then took his departure for his eastern home.  In 1857, he again went to the Pacific coast, taking ship at New York, crossing the isthmus and stopping at San Jose, where he worked on a farm one year.  He staged it from Los Angeles to Sherman, Texas, and spent two years on a farm there.  Hostilities between the North and the South caused him to return to his friends and he enlisted, at Oskaloosa, Iowa, in Company K, 33rd Iowa Inf. Under Col. Samuel Rice.  He was in the Department of the West and passed much time in Arkansas, from his enlistment in August, 1862.  He participated in the engagement at Helena, July 4th, 1863, and was in the hospital in Little Rock during the Red River campaign.  Rejoining his command, he went with it to New Orleans, to Mobile, and after taking the latter, went to Fort Blakely, from which point his regiment was ordered to the Rio Grande river, in Texas.  After doing some service on this extreme frontier the force returned to New Orleans, by the way of Galvestion, and was mustered out in the “Crescent City” in June, 1865.

            The war over, Mr. Rea resumed farming in Ohio for a year, and then went back to Iowa, where he was married the second time, September 12th, 1866.  This same year he started west and south in a wagon and located in Johnson county, Kansas, where he purchased a farm and owned it ‘till 1873, when he disposed of it and moved to Batesville, Arkansas.  There he remained ‘till the beginning of the journey which brought him to Montgomery county, Kansas.

            His beginnings in this county were as primitive as any.  His residence was 14x16 feet to start with and the conveniences about the place were all improvised and temporary. He has given his time to grain and grazing and his modest surroundings have been the result.

            John B. Rea was a son of Allen Rea, a farmer and native of Culpeper county, Virginia.  His grandfather was Joseph Rea, of Culpeper county and of Irish stock.  The eight children of Joseph Rea were: Robert, Allen, Thomas, Isaiah, Margaret, Sarah, Elizabeth and Deborah.  Allen Rea married Maria Bishop and was the father of twelve children: Mrs. Susannah Shark, George M., John B., Mrs. Mary J. Henderson, Mrs. Charlotte Hisey, Deborah, Mrs. Margaret Crowder, Mrs. Samantha Davis, Robert, Mrs. Louisa Davis, Joseph, of Olathe, Kans., and Carlisle, of Conway, Missouri.

            John B. Rea, married first, Hannah Wickersham, who bore him: Joseph of Tennessee, whose four children are Frank, Mrs. Deborah Robertson, Capitola, Mary and Virgie; Mrs. Robertson has four children: Thomas, William, Flora and Mamie;  William is deceased; Mr. Rea, our subject, married for his second wife, Mary J. Rice, of Jennings county, Indiana, and a daughter of James and Calydia (Adams) Graham, natives of Kentucky.  Two children were the fruits of this union, namely: Samantha Pilgrim, deceased, and Mrs. Nellie Jones of Montgomery county, Kansas.  The children of Mrs. Jones are Vivian Alfa and Charles, twins.

            Mr. Rea is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and of the A. H. T. A.  He has ever maintained himself a worthy citizen and his standing in his community and county is above reproach.

Contributed by Mrs. Maryann Johnson a Civil war researcher and a volunteer in the Kansas Room of the Independence Public Library, Independence, Kansas.